May 12, 2006

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Friday, May 12, 2006

Watching the government watching us- and American pollsters sell negativity south of the border.

They’ve Got Your Number

For months, the Bush Administration insisted that NSA surveillance is strictly targeted on terrorists and their associates. But this week came allegations that the NSA is also collecting the phone records of ordinary Americans. Critics question the program’s legality, but the president insists that the only ones acting improperly are ...

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Dear Leader

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has broken a decades-old epistolary freeze with the U.S., but the White House wants no part of it. Meanwhile, an aide to Ayatollah Ali Khomeini has sent his own letter to Time magazine; it strikes a very different tone from the President’s. columnist Jefferson Morley ...



This July, Mexican voters will elect a new president. Campaign season has reflected a general loosening of the government’s stranglehold on media during the past six years. But the opening has also made way for a new media phenomenon: negative advertising. It’s a tactic that reflects the influence of political ...



Four years ago, former Bolivian President Gonzalo “Goni” Sanchez de Lozada eeked out a narrow re-election victory. It was due in part to the behind-the-scenes work of a group of Washington-based pollsters. It’s all documented in the new film Our Brand is Crisis, which tells the story of Goni’s rise ...


Fee and Fair Elections

Getting a candidate elected has its rewards, but losing isn't bad either. A media consultant for a congressional candidate, for instance, may get as much as 10-15% of the total spent on TV ads. Salon Washington bureau chief Walter Shapiro tells Bob that Americans might not fork over as many ...


Information Toll Road

A couple of months ago, we discussed the possibility that the Internet would become a two-tier system: a fast lane for websites willing to pay, and a slow lane for the rest. It appears that fateful day may be coming sooner rather than later, thanks to legislation making its way ...



We received a mound of letters in response to last week’s commentary about Stephen Colbert’s Washington routine. Brooke and Bob read a few.


Desperate Networks

The major networks have seen their share of turmoil in the past year. The three nightly newscasts are each fronted by new faces. NBC, the longtime ratings king, has slumped to fourth place, behind Fox. CBS, a decade-long loser, has taken the lead. Behind every ratings rise and fall, every ...


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