Click to search the Andrew Heiskell Braille and Talking Book Library Skip Navigation

There You Go Again: Orwell Comes to America: Solutions: The Future Political Landscape

November 7, 2007

Viewing videos on requires Adobe Flash Player 9 or higher.

Get the Flash plugin from


Copy the embed code below to add this video to your site, blog, or profile.

On the 60th anniversary of Orwell's Politics and the English Language, George Orwell described political speech as consisting ?largely of euphemism, question-begging and sheer cloudy vagueness. Some six decades later, many symptoms of manipulation and propaganda diagnosed by Orwell persist on the American political landscape, along with new disinformation techniques enabled by modern technology.

Historians, scientists, philosophers, linguists, cognitive experts, journalists, image-makers, and public figures will debate in three separate sessions the current state of political discourse?and journalism's response to it on the dawn of a bitterly contested presidential campaign.

Part I Propaganda Then and Now: What Orwell Did and Didn't Know

Part II Deceiving Images: The Science of Manipulation

Part III Solutions: The Future Political Landscape


Each session will explore the past, present, and future of deceptive political speech, and assess what can be done to bring more realism and honesty into the conduct of America?s public affairs.

This event is co-sponsored by the Open Society Institute.




Ernest J. Wilson III, dean and Walter Annenberg Chair in Communication, Annenberg School for Communication at the University of Southern California



Michael J. Copps, commissioner, Federal Communications Commission

Charlayne Hunter-Gault, broadcast journalist, former CNN bureau chief, and chief national correspondent, The Newshour with Jim Lehrer

Josh Marshall, publisher of Talking Points Memo, TPMmuckraker, TPM Election Central, and TPMCafe

Alessandra Stanley, television critic and former Moscow-bureau co-chief, The New York Times

About Michael J. Copps

Michael J. Copps was sworn in for a second term as a member of the Federal Communications Commission in January 2006. His term runs until 2010. From 1998 to 2001, he was assistant secretary of commerce for trade development at the U.S. Department of Commerce, where he worked to improve market access and market share for nearly every sector of American industry and devoted much of his time to building private sector-public sector partnerships. From 1993 to 1998, he served as deputy assistant secretary for basic industries, a component of the Trade Development Unit. Mr. Copps moved to Washington, D.C., in 1970, joined the staff of Senator Fritz Hollings (D-SC), and served for more than a dozen years as his administrative assistant and chief of staff. He has been director of government affairs for a Fortune 500 company and senior vice president for legislative affairs at a major national trade association. He holds a Ph.D. from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and has taught history at Loyola University of the South. A native of Milwaukee, he lives in Alexandria, Virginia.

About Charlayne Hunter-Gault

Charlayne Hunter-Gault is a journalist and international correspondent who has reported for PBS, NPR, and most recently CNN, as Johannesburg bureau chief. She was the chief national correspondent for The NewsHour with Jim Lehrer on PBS from 1983 to 1997. During her tenure at the NewsHour, which she joined in 1978, she won two Emmys, a Peabody for excellence in broadcast journalism, and a Journalist of the Year Award from the National Association of Black Journalists. She has been an editor for Trans-Action Magazine, a reporter at The New Yorker, and an investigative reporter and anchorwoman on WRC-TV's evening news. She later joined The New York Times as a metropolitan reporter covering the urban African-American community. She has been published in The New York Times Magazine, Saturday Review, The New York Times Book Review, Essence, and Vogue. Born in Due West, South Carolina, she made civil-rights history as the first African-American woman to enter the University of Georgia, the topic of her memoir In My Place. She has received more than two dozen honorary degrees.

About Josh Marshall

Josh Marshall is the publisher of Talking Points Memo, TPMmuckraker, TPM Election Central and TPMCafe. He also writes a weekly column for the Capitol Hill newspaper The Hill. His articles on politics and foreign affairs have appeared in numerous magazines and newspapers across the United States as well as abroad, including The American Prospect, The Atlantic Monthly, The Boston Globe, The Financial Times, , The New Republic, The New Yorker, The New York Post, The New York Times, Salon and Slate. Marshall graduated from Princeton in 1991 and holds a doctorate in American history from Brown. He lives in New York City with his wife Millet, their son Sam, and their dog Simon.

About Alessandra Stanley

Alessandra Stanley was named chief television critic for The New York Times in 2003. Before that, she was a foreign correspondent for the newspaper, serving as Rome bureau chief (1998-2001) and co-chief of the Moscow bureau (1994-1998). She has also covered national politics and metropolitan news for the Times. Ms. Stanley has served as a writer and correspondent for Time, working in Paris, Los Angeles, New York, and finally, Washington, D.C., covering The White House and presidential campaigns. While at Time, she reported from Central America, Afghanistan, Asia and Africa. She has also written for The New York Times Magazine, The New Republic, GQ and Vogue. Born in Boston, MA, Ms. Stanley grew up in Washington, D.C. and Europe, and studied literature at Harvard University. She lives in New York City with her daughter.

About Ernest J. Wilson III

Ernest J. Wilson III became dean of the USC Annenberg School for Communication in July 2007. He was previously a professor and senior research scholar at the University of Maryland, College Park, where he was director of the Center for International Development and Conflict Management. He has also served on the faculties of the University of Michigan and the University of Pennsylvania. His scholarship focuses on the convergence of communication and information technology, public policy, and the public interest. His current work concentrates on China-Africa relations, global sustainable innovation, and the role of politics in the diffusion of communications technology. Nominated by President Bill Clinton and reappointed by President George W. Bush, Dean Wilson is the ranking senior member of the board of directors of the Corporation for Public Broadcasting. He has also held positions with the National Security Council, the U.S. Information Agency, and the Global Information Infrastructure Commission. Originally from Washington, D.C., he earned a B.A. from Harvard College Ph.D. and an M.A. in political science from the University of California, Berkeley.