Monday, November 4, 2013

Research Report_Nisbet_Feichtmeier

PJ Feichtmeier
Juin-Yi Tsai
November 3 2013      

Recently, it seems as though both Democrats and Republicans share only one thing in common, a mutual animosity towards one another.  This has become even more apparent over recent elections and legislation attempts.  Both Matthew Nisbet and Dietram Scheufele depict this increasing polarization through an article entitled The Polarization Paradox: Why Hyperpartisanship strengthens conservatism and undermines Liberalism.  In the article, the authors describe the polarizing trend of politics over recent years by analyzing elections and the role of politics in them and the strategic use of media.  The article shows a strong bias towards the liberal side, however it does point out numerous flaws with the liberal agenda and the ways in which liberals have handled politics in recent years.  Nonetheless, it endorses them by defending the fact that liberals would have no reason to become increasingly polarized if the GOP had not already done so.  The article cites numerous examples as to how political leaders have helped to further this polarization, however every leader mentioned participating in this process was a conservative.  Furthermore, liberals who seem to also increase the polarization by implanting similar tactics as the GOP tend to be praised, a contradicting thought. 
            To understand the bias within the article, I researched both of the authors to comprehend their point of view and why they would have written this article in such a manner.  After some digging, I found both authors to be credible sources on the topic of political science and mass communication.  Both authors are currently professors, Nisbet at the American University and Scheufele at UW-Madison, and both have received extensive education, Nisbet graduated from Cornell and Scheufele was once a Cornell faculty member before moving to UW and studied in Germany extensively, and both have written and reviewed dozens of scholarly articles.  I believe that both of these authors are credible because they use credible sources and use specific facts to support their arguments, whether they are arguing against the GOP or against the poor way in which both sides use media for their personal gain.  Furthermore, both authors study the use of media in politics, mainly on its influences within elections.  Since the article bases most of its evidence around political campaigns and how they are managed, I believe that the evidence provided in the article is reliable.  Also, it would explain how the authors were able to really dive into the way the two parties use media as a way to both further polarize their ideologies and motivate voters to show up on Election Day.
            After my research, I believe that Nisbet is mainly responsible for the biasness in the article.  I came to this conclusion by looking at some of his other work, which has to deal extensively with global warming, a crucial part of the Liberal platform.  Also, he is a professor at American University, which is located in Washington D.C., clearly a political hub within the United States.  Although Scheufele is another author of the article, I believe his influence was mainly in the area of the effects that media has had on the polarization and the ways in which it has been used to further the polarization.    
Nisbet, M. (2013, 11 3) Matthew C. Nisbet. Retrieved from
Nisbet, M. C., & Scheufele, D. A. (2012, Summer). The polarization paradox: Why hyperpartisanship strengthens conservatism and undermines liberalism. The Breakthrough Institute. Retrieved from
Scheufele, D. (2013, 11 3) Dietram Scheufele Short Bio. Retrieved from

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