The Latest Federal Budget Crisis, Predicting the Oscars, and More

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Friday, February 22, 2013

Why federal budget crises seem to happen every month, covering the Vatican from a world away, and using election prediction models to forecast the winners of the 85th Academy Awards.

The Problem With Saying Everyone Is The Problem

Some of the coverage of the sequestration has been characterized as a "pox on both their houses" attitude towards the Democrats and Republicans who are, once again, inching us closer to the edge. Brooke speaks with New York magazine writer Jonathan Chait who says that sticking to that approach despite the facts can lead reporters and Op-Ed writers to mislead readers about what's really going on. 

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Why the Press Can't Play Referee, and Why they Should

The Atlantic’s James Fallows believes that the failures we’re seeing in the sequestration coverage suggest a larger problem with our political system and the press that’s supposed to cover it. Fallows tells Bob that our press isn't comfortable playing referee, but they might need to start.


Hauschka - Radar

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How to Accidentally Start a Rumor About a U.S. Senator

This month, the conservative site suggested that Senator Chuck Hagel, Obama's nominee for Secretary of Defense, had secret financial ties to a group called “Friends of Hamas.” It did not look good: a U.S. politician had allegedly received money from a terrorist organization that's called for Israel’s destruction. Turns out though, it  wasn’t true. New York Daily News reporter Dan Friedman tells Brooke about his theory that he was the source of the rumor.


Tanlines - Rain Delay

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Inside the Vatican

Pope Benedict’s sudden resignation last week has prompted speculation on two fronts: why he is resigning, and who will be selected as Pope in the upcoming Vatican conclave. Reporters from all over will travel to Rome for the event, including blogger Rocco Palmo. Bob talks to Palmo about covering the church’s inner politics from Philadelphia, and the one bankable trait of the next Pope.


Breton - The Commission

ME 338-R

For years, photographer Ernest Withers captured many of the most important moments of the Civil Rights movement. But, unbeknownst to everyone in the movement, he was also ME338-R,an FBI informant. Memphis Commercial Appeal reporter Marc Perrusquia talks with Brooke about breaking the story and the life of Ernest Withers. 


Sabazz Palaces - Endeavors for Never


I Get This Call Every Day

Fed up with his unsatisfying job at a call center, game designer David S. Gallant channeled his frustration into a video game called I Get This Call Every Day, a game where you play a guy working an unsatisfying job at a call center. Brooke talks to Gallant about what it's like to make a game that's not necessarily fun to play.

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Predicting Oscar Winners

The prediction models used to forecast the outcome of the 2012 presidential elections are now being used on another major event: the Academy Awards. Bob speaks with Microsoft researcher David Rothschild about his predictions for the 2013 Oscars.

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The Man With A Movie Camera

The practice of itinerant filmmaking - traveling from town to town, charging a fee for residents to become the stars of a film - mostly died out in the early 50's. But one man continued the practice for nearly 40 years, filming the same movie over and over again. Bob talks to Caroline Frick, Executive Director of the The Texas Archive of the Moving Image about her decade-long fixation on filmmaker Melton Barker and his oft-filmed movie The Kidnapper's Foil. 


You can watch several versions of The Kidnapper's Foil at


The Hut Sut Song - from The Kidnapper's Foil

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