“From Firing Line to The O’Reilly Factor” – Heather Hendershot, CMS/W Colloquium Series, October 22, 2015
Lamenting the state of American political discourse is a popular refrain at present, and it’s not hard to see why. At a time when offensive statements from the likes of Donald Trump and Ben Carson serve not as campaign-ending gaffes but as anabolic steroids for the presidential horse-race; when blowhard cable news anchors generate much heat but little light on the issues de l’heure; and when social media has opened up a whole new realm for shocking anger and abuse, the desire to tune out of political speech altogether and only pay attention biennially and briefly has never been stronger. MIT Professor Heather Hendershot’s forthcoming book, Open to Debate: How William F. Buckley Put Liberal America on the Firing Line — which she introduced at an Oct. 22 colloquium — could not be more timely, with its simple central question: how, exactly, did it come to this? Continue reading “Fired Up, Dumbed Down? William F. Buckley and the Decline of Political Discourse”→
Politics is a capricious business. There’s a parallel universe somewhere in which the main political story of the day is prime minister David Miliband’s first 100 days, focussed on his surprisingly deft and humane handling of the migrant crisis. “Miliband is acting”, grumbles the Daily Mail, “like he’s head of the International Rescue Committee”. Continue reading “The Strange Death of Centrist England?”→
After three years, last month marked my final days at the Oxford Internet Institute. Originally I came just for a 10 month masters degree, but subsequent appointment as a Research Assistant allowed for an even deeper exposure to and engagement with a wide range of Internet-related research. The work I did at Oxford is more formally listed elsewhere, but below are some summaries of my work on the various projects I was involved with, followed by some more general parting thoughts. Continue reading “Ex Oxon”→
#JezWeCan? It’s a laughable comparison, of course: the engrossing election of 2008 which brought the United States its first African-American president, at the expense of its first female one, propelled by the power of hope, change, and the unifying rhetoric of the most gifted politician the twenty first century has so far seen. Continue reading “Welcome to Britain’s First Ever Prime Ministerial Primary”→
In a talk I gave at the Data Power conference in Sheffield a couple of weeks ago, I posed the following thought experiment: what if Mark Zuckerberg woke up feeling like Rupert Murdoch? For decades it’s been accepted – if seldom celebrated – that Murdoch’s red-tops command serious influence over the British electorate. Not for nothing, then, is it said that ‘it was the Sun wot won it‘ for John Major’s Conservatives in 1992; similar arguments could be made for each general election since, not least the most recent one. Continue reading “What’s at the end of Facebook’s rainbow?”→
The following is a slightly edited version of a talk I gave at the Data Power conference in Sheffield this week, presenting work by myself and Ralph Schroeder.
The question of what drives news coverage far pre-dates the Internet and the rise of social media, and over the decades – or indeed the centuries – of mass media, myriad explanations have been offered in answer. Continue reading “Big Data – What’s New(s)?”→
Big UK Domain Data for the Arts and Humanities. (With Helen Hockx-Yu and Jane Winters) Invited presentation to the International Internet Preservation Consortium General Assembly, Stanford University, CA, USA, April 2015.
We’ve blazed through a quarter of 2015 already, so the long Easter weekend provided a rare opportunity to take stock. Given that my last blog entry was sent from balmy Chile a while back, it seems like a good idea to offer some updates here too. So, below is a project-by-project summary of what I’m working on and what’s on the horizon… Continue reading “Quarterly Learning Report”→