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Stephen Farnsworth - University of Mary Washington. Fredericksburg, VA, US

Stephen Farnsworth Stephen Farnsworth

Professor of Political Science and International Affairs | University of Mary Washington

Fredericksburg, VA, UNITED STATES

Dr. Farnsworth has spent decades researching how media and politics intersect. Check out his website at stephenfarnsworth.net.

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Stephen Farnsworth Discusses 'The Global President' - Virginia Festival of the Book 2014 UMW's Stephen Farnsworth: Current Research Virginia politics, explained How President Obama Wins Virginia

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Biography

Dr. Farnsworth is a sought-after political commentator on subjects ranging from presidential politics to the local Virginia congressional races. He has been widely featured in national media, including The Washington Post, Reuters, The Chicago Tribune and MSNBC.

He is author or co-author of six books on presidential communication. His latest work, "Presidential Communication and Character: White House News Management from Clinton and Cable to Twitter and Trump," examines how the last four U.S. presidents sell themselves and their policies in an ever-expanding and sometimes precarious media environment.

Among his other books are "The Global President;" "Spinner in Chief: How Presidents Sell Their Policies and Themselves;" "The Nightly News Nightmare: Media Coverage of U.S. Presidential Elections, 1988-2008;" "The Mediated Presidency: Television News and Presidential Governance;" and "Political Support in a Frustrated America."

A professor at University of Mary Washington for nearly two decades, he established the University’s Center for Leadership and Media Studies. He is recipient of the 2017 Virginia Outstanding Faculty Award by the State Council of Higher Education of Virginia (SCHEV), and was recognized for his service to the national political science honor society Pi Sigma Alpha. The University has bestowed four teaching honors, including the Alumni Association Outstanding Young Faculty Member Award, the Mary W. Pinschmidt Teaching Award, the Richard Palmieri Outstanding Professor Award and the Waple Research Professorship Award.

Areas of Expertise (7)

American Elections

American Government

The American Presidency

Internet Politics

Mass Media and Politics

Virginia Government and Politics

Journalism

Accomplishments (10)

Waple Research Professorship (professional)

2018-03-31

Awarded for outstanding research in political science.

Farnsworth Receives Outstanding Faculty Award (professional)

2017-01-04

Stephen J. Farnsworth, University of Mary Washington professor of political science and director of the Center for Leadership and Media Studies, has received the prestigious 2017 Virginia Outstanding Faculty Award by the State Council of Higher Education of Virginia (SCHEV).

Farnsworth Receives National Political Science Association Award (professional)

2016-09-13

Stephen Farnsworth, professor of political science and director of the UMW Center for Leadership and Media Studies, was recognized for his dedication and service to Pi Sigma Alpha, the national political science honor society, at the American Political Science Association Conference in September 2016.

Recipient, Distinguished Communicator Award (professional)

2016-04-10

Awarded by the Virginia Association of Communication Arts and Sciences.

Best Conference Paper Award in Political Communication (professional)

2011-04-01

Eastern Communication Association

Best Conference Paper Award in Political Communication (professional)

2009-04-01

Southern States Communication Association

J. William Fulbright Research Chair in Public Policy (professional)

2006-01-01

McGill University, Montreal, Quebec, Canada

Outstanding Young Faculty Member Award (professional)

2001-01-01

Awarded by the Alumni Association of Mary Washington College.

Mary W. Pinschmidt Teaching Award (professional)

1999-01-01

Presented by the graduating class to the faculty member "who had the greatest impact on their lives" at Mary Washington College.

Richard Palmieri Outstanding Professor Award (professional)

1999-01-01

Presented by Mortar Board honor and service society in recognition of exceptional teaching and service to Mary Washington College.

Education (4)

Georgetown University: Ph.D., American Government

Georgetown University: M.A., American Government

University of Missouri: B.A. (Honors), History

Dartmouth College: B.A. (Honors), American Government

Affiliations (3)

  • Pi Sigma Alpha, the National Political Science Honor Society
  • Fredericksburg Regional Board of the Sorensen Institute for Political Leadership at the University of Virginia : Member
  • Former Chair, Political Communication Section of American Political Science Association. 2012-2014

Media Appearances (18)

VCU poll shows Biden, Warner with double-digit leads in Virginia

The Free Lance-Star; Loudoun Times-Mirror  online

2020-09-21

Stephen Farnsworth, director at the Fredericksburg-based University of Mary Washington Center for Leadership and Media Studies, said that Trump’s message resonates with rural voters in the western part of the state.

