2020-21 Appomattox Project Events

Poster for this event, featuring two digitally-drawn figures yelling at each other with megaphones with a red background. Text on the image reads, 'How did misinformation spread during the 2020 election? Who is responsible? What are the consequences? This online panel will engage with issues related to political communication and its implications for American democratic culture. The discussion will focus on questions of political polarization, how these divisions play out in our public discourse, and the challenges to free speech in the era of misinformation. Participants will specifically address the role of social media platforms and the extent to which they should be regulated.' 

Appomattox Project Brownbag Discussion Panel

Lies, Incivility,
and the 2020 Election

The Politics of Rage and Misinformation

Dave Morin
Associate Professor & Chair, Department of Communication, UVU

Sam Rhodes
Lecturer, Department of History & Political Science, UVU

David Scott
Professor of Communication, UVU 

moderated by
Courtney Burns
Assistant Director, Center for the Study of Ethics, UVU


co-sponsored with UVU's College of Humanities & Social Sciences,
Department of History & Political Science, and Department of Communication

Selected Media - Civility

Selected Media - Misinformation

Readings and Resources

"The Billion Dollar Disinformation Campaign to Re-Elect the President"
McKay Coppins, The Atlantic,  February 10, 2020

"Efforts to Restore Civility in Public Discourse"
IdeaStream, January, 2019

"Agreeing to Disagree" 
WAMC, All Things Considered,  

"Politics, Facts, and Civility: An Lesson in Engaging in Discourse"
National Public Radio, October, 2018

"Civility & Democracy"
Evan McMullin, address at Utah Valley University, March 11, 2020

"Election Results: Tracking Viral Misinformation"
New York Times, November 20th, 2020

"The Anatomy of an Election Disinformation Campaign"
WBUR, October 26, 2020

"Kurtz says 2020 election a ‘debacle’ for mainstream media no matter who wins"
Brian Flood, Fox News, November 4, 2020

"Get Ready for a Fight" 
Matthew J. Peterson, American Mind, November 2, 2020

"The First Amendment in the Age of Disinformation"
Emily Bazelon, New York Times, October 13, 2020

"The Trolling of the American Mind"
Ross Douthat, New York Times, February 21, 2018

"Fake News Becomes a Way of Life"
Michael Brendon Dougherty, National Review, July 17, 2020

 "The Flight From Reason" 
Thomas Patterson, Harvard Gazette, January 17, 2020

 "Breitbart-led right-wing media ecosystem altered broader media agenda"
Yochai Benkler, et al., Columbia Journalism Review, March 3, 2017

"End the odes to political 'civility'. Do you really think Republicans will reciprocate?
Jan-Werner Müller, The Guardian, November 18, 2020

"Fighting Election Disinformation in Real Time"
Alex Stamos, Lawfare, August 20, 2020

“Older, right-leaning Twitter users spread the most fake news in 2016, study finds”
Ben Guarino, Washington Post, January 24, 2019

"What is fake news and how can you identify it?
BBC, November 12, 2018

"On Facebook, Misinformation Is More Popular Now Than in 2016"
Davey Alba, October 12, 2020

"'A lazy thinking problem:' U of R professor studying why people share disinformation"
Lyn Giesbrecht, Regina Leader-Post, July 12, 2020


Courtney Burns 

Courtney Burns is Assistant Director of the Center for the Study of Ethics at Utah Valley University. She graduated from UVU with a B.A. in Integrated Studies and moved on to receive an M.A. in Comparative Ethnic Conflict from Queen's University, Belfast in Northern Ireland. Her research interests include Conflict Transformation, Intercultural Ethics. and interreligious dialogue.  

Sam Rhodes

Sam Rhodes is a Lecturer in the Political Science Department at Utah Valley University. His research centers on political communication and political behavior in U.S. He is especially interested in the role of political misinformation, filter bubbles and echo chambers play in the American political system. Prior to  his graduate studies, he worked for the Pennsylvania Democratic Party and the Maine State Legislature. 

David W. Scott

David W. Scott is a Professor of Communication at Utah Valley University and associate editor of Dialogue: A Journal of Mormon Thought. David teaches Free Expression here at UVU, a subject he has been teaching since 1999.  Utah newspapers take different approaches to coverage of First Amendment controversy with the Newspaper Research Journal .

Dave Morin

David (Dave) Morin is an Associate Professor and Chair of the Department of Communication at Utah Valley University. He currently teaches a wide variety of courses in the Public Relations concentration, including Political Communication, Theories of Communication and Culture, and Social Media. His scholarly interests include political and science communication from a media effects perspective.