When a benign traffic jam due to lane closings on the George
Washington Bridge was revealed to be politically motivated revenge
exacted by NJ Gov. Chris Christie's top aides, all hell broke loose.
After tales of the Christie administration's dirty tricks became
national news, here's a look at the shift in media coverage, and how
Christie could emerge stronger than before the scandal.
Republican Congressman Jim Bridenstine was recently working a crowd
of seniors in his Oklahoma district and complaining about President
Obama, when a constituent raised her hand and called the president an
"enemy combatant" who should be "executed." Congressman Bridenstine
responded not by objecting to her statement, but rather by stoking the
flames with his own angry anti-Obama rant. A video
of the event was posted online, but triggered little attention. Bob
ponders the ubiquity of vile, ignorant, and just plain crackpot speech
among elected officials, and the extent to which the public, and the
media, fail to care.
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.
Jason Harrington worked as a Transportation Security Administration
officer at O’Hare airport in Chicago for seven years. Harrington quickly
became disgruntled. Not just with the day-to-day absurdity of carrying
out what he saw as ineffective security tactics, but by how much the
TSA kept away from the public. So, he started writing a blog,
anonymously, called Taking Sense Away. Bob speaks to Harrington about his time in the TSA and his Politico article “Dear America. I Saw You Naked. And, Yes, We Were Laughing" which unmasked his anonymity.
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.
In the past OTM has covered sock-puppetry -- the act of assuming another persona online to praise or defend the work of your real self.
We’ve seen it done by art critics, comic book artists, and politicians.
Well, now it's an orthodox rabbi. Bob speaks with Steven I. Weiss, an
anchor and managing editor at The Jewish Channel, about the rabbi and
his online persona.
This week Japanese Olympic figure skater, Daisuke Takahashi, found
himself in the midst of national scandal, through no fault of his own.
Takahashi skated his short program to a piece of music that had been
initially attributed to Mamoru Samuragochi, known as "Japan's
Beethoven," who was recently revealed to be neither a composer, nor
possibly even deaf. Bob talks with Roland Kelts, author of JapanAmerica, about the revelations and the Japanese media's reaction to them.