Jan 28, 2020
The author of 'Shadow Network: Media, Money, and the Secret Hub of the Radical Right' and Joe Miller discuss how media public policy has helped the Right seem bigger than they are.
Anne Nelson (@nelsona) is the author of ‘Shadow Network: Media, Money, and the Secret Hub of the Radical Right’ (Macmillan, 2019) and lecturer in the fields of international affairs, media and human rights. As a journalist she covered the conflicts in El Salvador and Guatemala, and won the Livingston Award for best international reporting from the Philippines. She served as the director of the Committee to Protect Journalists. In 1995 she became the director the international program at the Columbia School of Journalism, where she created the first curriculum in human rights reporting.
Since 2003 Nelson has been teaching at Columbia’s School of International and Public Affairs (SIPA), where her classes and research explore how digital media can support the underserved populations of the world through public health, education and culture.
Nelson is a widely published author. Her 2009 book “Red Orchestra” describes the way media was used for both propaganda and resistance in Nazi Germany, and was published to wide acclaim in the U.S. and Germany. In October 2017, Simon & Schuster published her book “Suzanne’s Children: A Daring Rescue in Nazi Paris,” telling the story of a rescue network in Paris that saved hundreds of Jewish children from deportation. The Wall Street Journal praised the way the book “vividly dramatizes the stakes of acting morally in a time of brutality.” It was named a finalist in the National Jewish Book Awards. The work was published as “Codename: Suzette” in the UK, and as “La Vie Heroique de Suzanne Spaak” by Robert Laffont in France. It is available as an audiobook, read by Nelson, and was released in paperback in October 2018.
Nelson’s play “The Guys,” based on her experiences following the September 11th attacks, has been produced in all fifty states, fifteen countries, and as a feature film. It has been widely used to fund local fire departments and related causes such as trauma counseling and burn treatment centers.
Nelson also has long experience in philanthropy. She has consulted for the Rockefeller Foundation, the Gates Foundation, the Knight Foundation, among others, in areas of human rights, freedom of expression, social and economic development, and media policy.
Nelson is a graduate of Yale University, a 2005 Guggenheim fellow, and a 2013 Bellagio Fellow. She is a fellow at the Arnold A. Saltzman Institute of War and Peace Studies at Columbia, and a member of the New York Institute for the Humanities and the Council on Foreign Relations.
Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and billionaire Democratic mega-donor George Soros called out Facebook’s apparent intention to get President Trump re-elected. The social media platform continues to maintain its policy of allowing ads placed by politicians that contain falsehoods to remain on the platform. According to Bloomberg, in a speech at the World Economic Summit in Davos, Mr. Soros stated “I think there is a kind of informal mutual assistance operation or agreement developing between Trump and Facebook”. He went on to say that Facebook and Trump will work to protect each other.
At the Sundance Film Festival and in an Atlantic interview, Ms. Clinton expressed similar concerns and said that Zuckerberg’s philosophy of letting its users “decide for themselves” what’s true or false is an authoritarian perspective.
According to new reports in the Guardian, Amazon Founder and CEO Jeff Bezos’s smart phone was hacked in 2018. Forensic investigators reportedly found a “high probability” that a malicious file that was embedded within a WhatsApp conversation between Mr. Bezos and Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, scoured Bezos’s phone for personal information. The Hill notes that 9 months later, the National Enquirer revealed details of Mr. Bezos’s extramarital affair, although both Saudi Arabia and National Enquirer former parent company American Media Inc., both deny Saudi Arabia’s involvement. 2018 was also the year that Washington Post journalist Jamal Khashoggi was murdered, a murder the U.S. concluded was ordered by bin Salman—an allegation that bin Salman and the Saudi government deny. President Trump has backed bin Salman and the Saudi government’s denials of the murder.
In addition to controlling Amazon, Mr. Bezos also owns Washington Post, so multiple lawmakers and cybersecurity experts believe the alleged hack, reportedly conducted with tools linked to a bin Salman associate, was designed to suppress reporting on Mr. Khashoggi’s murder. On Wednesday, Bezos tweeted a photo of himself standing with Mr. Khashoggi’s fiancé under the hashtag #Jamal.
Hackers gained access to several NFL teams’ social media profiles on Monday, including those of the San Francisco 49ers and the Kansas City Chiefs, who are set to face off in Super Bowl 54 next Sunday. The hackers got into the teams Twitter Facebook and Instagram accounts. The hackers removed profile pictures, bios and headers. Other teams affected included the Dallas Cowboys, Philadelphia Eagles, the Houston Texans, the New York Giants, the Chicago Bears, and the NFL’s official Twitter account.
Rodney Scott, the 27-year Customs and Border Patrol veteran whom President Trump tapped to lead the agency, has reportedly been a member of the same Facebook group that led to his predecessor’s firing. The Facebook group “I’m 10-15”—10-15 is the code name CBP officers use to communicate that they have a so-called alien in custody—has been the site of racist and misogynistic attacks against Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, in addition to other racist and sexist posts. Former CBP Chief Carla Provost retired after it was discovered that she was a member of the group.
Finally, the Washington Post reports that Georgetown University and the DC Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs are working on a new algorithm to go after slum lords in the District of Columbia. The Washington Post had reported back in 2017 that Sanford Capital, which owns several buildings in the District, maintained poor conditions including broken doors, rat infestations and problems with heat and sewage, even as they received millions in taxpayer subsidies. The new algorithm will be designed by Georgetown students and with the goal of improving efficiencies in an understaffed and unwieldy building inspection system.