Matthew Sheffield, Author at Flux


Matthew Sheffield

Matthew Sheffield is the publisher of Flux and host of the Theory of Change video podcast. His writings and broadcasts about public opinion, right-wing extremism, misinformation, and technology trends have been quoted and cited by numerous media outlets including the New York Times, the Washington Post, NPR, NBC, CNN, and PC Magazine.

Prior to starting Flux, Matthew was a pollster, writer, and television producer at The Hill where he created and analyzed public opinion surveys on a variety of policy areas which were quoted by presidential candidates, major news outlets, and national political groups.

Earlier, Matthew was a staff reporter at Salon where he wrote about numerous topics, including technology, elections, the media industry, and the rise of extremist movements in the United States. In his reporting, he exposed a secret network of salacious blogs set up for Fox News founder Roger Ailes that targeted women who worked for the network. He also exposed a security vulnerability in Google’s AMP framework and used DKIM email verification techniques to report that then-Democratic National Committee chair Donna Brazile had improperly passed television debate questions to a presidential candidate in 2016. He also wrote a three-part series on the history of the white nationalist “alt-right” movement that is widely cited.

Before joining Salon, Matthew ran a marketing and technology company which catered to Republican campaigns, conservative organizations, and publications. During this time, he served as the first online managing editor of the Washington Examiner and as the co-founder and executive editor of NewsBusters. He also produced a comedy television show called “The Flipside” and provided WordPress and Drupal web development services to many clients.

His initial right-leaning project was, a blog launched in 2000 that was critical of the former CBS anchor Dan Rather which the Pew Research Center said was most responsible for the explosion of the 2004 “Memogate” scandal that ended Rather’s CBS tenure.

Matthew left conservative media in 2015 after working on a manuscript for a book to help Republicans better understand politics. In researching the topic, he realized that GOP elites were not interested in religious pluralism, and that they often used cultural complaints to distract from unpopular policies.

His introduction to far-right politics grew out of his childhood in a fundamentalist Mormon family. During his youth, Matthew and his 7 siblings lived in cars, tents, trailer parks, and a few regular houses in several U.S. states. He is currently working on a memoir of these years, the first chapter of which is available to Flux subscribers.


Content by Matthew Sheffield

Ex-Republican activist discusses how he went from Nader voter to Trump backer

Rich Logis on waking up from MAGA

September 25, 2023, 15:07 PDT

Young Republicans can’t get a date — or a clue as to why

Reactionary ideas are increasingly abhorrent to Generation Z, but young right-wingers are refusing to look inward

September 19, 2023, 3:59 PDT

Progressives have forgotten that fitness has always been political

Health culture historian Natalia Mehlman Petrzela discusses fitness and fascism

September 18, 2023, 9:59 PDT

Right-wing media has become too big for the center-left to ignore

You're in no danger of ‘platforming’ someone who has millions of followers, and they only get more if not debunked

September 15, 2023, 14:44 PDT

A former porn star is helping straight men understand intimacy and themselves

After a successful career in adult media, Nyomi Banks is helping fans focus on self-care

September 11, 2023, 11:44 PDT

Adult media has gone mainstream and changed itself for the better, star Tasha Reign says

How OnlyFans revolutionized porn by giving performers and viewers more autonomy

September 4, 2023, 10:48 PDT

The ‘world’s oldest profession’ is attaining new relevance in the internet age

Old Pros founder Kaytlin Bailey on sex worker rights and changing norms

August 28, 2023, 10:44 PDT

Democrats should resist the temptation to write off Idaho and other ‘red states’

Wonkette senior editor Marty Kelley on why the national left shouldn't leave red state progressives behind

August 21, 2023, 14:17 PDT

Rather than persuade new potential voters, reactionary elites are inventing a new Satanic panic

Julie Millican and Olivia Little of Media Matters discuss Republicans' disturbing new publicity trick

August 7, 2023, 14:10 PDT

Covid contrarianism was an epic failure that should never be forgotten

Doctor Jonathan Howard on why covid skeptics are trying to rewrite the history of their errors

July 25, 2023, 14:09 PDT

Fundamentalist Christianity is a totalitarian mental experience, but how many people realize this?

