Fact-Checkers in the Spotlight, Why Nigerian Prince Scams Work, And More.

« previous episode | next episode »

Friday, August 31, 2012

Fact-checkers, and facts, become the targets of criticism, the reason why scammers tell you they're from Nigeria, and Florida's weirdness explained.

 

Fact Checking and "post-truth" Politics

In pursuit of balance, there is a journalistic inclination to shy away from fact-checking in favor of reporting both sides of a debate. Brooke reflects on fact-checking assertions made at the Republican National Convention, and talks to The Atlantic's James Fallows who says that Journalists are - slowly and painfully - becoming more courageous in embedding fact-checks in their stories.

Comments [16]

"We're Not Going to Let Our Campaign be Dictated by Fact-Checkers"

This week, a Romney pollster responded to several critical fact-checks of a campaign ad by saying "we're not going to let our campaign be dictated by fact-checkers." Brooke talks to former New Hampshire governor and former White House Chief of Staff John Sununu about the ad and the institution of fact-checking.

Jenny Scheinman - A Ride With Polly Jean

Comments [50]

The People's Pledge Holds, For Now

In January, Massachusetts Senator Scott Brown and his Democratic challenger Elizabeth Warren agreed to “the People’s Pledge,” a voluntary enforcement scheme designed to banish Super PAC and special-interest advertising from their campaign. To the amazement of campaign-watchers everywhere, thus far, it has worked. Brooke talks to Boston University Mass Communications professor and Campaign Outsider blogger John Carroll about why and what, if anything, the success of the Pledge means for the rest of the country.

Comments [1]

Citizen Adelson

Turns out Sheldon Adelson, casino magnate and, as of late, Mitt Romney supporter, also owns Israel’s most popular daily newspaper, Israel HaYom. Freelance Jerusalem-based journalist Matthew Kalman says the free, aggressively pro-Netanyahu paper has quickly come to dominate the market while its competitors downsize and slash staff.  

Jessie Ware - Still Love Me

Comment

Why So Many Strange Stories Out of Florida?

The Republican National Convention was a scripted, curated affair. Yet so many news stories from Florida are genuinely odd. Brooke speaks with Florida crime reporter Will Greenlee and novelist Karen Russell (a Floridian herself) about some of the weirdest stories and why Florida is such fertile ground for strangeness.

Fats Waller - Alligator Crawl

Comments [7]

Fight or Flight

This summer has seen a host of natural disasters, from wildfires across the U.S. to Hurricane Isaac. Back in 2009, while wildfires burned in Los Angeles, Brooke spoke with LA Times then-media reporter James Rainey about how the wildfires were unfolding for him in his backyard and on his television screen.

Peter Gabriel - Down To Earth

Comment

Why Nigerian Email Scams Work

When Nigerian prince scam spam hits our inboxes, most of us know to politely decline requests for assistance. One might wonder why scammers don’t come up with something a bit more believable. But according to a new paper (pdf) by Cormac Hurley of Microsoft Research, the email’s overt scaminess helps identify the biggest suckers. Psychology professor Daniel Simons, who wrote about the phenomenon in the Wall Street Journal, explains.

Comments [4]

A Surprisingly Successful "Fake" "Erotic" E-book

Brooke speaks to Justin Robert Young, who, along with Brian Brushwood, inspired their podcast fans to write a fake erotic e-book and improve its ranking in the iBook store by buying it and leaving 5-star reviews. The idea was to mock the success of Fifty shades of Grey and its sequels. The book reached #4, but then something funny happened - people not in on the joke started buying and positively reviewing the book.

Andrea True - More, More, More

Comments [16]