Bob Garfield

On The Media

A Wild Week for Online Piracy

Friday, January 20, 2012

This week saw more then its share of internet drama. The US Government led a massive operation against the website MegaUpload. And dozens of major websites staged a blackout in protest of two proposed laws - the Stop Online Piracy Act and the Protect IP Act. Bob talks to Techdirt's Mike Masnick about the implications of the proposed legislation and the foment online.

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On The Media

The Story That Continues to Dog Romney

Friday, January 13, 2012

In 1983, Mitt Romney took his family on a road trip from Boston to Canada, with the family dog Seamus strapped to the roof of the car. Almost 5 years ago, the Seamus story made it into a Boston Globe story, and to this day, the anecdote of Seamus the dog continues to haunt Romney.  Bob speaks to Boston Globe Magazine writer Neil Swidey, the person to first dig up the Seamus story.

The Dodos - Companions

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On The Media

The Gentleman Hacker of 1903

Friday, January 13, 2012

Hackers frequently release insecure information to demonstrate the vulnerability of new technologies. It's a novel approach, but certainly not new. Bob talks to New Scientist's Paul Marks, who tells the story of Nevil Maskelyne, and magician and inventor who, in the interest of exposing the technology's insecurity, hacked Guglielmo Marconi's first demonstration of the wireless telegraph.

Quantic And His Combo Barbaro - Cancao Do Deserto

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On The Media

The Laugh Track

Friday, January 06, 2012

For almost as long as there have been comedies on television there's been that old Pavlovian insurance–the laugh track.  But does it work?  Are producers just scared that without prompting we won't know what's funny?  New York Magazine's Joe Adalian tells Bob that a new generation of sitcoms highlights the pros and cons of canned laughter.

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On The Media

Requiring Local TV Stations to Disclose Political Ad Buys Online

Friday, January 06, 2012

Local television stations are required to maintain a public file of political ad sales, and allow any member of the public to inspect it–as long as they physically come in to the station.  To make the information more accessible, the Federal Communications Commission is proposing regulations that would require local broadcasters to put the public file online.  Bob speaks to former FCC adviser Steven Waldman, who says that putting the information online is the least that broadcasters can do to fulfill their public interest obligations.

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Government Reverses Itself on Online Gambling

Friday, January 06, 2012

After years of holding that the 1961 Federal Wire Act made online gambling that crossed state lines illegal, the Department of Justice reversed itself on December 24th, 2011, giving the states a huge gift. Bob speaks with gambling expert I. Nelson Rose, who says that cash-strapped states are now likely to loosen rules on online gambling, and that will mean big money and new jobs. 

Ramblin' Man - New Country Rehab 

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Movie Riffing in the Internet Age

Friday, January 06, 2012

From 1988 to 1999, the TV show Mystery Science Theater 3000 defined a comedic genre of making fun of bad movies in real time. But after the show went off the air, its creators found a new outlet for their "riffing," one that allowed them to expand their repertoire from old sci-fi B-movies to current Hollywood blockbusters. Their company RiffTrax offers MP3 audio files that users can download and play along with a rented DVD. Bob asks RiffTrax's Kevin Murphy and Bill Corbett for some pointers in preparation for OTM's impending revival of Media Scrutiny Theater.

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On The Media

The Onerous Task of Disclosing Political Ad Buys Online

Friday, January 06, 2012

The FCC's proposed regulations to force disclosure of TV political ad buys online is facing resistance from local television stations.  The National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) says that requiring stations to post online a file of the the ads purchased would create an unnecessary burden for the stations.  Bob speaks to broadcast attorney and outside counsel for the NAB Jack Goodman, who says the political file is too massive and disorganized to maintain online.

Will Sessions - Halftime

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Hellhounds On My Trail

Friday, December 30, 2011

If all commenters are ticking time bombs waiting to go off, then rule one is - don’t light the fuse by responding directly. But as a professional writer and critic, Lee Siegel had had enough. So he used a pseudonym to respond. In an interview from 2008, Siegel explains the hard-won lessons from his trip to the trenches.

