Will John Edwards Become the Al Gore of Poverty?

I watched Edwards' interview Friday night and it was pretty clear that he had help from crisis communication experts, delivering a narrative about a man who had come from a modest background only to succumb to hubris in his quest for power. With his southern charm and his trial lawyer poise, I thought it was a brilliant performance, though questions obviously linger about payments to his mistress and whether or not he really is the father of the child.

Of course, going head to head with the Olympics, only 3 million people actually watched the interview, but that was part of the strategy.

Yet, despite Edwards best attempts to bury attention to the revelation, and even though the story broke on a Friday, it still generated a considerable amount of overall news attention. According to Pew, the scandal registered as the #4 most widely covered topic of the week, filling 4% of the newshole in comparison to 6% for domestic terrorism, 11% for the Olympics and 24% of the newshole filled by the election.

So what should Edwards do now? The former candidate should stay under the political radar until late 2009, then re-emerge sporting a beard, having gained some weight, and dedicating the rest of his life to combating poverty. Edwards should become the Al Gore of poverty.

(Ok, I was just joking about the beard.)

Indeed, for Edwards, it would be a public communication challenge just as daunting as breaking through to Americans on global warming. I wrote a report about this challenge last year, arguing that poverty needs to be redefined in terms of social inclusion and low wage work.

I don't pretend to have the answers for a breakthrough on poverty, but the report does address the current problems with many contemporary communication efforts and points to several ways forward.

LinkedIn meets Tinder in this mindful networking app

Swipe right to make the connections that could change your career.

Getty Images
Swipe right. Match. Meet over coffee or set up a call.

No, we aren't talking about Tinder. Introducing Shapr, a free app that helps people with synergistic professional goals and skill sets easily meet and collaborate.

Keep reading Show less

What’s behind our appetite for self-destruction?

Is it "perverseness," the "death drive," or something else?

Photo by Brad Neathery on Unsplash
Mind & Brain

Each new year, people vow to put an end to self-destructive habits like smoking, overeating or overspending.

Keep reading Show less

Physicists puzzled by strange numbers that could explain reality

Eight-dimensional octonions may hold the clues to solve fundamental mysteries.

Surprising Science
  • Physicists discover complex numbers called octonions that work in 8 dimensions.
  • The numbers have been found linked to fundamental forces of reality.
  • Understanding octonions can lead to a new model of physics.
Keep reading Show less

Douglas Rushkoff – It’s not the technology’s fault

It's up to us humans to re-humanize our world. An economy that prioritizes growth and profits over humanity has led to digital platforms that "strip the topsoil" of human behavior, whole industries, and the planet, giving less and less back. And only we can save us.

Think Again Podcasts
  • It's an all-hands-on-deck moment in the arc of civilization.
  • Everyone has a choice: Do you want to try to earn enough money to insulate yourself from the world you're creating— or do you want to make the world a place you don't have to insulate yourself from?
Keep reading Show less