Media & Politics Must Reads, August 18, 2017

August 18, 2017

Our weekly roundup of news found at the intersection of media, politics, policy and technology, from the Shorenstein Center and from around the web.

This Week at the Shorenstein Center

Exploring the Role of Algorithms in Online Harmful Speech. Online harmful speech — from harassment and cyber-bullying to terrorist recruitment and media manipulation — is a growing focus of academic research and government regulation. A recent workshop hosted by the Shorenstein Center and the Berkman Klein Center explored the nature of harmful speech, the role of online platforms in moderating it, and more. Read a summary of the discussions.

This week should put the nail in the coffin for ‘both sides’ journalism. Margaret Sullivan of The Washington Post writes about false equivalency in the media, citing Shorenstein Center research on news coverage of Trump, and concludes that “The best way to be fair is not to be falsely evenhanded, giving equal weight to unequal sides. It’s to push for the truth, and tell it both accurately and powerfully.”

News from Faculty, Fellows, and Students

Online hate speech. Shorenstein Center Director Nicco Mele was quoted in Wired and was interviewed on FOX Business about how online platforms are responding to hate speech.

The Trumpian threat to freedom of the press. Marvin Kalb, former Shorenstein Center director, argues that President Trump’s “style of governance could be called creeping authoritarianism.”

Charlottesville Casts Shadow Over Debate. Khalil G. Muhammad, Professor of History, Race, and Public Policy, participated in a panel about economics and social justice, and discussed how “issues of economics and race are inextricably linked.”

Looking at the record of the Sinclair Broadcast Group megamerger. Tom Wheeler, incoming Walter Shorenstein Media and Democracy Fellow, writes that “conservative media outlets have raised what are usually liberal concerns about a huge new broadcast outlet squeezing out the market for independent voices.”

The Influence of Conservative Media. How is conservative media influencing and being influenced by politics, and how has it changed since the rise of Donald Trump? Jackie Calmes, spring 2015 fellow, discussed her Shorenstein Center research on Minnesota Public Radio on August 8. Download the podcast.

The world has already seen ‘fire and fury.’ Ted Gup, fall 2003 fellow, writes about his encounters with a Hiroshima survivor and a lieutenant who “wrote the book on nuclear weapons for the Air Force,” and compares them to the president’s “resounding ignorance of history.”

The Low U.S. Unemployment Rate Should Not Be Celebrated. HKS student Haiyang Zhang writes about how the unemployment rate “offers an incomplete picture of the labor market,” in the Kennedy School Review.


Online Platforms and Hate Groups


Conservative Media

Media Business

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