Outrage in U.S. Political Opinion Media

Jeffrey M. Berry, Sarah Sobieraj, Tufts University

Mockery, fear, and personal attacks dominate blogs, television, and radio talk shows – especially on the right – making politics confusing and unappealing to most Americans.

In their Key Findings brief, Berry and Sobieraj highlight findings from The Outrage Industry: Political Opinion Media and the New Incivility, an important new book about American politics published by Oxford University Press. Implications of this research have been explored on the PBS News Hour, on CNN’s Reliable Sources, and in a commentary published by Politico.

One of America’s leading political scientists focusing on the dynamics of U.S. civic life, Jeffery Berry has done extensive research on interest groups and nonprofit organizations. In addition to his recent work on the U.S. political opinion media, Berry has also studied urban politics, including the role of community and environmental groups in movements for sustainable policies. He contributes regularly to public media as well as professional meetings.

Sociologist Sarah Sobieraj studies American political discourse, with a special focus on the voices that are amplified – or marginalized – during presidential campaigns. She has examined attacks against women online and looked closely at talk radio and cable news programs. She is a member of the research network of the National Institute for Civil Discourse and contributes regularly to the public media.

November 2014