Matthew Sheffield, Author at Flux - Page 2 of 4


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

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

November 27, 2022, 22:02 PST

Elon Musk had no idea what to do with Twitter before buying it, and he still does not

Instead of listening to Twitter's experienced employees, the company's new owner is taking advice from right-wing trolls

November 2, 2022, 19:53 PDT

John Durham’s FBI probe ends with a final failure, the acquittal of Igor Danchenko

Former Pres. Donald Trump had predicted Durham would expose an FBI ‘witch hunt’ against him

October 18, 2022, 20:04 PDT

Donald Trump is taking legal advice from a far-right activist who isn’t even an attorney

Tom Fitton keeps getting Trump in legal trouble, and the ex-president keeps coming back for more

October 13, 2022, 10:26 PDT

No one likes Republican dating websites but we keep getting more of them anyway

The Right Stuff is the latest of many doomed reactionary matchmaking efforts

October 6, 2022, 10:48 PDT

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

September 25, 2022, 17:45 PDT

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

August 6, 2022, 18:35 PDT

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

July 30, 2022, 11:55 PDT

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

July 23, 2022, 17:54 PDT

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

July 18, 2022, 13:02 PDT

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

July 16, 2022, 11:11 PDT

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

July 10, 2022, 10:49 PDT

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

July 2, 2022, 18:08 PDT

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

June 28, 2022, 11:01 PDT

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

June 24, 2022, 21:04 PDT

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

June 13, 2022, 5:40 PDT

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

June 7, 2022, 14:57 PDT

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

June 2, 2022, 14:38 PDT

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

May 23, 2022, 13:47 PDT

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

May 15, 2022, 11:03 PDT

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’

May 13, 2022, 10:34 PDT

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

April 7, 2022, 22:50 PDT

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

January 22, 2022, 22:41 PST

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

January 8, 2022, 19:02 PST

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

January 3, 2022, 14:18 PST

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

December 18, 2021, 16:50 PST

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

December 10, 2021, 22:30 PST

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

December 3, 2021, 15:21 PST

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

November 22, 2021, 16:24 PST

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

November 19, 2021, 19:22 PST

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

November 12, 2021, 0:39 PST

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

November 5, 2021, 11:38 PDT

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

November 1, 2021, 21:21 PDT

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

October 22, 2021, 0:43 PDT

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

October 16, 2021, 11:38 PDT

Political extremism is a twisted mirror of elite failure

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

October 9, 2021, 11:41 PDT

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

October 2, 2021, 11:52 PDT

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

September 26, 2021, 13:59 PDT

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

September 19, 2021, 13:18 PDT

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

September 11, 2021, 14:24 PDT

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

September 7, 2021, 11:41 PDT

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

September 3, 2021, 19:50 PDT

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

August 28, 2021, 15:27 PDT

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

August 21, 2021, 12:38 PDT

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

August 13, 2021, 9:30 PDT

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

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

August 7, 2021, 21:56 PDT

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

July 29, 2021, 19:50 PDT

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

July 21, 2021, 10:43 PDT

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

July 15, 2021, 10:51 PDT

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

July 2, 2021, 2:44 PDT


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