Bill O’Reilly ruined the news

Bill O’Reilly ruined the news

Bill O’Reilly may be out at Fox News, but we will be feeling the impact of his show for a long time. This piee describes 10 ways he and Fox News harassed us all. Read the full piece at Salon.

Read the rest at Salon

Why political satire is the antidote to Trumpism

Why political satire is the antidote to Trumpism

I was interviewed by Carlos Maza for this Vox video on how satire is doing a better job than the media covering Trump. Check it out.

Read the rest at Vox

#NoDAPL is #NativeLivesMatter: The protests at Standing Rock are not only about environmentalism, they’re about racism

#NoDAPL is #NativeLivesMatter: The protests at Standing Rock are not only about environmentalism, they’re about racism

The Dakota Access Pipeline needs to be seen as a symptom of the systemic racism inflicted upon Native Americans.  Read the full piece here.

Read the rest at salon.com

Like a double dose of Dubya: Donald Trump’s presidency will be like the George W. Bush disaster — only worse

Like a double dose of Dubya: Donald Trump’s presidency will be like the George W. Bush disaster — only worse

The Trump White House already resembles a far more extreme version of the disastrous Bush administration. Read the full piece here.

Read the rest at salon.com

Is this how our Free Press dies? How our 45th president could spell the end of an independent Fourth Estate

Is this how our Free Press dies? How our 45th president could spell the end of an independent Fourth Estate

Freedom of the Press in the U.S. has been hobbled ever since 9/11 — the election of Donald Trump may just kill it. Read the full piece here.

Read the rest at salon.com

I’m with stupid: The entire 2016 election has been an insult to our intelligence

I’m with stupid: The entire 2016 election has been an insult to our intelligence

Donald Trump isn’t the only one to lie with impunity. Logic, facts and intelligence are the losers in this election. Read the full piece here.

Read the rest at salon.com

“I’m mad as hell and I’m not going to take it anymore!”: Understanding anger in the Donald Trump era

“I’m mad as hell and I’m not going to take it anymore!”: Understanding anger in the Donald Trump era

We hear we need to stop being angry. We hear we need to keep being angry.  In truth, we need to learn to do both. Read the full piece here.

Read the rest at salon.com

Academic witch hunts are back: The new McCarthyism, a sign of the stupidity of the post-truth era

Academic witch hunts are back: The new McCarthyism, a sign of the stupidity of the post-truth era

A new watch list targets “lefty” professors. It would be sad and silly if it weren’t so frightening. Read the full piece here.

Read the rest at salon.com

The system really is rigged: Why “winner-take-all” voting is killing our democracy

The system really is rigged: Why “winner-take-all” voting is killing our democracy

The Electoral College makes it virtually impossible for a third party to challenge the system. Read the full article in Salon here.

Read the rest at Salon

The press has not done its job: 3 ways the media has failed our democracy in covering the election

The press has not done its job: 3 ways the media has failed our democracy in covering the election

It’s not just Fox News — mainstream news organizations have betrayed the public’s trust this election season. Read the article in Salon here.

Read the rest at Salon

Why millennials love Bernie Sanders: This is what Trump, Hillary — and Chris Matthews — don’t understand about how politics has changed

Why millennials love Bernie Sanders: This is what Trump, Hillary — and Chris Matthews — don’t understand about how politics has changed

The media condescends to Sanders the same way it does to millennials. Maybe that’s why he gets their concerns.

Read the rest at Salon.com

The unexpected side effect of Hillary 2016: How she transformed Democrats into “new” Republicans

The unexpected side effect of Hillary 2016: How she transformed Democrats into “new” Republicans

The Clinton campaign has drained many of the ideals Democrats have long stood for.

Read the rest at Salon.com

“The Daily Show” is dead to me: Trevor Noah will never, ever be good at his job

“The Daily Show” is dead to me: Trevor Noah will never, ever be good at his job

We no longer expect Noah to be Jon Stewart. But the show has gone edgeless and dull just when we need it the most.

Read the rest at Salon.com

Maybe Donald Trump has really lost his mind

Maybe Donald Trump has really lost his mind

We’ve become familiar with his ramblings, and at ease mocking them. But they might be the sign of someone unwell. Isn’t it worth finding out?

Read the rest at Salon.com

Bernie Sanders is not a sore loser: Our democracy is screwed unless we fix the unfair rules

Bernie Sanders is not a sore loser: Our democracy is screwed unless we fix the unfair rules

Talking about reforming our undemocratic election rules is how we make the system stronger.

Read the rest at Salon.com

McClennen introduces Bernie Sanders at Penn State.

McClennen introduces Bernie Sanders at Penn State.

Bernie Sanders held a rally at Rec Hall at Penn State on Tuesday, April 19 and I had the honor of introducing him. Check out the speech here.

Read the rest at Judson Mantz on Facebook

I dared criticize Fox News and speak up for Samantha Bee

I dared criticize Fox News and speak up for Samantha Bee

This is how the right roared back at me.

“You’re probably a Lesbian but if you have any kids I hope they die in the next Islamic terror attack,” I was told.


Can a Russian-funded cable network actually promote free press in the U.S.?

Can a Russian-funded cable network actually promote free press in the U.S.?

What will happen to RT America when Al Jazeera America shuts down?

Read the rest at The Conversation

Fox News Stupidly Tries to Slime Samantha Bee

Fox News Stupidly Tries to Slime Samantha Bee

It’s true. Fox News has a satire news show. It is so proud of it that it airs at 3am.  Here’s the story of how it went after Full Frontal and failed.

Read the rest at Alternet

Michael Moore could have died last week: “Trying to get back to just breathing is enough of a burden”

Michael Moore could have died last week: “Trying to get back to just breathing is enough of a burden”

Moore got severely ill with pneumonia and clearly feared the worst. Now he’s trying to save his best film in years.

