Causality Journalism: Can Academics Help?

As a social scientist, I spend much of my working life sorting out spurious claims about cause and effect. In any social science, particularly when it is impossible to adequately control many variables such as through an experimental design, the analysis and attribution of causality is inherently problematic. Too often, that is not the case … Continue reading Causality Journalism: Can Academics Help?

Should Elites Get Off Twitter?

Should Elitists Get Off Twitter? An opinion piece in the Financial Times by Janan Ganesh (2022) argued that the real reason to get off Twitter was that it “reeks of low status”. Stay on it long enough and you can “catch” its tone of “domestic mediocrity”. Even elites who use this micro-blogging site should beware … Continue reading Should Elites Get Off Twitter?

Levelling Up the UK with Information

The UK government has committed to a strategy for levelling up economic activity across the UK.[1] While I am not a geographer or an economist, one need not be to see ways forward on this strategy. The Internet has been seen as a force that might reconfigure the geography of work – what jobs go … Continue reading Levelling Up the UK with Information

Changing the Denominator: Spinning Election Results

It is amazing how commentators spin the results of an election. You would think that a candidate wins or losses, but no, it can be (and most often is) spun to make a win sound like a loss or vice versa. The recent example I have in mind is Liz Truss winning the Conservative Party … Continue reading Changing the Denominator: Spinning Election Results

Lessons from the UK Leadership Selection Marathon

On 7 July 2022, Prime Minister Boris Johnson resigned as leader of the Conservative Party, kicking off a selection process that the winner, Liz Truss, minutes after her selection, would describe as one of the “longest job interviews in history”. Liz Truss, the UK’s Foreign Minister, won by a vote of 57 percent of Conservative … Continue reading Lessons from the UK Leadership Selection Marathon

Opinion Night: Both, One, or No Sides-ism

I thoroughly enjoyed watching Emily Maitlis’ MacTaggart Lecture online, which she delivered at the Edinburgh Television Festival. A gifted speaker, she was able to raise key editorial issues facing broadcast news for public service broadcasting in the UK, but arguably for news programming everywhere. Each of her general points, such as on avoiding self-censorship, were … Continue reading Opinion Night: Both, One, or No Sides-ism

Sad News for Comedy

As an American in Britain, I have found one of the most endearing traits of Britons, and people living in Britain generally, is their ability to laugh at themselves. They don’t take themselves so seriously that they can't see “what fools" we "mortals" can be. So how sad to learn in today’s paper that “Mock … Continue reading Sad News for Comedy

Implications of the War in Ukraine on Internet and Society

The destruction of cities, infrastructures, including telecommunication and media, and deaths of thousands resulting from the Russian Federation's invasion of Ukraine from 24th February 2022 are increasingly well documented. Cyber-attacks have been one aspect of this larger war that have undermined the public and private sectors, as well as individuals. Nationally and globally, it might … Continue reading Implications of the War in Ukraine on Internet and Society

Its Personal: Incivility Begins with Maligning Individuals

A lack of civility in politics and society is a problem that I have focused on before, but surprise, surprise – it is not diminishing.[1] If anything, it seems ever more rampant. It is important because it is at the base of growing polarization, what some have called ‘affective polarization’, which means that opposing political … Continue reading Its Personal: Incivility Begins with Maligning Individuals