Office Hours with Karpf and Loge
By Peter Loge
Karpf and Loge are George Washington University associate professors who think they’re smarter and funnier than they really are. Karpf is the author of several books on digital politics and once sort of accidentally made Bret Stephens cry. Loge has spent 30 years working in politics and strategic communication and is unreasonably proud of getting a 10/10 on RoomRater.
Office Hours with Karpf and LogeJun 07, 2022
TTFN - Democratic institutions are under attack. Don't just defend them - promote them
On the final episode of before an extended hiatus, Karpf and Loge talk APSA and a hotel strike, ethics of deciding whose money to take, and critical need to not only defend democratic institutions, but also to pro-actively promote them. Hiatus note: We're available for conferences, weddings, Arbor Day parties, or whatever special occasion calls for hot takes with footnotes. TTFN.
It's time for academics to play offense.
Karpf and Loge encourage academics and researchers to keep focusing on challenges facing society, and for universities and funders to make a loud and consistent case for the importance of that research. It's past time to play offense. Plus we make fun of Elon Musk.
Strategic comms and the social media cafeteria.
Thoughts on Threads, Post, Blue Sky, podcasts and what strategic comms professionals should do about all of it. Dave is also still concerned about climate change and the end of the world.
Trump, Messi and the Red Bike Guy
Like everyone else, Karpf and Loge are tired of Trump but keep talking about him anyway. They also talk about Red Bike Guy and the power of mockery, and lessons for Major League Soccer and Messi from strategic political communication.
Musk, COVID lessons and Trump 2024 is Slim Shady 2002 and more
On a post-season pre-summer school bonus episode Karpf and Loge talk Musk, comms lessons learned from the US COVID response, CNN, Trump channeling Eminem's 2002 hit "Without Me," and political attacks and political narratives.
There's a writers' strike, and it shows. Plus AI "news" and porn in Utah.
Karpf and Loge talk about the comms and content of the writers' strike, AI generated "news" sites, partisan "news" and the endless gunk it's creating, and PornHub versus Utah in a debate no one wants to admit they have a stake in.
Emergency Pod: Tucker, Twitter, DeSantis, AI and Taco Bell
On an emergency podcast Karpf and Loge talk Tucker Carlson and Fox, Twitter blue check mayhem, Disney suing DeSantis, an RNC AI stunt, and a strat comms lesson from cheese in Taco Bell products. It's been quite a 72 hours.
Structural power matters, tips for policy comms, and Musk continues to be Musk
Karpf and Loge discuss the importance of structure and power in policy change and elections, and the limits of comms given power and structural constraints. Plus we offer tips for people doing policy comms, and Karpf points out one more way in which Elon Musk, Elon Musks.
Trump, Musk and DeSantis' strategic comms failures, colleges as rhetorical constructions, mammoth meatballs & more...
The politics of Trump haven't changed, but he's a pundit employment machine; Musk and DeSantis continue to fail to think "what now, what next, then what?"; colleges as rhetorical constructions to attract students and raise money; a meatball made of extinct woolly mammoth DNA; and an old WWII fort off the English coast that claims to be a country, is half the size of a soccer field, and has its own national soccer team.
Trump, Silicon Valley Bank and other failures
If Trump is arrested most voters will say 'I told you so,' but that doesn't make getting indicted a sound political strategy. The argument for what the failure of Silicon Valley Bank means is underway and will determine what, if anything, happens as a result. Plus ChatGPT makes up stuff that makes Dave sound smart.
ChatGPT, strategic limits of word choice, and a bunch of random stuff
ChatGPT for strategic communication, language choice involves strategic and ethical choices, plus ranting about CPAC, doomsaying is bad, comedy is good, Jurassic moths and invisible asteroids.
Aliens, Nikki Haley, the State of the Union, and Elon Musk doing Elon Musk things.
Nikki Haley is running for President, the State of the Union is a strategic comms circus, Elon Musk is doing Elon Musk things, and if they're actually space aliens and not spy balloons the timing is super inconvenient.
Trump, protests, Reading FC and a touch of the 'rona.
Karpf and Loge talk Trump being allowed back on Facebook and what the Republican primary looks like, strategic comms and protests, and the English football (soccer) team Reading FC raising awareness about climate change. Plus fan mail from dog walkers, and Loge finally has COVID making the random rants even more random than usual.
Still ranting into the void - Chat GPT, Debt Ceiling, Political Scandals and Footnotes.
In the first episode of season four, Karpf and Loge talk Chat GPT in the classroom, the politics and comms of the debt ceiling, classified documents, and Congressman Santos. And they promise a lot of footnotes here: medium.com/@PeterLoge
Live Holiday Extravaganza with Special Guest Sarah Isgur
Political analyst and former Republican strategist Sarah Isgur joins Karpf, Loge and a live studio audience to talk Senator Sinema and Republicans in 2024. Against his wishes we sing "Happy Birthday" to Dave Karpf.
