Category Archives: influence

AOC explained: A digital performer enters the political stage

From one perspective, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is the second coming of Donald Trump.  By this I mean that she surfed the same structural forces to Congress that swept Trump into the White House.  These forces can be characterized, very roughly, as … Continue reading

Posted in democracy, influence | 5 Comments

The news media: Surveying the wreckage

The Pretense of Objectivity The ideology of news makes two moral claims:  that it is complete, and that it is objective.  News, in other words, provides consumers with just the right amount of information necessary to function as citizens, and … Continue reading

Posted in death of news, democracy, influence, newspaperss, the public, Uncategorized | 5 Comments

Foreign policy in the age of Obama: First principles

The Swirl of Events Barack Obama has presided for six years and change over the government of the most powerful nation on earth:  time enough for decisions and revisions, and for consequences to be manifested. During his tenure, the Middle … Continue reading

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Information and terror attacks

The fateful question, rarely asked, about atrocities like the recent massacre in Paris, is:  what did the perpetrators expect to accomplish?  The answer may seem intuitive.  These men were terrorists.  They obviously expected to achieve their political goals by terrifying … Continue reading

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President Obama and the joy of negation

President Obama has been mocked for having “community organizer” on his resume, but that particular job experience aligns him with the self-image of a rebellious public.  As can be seen from this application, the community organizer is expected to denounce, … Continue reading

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The last temptation of Al Jazeera

Al Jazeera’s popularity stemmed from the perception, shared by a large Arabic-speaking audience, that the satellite newscaster’s editorial decisions were not dictated by any government or party.  Under the banner of “the opinion and the other opinion,” Al Jazeera demonstrated … Continue reading

Posted in death of news, influence, the public, tv, visual persuasion | Leave a comment

Kony 2012 and the art of going viral

The online advocacy video Kony 2012 can only be described as a digital enormity, breaking all records and rules.  By one measure, it reached 100 million views in six days, fastest in the history of the web.  But that’s only … Continue reading

Posted in influence, visual persuasion | 11 Comments

The unsettling “simplifications” of Kony 2012

The popularity of digital platforms, particularly social media, has swept away in a whirl the traditional gate-keepers of information – journalists, scholars, politicians.  By now this is an old story, often told.  Information, once scarce, has become overabundant, and those … Continue reading

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Homo informaticus: a theory of political influence

The next stage in human evolution is already among us.  This organism will never leave behind fossils or petrified footprints, because it dwells entirely in the digital universe.  Despite the lack of powers vested in me, I have taken the … Continue reading

Posted in influence, the public | 2 Comments

Qaddafi’s hat: the lesson of Libya

On Monday, anti-regime forces stormed into Tripoli, abruptly ending Muammar Qaddafi’s 42 years of one-man rule.  The fortified compound where he had lived and staged his ceremonial occasions was overrun the next day.  His prized possessions were looted.  While the … Continue reading

Posted in influence | 5 Comments