The Joint Select Committee on Deficit Spending failed to reach an agreement in time for its Thanksgiving week deadline. The so-called "Supercommittee" of six Republicans and six Democrats was created last summer to cut the deficit by more than one trillion dollars, or else automatic cuts would be triggered. Bob speaks to New York Magazine politics writer Jonathan Chait who says the Supercommittee wasn't a failure at all, it did exactly what it was designed to do.
In 2010, Professor Daniel B. Klein wrote The Wall Street Journal Op-Ed about the results of a study that showed that liberals and progressives knew less than conservatives and libertarians about basic economic policy matters. A year later he did another study that revealed that conservatives and libertarians actually didn't know any more than liberals or progressives on those matters. Brooke speaks with Klein about why everyone fared so poorly.
13 years ago a phone hacking scandal shook up journalism when the Cincinnati Enquirer published a year-long investigation of global fruit behemoth Chiquita. The resulting piece uncovered many examples of Chiquita breaking the law and endangering its workers but it was almost completely forgotten two months later when the Enquirer disclosed and apologized for one of its reporters breaking into Chiquita's voicemail system. It's taught as a journalistic ethics object lesson but Brooke and Poynter ethics professor Kelly McBride disagree about what the lesson should be in a story that first aired in July of 2011.
As the effects from the News of the World phone hacking continue to ripple through Britain, many are still wondering how those journalists and private investigators managed to do it. This may not have been their method, but for WNYC's John Keefe, voicemail hacking was surprisingly easy. In an interview first aired in July of 2011, he tells Brooke all you need is a computer, a phone number, and $10.
For five scandal-ridden years in the mid 1950’s, Confidential was the most popular, pulpiest, dishiest, Hollywood-shaking gossip rag in the nation. And it insisted that its stories, no matter how sensational, be true. Confidential defied the studios, exposed the foibles of Hollywood brightest stars and laid the groundwork for our modern 24/7 celebrity culture. in an interview that originally aired in 2010, Henry Scott, author of the book Shocking True Story, tells Bob Confidential’s story.
In the summer of 1897, the story of a dismembered body and a sordid love triangle wasn't likely to dominate the papers. But William Randolph Hearst saw the story as an opportunity for his newly launched New York Evening Journal to beat out its major competition, Joseph Pulitzer's New York World: a tabloid war ensued. In an interview that originally aired in July of 2011, Bob spoke with Paul Collins, author of The Murder of the Century: The Gilded Age Crime That Scandalized a City and Sparked the Tabloid Wars. Collinssays that in their quest to cover the story, the papers employed tactics reminiscent of today's News of the World phone hacking scandal.
In 1977 a former beauty queen with a 168 IQ named Joyce McKinney became British tabloid fodder when she supposedly kidnapped her Mormon boyfriend at gunpoint and for 4 days kept him as her sex slave. She's the subject of Errol Morris' documentary Tabloid. Morris talked to Brooke in July of 2011 about what makes for tabloid fare, then and now.