Social media has come under increasing scrutiny for reinforcing people’s pre-existing viewpoints which, it is argued, can create information “echo chambers.” We investigate whether social media motivates real-life action, with a focus on hate crimes in the United States. We show that the rise in anti-Muslim hate crimes since Donald Trump’s presidential campaign has been concentrated in counties with high Twitter usage. Consistent with a role for social media, Trump’s Tweets on Islam-related topics are highly correlated with anti-Muslim hate crime after, but not before the start of his presidential campaign, and are uncorrelated with other types of hate crimes. These patterns stand out in historical comparison: counties with many Twitter users today did not consistently experience more anti-Muslim hate crimes during previous presidencies.
I woke this morning to the news that the heroic journalist Julian Assange had been arrested. I had heard that the US government was hammering the Ecuadoran government to hand him over. Well they succeeded. The freedom of the press to report on governments gone rogue is held as sacrosanct in healthy democracies. I needn’t say more. We should all be concerned…very concerned. Learn more from this interview with Ryan Grim and this article in The Nation magazine. Long live a free and unfettered press!
The movie The Green Book rocked my world when I learned it was about the musician Don Shirley. I saw him perform in San Jose, California at the San Jose Civic Auditorium downtown in the early 70s. As a piano aficionado I had heard about his studying in Russia and while I enjoyed his Duke Ellington style playing in his trio, what I really liked was his playing of the Russian composers especially Rachmaninoff. To this day I remember the thrill of listening to him playing classical music. I never saw Horowitz perform but I feel I got close when experiencing Russian trained Don Shirley play classical music.