July 29, 2011

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Friday, July 29, 2011

Fact checking the debt ceiling showdown, a journalist's analysis of the alleged Oslo gunman's manifesto, literally burying a story in China

Reading an Alleged Killer's Manifesto

Ninety minutes before accused mass murderer Anders Breivik began his killing spree in Norway, he emailed his intentions to more than 1000 people, with a 1500-page manifesto attached. Dartmouth professor Jeff Sharlet read the entire manifesto.  He tells Brooke the media have mischaracterized the alleged killer's writings.

 

 

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The Wall Street Journal Disappears an Error

In the wake of the Oslo attacks, The Wall Street Journal published an editorial blaming the violence on Islamic extremists. When further reporting revealed that the killer wasn’t a Muslim, the Journal changed its editorial online without issuing any sort of correction. Craig Silverman, who tracks newspaper corrections at his website Regret the Error, tells Bob that the Journal acted dishonestly. 

(You can see the original article here, and the edited one over here.) 

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Fact Checking the Debt Ceiling Debate

President Obama and House Speaker John Boehner presented dueling debt speeches this week in which each accused the opposing party of causing the debt ceiling impasse. Much of the press covered the speeches as political point and counterpoint and didn't spend much time fact checking what was said. Brooke spoke with FactCheck.org managing editor Lori Robertson who investigated the accuracy of speeches.

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The Objectivity Bias

What happens when the fear of appearing partisan prevents journalists from accurately describing what's going on? Are journalists struggling with objectivity bias when it comes to reporting on the debt ceiling? The Columbia Journalism Review's Ryan Chittum tells Brooke  why he thinks the U.S. press has trouble communicating extreme political views.

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The Redemption of the New York Times Paywall

In January of 2010, facing declining subscriptions and ad revenue, the New York Times announced it would be implementing a paywall. Critics called the decision counter intuitive, saying it would be the undoing of the paper. Reporter Seth Mnookin wrote about the paywall for New York Magazine this week.  He tells Brooke that it's actually exceeded even The Times' own expectations.

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Ideological Bias at Non-Profit News Organizations

Dozens of non-profit news organizations have cropped up in just the last 5 or 6 years, touted by some as the solution to for-profit papers closing across the country. The Pew Research Center’s Project for Excellence in Journalism recently examined 39 of these non-profits to see how they’re doing. Study co-author Amy Mitchell tells Bob that many of the sites appear to reflect the ideological leanings of their funders.

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Letters

Bob and Brooke read from a few of your letters and comments.

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"Whether you believe it or not, I believe it."

Two high speed trains collided on a bridge in China recently, causing six carriages to fall off the tracks and onto a farm below. Immediately, passengers began using a Twitter-esque site to describe what happened. The Chinese government has gone to lengths to try to cover up the severity of the accident.  Some even believe they tried to literally bury one of the carriages with dirt.  Danwei.org founder Jeremy Goldkorn talks with Bob from Beijing.  Goldkorn says, so far, social media has beaten back government propaganda.

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Lexicon Valley, Episode 2

Back by popular demand, here's another installment of Mike Vuolo's "Lexicon Valley." In February 2010, the last living speaker of Boa died, and with her, the logic, culture, and history of the ancient people. Mike and Bob discuss the death of languages and why their passing matters.

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