Serial Podcast’s Questionable Reporting Practices

Sarah Koenig Serial

Edward Wasserman: The more the producers advanced hypotheticals about the truthfulness, hidden motives, competency, or credibility of a source—the what-if’s that Koenig presented routinely—the more they put people at risk of unwarranted disparagement.

Dealing with Cranks: Can You Read?

Dealing with Cranks

Steve Hochstadt: Everyone complains about the uncivil state of our national political conversation, the tendency to assume that political opponents are stupid at best and, more likely, evil. And everyone waits for the other guy to shape up.

Television, Revealed

Television Wasteland

Larry Wines: I decided it’s time to look at how television works — what drives it, the default paradigms, that sort of thing. Here are the top ten moduses of its super-secret operandi.

North Korea and Mexicans: Is Stereotyping Racist?

Is The Interview Racist

Rodolfo F. Acuña: Stereotyping of any sort is offensive. Pascal and Rudin’s emails go a long way in explaining why there are so few browns and blacks in Hollywood. For 60 years I have picketed racial stereotypes in movies, something that has existed from the movies earliest days.

Who Hacked Sony?

Who Hacked Sony

Michael T. Hertz: The investigation should include a panel of three: one from the U.S., one from North Korea, and one from the U.N. And there should be a stake in the outcome: whoever is responsible should compensate Sony for the loss of the film and perhaps other costs.

Who Is Eric Fair?

Enhanced Interrogation Techniques

Murray Polner: With all our folk tales about our innate goodness and freedom-loving ways, the Real America has always tortured when it wished to do so

Killing the Messenger

Killing the Messenger

Robert M. Nelson: New York Times reporter James Risen reports that between 2003 and 2004 about $13 billion in $100 bills was flown to the Iraq war zone from the Federal Reserve Bank of New York. The volume of that cash pile was so huge that it filled the cargo holds of many C-17 Air Force planes on their way to Baghdad.

Cosby Affair: Fire, Aim, Ready?

Bill Cosby Media Victim

Edward Wasserman: The Cosby affair is different. There is no higher court here. Whether it’s because victims were too scared, police were too timid, laws were too weak, plaintiffs too willing to settle, or evidence too thin—the judicial system is by now largely irrelevant.

The New Republic Dies: Who Will Notice?

The New Republic Dies

Randy Shaw: Based on the massive coverage in the New York Times and the volume of tweets from journalists, one would think that the very fabric of national political debate has been torn asunder.