Read the rest at Salon

There’s no beating Megyn Kelly: What Donald Trump should have learned from her Fox News interview with Michael Moore

There’s no beating Megyn Kelly: What Donald Trump should have learned from her Fox News interview with Michael Moore

Trump won’t debate because he thinks Fox News anchor is biased. He clearly didn’t watch her Michael Moore interview.

Read the rest at Salon

Sarah Palin’s American lobotomy: The Republicans keep making us dumber, and not even Stephen Colbert can save us

Sarah Palin’s American lobotomy: The Republicans keep making us dumber, and not even Stephen Colbert can save us

We know the GOP is angry. The bigger problem is that it’s stupid. And like rage, the idiocy flows down from the top. It is time to take seriously the role that stupidity is playing in shaping GOP politics.

Read the rest at Salon

Michael Moore might save Flint: Moore, Jon Stewart, John Oliver keep proving satirists get more done than politicians

Michael Moore might save Flint: Moore, Jon Stewart, John Oliver keep proving satirists get more done than politicians

Jon Stewart got results for 9/11 responders. Moore got action over Flint’s toxic water. Big wins for comic activism. Read more here.

Read the rest at Salon

What the media can learn from Bill Maher: 1 year after Charlie Hebdo attack, satirists still taking risks news outlets won’t

What the media can learn from Bill Maher: 1 year after Charlie Hebdo attack, satirists still taking risks news outlets won’t

Irony, snarky comedy and satire still remain our best weapons against political folly and media spectacle.  Read the full piece here.

Read the rest at Salon

They created our Bundy/Trump hellscape: Fox News’ angry white audience will destroy us yet

They created our Bundy/Trump hellscape: Fox News’ angry white audience will destroy us yet

47 percent of Fox viewers get all their news there. They are horribly misinformed. And we wonder why Trump leads?

Read the rest at Salon

Donald Trump has made us all a**holes: How 2016 has coarsened us all into Fox News jerks

Donald Trump has made us all a**holes: How 2016 has coarsened us all into Fox News jerks

Trump is polarizing, yes, but the real problem is that he’s making us all obnoxious. Don’t let the terrorist win. Read the rest here.

Read the rest at Salon

Michael Moore’s new film redefines patriotism

Michael Moore's new film redefines patriotism Read the rest at Salon

Fox News’ new war on truth: This is why Donald Trump and GOP field get away with lies

Fox News’ new war on truth: This is why Donald Trump and GOP field get away with lies

Stephen Colbert defined “truthiness” for lies of the Bush era. They’ve gone to a whole new level in 2016 race.  Read the full piece at Salon here.


How pervasive anti-millennial sentiment has hurt the cause of student protesters

How pervasive anti-millennial sentiment has hurt the cause of student protesters

Building on anti-millennial rhetoric, student protesters have been described as overreacting, hysterical, entitled and coddled.

But the critiques and characterizations of the student protesters actually aren’t grounded in any sort of reality. Instead, public response to student protests has been largely based on anecdote, intolerance and a failure to recognize the very real challenges students face today.

Read the rest at The conversation

Republicans Just Don’t Get Stephen Colbert: Why the Fox News-Watching, Climate Change-Denying Crowd Can’t Understand Complex Satire

Colbert’s ratings are down. Republicans are crowing they won’t watch him. Indeed, they are afraid to be challenged.

Read the rest at Salon

Lets Listen to Bill Maher on Paris Religion and Race Maher Walks a Fascinating and Tricky Line

Lets Listen to Bill Maher on Paris Religion and Race Maher Walks a Fascinating and Tricky Line

He’s not always right, but Maher’s posing provocative questions, and answering them with intelligence, consistency.

Read the rest at Salon

Trevor Noah has cratered “The Daily Show”: He has no bite, no message — and has let Fox News off the hook

Trevor Noah has cratered “The Daily Show”: He has no bite, no message — and has let Fox News off the hook

Jon Stewart created a national treasure. Noah has dulled its knife, weakened the satire, let the powerful run free.

Read the rest at Salon

Michael Moores Gutsy New Film: Our Military Has Not Won a War Since World War II

Michael Moores Gutsy New Film: Our Military Has Not Won a War Since World War II

Look out: Moore’s new film opens with assertion sure to inflame the right, then suggests we “invade” for good ideas

Read the rest at Salon

Coddled College Kids Arent the Problem the Lies About Them Are

Coddled College Kids Arent the Problem the Lies About Them Are

Last week, The Washington Post published yet another piece on coddled college students, but this time the blame was on colleges themselves instead of on overprotective parents. 

Read the rest at Truthout

Larry David Saved Bernie Sanders Snl Impression Made Him Human Likable After a Rough Debate With Hillary Clinton

Larry David Saved Bernie Sanders Snl Impression Made Him Human Likable After a Rough Debate With Hillary Clinton

David’s Bernie will be the opposite of Tina Fey’s Sarah Palin. It’s a good impression that leaves a good impression

Read the rest at Salon

Trevor Noahs Master Class Its Not Just Fox News This Is the Topic That Needs Noah Oliver Stewart

Satirists break down the hidden agendas behind complicated issues. We need them desperately on TPP

Read the rest at Salon

The Staggering Ways America Is Rigged to Traumatize and Impoverish Kids Coming Out of College

The Staggering Ways America Is Rigged to Traumatize and Impoverish Kids Coming Out of College

Today’s college students are inheriting a world far scarier than any generation before them.

