Jay Leno Was Wrong About West Virginia

Published in The Intelligencer/Wheeling News-Register
By K. Daniel Glover

For one magnificent moment after the Orange Bowl on Jan. 4, West Virginia University and the entire state of West Virginia were the talk of America. Sports fans were in awe of the Mountaineers, who set record after record in one of the greatest football games in college history.

We West Virginians should have known the hillbilly bashers wouldn’t let us bask in the glory for long, and sure enough, the predictable slam came less than 24 hours after the final whistle.

“And West Virginia beat Clemson in the Orange Bowl last night by a score of 70-33,” Jay Leno said in his “Tonight Show” monologue the day after the game. “West Virginia scored 70 points? Huh, West Virginia? They don’t score that high on their SATs.”

Leno apparently holds to the comedic philosophy that when all else fails — and the “Tonight Show” has been one big fail after another for the past two years — just tell a West Virginia joke.

Book Review: ‘Digital Assassination’

Originally published at The Washington Times
Ghostwritten by K. Daniel Glover

The Internet is a boundless universe of information and connections that fuels the economy, enhances world culture and fosters democracy. But it also is home to digital assassins who lurk undetected and lob verbal, visual and technological grenades to ruin reputations — and enlist others via social media to achieve their evil ends more quickly.

That’s the ugly reality of online life as painted by Richard Torrenzano and Mark Davis in their new book, “Digital Assassination: Protecting Your Reputation, Brand or Business Against Online Attacks.” It’s a largely accurate portrayal — one that brands, businesspeople and public officials must take seriously if they want to thrive in today’s digital age.

Torrenzano and Davis at times go overboard in their rhetoric, particularly when it comes to blogs and social media. They also give too much credit to journalists for having kept character assassination in check during the 20th century. The chapter on “truth remix,” for example, is based in part on the prejudicial and flawed premise that “traditional media has been replaced by a blogosphere that creates falsities out of truth in order to compete for ratings and clicks.”

But the authors are not Luddites. They repeatedly emphasize that we humans are the problem and that modern technology has merely increased our capacity for lies, deceit and uncommon cruelty motivated by greed, jealousy and other character flaws. They identify parallels between character attacks of the low-tech past and the high-tech present to prove the point.

“This power of the new digital assassin to destroy is as powerful as YouTube but as old as civilization,” Torrenzano and Davis write. Their aim is to illustrate the depth, reach and speed of that amplified power and to teach people how to fight back.

Read the full review at The Washington Times.