David Rothschild, an Economist for Microsoft Research, gave a talk titled “Mainstream Media is the Problem” on October 18, 2021, as part of the 2021-2022 NULab for Texts, Maps, and Networks and Harvard’s Shorenstein Center Co-Sponsored Misinformation Speaker Series. The video of the event is now available on the NULab’s YouTube channel! The video can be found here. See below for a brief description of the talk and a short bio of David Rothschild.
There is a lot of concern about how the news ecosystem affects public opinion, political polarization, and democracy. Most of the research and public debate focuses on overtly fake material, particularly as it is distributed through social media. But, the vast majority of news consumption is actual produced by mainstream media, and the most common mode of consumption is television. Meanwhile, many key demographic groups consume almost no news at all. Concerns about lack of information or misinformation should focus on where people actual consume (or don’t consume) news, and the product they are actually consuming: mainstream media.
About the speaker
David Rothschild is an economist at Microsoft Research. He has written extensively, in both the academic and popular press. His work pushes the boundaries on varying data and methods: polling, prediction markets, social media and online data, and large behavioral and administrative data. His work focuses on solving practical and interesting questions including: mapping and updating public opinion, the market for news, effect of advertising, finance, and an economist take on public policy.