Day: December 31, 2018

Background Briefing: December 31, 2018


The Consequences of Hate Speech

We continue on this New Years Eve with our look back on some important stories of 2018 and go to an interview from October with Ruth Ben-Ghiat, a Professor of History and Italian Studies at New York University and a cultural critic who writes on fascism, racism, authoritarian rulers and propaganda. She joins us to discuss her article at CNN, “Mail bombs: Hate speech can have consequences” and we examine some historical parallels with the rise of Mussolini in the 1920’s and rise of political violence in America today under a president who has been inciting political violence throughout his campaign and presidency. We will also assess whether Trump will resort to a “Reichstag fire” event to distract the public and inflame his base prior to the election.


 Trump’s Propagandist-in-Chief

Then we go to another interview from October with Chuck Collins, who directs the Program on Inequality and co-edits at the Institute for Policy Studies about his new study at “Billionaire Bonanza 2018: The Role of Dynastic Wealth” and his article at The Guardian “The wealth of America’s three richest families grew by 6,000% since 1982”.  With former Fed Chairman Paul Volker warning “we are developing into a plutocracy”, we will discuss how since 1982, the Walton, Mars and Koch families have seen their wealth increase by 6,000% while the median household wealth went down 3% over the same period.

Trump’s Propagandist-in-Chief

Then back following an election in which Fox News made no pretense at being a journalistic outlet with Sean Hannity appearing on stage at a rally with Trump and Fox & Friends host Ainsley Earhardt telling the press to report the news the way Trump wants it, we speak with Yochai Benkler, Professor of Law and co-director of the Berkman Klein Center for Internet and Society at Harvard University. He joins us to discuss his new book “Network Propaganda: Manipulation, Disinformation, and Radicalization in American Politics” and Trump’s enabler in propaganda Rupert Murdoch and the phony war with the press on display today in the White House with Trump casting the press as the enemy of the people to distract from the obvious fact that the truth is the enemy of Donald Trump.