Covering The Capitol

On The Media

Calling on Helen

Friday, March 24, 2006

The President took questions this week – from the public, from military families, and from members of the Washington press corp. And not just any member of the press – Helen Thomas got to ask a question, after three years of being purposefully ignored in the briefings. Why now? With ...

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On The Media

Live from the Briefing Room

Friday, March 03, 2006

The White House spokesperson has briefed the press live on TV regularly since 1998 when Clinton Press Secretary Mike McCurry allowed CNN's cameras go live. The result is that the public can watch as reporters do the dirty work of trying to get answers from the spokesperson. Theatrics are a ...

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On The Media

Deadline Pressure

Friday, February 24, 2006

CBS Pentagon correspondent David Martin this week offered a candid public explanation about why he pulled a story on Improvised Explosive Devices, or IEDs, in Iraq. Basically, it was because a senior military officer asked him to. And since it was very close to deadline, he did. Martin tells Brooke ...

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On The Media

Cheney in the Crosshairs

Friday, February 17, 2006

Vice President Cheney was at the center of several serious stories this week. The one about how he shot his friend and didn’t tell the press definitely won the most coverage, but it also became a symbol for the other more complicated stories about cherry-picking intelligence in the lead-up to ...

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On The Media

Code Red

Friday, February 17, 2006

Microsoft, Yahoo, Google and Cisco were called to Capitol Hill on Wednesday, accused of collaborating with a repressive regime, namely China. These modern, forward-looking companies are not used to being pegged as the bad guys – Google’s unofficial slogan is “don’t be evil.” But with people being jailed because Yahoo ...

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On The Media

Presidential Fitness Test

Friday, January 27, 2006

When careful observers noticed Dick Cheney wearing mismatched shoes recently, they took it as a clue about the Veep's health. But don't expect straight answers from the White House - the executive branch has rarely been forthcoming about the health of our leaders. Dr. Robert Gilbert, author of The Mortal ...

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On The Media

Tap Dance

Friday, January 20, 2006

The NSA’s warrant-less wiretapping program has generated the first of what are likely to be many legal challenges. The ACLU accuses the government of violating the constitutional rights of a group of academics, activists, and journalists, all of whom believe they may have been monitored. But lawyer Jonathan Turley tells ...

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On The Media

Party Favor

Friday, January 20, 2006

With lobbyist Jack Abramoff cooperating with a Capitol Hill corruption probe, lawmakers on both sides of the aisle are taking great pains to show they’re committed to ethics reforms. Because Republicans and Democrats benefited from the dirty lobbyist’s largesse. Or at least that’s what it would seem like from the ...

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On The Media

To Swiftboat (v.)

Friday, January 20, 2006

At the start of the 2004 Campaign, John Kerry’s military experience was a political asset. Then came the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth, whose smears against the candidate’s military record were picked up and reported uncritically by the media. Last week, there was another attempt at swift-boating, as the GOP-connected ...

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On The Media

Camera Shy

Friday, January 13, 2006

The cameras were focused squarely on Sam Alito this week. But if he's confirmed as Supreme Court Justice, the hearings will have been TV viewers' last chance to see him in action. Unless, of course, the current rules are changed to allow video cameras in the Supreme Court. C-SPAN founder ...

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On The Media

Leakers and Plumbers

Friday, January 06, 2006

Leaks, part and parcel of the Fourth Estate, were and are a tremendous irritant to the Bush Administration. Back in the early days of the War on Terror, Bob produced this piece on the pros, cons and mechanisms of the ever-present, and indispensable, Washington leak.

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On The Media

Doing the Leak Investigation Dance

Friday, January 06, 2006

In the last days of 2005 the Justice Department announced it was launching an investigation into who leaked that the President had authorized the National Security Agency to wiretap people in the United States without court warrants. Whether the source was a leaker or a whistleblower, a traitor or a ...

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On The Media

Pay to Say

Friday, December 23, 2005

The money trail of indicted lobbyist Jack Abramoff last week led reporters to a couple of prominent Washington opinion makers. It turns out that for years, Abramoff has been paying two think-tankers, Doug Bandow and Peter Ferrara, to write op-ed pieces favorable to Abramoff’s clients. Bob talks to blogger Joshua ...

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On The Media

Call & Response

Friday, December 23, 2005

While excoriating the Times for disclosing the NSA’s surveillance program, President Bush trotted out an old chestnut about the danger of leaks. He cited a 1998 newspaper story that disclosed Osama Bin Laden’s use of a satellite phone, and claimed –as many have before – that the disclosure led Bin ...

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On The Media

Watching & Waiting

Friday, December 23, 2005

In this new era of media transparency, many expected a fuller explanation from The New York Times about why it held its NSA spying scoop for more than a year. What we do know, however, is that editors routinely accede to government demands that they withhold certain information. Scott Armstrong ...

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On The Media

Access Holy Wood

Friday, November 18, 2005

The Washington saga that has gripped journalism watchers for many months has taken another unexpected turn. Seems that storied scribe Bob Woodward may have been the first journalist contacted by the notorious Valerie Plame leaker. And he kept mum until this week. Brooke reflects on the transformation of Watergate Bob ...

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On The Media

Letter of the Law

Friday, November 11, 2005

Since its passage after September 11th, the USA Patriot Act has become institutionalized in law enforcement, especially at the FBI. The Bureau relies on relaxed legal requirements for issuing National Security Letters, a form of secret subpoena introduced in the 1970s to track transactions of suspected terrorists. The Washington Post’s ...

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On The Media

Prison Break

Friday, November 11, 2005

The Washington Post reported last week that the CIA is operating secret terror-suspect detention facilities in eight countries around the world, including two Eastern European democracies. One immediate reaction from Republican leaders in Congress was not to express outrage at a CIA prison archipelago, but to find out who leaked ...

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On The Media

Let’s Go to the Videotape!

Friday, November 11, 2005

The White House tinkers with official transcripts of a press briefing.

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On The Media

Former New York Times Staffer Judith Miller

Friday, November 11, 2005

Bob talks with Miller about weapons of mass destruction, erstwhile Capitol Hill staffer Scooter Libby and a heck of a lot more.

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