Media & Journalism: Why Trust Matters

In 2009, I wrote a book titled Distrust, American Style. In it, I looked at the issue of trust through the lens of social capital scholarship. Trust and reciprocity are essential to social capital–and especially to the creation of “bridging” social capital, the relationships that allow us to connect with and value people different from ourselves. I didn’t address an issue that I […]

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Weaponizing Speech

Weaponizing Free Speech - social media has become a censorship weapon

A couple of weeks ago, I came across a provocative article by Tim Wu, a media historian who teaches at Columbia University, titled “Did Twitter Kill the First Amendment?” He began with the question: You need not be a media historian to notice that we live in a golden age of press harassment, domestic propaganda and coercive efforts to control political debate. […]

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Media, Left and Right: Fighting Propaganda

The Technology of Propaganda, Fake News & Information Warfare

Well, I see that the Republican Governors’ Association has decided to enter the “fake news” sweepstakes. According to reports, The Republican Governors Association has quietly launched an online publication that looks like a media outlet and is branded as such on social media. The Free Telegraph blares headlines about the virtues of GOP governors, while framing Democrats negatively. It asks readers […]

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Labels, Subtext & Dog Whistles: The Rise of Right Wing Hate

Rise of Right Wing Hate

Anyone who’s been online – on social media in particular – over the last couple of years can attest to the fact that hate speech is evolving to the point that it’s often hard to keep up with what constitutes “trolling” and what is honest-to-goodness harassment and hatred. In fact, this blurring of lines has become so complicated, experts have […]

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Spin Cycle: The Sinclair Broadcast Group Takeover

Sinclair Broadcast Group

Tom Wheeler was Chair of the Federal Communications Commission from 2013 to 2017. In the wake of Sinclair Broadcasting’s application to acquire Tribune Media, he wrote a very troubling article for the Guardian.  It is a major decision, since the resulting broadcast behemoth would hold as many as 233 local television stations reaching into more than 70 percent of American homes. […]

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Two-Faced: Trump’s Unhinged Phoenix Rally

Trump in Phoenix

During his Phoenix campaign rally last night, Donald Trump went off script and spent an hour essentially destroying any credibility and peace his Monday night Afghanistan speech attempted to build. More importantly, the two speeches demonstrate something most people across America have already figured out over the course of the last few months. Trump has two distinct faces he shows […]

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Former Trump Surrogate Katrina Pierson: Slavery Is “Good” History

Former Trump Surrogate Katrina Pierson: Slavery Is "Good" History

During a Fox discussion about the removal of Confederate monuments, former Trump spokesperson Katrina Pierson argued slavery is a “good” part of U.S. history. The answer – one Fox and Friends host Ainsley Earhardt offered multiple chances to clarify or recant – came as a response to another guest clarifying the intent behind the original construction of the embattled monuments. “Do you […]

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It’s Time To Remove All Confederate Statues

Combating Nazis and white supremacists: It's Time To Remove All Confederate Statues

Following the Civil War, a smattering of statues memorializing the war and its traitorous lost cause appeared sporadically across the South funded mostly by those unwilling to admit defeat. By the early 1900’s though, the concept transformed as white supremacy took hold and the KKK began exerting political power across the nation. As a way of intimidating not only people […]

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Trump’s Flirtatious History With White Supremacists & Nazis

Trump and the Nazi / White Supremacy riot in Charlottesville VA

Donald Trump’s initial statements condemning the Nazi and white supremacist led actions in Charlottesville, Virginia should come as no surprise to those who followed his campaign closely last year. The lukewarm “many sides” rebuke – viewed as a victory among violent right-wing extremists – is only the latest in a long line of winks and nods to a community that […]

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