Justin has been requested by the Hatchery Press to read from his book Saturnalia. The Hatchery Press is a unique and creative space for writers and artists to work and play.

The event will be held from 2 to 4 p.m. on Saturday, May 23, 2015. The Hatchery Press is located in Hancock Park at 5611 Clinton Street, Los Angeles, CA 90004.

For more information, visit www.thehatcheryspace.com

Reeves warns of contemporary concentration camps

USC Annenberg journalism professor, author and historian professor and historian Richard Reeves says there is no doubt in his mind that the United States could again create concentration camps like those used during the internment of Japanese Americans during World War II.

“If a few incidents of terrorism happen again, we could start to round up Muslims in great numbers as we did with the Japanese with no charges except for their religion, just as the Japanese had no charges except for the color of their skin and they looked like the enemy,” said Reeves. “The book is a cautionary tale. The best and the brightest and most revered of Americans were all in on this, and they knew it was unconstitutional and wrong, but it was popular.”

Reeves is a senior fellow at the Center on Communication Leadership & Policy (CCLP). He spoke at a campus event to discuss his new book Infamy: The Shocking Story of the Japanese American Internment in World War II. The book is drawing wide praise, including from the Los Angeles Times, which calls Infamy “a compulsively readable, emotionally rich and passionately written account…as cathartic as ‘Antigone,'” the Sophocles tragedy.

Geoffrey Cowan and Richard Reeves

Listen to the full audio recording of the event here. (Courtesy of Kristin Doidge)

“One of the things that have made the Annenberg School so great the last several years has been having Richard Reeves–who is really one of the nation’s top political reporters and biographers and historians–on our faculty,” said Geoffrey Cowan, USC University Professor and CCLP director.

Reeves said he wrote the book because of its implications for American society. “We are a people of the present and future,” he said. “We don’t look back very much. It’s one of our strengths and one of our weaknesses.”

He explained the circumstances under which the rounding up of Japanese Americans took place, including racial hysteria and fear, as well as the conditions they lived in once interned. Reeves said “jailed” is a more accurate term to describe it, rather than “interned.”

One of the main revelations of Infamy is its portrayal of unlikely villains: President Franklin D. Roosevelt, California Attorney General and later U.S. Supreme Court Chief Justice Earl Warren, journalist Edward R. Murrow, Walter Lippmann, and even Dr. Seuss, all of whom were cheerleaders and ringleaders of what Reeves called “another dark stain on American history” alongside slavery and the treatment of Native Americans.

“It’s a shameful but maybe instructive piece of American history, and something that we all really need to know about,” said Cowan. “The thing that’s so cautionary about the book is that this can happen again with the best people.”

In the April 23 Los Angeles Times review, Karl Greenfield writes, “Reeves’ excellent Infamy, the first popular, general history of the subject in more than 25 years, reminds us that not only can it happen here, it did.”

Click here to listen to Logan Heley of USC Annenberg Radio News interviewing Reeves about his new book.


Photos by Liz Krane

Russian media critic named visiting fellow

Vasily Gatov, a Russian media researcher and author based in Boston, has been named a visiting fellow with the Center on Communication Leadership & Policy. Gatov, 49, has more than 28 years of professional experience in domestic and international media.

“With his impressive background in both academia and journalism, Vasily Gatov is in a position to make an important contribution to issues of the kind that CCLP tackles on a regular basis,” said CCLP director Geoffrey Cowan. “We are looking forward to research, blogs and conversations that will build on his experience with new media and with the challenges that face the Russian press, and to conversations about the role of propaganda and public diplomacy as practiced by Russian state television.”

Gatov is currently working on a book tentatively titled Life, Censored, about the re-emergence of totalitarian censorship of the Russian media. Based on a series of interviews with politicians, government officials, corporate managers, editors, journalists, lobbyists and political consultants, Gatov’s research will attempt to “define the exact logic of the ‘new censorship’ framework and expose its machinery.”

He will also focus on various topics in the field of communications and media. “My interests cover the media technology, new business and organizational models of media companies, media effects and the ‘digital’ specifics of those,” said Gatov.

Gatov’s experience includes reporting on such important events in Russia’s history as the Chernobyl nuclear disaster, the 1991 failed coup’d’état, Boris Yeltsin’s presidency and the first Chechen war (1994-1997). He later served as an executive and strategist for several Russian media companies, including RenTV network, Media3 (Russia’s largest print conglomerate in 2007-2012), and RIA Novosti, a national multimedia news agency. While working for RIA Novosti (2011-2013), Gatov founded Novosti Media Lab, the research and development company, fostering innovation in communication and the social impact of media.

