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New York Times

Writing for The New York Times, Prof. Emily Richmond Pollock and University of Michigan Prof. Kira Thurman explore how the idea that performing or listening to classical music is an apolitical act flourished in the wake of World War II due to the process of denazification. “In moments of war and violence, it can be tempting to either downplay classical music’s involvement in global events or emphasize music’s power only when it is used as a force for what a given observer perceives as good,” they write.

The New Yorker

Prof. Emily Richmond Pollock speaks with Isaac Chotiner of The New Yorker about how some Western institutions have cancelled performances by Russian artists following the Russian invasion of Ukraine. “Some of the discussion of these issues has fallen into some old patterns of thinking that we as musicologists are alert to,” says Pollock, “and want to warn against, which includes reacting to these kinds of bans by insisting that music is apolitical, or that there’s something fundamentally and inherently apolitical about music, which is a really problematic and untrue statement, and a knee-jerk response.”

New York Times

Prof. David Autor, Harvard University Prof. Gordon Hanson, University of Zurich Prof. David Dorn, and Monsah University Prof. Kaveh Majlesi have described an “ideological realignment in trade-exposed local labor markets that commences prior to the divisive 2016 U.S. presidential election,” reports Thomas B. Edsall for The New York Times.

Bloomberg

Prof. David Rand and Prof. Gordon Pennycook of the University of Regina in Canada found that people improved the accuracy of their social media posts when asked to rate the accuracy of the headline first, reports Faye Flam for Bloomberg. “It’s not necessarily that [users] don’t care about accuracy. But instead, it’s that the social media context just distracts them, and they forget to think about whether it’s accurate or not before they decide to share it,” says Rand.

New York Times

Writing for The New York Times, Steven Simon of the MIT Center for International Studies and Jonathan Stevenson of the International Institute for Strategic Studies underscore the need for extensive analysis of the growing dangers to American democracy. “The overarching idea is, publicly and thoroughly, to probe just how bad things could get precisely to ensure that they never do,” they write, “and that America’s abject political decay is averted.”

GBH

GBH’s Basic Black host Callie Crossley speaks with Lecturer Malia Lazu,about how issues surrounding Covid-19, voting rights, economic downturn, police brutality, education, climate change and politics will impact communities of color in the coming year. “What I see is a democracy fighting itself,” says Lazu. "People in power, republicans or democrats, being bought into the idea of democracy more than the people in the democracy.”

The Boston Globe

Boston Globe reporter Kevin Lewis spotlights how MIT researchers surveyed thousands of Democrats and Republicans to rate the reliability of nonpolitical news headlines. “People genuinely believe that opposing partisans are more gullible, even when that stereotype is costly to them,” writes Lewis. “On the other hand, that stereotype can be corrected with evidence.”

Bloomberg Businessweek

Bloomberg Businessweek reporter Shawn Donnan spotlights Prof. David Autor’s series of research papers examining the impact of the surge of Chinese imports on the overall American economy and specific regions of the country. Autor and his colleagues make the case that “well-funded, targeted government policies could have helped prevent the economic blight that engulfed many affected communities.”

Gizmodo

Gizmodo reporter Shoshana Wodinsky spotlights a new study by MIT researchers that finds videos are not likely to sway public political opinion more than their textual counterparts. “It’s possible that as you’re scrolling through your newsfeed, video captures your attention more than text would,” says Prof. David Rand. “You might be more likely to look at it. This doesn’t mean that the video is inherently more persuasive than text – just that it has the potential to reach a wider audience.”

Boston Globe

A study by MIT researchers finds that crowdsourced fact-checking of news stories by laypeople tend to be just as effective as professional fact-checkers, writes David Scharfenberg for The Boston Globe. The researchers found that “even when pooling a relatively small number of laypeople’s evaluations, the correlation between laypeople’s and fact-checkers’ evaluations was about the same as the correlation among the fact-checkers’.”

GBH

Legatum Center Lecturer Malia Lazu speaks with GBH News about the impact Latino voters could have on Boston’s mayoral race. “With voter turnout being as low as we see [in] mayor’s races in Boston, the Latino community can really become a deciding factor in this race,” says Lazu. “Latinos have a history of coming together and electing people that will serve their community. And I think this race will be another example of that.”

Mashable

Mashable reporter Matt Binder writes that a new study by MIT researchers finds that crowdsourced fact-checking of news stories can be as effective as using professional fact-checkers. “The study is positive news in the sense that everyday newsreaders appear to be able to, mostly, suss out misinformation,” writes Binder.

The Guardian

Writing for The Guardian, Sam Levine spotlights Prof. Charles Stewart’s work investigating election administration during the 2020 presidential election. Levine writes that Stewart plans to “dig deeper into ballot rejection rates. Among rejected ballots, about a third went uncounted because of signature matching problems. Around 12% were rejected because the voter missed the deadline to return the ballot.”

Salon

Salon reporter Amanda Marcotte spotlights a study by MIT researchers that finds correcting misinformation on social media platforms often leads to people sharing more misinformation. Research affiliate Mohsen Mosleh explains that after being corrected Twitter users " retweeted news that was significantly lower in quality and higher in partisan slant, and their retweets contained more toxic language." 

The Wall Street Journal

A new paper co-authored by Prof. James Poterba finds that not all projects to enhance infrastructure are worth investing in, reports David Harrison for The Wall Street Journal. “If we are going to commit a significant amount of resources to new infrastructure projects or to maintain our existing infrastructure, bringing some discipline to the way we decide what we’re spending on is an important element of this,” says Poterba.