How I Knew the #CovingtonBoys Video Was Clickbait

This was originally published at Public Seminar on January 24 2019. Everyone has a #CovingtonBoys story, and this is mine. It is a story about clickbait. It is a story about how an unknown political operative captured a real event that might never have been noticed at all, and turned it into a news tsunami during a … More How I Knew the #CovingtonBoys Video Was Clickbait

Why Taking a Stand on the Internet Can Turn a Problem Into a Catastrophe

Back in the 1970s, when I was leaving for college, my mother gave me a piece of advice: “Don’t sign anything.” Her skepticism was forged in the 1950s, when petitions that public figures had signed as students, and organizations they had belonged to, had sometimes destroyed their lives. In college, however, I discovered the thrill … More Why Taking a Stand on the Internet Can Turn a Problem Into a Catastrophe

Ask Brett Kavanaugh About Facebook

What is Facebook? I ask this question as I am well embarked on a two-week intensive seminar, “Democratic Crisis and the Politics of Social Media,” part of the 27th annual Democracy and Diversity Institute sponsored by The New School’s Transregional Center for Democratic Studies in Wrocław, Poland. Facebook and Twitter, and the unregulated (often untruthful) political narratives they … More Ask Brett Kavanaugh About Facebook

Roseanne Bombs

Yesterday I checked my Twitter feed and learned that Roseanne Barr had finally blown herself up. Up all night tweeting about Soros and Clinton conspiracy theories (including a bizarre exchange with the cool-headed Chelsea Clinton about whether her husband is a member of the Soros family), Barr capped off her literary output with a tweet … More Roseanne Bombs

The Facebook Follies

What harm does Facebook do? In the last several months, it appears to have done plenty, opening its platform to operatives who were directly or indirectly employed by the Trump campaign. There is always someone new to blame for electing Donald Trump: depending on who you ask, it was Bernie Sanders, “the alt right,” Bernie … More The Facebook Follies

Who Knew Running Yahoo Was So Hard? Marissa Mayer Takes One for the Team

As we begin to think about writing the history of the Age of Trump, my advice is to follow the money. For example, answer this question: how do CEOs make a fortune by killing businesses and putting working and middle class people on the unemployment line? If your answer is “Sending our beautiful jobs to … More Who Knew Running Yahoo Was So Hard? Marissa Mayer Takes One for the Team

Trump Campaign Strategy: Don’t Discuss Him

Why won’t they say Donald Trump’s name at the Republican National Convention? Television journalists like Rachel Maddow have been talking about it since The Mistake on the Lake went live on Monday evening, July 18. As Frank Bruni put it in a  New York Times (July 20, 2016) op-ed: By saying almost nothing about Donald Trump on Tuesday … More Trump Campaign Strategy: Don’t Discuss Him

Historians Should Care About Secretary Clinton’s Emails

Yesterday FBI Director James Comey released the report on Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email server during her time as Secretary of State. The email habits on Clinton’s staff were “extremely careless,” Comey noted, but did not reach the threshold for seeking an indictment against Clinton.  As CNN reported: Comey said of the 30,000 emails that … More Historians Should Care About Secretary Clinton’s Emails