Read the rest at Alternet

This Is Larry Wilmores Brilliant Moment Its Not All About Trevor Noah on Comedy Central

This Is Larry Wilmores Brilliant Moment Its Not All About Trevor Noah on Comedy Central

Noah hasn’t quite found his footing, but at 11:30 p.m., Larry Wilmore is bringing the brilliance night after night

Read the rest at Salon

Trevor Noah gives Fox News a free pass: The new “Daily Show” could be great for Ailes and Hannity, bad for America

Trevor Noah gives Fox News a free pass: The new “Daily Show” could be great for Ailes and Hannity, bad for America

Trevor Noah debuts tonight, but already there are ominous signs about his approach with this essential institution

(Photo Credit: Comedy Central)

Read the rest at Salon

So much for Stephen Colbert dipping his balls in Donald Trump’s mouth

So much for Stephen Colbert dipping his balls in Donald Trump’s mouth

The Stephen Colbert who interviewed Donald Trump last night was a new one – but no less effective

Read the rest at Salon

Jon Stewart, come back, we need you: GOP debate bulls**t really does need eviscerating

Jon Stewart, come back, we need you: GOP debate bulls**t really does need eviscerating

Just imagine what Stewart would do with the GOP’s anti-vaccine doctors and the ideas that W kept us safe…

Read the rest at Salon

Screw U: The GOP’s War on College Students

Screw U: The GOP’s War on College Students

The Republican platform is out to destroy higher education, and take down students in the process.

Read the rest at Alternet

Stephen Colbert can save us from Trump — but we all must mock this bozo

Stephen Colbert can save us from Trump — but we all must mock this bozo

When even Megyn Kelly and Fox News can’t derail the Trump train, time to turn to someone who can — Stephen Colbert

Read the rest at Salon

Twitter won the GOP debate: A fitting tribute to Jon Stewart, who made citizen-satirists of us all

Twitter won the GOP debate: A fitting tribute to Jon Stewart, who made citizen-satirists of us all

When GOP freakshow and Stewart’s final “Daily Show” converged on the same night, magic was bound to happen.

Read the rest at Salon

Jon Stewart’s real threat to Fox News: You don’t get to define patriotism!

Jon Stewart’s real threat to Fox News: You don’t get to define patriotism!

Post-9/11, critiquing the right meant you hated the country. Stewart was the perfect foil for that false patriotism

Read the rest at Salon

Jon Stewart conquered Fox News: Essential highlights from “The Daily Show’s” 16-years of truth-telling

Jon Stewart conquered Fox News: Essential highlights from “The Daily Show’s” 16-years of truth-telling

The most important American satirist, ever? Take that Ben Franklin and Mark Twain – Stewart comes in at No. 1

Read the rest at Salon

Fox News wore Jon Stewart down: How 16 years of debunking right-wing lies exhausted the last honest man

Fox News wore Jon Stewart down: How 16 years of debunking right-wing lies exhausted the last honest man

Stewart is stepping aside because he’s exhausted by our petty, dangerous politics. Now we’re really screwed.

Read the rest at Salon

Stephen Colbert roars back: Donald Trump evisceration suggests GOP clown car in for a world of hurt

Stephen Colbert roars back: Donald Trump evisceration suggests GOP clown car in for a world of hurt

Afraid we were in trouble without Stewart and Colbert’s truth-telling? A brilliant Trump takedown shows otherwise

Read the rest at Salon

Jerry Seinfeld’s new bizarro world: The sadness of watching a genius age into Bill O’Reilly

Jerry Seinfeld’s new bizarro world: The sadness of watching a genius age into Bill O’Reilly

On “Seinfeld,” Jerry’s lack of self-awareness was part of the joke. Now it’s become the tragedy

Read the rest at Salon

Jon Stewart vs Sean Hannity: We all know who the real “sanctimonious jackass” is

Jon Stewart vs Sean Hannity: We all know who the real “sanctimonious jackass” is

Oh, how funny it is when a Fox News blowhard tries to take down “The Daily Show” and just embarrasses himself.

Read the rest at Salon

Pamela Geller’s “South Park” idiocy: Satire, hatred and the right’s faith-based fear-mongering

Pamela Geller’s “South Park” idiocy: Satire, hatred and the right’s faith-based fear-mongering

Life imitates “South Park” but with one crucial difference: Pamela Geller wants to intensify fear, not dimininsh it

Read the rest at Salon

Our stunted democracy could learn from Kazakhstan: Another Bush/Clinton race doesn’t look free to the rest of the world

Our stunted democracy could learn from Kazakhstan: Another Bush/Clinton race doesn’t look free to the rest of the world

We act superior to countries where leaders are reelected with 97 percent. But to them we don’t look much different

Read the rest at Salon

Clint Eastwood, still a jerk: His new Michael Moore threat, and the GOP’s Fox News derangement problem

Eastwood denies threatening Michael Moore, then does it again. The tough-guy act’s wearing thin for his whole party

Read the rest at Salon

Fox News’ Rolling Stone problem: Imagine a panel investigating Bill O’Reilly’s “war stories” and Megyn Kelly’s hyperbole

We all know “fair and balanced” is a lie. As a result, their “news” isn’t held to same standard as a music magazine.

Read the rest at Salon

Ted Cruz Isn’t an Idiot — He’s Delusional and That’s Far More Dangerous

Since Ted Cruz first announced his candidacy, much has been made of his chances of winning, his arrogance and his extreme conservative views. But most of the controversy over his candidacy centers on his lying.

Read the rest at Alternet

Trevor Noah’s Fox News problem: The real challenge facing the new “Daily Show” host

His tweets aren’t the issue. To have the same political influence, here’s what Jon Stewart’s successor must do (Photo Credit: Comedy Central)

Read the rest at Salon

Listen up, frat boys: You are not Jon Stewart

Last week we got more news of horrible frat behavior coming on the heels of the Oklahoma fraternity scandal. This time it came in the form of a Penn State frat — Kappa Delta Rho — that allegedly operated two closed Facebook pages where members posted pictures of nude, unconscious women, drug deals, and hazing. A former member informed police about the pages and, according to the warrant, members posted comments that suggested they were well aware that the photos crossed the line.

Read the rest at Salon

Read the rest at Salon

Hyping Fear Is an Economic Engine of the News Business, and We All Pay the Price

Much has been made in the last few weeks of the factual nature of the news. Amidst allegations that NBC News anchor Brian Williams was less than accurate in claims about his experiences in Iraq, we now have an emerging controversy over the repeated lies of Bill O’Reilly. But the real story here is not just the decline of truth telling in television news, it’s the way that the truth has been replaced by fear.

