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About the Author

Kathleen Hall Jamieson is Elizabeth Ware Packard Professor at Annenberg School for Communication of the University of Pennsylvania and director of its Annenberg Public Policy Center.

Includes the name: Dr. Kathleen Hall Jamieson

Image credit: Kathleen Hall Jamieson

Works by Kathleen Hall Jamieson

The Obama Victory (2010) — Author — 41 copies
Electing the President, 2004: The Insiders' View (2006) — Editor — 18 copies
Electing the President, 2008: The Insiders' View (2009) — Editor — 16 copies

Associated Works

The Oxford Handbook of Rhetorical Studies (2017) — Contributor — 12 copies
Sources: Notable Selections in American Government (1996) — Contributor — 10 copies


Common Knowledge



Written in 2007, it has only become more relevant in the past few years. Good tips on sluthing out facts in the modern world. Needs an update, though!
addunn3 | 11 other reviews | Nov 6, 2023 |

Let's say you're an media expert, an Ivy League professor with decades of experience studying and teaching at a prestigious school of communication. You have all these theories -- many considered ground-breaking and innovative by your colleagues -- about how to influence the masses. Let's also say you're a lifelong partisan, eager to help your Presidential candidate any way you can. You have direct access to as many students, opinion leaders, party operatives -- even the opposition, all with nearly limitless amounts of cash.

By contrast, imagine you're an officer in the Russian Intelligence Service with a a few hundred thousand dollar budget to spend on social media ads in order to "influence the American election". You command a secretive staff with poor English skills, few if any of whom have direct cultural experience in the rural U.S., with salaries far less than they might command if they were true social media experts.

Pit your Ivy League Professor and your Russian against each other in an actual US Presidential Election with high stakes and literally billions of dollars of direct and indirect spending on influencing the result.

The esteemed Professor Kathleen Hall Jamieson of the prestigious Annenberg School of Communication thinks the Russians won in the 2016 election and she has a 300-page, heavily footnoted book to prove her case.

I picked up this book out of pure curiosity. You'd think that anyone who's made a career out of studying communications would genuinely like to understand how a few government bureaucrats from a foreign culture, using a minuscule social media budget, could outsmart her and her entire academic establishment.

Sadly, in this book she demonstrates no such curiosity. Her obvious disdain for anyone who disagrees with her politically blinds her to the obvious: maybe the people who voted for her opponent were doing so out of their own free will, because they *liked* their candidate. In an national election with essentially unlimited resources on both sides, whatever the Russians did was so comparatively trivial that it genuinely boggles me how a serious academic could entertain this as a serious enough possibility to warrant an entire book.

In page after page, she documents her theory of how media influences people, without noticing how her theory implies by definition that she and her political allies were themselves outwitted by the Russians. She compiles example after example of Russian ads that, despite their poor grammar, achieved incredible page views -- (sarcasm alert) one even topped 300,000 likes! This, in an election where more than 100M people voted, and where no national news publication could remain in business if its best day was a mere 300K views. Nevertheless, despite this obvious drop-in-the-bucket effect, Dr. Hall-Jamieson believes the Russians were so clever that, in fact, not only did they influence the election, they were probably the decisive factor!

The glaring question that the Professor never addresses is: if it's this easy, why didn't *you* do it? Or for that matter, why didn't the cash-strapped Russian Intelligence service use their genius-level social media skills to, say, get rich instead? No marketing department in the world would pass up such a large return on their investment. Imagine if the Russians would apply their talents to ... anything -- they'd have far more influence than simply "overturning" a US election.

Now, I'm no academic and I certainly can't match Dr. Jameison's understanding of the mass media, so forgive my obvious ignorance here, but isn't it possible that it's *she* who is being influenced, by her fellow partisans in the media, to grasp desperately at whatever straw she can in hopes that somehow she's smarter and better than the naive masses who, maybe just maybe, choose their President for their own messy reasons, and are no more influenced by outsiders than she is?
… (more)
richardSprague | 2 other reviews | Mar 26, 2022 |
This was an informative read. It was interesting, and it was also written well and was easy to understand and fun to read. I would recommend it to everyone.
queenofthebobs | 11 other reviews | Aug 17, 2019 |
As an avid reader of everything I can find about the 2016 presidential election I find myself concluding that the Russian government under the direction of Vladimir Putin interfered in said election to the benefit of Trump and the detriment of Clinton. However, despite my intense feelings on this subject, I was unable to conclude with certainty that the efforts by the Russians did in fact help elect Trump. However, after reading this book, I have no doubt that in this close electoral college victory, the Russian impact did in fact have enough of an impact that they helped sway enough votes to elect Trump. The author looks at and explains how the Russian's efforts were aided by our press, social media platforms, the candidates themselves, the political parties and the public who was extremely polarized making them susceptible to "fake news." This is a brilliant scholarly look at the last election with advise from the author on how to avoid this happening again.… (more)
Susan.Macura | 2 other reviews | Jan 27, 2019 |


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