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Derek Arnold - Villanova University. Villanova, PA, US

Derek Arnold

Senior Instructor, Communication | College of Liberal Arts and Sciences | Villanova University


Derek Arnold, M.A., researches business and political scandals, as well as the mitigating effects of crisis management and communication.






Conspiracy Theories (July 2016)


Areas of Expertise (5)


Business and Political Scandal

Crisis Management and Communication

Political Communication

Conspiracy Theory


The highly charged areas of business and political scandal -- how they evolve, how they are covered by the news media, and how their destructive effects can be mitigated through crisis management and communication -- are Professor Arnold's specialty. He is also a good source for discussions on conspiracy theories -- how they are formulated and how to defend against them.

Education (2)

Purdue University: M.A.

LaSalle University: B.A.

Select Media Appearances (5)

"We Sometimes Just Want to Believe": The Theory Behind Conspiracy Theories

KYW Newsradio  radio


Derek Arnold discusses the appeal behind conspiracies, how people get so deeply engaged that these theories become part of their identities and how to try to counter them if you know someone who supports a conspiracy theory.

"Comes with the Job": Why Political Corruption Is a Rite of Passage in New Jersey

The Guardian  online


New Jersey senator Bob Menendez was federally indicted for bribery last month by the U.S. attorney’s office, southern district of New York... Villanova University's Derek Arnold said Menendez has double-downed on his actions, pointing to them as activities he does to benefit his constituents. In the state’s political culture, the line is blurred between illegal corruption, private gains in exchange for specific benefits, and legal corruption, political gains in exchange for specific benefits.

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Why Princess Diana conspiracy theories refuse to die

CBS News  online


August 31 is the 20th anniversary of the stunning, tragic death of Princess Diana in Paris, France, when Diana's chauffeured Mercedes hit a pillar inside an underpass just after midnight, killing her, her boyfriend, Dodi Al Fayed, and her driver, Henri Paul. As the news quickly circulated, theories about the causes of the crash also spread, with some veering into conspiracy. Did the ruthless paparazzi, in hot pursuit of the car, cause the driver to panic? Had the royal family murdered her to avert an embarrassing marriage? Twenty years later, these conspiracy theories still persist.

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What Reality TV Taught Trump, According to Professors Who Study It

The Chronicle of Higher Education  


Derek Arnold, an instructor at Villanova University who teaches communication, says the president's use of Twitter lets him "simulate reality TV," keeping control of the "script" by bypassing the traditional news media. "Each display is no more than a sentence or two," Mr. Arnold says, "keeping issues small and condensed, showing readers that, just like a reality show, many issues can be summed up in just a few key thoughts." Viewers can "check in a few times a day to make sure the issues will get solved," Mr. Arnold says, "and, ultimately, see that our president is ‘on the job.’ It’s like we are binge-watching some kind of ‘America’ television show, in small bites, happy there are no commercials to fast forward through" ...

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How to Get People to Evacuate? Try Fear

The New York Times  


Derek Arnold, an instructor at Villanova University who has a background in crisis communication and management, said radio and television stations can notify residents of evacuations, but apps and text messages can also deliver them right to their smartphones.

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