Why We’re So Polarized


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Last week on our show, Bob spoke with Lilliana Mason, a University of Maryland political psychologist and author of Uncivil Agreement: How Politics Became Our Identity, about the reasons behind the tribalism and enmity that characterize our politics. The conversation covered a lot of ground, and much of it — including the political decisions that have shaped the two major parties over the past 50 years, as well as the distinct ways that Republicans and Democrats deploy partisan rage — didn’t make it into our tightly packed show. But, it’s too interesting and important to leave on the cutting room floor, so we’re sharing it as this week’s midterm edition podcast extra. Enjoy!

Trump Tells Reporters THEY Are Making Midterms About Him and Illegal Immigration: ‘You People Don’t Want to Cover’ Economy


This post is by Caleb Howe from Mediaite


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On Sunday morning, the talk shows covered the idea that President Donald Trump hasn’t talked about the economy and instead focused on illegal immigration. Speaking to reporters, Trump said that it’s the media shifting the attention, not him. Trump stressed several times during his remarks and answers in a brief Q&A before heading to Georgia that he has been focusing mainly on the Senate, and not the House, particularly due to the fact that it would impossible to hold rallies for the House. “I think we’re gonna do well with the House,” he said. ‘My primary focus has been on the Senate, because there are so many people in the House, and that’s a lot of stops. But I have done some House work also. But I think we’re going to do well in the House.” Whether Republicans retain control of the House or not is a big question, Continue reading "Trump Tells Reporters THEY Are Making Midterms About Him and Illegal Immigration: ‘You People Don’t Want to Cover’ Economy"

The Others


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After a week of hate-fueled attacks, we examine the "dotted line" from incitement to violence. We dig deep into tribalism and how it widens the gulf between Republicans and Democrats. Plus, the history of antisemitic propaganda and how it inspires modern-day violence. Also, why is the GOP is running against California in midterm races around the country? 
  1. A look at the possible connections between hateful rhetoric and violent acts, with law professor Garrett Epps [@Profepps], historian Michael Beschloss, and writer Amanda Robb. Listen.

  2. Leo Ferguson [@LeoFergusonnyc] of Jews for Racial & Economic Justice on the history of antisemitic propaganda. Listen.

  3. Lilliana Mason [@LilyMasonPhD], author of Uncivil Agreement: How Politics Became Our Identity, on tribalism and partisanship. Listen.

  4. Why is California the bogeyman in the midterms? Lawrence Wright [@lawrence_wright] on the California/Texas relationship, KQED's Marisa Lagos [@mlagos Continue reading "The Others"

Politico Poll: Americans Blame Trump and Media for Dividing the Country


This post is by Joseph A. Wulfsohn from Mediaite


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Amid the ongoing feud between President Donald Trump and the media, both are being blamed for the toxic political climate by most Americans. Yet, according to a new poll by Politico/Morning Consult, 56% of Americans say Trump has done more to divide the country. Among them are 88% of Democrats and 54% of independents. Only 30% of Americans say he has done more to unite the country. However, the media received even worse numbers than the president himself.  Among those polled, 64% of Americans say they have done more to divide the country while only 17% believe they have done more to unite the country. Among the minority are 28% of Democrats, 14% of independents, and only 9% of Republicans. On the subject of political violence, 58% of Americans believe it’s widespread. And as for who is responsible for the rise of political violence, 36% say Trump, 31% say congressional Continue reading "Politico Poll: Americans Blame Trump and Media for Dividing the Country"

Trump Defends Calling Media ‘Enemy of the People’: ‘It’s My Only Form of Fighting Back’


This post is by Ken Meyer from Mediaite


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In a newly-released portion of Axios’ interview with Donald Trump, the president once again defended his anti-media rhetoric while brushing off the idea that someone will eventually get hurt because of it. After asking Trump about his idea to roll back birthright citizenship, Jim VandeHei used multiple points of the interview to question Trump over the implications of calling the press the “enemy of the people.” VandeHei noted that Trump has a major platform between his rallies and his status as president, so he said “there’s got to be a part of you that’s like: ‘Dammit, I’m scared that someone is gonna take it too far.'” “I think I’m doing a service [by attacking the press] when people write stories about me that are so wrong,” Trump responded. “I know what I do good and what I do bad. I really get it, OK? I really Continue reading "Trump Defends Calling Media ‘Enemy of the People’: ‘It’s My Only Form of Fighting Back’"

Trump Goes After the Media for Coverage of His Pittsburgh Visit: Trying to Spread ‘Anger and Division’


