August 19, 2011

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Friday, August 19, 2011

The media's coverage of political gaffes, Amazon's foray into publishing, and when authorities restrict access to social media.

What Makes a Gaffe So Sticky

Politicians make mistakes all the time.  Only a few of them, however, are deemed “gaffes” and even fewer get replayed over and over in the press and online.  Paul Waldman argues that some gaffes stick more than others because reporters’ coverage actually just reinforces conclusions that have already been drawn about the politician.  He talked to Brooke about how these so-called gaffes don’t really tell us anything new, but rather justify what we’ve been thinking all along.

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Recording Candidates' Every Word

In 2006, Virginia Senate incumbent George Allen dashed his political career when he threw an obscure racial epithet at a young man who had been sent to record him in the hopes of capturing just such an incident.  The era of real-time gaffe tracking was born.  A progressive super PAC named American Bridge 21st Century is recording every utterance of the republican presidential contenders in the hopes of capturing a terminal slip of the tongue.  American Bridge President Rodell Mollineau lays out the stakes for Bob. 

Song: Stars & Stripes Forever

Artist: Matmos 

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What Amazon is Up To

This week, Amazon Publishing announced its first marquee hire, bestselling self-help guru Timothy Ferris. Amazon's foray into publishing actual books has unnerved some in the publishing industry, who fear that the company's size (it has more money than all the major publishing houses combined) could lead to a vertical monopoly over the book world. Publishing industry watcher Mike Shatzkin talks to Brooke about the publishing landscape Amazon is entering and how the company may reshape it.

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An Early Success From Amazon Publishing

After struggling in vain to try and get her book published through regular channels, author Deborah Reed ended up publishing a very successful book through Amazon Publishing. Bob talks to Deborah about how she managed to find success outside of the publishing mainstream.

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Books Are No Longer An Ad-Free Zone

You might think it's blasphemy to put advertisements in books, but it's happening. Still, advertising in analog books simply isn't very effective.  Digital advertising, with its ability to personalize ads and track who's buying what, may make placing ads inside e-books more effective than advertising inside traditional books. WOWIO is already putting personalized ads at the start and at the end of e-books. Bob spoke with CEO and Chairman of WOWIO Brian Altounian.

Song: For The Trees

Artist: Matmos

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Is It Ever OK To Block Social Media?

When an authoritarian government blocks access to social media, democratic governments are quick to call foul.  But this summer's wave of flash mobs, looting and disruptive demonstrations are prompting authorities in democratic societies to explore cutting off access as well.  Faced with a large demonstration on a subway platform, San Francisco's Bay Area Rapid Transit recently cut off some cell phone service to block protesters from communicating. Bob spoke with BART deputy police Chief Daniel Hartwig about that decision and with the Electronic Frontier Foundation's Jillian York about the potentially dangerous precedent.

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Broadcasting Treason

Fifty years ago this summer, Mildred Gillars was released from prison.  Known more widely as Axis Sally, Gillars broadcasted pro-Nazi propaganda during World War II on German state radio.  After the war, she became one of the only women ever convicted of treason in the United States.  Brooke spoke to historian Richard Lucas, who wrote Gillars’ biography, about her broadcasts, her trial, and her quiet life in Ohio after her imprisonment.

Song: Lili Marlene

Artist: Munich Meister Singers

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