How to Bridge the Partisan Divide

MON, OCT 19, 2020 (50:59)

In anticipation of the November 2020 elections, GBH News invited a panel of experts to share their understanding of partisanship and disunion in the country. Just how divided are we, and what is the psychology that drives these divisions? With a deeper understanding of the current situation and a larger historical context, perhaps we can make more choices that will help us bridge the divides that separate us. Specifically the panel examines the role of media and perception in polarization, the history of partisanship, and what we can do to move forward to bridge the divide.

+ BIO: Joanne Levine

Levine is a multilingual, award-winning broadcast. She currently is Executive Producer Multimedia for CQ Roll Call in Washington, DC. Joanne has spent her professional life traveling the globe to better understand the world and explain it to others. As a journalist she helped to launch Al Jazeera English in the United States as its founding head of programming for North and South America, where she was responsible for all documentary and current affairs output from those regions. Previously, Levine was an award-winning producer for ABC NEWS for its premiere news programs NIGHTLINE with Ted Koppel, and ABC News World News Tonight with Peter Jennings.

Shortly after 9/11 Levine went to Amman, Jordan on a Knight International fellowship to train Arab female journalists and met her husband along the way. Levine has garnered myriad awards including Emmys for her work in Iraq, and a Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights Award for her reporting on rape as a weapon of war during the Rwandan genocide.

Levine was a Senior Advisor for Media (2010- 2013) at the State Department where she worked on freedom of expression, human rights and gender, among other issues.

As a consultant, her clients include NPR, AJAM, International Center for Journalists, PBS, Committee to Protect Journalists, the United Nations, the World Bank among others. She is also an adjunct at Georgetown University.

Levine began her journalism career in Moscow, where she was a founding reporter for the Moscow Times, Russia’s first English language daily newspaper. Levine received her M.S. in journalism from Columbia University.

+ BIO: Yphtach Lelkes

Yphtach Lelkes is an Assistant Professor at the Annenberg School for Communication at the University of Pennsylvania. His main focus is on the role of the political information environment in structuring attitudes, with a special interest in the proliferation of digital media. He has written on affective polarization, or the increasing hostility between Democrats and Republicans, and ways in which the media has contributed to interparty animosity. Additionally, he has written extensively on the structure of political ideology and identities. His research has appeared or is forthcoming in various journals across disciplines, including the American Journal of Political Science, Political Psychology, the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, and the Journal of Experimental Social Psychology.

+ BIO: Shanto Iyengar

Shanto Iyengar is a Professor of Political Science and Director of the Political Communication Laboratory. Iyengar’s areas of expertise include the role of mass media in democratic societies, public opinion, and political psychology. He is the recipient of several professional awards including the Philip Converse Award of the American Political Science Association for the best book in the field of public opinion, the Murray Edelman Lifetime Achievement Award, and the Goldsmith Book Prize from Harvard University. Iyengar is author or co-author of several books, including News That Matters (University of Chicago Press, 1987), Is Anyone Responsible? (University of Chicago Press, 1991), Explorations in Political Psychology (Duke University Press, 1995), Going Negative (Free Press, 1995), and Media Politics: A Citizen’s Guide (Norton, 2011).

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