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Friday Nerd(ish) Blegging: Is Soledad Obrien Taking Cues From HBO?

August 17, 2012

The Internets have exploded around Soledad O’Brien’s witty yet friendly push-back against numerous interviewees who refuse to be fazed by facts.

I don’t know about your interpretation of this. But watching her politely yet firmly refuse to look her viewers in the eye and lie about the facts reminds me of nothing less than the fictional newsroom of Aaron Sworkin’s new HBO series “Newsroom.”

Indeed, one might interpret this scene from early in the first season of Newsroom as a political manifesto rather than a form of entertainment:

Now, as an out-and-proud nerd, I’m much likelier to want to write about / reflect about the political significance of Battlestar Galactica or Game of Thrones than Newsroom. But since those are just examples of the broader question on my research back-burner about to what extent popular culture shapes politics (and how we might know), let me throw out a bleg on this particular issue to my more methodologically-inclined readers: how would one design a research project aimed at isolating the causal effect, if any, of HBO’s Newsroom series on trends in real-world journalism?

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Charli Carpenter is a Professor in the Department of Political Science at the University of Massachusetts-Amherst. She is the author of 'Innocent Women and Children': Gender, Norms and the Protection of Civilians (Ashgate, 2006), Forgetting Children Born of War: Setting the Human Rights
Agenda in Bosnia and Beyond (Columbia, 2010), and ‘Lost’ Causes: Agenda-Setting in Global Issue Networks and the Shaping of Human Security (Cornell, 2014). Her main research interests include national security ethics, the protection of civilians, the laws of war, global agenda-setting, gender and political violence, humanitarian affairs, the role of information technology in human security, and the gap between intentions and outcomes among advocates of human security.