Obama's Lesson for the Media, the First Cell Phone Call, and More

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Friday, April 06, 2012

Misconceptions about the link between gas prices and the presidency, President Obama criticizes the media for false balance, and the anniversary of the first cell phone call.

President Obama, Press Critic

President Obama addressed journalists at an Associated Press luncheon and warned them against practicing “false equivalency” – pretending that both sides in a disagreement are equally at fault, even when they’re not. The Atlantic’s James Fallows talks to Bob about the President’s attempt at media criticism.

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Misconceptions about Gas Prices and the Presidency

With gas prices on the rise, the cost of fuel is set to become a defining issue of the presidential race. Bob speaks to NPR's Planet Money reporter Adam Davidson about how the media haven't done a good job correcting misconceptions about the president's role in rising fuel costs and how the staggering price of gas doesn't really change consumer behavior.


Errors - Tusk

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A Problematic Test Case for Bloggers As Journalists

In November, an Oregon Federal court awarded a $2.5 million judgment against a blogger named Crystal Cox for defamation. In his opinion, the judge took controversial positions about whether bloggers deserved the protections granted to traditional journalists. The Electronic Frontier Foundation's Trevor Timm tells Bob that even though the judgment against Cox may be warranted, that opinion could set dangerous precedents for all online journalists.

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Combating "Bad" Speech with More Speech

First Amendment lawyer Marc Randazza disagrees with the Electronic Frontier Foundation's position on the Crystal Cox case despite being the target of one of her attacks. Randazza talks to Bob about that experience and whether it has tested his faith in the First Amendment.


Tanlines - Rain Delay

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The First Cell Phone Call

Last week marked the anniversary of the first public cell phone call. It was 1973, ten years before cell phones would become commercially available and many more years before they would become wildly popular. Bob speaks with Martin Cooper, the former Motorola-man who made the first call about his company's rivalry with AT&T and the future of cell phones.


The Durutti Column - Sketch for Summer

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Bob reads from a few of your letters and comments.

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YouTube's Reply to the "Reply Girls" and Other Irrelevant Videos

OTM recently looked at the phenomenon of "Reply Girls," the cleavage baring women crowding YouTube with nonsensical videos. YouTube says it is trying to fix the problem of irrelevant videos on its site. Bob speaks to YouTube engineering director Cristos Goodrow about how the site is changing its algorithm to show users more of what they want to see.


Smog - Held

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The Upside of Legal Advertising

Late night ads for lawyers on TV seem like the lowest form of advertising - they prey on the weak and sleep deprived, encouraging them to monetize their misery by starting frivolous lawsuits. But might they actually serve a purpose? In a piece that originally aired in 2011, Bob talks to legal experts as well as the grandfather of legal advertising, and finds that even the sleaziest ad does something for the common good.