Panel on political polarization and the media set for April 19

As the polarization in the U.S. grows ever deeper, a hot debate rages over whether the media are helping or worsening the divide. In “Transcending Echo Chambers: Polarization and the Media,” distinguished alumni and Cornell faculty will explore the media’s role and what can be done.

The panel, on April 19, 7 p.m. in Rhodes-Rawling Auditorium in Klarman Hall, is free and the public is invited. It will be preceded by a public reception from 6-7 p.m. in the Groos Family Atrium in Klarman Hall. Please register for the event here.

The event is hosted by the Distinguished Visiting Journalist (DVJ) program in the College of Arts & Sciences.

The panelists include:

  • Andrew Morse ' 96, the College of Arts and Sciences’ Zubrow Distinguished Visiting Journalist for this semester;
  • S.E. Cupp ‘00, host of "S.E. Cupp Unfiltered" on CNN, which explores the intersection of politics and the media;
  • Matthew Hiltzik ’94, president and CEO of Hiltzik Strategies, a strategic communications and consulting firm;
  • Alexandra Cirone, assistant professor of government (A&S), who researches ways to fight polarization and misinformation; and
  • Ray Jayawardhana, the Harold Tanner Dean of Arts and Sciences, who will serve as moderator.

“As political debate collides with a 24/7 news cycle, the public is often left wondering whether they can trust the news media. It’s never been more important for America’s news organizations to cut through the noise and ensure the public can separate fact from fiction,” said Morse, who organized the panel.

Morse is a former senior leader at CNN, Bloomberg and ABC News, and was recently appointed president and publisher of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution to lead the digital transformation of the South’s largest newspaper.

Cupp was formerly a panelist on CNN’s “Crossfire,” and has written for numerous outlets, including The Washington Post, the New York Daily News, The American Spectator, Slate and Politico. She has been a frequent guest on Fox News and MSNBC.

HIltzik’s company specializes in corporate communications, crisis management and litigation support, media relations, digital and social media strategy, message development, research and analysis, content creation and storytelling. He has worked with political figures ranging from Hillary Clinton to Ivanka Trump.

Cirone’s research interests also include democratization and party systems in new democracies and multi-level governance in European politics. Her most recent paper is “Asymmetric Flooding as a Tool for Foreign Influence on Social Media,”  which explores the influence of Russian trolls.

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