FROM Michael Sragow
Pop Culture's Affect on Politics The TV show 24 portrays a hero who saves the country by violating the law. His use of torture is part of a hit program. An Inconvenient Truth is Al Gore's power-point lecture on global warming. For a movie-going audience, that might be the perfect sedative. But it's made more money than some big-time features and last night it won two Oscars . Both on stage with Leonardo DiCaprio and after the ceremony, Gore joked about another presidential run. Whether or not he does run again--or sparks action on climate change--one thing is clear: entertainment and politics really do mix. Do audiences get it? Are the messages getting through?
Mixed Messages from US diplomats on the new hard line on Syria Since President Trump's surprise retaliation against Syria's use of chemical weapons, Bashar al-Assad has used the same airport to launch conventional attacks on his own people. It's not clear what the US, its allies — or Vladimir Putin's Russia -- plan to do now.
Is Venezuela becoming a dictatorship? Venezuela may have the world's largest oil reserves, but it's a nation in trouble… economically and politically. Is a populist promise to rescue democracy turning out to be a prelude to dictatorship?
Why Don't Facts Matter? "Fake News" may have a long history, but social media and 21st Century politics have brought it front and center. One reason for its appeal and its power is the tendency of so many people to cling to their beliefs — even when confronted with contradictory evidence. Today, another look at the Emotional States of America.