Author Lance Aksamit talks about living and leaving the world of missionizing evangelicalism

July 22, 2023, 21:10 PDT

How personal trauma helped push podcaster Ty Ross into and out of being a Black Republican

Podcaster Ty Ross discusses the experiences that caused her to enter and exit the world of Black Republicanism

July 15, 2023, 21:19 PDT

Tucker Carlson needs Fox much more than it needs him

Mediaite editor Colby Hall discusses how the ratings of cable news are in decline, even as its influence is unparalleled

July 8, 2023, 22:01 PDT

An ancient Greek philosophical tradition is surprisingly relevant in today’s world of instant information

Philosopher Richard Bett discusses how many internet ‘skeptics’ are doing the exact opposite of what they think

July 1, 2023, 10:05 PDT

One year later, the Dobbs decision has put Republican radicalism into the national spotlight

The mainstream press rarely talks about elite Republicans’ extremism, but now Americans are experiencing it firsthand

June 26, 2023, 2:44 PDT

Can evangelical Christianity be saved from right-wing extremism?

Activist and podcaster Tim Whitaker describes how and why he and others are trying to build an inclusive faith

June 24, 2023, 1:31 PDT

You can’t really understand the Christian right without knowing the history of the religious left

Historian Gene Zubovich tells about the mostly forgotten history of the liberal Protestants who helped build today’s world order

June 17, 2023, 9:46 PDT

Donald Trump never learned the first rule of Republican politics: Don’t believe right-wing media

Republican elites aren’t supposed to believe their own propagandists

June 15, 2023, 13:35 PDT

Social media moderation standards are more about epistemology than technology

Internet researcher Renée DiResta discusses the challenges and controversies of content moderation

June 10, 2023, 13:47 PDT

Donald Trump isn’t the first: Many major countries have prosecuted former chief executives

The facts are clear that only 'banana republics' refuse to uphold the rule of law against corrupt leaders

June 9, 2023, 3:01 PDT

Chris Christie is pursuing a novel Republican strategy: Telling the truth about Trump

Launching presidential bid, ex-New Jersey governor chides intra-party rivals for their cowardice

June 7, 2023, 0:31 PDT

How social media gave birth to ‘fanfiction leftism’

Author David Masciotra on why a new class of supposedly leftist pundits seems to never attack Republicans

June 3, 2023, 15:48 PDT

Why the self-help politics of Marianne Williamson leads nowhere

Conspirituality podcaster Matthew Remski discusses how the New Age industry birthed a politics of delusion

May 20, 2023, 11:57 PDT

Right-wing media’s lies about Covid shots are making Republicans more skeptical of other vaccines

New survey finds Republican adults have become significantly less likely to support MMR vaccine requirements for school children

May 17, 2023, 13:32 PDT

Rod Dreher’s obsessive blogging has made him a window to the soul of the American right

Phil Christman talks about how a Christian blogger inadvertently documented his own radicalization

May 13, 2023, 2:28 PDT

Mastodon, the Fediverse, and the revolt of the internet masses

Dan Gillmor and Darius Kazemi on why open protocol social media needs to be the future

May 6, 2023, 3:24 PDT

Why podcasts have become a key part of many Americans’ news and entertainment

Pew Research Center researcher Elisa Shearer breaks down a new report on how and why people listen to podcasts

April 29, 2023, 10:05 PDT

Most movements to make political change fail, what do the ones that succeed have in common?

Historian Timothy Shenk discusses his book Realigners: Partisan Hacks, Political Visionaries, and the Struggle to Rule American Democracy

April 15, 2023, 9:45 PDT

AI is going to change politics, and Americans are skeptical about what could happen

Change Research pollster Stephen Clermont talks about public opinion on AI and its possible impacts on campaigns

April 8, 2023, 6:53 PDT

Big business and government are adopting artificial intelligence, what can it do for the rest of us?

Technologist and researcher Simon Willison on technical and practical applications of ChatGPT and AI

April 1, 2023, 14:21 PDT

Artificial intelligence is going to change the world, but how much of it is hype?

