High Conflict: Understanding Polarization with Bestselling Author Amanda Ripley


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In her book “High Conflict: Why We Get Trapped and How We Get Out,” journalist and author Amanda Ripley introduces the framework that there are two types of conflict: high conflict and good conflict. In America, Ripley believes that we are stuck in a vicious cycle of high conflict — one that is destructive and unproductive. But as Ripley tells us, there is still hope for the future, for us to return to a place of good conflict.

In this episode, Fred and Amanda discuss some of the ways that corporate communications are impacted by high conflict and might play a role in supporting the return to good conflict, as well as how we can best communicate the facts to our audiences in a time when people find it increasingly difficult to agree on what the facts even are.

This discussion is part of our series on the 2021 Global Communication Report on public relations, available now at https://annenberg.usc.edu/research/center-public-relations/global-communication-report.

For more, check out the playback of the 31st Kenneth Owler Smith Symposium at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=78YQGTFQpP8


Amanda Ripley (@amandaripley), New York Times Bestselling Author and journalist


Fred Cook (@fredcook), Chairman Emeritus of Golin, a global public relations firm. Author of “Improvise - Unorthodox Career Advice from an Unlikely CEO” and Director of the USC Center for Public Relations

Follow us: @USCCenter4PR (Twitter, Facebook and Instagram)

Newsletter: News from the USC Center for Public Relations

Visit our website: https://annenberg.usc.edu/research/center-public-relations

Key Words:

Public relations, polarization, politics, media, election, business, government, purpose, communications, unity, #PRFuture, high conflict, journalism, good conflict

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