The Atlantic’s James Fallows believes that the failures we’re seeing in the sequestration coverage suggest a larger problem with our political system and the press that’s supposed to cover it. Fallows tells Bob that our press isn't comfortable playing referee, but they might need to start.
Hauschka - Radar
Pope Benedict’s sudden resignation last week has prompted speculation on two fronts: why he is resigning, and who will be selected as Pope in the upcoming Vatican conclave. Reporters from all over will travel to Rome for the event, including blogger Rocco Palmo. Bob talks to Palmo about covering the church’s inner politics from Philadelphia, and the one bankable trait of the next Pope.
Breton - The Commission
An article published by the Washington Post reported that the government wants to create public super WiFi networks that could potentially replace the ISPs most people use now. The piece was linked and posted all over the internet, but there was one tiny problem: it was wrong. Bob talks to Ars Technica writer Jon Brodkin about the inaccuracies in the reporting and what the FCC’s proposal might actually mean.
Joseph Mitchell and Ryszard Kapuscinski created some of the most celebrated narrative non-fiction of this century; full of indelible characters, scenes, and dialogue. But both have been dogged by accusations that they doctored dialogue, manufactured scenes and created composite characters. In an interview that originally aired in December 2010, Bob talks with celebrated narrative non-fiction writer Lawrence Weschler about great writers and questionable facts.
Bob Garfield, co-host of On The Media and author of The Chaos Scenario and the forthcoming Can't Buy Me Like: How Authentic Customer Connections Drive Superior Results discusses "House Of Cards", Netflix's first self-produced TV series, and what it might mean for the future of television on the internet.
A newly-released study from Columbia University gives the most comprehensive picture to date of digital media pirates. Bob talks with one of the study’s authors, Joe Karaganis, about what the findings mean for online copyright infringement and why the failure of a six strikes policy is only a matter of time.
Since 9/11, the FBI has stepped up its reliance on sting operations to catch potential terrorists before they strike. But in the process, says journalist Trevor Aaronson, the agency has ended up "hatching and financing more terrorist plots in the United States than any other group." Bob talks with Aaronson about his new book, The Terror Factory: Inside the FBI's Manufactured War on Terrorism.
Binky Griptite & The Mellowmatics - You're Gonna Cry
Copyright protections were never supposed to last forever. Copyright was originally designed to protect creators long enough so that they could profit from their work, after which time that work would enter the public domain. However, changes to copyright law have made it so that copyright protections in the US generally last for 70 years after the creator's death. Duke Law School Professor James Boyle runs the Center for the Study of the Public Domain. He tells Bob about all the works that would have entered the public domain this year, but didn't.
Facebook has introduced a new search tool called social graph search, which lets users search across the Facebook database by users' interests. Privacy advocates aren't pleased with the new feature, arguing that it makes information about users too easy to find. Bob talks to Tom Scott, who has been given early access to the feature and has been publicizing some of his searches.
The Church of Scientology has been notoriously unwelcoming of investigation into its inner workings, but Pulitzer Prize-winning author Lawrence Wright has just released a new book that delves deep into the history and practices of the Church.
Last week, The Atlantic ran a piece of sponsored content on its website for the Church of Scientology that looked a lot like their standard editorial content. Within 12 hours, the magazine had pulled the article and apologized. Bob talks to digital media management consultant Dorian Benkoil about how the online world is redrawing the line between advertising and editorial — because the alternative may be extinction.
Since 1935, the National Labor Relations Act has protected the right of private-sector employees to discuss workplace conditions. But as conversations shift from the break room to the sphere of social media, regulators are facing new challenges in distinguishing protected speech from "mere griping." Bob talks with Lafe Solomon, General Counsel of the National Labor Relations Board, about what can and can't be tweeted about the workplace.
Until this week, Notre Dame linebacker Manti Te'o was famous not just for his on-field skills but for his compelling backstory, which included the tragic death of his girlfriend. This week, the sports blog Deadspin exposed that story as a massive hoax, although it is still unclear what, if any, participation Te'o had in the lie. Bob and Brooke delve into the myth and consider how it snuck by the national media.
In recent years, the CIA has authorized many of its former operatives to land lucrative book deals and pundit gigs — a fact that would have horrified previous generations of spooks. And yet, notes journalist Ted Gup, the agency remains notably selective about the information it allows to be disclosed. Bob talks with Ted about what he calls the CIA's "double standard" on secrecy.
Yo-Yo Ma - Bach's Suite for Cello #6 in D Major
We take a moment to correct two recent mistakes.
Following the school massacre in nearby Connecticut, a New York state paper published a map showing the names and addresses of handgun permit owners in its readership area — all except for one county, where local officials have refused to provide the paper with the information. This decision violates explicit New York State law, but has a supporter in New York state Senator Greg Ball, who tells Bob why he's supporting Putnam County officials.
On Thursday, Vice President Biden sketched out early hints of what gun control reform might look like. One potential reform concerns something that you might mistakenly assume already exists: a central database of gun transactions in the US, maintained by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms. The NRA has blocked all such efforts in the past. New York Times reporter Sheryl Gay Stolberg tells Bob why the ATF's record-keeping on gun sales is actually incredibly antiquated.
In December, Al Jazeera Berlin correspondent Aktham Suliman left the news outlet, saying he felt its primary funder, the Qatari government, exerted too much influence over Al Jazeera's coverage. Suliman is just the latest in a string of resignations from Al Jazeera in protest of editorial interference. In an interview from August of last year, Bob talks to blogger and political commentator Sultan Al Qassemi about what he sees as the problems with Al Jazeera's coverage of ongoing fighting in Syria.
Yo La Tengo - I'll Be Around
The most serious kind of subpoena - called a 'National Security Letter' - used to have a lifetime gag-order automatically attached. That is until Nicholas Merrill appealed his and won the right to talk about it. Despite 50,000 national security letters a year, there are only three organizations that have ever won the right to say they got one. In a segment that originally aired in January of 2011, Nick Merrill tells Bob why he's the exception and the rule.