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Ever feel like you missed the beginning of an important news story? Leonard will catch you up during Backstory. 

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Backstory: NYPD surveillance Tactics

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Over the last 6 months, a series of Associated Press reports have revealed some of the tactics used by the New York City Police Department in their counterterrorism operations since 2001, including a human mapping program in some minority neighborhoods and infiltrating mosques and Muslim student groups. Associated Press reporters Adam Goldman and Matt Apuzzo, two members of the investigative team, discuss the series, which won the George Polk Award for Metropolitan Reporting earlier this week.

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Backstory Update: Anonymous

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Journalist Quinn Norton, contributor to Wired magazine's Threat Level blog, returns to give us an update on what the Internet collective Anonymous has been up to recently.

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Backstory: "Putin's Kiss" and the Nashi youth movement in Russia

Thursday, February 16, 2012

On today’s Backstory, we’ll look at the Nashi youth movement in Russia, which was started in 2005 and has close ties to the Kremlin. With thousands of members, the group rallies in favor of the government and harass the political opposition. Director Lise Birk Pedersen talks about her documentary “Putin’s Kiss,” which follows a young Nashi leader as she gradually becomes disenchanted by the movement—and the opposition journalists who risk their safety to criticize the Nashi. She's joined by Sasha de Vogel, program coordinator at Columbia’s Committee on Global Thought.

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Backstory: American Manufacturing

Thursday, February 09, 2012

More goods are being produced in American factories that in recent decades, but employment in those same facilities is falling. Adam Davidson, co-founder and co-host of Planet Money, a co-production of NPR and This American Life, discusses the decline of American manufacturing jobs and looks at why the jobs crisis will be so difficult to solve. He's the author of "Making It in America," in the January/February issue of The Atlantic.

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Backstory: Diplomacy Surrounding Syria

Thursday, February 02, 2012

Last month, the Arab League sent a team of observers to Syria, where the government has been cracking down on protesters. Colum Lynch, who writes the Turtle Bay blog for Foreign Policy and reports on the United Nations for the Washington Post, explains what internal Arab League memos reveal about the mission in Syria. Plus, a look at why Russia opposed the United Nations Security Council measure to condemn the Syrian government during a meeting on Tuesday.

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Backstory: Super-PACs

Thursday, February 02, 2012

ProPublica’s Kim Barker and Al Shaw take a look at the role Super-PACs are playing in the 2012 election.

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Backstory: The Global Index of Press Freedom 2011-2012

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Delphine Halgand, the Washington, DC, director of Reporters Without Borders, looks at the recent report on international press freedom issued by Reporters Without Borders and examine why the United States dropped 27 places to number 47 this year.

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Backstory: EU and Debt

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Earlier this week, Standard & Poor’s downgraded the credit of nine European countries. In Greece, the government and private creditors continue to meet to renegotiate the debt there. On today’s first Backstory, Stuart Kirk, the head of the Lex column in The Financial Times, discusses this week’s negotiations, why many in Europe are now bracing for a Greek default, and how Europe is trying to cope with its continuing debt crisis in the new year.

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Backstory: Obama's Ground Game and the Keystone Pipeline

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Kate Andersen Brower, reporter for Bloomberg News, takes a look at the size and scope of President Barack Obama’s reelection apparatus and his administration’s recent decision to block the Keystone XL Pipeline.

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Backstory: 10 Years of Guantanmo

Thursday, January 12, 2012

The U.S. prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, turned 10 years old yesterday. Carol Rosenberg, Miami Herald reporter, looks back at a decade of Gitmo.

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Backstory: Anonymous

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Quinn Norton, a contributor to Wired magazine’s Threat Level blog, talks about the online collective Anonymous.

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Backstory: Hungary's New Constitution

Thursday, January 05, 2012

Over the last few weeks, thousands of Hungarians have been in the streets, protesting the government’s changes to the country’s constitution. On today’s second Backstory, journalist Adam LeBor joins us from Budapest to discuss why the new constitution has raised concerns within Hungary and around the world, and why the changes could affect the country’s access to economic aid from the IMF and the EU.

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Backstory: Saving the Sturgeon

Thursday, January 05, 2012

The Atlantic sturgeon has been around for more than 85 million years, but years of overfishing, habitat loss, and warming ocean temperatures have pushed the species to the brink of extinction. OnEarth contributing editor Bruce Stutz talks about the efforts to save the sturgeon.

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Backstory: Swelling Federal Police Ranks

Thursday, December 22, 2011

There are police forces tucked away in federal departments not typically associated with law enforcement, like the Environmental Protection Agency, the Bureau of Land Management, and even the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Wall Street Journal reporter Gary Fields explains why these agencies have police powers and why the number of departmental police officers have swelled over the last few decades.

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Backstory: Bradley Manning Trial

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Liza Goitein, co-director of the Liberty & National Security Program at the Brennan Center for Justice, joins us to discuss the trial of Bradley Manning as it wraps up.

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Backstory: Russian Politics

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Last weekend, thousands gathered in Moscow to protest for new parliamentary elections after accusations of fraud and widespread vote falsification were made. On Monday, billionaire Mikhail Prokhorov announced that he would challenge Prime Minister Vladimir Putin in the presidential election in the spring. And Wednesday, the speaker of Parliament—an ally of Putin’s—resigned. On today’s Backstory, Stephen Sestanovich, George F. Kennan Senior Fellow for Russian and Eurasian Studies at the Council on Foreign Relations and the Kathryn and Shelby Cullom Davis Professor in the Practice of International Diplomacy at Columbia University, talks about what this week’s events say about Russia’s political landscape.

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Backstory: The Stop Online Piracy Act

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Declan McCullagh, a senior writer and chief political correspondent for CNET, takes a look at some of the concerns surrounding the Stop Online Piracy Act. The House is set to take action on the bill today.

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Backstory: What OWS Can Learn From Argentina

Thursday, December 08, 2011

In the late 1990s, Argentina spiraled into a recession not unlike our own. That economic crisis also spawned the “piquetero movement,” where activists pioneered a system of strategic roadblocks as a form of protest. Nikolas Kozloff, author of Revolution! South America and the Rise of the New Left, discusses what the piqueteros did and didn’t accomplish and what lessons Occupy Wall Street can learn from the movement.

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Backstory: Efforts to Stabilize the Eurozone

Thursday, December 08, 2011

On today's second Backstory, we'll look at the latest efforts to stabilize the Eurozone as the debt crisis there continues. Peter Spiegel, Brussels Bureau Chief for the Financial Times, gives us an update on the first day of meetings of European leaders in Brussels, and whether a proposed overhaul of the European treaty is likely to find support there.

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Backstory: Drones and the History of Bombing

Thursday, December 01, 2011

Drones are a key component of U.S. military operations all over the world—in Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Yemen. But, a number of critics question their efficacy and their expanded use on the battlefield and off. Daniel Swift explores the nature of aerial warfare—both manned and pilotless—in his article "Conjectural Damage: A History of Bombing." It appears in the November issues of Harper’s magazine.

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