Read the rest at Alternet

Read the rest at Alternet

The Surprising Takeaway from the 2015 Oscars—And Why Sean Penn’s Joke Fell Flat

Many of us expected the Oscars to open up a conversation about our nation’s identity, but it’s unlikely that we expected the conversation to be about immigration, Mexicans and cultural diversity. With two films nominated for Best Picture that drew directly on important national events—“American Sniper” and “Selma”—and with the whitest list of nominees since 1995, this round of Academy Awards seemed to be a battle between civil rights and American exceptionalism. And yet it would be a film about a middle-aged, washed-up white actor that would spark a conversation about not just the role of Mexicans in Hollywood, but about the cultural identity of our nation.

Read the rest at Alternet

(Photo Credit: Youtube)

Read the rest at Alternet

I dared criticize American Sniper. You’d be horrified by the response from aggressive, deluded “patriots”

I dared criticize “American Sniper.” You’d be horrified by the response from aggressive, deluded “patriots”

Read the rest at Salon

(Photo Credit: Warner Bros. Entertainment/Salon)

Read the rest at Salon

The Stephen Colbert legacy

If you were following politics over the last few election cycles, you were most likely getting some of your information from satire. In fact, research has shown that in today’s political climate, satire has become one of the most influential sources of public discourse in our nation – especially for younger voters. Sometimes, satirical news shows even create news of their own that’s later reported on by mainstream outlets.

Read the rest at The Conversation

image Lucy Nicholson/Reuters

Read the rest at The Conversation

10 Reasons It Sucks to Lose ‘Stephen Colbert’

As we prepare for the end of The Colbert Report, it is time to reflect on exactly what we are losing as Stephen Colbert retires his character and moves on to host The Late Show. Sure it’s a great move for Colbert. Sure it promises to invigorate late-night comedy and give Colbert a chance to show us the full range of his skills as a performer. But let’s be serious, there is a huge loss here and that loss is the brilliant character Colbert crafted.

Read the rest at The Huffington Post

Read the rest at Huffington Post

Evil Fox News idiocy, unchecked: As Stephen Colbert departs, demented loons set to run free

“The Colbert Report” officially ends Thursday and with it goes one of the most important satire personas in our nation’s history. Following in the footsteps of Ben Franklin’s Poor Richard and Samuel Clemens’ Mark Twain, Colbert’s persona offered us an exaggerated version of one of our nation’s deepest social ills and, as with his counterparts, his focused on a main source for unsophisticated thinking. Colbert’s target? Pundits.

Read the rest at Salon.com

Read the rest at Salon

Stephen Colbert schooled Fox News hard: Comedy, Bill O’Reilly and the exposure of right-wing patriotism lies

As we enter the final days of “The Colbert Report” there is much speculation about what will come next for the comedian when he goes on to host “The Late Show.” One of the most important shifts for Stephen Colbert will be that he will no longer be performing in character as a parody of a right-wing bloviating pundit. While that shift might signal a welcome opportunity for greater creative license for Colbert, it’s worth remembering the unique features of Colbert’s character we will soon be losing — features that include Colbert’s special brand of patriotism.

Read the rest at Salon.com

Read the rest at Salon

Fox News misleads about Jon Stewart: Sean Hannity, Bill O’Reilly and the insane new partisanship

Jon Stewart has been on the interview circuit to promote his new film, “Rosewater,” but many of his comments have turned to partisan politics and the pundits who encourage them. Interviewers have not been able to resist the urge to talk about Stewart’s thoughts on the midterm elections, on immigration, and on the legacy of Obama. But what has been really interesting to watch is Stewart’s comments on Fox News and on commentators like Sean Hannity and Bill O’Reilly.

Read the rest at Salon.com

Read the rest at Salon

Jon Stewart’s war on propaganda: Hannity, Cruz sound as dogmatic as fundamentalist Iranians

“Daily Show” host Jon Stewart’s directorial debut, “Rosewater,” premiered last week amidst a great deal of media buzz. The film stars Gael Garcia Bernal in an adaptation of Iranian-Canadian journalist Maziar Bahari’s account of being imprisoned and tortured after reporting on the post-election violence in Iran in 2009.

Read the rest at Salon.com

Read the rest at Salon

Jon Stewart: Fake news can’t save us

Jon Stewart

Jon Stewart recently talked with New York magazine’s Chris Smith on his directorial debut with the film “Rosewater.” Smith asked Stewart about the film but then quickly moved on to the questions all journalists want Stewart to answer: Does his satire pack enough of a punch? Is he replacing the traditional news with fake news? And, most important, can his show influence politics?

Read the rest at Salon.com

Read the rest at Salon

Does Satire News Influence Elections?

Colbert Stewart

As Election Day looms, The Daily Show ramped up their media coverage by heading to Texas for a week of shows entitled Democalypse 2014: South by South Mess. A Comedy Central show relocated to broadcast on-the-spot election coverage. That should strike us as strange, right? But in all likelihood, it doesn’t. The idea that a satire news show would take election coverage so seriously no longer comes as a surprise. How did satire news become such a major player in news media? And, is its increased social power dangerous for our democracy?

Read the rest at The Huffington Post

Stewart, Colbert and Oliver for the win: Satire, millennials and fear of an extreme right-wing Senate

Colbert Oliver

This week “The Daily Show” ramped up their media coverage of midterm elections by heading to Texas for a week of shows entitled Democalypse 2014: South by South Mess. The guest the first night? Wendy Davis, of course. But before we get too excited at the idea that a satire news show is going to the center of a hotly disputed governor’s race, it’s worth remembering that four years ago today, on October 30, 2010, Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert rallied on the National Mall in an unprecedented media stunt that put satire at the center of political debate. Compared to last midterm election’s rally, “The Daily Show’s” move to Texas may seem like a bit of a letdown.

