Theory of Change podcast

Theory of Change podcast

Lots of people want to change the world. But how does change happen? In each episode, Theory of Change host Matthew Sheffield takes a deep look at the people who are trying to change the world, chronicling their successes but also exploring the limits of change. The primary subject areas are politics, sociology, technology, and business.

Episodes

September 19, 2021 57 min
In a 24/7 news environment, we're all surrounded by information, some of it true, some of it false, and much of it somewhere in the middle. As social media has become universalized, we've seen a new type of journalist emerge, fact-checkers. That's a fascinating commentary on their importance because the commercial media industry has been shrinking as a whole. On this episode, we'll be speaking with Brooke Binkows...
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People often say that we live in the Information Age. But what does that mean? It means that people living today on Earth truly do have the world's knowledge at our fingertips. We can read high-quality scientific research, even before it's published in academic journals. We can look up everything from great lasagna recipes to the latest news about Malaysian politics--and everything in-between. Having the world's knowle...
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American politics is broken in a lot of ways. There are many reasons for this. A big one is what podcaster and former CNN host Michele Mitchell calls the "anger industrial complex," the way that media companies are constantly working to keep their audiences angry all the time. It's no grand conspiracy, rather it's managers pursuing the natural incentives of for-profit media to keep ratings up, no matter the cost t...
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A lot of people know about "The Southern Strategy," the multi-year plan of 20th century Republicans like Richard Nixon to get white voters in the South to stop voting for Democrats, but what isn't widely known is that the GOP itself was changed by the electoral coalition that it attracted. Angie Maxwell, a professor at the University of Arkansas, takes a deep look at how Republicans incorporated many aspects of Souther...
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While the Republican Party's embrace of authoritarianism has attracted a lot of media attention in recent years, the Democratic Party's inability to build a real political majority is a big reason that American conservatives haven't had to drop their unpopular views about government. After all, if Democrats were better at diagnosing and meeting the needs of the public, anti-government Republicans wouldn't be able t...
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In recent American history, the mainstream media has adhered to a "both sides" approach to covering politics. But as the Republican party has increasingly become skeptical of democracy and public participation in policy formation, this method is no longer useful as a way of determining the truth. In this episode, Eric Boehlert, founder and editor of PressRun.Media, talks with host Matthew Sheffield about where this attitude...
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As the Covid-19 infections continue to rise among non-vaccinated people, it's worth taking a look at the history of anti-vaccine conspiracy theories and unqualified media medical advice. In this episode, Theory of Change host Matthew Sheffield is joined by Richard Carpiano, a Professor of Public Policy at the University of California, Riverside. Carpiano is a medical sociologist and public and population health scientist who...
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Pat Bagley has become a fixture in Utah politics and one of America's best-known editorial cartoonists. In this episode of Theory of Change, he joins Matthew Sheffield to discuss American politics, the changing face of the moderate-dominated Republican Party he once knew, and how the LDS Mormon religion has changed during his lifetime.
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Among American conservatives who came of age in the 20th century, Christian fundamentalism seems to serve as the unifying force. But among younger Republicans, is opposition to feminism what keeps the coalition together? Matthew Sheffield is joined in this episode by Robyn Pennacchia, a writer at Wonkette.com who has been covering the online misogyny space since 2012. Robyn's Twitter: https://twitter.com/RobynElyse Matthew...
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A huge part of why American politics is so messed up today is the country's for-profit media ecosystem that prioritizes controversy, eschews policy discussions, and has no understanding of how important Christian fundamentalism is to conservative ideologues. In the first video stream episode of Theory of Change, Matthew Sheffield speaks with Parker Molloy, founder of The Present Age about how bad things are and how it happened...
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The internet and the explosion of free political content that it created has had a dramatic effect on the media industry. One sector of journalism that’s been particularly harmed in recent years is editorial cartooning. Ten years ago, most major-city daily newspapers employed artists to draw their takes on the news of the day. Now, however, the ranks of editorial cartoonists have shrunk drastically. That’s why several of America...
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If you read, listen or watch the news today it’s impossible to avoid public opinion polls. They are literally everywhere. The president’s approval rating, what people think about impeachment, even what the best fast food restaurant is. But as omnipresent as opinion surveys are, a lot of the math and science that goes into them is relatively unknown to many people. There are also a lot of questions about how polls work and how they...
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There’s been a lot of commentary about how Donald Trump is changing the Republican Party. There’s even a cottage industry of former Republicans who often write about how Trump has ruined the GOP they once knew and loved. But according to Bruce Bartlett, a former senior White House economic adviser to President Bush 41, most of what today’s Trump skeptics point to as something new in the party was there long ago. Bartlett had a fa...
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As the actual voting in the Democratic presidential primary gets closer, the race is becoming tighter, both numerically and emotionally. Some wealthy Democratic donors appear to be panicking as the candidate they’ve gravitated toward, Joe Biden, has had trouble in debates and also demonstrated significant problems appealing to the small-dollar donors that have become so important in Democratic presidential campaigns. Additionall...
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How do you impeach a president? As a legal matter, it's all very simple. But as a political matter, it's anything but. Impeaching and removing a president has never been done before in the American political system. Even impeachment trials themselves are extremely rare in the history of the Republic. Only two presidents, Andrew Johnson and Bill Clinton, have been impeached while Richard Nixon resigned before he was likely ...
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Republicans have taken control of dozens of state governments since the mid-1990s. But despite having complete authority in many state legislatures and governors’ mansions, GOP elected officials have not managed to accomplish much. That’s the argument of Red State Blues: How the Conservative Revolution Stalled in the States, a new book by Michigan State University political scientist professor Matt Grossmann. He joins Theory of Ch...
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