On a Sunday evening in the late 1980's, two or more unknown men hijacked the signal for two Chicago area TV stations. They broadcast a spooky, subversive, disturbing message -- twice. Brooke talks to Bohus Blahut, a Chicago broadcaster, who saw the broadcast and was unable to forget it.
Doctor Who Theme - Delia Derbyshire/Ron Grainer
One of the great maxims in defense of the 1st Amendment is the insistence by Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes that we must defend 'even the thought we hate'. But law professor Jeremy Waldron asks, when it comes to the most egregious hate speech, why? He explains to Brooke that words can and do hurt us and that there should be limitations on the most hateful expression.
Leaders in Ethiopia and Rwanda were once hailed as political reformers. But according to Mohamed Keita, of the Committee to Protect Journalists, Western priorities have led African democracies to narrow their free speech commitments. Mohamed speaks to Brooke about the frightening consequences when press freedoms drop off the agenda.
This week, Comcast, the largest provider of cable and internet in the country, started charging for broadband using a tiered data plan - much like wireless carriers currently do. This move is not likely to affect many people right now, but as The New York Times media reporter Brian Stelter tells Brooke, Comcast might be preparing its subscribers for the future of internet pricing.
When Liberian journalist Mae Azango wrote an article about the taboo topic of female genital mutilation, she and her nine year-old daughter became the targets of multiple threats. Brooke talks to Mae about her reporting that forced the Liberian government to finally take a public position on the practice.
W. Ralph Eubanks, publishing director at the Library of Congress and author of Presidential Campaign Posters: Two Hundred Years of Election Art, and Brooke Gladstone, co-host of WNYC's On the Media, talk about the new collection of campaign posters from Andrew Jackson to Barack Obama.
In 1947, a rug importer named Eugene LaBar came to Manhattan on a bus from Mexico. A few days later, he checked into a hospital where he learned he had smallpox and that he'd spread it throughout the city. Over the next two weeks, the NYC health commissioner convinced 5 million people to get vaccinated. Historian Jean Ashton helped curate an exhibit at the New York Historical Society about the scare. She talks to Brooke about why the campaign worked and what's changed today.
Scientists have firmly established that childhood vaccines do not cause autism, but many people still choose not to vaccinate their kids. Writer Seth Mnookin talks to Brooke about why vaccinations are still down, two years after an investigation that completely discredited the anti-vaccine movement's strongest study.
Barack Obama made history this week as the first sitting president to support gay marriage and the Republican response to the unprecedented announcement has been relatively quiet. Brooke speaks to NewYorker.com writer Alex Koppelman, who says republicans are playing a game of wait-and-see before deciding how to react.
Last week, the cybersecurity bill CISPA passed the House of Representatives. Brooke talks to Congressman Adam Schiff about why he was initially for the bill and why he decided that in its current form it did not offer enough privacy protections to American citizens.
In January, we covered a proposal to put the 'public files' of television stations online and the broadcaster's objections to the move. A public file, which stations are legally required to keep, contains information about what organizations are buying political ads and how much they've paid for each ad. Brooke speaks with Justin Elliott, reporter at ProPublica about a recent FCC ruling that will require some stations to put the files online.
The February raids on two Palestinian TV stations were carried out by Israeli Defense Forces on behalf of the Israeli Ministry of Communications. Brooke speaks with the ministry's director general, Eden Bar Tal, who says Wattan TV was operating illegally and only raided after repeated requests to stop interfering with Israeli frequencies.
Yo-Yo Ma - Bach Suite for Solo Cello No. 2 in D Minor, Mov. VI: Gigue
In February, Israeli Defense Forces raided Wattan TV, a local Palestinian station operating out of Ramallah. Brooke speaks to Wattan TV general director Muamar Orabi about the raid and the heartbreak he feels after a decade of work at the station.
Operating a television station in the occupied West Bank has never been an easy task, with broadcasters facing pressure from both the Palestinian Authority and the Israeli government. Palestinian journalist and TV producer Daoud Kuttab tells Brooke about the relatively recent establishment of local Palestinian TV stations and the difficulties they face.
GossipCop.com is premised on the idea that gossip mongers need to be policed and that readers are interested in seeing rumors corrected. Brooke speaks with Gossip Cop's Michael Lewittes who explains how he goes about trying to correct celebrity rumors and why the site has become so popular.
Last Friday, the group Invisible Children tried to capitalize on the astounding success of their Kony 2012 video by organizing a worldwide demonstration called "Cover the Night." According to reports, the protest fizzled. Critics said this is symptomatic of the difficulty of translating online advocacy into real-world action, but Africa researcher Asch Harwood says that he still considers the film a qualified success.
Journalists have become increasingly reliant on digital technology in their work, but weak or nonexistent digital security measures open their sources to risk of exposure. Brooke speaks to journalist Matthieu Aikins about the need for reporters to take more precautions to protect their digital information, especially in conflict areas.
As a newly minted editorial assistant at Norton, writer Tom Bissell was able to resuscitate an out-of-print novel called Desperate Characters by Paula Fox. In Bissell's new book, Magic Hours, he wrote about how, paradoxically, that experience shook his faith in publishing. Brooke talks to writer Tom Bissell about whether we as readers will miss the publishing industry, imperfect as it is, if it disappears.