Many Americans Say Made-Up News Is a Critical Problem That Needs To Be Fixed. Pew Research Center. Amy Mitchell et al. June 5, 2019.
Politicians viewed as
major creators of it, but journalists seen as the ones who should fix it
Many Americans say the creation and spread of made-up news
and information is causing significant harm to the nation and needs to be
stopped, according to a new Pew Research Center survey of 6,127 U.S. adults
conducted between Feb. 19 and March 4, 2019, on the Center’s American Trends
Indeed, more Americans view made-up news as a very big
problem for the country than identify terrorism, illegal immigration, racism
and sexism that way. Additionally, nearly seven-in-ten U.S. adults (68%) say
made-up news and information greatly impacts Americans’ confidence in
government institutions, and roughly half (54%) say it is having a major impact
on our confidence in each other. [Note: contains copyrighted
[PDF format, 72 pages].
The National Popular Vote (NPV) Initiative: Direct Election of the President by Interstate Compact. Congressional Research Service. Thomas H. Neale, Andrew Nolan. Updated May 9, 2019
The National Popular Vote (NPV) initiative proposes an
agreement among the states, an interstate compact that would effectively
achieve direct popular election of the President and Vice President without a
constitutional amendment. It relies on the Constitution’s grant of authority to
the states in Article II, Section 1 to appoint presidential electors “in such
Manner as the Legislature thereof may direct…. ” Any state that joins the NPV
compact pledges that if the compact comes into effect, its legislature will
award all the state’s electoral votes to the presidential ticket that wins the
most popular votes nationwide, regardless of who wins in that particular state.
The compact would, however, come into effect only if its success has been
assured; that is, only if states controlling a majority of electoral votes (270
or more) join the compact. By early May 2019, 14 states and the District of
Columbia had joined the compact. After early momentum—eight states and the
District of Columbia joined the NPV Compact between 2007 and 2011—the pace of
state accessions slowed through 2018. Since then, four additional states
joined, bringing the total number of electoral votes controlled by NPV member
states to 189. During the same period, legislation to join the compact had been
introduced during the current session in at least one chamber of the
legislature in 14 additional states that control an additional 150 electors.
[PDF format, 32 pages].
Democratic Defense Against Disinformation 2.0. Atlantic Council. Alina Polyakova and Daniel Fried. June 2019
This Atlantic Council
paper is the second edition of “Democratic Defense Against
Disinformation.” The first edition was published in February 2018.
Foreign interference in democratic elections has put
disinformation at the forefront of policy in Europe and the United States. The
second edition of Democratic Defense Against Disinformation takes stock of how
governments, multinational institutions, civil-society groups, and the private
sector have responded to the disinformation challenge. As democracies have
responded, our adversaries have adapted and evolved. As the speed and
efficiency of influence operations increase, democratic societies need to
further invest in resilience and resistance to win the new information war.
Democratic Defense Against Disinformation 2.0 is a report card on efforts and a
roadmap for policymakers and social media companies. [Note: contains copyrighted material].
[PDF format, 32 pages].
SBA Office of the National Ombudsman: Overview, History, and Current Issues. Congressional Research Service. Robert Jay Dilger. Updated April 4, 2019
The Office of the National Ombudsman was created in 1996 as
part of P.L. 104-121, the Contract with America Advancement Act of 1996 (Title
II, the Small Business Regulatory Enforcement Fairness Act of 1996 [SBREFA]).
Housed within the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA), the office’s
primary purpose is to provide small businesses, small government entities
(those serving populations of less than 50,000), and small nonprofit
organizations that believe they have experienced unfair or excessive regulatory
compliance or enforcement actions (such as repetitive audits or investigations,
excessive fines, and retaliation by federal agencies) a means to comment about
[PDF format, 19 pages].
Free Speech and the Regulation of Social Media Content. Congressional Research Service. Valerie C. Brannon. March 27, 2019
As the Supreme Court has recognized, social media sites like
Facebook and Twitter have become important venues for users to exercise free
speech rights protected under the First Amendment. Commentators and
legislators, however, have questioned whether these social media platforms are
living up to their reputation as digital public forums. Some have expressed
concern that these sites are not doing enough to counter violent or false
speech. At the same time, many argue that the platforms are unfairly banning
and restricting access to potentially valuable speech.
[PDF format, 46 pages].
Secular Divergence: Explaining Nationalism in Europe. Brookings Institution. Carlo Bastasin. May 2019
The doctrine of nationalism will continue eroding Europe’s
integration until its hidden cause is recognized and addressed. In order to do
so, Europe’s policymakers must acknowledge a new, powerful, and pervasive
factor of social and political change: divergence within countries, sectors,
jobs, or local communities.
The popularity of the nationalist rhetoric should not be
underestimated. Nationalist parties—like the Italian “Lega,” the French
“Rassemblement National,” or the German “Alternative für Deutschland”—present
themselves as a response to the damages inflicted by globalization in terms of
impoverishment and inequality. Their rhetoric claiming that borders must be
closed is simple and attractive. In fact, empirical evidence does not confirm a
direct relation between open borders and impoverishment in Europe; there is
also no univocal relation between economic inequality or stagnation and the
rise of consensus for nationalist or anti-European parties. Finally, inequality
seems to have increased more within countries than between them. Therefore,
none of the reasons underpinning the claims for closing borders is watertight.
This paper offers a different explanation of the increasing
unease in European societies leading to the popularity of nationalism: the
development of two persistent social dynamics, the first trend driving
individuals to fear their irreversible decline, and the second dynamic leading
more prosperous parts of society to protect their increasing economic
advantages and well-being. These dynamics lead to what I call “secular
divergence,” a trend that does not coincide with the obvious inequalities, and
not even only with regional inequalities. It is rather a protracted sense of
marginality felt by those who fear the unstoppable decline of their profession,
community, or family, and a sense of detachment among those who instead protect
their growing well-being in an unstable world. [Note:
contains copyrighted material].
[PDF format, 16 pages].
Catalyzing Neighborhood Revitalization through Strengthening Civic Infrastructure: Principles for Guiding Place-Based Initiatives. Urban Institute. Aaron Shroyer, Joseph Schilling, Erika C. Poethig. April 16, 2019
Place-based revitalization initiatives seek to make every
neighborhood safe and healthy and to connect them to high-quality services.
These initiatives share a few common characteristics. They concentrate
resources in a specific geography; combine physical revitalization with the
provision of services (e.g., health, education, and job training programs);
leverage existing institutions, networks, and capital; and engage local leaders
and residents. However, they have a mixed track record on whether and how much
current residents benefit from such redevelopment. To address these and other
limitations, more place-based initiatives are starting to marry physical
revitalization with intentional efforts to build civic infrastructure. Civic
infrastructure incorporates a broad view of community assets and therefore
seeks to improve physical and civic assets as well as the processes, practices,
and interactions those assets enable. By strengthening civic infrastructure,
revitalizing physical assets can help create equitable outcomes for residents
and increase community benefits. [Note: contains copyrighted
[PDF format, 42 pages].