It’s been said…

Time for some words from the past. Whether history rhymes, repeats, or we find patterns regardless, I often share quotes from the past that seem highly relevant to the present. I do this to show that we’ve often been in a situation we think is unique to the present. It is not infrequent that past statements have the potential to reveal deficiencies in modern analysis, framing, and recommendations, but your perceptions may differ.

Below are ten quotes that I previously shared on Twitter and likely elsewhere (email correspondence, articles, presentations, etc.). The quotes are intentionally devoid of attribution below. At my other publishing (and, to be honest, where I primarily publish now) site — https://mountainrunner.substack.com/p/its-been-said — each quote is followed by a poll for the reader to select which of three possible years the statement was made. Those polls are time-limited, so pop over quickly as they will close soon. Feel free to leave comments below with your guesses. We’re on the honor system here, so no cheating by Googling or searching this blog.

Continue reading “It’s been said…

The deficiency of “information”

Bio pic of Russ Burgo with the Cognitive Crucible logo inset

This post originally appeared at https://mountainrunner.substack.com/p/the-deficiency-of-information yesterday.

I recently listened to the Cognitive Crucible podcast with Professor Russ Burgos entitled “Information supply, demand, and effect.” Recorded two weeks ago, on 13 September, this was a terrific and timely discussion that had me rewinding and taking copious notes. [Full disclosure: I’m on the Board of Advisors of the Information Professionals Association, which hosts the Cognitive Crucible podcast.]

With the CC interview with Russ focused on the military, incidentally, this past Friday, 30 September, I participated in a Glasshouse video chat where I talked about national-level (and non-military issues) around what I prefer to call political warfare. I will repeat my near-mantra that I oppose the label “information warfare” because information is a munition and because the term evokes a narrow aperture, which Russ spoke to in his discussion on definitions. 

Continue reading “The deficiency of “information”

The Irony of Misinformation and USIA

A clear absence of research, making arguments incongruent with history and facts, and unsubstantiated if-then statements are the kind of malpractice that at some point is more than mere accidental misinformation. With the rare exception, modern calls to reincarnate the United States Information Agency skirt beyond malpractice and misinformation and into the realm of disinformation. Calls to “bring back USIA” are prevalent enough to be a genre of its own. And this genre, while well-intentioned, is a Pavlovian reaction based almost entirely on demonstrably false mythologies.

Continue reading “The Irony of Misinformation and USIA

Neglected History, Forgotten Lessons: a presentation and a discussion

In discussions about how the United States needs to structure its bureaucracies as the nation — and democratic principles in general — is pummeled by propaganda and political warfare, historical precedents are often cited. These examples may be used to show how something worked before or as warnings. For the latter, it is easy to find a reference to the Committee for Public Information as a government domestic propaganda machine. For the former, it is increasingly common to read how the United States Information Agency provides a model to be emulated today. Both are bad takes based on common narratives that are ahistorical and easily debunked, and yet no one has seemed to do so.

Continue reading “Neglected History, Forgotten Lessons: a presentation and a discussion

Comment on “The lost art of ideological warfare”

Alice asking the Cheshire Cat for Directions

There are plenty of discussions today, and for the past many years, about “information warfare,” “ideological warfare,” and, more rarely, “political warfare.” While some may read these as largely synonymous terms, they should convey different meanings which translates into a differing understanding of the threat and thus the response required.

Continue reading “Comment on “The lost art of ideological warfare”