January 21, 2021 - 12:00pm to 1:00pm
Virtual via Zoom
In his first speech as President-Elect, Joe Biden vowed to usher in "a time for healing” and put a stop to a grim era of demonization. His message offers a salve for our anxious times where social inequalities and political divides could not be more stark. However, this message–also conveyed in early policies of his administration–raises the question of how his vision for healing and unity might end up sidelining the pursuit of justice and accountability.
In this roundtable scheduled during the day after Joe Biden’s inauguration, engaged researchers in political communication, journalism studies, and disinformation studies discuss the problem of political polarization and how their different sub-fields resolve tensions between healing and assigning accountability. What indeed are the conceptual resources of media and communications research that we can draw from in anticipating and navigating the difficult work ahead of knitting communities back together? How can we develop more precise analytics of responsibility and complicity? What are harmful or polarizing media infrastructures that we need to discard, and how can we build new ones?
We will cover exciting research on digital disinformation and hate speech targeting marginalized groups and racial minorities, the organizational norms and practices of right-wing newsrooms, and voting behaviors of Americans across race, class, and gender.
- Seth Goldman | Associate Professor of Communication at UMass Amherst. He is co-author of The Obama Effect: How the 2008 Campaign Changed White Racial Attitudes (Russel Sage Foundation, 2014).
- Jacquelyn Mason | Senior Investigative Researcher at First Draft. She studied disinformation and voter suppression campaigns targeting black and Latinx communities in the 2020 US elections.
- Anthony Nadler | Associate Professor of Media and Communication Studies at Ursinus College. He is the author of Making the News Popular (University of Illinois Press, 2016) and co-editor of News on the Right: Studying Conservative News Cultures (Oxford University Press, 2019).
- Jonathan Corpus Ong | Associate Professor of Global Digital Media at UMass Amherst. He is currently Research Fellow in the Shorenstein Center at the Harvard Kennedy School, where he studies conspiracy theory in alternative spirituality online communities.