Read the rest at Salon

Bill O’Reilly finally admits it: I’m really obnoxious!

bill_oreilly2

Recent coverage of Bill O’Reilly’s appearance on Jon Stewart’s “The Daily Show” has highlighted the showdown between the two on the question of white privilege. We have seen multiple stories emphasize the encounter as a “face off” that got so intense that at times the two shouted at each other. But here’s another way of looking at it: Bill O’Reilly just can’t resist Jon Stewart’s logic.

Read the rest at Salon

Jon Stewart knows best: In a Fox News world, we need satire more than “Meet The Press”

jon_stewart3_c.jpg

We know that satire news is increasingly a source of “real” news. We know that Jon Stewart has been voted as the No. 4 most trusted journalist, tying with Brian Williams and Dan Rather (that poll was in 2008). We know that satirists like Stewart have an active and engaged viewership of mostly millennials. And we know that over the years Stewart has been able to attract an impressive lineup of politicians, journalists and other newsmakers to appear on his interview segment.

Read the rest at Salon

Read the rest at Salon

John Oliver is smarter than the State Department: Irony will not defeat ISIS

While we fight a war against ISIS with airstrikes on selected targets, the U.S. is also engaging in a war of ideas. As many who have seen ISIS videos or seen pro-ISIS tweets can attest, the Islamic State group has demonstrated a skill with social media previously unseen in extremist groups. ISIS has successfully used Internet sites, YouTube, Facebook and Twitter to dangerous effect, often with the explicit goal of recruiting more militants.

Read the rest at Salon


Stewart, Colbert save the day: Bill O’Reilly and Fox News’ ISIS insanity makes them more essential than ever

As the nation continues airstrikes on ISIS in Syria and Iraq, the U.S. public is bracing for yet another military conflict in the Middle East. And in order to make sense of this new crisis viewers are finding that “fake news” often offers better analysis than the so-called “real news.” While Fox News’s Eric Bolling called the first female UAE pilot that bombed the Islamic State “boobs on the ground” and coverage on all major news channels mistakenly described ISIS as an imminent threat to the United States, fake news offered the U.S. public a refreshing dose of reality.

Read the rest at Salon


Book Trailer for Is Satire Saving our Nation


Welcome Back! Why College Students Are Better Than You Think

As we all head back to school it won’t be long before faculty, students, and parents start to see Facebook posts, media articles, and other memes about how much our students suck. We will hear the typical rants about the student that doesn’t read the syllabus, buy books, or remember to sign up for classes. In fact, some faculty have already bought “It’s in the Syllabus” T-shirts to proudly wear on their first days.

Now, I’m the first to say that students should avoid asking questions that ARE indeed answered in the syllabus and I confess to my own ability to feel generally exhausted by some of the challenges we face with students that seem to have difficulty taking responsibility for their college education, but I have to ask us all to question the assumption that college students are lazy, stupid, and coddled.

Read the full blog here.


Is Satire Saving Our Nation?

My co-authored book, *Is Satire Saving Our Nation? Mockery and American Politics *is officially on its way to the Palgrave copy editor.  Expected release date is November 6, 2014. Just in time to influence the elections!


Latin American Cultural Studies in the 21st Century

The inaugural issue of alter/nativas –a journal of Latin American Cultural Studies — is now on-line.  I was honored to be included in the stellar line-up.  Click here to read my piece: Where is Latin American Culture? From the Location of Culture to the Ethics of Culture


Looking for Sanity in the Gun Debate? Listen to the Comedians

It is extremely hard to watch the nation convulse over gun control. Those of us concerned with the state of our democracy and with the increasing acceptance of violence as an everyday part of life cringe as we hear the pro-gun rhetoric. We hear that any effort to control guns is tantamount to waging war, to tyranny, and to destroying all of our national values.

But it’s much worse than that. This debate is not just about guns; it’s about the health of our democracy. It’s about the ways that violence, hysteria, and aggression have replaced community, civic engagement, and reasoned debate.

Beyond the real concerns any of us should have over the outcome of this conflict, our main worry should be the fact that the lack of dialogue, the absence of meaningful discussion of the issues, the political posturing, and the media coverage reveal a democracy in crisis.

We have shrill and outrageous statements made in public: Like that of James Yeager, CEO of Tactical Response, a Tennessee company that trains people in weapon and tactical skills, saying that he will be the first to shoot and set off a civil war if Obama takes measures to control guns. Yeager’s plan? If the majority wants to protect itself from guns, then he will have to shoot them.

We have elected state politicians, like Steve Toth (R-The Woodlands) of Texas suggesting that they will attempt to circumvent any federal measure to control guns. Rather than solve the problem democratically, he offers a solution that seems based in secession.

And we have mainstream media figures like Megyn Kelly of Fox News hosting panels on whether the children that appeared alongside President Obama when he announced his gun control initiatives were “props.” Rather then discuss the issues, Kelly chose to focus on the staging.

Then there are the pundits, like Rush Limbaugh, who bristle at the mere idea that the conservative media is hyping up the anxieties over gun legislation. He went after Carol Costello of CNN for reminding viewers that gun control was not equivalent to overturning the second amendment.

Each of these examples reveals the ways that democratic deliberation is suffering in our nation. But thankfully we have comedians in our midst who work hard night after night to bring reason and critical reflection to a nation steeped in hysteria and hyperbole. For years the satire of Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert has served as a corrective to the media sensationalism that frames much of the way the nation thinks about key issues, but their comedic interventions on the gun debate have been both refreshing and insightful.

For example watch this Colbert clip:

So if you are looking for some sanity in the gun debate, turn to comedy. Satirists like Stewart, Colbert, and Maher entertain us while revealing the flawed thinking that is making a folly of our democracy. You may think comedy is just about laughs, but these days satirical comedy is shooting with both barrels.

Read the full blog here.


Will Dunford Help Afghanistan?

Watch this Huffington Post Live Segment where I’m interviewed along with Brian Morgenstern and Chris Tyson on Joseph Dunford’s appointment to lead US forces in Afghanistan.

