Public Relations for Dictators, Photographing Death, and More

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Friday, June 15, 2012

The PR firms that work for dictators, a reporter decides whether to put the camera down, and a Lexicon Valley installment about an algorithm that detects anachronisms in Mad Men and Downton Abbey.

The Evolving Propaganda War in Syria

When the conflict in Syria began it was relatively simple - a tyrant versus his people. After more than a year, it's become much more complicated. Bob speaks with BBC Middle East Bureau Chief Paul Danahar who recently returned from Syria about the propaganda both sides of the conflict are putting out and the usefulness of having more journalists on the ground in Syria.


Public Relations for Dictators

The New York Times reported this week that the Assad family employs Western PR firms to polish its image for the rest of the world. A few years ago, Harper’s contributing editor Ken Silverstein went undercover and approached PR firms as a fake representative of a tyrant who needed to improve his image. He talks to Bob about what he learned.

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Minneapolis Police Filming Their Own Work

When demonstrators from the Minneapolis occupy movement posted video depicting what looked like a series of unprovoked arrests, the Minneapolis Police Department posted their own video showing several warnings to the crowd. Bob talks to incoming police chief Janee Harteau about the department's decision to post video of their own officers at large public events.

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The Perils of Filming Police

It is not illegal to film police, but there have been several instances of citizens being arrested because the police didn't want to appear on camera. Bob talks to Mickey Osterreicher, general counsel for the National Press Photographers Association, who has been doing workshops with police around the country about the right to film police in the line of duty.


The Replacements - Kids Don't Follow

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When To Put The Camera Down

On May 27th a Pentecostal pastor who handles poisonous snakes as part of his religious tradition was bitten, and in the absence of any medical attention, he died.  One of those who witnessed his death and decided not to call for help was Lauren Pond, a photojournalist who had been documenting Wolford for over a year.  Bob talks to Pond about where journalistic responsibility and respect collides.


Four Tet - 128 Harps

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The Thunder is Playing Well

The NBA finals, between the Miami Heat and the Oklahoma City Thunder, are going on this week and next. The Heat and the Thunder are singular because they have reached the championship series -- but are also singular because they are not plural. And for copy editors that presents a very serious challenge. Bob speaks with Deadspin Managing Editor Tom Scocca about the grammatical dilemma.

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Lexicon Valley takes on Mad Men

Mad Men's fifth season is over. From it's start, part of the show's allure has been the way it meticulously creates Manhattan in the 1960’s. Period specific language is part of that, but verbal anachronisms sneak in with surprising frequency. In this excerpt of the Lexicon Valley podcast, Bob Garfield and former OTM producer Mike Vuolo discuss the linguistic anachronisms in Mad Men.

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