This post is by Tamar Auber from Mediaite


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On Wednesday, President Donald Trump held a rally in Florida where talk quickly turned to pointing fingers at the media for sowing “anger and division” in wake of the tragedy in Pittsburgh. Trump started out by addressing the horrific slaughter of 11 at a Pittsburgh area synagogue on Saturday. He then talked about his visit to the city, a visit that was met by protesters. Earlier today, Trump said that there was only a “small protest” in Pittsburgh, something the Washington Post and other outlets noted was not quite accurate. Yet speaking of the visit at the rally, Trump doubled down. “Yesterday’s visit to Pittsburgh was about coming together as a nation to comfort and to heal,” Trump began. Then, venting against the media, the President of the United States said this: “After this day of unity and togetherness, I came home and sadly turned on the news and watched as the far Continue reading "Trump Goes After the Media for Coverage of His Pittsburgh Visit: Trying to Spread ‘Anger and Division’"

Gab is Back in the Headlines and Off the Web


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The social media website Gab has faced sanction and scorn in the days since one of its active users killed 11 members of Pittsburgh's Jewish community. Gab had, for the past few years, made itself out as a "free speech" harbor, safe from the intellectual strictures of the mainstream web. That is to say, it attracted — and very rarely rejected — hordes of neo-nazis, anti-PC provocateurs and right-wing trolls.  When Brooke interviewed Gab's then-COO Utsav Sanduja last fall, the company was in the midst of an anti-trust lawsuit against Google, claiming the the tech titan had wielded its monopoly power to silence a competitor. Brooke spoke with Sanduja about that lawsuit — and about his website's frequently deplorable content. 

Trump Warns: ‘I Could Really Tone Up’ Rhetoric Against the Media


This post is by Tamar Auber from Mediaite


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On his way to yet another rally Friday afternoon, President Donald Trump suggested that he has toned down his rhetoric and, if anything, he could “tone it up.” When asked by a reporter on the White House lawn if he saw his face plastered all over suspect Cesar Sayoc‘s alleged van, Trump said he did not but admitted he heard that the suspect was “a person that preferred me over others.” Then when asked about toning down his rhetoric, Trump said this: “Well, I think I’ve been toned down, if you want to know the truth. I could really tone it up. Because, as you know, the media has been extremely unfair to me and to the Republican Party.” Then continuing on his media grievances he added, “I think the media has been very, very unfair. In terms of the Republican Party. And the way it’s been Continue reading "Trump Warns: ‘I Could Really Tone Up’ Rhetoric Against the Media"

Knock, Knock


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With the midterms approaching, Democrats and Republicans are fighting to control the national conversation. This week, On the Media looks at how to assess the predictions about a blue or red wave this November. Republican messaging — especially from the White House — has emphasized the dangers presented by the so-called caravan. How did that caravan begin? And, what is the history behind the documents that regulate international travel? Plus, how transgender rights activists in Massachusetts are deploying a counter-intuitive door-to-door tactic.
  1. Clare Malone [@ClareMalone], senior political writer for FiveThirtyEight, on the electoral reporting tropes that dominate midterm coverage. Listen.

  2. Sarah Kinosian [@skinosian], freelance reporter, on the origins of the current Central American caravan. Listen.

  3. John Torpey [@JohnCTorpey], historian at the CUNY Graduate Center, on the history of passports. Listen.

  4. David Broockman [@dbroockman], political scientist at the Stanford Graduate Continue reading "Knock, Knock"

Trump Attacks ‘Mainstream Media’ Day After Bomb Sent to CNN: ‘So Bad and Hateful’


This post is by Aidan McLaughlin from Mediaite


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President Donald Trump continued his attacks on the media Thursday morning, a day after a pipe bomb was discovered mailed to CNN’s headquarters in New York City. At a rally Thursday night, Trump called on the media “to set a civil tone and to stop the endless hostility and constant negative and oftentimes false attacks and stories.” On Thursday morning, he blamed the media for the “Anger we see today in our society.” “A very big part of the Anger we see today in our society is caused by the purposely false and inaccurate reporting of the Mainstream Media that I refer to as Fake News,” the president tweeted. “It has gotten so bad and hateful that it is beyond description.” “Mainstream Media must clean up its act, FAST!” he added.

Anderson Cooper Calls Out Trump for Speaking ‘Hypocritically’ About Civility at Rally


This post is by Tamar Auber from Mediaite


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On Wednesday, CNN’s Anderson Cooper called out President Donald Trump for “hypocritically” addressing civility at his rally on the same day as suspicious packages prompted a bomb scare at CNN’s New York headquarters and at other places across the country,  including packages sent to the Obamas, the Clintons and others. After breaking into Trump’s rally speech,  Cooper pointed out that Trump was “speaking quite hypocritically, I just have to say.” He continued on: “He talked about explosive devices being sent to former government officials. He made no mention of an explosive device sent to this building behind me, the headquarters of CNN, A news organization he routinely attacks. He calls reporters the enemy of the American people. And, yet, he said it’s the media’s fault for the kind of reporting that media organizations have been doing.” Speaking from a lobby of the building adjacent to CNN headquarters, Cooper further Continue reading "Anderson Cooper Calls Out Trump for Speaking ‘Hypocritically’ About Civility at Rally"