 

 


You Gotta Love Colbert’s Balls

Last week billionaire and notorious “birther” Donald Trump claimed that he had a “bombshell” that would change the election: he announced that if President Obama would provide him with copies of his college and passport records that he would write a check for $5 million to the charity of Obama’s choice.

Enter Stephen Colbert who immediately responded to Trump with his own “October surprise.” In typical Colbert satirical brilliance, he out-Trumped Trump, exposing the arrogance and megalomania that led to Trump’s bizarre request. What was Colbert’s counter-offer? He would write Trump a check for $1 million to the charity of his choice if he would let Colbert “dip his balls into his mouth.” If you haven’t seen the clip, watch it here:

The joke may be a crude one, but it would be fair to say that Trump asked for it. And you gotta love Colbert’s willingness to put his balls to public service and expose the folly of Trump’s disturbing challenge.

Read the full blog here.


Romnesia Is the New Truthiness: Obama Learns a Lesson From Colbert

By now you have probably seen the video where President Obama refers to Romney’s complete forgetting of his previous political stances as “Romnesia.” Obama supporters are finding this wordplay a breath of fresh air in an election that has seemed to stumble, most notoriously with the first round of Presidential debates. After a relatively dull campaign Obama is getting new energy and new life. And he is doing it by following the example of master wordplay satirist, Stephen Colbert.

In case you missed it, watch video here:

The recent pro-Obama spark started with Romney’s gaffe phrase “binders full of women” during the second presidential debate — a phrase Romney used to refer to the difficulty he had finding qualified women to serve in his Massachusetts cabinet. It was meant to reveal his concern for women in the workplace, but it backfired and left many thinking Romney was both sexist and completely unaware of the realities of women today. The phrase virtually exploded across social media and led to a still ongoing series of “Binders full of women” memes, not the least of which is the Facebook page created before the debate had even ended and liked by 250,000 people in its first 24 hours.

Obama caught the wave and followed the “binders full of women” gaffe by using a smart, funny neologism, Romnesia — a reference to the idea that Romney cannot even remember his previous policy statements. And the result is a real boost of pro-Obama energy in social media, in public discourse, and in the realm of catchy slang that attracts young voters. Needless to say, the twitter hashtag #Romnesia is thoroughly viral, and its presence in social media is complementing the “binders full of women” memes.

Young voters remain the question in this race and, unlike in the 2008 campaign, Obama has yet to thoroughly engage them. Phrases like “Romnesia” are sure to help him connect with those young voters he so desperately needs to win. And a quick scan through the twitter feed shows that this phrase is having the effect of reminding young voters of the Obama that is hip, cool, smart, and on their side. Even though the phrase was first used back in March, it has been Obama’s recent use of it in a speech that launched it to viral status.

While we can’t be sure if the result of Obama using a neologism will serve to bring out the youth vote until the results are in on Election Day, we can be sure that it shows that Obama has finally learned a lesson from Stephen Colbert — witty neologisms can go a long way to helping you engage and energize your audience. When Colbert launched his show in 2005, he introduced the neologism “truthiness.”

Maybe Romnesia will be Obama’s truthiness. Either way it is good to see him learning from an expert on how to get young people to think critically and engage with politics.

read the full blog here.


The Debate You Really Want to Watch: Stewart vs. O’Reilly

On Saturday satire goes toe to toe with punditry when multiple Emmy winner and political comedy guru, Jon Stewart, goes up against Fox’s noble newsman, Bill O’Reilly, in a 90 minute debate. The Rumble in the Air-conditioned Auditorium will live stream for $4.95 on Saturday at 8:00 p.m. with a portion of proceeds going to charity.

So what is this debate really all about and will it overshadow the “real” political debates airing these weeks?

Let’s start by asking what the debate is really all about. Are Stewart and O’Reilly trying to upstage the candidates by actually putting on a good show where issues are actually discussed with some depth? Or is this just more of the ratings race to attract viewers? Can it be both of these at the same time? And more importantly, are we witnessing the final move where political commentary and entertainment are forever entwined?

We can’t answer those questions without stopping to point out that there is a big difference between the two players in this performance. Stewart is a satirist with a show on Comedy Central and O’Reilly is billed as a respected news source on Fox, but many consider him one of the loudest voices in bloviating punditry. O’Reilly wants to be taken seriously and he gets agitated when he is accused of being nothing more than a fear-mongering, fact-bending, blowhard. Stewart, in contrast, is first and foremost a satirist, which means that he wants to get his audience to think while giving them comic relief.

The difference between them is crucial since it marks out what’s at stake. If Stewart gets viewers to think about politics and understand issues while he entertains them that is just pure gravy. And, of course, Stewart has lately gone more directly at political commentary, at times leaving the comedy a bit on the back burner. And it is that blurriness for Stewart that will make this debate even more entertaining for us all to watch. Over the years we have watched O’Reilly and Stewart develop a real camaraderie, albeit one that involves deep ideological opposition. Stewart’s crossing over more and more into direct political commentary, rather than satirical commentary can be seen here in his recent interview on O’Reilly’s show when they pitched the debate:

The more perplexing part of the story is O’Reilly’s fascination with Stewart and his willingness to take Stewart seriously whether as an adversary or a colleague. Watch how chummy he is with Stewart when he appeared on his show:

read the full blog here.


It’s Arithmetic: The Romney Campaign Adds Up to Lies and Insults

We need to continue to thank Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert for using their powerful political comedy to shed some light on these recent developments. The segments they have run show us that Romney’s comments are not gaffes. They are not bloopers. In fact, they are glimpses into the character behind the candidates.

Colbert hit this point home with typical satirical wit when his right-wing pundit character explained that this was “not a crisis for Romney, this is a triumph, because Mitt nailed it! Obama supporters are nothing but lazy parasites.” He then came to Mitt’s rescue by showing him how to “elegantly deliver his message with more panache.” Watch the clip here:

As the mainstream news media stumbles from one campaign crisis to another, we can thank *Comedy Central *for offering us two credible sources on the key issues behind the campaign. Stewart and Colbert combine night after night to offer us a refreshing critique of the media coverage of the campaigns and of the spin offered by the candidates. And they do it while entertaining us.

