The Bergdahl Controversy, The Slenderman Panic, and a Cantor Narrative

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Friday, June 13, 2014

This week On the Media analyzes the Bowe Bergdahl controversy - the story of a prisoner exchange that has quickly become a partisan issue. Plus, a conversation with the creator of Slender Man - the online horror meme at the center of at least two deadly assaults. 

A Prisoner Dilemma

The exchange of American POW Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl for five Taliban prisoners in Guantanamo has set off a political firestorm whose flames have been fanned by wild speculation in the absence of clear facts. Brooke wades through the breathless conjecture to ponder what's really behind this controversy.

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A Cantor Narrative

The moment it became clear House Majority Leader Eric Cantor would suffer a shocking primary loss to David Brat, reporters began speculating about what the result would mean for Republican candidates across the country. Bob talks with North Star Opinion Research President Whit Ayers who says the media is once again extrapolating too much from too little.  

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Intelligence Community Directive 119

Back in April, the Office of the Director of National Intelligence’s website quietly posted Intelligence Community Directive 119, whose implications could be devastating for journalists. Bob speaks to Steven Aftergood about what effect this directive could have on contact between intelligence officials and the press.


Trying to Make it News

For years the Sudanese government has been waging a bombing campaign against civilians in Nuba, a region in the country's South. The conflict has gone unreported by most media outlets, except one: Nuba Reports. Brooke talks with the site's founder, Ryan Boyette, about his efforts to bring global attention to the crisis. 

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Managing a Monster

Slender Man, the fictional online horror meme, has been much discussed in cable news lately, cited as the motive behind two violent attacks. But the genesis of the Slender Man was far from sinister. Back in January OTM producer and TLDR co-host Alex Goldman talked to Slender Man's creator, Eric Knudsen, Programming note: A longer version of this story originally appeared on TLDR -- OTM's new blog and podcast


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Failing the Turing Test

It was widely reported this week that for the first time ever, a computer program had passed the "Turing Test." The trouble is, the story was a sham. Brooke talks with Tech Dirt's Mike Masnick about how the media should have known better. 

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Game Changer

Tetris, the world's most ubiquitous and probably most addictive video game, turned thirty this week. To celebrate, we revisit Bob's conversation with the creator of Tetris, Alexey Pajitnov, on the game's twenty-fifth anniversary back in 2009.