West Virginia’s “Genius” Watchdog


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Nearly two years since the 2016 Presidential Election, much of the press are still covering so-called "Trump country" using a series of simplistic narratives, blaming these states for Trump and portraying them as irrevocably scarred by the decline of the coal industry. That doesn't mean there aren't real problems surrounding the fossil fuel industry. Ken Ward Jr. is a reporter at West Virginia’s Charleston Gazette-Mail, where since 1991 he’s been covering the coal, chemical and natural gas industries, and their impact on communities that were promised a better future. Bob speaks with Ken about the reporting that earned him a 2018 “genius grant” from the MacArthur Foundation, and how West Virginia's coal country is moving forward.

Michael Moore Blames Media for Dumbing Down America


This post is by Tamar Auber from Mediaite


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During a conversation with the audience at the Rome Film Festival on Saturday, documentarian Michael Moore slammed the media for dumbing down America. “If you allow rich corporations to buy up and control most of the media, and then put things on the media that are intended to appeal to the stupidity that’s in all of us, you will have a dumb-downed nation,” Moore said. He also pointed out at the same time corporations are controlling “most” of the media, schools and libraries are closing and young Americans — if lucky enough to get a college education — are taking on debt that will linger until their 40s. “The more you dumb down,” Moore continued on, according to The Hollywood Reporter. “The more likely you are to end up with a Donald Trump.” During the same talk, Moore also insisted that the popular narrative that Trump won the working class Continue reading "Michael Moore Blames Media for Dumbing Down America"

Bloodlines


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In using a genetic test to try to prove her Native ancestry, Senator Elizabeth Warren inadvertently stepped into a quagmire. This week, we examine the tensions around DNA and identity. Plus, after Jamal Khashoggi’s death, revisiting the trope of the so-called reformist Saudi royal. And, a look at what we can learn — and how we've tried to learn it — from twins, triplets and other multiple births.
  1. Abdullah Al-Arian, [@anhistorian] professor of Middle East History at Georgetown University, on the decades-long trope in American op-ed pages about reformist Saudi royals. Listen.
  2. Kim TallBear, [@KimTallBear] professor of Native Studies at the University of Alberta and author of Native American DNA: Tribal Belonging and the False Promise of Genetic Science, on the way "blood" has been used to undermine tribal sovereignty. Listen.

  3. Alondra Nelson, [@alondra] president of the Social Science Research Continue reading "Bloodlines"

Trump Reportedly Directed Staff to Increase His Media Presence to ‘Flood the Zone’ Before Midterms


This post is by Tamar Auber from Mediaite


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President Donald Trump has been all over the media lately and it is all part of his plan to get his face and his message in front as many reporters as humanly possible before the midterms, according to a new Daily Beast report. The Daily Beast spoke to two sources knowledgeable with the inner-workings of the world of Trump. According to those sources, back in September Trump told Press Secretary Sarah Sanders and Deputy Chief of Staff for Communications Bill Shine that his message wasn’t being broadcast on mainstream channels enough. So, they set up a media blitzkrieg to “flood the zone,” as one top aide put it. So far he has called the Washington Post to slam Sen. Lisa Murkowski in wake of her ‘no’ on Kavanaugh, gave a solo presser to New Yorker report Olivia Nuzzi, and talked for over 45 minutes to Fox and Friends. The one Continue reading "Trump Reportedly Directed Staff to Increase His Media Presence to ‘Flood the Zone’ Before Midterms"

Kellyanne Conway: The Mainstream Media Wants to Boil SCOTUS Down to ‘Only Abortion or Guns’


This post is by Tamar Auber from Mediaite


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Just one day after the dramatic vote that led to the confirmation of now-Justice Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court, top Trump advisor Kellyanne Conway was on ABC’s This Week to talk abortion and the future of SCOTUS now that a new, conservative justice is in the ninth seat. ABC’s Jon Karl got the ball rolling by asking Conway if it is the expectation that “Roe v. Wade be overturned.” Conway replied: “Justice Kavanaugh — Justice Kavanaugh, I love that — said during his testimony that he believes Roe versus Wade is — is settled law.” Then after a bit of crosstalk, Karl asked again if she expects Roe v. Wade will now be overturned. “That is the issue here. Those cases will get to the Supreme Court someday,” Conway replied. Then, finally Conway said this: “People are going to look at state law and the circuit law Continue reading "Kellyanne Conway: The Mainstream Media Wants to Boil SCOTUS Down to ‘Only Abortion or Guns’"