My brother has his inaugural article up at First Media’s “The Intercept”: The Terrible Toll of Secrecy.
Category Archives: Dan Froomkin
Pierre Omidyar’s new venture, First Look Media, has its first online ‘magazine’ up and running. It’s called The Intercept. First big story is The NSA’s Secret Role in the U.S. Assassination Program.
It does go a little beyond what we already knew–that the US can use voice recognition to ID a cell phone user, then use geo-targeting to send a drone strike aimed at the phone–to discuss how the program works in practice (hint: not so great, especially once targets started adopting counter-measures).
Dan Froomkin is a veteran journalist who has received national acclaim for his writing about U.S. politics and media coverage. He’s been particularly focused on the issue of journalistic accountability – i.e. correcting misinformation, asking critical questions, and holding those in power accountable to their actions.
He was preparing to launch a website called FearlessMedia.org when we approached him about working with us. Before that, he was senior Washington correspondent and Washington bureau chief for The Huffington Post. During 12 years working for The Washington Post, he spent three as editor and six as the writer of the popular and controversial White House Watch column. Dan has also worked since 2004 for the Nieman Foundation for Journalism at Harvard, most of that time as deputy editor of the NiemanWatchdog.org website.
No word yet on what they are going to be calling it.
I’m very optimistic about the product given the team.
Question 1 from the interviewer: “How can you be so wrong?”
But it actually goes quite well.
(Link in case the embed doesn’t work for you.)
My brother’s Neiman Reports article It Can’t Happen Here: Why is there so little coverage of Americans who are struggling with poverty? throws down the gauntlet:
Nearly 50 million people—about one in six Americans—live in poverty, defined as income below $23,021 a year for a family of four. And yet most news organizations largely ignore the issue. The Pew Research Center’s Project for Excellence in Journalism indexed stories in 52 major mainstream news outlets from 2007 through the first half of 2012 and, according to Mark Jurkowitz, the project’s associate director, “in no year did poverty coverage even come close to accounting for as little as one percent of the news hole. It’s fair to say that when you look at that particular topic, it’s negligible.”
This clearly has intrigued NYT Public Editor Margaret Sullivan who writes A New Focus on Poverty Raises a Question About Times Coverage. And the NY Times is surely better than many on this issue.
Dan is talking about Karl Rove’s “non-profit” that runs attack ads on Democrats but which claims they’re just tax-exempt public education.
In Suskind's Confidence Men Raises Questions About Obama's Credibility, my brother Dan Froomkin makes the case for the prosecution against Obama’s management of the economic crisis.
It starts with Obama’s bold but unfulfilled promises:
In October 2008, he promised to "take on the corruption in Washington and on Wall Street to make sure a crisis like this can never, ever happen again."
And one day before he was elected president, he told a Florida audience: "Tomorrow, you can turn the page on policies that have put the greed and irresponsibility of Wall Street before the hard work and sacrifice of folks on Main Street."
Obama’s most seminal speech on the crisis was his March 2008 address at Cooper Union. There, he laid part of the blame for the disaster on Clinton-era financial deregulation, including the 1999 repeal of the 1933 Glass-Steagall Act. That repeal, which broke down barriers between commercial and investment banking, led to the growth of financial behemoths that were able to take enormous risks with impunity because they were "too big to fail."
"[I]nstead of establishing a 21st century regulatory framework, we simply dismantled the old one, aided by a legal but corrupt bargain in which campaign money all too often shaped policy and watered down oversight," Obama said. "In doing so we encouraged a winner take all, anything goes environment that helped foster devastating dislocations in our economy."
But in fact, Obama appointed an economic team that was either not up to boldness, or set against it.
While the appointments of these men and a slew of similarly pedigreed subordinates reassured the financial markets, their leadership undermined Obama’s populist promises.
Many of them had already spent their interregnum feeding at the Wall Street trough.
Dan’s extensive tying of Obama’s top advisers to millions in Wall St. remuneration will undoubtedly anger many inside the Beltway, where it’s not considered polite to suggest that government servants — especially those taking a pay cut to be powerful — might be motivated by money. But whatever one makes of that, it is telling that so many of the key Obama economic team were men (yes, men) with Wall Street affinities and salaries.
I haven’t read Suskind’s book, and I don’t have a clear theory for the root causes of the Obama failures on the economy. Yes, they got dealt a crisis. But they wasted it, after Rahm Emanuel promised not to.
The list of failures is long: the administration failed to be more aggressive pushing for a stimulus, it failed to demand, much less get, an equity stake in the banks you and I paid to bail out, it failed to do anything at all meaningful to help underwater homeowners, and did next to nothing to punish anyone responsible for the financial debacle economically — much less criminally. Those are clear, real failures, they were not (with the possible exception of the stimulus which required Republican support that certainly could not have been guaranteed even with a more confrontational strategy) hard to foresee nor all that hard to prevent. Nor, unlike the underlying economic problem itself, are any of them things you can blame on George W. Bush.
That the GOP seems poised to choose its nominee between someone utterly unprincipled and someone crazy and dangerous as well as unprincipled, suggests Obama may be lucky. That luck may get him re-elected. It’s a certainty that if re-election happens, it won’t be because of his handling of the economic crisis.