Outrage Overload

Outrage Overload

If you're part of the "exhausted majority" who is fed up with outrage culture and wants to be less stressed out, listen to this. 40 minutes every few weeks. It will change your life. Outrage Overload is a show about outrage in society and politics, and lowering the temperature. In each episode we explore a different aspect of the outrage industry with leading scientists, researchers, authors, community leaders, and other experts. Topics include political polarization, outrage exhaustion, extremism, civility, incivility, healthy conflict, disinformation, information literacy, outrage fatigue, stress, media, social media, and even technology and artificial intelligence.


May 22, 2024 43 mins

 I sit down with Lawrence Eppard to explore the complex landscape of media trust in America. How do we grapple with the challenges of misinformation, disinformation, and news literacy in an increasingly polarized media landscape?

From dissecting the roots of media distrust to exploring strategies for staying informed without succumbing to outrage overload, this conversation offers valuable insights into navigating the comp...

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In this special documentary-style episode of the Outrage Overload podcast, we look at the world of electoral politics and the challenges of close elections. Drawing inspiration from the movie "Swing Vote" and real-life insights from history, political science, and contemporary discourse, we explore the trend of close elections and the implications of razor-thin margins. We discuss the importance of understanding how democ...

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How to Rise Above Nasty Politics

In this episode of the Outrage Overload podcast, host David Beckmeyer interviews Thomas Zeitzoff, a professor specializing in political violence and political psychology. The episode explores the concept of "nasty politics" and its impact on political discourse and democracy. Zeitzoff discusses the different forms of negativity in politics, from insults and conspiracy theories...

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Discover how seemingly neutral topics can become politicized in this episode of the Outrage Overload podcast. Host David Beckemeyer is joined by researcher Dino Carpentras to explore the dynamics of polarization and dialogue. They discuss how even simple topics like circles and pencils can become battlegrounds for political ideologies, and the implications this has for our society. Learn how polarization can occur in new topics and...

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How Broken Trust is Poisoning American Democracy

In this episode, host David Beckmeyer interviews Andreas Schedler about his research on political polarization in the United States. Schedler challenges the traditional understanding of polarization as a simple left-right divide and argues that the breakdown of trust is a fundamental factor driving hostility between political factions. He explains that people increa...

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Why We Resist Facts & How to Fight Back!

In this episode, we explore the concept of knowledge resistance with Dr. Åsa Wikforss. We discuss the complex factors that contribute to knowledge resistance, including confirmation bias and motivated reasoning. The conversation highlights the importance of trust in reliable sources of knowledge and the need for a well-functioning information landscape. Dr. Wikforss emphasiz...

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Why we need to abandon the Left-Right political spectrum paradigm

In this episode of Outrage Overload, we explorer the concept of left versus right thinking with guest Hiram Lewis. They discuss the flaws in the left versus right paradigm and how it hinders productive political discourse. Lewis argues that these labels do not represent consistent philosophies but rather a broken paradigm based on social conformity. He s...

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How Braver Angels is Lowering the Temperature in Political Conversations

In this episode, David interviews Luke Nathan Phillips, the Publius Fellow for Public Discourse at Braver Angels. They discuss the mission of Braver Angels and how the organization is working to bridge the political and cultural divide in America. Luke shares the origins of Braver Angels and how it has grown into a national organization dedicated ...

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Success Stories: Why You Need the Dignity Index in Your Toolbox

Tami Pyfer, Chief of Staff and Project Director for UNITE, returns to discuss the progress of the Dignity Index, a scale that rates speech for dignity or contempt. The goal is to encourage healthy debate and problem-solving by treating others with dignity. The index is being used to score political speech, with the hope of holding us accountable for our la...

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Why even those who value democracy might contribute to its decline

Americans across the political spectrum express concerns about the health of democracy. In this episode of the Outrage Overload Podcast, host David Beckmeyer delves into the paradox of democratic erosion with researcher Alia Braley. They discuss the perception that political opponents are ready to subvert democratic norms and how this perception fuels d...

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How a Fun Game Reduces Political Polarization

Discover how a fun online game called GuesSync! is reducing political polarization and fostering empathy across party lines. In this episode, host David Beckmeyer interviews Ashwin Rajadesingan, the creator of GuesSync!, about the surprising results of the game and its potential to lower the temperature in our politically divided society. Find out how the game corrects misp...

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How Real-Life Communities Are Tackling Tough Topics in Education

In this episode, we meet Ken Futernick, the host of the podcast "Courageous Conversations About Our Schools." We discuss the importance of dialogue over debate in addressing the culture wars and divisive issues in education. Ken shares his concerns about claims of indoctrination in schools and the banning of books. He emphasizes the need for healthy...

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Is This Podcast Part of the Problem or the Solution?

In this thought-provoking episode, host David Beckemeyer takes a deep dive into the Outrage Overload podcast, offering a self-reflective analysis of our approach to navigating the intricate landscape of American democracy. The episode serves as a meta-analysis, scrutinizing our treatment of topics such as polarization, potential pitfalls of false equivalences, potential ...

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How to be the adult in the room, no matter your age.

In this episode, we hear from Dr. Kevin Smith, a political science professor, about the challenges of political division and the erosion of democratic norms. Dr. Smith emphasizes the importance of gracefully accepting defeat in a democracy and the responsibility of individuals to promote civility and critical thinking. He discusses the role of media consumption, educ...

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Selling Fury: How Television Turned Outrage into a Commodity

In this episode, we heard from Professor Robert Thompson about the history of television and its impact on our society. They discuss the evolution of news media, from the golden age of TV to the rise of trash TV and reality shows. They also explore the current state of news commentary and the role it plays in fueling outrage and division. Professor Thompson provi...

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January 15, 2024 23 mins

How distorted memories of the Civil Rights Movement fuel today's divisions

In this bonus episode for MLK Day, host David Beckmeyer interviews Hajar Yazdiha, an assistant professor of sociology and author of "The Struggle for the People's King." They discuss the hidden narratives and complexities of the civil rights movement, the misperceptions surrounding Martin Luther King Jr., and how the memory of th...

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How Outrage Addiction Hijacked Our Conversations

Peter Coleman discusses the current state of political polarization in America and offers practical strategies for bridging divides and fostering understanding. He emphasizes the importance of recognizing the "exhausted middle majority," the majority of Americans who are tired of the vitriol and division in politics. Coleman explains that the perception gap, wh...

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How social media gives us what captures our attention rather than what we actually want

In this episode we talk to Dr. Steven Rathje, building on research from prior episodes, we look at how out-group animosity drives engagement on social media.

Dr. Steven Rathje discussing research that found that social media creates incentives for out-group animosity, which can be a factor in increasing polarization. It is also harmful f...

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In this episode of the Outrage Overload podcast, we hear from Matt Levendusky, a professor of political science at the University of Pennsylvania, about political polarization and bridge building. Levendusky discusses the challenges of political polarization and the toll it takes on our mental and emotional health. He emphasizes the importance of focusing on our shared values and identities to build bridges and find common ground. ...

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In this one-year anniversary episode of the Outrage Overload podcast, we reflect on the past year of diving deep into the outrage machine and searching for ways to lower the temperature. We’re thrilled to welcome back Dr. Peter Ditto, our very first guest, as we reexamine the ongoing challenges of political polarization and the erosion of trust in democracy.

One year ago, Professor Ditto warned us about the deepening divid...

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