Battling media narratives over Syria, a terrible anniversary, and more

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Friday, September 13, 2013


A shift in the discussion about air strikes in Syria, a look at civil liberties 12 years after September 11, and why the Internet is obsessed with cats.

The Ever Changing Syria Story

The conversation about American strikes in Syria shifted this week, after Bashar Al-Assad suggested he would surrender his chemical weapons, and President Obama called on Congress to delay a decision on missile strikes. Bob takes a look at this week's Syria developments in the media, including the supposed gaffe by Secretary of State John Kerry that may have allowed the US to avoid going to war.

Andrew Bird - Ophelia Looks Back

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The Freelancer's War

The Committee to Protect Journalists reports that nearly half of the journalists killed in Syria since the conflict began were freelancers. Several UK based newspapers said they would no longer use freelance journalists in war zones. But, according to documentarian and teacher Richard Pendry, these same newspapers are still hiring freelancers, but setting up hurdles to lower the papers’ liability.

Andrew Pekler - Here Comes the Night

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Warrantless Device Searches at US Borders

There has long been a quiet exception to the constitutional protection against warrantless search and seizure. It happens routinely at every US border, where federal agents are free to confiscate--and copy--contents of hard drives, cell phones, and other electronic data. Bob talks to New York Times contributor Susan Stellin, who broke a story this week with new insights into how the US government exploits the loophole to target journalists, activists and who knows who else.

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Enemies Within

After September 11, in the name of greater security, the New York Police Department created a sweeping surveillance program that infiltrated many corners of Muslim life – sending informants and undercover officers into Muslim neighborhoods, cafes, mosques, and even cricket games. Bob talks to Associated Press reporters Matt Apuzzo and Adam Goldman, who won a Pulitzer for reporting on the NYPD surveillance program, about their new book Enemies Within: Inside the NYPD’s Secret Spying Unit and Bin Laden’s Final Plot Against America.

Hauschka - Radar (Michael Mayer Remix)

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The Strange Case of Barrett Brown

Barrett Brown is a journalist and activist who has been in jail for a year awaiting trial on a number of charges - chief among them copying and pasting a link to leaked documents into an IRC chat room. Ed Pilkington of The Guardian talks to Bob about Brown's case, and the implications it has for other journalists.

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Huffington Post Disables Anonymous Comments

This week, The Huffington Post ended anonymous comments on its website in the hopes of engendering more civil discussions. Bob reflects on OTM's own issues with anonymous commenters, and speaks with Arianna Huffington about her site's new requirement to name names.

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Jimmy Kimmel's Viral Video Gag

This week, Jimmy Kimmel revealed that he had faked a viral video that has racked up over 12 million views. Producers and hosts of TLDR, PJ Vogt and Alex Goldman have been arguing all week about whether this falsehood represents some kind of betrayal of its viewers. So they decided to hash the argument out on the air.

Los Lobos - La Iguana

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Their Eyes Were Watching Cats

If you’ve been on the internet lately then you already know this - the internet is not so much a series of tubes, but a series of cats.  Which begs the question: why? Reporter Sarah Lemanczyk investigates.

Stray Cats - Stray Cat Strut

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