Misleading Obamacare Promises, The Original 'Nigerian' Scam Letter, and More

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Friday, November 01, 2013

The media start challenging Obama's "you can keep it" promise about health care, a man who challenged hackers to hack him, and a predecessor to "Nigerian" scam emails.

Actually, You Can't "Keep It"

This week's Obamacare troubles came in the form of media challenging the oft repeated claim by the administration that if you like your health insurance policy, you can keep it. Bob talks to Washington Post writer, and author of The Fact Checker blog Glenn Kessler about why the "you can keep it" claim was so misleading, and why the media are just now getting around to correcting it.

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Not All Plots, Not All Thwarted

Following Edward Snowden's leaks about the NSA's surveillance program, the NSA, members of Congress and the Obama administration all attempted to justify the program by declaring that it had thwarted more than 50 terrorist plots. But, at a Senate hearing last month, NSA Chief General Keith Alexander admitted that the numbers being cited weren't all plots and weren't all thwarted. Brooke talks to ProPublica's Justin Elliott about how the claim spread despite a lack of evidence to support it.

Cake - Fashion Nugget

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Confiscating a Journalist's Documents

Audrey Hudson is a journalist for conservative news outlets like the Colorado Observer, NewsMax and The Washington Times. This August, while authorities executed a search warrant on her home on an unrelated matter, they confiscated some of her reporting notes. Now Hudson and The Washington Times are preparing a lawsuit against the Department of Homeland Security. Brooke talks to Hudson about the raid and the documents confiscated. 

Howard Shore - Cops Or Criminals Featuring G.E. Smith And Larry Saltzman

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Hack Challenge

A lot of listeners responded to Brian Krebs’ story on the Experian data breach last week. The consensus: we’re all worried about the security of our personal data. Brooke speaks to Journalist and PandoDaily editor Adam Penenberg, who did what many listeners seem to think is the ultimate nightmare. He challenged hackers to hack into all of his personal information. The only information he gave them to go on? His byline.


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The Spanish Prisoner

Over a century before the rise of the Nigerian email scam, there was the "Spanish Prisoner" Letter, a scam which bears a striking resemblance to the emails that still dupe people today. Bob talks to historian Robert Whitaker, who wrote about "Spanish Prisoner" letters in the history journal The Appendix.

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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 paper (pdf) by Cormac Herley of Microsoft Research, the email’s overt scaminess helps identify the biggest suckers. In an interview from August of last year, Psychology professor Daniel Simons, who wrote about the phenomenon in the Wall Street Journal, explains.


Don't Panic

This week the 75th Anniversary of War of the Worlds passed by and the press recounted the familiar story of a nation plunged into panic by Orson Welles and the growing power of radio. Turns out, it’s much more complicated than that. Bob talks with Professor Michael Socolow, who says tales of nation-wide panic are overblown and can be traced to a nervous newspaper industry and faulty scholarship. Socolow and Jefferson Pooley wrote about War of the Worlds in Slate this week. 

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