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Remarks from our Election 2016 Teach-In

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So many of us have had a hard time making sense of the 2016 Election outcome and that is particularly true across America's college campuses. Last night, we held a Teach-In on the Loyola University Maryland campus. Selected administrators and faculty were invited to share their reflections on the election and engage in a dialogue with students, other faculty, administrators and staff about how we move forward as a community. It's been a while since I've blogged, but I thought I would share my remarks here in case they can be helpful to other students and colleagues who weren't at the forum but are still processing the election outcome. So here goes: My biggest challenge with this election outcome was how to explain it at home. As many of you know, I have an almost five year old daughter and a 2 1/2 year old son. My daughter, Nora, became very interested in the election and very supportive of another“girl” being in the White House. She is firm in her belief that M…

Gay Canvassers Study May Rely on Bogus Data, but Social Contact Matters for Same-Sex Marriage Debate

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I'm sure that Michael LaCour hoped to make the front page of The New York Times many times over during his career as a Princeton political scientist -- preferably being featured in articles that talked about groundbreaking research (and real results), not his fabrication of a study with Columbia University political scientist Donald Green on the impact of political canvassing on public opinion toward same-sex marriage.

The story of the "great gay marriage hoax" is a compelling one for academic researchers, policy activists, and the general public alike. The revelation by Green that the data may have been fabricated, has many reputable news organizations issuing retractions and apologies including Ira Glass over at This American Life. And plenty of academics were jamming up Retraction Watch, making it hard to access Ivan Oransky's breaking post as well as Brockman, Kalla, and Arronow's Irregularities in LaCour (2014) that noted the study's problematic resp…

Political satire makes young people more likely to participate in politics. Trevor Noah’s The Daily Show is likely to continue that trend.

I've got a new post up on the London School of Economics and Political Science's daily blog on American Politics and Policy.

In the post, I talk about the impacts of political satire and comedy on our political life -- how tuning into all things funny makes us more likely to express ourselves politically, feel better about our own role in the political process, and encourages young people in particular to seek out additional information from traditional news sources.

The piece explores recent contributions of John Oliver's Last Week Tonight and the start of Larry Wilmore's The Nightly Report.

I also talk about the potential implications of the pending changeover at The Daily Show now that Trevor Noah has been announced as the next host. In my expert opinion, the political contributions of Trevor Noah's new incarnation of the program will depend in part on the occupations of the interview guests.

You can read the full post here.

Partisan Media and Political Polarization? Findings from the Pew Research Center

There's been a lot of discussion regarding the findings in the Pew Research Center's new report on Political Polarization & Media Habits. The full report, released on October 21st is part of Pew's larger American Trends Panel exploring national political trends and polarization in particular.

While the report suggests that both consistent liberals and consistent conservatives (e.g., those at opposite or polar ends of the ideological spectrum) are selecting media content that aligns with their political views, the findings also suggests that social media platforms are enabling exposure to diverse points of view.

While conservatives are relying heavily on FOX News, consistent liberals are opting for outlets like The New York Times, NPR, Slate, and political comedy offerings like The Daily Show with Jon Stewart and The Colbert Report. These extreme partisans tend to be the loudest voices or the biggest sharers of news content via social media. Interestingly, while con…

Trends in Views Toward Employment Discrimination: 1987-2012

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I recently published an article entitled, "Employment discrimination, local school boards, and LGBT civil rights: Reviewing 25 years of public opinion data" in the special issue of The International Journal of Public Opinion Research on Public Opinion on Gay Rights/Marriage edited by Paul Brewer. The piece looks at what factors influence attitudes toward employment discrimination over time.







The findings show that there is still a political hard core -- 21% in 2012 -- that believe it is okay to fire known homosexual teachers from positions in public schools. These individuals tend to be more conservative and religious males who hold traditional views on marriage and family. The article was featured on the Oxford University Press blog over the weekend. For more, access the original post HERE.


12 million views for Obama's Appearance on Between Two Ferns

In case you haven't seen it, here's the video of President Barack Obama's appearance with Zack Galifianakis on his Funny or Die web series, Between Two Ferns:

Between Two Ferns with Zach Galifianakis: President Barack Obama from President Barack Obama



Folks can argue about the quality of the humor present in the clip. I personally found key snippets like the reference to North Ikea or drones funny, but it's hard to deny the fact that the clip has been viewed 12 million times in just one short 24-hour period or the level of meta-coverage for the piece as a wide range of news outlets including The New York Times, The Washington Post, and even the PBS News Hour have covered the President's effort to inject humor into his marketing of the Affordable Care Act.



The video itself was the leading source of visits to healthcare.gov yesterday according to an update from The Washington Post. Whether the video will actually lead to additional sign-ups by those in the coveted u…

Disposition, Political Parody, and the 2012 Election

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Ever wonder about the impact of those political parody videos you were watching during the 2012 Election cycle? While you might have found it funny to see Barack Obama or Mitt Romney made fun of, were others finding these things funny as well? Was anybody else watching?

A new article I just published in Human Communication Research addresses these questions and more by applying the disposition theory of humor to the study of both political parody appreciation and the effects of humor exposure.

First, a little background: The Pew Research Center reports that 55% of all registered voters went online during the 2012 Election cycle to watch political video. 37% watched humorous or parody videos dealing with political issues. So yes, you weren't the only one watching those YouTube clips.

The research featured in the HCR article is based on an experimental study that asked subjects to watch one of three sets of videos: a set that featured Democratic-directed humor, one set that inclu…