To trope on Bill Clinton, “It’s Arithmetic.” Colbert and Stewart have shown us that the Romney campaign adds up to lies and insults. Now it’s our turn to do the math and decide what this campaign really adds up to.

Read the full blog here.


Truthiness Is Not a Joke: Lying and Loving It at the RNC

When comedian Stephen Colbert launched his show, The Colbert Report (2005), he introduced the word “truthiness” to the U.S. public. Speaking in character as a bloviating right-wing pundit, Colbert explained that truthiness was thinking from the gut, ignoring facts, and holding beliefs with no basis in reality.

At the time, his main target was George W. Bush, who had repeatedly told the U.S. public during his presidency that things he felt were necessarily true.  The word also emerged in response to claims by the administration that the War in Iraq was about finding Weapons of Mass Destruction. You can watch the segment where he calls the WMD justification a flat out lie here:

It didn’t take long for “truthiness” to enter widespread use and it was named the Word of the Year by Webster’s in 2006.  In those early days, the word held the punch of satire and it encouraged critical thinking about the ways that truth was increasingly absent from policy decisions, media coverage, and public perceptions.

But whatever the context for the word’s role in 2005, we have clearly hit a new era in political discourse where truthiness trumps truth all the time with little, if any, repercussions.  The proof is in last week’s Republican National Convention where truthiness was alarmingly on display at a rate we have never seen in U.S. history.

The worrying trend today is that even when there is abundant evidence of lying, there are no repercussions. It’s a case of lying and loving it. And it needs to be stopped. If on Election Day we no longer care about the difference between truth and truthiness, then the joke will be on us.

Read the full blog on *Huffington Post *here.


Is it Stupid to Study Colbert?

Stephen Colbert just can’t seem to stop causing trouble. First, he stood not 20 feet from President Bush at the 2006 White House Correspondents’ Dinner and tore down the unpopular president with a mock-laudatory speech that went viral overnight. Then, he ceased merely reporting on the ripples in the pond and started jumping in to make his own ripples when he tried to run for president in South Carolina in 2008, sponsored by Doritos, and later testified before Congress on immigration (2010). Shortly after Glenn Beck drew a modest crowd to the National Mall, he and Jon Stewart drew a much bigger crowd to the Rally to Restore Sanity and/or Fear in advance of the 2010 mid-term elections. More recently, he took the unprecedented step of founding his own Political Action Committee (2011), and then undertook a nearly successful effort to use some of the $1.3 million it raised tosponsor the Republican primary in South Carolina in 2012.

Along the way, as if that weren’t enough, he has coaxed fans to alter Wikipedia entries, tweet incessant non-facts about Arizona Senator Jon Kyl, and vote for Colbert to host the Swedish Twitter site. Each of these “stunts” has led to media criticism that he has pushed his satire too far, and into places where it doesn’t belong.

Again and again, Colbert has been called out for not staying within the bounds of his role as a comedian and entertainer. But now, it seems, he’s really overstepped. He’s become the subject of study at our nation’s universities with books and articles and classes dedicated to him. This guy just can’t be stopped!  Read more here.


What I’m Watching: July 4, 2012

Stephen Colbert has called us losers. He got us (and 999 other fan groups based at universities) to buy his Super Fun Pack, filled it with what seemed like a series of gag items, and then asked us all to solve an extremely complex treasure hunt. If we solved it, we would get him to visit our school. So, even though we weren’t exclusively interested in the treasure hunt part of the game, of course we wanted first prize. But we didn’t get it. So, instead we are gunning for second prize.

Read more about the story here.


Interview: Colbert News Hub “The Nation’s News Leader”

Colbert News Hub interviewed me on my latest book, Colbert’s America. Read the full interview here.

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Nancy Pelosi Succumbs to the Power of Colbert

“Nancy Pelosi Succumbs to the Power of Colbert” appeared in the Huffington Post, February 24, 2012.’

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Where’s the Outrage? It Takes Comedians to Stand Up to Newt’s Hypocrisy

“Where’s the Outrage? It Takes Comedians to Stand Up to Newt’s Hypocrisy” appeared in the Huffington Post, January 27, 2012.”

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What’s So Funny? Why Colbert Is Funny and Cain Is Not

“What’s So Funny? Why Colbert Is Funny and Cain Is Not” appeared in the Huffington Post, January 23, 2012.”

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PAC Daddy: Colbert Makes Civics Lessons Fun

“PAC Daddy: Colbert Makes Civics Lessons Fun” appeared in the Huffington Post, January 16, 2012.

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Merry Christmas from Colbert: Satire’s Special Gift

“Merry Christmas from Colbert: Satire’s Special Gift” appeared in the Huffington Post, December  23, 2011.”

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Is There a Way to Be Good Again? How to Be a Man after the Penn State Pedophilia Scandal

“Is There a Way to Be Good Again? How to Be a Man after the Penn State Pedophilia Scandal” appeared in Truthout, November 28, 2011.

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Teaching ‘The Kite Runner’ at Penn State

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Has the Colbert Nation Occupied Wall Street?

“Has the Colbert Nation Occupied Wall Street?” appeared in the Huffington Post, November 14, 2011.

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The Theory and Practice of the Peruvian Grupo Chaski

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Al-Shi’r wa At-Ta’diib

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What’s Left for Latin American Cultural Studies?

“What’s Left for Latin American Cultural Studies?” appeared in the minnesota review 76 (2011): 127-40.

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Teaching Bad Books

“Teaching Bad Books” appeared in the American Book Review, special section “Top 40 Bad Books” 31.2, January/February 2010: 7-8.

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From the Aesthetics of Hunger to the Cosmetics of Hunger in Brazilian Cinema

“From the Aesthetics of Hunger to the Cosmetics of Hunger in Brazilian Cinema” appeared in symploke 19.1-2. (2011): 73-84.

