Fear and the Health Care Debate

August 21st, 2009

This week on Business Matters we’re examining the relationship between fear, the media, and public opinion about health care reform. We’ll look at what’s behind some of the increasingly extreme anti-Obama and anti-health care reform rhetoric. Also, we’ll explore fear has been employed to defeat reform and how can supporters of President Obama counter the fears that have been raised?

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Lester Spence, Assistant Professor of Political Science at Johns Hopkins University; Author of the forthcoming, Stare in the Darkness: Rap, Hip-hop, and Black Politics
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Lester Spence is an Assistant Professor of Political Science at Johns Hopkins University, specializing in racial politics, black politics, public opinion, and urban politics and how what we watch and listen to, as well as who we watch and listen to influence our ideas about politics, and our public policy preferences. His upcoming book, “Stare in the Darkness: Rap, Hip-hop, and Black Politics” examines how rap not only influences youth attitudes, but also how it reflects and at the same time creates black politics. His work has been published in The Washington Post, the Saint Louis Post-Dispatch, Africana.com and Salon.com, as well as academic journals such as The American Journal of Political Science, Political Research Quarterly, Political Analysis, the WEB Dubois Review, and the National Political Science Review. You can also check out his blog at blacksmythe.com/blog/

Joseph Cappella, Professor of Communication, Annenberg School for Communication; Author of Echo Chamber: Rush Limbaugh and the conservative media establishment
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Joseph N. Cappella is Professor of Communication and holds the Gerald R. Miller Chair at the Annenberg School for Communication at The University of Pennsylvania. He has been a visiting professor at the University of Pennsylvania and Northwestern University and a visiting scholar at Stanford. His research has resulted in more than 100 articles and book chapters and three co-authored books in areas of health and political communication, social interaction, nonverbal behavior, media effects, and statistical methods. The articles have appeared in journals in psychology, communication, health, and politics.

David Altheide, Regents’ Professor, Justice and Social Inquiry, Arizona State University; Author of Terrorism and the Politics of Fear
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David Altheide, PhD, is Regents’ Professor in the School of Justice and Social Inquiry at Arizona State University, where he has taught for 34 years. His research focuses on how mass media and information technology have powerful roles in social control. His recent work focuses on how news reports about “fear” have evolved over time. Along with his students, he’s been investigating how the language of law enforcement and the military has infused popular culture. He’s identified the critical elements of successful media messages, and how critical consumers of information can better understand “media logic.”

(A longer version of this conversation was originally broadcast in November, 2008.)

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