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The (Not So) All-Knowing NSA

Friday, February 14, 2014

Last week the Washington Post reported that the NSA collects less than 30% of phone metadata, contrary to the popular perception that all call activity is being gathered en masse. As it turns out, the agency is unable to keep up with the explosion in cell phone use, which raises significant questions about the efficacy and potency of the program. Bob talks with Ellen Nakashima who wrote the story for the Washington Post.

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On The Media

No, US Press Freedom Is Not In Dire Decline

Friday, February 14, 2014

This week, the advocacy group Reporters Without Borders released its annual World Press Freedom Index, ranking the media environment of nearly every nation on earth from most free to least. The United States landed, embarrassingly, in 46th place, a 13-place drop from last year. The rank -- below Lithuania, El Salvador and Botswana -- has set off a panic-stricken (and in some instances, gleeful) barrage of media coverage declaring that press freedom in the US is “plunging,” “plummeting,” and “profoundly eroding.” Bob talks with Washington Post foreign affairs blogger Max Fisher about why he's suspicious of these headlines. 

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On The Media

TLDR #14 - The Knowledge

Sunday, February 09, 2014

Every year, a small group of sports fans scattered across the U.S. play a game called "Last Man." The goal is to be the last person in America to find out who won the Super Bowl. TLDR Sports reporter Lisa Pollak followed the game this year, and found out just how hard information was to avoid in the internet age.

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On The Media

Free Valentines Day Poems From PayPal

Friday, February 07, 2014

In what is surely the most incongruous piece of marketing this season, electronic payment service PayPal is employing poets to write Valentines Day poems on the spot for consumers. I suppose it makes sense, as I've always found online transactions very romantic.

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On The Media

What's In A Name

Friday, February 07, 2014

Over the past few years, a number of media outlets have made the editorial choice not to publish the word "Redskin" when referring to Washington's professional football team. OTM producer Chris Neary has the story of one Pennsylvania paper that stopped using the word. 

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On The Media

In Russia, Not Covering Sports

Friday, February 07, 2014

NBC spent $775 million for the rights to the Olympic games, and will provide more than 1500 hours of coverage - most of it on the events themselves. But its also sent reporters to cover Russia’s many political subplots. Bob speaks with NBC Chief Foreign Correspondent Richard Engel about being deployed to cover the political backdrop to the Olympics.

Olympics Forever

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On The Media

"Sound and Fury, Signifying Nothing"

Friday, February 07, 2014

On Sunday before the Super Bowl kickoff,  President Obama sat down with Bill O'Reilly for a rare one-on-one interview. O'Reilly asked the President about the rocky roll out of Obamacare, the attack in Benghazi, and the alleged targeting of conservative groups by the IRS. What did we learn? Conor Friedersdorf, staff writer for the Atlantic, says... nothing much at all. Bob talks with Friedersdorf about the performance and spectacle in this presidential sit down.

Down to Earth

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On The Media

A Rabble-Rouser On Jeopardy

Friday, February 07, 2014

The latest Jeopardy sensation has thus far amassed $102,800 dollars on a four-game winning streak -- but his playing style is making traditionalists shudder. Arthur Chu has rejected the unwritten rule that the guy (or gal) with the most facts wins, and replaced it with the idea that you can outwit your opponent with the wily application of game theory.

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On The Media

The 10th Anniversary of the "Wardrobe Malfunction"

Friday, January 31, 2014

10 years ago, the 90 million people who were watching the 38th Super Bowl's half time show bore witness to the first so-called "wardrobe malfunction" when Justin Timberlake accidentally exposed Janet Jackson's breast. That nine-sixteenths of a second had profound and far reaching effects on our culture, writes Marin Cogan for ESPN Magazine. Brooke talks with Cogan about her article, "In the Beginning, There Was a Nipple," that explores how history changed in the wake of "Nipplegate."

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On The Media

Stephen Glass Can't Be a Lawyer

Friday, January 31, 2014

Earlier this week the California Supreme Court ruled that Stephen Glass could not become a lawyer in the state. Bob considers whether that was the right decision.  

