How America Became More Politically Polarized

Nov 18, 2013

The political polarization of the United States continues to capture the attention of politicians and political observers.

Thomas Patterson

On this episode of Oklahoma Voices we hear more from Thomas Patterson, Bradlee Professor of Government and the Press at Harvard University’s John F. Kennedy School of Government on the subject.

In a series of talks presented as part of the Rothbaum Lectures at the University of Oklahoma, Patterson focused on the media’s role in contributing to the devolution of the middle ground in American politics. His first lecture provides an overview of political polarization before talking about changes in media that contribute to that affect.

“Increasingly, parts of the country are getting more and more concentrated in terms Republican bastions or Democratic bastions,” Patterson said. “The northeast at one time, by some standards, was slightly Republican. But for sure it was closely competitive between the parties. Today, it’s very strongly Democratic.”

Patterson’s lectures were called, “Feeding the Fire: The Media’s Role in Party Polarization.” His latest book, Informing the News, examines the decline in the quality of public information.