Hitler, Stalin, and Mao ruled through violence, fear, and ideology. But in recent decades a new breed of media-savvy strongmen has been redesigning authoritarian rule for a more sophisticated, globally connected world. In place of overt, mass repression, rulers such as Vladimir Putin, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, and Viktor Orbán control their citizens by distorting information and simulating democratic procedures. Like spin doctors in democracies, they spin the news to engineer support. At this book talk, authors Sergei Guriev and Daniel Treisman explain the rise of such “spin dictators,” describing how they emerge and operate, the new threats they pose, and how democracies should respond.
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