When Peter Pomerantsev left Russia in 2010, he was eager to move on from a place where “nothing is true and everything is possible,” where the rulers sought to delegitimize the very notion of objective truth. But upon rejoining the West, he found instead a political climate that was increasingly susceptible to Putin-style cynicism and conspiracy-mongering—and a fertile breeding ground for fake news, influence operations, and disinformation.
In his new book, This is Not Propaganda: Adventures in the War Against Reality, Pomerantesv goes on a globetrotting tour to understand our age of disinformation. From Moscow to Manila to Mexico City, he meets with spin doctors, human rights activists, Twitter revolutionaries, and troll farm workers. In so doing, he finds surprising commonalities among them—and a few clues as to how we can recover a shared foundation of reality in the Internet age.
Peter Pomerantsev is a contributing editor at The American Interest and director of the Arena Program at the London School of Economics. Tune in this week as he joins Richard Aldous to discuss his newest book. And don’t forget to subscribe to the podcast on iTunes, where you can leave a review, and follow Peter Pomerantsev (@peterpomeranzev) and @aminterest on Twitter.