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Virginia sees massive early voting lines ahead of general election

The New York Post  online

2020-09-21

“Virginia was the belle of the ball in 2008, and again in 2012, and still once more in 2016, but in 2020, the commonwealth is a wallflower,” Stephen Farnsworth, a University of Mary Washington political scientist, told the Washington Post.

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Wittman, Rashid will meet in a virtual debate Sept. 21

The Free Lance-Star  print

2020-09-16

Stephen Farnsworth, director of the UMW Center for Leadership and Media Studies, said the 1st District has long been a safe district for Republicans, but he believes the changing electorate in Virginia could make it and other GOP-leaning districts more competitive.

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With Tactics Honed on Climate Change, Ken Cuccinelli Attracts New Controversy at Homeland Security

Inside Climate News  online

2020-09-14

"What you're seeing on the national stage is a pattern very similar to his time in Virginia politics," said Stephen Farnsworth, a political science professor and director of the Center for Leadership and Media Studies at the University of Mary Washington in Fredericksburg, Virginia. "His strategy was to take very conservative legal positions and wait and see if the courts agreed with him," Farnsworth said. "And while his track record was not particularly good, it built him a base of support among Republican conservatives and helped make him a national figure on Fox News."

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Trump Admits Downplaying COVID-19

CTV News Channel  online

2020-09-10

Trump Admits Downplaying COVID-19

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Controversial Remarks from Donald Trump

CTV News Channel  online

2020-09-07

Controversial Remarks from Donald Trump (CTV News Channel)

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As Election Day nears, Biden and Trump's verbal flubs could carry bigger costs

21 News  online

2020-09-07

“I think the circumstances of 2020 are well-suited to Biden’s strengths and weaknesses. Because of COVID, Biden is not as visible as many candidates would have been in the past, and that means that the limited number of public appearances can be carefully choreographed, minimizing the risk of missteps,” said Stephen Farnsworth, director of the Center for Leadership and Media Studies at the University of Mary Washington and co-author of “Late Night with Trump: Political Humor and the American Presidency.”

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Democratic and Republican Conventions

770CHQR Calgary  online

2020-09-01

Democratic and Republican Conventions

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House Panel Launches Contempt Proceedings Against Pompeo

Courthouse News Service  online

2020-08-31

Stephen Farnsworth, a professor of political science at the University of Mary Washington, said the House committee’s action is effectively a shot across the bow to get the documents they’re seeking.

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Year of Fear, Chapter 27: In rural Virginia, a tale of two Congressional districts

Columbia Journalism Review  online

2020-08-26

Just a decade ago, local media was much healthier than it is now, said Dr. Stephen J. Farnsworth, Director of the Center for Leadership and Media Studies at the University of Mary Washington, in Fredericksburg. And that has an effect on politics.

Viewpoints with Todd van der Heyden

CJAD Montreal  online

2020-08-25

The segment with Dr. Farnsworth starts at 11 minutes into the program.

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Biden Vows to Reunite County

CTV News Channel  online

2020-08-24

Biden Vows to Reunite County (CTV News Channel)

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At center of postal service furor, Virginia congressman finds an expanding audience

The Washington Post  online

2020-08-24

“When you represent a district that’s full of federal employees, your focus on government operations will have a moment,” said Stephen Farnsworth, a University of Mary Washington political science professor. “The issue itself is a slam dunk. Of all the targets Trump could have chosen, few have a greater potential for blowback than slowing the mail.”

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McAuliffe files paperwork to run but says no decision made

WTOP  online

2020-08-21

“When McAuliffe was governor, he faced a big Republican majority in the House of Delegates and many of his initiatives were stymied. I can only imagine he’d love to be a democratic governor with a democratic majority in the legislature,” said University of Mary Washington political science professor Stephen Farnsworth.

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Kamala Harris’ Big Speech

CTV News Channel  online

2020-08-20

Kamala Harris’ Big Speech (CTV News Channel)

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Lawmakers return to Richmond with high-stakes agenda of coronavirus, criminal justice issues (The Washington Post; Stamford Advocate)

The Washington Post; Stamford Advocate  online

2020-08-18

“It’s really uncharted territory for the Democrats,” said Stephen Farnsworth, a political scientist at the University of Mary Washington in Fredericksburg. A new crop of young liberals, backed by the electoral might of Northern Virginia and other urban areas, is pushing to build on the state’s rapid evolution from red to blue. “Now there is a much clearer delineation between what it means to be a Democrat in Richmond and what it means to be a Republican in Richmond, exactly like the change that’s occurred in Washington over the last 40 years,” he said.