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On The Media

The Future of Oral History Projects

Friday, January 31, 2014

Brooke speaks with Jack Dunn, the Director of the Boston College News and Public Affairs office about what Boston College has done to protect the tapes from the Belfast Project and the future of academic oral history projects.  

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On The Media

The Belfast Project

Friday, January 31, 2014

Begun in 2000, the Belfast Project was an oral history project that aimed to document combatants’ stories in the clashes between the Irish Republican Army and the Irish Loyalist Army in the 1970s through the 1990s. But the charged nature of what interviewees told the project has brought immense pressure on the project's organizers to release records of the interviews, which they'd promised to keep secret. Brooke talks with Anthony McIntyre who recorded many of the interviews for the project.

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On The Media

The Inventor of Instant Replay

Friday, January 31, 2014

This weekend’s superbowl comes just over 50 years after the Army-Navy football game of December 1963, when we saw the very first use of instant replay. As Anna Clark wrote in Pacific Standard, the television trick that transformed the way we watch and officiate sports is thanks to an intrepid producer named Tony Verna, who would go on to achieve acclaim overseeing myriad live TV events like the bi-continental charity concert “Live Aid” and specials with Pope John Paul II. Brooke talks with Tony Verna about why it was so hard to replay live television back then, and how he found a way to outsmart his equipment. 

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On The Media

Up in...Vapor?

Friday, January 31, 2014

It’s been 50 years since the Surgeon General linked tobacco smoking with cancer and other diseases. Amid widespread bans on public smoking, jurisdictions such as New York City are expanding the bans to include fake smoke -- the battery-heated glycol vapor produced by e-cigarettes. Former New York City Council Speaker Christine Quinn defended the city’s new restrictions, saying e-cigarettes “normalize” the appearance of lighting up. Bob speaks to Amy Fairchild, a professor of sociomedical sciences at Columbia University, to ask if you can really ban an image?

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On The Media

A Blogger's First Amendment Rights - and Responsibilities

Friday, January 24, 2014

A federal court ruled last week that a blogger who had lost a defamation suit in 2011 should have the same free speech protections as a traditional journalist, and as everyone else who publishes online. The blogger is Crystal Cox, who is notorious for creating domain names and blog posts tarring the online reputations of her targets and then offering to fix the problem for a price. Bob speaks to Ellyn Angelotti of the Poynter Institute about what the decision from the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals means for First Amendment protections online, and whether it matters that Cox is the defendant.

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On The Media

New Frontiers in Child Porn Law

Friday, January 24, 2014

The Supreme Court is weighing how much defendants convicted of possessing images of child pornography should have to pay in restitution to the victims depicted in those images. The case involves a woman known as “Amy,” whose uncle raped her when she was a young girl and circulated photographs of the abuse online. He eventually went to jail, but those photos became among the most widely viewed child porn in the world. Karen Duffin reports on Amy’s quest for restitution.

 

Middlesex Times

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On The Media

Snowden's Beliefs, Banning the word "Nazi" in Israel, and More

Friday, January 24, 2014

A look at whether the motivation of leakers matters, Israel's push to ban the word "Nazi," and new frontiers in child porn law.

On The Media

Obama’s NSA Surveillance Orders, the Uncertain Future of Net Neutrality, and more

Friday, January 17, 2014

President Obama announces changes to the NSA's surveillance practices, the first U.S. case to consider libel on Twitter could set a precedent for defamation on social media, and a devastating blow to net neutrality.

On The Media

The Obamacare Horror Story

Friday, January 10, 2014

During the tumultuous roll-out of the Affordable Care Act, the media struggled to find stories of people who had successfully bought insurance through healthcare.gov, and many landed on sources that turned out to be unreliable. But now, another dubious narrative is all the rage: the Obamacare horror story. Bob talks to health policy writer Maggie Mahar, who is very suspicious of the nightmarish tales reported in the media. 

 

 

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