#18 - Martin Gurri: How New Media Has Changed Public Opinion

In this episode of the It’s Not What It Seems podcast, I have an interesting conversation with Martin Gurri. Martin is a geopolitical analyst and student of new media and information effects who spent many years in the CIA looking at these subjects. Following his time at the CIA, Gurri’s research focused on the mode of forces powering the transformation of new media, and has churned out countless articles, studies, and blog posts on the topic, including co-authoring Our Visual Persuasion Gap. Martin’s blog, The Fifth Wave, pursues the themes first elaborated in his book, The Revolt of The Public and the Crisis of Authority in the New Millennium, which is the main topic of our conversation today. Martin has conducted global analysis to identify real trends that have led us to where we are today. And in this episode we’ll talk about how we can move forward.

He recently updated his book to include an analysis of Trump, Brexit, and our current political zaniness. In the words of political economist and scholar Arnold Kling, “Martin Gurri saw it coming.”

In our conversation we’ll discuss:

  • One lesson Martin would advocate to somebody starting their career today (6:35)

  • The problem with the news (11:14)

  • Why “it’s not what it seems” could be the motto for Martin’s book (16:00)

  • What the “Distancing Effect” is, and how it’s bad for society (17:57)

  • The real reason Donald Trump was elected (21:16)

  • What Martin’s Cuban history has taught him about authoritarianism (26:25)

  • What type of leader might be needed to lead us through the revolt of the public (30:12)

  • A surprisingly positive effect of the revolt of the public (37:27)



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