Hobbesian World of TV News in Britain

The Hobbesian World of Broadcast TV News in Britain As an American, I often find broadcast TV news in Britain to be completely out of character with my expectations. For example, as I would expect, BBC World Service is almost always polite, civilized, correct, and informative, while also entertaining. In contrast, all too often, BBC … Continue reading Hobbesian World of TV News in Britain

The Democratic Value of the Filibuster

The Democratic Value of the Filibuster The filibuster was not invented to serve some lasting and critical role in democratic governance, but unintentionally, it does perform that function.  The filibuster is a structure – one rule of the game in American politics - that plays a powerful role in supporting more stable democracy. And it is … Continue reading The Democratic Value of the Filibuster

Social Media Could Have Prevented the UK’s Post Office Scandal

Over seven hundred  (736) ‘sub-postmasters’ were charged – many if not most unjustly – with criminal offenses from 2000-2013 because of discrepancies in their accounts, leading to charges of theft, fraud, and false accounting (Meddings 2021). Had they been siphoning money from their accounts? We have learned that many of these discrepancies were due to the … Continue reading Social Media Could Have Prevented the UK’s Post Office Scandal

American Hubris on the UK and Northern Ireland

This morning’s Financial Times (17 March 2021) notes that the ‘US fires warning shot at Johnson on Northern Ireland’. President Joe Biden is said to be preparing to hold St. Patrick’s day talks with Irish premier Micheál Martin. President Biden reminds the world that he is Irish and will oppose any US-UK trade deal unless … Continue reading American Hubris on the UK and Northern Ireland

A Mob, Protestors, or a Mob of Protestors at Capitol Hill?

A Mob, Protestors, or a Mob of Protestors at Capitol Hill? In media coverage and interviews immediately following the 6 January 2021 protests on Capitol Hill in Washington DC, most media pundits, including the BBC, and politicians referred to the Trump supporters who surrounded or breached the building as a ‘mob’. The Guardian as a … Continue reading A Mob, Protestors, or a Mob of Protestors at Capitol Hill?

Understanding Conflicts in Ukraine

I recommend a 2015 - but still quite relevant - book on the international political situation in Ukraine by Menon and Rumer.* The authors provide a very accessible background on the history of Ukraine, and the evolution of contemporary relationships both within the country and internationally, with Russia, the US, and Germany, France, the UK … Continue reading Understanding Conflicts in Ukraine

Communicate! Reach Out, Inform, and Entertain

Communicate! Reach Out, Inform, and Entertain Way too much talk, research, and handwringing are all about how to stop people from seeing or believing disinformation, such as the latest conspiracy theories. But pushing governments and platforms or anyone to censor information is not only ineffective in the digital age, but also likely to be dysfunctional … Continue reading Communicate! Reach Out, Inform, and Entertain

To Be Virtual or Not to Be: That is Not the Question

Today’s newspapers have wonderfully conflicting stories. One story is about Ministers of Parliament (MPs) in the UK being angry over their ‘virtual parliament’ coming to an end.* The other story is the opposite, about the Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, facing criticism from his Cabinet because they are continuing to meet via online video conferencing rather … Continue reading To Be Virtual or Not to Be: That is Not the Question

The Fragile Beauty of Democracy: The Iowa Caucuses

I watched the Iowa caucuses on Monday, February 3, 2020, from the UK. Good coverage came from a remote caucus in Florida – one of Iowa’s 87 satellite caucuses – in addition to 1,678 precinct caucuses. In that particular satellite caucus, Iowa voters, sunbirds residing during the winter months in Florida, seemed to be in … Continue reading The Fragile Beauty of Democracy: The Iowa Caucuses

Society and the Internet, 2nd Edition

It is such a pleasure to see the publication today of the second edition of Society and the Internet by Oxford University Press. My co-editor, Mark Graham, and I worked long and hard to assemble a wonderful set of authors to build on the first edition. The success of the original volume led to this … Continue reading Society and the Internet, 2nd Edition