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Virginia Lawmakers to Reconvene to Hash Out Multiple Crises

Courthouse News Service  online

2020-08-17

“The world is changing day by day and that makes it very difficult for lawmakers to chart the course ahead,” said Dr. Stephen Farnsworth, a political science professor at the University of Mary Washington. “The relatively small number of moderates in either caucus suggests compromise will be as elusive in 2020 as it was in 2019.”

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Trump, Trade and Tariff's on the Drive with Jock Wilson 9

CHQR segment on US- Canada Trade  online

2020-08-10

Trump, Trade and Tariff's on the Drive with Jock Wilson 9

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Event Appearances (22)

Partisan Trends in Late Night Humor

Virginia Association of Communication Arts and Sciences  Fairfax, VA

2018-04-06

The New Virginia: Politics and the Economy after the 2017 Elections

Lynchburg Regional Business Alliance  Lynchburg, VA

2017-12-14

Reviewing the 2017 Elections in Virginia

Virginia Civics Summit  Chesterfield, VA

2017-11-29

The Trump Presidency, the Mass Media and Public Opinion

The Norwegian Washington Seminar  Washington, DC

2017-10-28

The Identity Crises of the Democratic and Republican Parties

White House Fellows Foundation Leadership Conference  Washington, DC

2017-10-27

Donald Trump and the Late-Night Political Humor of Campaign 2016: All the Donald, All the Time

American Political Science Association  San Francisco, CA

2017-08-31

Virginia’s Candidate Selection Process: Examining Recent Primaries and Conventions

American Legion Boys’ State of Virginia  Radford, VA

2017-06-21

President Obama’s Use of New Media: Enacting the Affordable Care Act and Defining Presidential Character

Western Political Science Association  Vancouver, Canada

2017-04-04

Politics, Media and the American Political System.

Institute for International Education Visitor Leadership Program for International Journalism, U.S. Department of State  Washington, DC

2017-03-02

Media Bias is a Threat to American Democracy

Podius Debates. University of Mary Washington  Fredericksburg, VA

2016-10-26

Digital Media, Public Opinion and the US Presidential Race

BI University  Oslo, Norway

2016-10-12

The Presidential Candidates, the Mass Media and the Angry Voters of 2016

Mary Talks, University of Mary Washington  Fredericksburg, VA

2016-10-03

News Coverage of the 2013 Virginia Governor’s Race Versus Presidential Election News

American Political Science Association  Philadelphia, PA

2016-09-21

A Comparative Analysis of the Partisan Targets of Media Fact-checking

American Political Science Association  Philadelphia, PA

2016-09-14

U.S. Journalism, Public Opinion and Foreign Policy Development

Institute for International Education Visitor Leadership Program for International Journalism, U.S. Department of State  Washington, DC

2016-09-07

Late Night Comics Examine Campaign 2016: Donald Trump Dominates the Jokes

American Political Science Association Pre-Conference in Political Communication  Philadelphia, PA

2016-08-03

Barack Obama and the Rise of the Diffident Presidential Style

Midwest Political Science Association  Chicago, IL

2016-04-07

Studying the Presidency after 9/11: Re-considering Presidential Character in Domestic and International Contexts

9/11 and the Academy Conference at Emory & Henry College  Emory, Va

2015-11-12

Fact-Checking the Fact-Checkers

American Political Science Association  San Francisco, CA

2015-09-10

News Coverage of U.S. Presidential Campaigns: Reporting on Primaries and General Elections, 1988-2012

American Political Science Association,  Washington, D.C.

2014-08-01

The Automated Coding of Sentiment in Political News Coverage: Examining Newspaper Coverage of the 2013 Race for Governor of Virginia

American Political Science Association Pre-Conference in Political Communication,  Washington, D.C.

2014-08-01

Virginia Voters and Decentralized Governmental Power: Federal Frustration and State Satisfaction?

Virginia Social Science Association,  Richmond, Va.

