Texting While Driving, Space Madness and More

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Friday, December 16, 2011

A proposed ban on texting while driving, morning show payola, the state of the art of fact checking, the role of journalists at the end of the world, and the pop-culture myth of space madness.

Federal Agency advises U.S. to Hang up and Drive

On Tuesday, the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) called for a complete ban on cellphone use by drivers – no texting, no web surfing, no talking – not even on a hands-free device. The advisory is non-binding but states pay close attention to the NTSB. Chairman Deborah Hersman talks to Brooke about the NTSB's decision.


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Changing People's Minds

It’s hard to change behavior behind the wheel.  But there’s a precedent: drunk driving. Candace Lightner founded Mothers Against Drunk Driving in 1980, after two separate incidents where her twin daughters were hit by drunk drivers. She tells Bob about the lessons anti-distracted-driving advocates can learn from the drunk driving movement.

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The Addictive Properties of Cell Phones

While safe-driving advocates have convinced Americans to wear seat belts and drive sober, there is a school of thought that holds that distracted-driving presents a unique challenge. New York Times reporter Matt Richtel tells Bob that our relationship to our devices is unique because of the psychological hold they can have over us.

Quantic And His Combo Barbaro - Cancao Do Deserto

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The Blackberry Defense

Earlier this week it was revealed that James Murdoch received an email in 2008 that suggests Murdoch knew about the scope of the News Corp phone hacking scandal long before he has claimed. But, even though Murdoch replied to the email, he claims he didn't read far enough down the chain to grasp the gravity of the situation. Brooke spoke with author William Powers about the Blackberry defense. 

Aeroc - R+B=?

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The Facts on the Fact Checking Community

In order to cut a path through the reams of information that inundates media consumers, more organizations then ever are fact-checking claims made by partisan outfits and politicians. But press accuracy watchdog Craig Silverman tells Bob that people deliberately spreading untruth are so well-organized and well funded that this campaign season, news consumers may find it even harder to sort fact from fiction.

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Morning Show Payola

As product placement becomes pervasive in TV and movies, the line between content continues to blur. It turns out that even TV news is getting into the game of embedded advertising, often crossing the line into the illegal practice of "payola", when "experts" tout products they are being paid to promote with no disclosure. Bob speaks with Paul Farhi of The Washington Post about this thriving (if illegal) cottage industry. (Note: click here for a correction about the clip we played of Elizabeth Werner.)

J. Rocc - Stay Fresh

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Covering the Apocalypse

Even if you're not among those who believe the world will end on 12/21/2012, it's gotta end sometime right? And if there are still journalists at the end, they'll need a game plan. At a recent journalism pow-wow, the role of journalists in two apocalyptic scenarios -- global pandemic and alien invasion -- were discussed with funny and useful results. Brooke speaks with Andrew Fitzgerald who suggested the topic. 

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Space Madness, Real and Imagined

Since human space flight has been conceivable there’s been an accompanying media and pop-culture myth – ‘space madness’.  Initially the supposition in pop-culture was that only the truly crazy would volunteer to be blasted into space.  And for over 50 years there’s been a corresponding premise, that time in space must affect sanity.  Brooke speaks with Matthew H. Hersch who’s written about ‘space madness’ real and imagined. 

David Bowie - Space Oddity

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