While the US is focusing on leaks by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden, international journalists have been reporting stories from a massive trove of documents called the "Offshore Leaks" that reveals the mysterious world of offshore tax havens. Brooke talks to Gerard Ryle, the Director of the Center for Public Integrity's International Consortium for Investigative Journalism about coordinating the reporting on these leaks around the world.
As hydraulic fracturing, commonly known as fracking, continues its spread throughout the nation, oil industry representatives and environmentalists vie for control over coverage of the issue. Brooke speaks to ProPublica's Abrahm Lustgarten about how advocates on both sides of the issue are attempting to control the narrative.
Last week, a bill called the We Are Watching You Act was introduced to the U.S. House of Representatives. It's meant to protect consumers from new technology that could monitor them as they watch TV or play video games. Brooke speaks to Rep. Walter Jones, one of the bill's cosponsors, about why he feels these regulations are necessary.
Last Thursday brought leaks that about a government program called PRISM. But while the early reports described a program that had unilateral, unfettered access to companies like Google, Yahoo, and Microsoft, subsequent reports made the program look significantly less intrusive. Brooke talks to Wired's Kim Zetter about the evolution of reporting on PRISM, the perils of national security reporting, and what we still don't know about the government program.
This week, the rush was on to understand Edward Snowden's character and the conversation in the media quickly broke down in to one camp that holds Snowden up as a hero and another that condemns him as a traitor. Brooke examines that dichotomy and suggests another way to think about Snowden.
Marcy Playgound - Emperor
This week saw several revelations about US government surveillance of both Americans and foreigners. Brooke and Bob talk to Washingtonian writer Shane Harris and co-director of the Liberty and National Security Program at the Brennan Center for Justice, Elizabeth Goitein, about the what we can glean from the information that became public this week.
In the summer of 2009, Neda Agha-Soltan became the face of the Iranian Green Revolution after her tragic death by gunshot was caught on cell phone camera and uploaded online for the whole world to see. The international media rushed to put a face to the victim--but the face they used was that of another Iranian woman by the name of Neda Soltani, who was still very much alive. In a piece that originally aired in November of last year, Brooke speaks to Neda Soltani, author of My Stolen Face: The Story of a Dramatic Mistake.
Shortly before last month’s mayoral primary in Pittsburgh an attack ad began airing criticizing one of the mayoral candidates. The ad was paid for by an anonymous third party and ordinarily the search into its provenance would have stopped there. But last year the FCC changed disclosure rules for anonymous attack ads. Brooke talks to Tim McNulty, political reporter for the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, about who paid for the ad and why.
The Oklahoma tornado pressed pause on coverage of the scandal blitz, but only briefly. Blogger Andrew Tyndall of the Tyndall Report found that the tornado filled 91% of the three network evening news hole on Monday, and all of it on Tuesday. But by Wednesday, Tornado coverage dropped to just a third, and scandal crept back in. Brooke talks to political scientist Brendan Nyhan about what it takes for a natural disaster to overwhelm scandal coverage.
In September 1966, Gene Roddenberry dispatched the crew of the Starship Enterprise on its maiden voyage through space and time and into the American living room. It was an inauspicious start, but almost fifty years later the Star Trek universe is still expanding. The new film debuted last weekend with a $70 million opening. In a piece we originally ran in 2006, Brooke explores the various television incarnations of the franchise and the infinitely powerful engine behind it all: the fan.
Star Wars Theme/Star Trek Theme
This week a group of Catholic nuns and priests joined forces to form Catholic Whistleblowers; their goal is to hold the church accountable for the ongoing child sex abuse scandal. Most of the founding members have themselves blown the whistle about abuse in the church. Brooke visits one of them, Sister Sally Butler, to talk about the role of truth-telling, transparency and honor among the faithful.
The AP story should be a reminder not only to journalists, but also to sources, that leaking information is increasingly complicated. Brooke talks with Nick Weaver, a researcher at the International Computer Science Institute in Berkeley, about ways people can safely turn information over to journalists. Weaver gave advice to sources in Wired this week.
Earlier this week, the Department of Justice revealed that it had subpoenaed the phone records of Associated Press reporters and editors over the course of two months in 2012. Many in the media were not pleased at what the AP called an "unprecedented intrusion." Brooke talks with University of Chicago Law Professor Geoffrey Stone who says, unprecedented or not, the DOJ's actions were certainly legal.
Last week, it was revealed that journalists at Bloomberg News were using financial terminals sold by their parent company, Bloomberg LP, to spy on (and report on) their users. Brooke speaks with the Washington Post's Neil Irwin about Bloomberg's secret sauce for making money.
Music: Beacon - Late November
This week, to help insulate journalists and their sources from government surveillance, The New Yorker launched a new service. It’s called Strongbox, and it enables people to send messages and documents to journalists anonymously and untraceably. It was developed from code created by programmers Kevin Poulsen and the late Aaron Swartz. The New Yorker's Nicholas Thompson explains to Bob how it works.
Music: John Lurie - Horse Guitar
After its release in 2006, a browser plug-in called AdBlock Plus gained hero status as an open-source effort to save consumers from obnoxious ads. But in 2011, AdBlock Plus began poking holes in its filter, adding a whitelist of "acceptable ads" that it lets through--some of them for a fee. Brooke talks with Till Faida, AdBlock Plus’ managing director, about his company's policy.
5ive Style -- Outta Space Canoe Race
This month saw two big crowd-funding successes, as films by Veronica Mars creator Rob Thomas and actor Zach Braff were put into production based on pledges from fans. Brooke talks crowdfunding past and future with Roman Mars, host of the show 99% Invisible, who used Kickstarter to fund his third season.
Citizen King - Better Days (And the Bottom Drops Out)
As eyeballs continue to shift from TV to streaming online video, it remains doubtful that digital ad dollars will ever rival their analog predecessors. Meanwhile, companies like Netflix, Hulu, and YouTube continue to experiment with subscription and advertising models. Brooke sits down with Peter Kafka of All Things Digital, to ask him what the future holds for shows like Mad Men, and for YouTube stars like Ryan Higa.
Niero Gonzalez is the founder of a video gaming site called Destructoid. As the site's readers increased, advertising revenue leveled off and Gonzalez soon realized that almost half of his tech-savvy readers were using ad-blocker software. So he asked his readers "what now?" Brooke talks to Gonzalez about his search for new revenue streams.