Podcast: Nicole Hemmer, “From Taft to Trump: How Conservative Media Activists Won — and Lost — the GOP”

As Donald Trump built his lead in the Republican primaries, the editors of National Review came out with an entire “Against Trump” issue, a full-throated — and ultimately ineffective — denunciation of the GOP nominee. Soon conservative media personalities were taking sides, culminating in the hiring of Breitbart’s Steve Bannon to run the Trump campaign.

But the centrality of conservative media to presidential politics is not a new development. As early as the 1950s, conservative media activists were organizing third-party tickets, promoting presidential candidates, and encouraging their audiences to cast votes based on ideology rather than party. In this talk, Nicole Hemmer explains how conservative media activists won the GOP for the right — and how in the era of Trump, they lost it.

Nicole Hemmer is an assistant professor at the University of Virginia’s Miller Center and a research associate at the US Studies Centre at the University of Sydney. Her book, Messengers of the Right, a history of conservative media in the United States, was published in Penn Press in September 2016. She is a columnist for Vox, US News & World Report, and The Age in Melbourne, Australia. Her writing has also appeared in a number of national and international publications, including the New York Times, Atlantic, New Republic, Politico, Washington Post, and the Los Angeles Times. She co-hosts and produces Past Present, a history podcast that launched in October 2015.

Vicky Zeamer

About Vicky Zeamer

Vicky Zeamer graduated from Wellesley College, where she studied Media Arts and Sciences (think HCI + design) & American Studies. She was also a cross-registered student at MIT where she took courses and participated in research centered around media technology and interaction design. Vicky’s past work has been largely in user experience design and research, in areas such as advertising and museums. As a design researcher, she is happiest when in the field conducting ethnographies and user interviews. She also gets a rush from synthesizing these findings and extracting design implications of users’ needs, values, and perspectives. Vicky's current research interests circle around personal and cultural relationships with food. More specifically, she is interested in exploring how computing and digital media are changing the way in which users experience food, and therefore exploring how computing is changing the way in which we use food as a tool to form connections and establish deeper understandings of events, people, and places.