Last week, the Congressional Research Service released an updated version of a report that repudiates a mainstay of conservative economic doctrine: namely, that reducing top marginal tax rates spurs economic growth. Despite the CRS's bipartisan track record, and despite the report's potentially explosive implications for the ongoing "fiscal cliff" debate, the media have barely paid it any attention. Roll Call reporter Emma Dumain talks with Bob about the peculiar role of the CRS as a non-partisan football in a fiercely partisan game.
The Accidental- The Killing Floor
We’ve become accustomed in the past 20 years to seeing the issue of guns in America broken down into two camps: gun control advocates — led by police chiefs and Sarah Brady — and the all-powerful National Rifle Association. Bob talks to Adam Winkler, author of Gunfight: The Battle Over the Right to Bear Arms In America, who says there was a time, relatively recently, in fact, when the NRA Supported gun control legislation, and the staunchest defenders of so-called "gun rights" were on the radical left.
In 2010, Congress passed the Commercial Advertising Loudness Mitigation Act, also known as the CALM Act, which would keep television commercials from being louder than the programs they sponsor. The law finally went into effect last week. In an interview originally aired in 2010, the Wall Street Journal’s Elizabeth Williamson explains to Bob why regulators haven't been able to turn down the volume of commercials until now.
A lot of criticism was leveled at the press for interviewing the child survivors of the Newtown school shooting in its immediate aftermath. Bob talks to WABC-TV reporter Bill Ritter about whether it's ever appropriate to interview a child in the moments after a disaster of this nature, and whether the very act of interviewing a child could contribute to the childrens' trauma.
Emiliana Torrini- Dead Duck
The press has misreported a lot about the Newtown shooting, and if history is any guide, much of that misreporting will inform our memory of the event. In his book Columbine, Dave Cullen revisited that soul shattering school shooting 13 years ago. He tells Bob that our story of that event is largely frozen in early misreporting.
Grizzly Bear- What's Wrong
Last September, the YouTube video "Innocence of Muslims" sparked protests around the world. Around the same time, an airing of a very different film about the Islamic faith caused a small riot in Northern India. “The Message” is a multi-million-dollar epic about the life of Mohammad. It could not be more different than “Innocence of Muslims,” yet it’s the second time its been connected to violence. Bob speaks with the Atlantic's Malcolm Burnley, who wrote about the remarkable history of "The Message."
Last month, a man was murdered in Belize and his suspicious neighbor went on the lam. But that's not the narrative the media has been promoting because the fugitive isn't just any fugitive; it's John McAfee. The tech-pioneer-turned-playboy is hellbent on portraying himself as a victim of a corrupt Belizean government. Science and adventure writer Jeff Wise tells Bob that McAfee's outlandish strategy may just be working.
On the Media’s Bob Garfield talks about his new novel, Bedfellows. Jack Schiavone wants to rebuild his life after an embezzlement scandal saw him drummed out of his high-paying advertising job. So he’s reinvented himself as “Mr. Mattress,” a discount bedding franchisee in Ebbets Beach, Brooklyn. He has a nice, quiet life until he gets sucked into a simmering mob war.
In the past two years, seven former NFL players have killed themselves, and in each case, many argued that depression and dementia brought on by job-related concussions were to blame. The pressure is on the NFL to better protect its players, and the league is defending itself by running public service announcements during games. Bob talks to NFL Chief Marketing Officer Mark Waller about the campaign.
Acid Pauli - Mst
The Oxford English Dictionary has a reputation for being the definitive record of the English language. But a few years ago, it was discovered that former OED editor Robert Burchfield had inexplicably struck thousands of words from the record, most of them Americanisms. Lexicographer and OED editor emeritus Sarah Ogilvie talks with Bob about Burchfield and her new book, Words of the World: A Global History of the Oxford English Dictionary.
Sameul Yirga - Tiwista 1(Tinish Mix)
Last week the popular prediction market Intrade announced it would shut its doors to Americans after being sued by US regulators. US regulators have accused InTrade of violating the ban on off-exchange options trading - in other words, gambling. But others argue that sites like InTrade can be better predictors than pundits or polls. The New York Times’ Washington Bureau Chief David Leonhardt makes the case for prediction markets to Bob.
White Rabbits - Back For More
In the wake of News of the World and other press scandals, Lord Justice Leveson has called for a new statute-backed system to regulate the British media. To some, such a move would constitute a reversal of a proud free-press tradition dating back to the 17th century. But Minister of Parliament Nadhim Zahawi tells Bob that the UK's self-policing press has been drinking at the "Last Chance Saloon" for too long.
In 2010, the Whistleblower Protection Enhancement Act was killed when a mystery Senator placed what’s called a secret hold on the bill. On the Media partnered with the Government Accountability Project and our listeners to find out who was behind killing the bill. This week, a new version of the Whistleblower Protection Enhancement Act was finally signed into law. Tom Devine, director for the Government Accountability Project, talks to Bob about what the new law does to protect whistleblowers and where it is lacking.
Buying a cheap knock-off is not just a problem with watches and hand bags—if you go onto Amazon's website to buy the latest bestseller, you might accidentally end up with an imitation book. Bob speaks to Fortune senior editor Stephen Gandel, who looked into the knock offs on Amazon, and found a number of books that he says were clearly meant to confuse people by trading off of more popular titles.
This year, for the first time in 35 years, there was no Pulitzer Prize awarded for fiction. Was it a bad year for novels? Is the Pulitzer selection process broken? Is it a dire sign of things to come for the fiction industry? Author, Salon senior writer and past Pulitzer fiction judge Laura Miller explains to Bob which way to read the Pulitzer’s non-award.
Papa Razzi and the Photogs - I Like the Books of Jane Austen
Russians have access to more than 100,000 pirated e-books and just 60,000 legitimate e-books. For some authors and publishers the theft is infuriating, but others take the view that it’s good to have your book out there in front of eyes no matter what the cost. Bob speaks with Peter Mountford, author of ‘A Young Man’s Guide to Late Capitalism,’ who didn't just turn a blind eye to his book being pirated, but actually helped the process along.
Journalists that covered David Petraeus, both in his capacity as a General in Iraq and Afghanistan, and later as the director of the CIA, have done a lot of public soul searching in the wake of his recent scandal. Bob speaks to international investigative reporter Jon Lee Anderson about what he sees as the media's failings in covering Petraeus.
As the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) fired missles into Gaza this week, they did something unprecedented in military history: they tweeted about it. As the fighting unfolded, the IDF carried out a real-time social media campaign, posting justifications, combat videos, and propaganda posters to Twitter and to a dedicated live blog. Bob talks to Noah Shachtman, editor of Wired.com's Danger Room blog, who tries to explain the IDF's logic and put their media offensive in perspective.
Clive Carroll & John Renbourn - First Drive