Money, the Media, and Elections; Why the Classics Matter; Margaret Atwood; Re-electing President Obama

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Monday, September 16, 2013

US President Barack Obama arrive on stage after winning the 2012 US presidential election November 7, 2012 in Chicago, Illinois. Barack Obama arrives on stage in Chicago, Illinois after winning the 2012 election November 7, 2012. (Saul Loeb/AFP/Getty Images)

On today’s show: political journalist John Nichols talks about how the money we spend on political campaigns has come to define our elections and our democracy. We’ll find out why ancient Greek and Roman history still matters. Margaret Atwood discusses her latest novel, MaddAddam, which concludes her dystopian trilogy. Richard Wolffe takes us behind the scenes of President Obama’s re-election campaign to explain how marketers and admakers shaped his winning strategy.

Money and the Media Election Complex

Political journalist John Nichols describes how massive campaign spending has come to define our politics and challenges American democracy. His book Dollarocracy: How the Money and the Media Election Complex is Destroying America, which he co-authored with Robert W. McChesney, explains how our elections are becoming controlled and managed by consultants who wield millions of dollars and influence our politics as never before. He argues that after the Citizens United ruling, American citizens are in danger of becoming less informed and more open to manipulation.

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Why the Classics Matter

Classicist Mary Beard talks about Greek and Roman history and why it still matters. In Confronting the Classics, she explores our rich classical heritage—from Greek drama to Roman jokes, from Alexander the Great to the great writers Thucydides, Cicero.

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Margaret Atwood's New Novel, MaddAddam

Margaret Atwood talks about her new novel, MaddAddam, the conclusion to her dystopian trilogy. The story picks up months after the Waterless Flood pandemic has wiped out most of humanity.

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The Reselling of President Obama

Richard Wolffe talks about the marketers, message-shapers, and ad-makers behind President Obama’s 2012 reelection campaign. In The Message: The Reselling of President Obama, he describes the challenges—a dismal economy, the faded hopes of the first campaign, and a struggle for money—and how the campaign faced them.

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Guest Picks: Margaret Atwood

Writer Margaret Atwood was on the Leonard Lopate Show recently to talk about MaddAddam, the final installment her dystopian trilogy. She also told us what she's been reading recently -- and it's a long reading list. Find out what's on it in her Guest Picks!


Guest Picks: Richard Wolffe editor Richard Wolffe was on the Leonard Lopate Show recently to talk about what happened behind the scenes of Pres. Obama's 2012 re-election campaign. He also told us about his love of cooking. Find out what else Richard Wolffe's a fan of!

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Frites and Fries

Frites and Fries: an Amuse-Bouche for Food Fridays

This week we're kicking off Food Fridays series, and to whet your appetite, we're sharing a conversation from last spring. In May, hundreds of WNYC listeners joined Leonard Lopate in the Great Hall of Cooper Union for a conversation with three great French chefs. Jacques Pepin, Daniel Boulud and Eric Ripert talked about falling in love with cooking in France and then finding their way to fame and fortune in America’s kitchens.

Hear Daniel Boulud describe his love of baby eels (a delicacy that’s gotten very expensive). Eric Ripert shares that his nickname when he was an apprentice was “Blue Shoulders.” And don’t miss Jacques Pepin’s fantastic Julia Child impression!


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