If you don't have the time, discipline, or inclination (not sure I do) to read Umberto Eco's new collection of essays, here's a nice slender interview of the author (appears in tomorrow's edition of the New York Times Magazine):
Q: Although you’re known best as the author of the highbrow murder mystery "The Name of the Rose," you’re also a prolific political commentator whose essays have now been collected in a book, “Turning Back the Clock,” in which you warn against the dangers of “media populism.” How would you define that term?
A: Media populism means appealing to people directly through media. A politician who can master the media can shape political affairs outside of parliament and even eliminate the mediation of parliament.
It's a great topic of conversation for all you social-media cats out there. This kind of populism doesn't quite end with the availability of social-media tools and rules; we have a whole new generation of demagogues, for sure. But the availability of the tools and rules can certainly help educate the public of these dangers.