Covering The Capitol

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Office of Strategic Misinformation?

Saturday, February 23, 2002

Last week unhappy Pentagon officials leaked news that the Office of Strategic Information (OSI) was considering a campaign to plant false reports in foreign news services. Secretary of Defense, Donald Rumsfeld jumped into “clean-up” mode but the damage was already done. Host Bob Garfield talks to Freedom Forum’s Paul McMasters.

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Fleischer’s Foil

Saturday, January 26, 2002

Taking a trick from magicians, the past few White House press secretaries have mastered the art of misdirection: when under fire on an unwelcome topic, they’re sure to change to subject by calling on reporters guaranteed to ask an unrelated question specific to their beat. Host Brooke Gladstone talks to ...

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White House Press Corps

Saturday, January 26, 2002

Journalists may work their whole career to get there, but not because the White House briefing room has the warm and welcoming atmosphere of a well-furnished den by Ikea. Host Bob Garfield toured the place the press secretary calls home to talk to reporters about one of the most coveted ...

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Choking the Pretzel

Saturday, January 19, 2002

President Bush’s recent bout with a salted knot of bread proves one thing: when it comes to distracting the press, all politicians need do is embarrass themselves. And commentator Kevin Guilfoile says when desperate times call for desperate diversions, serving up food-related humiliation works best.

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Leakers

Saturday, December 29, 2001

In the immediate aftermath of September 11th, Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld delivered an important message -- not to America, not to the international community, not to the media --but to his own Defense Department. It was a warning about leaking classified information because a leaker, Rumsfeld declared, is a ...

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The President’s Commercial

Saturday, December 15, 2001

One patriotic ad since Sept. 11th that stands out is a tourism promo in which President Bush makes a cameo. Bob talks to the Travel Industry Association’s Vice President Betsy O’Rourke about booking the biggest celebrity endorsement ever.

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Decoding the Pentagon

Saturday, October 27, 2001

In an environment of suspicion and increasing defensiveness, how are the media supposed to get any information from the military? They read between the lines, say reporters like David Martin, longtime national security correspondent for CBS. He speaks to Brooke.

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“Women of Cover”

Saturday, October 20, 2001

How does a presidential staff control the verbiage of their boss? After the neologistic Bushism “women of cover” surfaced twice in a news conference, Bob asked New York Times Magazine writer D.T. Max about the people who mold the President’s language and image.

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Pentagon and the Press

Saturday, September 29, 2001

During the Gulf War the Pentagon carefully filtered the information the media and hence the public had access to. Since September 11th, the press and the Pentagon, are both claiming to act in the public interest. Pete Williams has been a member of both those institutions. He's now a correspondent ...

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Words and the President

Saturday, September 22, 2001

Slate Magazine’s Tim Noah tells Bob that when President Bush spoke off the cuff, in the first days of the crisis, he used some phrases that had unintended negative consequences. However, the speech he delivered on Thursday may have compensated for his earlier missteps.

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Gentleman’s Agreement

Saturday, September 08, 2001

In a recent dust-up on Capitol Hill, Senator Ernest Hollings said of the aging Strom Thurmond that he was “not mentally keen.” Such blunt assessments of brainpower in Congress are very rare. The Washington press corps, usually game when it comes to reporting on the alcohol, sexual or financial problems ...

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Anti-Drug News Programming

Saturday, September 01, 2001

After influencing network dramas and sitcom scripts, the White House Office of Drug Policy took its anti-drug message to the newsroom. Bob talks to Salon.com reporter Dan Forbes about the how the White House’s drug policy permeated the news media.

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Official Secrets

Saturday, August 11, 2001

The media and the intelligence community are butting heads in Washington over a controversial measure that would give the government greater power to prosecute officials who disclose its secrets. Host Brooke Gladstone discusses the proposal and its impact with National Security Archive founder Scott Armstrong and former CIA General Counsel ...

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Bennett Roth

Saturday, June 09, 2001

During a press briefing on the issue of drug abuse and parental involvement, White House Press Secretary Ari Fleischer had a firm “no comment” when asked if Bush himself has talked to his daughters about substance abuse. After the briefing, Fleisher called the reporter to chide him for asking the ...

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Fleischer Responds

Saturday, June 09, 2001

White House Press Secretary Ari Fleischer responds to Bennett Roth.

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Vandal Scandal

Saturday, May 26, 2001

Wires cut, Air Force One trashed, W’s taken out of keyboards…the exiting Clinton staffers were blamed for all manner of vandalism to the White House. The New York Post dubbed it “Vandal-Gate.” As it turns out, it was all based on rumor. Investigative journalism? There was none of it says ...

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100 Days

Saturday, April 28, 2001

This week President Bush discussed his first 100 days in office, granting interviews with 20 major media organizations. The 100 days review has become an American media tradition, but Jake Tapper, host of CNN’s “Take Five” and political columnist for Salon.com, wonders where’s the magic in 100 days.

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Congress and E-Mail

Saturday, March 31, 2001

A report put out by the Congressional Management Foundation and George Washington University reveals that despite the computer revolution, the U.S. Congress still relies on snail mail. Most members of Congress will only reply to e-mail requests through the U.S. mail, and some are under the impression that using e-mail ...

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The Charm Offensive

Saturday, March 03, 2001

In some ways, this was the first real week of the Bush Presidency. The week when he stepped out from behind the curtain and laid his policies before the Congress and the country. New York Times White House reporter Frank Bruni talks to Brooke about what has come to be ...

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Ken Johnson

Saturday, February 17, 2001

In the annals of congressional testimony few figures endure. Joseph Welch staring down McCarthyism, Sam Ervin demanding presidential accountability…Add to that list one Ken Johnson. As press secretary for the House Committee on Energy and Commerce his duties often run to the mundane, but on Wednesday he compiled a highlight ...

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