Americans think the news industry is “headed in the wrong direction,” but what does that even mean?

Americans are fractured over the role of journalists, confused by terms like “op-ed,” and wary of the “watchdog” part of journalism, a new report suggests. Yet they’re also increasingly trustful of their favorite news outlets. A report out Tuesday from the Media Insight Project, surveying 2,019 adult members of the American public and 1,127 American journalists, suggests a somewhat jumbled and confusing situation. It’s most enlightening when it drills down into how specific groups are thinking about the media in general and about their own favored news sources. For example:
What do Americans think about the direction of the news industry? A majority, 56 percent, say it is headed in the wrong direction; 42 percent say the right direction. Views about the direction of the media correspond with trust. While 73 percent of those who trust the news media generally say the media is headed in the right direction,
Continue reading "Americans think the news industry is “headed in the wrong direction,” but what does that even mean?"

Perps Walk

Justice for whom? President Trump’s controversial pardoning spree has benefited political allies and nonviolent drug offenders alike. This week, we look at whether the President’s unorthodox use of clemency might not be such a bad thing. Plus, why the Justice Department curbed prosecution of white collar crime, and Seymour Hersh revisits highlights from his storied investigative reporting career. 1. Mark Osler [@Oslerguy], Professor of Law at the University of St. Thomas, on why President Trump's unorthodox approach to clemency might not be such a bad thing. Listen. 2. Jesse Eisenger [@eisingerj], senior reporter at ProPublica, on why federal prosecutors have adopted such a lenient approach to white collar crime. Listen.
  1. Seymour Hersh, investigative journalist, on some of the personal experiences and incredible stories that have defined his half-century-long reporting career. Listen.

Hurricane Season

Puerto Rico was (briefly) back in the news this week when a Harvard study shed more light on many people died in the aftermath of Hurricane Maria. The study has a wide range of estimated deaths, but the mid-point is stunning: 4,645 people died as a result of the storm, the researchers found.  Meanwhile, a judge on the island ruled that the Puerto Rican government has seven days to release death certificates and data related to the death toll of Hurricane Maria. The ruling was in response to a lawsuit filed by CNN and the Puerto Rican-based Center for Investigative Journalism, or CPI. Both organizations have been investigating the death toll following the storm and question the government’s official tally of 64. CPI's estimate is that 1,065 more people than usual died in the weeks after the storm. We take this opportunity to revisit our reporting from the island in the aftermath of Continue reading "Hurricane Season"

Fact Checking #WhereAreTheChildren

We talk a lot about right wing news outlets picking up out-of-context facts and amplifying them in their outrage machine, so as to infuriate and validate their angry audiences. But this phenomenon is not solely the province of the political right, as we saw last week when two separate stories about immigration policy in the Trump era morphed into one outrage-inspiring tale. Paige Austin is an immigration lawyer for the New York Civil Liberties Union. She explains to Bob how liberals came to believe that the Trump administration had torn nearly 1,500 children from their parents' arms, and then lost them — and how this conflation presents potential dangers for the very population that she hopes to defend. 

Technical Foul

Rudy Giuliani has been warning the press that the president may not testify in the Russia investigation, but Trump has signaled otherwise. This week, we untangle the White House’s mixed-up messaging on the Russia investigation. Plus, after reports that companies like Amazon and Google are seeking, or have received, massive contracts with the Pentagon, we take a look at the internet’s forgotten military origins. And, a new book re-imagines major moments in athletics history. 
  1. Dahlia Lithwick [@Dahlialithwick], legal correspondent at Slate, on Giuliani's claim of a Mueller "perjury trap." Listen.

  2. Kate Conger [@kateconger], senior reporter at Gizmodo, on partnerships between tech titans and the US militaryListen.

  3. Yasha Levine [@yashalevine], investigative journalist, on the internet's forgotten military originsListen.

  4. Mike Pesca [@pescami], host of Slate's The Gist, on his new book, Upon Further Review: The Greatest What-Ifs in Sports HistoryListen.

The Recording of America

Studs Terkel, born 106 years ago on this date, May 16, spent the majority of his life documenting the lives of others – very often everyday, working-class people he believed were “uncelebrated and unsung.” From coal miners and sharecroppers to gangsters and prostitutes, every American had a story to tell and Terkel wanted to hear it. After Terkel died in 2008, publisher Andre Schiffrin, who edited Terkel's writing for more than four decades, spoke with Bob about Terkel's singular gift for oral history.

This Is America

Today, more than 45 million Americans live in poverty. The problem has been addressed countless times since the nation’s founding, but it persists, and for the poorest among us, it gets worse. America has not been able to find its way to a sustainable solution, because most of its citizens see the problem of poverty from a distance, through a distorted lens. So in 2016 we presented "Busted: America's Poverty Myths," a series exploring how our understanding of poverty is shaped not by facts, but by private presumptions, media narratives, and the tales of the American Dream. This week we're revisiting part of that series. 
  1. Matthew Desmond [@just_shelter], author of Evicted: Poverty and Profit in the American Cityon the myriad factors that perpetuate wealth inequality and Jack Frech [@FrechJack], former Athens County Ohio Welfare Director, on how the media's short attention span for inequality Continue reading "This Is America"