Media

The Sidebar: Race Relations and the Evolution of Media

March 30, 2012
Tom Glaisyer and Reniqua Allen discuss the difficulty of talking about race in America and the evolution of media. Pamela Chan Hosts.

A Robot Stole My Pulitzer!

  • By
  • Evgeny Morozov,
  • New America Foundation
March 20, 2012 |

Can technology be autonomous? Does it lead a life of its own and operate independently of human guidance? From the French theologian Jacques Ellul to the Unabomber, this used to be widely accepted. Today, however, most historians and sociologists of technology dismiss it as naive and inaccurate.

Yet the world of modern finance is increasingly dependent on automated trading, with sophisticated computer algorithms finding and exploiting pricing irregularities that are invisible to ordinary traders.

Misinformation and Fact-checking

  • By Brendan Nyhan, Asst. Professor, Dartmouth College; Jason Reifler, Asst. Professor, Georgia State
February 28, 2012

Citizens and journalists are concerned about the prevalence of misinformation in contemporary politics, which may pollute democratic discourse and undermine citizens’ ability to cast informed votes and participate meaningfully in public debate. Academic research in this area paints a pessimistic picture—the most salient misperceptions are widely held, easily spread, and difficult to correct. Corrections can fail due to factors including motivated reasoning, limitations of memory and cognition, and identity factors such as race and ethnicity.

The Fact-Checking Universe in Spring 2012

  • By
  • Lucas Graves,
  • Tom Glaisyer,
  • New America Foundation
February 28, 2012

By almost any measure, the 2012 presidential race is shaping up to be the most fact-checked electoral contest in American history. Every new debate and campaign ad yields a blizzard of fact-checking from the new full-time fact-checkers, from traditional news outlets in print and broadcast, and from partisan political organizations of various stripes. And though fact-checking still peaks before elections it is now a year-round enterprise that challenges political claims beyond the campaign trail.

The Other Academic Freedom Movement

  • By
  • Konstantin Kakaes,
  • New America Foundation
February 9, 2012 |

In the summer of 1991, Paul Ginsparg, a researcher at the Los Alamos nuclear laboratory, set up an email system for about 200 string theorists to exchange papers they had written. The World Wide Web was a mere infant—it had been opened to the public on Aug. 6 of that year. The string theorists weren’t particularly interested in making their research widely available (outsiders would have a tough time following the conversation anyhow). Ginsparg’s archive was a way for the theorists to communicate with one another.

The Difference Between Online Knowledge and Truly Open Knowledge

  • By
  • C. W. Anderson,
  • New America Foundation
February 3, 2012 |

In "Too Big To Know: Rethinking Knowledge Now that the Facts Aren't the Facts, Experts Are Everywhere, and the Smartest Person in the Room Is the Room", the simultaneously fascinating and frustrating book by Berkman Center senior researcher David Weinberger, there is a wonderful moment where the mechanisms of "fact-building" are laid bare.

"It's 1983. You want to know the population of Pittsburgh, so instead of waiting six years for the web to be invented, you head to the library," Weinberger begins.

Twitter Isn’t Evil

  • By
  • Nicholas Thompson,
  • New America Foundation
January 31, 2012 |

Twitter, it is said, has become evil. The company announced at the end of last week that it would censor tweets on a country-by-country basis. If a government really doesn’t like your hundred and forty characters, Twitter may white them out. Tweetavists reacted with outrage and warned darkly of unreported massacres in Syria. A #twitterblackout protest was organized.

Programs:

The Dangers of Sharing

  • By
  • Evgeny Morozov,
  • New America Foundation
January 27, 2012 |

It may surprise anyone under 16, but even before the advent of social networking we faced threats to our privacy. A hospital accidentally releasing patient records or a shady marketing firm engaging in Stasi-like data collection — such violations were substantial enough and disturbing enough to make the evening news. Today, however, the “death of privacy” is more like death by a thousand cuts: information leaks out slowly and invisibly, and so routinely that we’re hardly shocked when it does.

We're Losing Control of Our Digital Privacy

  • By
  • Rebecca MacKinnon,
  • New America Foundation
January 27, 2012 |

Last week, millions of Americans stood up against the Stop Online Piracy Act and the Senate's related anti-piracy bill. Given the public outcry, it is not surprising that all four Republican presidential candidates have come out against them.

But online censorship in the name of fighting piracy is only one of many issues affecting Americans' digital freedom. Americans who care about their online freedoms should also be asking tough questions about the government's expanding surveillance powers.

Why Doesn’t Washington Understand the Internet?

  • By
  • Rebecca MacKinnon,
  • New America Foundation
January 23, 2012 |

In late 2010, on the eve of the Arab Spring uprisings, a Tunisian blogger asked Egyptian activist Alaa Abdel Fattah what democratic nations should do to help cyber­activists in the Middle East. Abdel Fattah, who had spent time in jail under Hosni Mubarak’s regime, argued that if Western democracies wanted to support the region’s Internet activists, they should put their own houses in order. He called on the world’s democracies to “fight the troubling trends emerging in your own backyards” that “give our own regimes great excuses for their own actions.”

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