He is a regular contributor to industrial and general publications, both in Russia and globally. He is also a board member in Russian Publishers Guild (GIPP) and WAN-IFRA (world association of newspapers and news publishers).

Gatov’s academic research interests cover the issues of the technological effect on media development as an institution, the censorship and media effects, and media innovation.

Read Gatov’s first blog post for CCLP, an analysis of the Russian media’s response to the U.S.-Iran nuclear deal, here.

VOA chief cites imbalance in international media

The director of Voice of America called attention to the slanted news coverage by state-owned media outlets in foreign countries during the keynote luncheon of an international policy conference co-sponsored by the Center on Communication Leadership & Policy (CCLP) on April 17, 2015.

David Ensor was interviewed by CCLP senior fellow Adam Clayton Powell III at the Pacific Council on International Policy‘s Spring Conference. CCLP director Geoffrey Cowan, former VOA director, introduced Ensor and Powell to the more than 200 people from governmental, non-profit, academic, and private sectors who gathered at the historic and elegant California Club in downtown Los Angeles for the all-day conference.

“It seems lately, does it not, that the world is on fire,” said Ensor, “and is awash in propaganda. Massively funded voices for undemocratic and violent groups are proliferating in this digital age, and it seems like a lot of good information sometimes is not. Voice of America prevailed in the Cold War as a short wave radio broadcaster providing Soviet systems with reliable information. Could Voice of America be part of the answer this time?”

Ensor played a VOA video report on such propaganda and misinformation distributed by entities and countries like ISIS, Iran, China, and Russia. The video emphasized that VOA reports both sides of every story, whereas state-owned media in these countries often do not.

Powell and Ensor
Adam Clayton Powell III interviewing David Ensor

“Some politicians here in America suggest sometimes that we should take a leaf from the propaganda playbook and that VOA should be turned into more of a mouthpiece for the administration of the day, whoever that is, and should promote American policy,” said Ensor. “I think if we go in that direction VOA would lose a considerable part of its credibility and with it, much of the over 170 million global audience which we currently enjoy. What works best is honesty.”

He added that the U.S. needs to take more seriously its “soft power,” including agencies like VOA, which has seen its budget slashed significantly over the past few years.

CCLP director Geoffrey Cowan introducing the keynote speakers

Ensor said VOA uses whatever platform they find works, from short wave radio to Twitter, to “explain our country and our values” to the world, providing unbiased coverage of world events to large audiences in foreign nations, including countries where it’s illegal to watch or listen to VOA, such as Iran and China.

“We make a lot of friends for our country and for our values, and we do it primarily through honest journalism,” said Ensor. “One of the most effective things we do as a country is to tell the truth, to export the First Amendment.”


Various break-out sessions of the conference included panel discussions on such topics as nuclear proliferation, rising tensions in the Balkans, conflict in the South China Sea, government advocacy in the digital age, combating corruption in Latin America, and the situation in Crimea. CCLP faculty fellow Philip Seib spoke on a panel about defeating the Islamic State and combating violent extremism through communications.

During the plenary session, CCLP advisory board chair Mickey Kantor debated U.S. trade priorities with Charles Rivkin, Assistant Secretary of the State Department’s Bureau of Economic and Business Affairs. A major topic of discussion was the proposed Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade agreement, which is currently winding its way through Congress. Kantor said that the United States needs to include China in the regional regulatory and investment treaty.

Kantor and Rivkin
Mickey Kantor and Charles Rivkin debating U.S. trade priorities

“We are joined at the hip with the rest of the world,” said Kantor. “With China, we are missing an opportunity. China has indicated a year ago that it was interested in talking about joining the TPP. We have not reacted to that in an assertive way. We can disagree politically and militarily on certain issues with China, but we have nothing but a joint interest economically in doing things together. So I would hope if we get the TPP done this year that we bring China in.”

Rivkin said the U.S. now has the deepest and most integrated relationship with China than at any other point in American history, but Kantor said there’s more the U.S. can do.

“China is welcome to join the TPP,” said Rivkin. “But this is the highest standard trade deal ever negotiated in history, and China does not [currently] qualify for the TPP. If it can live up to the standards of the deal, China is welcome. I agree the more we work with China, the better off we are.”