Losing Power

The President is once again threatening the press, but it's unclear whether he will be able to follow through. A look at which threats to the First Amendment we should be taking seriously. Also, looking beyond the "adults in the room" trope; reporting on the worsening situation in Puerto Rico; the role of gossip and whisper networks in protecting women; and the story of one of the original godfathers of gossip. 1. David Snyder, executive director of the First Amendment Coalition, on threats to the First Amendment under the Trump Administration. 2. James Mann, author of "Rise of the Vulcans: The History of Bush's War Cabinet," on why we should be wary of the military personnel who are increasingly in charge of our government. 3. David Begnaud, CBS news correspondent, on the work of covering Puerto Rico and the deteriorating situation on the ground. 4. Anne Helen Petersen, Buzzfeed senior culture writer, Continue reading "Losing Power"

Puerto Rico’s Never-ending Emergency

David Begnaud of CBS was in Puerto Rico before Hurricane Maria hit on September 20. Then, he and his team reported for two weeks straight, posting videos on Twitter and sending dispatches to the network. He tracked the logjam of aid stuck in ports, the snaking lines for water, the utter chaos at the San Juan airport. In response, Puerto Ricans of the diaspora have begun nominating him for honorary status as one of their own. After a short break, he's back on the island and still reporting. Begnaud speaks to Bob about how a recent rainstorm has made conditions even worse than they were before he left, and how he is serving as a conduit between Puerto Rican officials and FEMA.  

More Human Than Human

The news has been awash in reports of the rising death tolls for the Las Vegas shooting and the ongoing devastation in Puerto Rico. This week, why the media's emphasis on the numbers distorts our understanding of tragedies. Also, a case for using the word "terrorism" more cautiously; what we get wrong when we make assumptions about country music; and a look what it means to be human in the context of Blade Runner.
  1. Bob ruminates on the media's knee-jerk attempts to quantify a crisis. And Omaya Sosa Pascual, a journalist with the Center for Investigative Journalism in Puerto Rico, discusses the scale of devastation on the island.
2. New Yorker columnist Masha Gessen explains why the media should apply the term "terrorism" with care. 3. Buzzfeed News's world correspondent J. Lester Feder on how country music went conservative.  4. Historian Nadine Hubbs examines generic assumptions Continue reading "More Human Than Human"

After Vegas

On Sunday night, a gunman opened fire on an outdoor music festival in Las Vegas, NV. Since then, reports of deaths and injuries have been mounting, making for what's being called "the deadliest mass shooting" in modern American history. Amid the tragedy, we're seeing a spate of familiar media tropes: from offers of "thoughts and prayers" and tussles over the appropriate time to talk about gun control to mis-identification of perpetrators and publication of unconfirmed reports. Brooke recalls some points from On the Media's Breaking News Consumer's Handbook: Active Shooter Edition to remind us that, while this latest tragedy might feel unique, the media is recycling a playbook that we've seen all-too-many times before.

Insult to Injury

As Puerto Rico rations resources and seeks help from the US government, the mainland media has mostly been preoccupied with Donald Trump's provocations towards the NFL. This week, what's actually happening on the island (and with the NFL). Also, a look at the radical history of the Star-Spangled Banner; how the Catalan independence referendum is being suppressed by the Spanish government; decoding the FBI's new crime statistics; and a look back at Hugh Hefner's impact on American culture.
  1. Puerto Rican columnist Sandra Rodriguez Cotto [@SRCSandra] talks about how the local press are handling the wreckage following Hurricane Maria.
  2. Brooke examines this week's NFL news frenzy.

  3. University of Maryland assistant professor of musicology Will Robin [@seatedovation] reveals the national anthem's long history of musical defiance and radicalism. 

  4. Thomas Abt [@Abt_Thomas], a senior fellow at the Harvard Kennedy School and Harvard Law School and a former deputy secretary Continue reading "Insult to Injury"

Among Many Victims in Mexico, There Was One Who Never Existed

In Central Mexico, rescuers continue to sift through piles of rubble left by last week's 7.1 magnitude earthquake. Hundreds of volunteers have joined the rescue effort. One of the most widely reported stories from the earthquake reveals how the people in Mexico are coping with the earthquake. In the first couple days after it struck, media in Mexico and around the world focused on the story of a 12-year-old girl. She was trapped in the rubble of school building, communicating with rescuers, wiggling her fingers, and asking rescuers for water. She said her name was Frida Sofia, and she didn't exist at all.  Brooke talks with Rodrigo Cervantes, the Mexico City bureau chief for KJZZ, about his reporting from rescue sites in the city, the mystery of Frida Sofia, and what the confusion reveals about distrust in media and the government.

OTM live at the Texas Tribune Festival: The Politicians

When Brooke was at the Texas Tribune festival in Austin last week, she moderated two sessions, one with reporters and one with couple of US Representatives from Texas. Democrat Beto O’Rourke of El Paso, and Republican Will Hurd of Helotes. The two - who didn’t much know each other a year ago -  made headlines in their state when, stranded by a snowstorm, they found themselves sharing a rented Chevy Impala for the sixteen-hundred mile drive from San Antonio to Washington. Brooke asked them roughly the same question she asked the reporters; how do the constant attacks by the President on journalism, on facts, influence how you do your job and how you deal with the press? Does it affect your point of view?