Communication, Media & Politics in a Risk Society

Shifting Ideas, Shifting Opinion, Shifting Policy
Political Polarization
The Cable News Battle Over the Keystone XL Pipeline

The Cable News Battle Over the Keystone XL Pipeline

In the U.S. Senate Tuesday evening, supporters of the Keystone XL oil pipeline failed by a single vote to pass a bill approving the project. The controversial pipeline is intended to link the Alberta oil sands in Canada with Gulf of Mexico refineries and distribution centers in the U.S. Until this week, the pipeline had...
Republican Charlie Baker’s win in liberal Massachusetts offers path forward on climate change

Republican Charlie Baker’s win in liberal Massachusetts offers path forward on climate change

Reposted from The Conversation. On an urgent mission to shift the political debate over climate change, environmental groups spent an unprecedented $85 million in the 2014 U.S. midterm elections, focusing their efforts on a handful of contested Senate seats. Following the failure in 2010 to pass a national climate bill, environmentalists believed that they were...
Fox News Seeds Climate Doubt But MSNBC and Other Liberal Media Also Distort

Fox News Seeds Climate Doubt But MSNBC and Other Liberal Media Also Distort

Reposted from The Conversation. Recent Pew Research Center studies offer valuable insight on the ideological makeup of those Americans most likely to voice their opinion in politics generally and the climate debate specifically, including the news sources they rely on to articulate their arguments. What’s clear from the Pew findings and related research is that...
Climate of Extremes, Part Two: Dialogue -- Not Diatribes -- Needed for Bi-Partisan Action

Climate of Extremes, Part Two: Dialogue — Not Diatribes — Needed for Bi-Partisan Action

Reposted from the Breakthrough.org. This is the second of two articles on climate activism and political polarization. The first can be viewed here. 1. As Bill McKibben has focused on building a new progressive grassroots movement, Tom Steyer and his political advisors have sought to spend his vast wealth to influence key U.S. Senate and Governoratorial races....
Climate of Extremes, Part One: How Polarizing Global Warming Strategies Backfire

Climate of Extremes, Part One: How Polarizing Global Warming Strategies Backfire

Reposted from the Breakthrough.org. This is first of two articles on climate activism and political polarization, the second of which can be foundhere. In August 2011, writer-turned-activist Bill McKibben along with a few dozen other environmentalists spent several nights in a Washington, DC jail. They were the first among thousands who would be arrested in...
Pew Polarization Findings Bad News for Liberals, Good News for Conservatives

Pew Polarization Findings Bad News for Liberals, Good News for Conservatives

Many liberal activists and commentators are likely welcoming survey findings from the Pew Research Center showing that over the past 20 years the number of Americans who can be rated as “consistently liberal” in their worldviews has increased four fold, from 3 percent in 1994 to 12 percent today. Perhaps even more encouraging, in a...

Our Super Zip State of Mind: Engaging with Communities Not Like Our Own

The transformation of Washington, DC into one of the world’s wealthiest regions has also turned the nation’s capital into one of its most like minded. The homogeneity in economic outlook and social experience has profound implications for how Beltway professionals and advocates design policy and strategy to deal with complex problems like climate change. “It’s...

How Obama Can Defy Debate Critics and Shift Momentum

In my latest column at The Breakthrough, I discuss what Obama can do in tonight’s second Presidential debate to reverse momentum, and it starts with defying critics who are calling on Obama to be more confrontational.  Here’s the start to the column: As President Obama prepares for tomorrow’s night Presidential debate, he faces the most important public...

The Polarization Paradox & the Republicans Are the Problem Thesis

Last month, I published with Dietram Scheufele “The Polarization Paradox: Why Hyperpartisanship Promotes Conservatism and Undermines Liberalism.”  We detail in the article how liberals have become more like conservatives in their political strategies, adopting a win-at-all-costs commitment to policy debates and elections. In doing so, liberals have built their own message machine comprised of think tanks, media...