MediaShift Podcast #224: WikiLeaks’ CIA Docs Show SmartPhone, TV Vulnerabilities; Digital Local News Chains Grow; Washington Post’s Erik Wemple

In the news this week, a massive trove of classified CIA documents were released by WikiLeaks, showing how the spy agency can hack into iPhones, Android phones and even smart TVs. Two local news players, DNAInfo and Spirited Media, both got bigger with buyouts of other local news outlets. Are they on a collision course? Facebook, CNN and Vimeo all delve deeper into virtual reality and 360 video. Our Metric of the Week is Facebook Live video metrics, and we’re joined Washington Post’s Erik Wemple to talk about the difficulties in covering a president who tweets around the clock. 

Don’t have a lot of time to spare, but still want to get a roundup of the week’s top news? Then check out our Digital Media Brief below!

MediaShift Podcast

Digital Media Brief


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This Gene Was Edited By Brooke

CRISPR is a new technology that enables scientists to quickly alter the genetic makeup of the entire population of a species. It's so powerful that just one genetically-modified mosquito could eradicate malaria. It's so easy to do that a grad student could (accidentally) enact these global ecological changes from their kitchen. It's also under-regulated. Under science's current culture of secrecy, ensuring that scientists are taking necessary precautions with gene-drive research is next to impossible, says CRISPR innovator Kevin Esvelt. Writing in Nature last summer, Esvelt urged the scientific community to open all experiments to public scrutiny, beginning with the revolutionary and potentially world-changing gene-editing research he helped advance. Also in the podcast, the idea of human cloning captivates and terrifies. Depictions of human clones in science fiction reflect some of our deepest fears about what it means to be human. But not everyone shares those anxieties. For example, the creators of the hit BBC series Orphan Black have developed a show which Continue reading "This Gene Was Edited By Brooke"

Smoke & Handcuffs

With a president who would rather watch TV than receive intelligence briefings, CNN’s Brian Stelter helps unpack the symbiotic relationship between Fox News and the White House. Plus, whether Trump’s new guidelines for mass deportation of undocumented immigrants are more PR than sound policy, how the term “sanctuary cities” may oversell how much safety is actually provided, and the Supreme Court sheds light on violence at the US border. Also, a former FEC Commissioner explains why the Commission has ceased to function as intended.

Out Like Flynn

In response to scandals large and small, first the Trump campaign and now the Trump White House has relied on the fact that each successive lie or outrage will be washed over by the next and the next. And its worked. Until now. Bob ponders whether this week's resignation of General Flynn from his position as National Security Adviser has thrown the White House media machine (momentarily) off its axis. 

What We Know About the Border

The Trump administration's so-called "Muslim ban" has created chaos and confusion at airports around the country, but horror stories at the border go back much further than this year. In 2014, we devoted an hour to trying to shred the veil of secrecy obscuring Customs and Border Protection, the huge police force tasked with guarding our borders. We discovered a lack of basic rights and accountability, along with countless stories of dehumanizing detentions and intrusions that thrive within a massive legal grey area.  

The Ties That Bind

From incendiary phone calls with world leaders to a sloppy military operation in Yemen, a look at what we've learned so far from "the leakiest White House in a very long time." Also, in a week when one journalist was fired for declaring that "objectivity is dead," we examine whether traditional standards of journalistic neutrality need to be re-imagined for a new era. And how the utopian promise of the Internet was overtaken by algorithms and monopolies that threaten to erode our democracy.

To Thine Own Self Be True

It's been four hundred years since the death of William Shakespeare, and the Bard is as popular as ever... and just as mysterious. For centuries, a war has raged over the question: who is Shakespeare? We explore how the answer has evolved through the ages, and what that tells us about our changing perceptions of class, art, genius, and religion. Plus, a look at Shakespeare's enduring global relevance, with an inspiring and perilous performance of Love's Labor's Lost in Afghanistan.