Friday, January 16, 2009

On the Media: Flying Shoe Coverage; Numbers Game; Bush's Language Legacy; Obama's Press Secretary; Presidential Pardons; Orwell/Language; Deep Throat

On the Media (WNYC New York/NPR)

I'll Shoe You

Throughout [the] flying shoe coverage, the comedic details of the debacle dominated headlines. But humor couldn’t dominate the essential moral. Bob ruminates on what the hurling of the footwear revealed about the extent of Iraqi discontent and of President Bush’s denial of the same.

To Listen/Read

A Number of Challenges

Journalists and audiences are struggling to comprehend the many numbers in the news these days. How much is $14 billion, or $50 billion, or $700 billion, besides well...a lot? And how can reporters help people understand these figures? Journalist and co-author of The Numbers Game, Michael Blastland says context is everything.

To Listen/Read

The Language Legacy

The Bush Administration leaves office in a month, but will its linguistic oeuvre remain? From the "Clean Skies Inititive" to "Enhanced Interrogation Techniques," Bushies paid close attention to the power of words. Republican wordsmith Frank Luntz, however, doesn't expect the terms to stick.

To Read/Listen

At Obama's Podium

Robert Gibbs, tapped by President-elect Obama as the new press secretary, will guide the administration's relationship with the media. But New York Times reporter Mark Leibovich says Gibbs' combative style may be a surprise to those expecting the transparency and openness promised during the election.


Beg Your Pardon?

It’s that time of year again, the season of the presidential pardon. Much used and little understood it’s the one truly discretionary power of the president. Pardon historian P.S. Ruckman explains why the get-out-of-jail-free card is a constant subject of fascination and frustration for the public and the press.


Orwell and the English Language

Best known for his novels 1984 and Animal Farm, George Orwell's mastery of clear language is nowhere more evident than in his essays. New Yorker staff writer George Packer, who has compiled some of these shorter works into two volumes, says Orwell's voice was irascible and witty and, above all, direct.


Death of a Source

W. Mark Felt, Deep Throat of Watergate fame, died this week at the age of 95. Brooke remembers a champion of transparency who, in reality, wasn’t.

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