Matthew Sheffield, Author at Flux


Matthew Sheffield

Matthew Sheffield, national correspondent for The Young Turks, is the founder and publisher of Flux, and host of the “Theory of Change” video podcast.

An expert on right-wing media, American politics, Christian fundamentalism, and digital culture, Matthew and his work have been profiled and cited by numerous media outlets including the New York Times, the Washington Post, NPR, NBC, CNN, and PC Magazine.

Prior to Flux and TYT, 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 prophetic 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

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

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’

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

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’

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

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

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’

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

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

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’

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

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

What makes Trump supporters change their minds about him?

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

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

After envisioning themselves as centrists, tech billionaires like Elon Musk have moved to the far right

Writers Jacob Silverman and Chris Lehmann discuss Twitter, cryptocurrency, and libertarian radicalization

Will defamation lawsuits be the apocalypse of (Alex) Jones?

Legal analyst Liz Dye discusses how the U.S. legal system is finally holding conspiracy millionaire Alex Jones to account

Many Black Americans don’t actually like Democrats, what does that mean for politics in the long-term?

Author Brandi Collins-Dexter discusses her book Black Skinhead and the varieties of Black political experience

EWTN, a TV channel founded by a cloistered nun, has quietly become a right-wing media juggernaut

Slate writer Molly Olmstead on how EWTN and the Catholic right are spending big to shift public opinion

Politics has changed drastically in the past 10 years, why are Democrats still running the same plays?

New Republic writer Alex Shephard discusses the larger implications of Joe Biden’s low approval ratings

Americans want progressive change, but to be able to deliver it, progressives will need to change first

Progressive strategist Max Berger on why the American left needs to focus on building institutions and making its case

Extremist groups are targeting state and local officials for harassment and intimidation

Right-wing extremism researcher David Neiwert discloses how groups are trying to force their viewpoints in cities and schools

Big finance and corporate monopolies have blocked the original promise of the internet

Technology activist and author Cory Doctorow discusses 30 years of the Worldwide Web

How right-wing media became the glue that holds the Republican party together

Historian Nicole Hemmer discusses how reactionary media have radicalized millions of Americans since the 1940s

Low-quality pundits are getting rich telling people what they want to hear, inside the economics and psychology of how it works

‘Decoding the Gurus’ co-host Matthew Browne on how the tools of acquiring knowledge are being used to destroy it

Right-wing comedy isn’t funny, but it sure is effective

Authors Matt Sienkiewicz and Nick Marx discuss their new book about why lefties need to take right-wing comedy seriously

Will progressive and moderate Christians stand up against extremists politicizing their faith?

Singer and podcaster Malynda Hale talks about why progressive and moderate Christians need to defend the faith from within

How Pentecostal Christianity is taking over the world of religion, and why it matters

Author Elle Hardy discusses her book about the history of Pentecostalism and how it’s displacing other faiths across the globe

For decades, Republican consultants spent big to promote leftist candidates, now they’ve started creating fake ones

Instead of trying to build a majority, the American right has decided to divide and conquer

Latino evangelicals are reshaping American politics, politicians and parties should take notice

Sociology professor Gerardo Martí discusses how the rapid growth of evangelical faith among Latinos seems to be eroding a traditional Democratic constituency

How far-right media manipulated a father — and a nation

Jen Senko discusses her book and film, ‘The Brainwashing of My Dad,’ and how to help people escape from conspiracist media

Centrist elites have stalled political change and made room for the reactionary right

Luke Savage discusses his new book, ‘The Dead Center: Reflections on Liberalism and Democracy After The End Of History’

How much do political party elites know about their own voters?

Pollster and demographer Daniel Cox discusses why cultural issues often dominate U.S. politics, and how much surveys can actually tell us about public opinion

Do Joe Biden and his team realize who they’re dealing with? columnist Heather Digby Parton discusses how Democratic leaders seem to think flowery speeches are sufficient against hardcore reactionaries

The January 6th Capitol attack was the inevitable product of the Christian Right’s hatred of America

Journalist and researcher Bruce Wilson discusses how religious hatred for a ‘fallen nation’ fueled a presidential coup attempt

Charlie Kirk and Turning Point USA are building a reactionary cult for young people, does anyone on the center-left care?

Rhetoric professor Matthew Boedy describes how a far-right group is radicalizing young Christians, and how little center-left groups are doing in response

Media elites have missed the damage caused by free trade, and how millions felt betrayed by Democrats

Journalist Farah Stockman discusses her new book on the meaning of work, and how educated elites have ignored the problems of others

The John Birch Society and the birth of the far-right rage machine

American politics is arguably the product of Robert Welch, a far-right activist who was mostly ignored by conventional journalists and historians

America’s polarization is ultimately an epistemic problem

Former libertarian writer and policy wonk Will Wilkinson discusses how many far-right Christians and secular libertarians have decided that facts are optional and evidence does not matter

Technology alone cannot solve the problems of social media

David Adams, founder and publisher of OSNews, discusses the cyclical nature of technology and the implications of computing’s return to the network

How the ‘Steele Dossier’ confused the public and ended up helping Donald Trump

Journalist and author Barry Meier discusses how private spy agencies manipulate the media and intimidate whistleblowers for wealthy clients

The disinformation economy isn’t invincible, meet two women working to end it

Nandini Jammi and Claire Atkin of Check My Ads want to make publishing lies unprofitable, while also helping advertisers protect their brands

Trump supporters will make it difficult for the GOP to copy Glenn Youngkin

Never Trump commentator Jim Swift on why Trump and his fans won’t allow the Virginia gubernatorial candidate’s strategy to be copied

White nationalists and jihadists are starting to realize they have a lot in common

Extremism researcher Moustafa Ayad talks about how religious extremists from across the world are starting to come together, and what that means for the rest of us

Far-right Christians think they’re living in a Bible story, and that you are as well

Literature professor Christopher Douglas discusses the modern-day rewriting of Biblical apocalyptic literature as a justification for political extremism

Why is Republican obstruction assumed to be a fact of American politics?

Washington Post columnist Greg Sargent talks in-depth about trying to push Democrats to discuss Republican extremism, and how Donald Trump himself was harmed by it

Political extremism is a twisted mirror of elite failure

Author Nimmi Gowrinathan on the motivations of female militants and the origins of violent extremism

How Linux and open-source software took the computing world by storm

Programmer and entrepreneur Miguel de Icaza talks about how Linux went from a college student’s hobby to powering most of the world’s computers, and his own story as a free software developer

Ezra Taft Benson and the tangled history of Mormon and evangelical extremism

Historian Matthew L. Harris speaks about the critical role that Mormonism played in the development of right-wing American politics

Fighting disinformation is something everyone can do, and must do to protect our democracy

Fact-checker and rumor killer Brooke Binkowski talks about the history of falsehoods, and how to combat them

Why critical thinking is the long-term cure for disinformation

While combating specific false beliefs is important, in the long run, helping people learn to spot misinformation is the best way to counter it


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