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Now displaying: March, 2015

Welcome to the WhoWhatWhy Podcast.

Mar 27, 2015

Technological change and creative destruction are everywhere. They have changed the way we work, the way we interact with each other, the foundation of education and now, the nature of warfare.

We’ve all seen the media images of drones supplying us with perfect images; the perfect eye in the sky for perfectly targeted air strikes.  At least that’s how it’s looks on Homeland, and 24 and the images from Abbottabad.

The reality, however, is somewhat different. Less-than-clear images; imperfect targeting that kills civilians; increasingly complex and overpriced equipment and--on the other hand--lower barriers to entry with respect to deploying certain drones which will soon make them available to nations, groups or individuals everywhere. Before long, surveillance--and even death from above--will be on a par with package delivery.

 

It’s a scary future, one that Washington keeps well hidden... and one that Andrew Cockburn, Washington editor for Harper's, talks to me about in our latest RadioWHO podcast on WhoWhatWhy:

Mar 23, 2015

Some people are just ahead of their time.  Sometimes they are in science, or academia, or economics…but sometimes they’re in the media and they see what we all will see, long before it happens.

Pioneering author, filmmaker and media reform activist Danny Schechter was such a talent.  He worked as a producer at ABC’s 20/20, where he won two Emmy Awards, and at CNN, when it was newly launched.  He was part of the media when it still made a difference; before it morphed into entertainment and ridicule.  He wrote 12 books, including “The More You Watch, the Less You Know.” He understood the potential of the Internet long before most of us.

He was a leading activist and journalist against apartheid in South Africa.  That work led him to leave corporate journalism to make six documentaries about Nelson Mandela and produce the cutting-edge television series, “South Africa Now,” which aired on over 150 public television stations in the late 80’s and early 90’s .

Schechter died last week of pancreatic cancer at the age of 72.  Back in 1998, I had the opportunity to talk to Schechter about television news and his book, The More You Know.  While some of the conversation is dated, what’s amazing is how much is not and how much Schechter saw the dystopian future of corporate media.

Here is that conversation.

Mar 20, 2015

In spite of those words being echoed in court every day, criminal trials are often anything but a search for the truth. The court may be the trier of fact, but often facts are like Legos; they can be assembled in many ways to create different objects and stories.

 

Russ Baker and the team at WhoWhatWhy have been working for years to try and assemble those facts in a way that gives us some objective truth, in the story of the brothers Tsarnaev and the Boston Marathon bombing.

 

Russ Baker and Jim Henry talk to Jeff Schechtman in this week’s RadioWHO podcast, to provide some context with which to observe the balance of the trial and the process the facts and evidence. 

 

 

 

 

Mar 13, 2015

The role of Vladimir Putin on the world’s stage, from Syria to Ukraine, is a complicated one, and some see him as an important moderating influence on the now virtually unchallenged Western imperial apparatus. But one thing is increasingly clear: his role within his country is a deeply troubling one. And the public is terrified. Why? Consider these names:

Sergei Magnitsky, Alexander Litvinenko, Anna Politkovskaya and now Boris Nemtsov.

All opponents of Putin, all now dead.  Murdered, in brutal and very public ways.

Our guest for this week’s RadioWHO podcast, Bill Browder, knows Russia.  He’s an unusual figure—his grandfather Earl Browder was the head of the American Communist Party. Bill Browder, rejecting that legacy, became the consummate capitalist. Once Russia’s largest foreign investor, Browder was forced to leave the country when he became a vocal critic of Putin, and his lawyer, Sergei Magnitsky, was jailed and murdered.

Browder talks to WhoWhatWhy about what he sees as Putin’s compulsion to steal and his ultimate goal of wanting to be one of the richest men in the world, and how he believes Putin has overreached.

 

 

Mar 6, 2015

Every prisoner says they are innocent, but some really are.  Every year hundreds of men and women are incarcerated for crimes they did not commit.  

Our system is riddled with cases of perjury, mistaken identity, official misconduct and incompetents that have put innocents behind bars.

The criminal justice system and the state has been ambivalent, at best, to do the right thing for those that have been exonerated.  

Tune in with RadioWHO host Jeff Schechtman for a look at the scope and substance of the problem with guests Nikki Pope and Courtney Lance. The two have spent years dedicated to the cause of the wrongly convicted, and wrote about it in their recently published book: "Pruno, Ramen, and a Side of Hope: Stories of Surviving Wrongful Conviction."

 

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