This post-election optimism feels weird. Plus Elon Musk.
In the final episode of season three, Karpf rants about Elon Musk (of course) and Karpf and Loge talk about why the story of the midterms matters for 2024. They agree that the story should be that voters like democracy and rights - and will punish people who threaten to take away either.
Monet and climate activists, the midterms, and the World Cup
Why climate activists are good for companies that provide security to art galleries, why the mid-terms look like they'll be unsurprising and possibly terrifying, and Karpf and Loge want your take on how advocates can use next month's men's World Cup in Qatar to make the world a better place.
Biden's good October, midterms, disaster politics, and praise for Nyquil
Karpf gloats about being right about Biden and marijuana, messaging and the midterm elections, and what DeSantis got right about disaster politics and why that's bad for democracy. Plus challenges to the space time continuum and we pitch Nyquil to sponsor us.
The federal budget, Matt Gaetz, midterm elections, and three is a magic number
The absurdity of the annual fake budget crisis, the bad news that is Matt Gaetz, midterm election narratives, Nyquil chicken, and Loge still insists this is a dog walk podcast.
Biden defends democracy, CNN flails and Schedule F would be bad
The timing of Biden's address on democracy, CNN needs to stop chasing shiny objects and start defending democracy, and the comms challenge of protecting the civil service from political patronage. Plus Loge gets Karpf to agree to watch a show about soccer.
Dark Brandon, student loans and the mid-terms
Comms lessons from the student loan relief win, and ideas for how Democrats should message student loans and the 2022 mid-term elections. Loge ideas for sayings that should be on coffee mugs and Karpf continues to mock Musk.
The Inflation Reduction Act and Mar a What a Mess
Comms lessons from the Inflation Reduction Act and what activists should do next, and the hot mess and comms challenges of the Trump investigation(s). Plus Loge worries about five foot bats and warns about Donald Trump shaped MDMA and Dave Karpf is troublingly hopeful.
Yang is a goof, WinRed is awful and Manchin is the good guy
Karpf praises Sen. Manchin and is troublingly optimistic, why the Forward party as a third party is a dumb idea, the Republican fundraising platform WinRed continues to be terrible and what comms professionals can learn from all of it. Plus Karpf wears a meta Mountain Goats t-shirt, Loge praises the English women's national soccer team and warns about holes ocean floor.
Kavanaugh steak-out and gluing yourself to paintings — then what?
What is the strategic communications value of attention-getting stunts? How can communications professionals build on actions like disrupting Supreme Court Justices eating dinner and activists gluing themselves to paintings? Plus Karpf still has opinions about Elon Musk and Loge is aghast Karpf has never seen the Rockford Files.
Everything is bad, but we have some ideas.
Ultra-conservative elites in Congress and the Supreme Court are ignoring the will of the people and threatening democracy. Advocates should remind state, local and national leaders that the right to privacy and children's safety matter more than what Tucker Carlson says. Plus self-repairing robot fish with lasers.
What are words for?
"Do you hear me/do you care?" - Missing persons. In this episode we talk guns, the January 6th Commission, the Supreme Court weakening the administrative state, and plug the legendary new wave band Missing Person's "Words" video.
Can comms solve guns?
In the first episode of season two, Karpf and Loge talk about what it would take to pass meaningful, or any, gun control legislation. Plus it's good news the White House is paying its interns, but the rest of the news is bad and Paris Hilton wants to be Queen of the Metaverse.
Links to support for Karpf and Loge’s arguments (and links to other miscellany) are below.
A mass shootings database.
Karpf’s Substack piece on the gun debate.
Loge’s Medium piece on the gun debate.
The N.R.A.s Lobbyist Behind Florida’s Pro-Gun Policies from The New Yorker.
A Republican Congressman in New York who supported assault weapon ban is being chased out of Congress (NYT).
The White House is paying interns — this is a big deal.
DeSantis vs the Special Olympics. Having successfully raised taxes on Florida homeowners by beating a pretend mouse, the Florida governor bravely put kids’ health at risk by tackling the Special Olympics.
The House January 6 Commission hearings are starting(Just Security).
Paris Hilton wants to be the queen of the metaverse.
Facebook's Textbook Advocacy
In the final episode of the first season, Karpf and Loge look back at some of season one's topics, talk about what advocates can learn from Facebook's DC efforts, and point out democracy is on the ballot in Pennsylvania.
Footnotes – Links to some what we referenced in the podcast, and to other readings listeners might find interesting.
