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Thursday, August 05, 2010

Communications professor W. Joseph Campbell shares his list of the 10 greatest misreported stories in the history of journalism. Then, Stephen Marshall discusses his documentary “Holy Wars”— a portrait of two religious radicals: one an evangelical Christian, the other an extremist Muslim convert. Also, Mary Roach talks about the unique set of challenges that long distance space travel poses. Plus, our latest Underreported segments look at libel tourism and the federal government’s reluctance to grant corporate workers whistleblower protections.

Getting It Wrong

W. Joseph Campbell debunks ten prominent media-driven myths by the news media: such as the notion that the Washington Post’s reporting on the Watergate scandal brought down Richard Nixon, or that William Randolph Hearst vowed to “furnish the war” in the 1898 conflict with Spain. In Getting It Wrong: Ten of the Greatest Misreported Stories in Journalism, he explores these and other cases that feed stereotypes, deflect blame, and overstate the power and influence of the news media.

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Stephen Marshall’s “Holy Wars”

Director Stephen Marshall discusses his documentary “Holy Wars,” a portrait of two very different fundamentalists. The film focuses on Aaron Taylor, an Evangelical Christian missionary who travels to Pakistan to convert Muslims, and Khalid Kelly, an extremist Muslim Irish convert living in London, whose goal is to wage global jihad against the West. "Holy Wars" is playing at IFC Center, as part of DocuWeek August 6-12. 

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Mary Roach on Packing for Mars

Mary Roach explores the strange universe of space travel. In Packing for Mars: The Curious Science of Life in the Void, she looks at the science of preparing for life in space—a world devoid of the things we need to survive: air, gravity, hot showers, and fresh foods. She investigates what happens if you vomit in your helmet during a space walk and if its possible for the human body to survive a bailout at 17,000 miles per hour.

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Underreported: Libel Tourism

Rachel Ehrenfeld, writer and director of the American Center for Democracy, discusses the "libel tourism" bill passed last week by the U.S. Senate designed to shield U.S. journalists and writers from libel suits by repressive governments or wealthy business tycoons in foreign jurisdictions. Ms. Ehrenfield, the author of  Funding Evil: How Terrorism is Financed and How to Stop It, talks about being sued for libel in England. Unlike the United States, the law is skewed in favor of the plaintiff in England, even though neither she, nor the wealthy Saudi businessman who sued her, were residents of the UK.

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Underreported: Whistleblower Claims Denied

Eight years ago, in the wake of the collapse of Enron, Congress passed the Sarbanes-Oxley Act, intended to expand protections for corporate whistleblowers. But the Agency charged with carrying out the law—the United States department of Labor—has dismissed 98 percent of claims seeking whistleblower protection status. We’ll talk with Michael Hudson, a staff writer with the Center for Public Integrity.

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Guest Picks: Mary Roach

Mary Roach is a fan of pot bellies. Find out what other favorite things she revealed after her appearance on The Leonard Lopate Show.

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