Tag Archive: Internet

Social media and the fall of Brian Williams

Brian Williams as Willi Vanilli

Brian Williams as Willi Vanilli

Chris Cillizza wrote a short Washington Post piece last Friday entitled “Who had the worst week in Washington? NBC’s Brian Williams.” Cillizza’s op-ed described how NBC Nightly News anchor Brian Williams was taken down by social media. In particular, Williams was placed on six months’ unpaid suspension, and may lose his job permanently, as a direct result of a Facebook comment by helicopter flight engineer Lance Reynolds, who disputed Williams’ oft-repeated story about being on a helicopter that was hit by enemy fire during the Iraq War. The social media takedown of Brian Williams was a keen observation by Cillizza, but social media are responsible for much than just Brian Williams’ job status. The Brian Williams debacle might be remembered as the moment where social media, and the Internet itself, overtook  television.

Illegal on the Internet, or just stupid?

Angry Internet posting cat

Angry Internet posting cat

Elizabeth Lauten‘s resignation and a case pending with the U.S. Supreme Court regarding Facebook posts give us a good reminder about what’s stupid, if not outright illegal, to post on the Internet.

The FCC’s Net Neutrality outrage of the week?

Net Neutrality gravestone

Net Neutrality gravestone

If you needed more evidence that the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) is captured by big corporations and ready to take a dive for them on Net Neutrality, that evidence seemed to arrive this week. Many of you know that Net Neutrality, i.e., the idea that companies should not be able to speed up, slow down or otherwise herd Internet users into particular affiliated corners of the Internet, generated over one million comments to the FCC, a record-setting amount. The FCC’s website got so overloaded that it shut down, and the FCC had to extend its Net Neutrality comment period, a rare occurrence. But now comes Gigi Sohn, the FCC’s Special Counsel for External Affairs, who said in an NPR interview that:

A lot of these comments are one paragraph, two paragraphs, they don’t have much substance beyond, ‘we want strong net neutrality.’

Would Chris Christie’s resignation help him run for President?

As Chris Christie faced a devastating weekend of Bridgegate accusations, staff resignations and Super Bowl-related boos, some in the media, such as CNN’s Candy Crowley, openly wondered whether Christie should resign his new position as Republican Governor’s Association Chair. Political talk show host Mark Thompson of the Sirius Progress satellite radio channel recently went a step further, stating that, if Christie resigns as Governor of New Jersey, the Bridgegate investigations that are hounding him could go away, preserving Christie’s ability to run for President. The premise of Thompson’s theory, apparently, is that the voters have a short memory and won’t be thinking about Bridgegate in 2015 and 2016 should Christie toss his hat into the ring.

Guest Post: Last Days of the Disinformation Age

Messaging Matters presents this guest post from Kenny Pick, creator and host of the “Turn Up the Night with Kenny Pick” political talk show:


Did you know that fluoride was introduced to the American water supply as a Communist mind-control plot? Remember the kid from the Life cereal commercials, Mikey? His stomach exploded from drinking soda and eating pop rocks. What about all the Satanic heavy metal music in the 80’s that was responsible for a rash of teen suicides in America? How about those FEMA Death Camps that await us all? Also, the HPV vaccination that causes mental retardation, and the Obama administration‘s deep ties to the Muslim Brotherhood.

There is one thing each topic has in common: They are false statements easily disproved by a simple internet search. They are myths, urban legends, lies, and most importantly, disinformation.

Messaging Maxim #3: There’s an Invention Called Video

Newt Gingrich is the latest politician to be nailed by his own words stated on camera. Gingrich seems to be stuck in a 1990s political messaging mentality. Back then, unless a dogged interviewer had the smoking gun videotape statement ready to roll, a la Michael Douglas‘ video attack on Demi Moore in the movie “Disclosure”, a politician sometimes could get away with making extreme, stupid, or wrongheaded statements, even on camera, because the footage might not swiftly get replayed.

Those days are gone, thanks to YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, and the proliferation of media.