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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
Barrett Brown is a journalist and activist who has been in jail for a year awaiting trial on a number of charges - chief among them copying and pasting a link to leaked documents into an IRC chat room. Ed Pilkington of The Guardian talks to Bob about Brown's case, and the implications it has for other journalists.
This week, Jimmy Kimmel revealed that he had faked a viral video that has racked up over 12 million views. Producers and hosts of TLDR, PJ Vogt and Alex Goldman have been arguing all week about whether this falsehood represents some kind of betrayal of its viewers. So they decided to hash the argument out on the air.
Los Lobos - La Iguana
This week, The Huffington Post ended anonymous comments on its website in the hopes of engendering more civil discussions. Bob reflects on OTM's own issues with anonymous commenters, and speaks with Arianna Huffington about her site's new requirement to name names.
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.
The conversation about American strikes in Syria shifted this week, after Bashar Al-Assad suggested he would surrender his chemical weapons, and President Obama called on Congress to delay a decision on missile strikes. Bob takes a look at this week's Syria developments in the media, including the supposed gaffe by Secretary of State John Kerry that may have allowed the US to avoid going to war.
Andrew Bird - Ophelia Looks Back
Coverage of the proposed military intervention in Syria is attracting inevitable comparisons to the run-up to the Iraq war, which began 10 years ago. But this time around, with Iraq still fresh in the country's collective memory, the media seem to be more careful. Bob speaks to Max Fisher, foreign affairs blogger for the Washington Post, about the media's coverage of Syria, and how the inevitable comparison to Iraq may not be that useful.
On the Media's own PJ Vogt wrote a story for our new blog TLDR about the difficulty outlets like The Onion and The Daily Show are having finding humor in the situation in Syria as it becomes more complex. Bob talks to PJ about what the outlets are doing wrong, and how they can improve.
Beginning its second season this week, The Retro Report is a video series that looks at reporting from the past to re-examine its accuracy, and follow up on what happened after the media moved on. Bob talks to Retro Report publisher Taegan Goddard about the stories the Retro Report has looked back on.
In the 1930's, Hollywood studios agreed to censor and sometimes cancel films in order to remain active in Nazi Germany. Bob talks to Ben Urwand, author of The Collaboration: Hollywood's Pact With Hitler about this oft-forgotten chapter of American history.
In his new book This Town: Two Parties and a Funeral—plus plenty of valet parking!—in America's Gilded Capital, Mark Leibovich provides a panoramic view of the ugly behavior Washington elites—journalists, politicians, and lobbyists—engage in. Bob talks to Leibovich about all the sordid details of "This Town."
As audiences for media splinter and advertising with it, how will the journalism concerns that we've grown to know and love keep the lights on? Bob talks to Alan Rusbridger of the Guardian, Mike Perlis of Forbes, M. Scott Havens of The Atlantic, Erin Pettigrew of Gawker, Evan Smith of The Texas Tribune, Richard Toffel of ProPublica and Pam Horan of the Online Publishers Association about all the ways they're striving mightily to keep journalism financially viable.
John Lennon - Imagine (Instrumental)