Some of the first reporting of the flawed Jamie Leigh Jones story was a 20/20 investigation from Brian Ross of ABC news. Bob takes a look at Ross's checkered reporting past.
Bach - Suite for Cello No. 1 in G
For a few years Conan O'Brien's late night talk show has been doing a segment called Media Reacts where they play a montage of news anchors reading copy -- the exact same copy -- on local news stations across the country. It's eerie. Bob talks with KWWL 7 News Director Dan Schillinger and finds out why the media reacts in unison on some stories. (Schillnger explains this Austin Powers inspired example in particular.)
Former Congressman Lee Hamilton told Brooke that the best way to get answers from the Department of Homeland Security is for constituents to put pressure on their representatives in Congress. Now the Data News Team at WNYC has created a tool to help do just that. Bob speaks to John Keefe, WNYC's Senior Editor for Data News and Journalism Technology, about the new tool, and how listeners can use it to do their own investigative reporting.
Acid Pauli - MST
When OTM producer Sarah Abdurrahman tried getting answers from the Department of Homeland Security for her border detainment story, she experienced first hand how opaque the behemoth federal agency can be with reporters. But her experience wasn't unique. Brooke speaks with New York Times contributor Susan Stellin and Rio Grande Valley correspondent for the Associated Press Christopher Sherman--two journalists that regularly come in contact with DHS and its various agencies--about just how difficult it can be to get information.
In 2007, Halliburton employee Jamie Leigh Jones ignited a media firestorm when she went public with a horrific story about being raped by colleagues in Iraq. Six years later, one of the reporters who covered the story as it happened has written a 10,000 word corrective, saying that the Jones story was false. Bob talks to Mother Jones reporter Stephanie Mencimer about her decision to correct the narrative.
This round of budget clashes are over (for now), but how should we assess the damage done by these regular crises? Bob talks with Reuters financial blogger Felix Salmon who says that the real story of these political battles is the slow motion, irreversible damage they're doing to America's financial standing.
Healthcare.gov launched in the beginning of the month to much frustration, as hundreds of thousands of people flocked to buy insurance from the online exchange. Because of technical glitches, the majority of these users were turned away due to website problems. Bob talks to programmer and Bloomberg Businessweek contributor Paul Ford who says while healthcare.gov was open for business at the beginning of the month, it’s failure may be attributed to its closed code.
Two weeks ago we talked with James Fallows about rampant false equivalency by newspapers in covering the federal government shutdown. This week, Bob speaks with Andrew Tyndall of The Tyndall Report who says broadcast news had its own weakness -- choosing anecdotal stories of real people hurt by the shutdown over informative analysis.
In a world steeped in regular government leaks, there’s a tendency to believe that journalists’ exposure of government secrets is a new phenomenon. We think of the press of the past – during wartime, especially – as more willing to obey censorship laws to protect government secrets. Bob talks to nuclear historian Alex Wellerstein who says this isn’t so, and he tells us about the leak of one of the government’s most-protected secrets to prove it.
This week, the Committee to Protect Journalists released a study profiling the so-called transparency president's unprecedented war on leaks and refusal to grant journalists access. Bob talks to study author Len Downie about how the Obama administration's policies on the press are having a chilling effect on reporting.
There are billions of pages of government documents in the public domain in varying states of redaction, but there is no central database of these documents, and no way to compare them to one another. Enter The Declassification Engine, a project created by computer scientists, statisticians and historians to give us the most complete history of our redacted past. Bob talks to Columbia University historian Matthew Connelly about the project.
Last week the press thought they had found the face of Obamacare in young Chad Henderson who, they widely reported, had made it through the thicket of federal exchange webpages and gotten coverage. One problem: he hadn't bought the coverage. Bob talks with Politico's Kyle Cheney about covering the story and the lessons journalists can learn from it.
Political scientist Brendan Nyhan says the roots of the shutdown aren’t so much in a failure of leadership from John Boehner or Harry Reid or President Obama. Rather, he tells Bob, all three men are at the mercy of an increasingly polarized political landscape that makes compromise extremely difficult.
A look at the media coverage - both here and abroad - of the government shutdown, how social media is recreating the old television viewing experience, and California's attempts to legislate the internet.
In the US the media have almost universally glommed on to the “blame game” narrative of the government shutdown. Reaction from around the world has been most diverse. Aviva Shen of the progressive website ThinkProgress speaks with Bob about reactions from around the globe.
John Zorn - The Dream Machine
Bob reads listener responses to producer Sarah Abdurrhaman’s piece“My Detainment Story or: How I learned to Stop Feeling Safe in My Own Country and Hate Border Agents.” Brooke talks to former congressman Lee H. Hamilton, co-author of a recent report calling for reform of the Department of Homeland Security, about how the DHS can, and should, work better.
The next phase of the Affordable Care Act goes into effect next week with the opening of new health insurance exchanges. Brooke and Bob take a look at the messaging war, from the conservative ads advising people to "opt out," to the Obama administration's push to educate people about the new law, and the media's role in covering this protracted battle.
This week, the New York Attorney General’s office announced that nineteen companies would be fined $350,000 for paying for fake reviews on sites like Yelp. But a study that came out earlier this year says that many fake online reviews, including the most negative ones, are often written by a brand's biggest fans. Bob talks to Duncan Simester, one of the authors of the study and a professor at MIT, about why a brand's fans would leave it bad reviews.
There has long been a quiet exception to the constitutional protection against warrantless search and seizure. It happens routinely at every US border, where federal agents are free to confiscate--and copy--contents of hard drives, cell phones, and other electronic data. Bob talks to New York Times contributor Susan Stellin, who broke a story this week with new insights into how the US government exploits the loophole to target journalists, activists and who knows who else.