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Torture and Truth in Ariel Dorfman’s Death and the Maiden

“Torture and Truth in Ariel Dorfman’s Death and the Maiden” appeared in Revista Hispánica Moderna 62.2 (2009): 177–92.

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Beyond Death and the Maiden: Ariel Dorfman’s Media Criticism and Journalism

“Beyond Death and the Maiden: Ariel Dorfman’s Media Criticism and Journalism” appeared in Latin American Research Review 45.1 (2010): 173-88.

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Introducing Human Rights and Literary Forms

“Introducing Human Rights and Literary Forms; Or, The Vehicles and Vocabularies of Human Rights” appeared in Comparative Literature Studies special issue on “Human Rights and Literary Forms.” Eds. Sophia A. McClennen and Joseph Slaughter. 46.1 (2009): 1–19.

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The Theory and Practice of the Peruvian Grupo Chaski

“The Theory and Practice of the Peruvian Grupo Chaski” appeared in Jump Cut 50 (2008).

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The Humanities, Human Rights, and the Comparative Imagination

“The Humanities, Human Rights, and the Comparative Imagination” appeared in Representing Humanity in an Age of Terror. Eds. Sophia A. McClennen and Henry James Morello. Thematic issue of CLC Web: Comparative Literature and Culture 9.1 (2008).’ sm_writing_cats:

  • Essays

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Neoliberalism and the Crisis of Intellectual Engagement

“Neoliberalism and the Crisis of Intellectual Engagement” appeared in Academic Freedom and Intellectual Activism in the post-9/11 University. Works and Days 51/52, 53/54.26–27. (2008–09): 459–70.

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Introduction

“Introduction” appeared in Representing Humanity in an Age of Terror, the thematic issue of CLC Web: Comparative Literature and Culture 9.1 (2008) (with Henry James Morello).

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E Pluribus Unum/ Ex Uno Plura: Legislating and Deregulating American Studies post 9/11.

“E Pluribus Unum/ Ex Uno Plura: Legislating and Deregulating American Studies post 9/11” appeared in CR: The New Centennial Review 8.1 (2008): 145–75.

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Repression and Resistance in Higher Education

“Repression and Resistance in Higher Education” appeared in a special issue of Radical Teacher 77 (2007): 15–19.

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Countering the Assault on Higher Education

“Countering the Assault on Higher Education” appeared in a special issue of Radical Teacher 77 (2007): 15–19.

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Area Studies Beyond Ontology: Notes on Latin American Studies, American Studies, and Inter-American Studies

“Area Studies Beyond Ontology: Notes on Latin American Studies, American Studies, and Inter-American Studies” appeared A contracorriente 5.1 (2007): 173–84.

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The Geopolitical War on U.S. Higher Education

“The Geopolitical War on U.S. Higher Education” appeared in College Literature 33.4 (Fall 2006): 43–75.

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Forum: Poetry and Torture

“Forum: Poetry and Torture” with David Ball, Ariel Dorfman, and Gordon O. Taylor appeared in World Literature Today 81.1–2, May-August 2005: 6–7.

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The Diasporic Subject in Ariel Dorfman’s Heading South, Looking North

“The Diasporic Subject in Ariel Dorfman’s Heading South, Looking North” appeared in MELUS 30.1 (Spring 2005): 169–88.

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Inter-American Studies or Imperial American Studies?

“Inter-American Studies or Imperial American Studies?” appeared in Comparative American Studies 3.4 (2005): 393–413.

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Exilic Perspectives on ‘Alien Nations’

“Exilic Perspectives on ‘Alien Nations’” appeared in CLCWeb: Comparative Literature and Culture 7.1 (2005): FTP.

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Poetry and Torture

“Poetry and Torture” appeared in World Literature Today 78.3–4 (September–December 2004): 68–70.

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After Civilization: The Theory and Practice of Introducing Latin American Culture

“After Civilization: The Theory and Practice of Introducing Latin American Culture” appeared in ADFL Bulletin 34.2 (Winter 2003): 6–14.

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Así fue: Anti-colonial Narrative in Alejo Carpentier’s Concierto barroco and Reinaldo Arenas’s El mundo alucinante

“Así fue: Anti-colonial Narrative in Alejo Carpentier’s Concierto barroco and Reinaldo Arenas’s El mundo alucinante” appeared in A contracorriente 1.1 (2003): 51–81.

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(De)Signing Women: Mexican Women Directors and Feminist Film

“(De)Signing Women: Mexican Women Directors and Feminist Film” appeared in Revista de Estudios Hispánicos 36.1 (January 2002): 69–96.

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Comparative Literature and Latin American Studies: From Disarticulation to Dialogue

“Comparative Literature and Latin American Studies: From Disarticulation to Dialogue” appeared in Comparative Cultural Studies and Latin America. Eds. Sophia A. McClennen and Earl E. Fitz. CLCWeb: Comparative Literature and Culture 4.2 (2002).

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An Introduction to Comparative Cultural Studies and Latin America

“An Introduction to Comparative Cultural Studies and Latin America” (with Earl E. Fitz.) appeared in Comparative Cultural Studies and Latin America. Eds. Sophia A. McClennen and Earl E. Fitz. CLCWeb: Comparative Literature and Culture 4.2 (2002).

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Ariel Dorfman

“Ariel Dorfman” appeared in The Review of Contemporary Fiction 21.3 (2000): 81–132.

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Cultural Politics, Rhetoric, and the Essay: A Comparison of Emerson and Rodó

“Cultural Politics, Rhetoric, and the Essay: A Comparison of Emerson and Rodó” appeared in CLCWeb: Comparative Literature and Culture 2.1 (2000).

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Chilex: The Economy of Transnational Media Culture

“Chilex: The Economy of Transnational Media Culture” originally appeared in Mediations 22 (1999): 86–111, and was revised and reprinted in Cultural Logic 3.1 (2000).

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