Fake news is everywhere these days. The “fake news” claim was first made by President Donald Trump a few weeks after his election. As the New York Times observes in a major editorial statement alongside graphical images, over 40 world leaders have now employed the President’s “fake news” meme to discredit press reports of their corruption or abuse of power.
Martha Minow recently spoke accepted the Leo Baeck Medal at the Leo Baeck Institute on November 19, 2019. Minow describes what she calls “upstanders,” those who stand up to dehumanizing and oppressive systems and have the courage to act against bureaucratized evil. “To be an upstander,” Minow writes, “may seem daunting especially if it implies solo, heroic action.
The Comedian Sacha Baron Cohen [who became famous playing the character Borat in movies] gave the Keynote Address to the Anti-Defamation League last week. His speech was deadly serious about the real danger of Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and social media. I wrote recently about the “increasing velocity, sophistication, and overwhelming scale” of information and misinformation on social media.”
In The Human Condition, Hannah Arendt laid out her concept of the polis — literally, an ancient Greek city state, but defined more broadly in Webster’s as “a state or society especially when characterized by a sense of community” — as a departure from the ancient understanding of the term...
Behind this narrative of the “dangerous migrant” is a disinformation machine that cultivates the powerful climate of anti-immigration. Unlike the scenario 100 years ago, when nationalism was closely linked to the trial of strength between great powers, we can see a trend that is an irony in itself: the globalisation of nationalism. The target audience in this scenario is the “dissatisfied” citizen..
That politicians lie is hardly news. Politics and truth, Hannah Arendt reminds us, have never been on good terms. "Lies have always been regarded as necessary and justifiable tools not only of the politician's or the demagogue's but also of the statesman's trade." And yet, Arendt raises the question of "what injury political power is capable of inflicting upon truth."
Conor Friedersdorf profiles Hannah Arendt Center NEH Fellow Thomas Chatterton Williams for The Atlantic. Looking at Self-Portrait in Black and White: Unlearning Race, Friedersdorf explores the ways in which the work of Chatterton Williams moves from personal experience. What ensues is a thoughtful engagement with a must read work that strikes out against the ideologically driven politics of our time.
Li-Young Lee describes poetry as an utterance on the ‘dying breath’ and considers the distinct physiologies of exhalation and inhalation. For Lee, the exhaling or dying breath is foundational to the poet’s work and therefore, in Baldwin’s expansive sense of poetry, the work of all artists. I see a connection between Lee’s proposal of the dying breath as the foundation for all poetic...
It is still too early to draw the lesson of the whistleblower who came forth this month to report that President Donald Trump has been running a covert and shadow foreign policy aimed at using United States foreign aid to further his personal and political aims. But it is likely that when the full account of the present is written, we will be shocked by the extent of the deceptions and self-deceptions that have indeed once again become the infrastructure of United States...