Gary N. Smith and Jeff Schatten debate and discuss how chatbots will change education, employment, and a lot more

March 25, 2023, 2:03 PDT

Baby Boomers fundamentally changed America, when will other generations get their chance?

Washington Post columnist Philip Bump talks about his new book ‘The Aftermath: The Last Days of the Baby Boom and the Future of Power in America’

March 18, 2023, 1:12 PDT

Dominion’s Fox lawsuit has incontrovertibly exposed that Fox isn’t news

The Daily Beast’s Diana Falzone and Justin Baragona report from inside the troubled right-wing network

March 11, 2023, 9:50 PST

Stacey Plaskett isn’t letting Jim Jordan weaponize stupidity

House Democrats keep shooting down Republican conspiracy theories

March 10, 2023, 16:53 PST

Republican elites and their Fox counterparts hate Trump, but they can’t get rid of him

Seven years after being defeated by Trump, the professional right still hasn’t realized why it lost

March 8, 2023, 19:08 PST

The Christian Right was a theological rebellion against modernity before it became a force for Republicans

Religion scholar David Hollinger on the soteriology of reaction and his book ‘Christianity’s American Fate’

March 4, 2023, 20:01 PST

Christianity, Islam, and equal rights are often in conflict, but do they have to be?

Author Wajahat Ali discusses his book ‘Go Back to Where You Came From’ and how non-believers and the faithful need to come together

February 25, 2023, 21:12 PST

The sexuality of reaction is complicated and contradictory

Writers Seyward Darby and Katherine Abughazaleh discuss how far-right influencers have created a form of religious prudery

February 18, 2023, 21:19 PST

The world’s richest people are starting to realize the system they’ve created is unstable, but they can’t stop

Author and filmmaker Douglas Rushkoff talks about why oligarchs are planning for disaster and his book, ‘Survival of the Richest’

February 11, 2023, 15:25 PST

Are Republicans are losing the ability to communicate to people outside the Fox bubble?

Right-wing media has so consumed the Republican party that its politicians are having trouble speaking words regular people can understand

February 8, 2023, 19:23 PST

Republicans are angry that Biden told the public about their policy agenda

Cutting Social Security and Medicare has been a Republican fantasy for decades, but now it’s the agenda that dare not say its name

February 8, 2023, 19:17 PST

The old neoliberal consensus is dead, will a ‘designer economy’ replace it?

Historian Nils Gilman on why leaders on the left and right are realizing the state must play a bigger role in the economy

February 4, 2023, 18:04 PST

The strange political history of Bitcoin and cryptocurrency

David Golumbia, author of ‘The Politics of Bitcoin: Software as Right-Wing Extremism’ talks about the rigid ideologies behind crypto

January 28, 2023, 8:44 PST

To make a better future, we must first realize why we didn’t get the one we were promised

Author Richard Barbrook talks about the failed promises of tech liberation, neoliberalism, and the ‘Californian Ideology’

January 22, 2023, 1:19 PST

Many older comedians would rather attack the audience than update their material

Comedian Lisa Curry discusses why some standup comics are crying ‘cancel culture’ instead of coming up with new jokes

January 13, 2023, 22:02 PST

Male popular culture is obsolete, and men are suffering because of it

Men’s support group leader Brandon Bradford says many men are feeling lonely because society never taught them sustainable mental health

January 8, 2023, 9:10 PST

Trump’s NFT collection appears to be heavily based on unlicensed images

While critics pointed and laughed, the ex-president raked in money from his supporters

December 16, 2022, 19:45 PST

What makes Trump supporters change their minds about him?

Filmmaker Melissa Jo Peltier discusses her documentary about disillusioned Trump voters, “The Game Is Up”

December 11, 2022, 22:40 PST

Republicans are finally realizing that Donald Trump is bad at politics

The disgraced ex-president understands the Republican base intimately, but he's much less capable at speaking to people outside it

December 8, 2022, 9:10 PST

America’s public libraries are facing an epidemic of censorship

Jonathan Friedman of PEN America tells how far-right activists are trying to silence LGBT and progressive authors

December 4, 2022, 21:03 PST


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