Scholars in the News

Fox Fellow Clint Watts Appeared on a Princeton-Hosted Panel to Discuss the Future of Democracy

Princeton University

While propaganda is hardly a new tactic of war, technology has made it easier, faster and more effective. Defending America’s democracy from the dissemination of fake news and disinformation through traditional and social media is a top concern for today’s policymakers.

A daylong conference, “Defending Democracy: Civil and Military Responses to Weaponized Information,” on Saturday, April 7, at Princeton University, will examine disinformation and the widespread digital dispersion of propaganda. Registration, which is required, is open to the public.

This forum comes at a critical time as policymakers think about how to prevent future attacks from Russia and other foreign adversaries. Helping lay the groundwork for the conference will be keynote speaker David Ignatius, whose recent article, “The Billionaire Who Does Putin’s Dirty Work,” describes Russia’s complex effort to manipulate U.S. public opinion through a troll factory’s generation of fake news. Retired Gen. Michael Hayden, former CIA director, will deliver the final keynote arguing, as he did in a recent article, that the U.S. response to the Russian hack should be in line with our response to the 9/11 attacks.

In between the two keynotes, four panels of top experts from military, computer science, politics and journalism will weigh in on policies needed to protect the United States. Speakers will represent military, computer science, legal, policy and social science expertise. Many of the panelists, like Clint Watts of The George Washington University, were among those to sound the first alarms about these threats.

Read the full report here.