This week, the advocacy group Reporters Without Borders released its annual World Press Freedom Index, ranking the media environment of nearly every nation on earth from most free to least. The United States landed, embarrassingly, in 46th place, a 13-place drop from last year. The rank -- below Lithuania, El Salvador and Botswana -- has set off a panic-stricken (and in some instances, gleeful) barrage of media coverage declaring that press freedom in the US is “plunging,” “plummeting,” and “profoundly eroding.” Bob talks with Washington Post foreign affairs blogger Max Fisher about why he's suspicious of these headlines.
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.
Libyan Ambassador Christopher Stevens died in an attack on the American Consulate in Benghazi, Libya after protests broke out there and in Cairo. Three other American diplomatic staff members were also killed. President Obama strongly condemned the attack earlier this morning.
Libyan rebels believe their struggle against Moammar Gadhafi is gaining momentum and that the dictator’s fall from power is impending, after the International Criminal Court issued a warrant for his arrest yesterday. And today, there’s further pressure on the dictator, as the Senate Foreign Relations Committee meets to consider a bill by Sens. John Kerry (D-MA) and John McCain (R-AZ) that would authorize a Libya intervention. Kerry says the resolution is not a "blank check" because it limits the use of U.S. forces, disallows ground troops, and expires in one year.
Iranian supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei proclaimed last week that music is incompatible with the values of the Islamic republic, and should not be taught or promoted in the country. Today: how state restriction of music in Iran has inspired a vast underground scene.