Today we are all Osama: Jihadists’ reaction to Bin Laden’s death (guest blog)

One of Al Qaeda’s most potent tools is the Internet. It acts as a communication and recruitment platform for the loose network of  ‘jihadist’ activists and their supporters around the world. Mina Al-Lami is a research fellow at the LSE who has been monitoring these sites over the last few years. Here is her fascinating account of the way they […]


Why The Media Is Right To Focus on Osama Bin Laden The Man

A lot of sensible people are telling us not to assume that Al Queda is fatally damaged now that it’s most prominent leader has been killed. They worry that if we focus in on the man, we may ignore the wider terrorist movement. The media often gets accused of personalising issues and it’s clear from the American newspaper front […]


Who Are We Fighting The Information War With?

This is the first of a couple of blogs stimulated by a visit to POLIS/LSE by members of Hillary Clinton’s 21st Century Statecraft team, the digital diplomats from the State Department. Hillary Clinton’s internet advisor Alec Ross gave a compelling speech at POLIS LSE in which he set out a positive but realistic agenda for global digital democracy. But there […]


US Militia, Wikileaks and the Tea Party: how alternative new media is destroying traditional ideas objectivity (guest blog)

If people feel that mainstream media is ignoring alternative politics, then they can now create their own media. But how should traditional journalism respond? Should it change its ideas of impartiality to reflect the real diversity of contemporary politics? This is Polis Summer School student Steven Linett’s course paper that tackles this complex problem, citing media around the rise of […]


Freedom of Expression: A Test of Democracy (Guest blog)

One of the joys of the LSE and the Polis Summer School in particular, is seeing different political philosophies collide. Katy Kinney from Iowa is active in one of the heartlands of American democracy, a state famous for its special role in the US elections. So perhaps it’s not surprising that she found it thought-provoking and even challenging when we […]


Blair at Chilcot: 'The Superbowl of Self-Justification'

Tony Blair’s resolute, unchanging, self-affirming appearance at the impotent Chilcot Inquiry reminded us of the Politician’s Virility Dilemma. If they change their minds or admit fault then they are seen as weak. If they stick to their guns they are seen as strong but wrong. We in the media and the public can enjoy 20-20 hindsight while those who make […]

January 30th, 2010|Journalism, Politics|2 Comments|

The Jihadist style journey from the desert to Moss Bros (guest blog)

Terrorists love the Internet. Al Qeda is one of the Web’s most successful political organisations. So it is important that we pay attention to what the extremists say online. A research fellow working with Polis was watching as an Al Qeda operative made threats that sought to influence last week’s German election. What is fascinating is how they adopted their […]

September 29th, 2009|Research|0 Comments|

Free media is doomed?: Polis at Ditchley II

Some more thoughts (not all mine, by any means) from this week’s conference on Media and Democracy at Ditchley Park. Free media: exception or rule? It is commonly asserted that we in the industrialised West have had something that approximates to a liberal democracy partly thanks to a free and robust media (OK, I know about Chomsky etc but stick […]


7/7: The London Bombings: Media and Miracles amidst the mayhem

It’s three years since I edited Channel 4 News on the day of the London Bombings. On that day I had just returned from editing a series of programmes with Jon Snow in Africa. The following morning I cycled from my home in London past the sites of the bombings to work in central London.

We’ll be discussing the coverage […]

July 7th, 2008|Uncategorized|0 Comments|

The Bin Ladens: meet the family

It is now one of the most notorious names in recent history, but the Bin Ladens are interesting for more than producing Osama, America’s No 1 Enemy. They also represent the tensions within modern Islam and especially the Saudi version of it. Pulitizer prize-winner Steve Coll has now written the most comprehensive and stimulating history of the Bin Laden clan […]