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Richard Stengel at confrence in 2013. Photo: Kris Connor/Getty Images

Richard Stengel — MSNBC political analyst, and former Under Secretary of State in the Obama administration — tells me he has finished a book called "Info Wars: How We Lost the Global Information War."

The backdrop: Stengel, former editor of TIME and CEO of the National Constitution Center, has been working on the book since the end of the Obama administration, and will offer it to publishers this week.

Stengel calls the book "the first and only insider account exploring how the U.S. tried — and failed — to combat the global rise of disinformation that eventually spilled into the 2016 election."

  • "I tell that story in the first person through the work I did as an Under Secretary for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs at the State Department."
  • As a longtime TIME writer and editor, "I knew a lot more about content than folks in government. But, alas, it didn’t make much of a difference."

"What I saw ... was the innovative use of disinformation by ISIS and Russia on social media through the weaponization of grievance."

  • "Then, in 2016, we saw Donald Trump use the same techniques in the presidential election, weaponizing the grievances of Americans who felt left out by modernism."
  • '"I take the reader to Saudi Arabia for a midnight meeting with Mohammed bin Salman; to Moscow for a meeting with Putin’s closest aide; and to Palo Alto for a private sitdown with Mark Zuckerberg."

Asked about Alex Jones' Infowars, Stengel said: "Titles are not copyrighted — plus we have a space between Info and Wars."

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Go deeper

Ben Geman, author of Generate
10 mins ago - Energy & Environment

What we’re watching during the final countdown to COP26

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

This is shaping up as a critical week for climate policy in the U.S. and worldwide.

Driving the news: Democrats are in the final stages of trying to craft the big social spending and climate package they're trying to move on a thread-the-needle party-line vote.

"Atmospheric river" swings Northern California from drought to flood

Satellite view of the bomb cyclone swirling off the coast of the Pacific Northwest and the atmospheric river affecting California on Oct. 24. Photo: CIRA/RAMMB

A series of powerful "atmospheric river" storms are delivering historic amounts of rainfall across parts of drought-stricken California and the Pacific Northwest.

Why it matters: The atmospheric river, packing large amounts of moisture, was causing Northern California to whiplash from drought to flood, as it slowly moved south overnight. It's triggered widespread power outages, flooding and mudslides.

Facebook's pivotal week

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

They're battening down the hatches at Facebook headquarters this week as the company faces a trifecta of tumult: a continuing wave of negative press coverage fueled by document leaks, a critical earnings report Monday and a reported name change looming.

The big picture: All this is unfolding as Mark Zuckerberg tries to transform Facebook from a social network into the prime mover behind a new "metaverse" of VR- and AR-driven remote work and play.