2014-04-01

Articles (14)

Donald Trump and the Late-Night Political Humor of Campaign 2016: All the Donald, All the Time. Routledge

Stephen J. Farnsworth, S. Robert Lichter, and Deanne Canieso

2018-02-14

The Presidency and Social Media: Discourse, Disruption and Digital Democracy in the 2016 Presidential Election, (Dan Schill and John Allen Hendricks, ed.) New York: Routledge, 2018: 330-45.

This One Map Shows the Republicans’ Problem in Virginia Washington Post

Stephen J. Farnsworth and Stephen Hanna

2017-11-09

[Opinion column] “This One Map Shows the Republicans’ Problem in Virginia.” (Stephen J. Farnsworth and Stephen Hanna). Washington Post. (“The Monkey Cage” blog). November 9, 2017.

Support for Medicaid in Virginia Keeps Growing Washington Post

Stephen Farnsworth

2017-10-08

[Opinion column] “Support for Medicaid in Virginia Keeps Growing.” Washington Post. October 8, 2017.

Party Affiliation and Political Class Greenwood

Benjamin Hermerding and Stephen J. Farnsworth

The American Middle Class: An Economic Encyclopedia of Progress and Poverty (R.S. Rycroft, ed.). Santa Barbara, CA: Greenwood, 2017: 476-9.

Virginia’s 2013 Gubernatorial Race and Presidential Elections: A Comparison of News Coverage. The Virginia News Letter

Stephen J. Farnsworth and S. Robert Lichter

2017-08-01

The Virginia News Letter. Weldon Cooper Center for Public Service at the University of Virginia. 92(3): 1-8 (August 2016).

News coverage of Trump is really, really negative. Even on Fox News Washington Post

Stephen J. Farnsworth, S. Robert Lichter, and Roland Schatz

2017-02-28

[ Opinion column] “News coverage of Trump is really, really negative. Even on Fox News.” (Stephen J. Farnsworth, S. Robert Lichter, and Roland Schatz.)Washington Post. (“The Monkey Cage” blog). February 28, 2017.

Donald Trump will probably be the most ridiculed president ever Washington Post

Stephen J. Farnsworth, S. Robert Lichter, and Deanne Canieso

2017-01-21

[Opinion column] “Donald Trump will probably be the most ridiculed president ever.” Stephen J. Farnsworth, S. Robert Lichter, and Deanne Canieso.Washington Post. (“The Monkey Cage” blog). January 21, 2017.

Farnsworth Published by "The Fix" Blog, Washington Post The Washington Post

2016-03-08

Stephen Farnsworth is co-author of an opinion column, “Late Night Tells Three Times as Many Jokes about 2016 Republicans as Democrats,” published by "The Fix" blog of the Washington Post.

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“The 2015 Election in Virginia: A Tribute to Gerrymandering.” The Washington Post

2015-11-05

A map by Stephen Hanna, professor of geography, and a column by Stephen Farnsworth, professor of political science and director of the University’s Center for Leadership and Media Studies, which both discussed the recent state legislative elections were published in "The Fix" blog of The Washington Post. The column was titled “The 2015 Election in Virginia: A Tribute to Gerrymandering.”

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With Overwhelming Support for Nonpartisan Redistricting, Virginians are Studying Ways to Make That Happen The Virginia News Letter

2015-06-27

Weldon Cooper Center for Public Service at the University of Virginia

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An Extended Presidential Honeymoon: Coverage of Barack Obama in The New York Times during 2009 and 2010 Politics and Policy

2015-06-01

(Stephen J. Farnsworth and S. Robert Lichter). Politics and Policy 41 (3): 447-463 (June 2013).

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Virginia Voters and Decentralized Governmental Power: Federal Frustration and State Satisfaction? Virginia Social Science Journal

2015-05-01

Virginia Voters and Decentralized Governmental Power: Federal Frustration and State Satisfaction?

Event-Driven Environmental News in the U.S. and Canada Electronic Media and Politics

2012-11-01

(Stuart Soroka, Stephen J. Farnsworth, Lori Young and Andrea Lawlor). Electronic Media and Politics 1(10): 143-57 (November 2012).

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Authors’ Response: Improving News Coverage in the 2012 Presidential Campaign and Beyond Politics & Policy

2012-08-01

(Stephen J. Farnsworth and S. Robert Lichter). Politics & Policy 40(4): 547-556 (August 2012).

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