Presidential hopeful Mitt Romney said in Wednesday's debate that, if elected, he'd end the use of taxpayer money to support public media. Should we? In 2010, Reason.com editor-in-chief Nick Gillespie told Brooke that yes, we should. On the other side, New Yorker editor Steve Coll told Bob why public radio should continue to receive some taxpayer support.
The presidency will be decided in four weeks. Syria is in flames. Spain is on the economic brink. But that’s not why representatives from more than a dozen news organizations filled a press tent this week on New York City’s Pier 54. No, they were there to cover David Blaine's latest stunt, "Electrified." Bob was there.
With the lengths of terms-of-service agreements reaching Shakespearean proportions, it's no wonder that internet users are clicking "I Agree" without actually reading what they agree to. A website launched this summer called Terms of Service; Didn't Read is coming up with new ways to inform consumers and fix what it calls "the biggest lie on the web." Bob talks to Michiel de Jong, one of the site's "hacktivist" co-founders.
Since writing an article called "My Life as an Undocumented Immigrant" in the New York Times Magazine last year, Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Jose Antonio Vargas has been trying to foster conversation about immigration issues. In a speech last week at the Online News Association conference, he announced his plan to track and hopefully influence news organizations away from using the term "illegal" to describe immigrants. Bob asks Vargas why he feels this change in nomenclature is important.
Latin Playboys - Crayon Sun
Producer Ken Viselman, the marketing guru behind the explosive American success of "The Teletubbies" and "Thomas the Tank Engine" had a vision – a movie for toddlers that encouraged the audience to sing, dance and interact with the on-screen action. The result was"The Oogieloves in the Big Balloon Adventure," a movie that debuted in late August and holds the record for the lowest opening weekend box office of all time, earning just $206 per theater. Bob talks to Entertainment Weekly's Grady Smith about what went wrong and Smith's singular fascination with the Oogieloves phenomenon.
In 1981, student journalist Seth Rosenfeld began researching the FBI's misconduct in its investigations of 1960s student protests at UC Berkeley. The project blossomed into a 30-year investigative odyssey, resulting in the release of 300,000 FBI documents, which the government spent over $1 million trying to block. Bob talks to Rosenfeld about some of the stunning revelations from his new book, Subversives: The FBI's War on Student Radicals, and Reagan's Rise to Power.
Yo La Tengo - Damage
Last week, Russia's lower house of parliament unanimously approved an amendment that broadens the definition of treason. If it becomes law, Russian citizens who cooperate with international civil and media organizations could face 20-year prison sentences. Bob talks with the Christian Science Monitor's Fred Weir about the law's potential ramifications.
This American Life's Ira Glass drops by to issue a challenge to Brooke and Bob to investigate what he sees as the false charge of liberal bias in public radio and NPR.
What if your email service could tell you, before you even press send, just how aggressive or angry your email is? Bob talks to Josh Merchant, CTO and co-founder of Lymbix, a Canadian software company whose program ToneCheck promises emotional spell-check for overheated emailers.
This week, Sun Myung Moon, media tycoon and spiritual leader of the Unification Church, died at the age of 92. In this interview from 2008, Bob talks John Gorenfeld, author of Bad Moon Rising: How Reverend Moon Created the Washington Times, Seduced the Religious Right and Built an American Kingdom about Moon's newspaper The Washington Times.
Strange Names - Broken Mirror
Political conventions used to be places where decisions were made and delegates truly participated. Now, they are just a series of scripted speeches covered by the media as though they are breaking news stories. Bob reflects on the last two weeks of this modern convention style.
In an interview from 2008, Bob talks with This American Life host Ira Glass about the inherent worth of online conversations, as at the time, This American Life had recently disabled user comments on his show's website.
Bibio - Saint Christopher
NPR Congressional Correspondent Andrea Seabrook left NPR recently, citing frustration with the daily grind of covering politicians who "lie" to her face, all day, every day. Seabrook is starting a new project called DecodeDC, where she hopes she can blog and podcast her way to some deeper truths about Washington. Bob does an exit interview with Seabrook to discuss why political reporting is broken, and what might be done to fix it.
Zammuto - Wasn't That Lucky
Police car mounted license plate readers collect date, time and location information and are used by law enforcement around the country to help catch criminals. But when Minneapolis Star Tribune reporter Eric Roper filed a freedom of information request for information on his own car, he got a lot more than he bargained for. Bob talks to Roper about how Minneapolis police and agencies across the country deal with this potentially sensitive location information.
Four Tet - Pinnacle
Bob speaks with Mazen Hayek, a spokesman from the Arabic-language news channel Al Arabiya, who responds to Sultan Al-Qassemi's critique. Hayek says the network has a history of covering conflicts without bias, and is doing its best to cover Syria fairly under difficult reporting circumstances.
Tinariwen - Imidiwan Winakalin
In Foreign Policy, political commentator Sultan Al Qassemi made the case that Al Jazeera and Al Arabiya are, for political reasons, misrepresenting the reality on the ground in Syria. Bob speaks with Qassemi, who outlines what he sees as the problems with the coverage of the region's most important news sources.
Bob and Brooke announce the triumphant return of Media Scrutiny Theater, the webseries where they watch and comment on the latest batch of campaign ads.
JD Samson & Men - Simultaneously
This year has seen the Ford Foundation award grants to The Washington Post and The L.A. Times, both for-profit news outlets. Bob talks to The Ford Foundation's Jonathan Barzilay and NPR's Senior Vice President for News Margaret Low Smith about navigating the relationship between grant givers and news makers.
Wishmountain - Lucozade
Bob Garfield talks about how the digital revolution is changing our collective experience of the viewing of the Olympics, and how it might give a sense of the future of network broadcasting.
It makes sense to assume an off-key tweet will disappear by itself in the ever-expanding Twitter-verse without consequence. But some politicians don’t risk it, and delete tweets that might get spun into gaffes. Enter the Sunlight Foundation’s Politwoops site, which keeps track of politicians’ tweets, lest a cover-up slip through the cracks. Bob talks with Tom Lee who’s in charge of the project.
Errors - Tusk