More Common Sense, Less Ideology: Modern Communications Lessons from the Critical Race Theory Debates – Nat Kendall-Taylor, CEO of Frameworks, on smart messaging.
Alvaro Bedoya confirmed at the Federal Trade Commission.
Facebook as a case study in strategic communication and policy advocacy, via The Washington Post.
An insurrectionist could be the next governor of Pennsylvania, from The New Yorker:
America's political trailer park of doom
Dave Karpf and Peter Loge talk about responding to the Supreme Court probably overturning Roe v. Wade and America's political trailer park of doom. Plus Loge urges journalists to ignore the squirrels, and Karpf mocks Loge for still having an AOL account.
Footnotes: Links to some of what we referenced in the podcast, and to other readings our listeners might find interesting.
Liberate Abortion has links to ways to promote and protect women’s rights locally and nationally.
The Stanford Social Innovation Review has a terrific piece worth checking out – How Should the Social Sector Respond to an Abortion Upheaval?
Decoding Abortion Rhetoric by Celeste Condit is an important scholarly work on abortion politics. Her work is worth checking out in general.
Advice for advocates
Give people specific ways to help, and ask what now, what next, what then. On Medium (because Karpf shamed me about my own blog).
The Myth of the Silent Majority – Americans have learned the wrong lessons about the political consequences of protest by Daniel Q. Gillian. His book The Loud Minority: Why Protests Matter in American Democracy is also terrific.
Why Civil Resistance Works: The strategic logic of non-violent protest by Erica Chenoweth and Maria Stephan makes a compelling case for the power of non-violent protest. A shorter version from International Security is here.
For those tired of living in America’s political trailer park of doom, here are homes for sale along Italy’s Amalfi Coast. The politics might be terrible, but the views are lovely and the wine is very good.
Earth Day messaging and the Florida kerfuffle
Karpf and Loge talk about Earth Day and challenges of climate messaging and Florida Governor Ron DeSantis jacking up property taxes so he can get on TV by picking a fight with a pretend mouse. Plus Karpf thinks more politicians will try to score points by attacking children and wants Democrats to go on the culture war offensive, Loge talks FCC and FTC confirmation votes while working in several gratuitous references to a Joy Division - Teletubbies video. As always, links supporting the hot takes are at https://www.peterloge.com/podcast/.
Does is matter how Democrats talk about the economy?
Karpf and Loge talk about how Democrats should talk about the economy and inflation, and the limits even the best messaging has on who people vote for. Loge warns against releasing 66-million-year-old space spores and makes a pitch for a crypto company sponsor the pod (if they pay in cash).
Strategic Comms and Judge Jackson
In this episode Dave Karpf and Peter Loge talk about the strategic communications around Judge Jackson's Supreme Court confirmation hearing, and Karpf both warns about the “shadow docket” and makes a play for a mattress sponsor.
Footnotes – Some of the sources we referenced in the discussion.
The Pew Research Center on public opinion of the Supreme Cour
Professor Rachel Shelden in the Washington Post – “The Supreme Court used to be openly political
Ilya Shapiro for the Cato Institute – “Just Accept It: The Supreme Court Has Always Been Political
Robert Dahl “The Concept of Power
Paul Waldman and Greg Sargent in the Washington Post – “The Supreme Court isn’t bothering to hide its designs on our democracy” (discusses the “shadow docket”
SCOTUS Blog forum on “the shadow docket
Dave and Peter: The US Senate will confirm Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson as the first Black woman to the US Supreme Court.
Dave: The story over the next two weeks will be the economy.
Peter: The US men’s national team will qualify for the World Cup.
Introducing: Office Hours with Karpf and Loge
In this episode Dave Karpf and Peter Loge talk about how to talk about something other than Ukraine and the mask as the message. Their hot takes are supported by the following footnotes:
New Yorker review of Philip Tetlock's Expert Political Judgment: How Good Is It? How Can We Know? "Human beings who spend their lives studying the state of the world, in other words, are poorer forecasters than dart-throwing monkeys..."
The Black Box Society: The Secret Algorithms That Control Money and Information by Frank Pasquale
"Snazzy solidarity: is celebrity and fashion support for Ukraine crass?" The Guardian
Stealth Democracy by John R. Hibbing and Elizabeth Theiss-Morse
Counties that went for Trump in 2016 had lower levels of mask wearing - National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI)
The shifting politics of mask mandates - The Washington Post
Axios-Ipsos poll: Media habits defined the COVID culture war, Axios - "By the end of last month, just 16% of those who said they get most of their news from Fox or other conservative outlets still said they trust the CDC, compared to 77% of those who favor network news and major national newspapers and 87% of those who primarily watch CNN or MSNBC."