Matthew Sheffield


Matthew Sheffield is the editor and publisher of Flux and host of “Theory of Change,” a video podcast airing on the site. Prior to starting Flux, Matthew worked at The Hill where he created and analyzed public opinion polls on a variety of policy areas and news topics. His surveys and analyses have been cited by many major news outlets and political groups.

Earlier, Matthew was a staff reporter at Salon where he wrote about numerous topics, including technology policy, 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 standard.

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 two television shows and provided web development and hosting services to numerous clients.

His initial right-leaning project was RatherBiased.com, 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 right-wing media in 2015 after working on a manuscript for a book to help conservatives better understand politics. In researching the topic, he realized that right-wing elites were not interested in religious pluralism, and that they often used cultural complaints to distract from harmful 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 at Flux.

Matthew and his work have been profiled and cited by many media outlets including the New York Times, the Washington Post, NPR, NBC, and CNN.

 

Content by Matthew Sheffield

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


How the ‘anger industrial complex’ works to monetize rage

Podcaster and former CNN reporter Michele Mitchell talks about how commercialized media and scheming politicians profit from making us upset and uninformed


Total recall: The California GOP’s plan to make democracy obsolete is coming to your state

California Republicans can’t win statewide elections, but that isn’t stopping them from staging a minoritarian recall strategy against Gov. Gavin Newsom


The ‘Southern Strategy’ changed the GOP just as much as it did white Southerners’ partisanship

Author Angie Maxwell talks about how conservative Republicans were changed as they reconfigured their political strategy to appeal to white Protestants’ politics of grievance


Democrats are in an identity crisis, do they know how to fix it?

Conservative policy ideas are very unpopular, but Democrats have not been able to close the deal with the public


Obsolete ‘both sides’ journalism has enabled far-right radicalism and enabled ‘faux left’ grifting

Media critic Eric Boehlert discusses how the mainstream press refuses to acknowledge that the Republican Party has turned against democracy


Misinformation epidemic: How conspiracy theorists and wannabe doctors confuse the public

#12: Richard Carpiano on medical misinformation and unqualified Covid-19 punditry


Pat Bagley on the conservative takeover of Mormonism and the GOP he once knew

Salt Lake Tribune editorial cartoonist Pat Bagley talks about his 43-year career observing politics, Utah, and Mormonism


How internet trolls from the late 90s and early 2000s created the ethos of American conservatism

Journalist Robyn Pennacchia discusses the rise of sexist trolling and how it merged with Christian nationalism to create today’s right-wing extremism


America’s for-profit media system has harmed our politics

Veteran media critic Parker Molloy discusses how media sensationalism and desire for access prevents ‘mainstream’ journalists from fully reporting what they know


Republicans are banking on a fusion of Trump autocracy and McConnell nihilism, but will it work for them?

As conservative elites have embraced a strategy of culture war manipulation, the rest of America is finally understanding how to respond


The Senate filibuster hasn’t just stopped progressive legislation, it’s also radicalized Republicans

Mitch McConnell’s filibuster abuses have enabled the GOP to avoid electoral consequences for its unpopular policies, and skewed the center of U.S. politics to the right


Beyond belief: The day I almost sold my soul to God

As a child brought up in Mormonism, I was taught to constantly worry about whether I’d survive the Second Coming of Jesus


Trump’s blog failure reminds us of the power of platforms, and their owners’ responsibilities

The ex-president’s rudimentary blog was a total failure, and provided a larger lesson in media.


Have Trump Republicans lost their grip on reality, or are they just lying to pollsters?

Surveys keep finding that GOP respondents believe falsehoods, but what if they’re just lying in support of the party?


Liz Cheney won’t be the last casualty of conservatism’s epistemic collapse

The intellectual destruction of Christian fundamentalism has caused the American right to believe that truth is entirely the product of social power


Joe Rogan and our epidemic of pseudo-expertise

Infotainment fandoms have convinced millions of people that blathering internet commentators are experts at everything


Together, we’re building the next generation of media

Flux is an ideas community where we explore why things are happening and who we are. Corporate media is broken, it’s time for a new approach.


Why do Republican elites keep talking about dying for Jesus?

Fighting losing battles valiantly has always been at the core of U.S. conservatism. But as the losses keep piling up, its tragic sense is turning into thanatos.


Trump accomplished little even when the GOP had total power, why?

Right-wing elites are so divided internally, they’ve settled on a de facto domestic policy: do nothing. It’s why Trump passed almost no legislation as president.


Far-right creationists are controlling Trump’s coronavirus response

Junk science central: The top officials in the Trump administration setting U.S. policy for handling the SARS2 coronavirus pandemic think evolution is a Satanic lie.


Editorial cartooning is under threat in the age of the meme

Nationally syndicated cartoonists Nick Anderson and Nate Beeler discuss how the rise of the web has the nation’s editorial artists banding together


Can we trust opinion polls? The Pew Research Center is trying to make sure

Election polls nationally were fairly accurate in 2016, but big errors at the state level indicate that conducting surveys is becoming more difficult in the future


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