Anika - Officer Officer

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On The Media

Predictions of a Newsosaur

Friday, December 30, 2011

Rather than just fixating on what went wrong for the press in 2011, we thought we'd look forward to what will most likely go wrong in 2012. Former newspaper editor and current blogger Alan Mutter tells Bob that for local legacy media companies, 2012 will be the year when the digital giants show up to take a much larger bite out of their market share.

New Country Rehab - Ramblin' Man

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On The Media

How to Create An Engaging Comments Section

Friday, December 30, 2011

Creating an interesting comment space can take a lot of time and energy. Bob speaks to The Atlantic senior editor and blogger Ta-Nehisi Coates about his approach to internet comments and his own heavily moderated comment section.

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On The Media

The Thorny World of Online Comments

Friday, December 30, 2011

Last month, The New York Times overhauled its online commenting system in an attempt to create a more engaging comment section. Many websites aspire to have an interesting, relevant and user-friendly comment space, but few have successfully figured out how to do it. Bob speaks to The Atlantic's Rebecca Rosen, who says that more than a decade in, online comments continue to be terrible.

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On The Media

Regret the Error 2011

Friday, December 30, 2011

Every year at this time, we invite Craig Silverman of Poynter's Regret the Error blog to fill us in on the media's biggest mistakes of the past 12 months.  He tells Bob about an ironic name mix-up and a very blatant case of plagiarism.

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Two Science Journals Asked to Redact an Article

Friday, December 23, 2011

This week the government advisory board overseen by the National Institutes of Health asked two science journals to redact details of a new study about the bird flu virus. The government’s worried that, in the wrong hands, the research could be used to cause a pandemic. Bruce Alberts, the editor of Science talks to Bob about why he’s complying – for now – with the government’s request.

tUnE-yArDs - Doorstep

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North Korean Propaganda

Friday, December 23, 2011

After the death of North Korean leader Kim Jong-il, we look back on a 2010 interview with academic B.R. Myers. Bob spoke with Myers, who describes how propaganda was a key tool Kim used to wield almost complete power in North Korea.  

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On The Media

The Problem With Likely Voters

Friday, December 23, 2011

Political polls need to determine who's likely to vote and who isn't. Pollsters rely on people to tell them whether they're going to vote or not - but it turns out that may not be the best plan for creating accurate polling numbers. Bob talks with Slate's Sasha Issenberg about a study which found that 55 percent of voters who tell pollsters they won't vote actually do.

Nicolas Jaar - Problems With the Sun

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On The Media

The Facts on the Fact Checking Community

Friday, December 16, 2011

In order to cut a path through the reams of information that inundates media consumers, more organizations then ever are fact-checking claims made by partisan outfits and politicians. But press accuracy watchdog Craig Silverman tells Bob that people deliberately spreading untruth are so well-organized and well funded that this campaign season, news consumers may find it even harder to sort fact from fiction.

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On The Media

The Addictive Properties of Cell Phones

Friday, December 16, 2011

While safe-driving advocates have convinced Americans to wear seat belts and drive sober, there is a school of thought that holds that distracted-driving presents a unique challenge. New York Times reporter Matt Richtel tells Bob that our relationship to our devices is unique because of the psychological hold they can have over us.

Quantic And His Combo Barbaro - Cancao Do Deserto

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On The Media

Changing People's Minds

Friday, December 16, 2011

It’s hard to change behavior behind the wheel.  But there’s a precedent: drunk driving. Candace Lightner founded Mothers Against Drunk Driving in 1980, after two separate incidents where her twin daughters were hit by drunk drivers. She tells Bob about the lessons anti-distracted-driving advocates can learn from the drunk driving movement.

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On The Media

US Government Seizes Domain Names

Friday, December 09, 2011

Since the summer of 2010, the US Office of Immigrations and Customs Enforcement (ICE) has been seizing the domain names of websites around the world that it believes have engaged in copyright infringement or sold counterfeit goods. Mark Lemley, a lawyer defending one of the websites seized by the government, talks to Bob about whether ICE has the legal authority to make these seizures and how they might be netting sites that haven't done anything wrong.

The Dodos - Companions

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