How Partisan Media Contributes to Healthy Politics
The rise of new media, from Facebook and Twitter to The Huffington Post and The Daily Caller, has allowed consumers of news to ignore anything that challenges their prior beliefs. Purveyors of news and information now wear their political stripes openly. Conventional wisdom assumes that this increased partisanship, in both media and politics, is an unmitigated ill. But is partisanship really so bad? Research in psychology and political science suggests that this tug-of-war between opposing sides could be beneficial in some ways. When ideas are challenged – who better to question your position than your partisan opponent? – better ones emerge. And while technology has enabled the rise of divisive media and the formation of closed thought bubbles, it could be harnessed to facilitate greater deliberation. This panel, featuring a political scientist and two journalists with extensive experience covering politics, will discuss the ways partisan media can contribute to healthy politics.
Christina Bellantoni joined the PBS NewsHour in January 2012. In her role as Politics Editor, she directs coverage of campaign, White House and congressional news and appears on the program for on-air analysis.
Bellantoni has spent over a decade covering national political and business news in Washington, D.C., and California. She served as Associate Politics Editor at Roll Call for more than a year before joining the NewsHour. She has appeared regularly as a political analyst on national television programs such as "Hardball," "Countdown," "On the Record w/ Greta Van Susteren," "Reliable Sources," "TopLine," "The Rachel Maddow Show" and "The Daily Rundown."
Prior to her time at Roll Call, Bellantoni was a senior reporter-blogger at Talking Points Memo's Washington bureau covering the White House and national politics. Before joining TPM, Bellantoni was a White House correspondent for The Washington Times, a post she took after covering the 2008 presidential campaign. She joined the Times in December 2003, covering state and congressional politics before moving to the national political beat for the 2008 election.
Bellantoni began her journalism career in 1998 covering business in her home state of California. She won two national journalism awards for Best Scoop in 2001 for her story in Silicon Valley Biz Ink that revealed the San Jose Sharks were up for sale.
A graduate of University of California, Berkeley, Bellantoni majored in mass communications. She led a study group for undergraduate students as an Institute of Politics Fellow at Harvard University's Kennedy School in fall 2011.
John Sides is an Associate Professor of Political Science at George Washington University. He studies public opinion and American elections. He is the co-author of a book about the 2012 campaign, The Gamble, a textbook on campaigns, and scholarly articles on campaign strategy and its effects, attitudes toward immigration, and other topics. He helped found and contributes to The Monkey Cage, a political science blog. He has also written for the New York Times, Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, the New York Daily News, Salon, Boston Review, and Bloomberg View. He received his B.A. from the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill and his M.A. and Ph.D. from the University of California, Berkeley.