Category Archives: Dan Froomkin

You Don’t Say

My brother is being resasonable about what he calls “The Brooklyn Dodgers,” namely Hillary Clinton’s and Bernie Sanders’s non-answers at the most recent debate.

WHEN A CANDIDATE for high office can’t respond to a simple question with an honest answer, attention should be paid. More often than not these days, that kind of behavior is just greeted with a shrug by the members of the elite media, but specific acts of evasion are worth studying. Because if something’s important enough for a candidate that they concoct a ludicrous non-response, there’s probably a sore point under there somewhere.

And when a candidate won’t directly answer the question, it’s also legitimate to speculate why that might be.

I’m not talking here about the positions on the issues that the candidates are taking, and whether they are logically consistent or wise. I’m not fact-checking. I’m just looking at evasive responses, and what they mean.

There follows multiple examples. I think this a model of what news analysis during campaigns should be.

PS. That said, reasonable surmise #2 appears to have been disproved by events? Could the reason Bernie hadn’t released his returns have been as simple as the returns being back home, the family is on the campaign trail, no one else had the key?

Posted in 2016 Election, Dan Froomkin | 4 Comments

What to Read While Being Surveilled

Dan's PickThe Intercept’s Summer Reading List is full of stuff to stoke your justified paranoia, plus great quirky reads.

Upgrade your beach.

Among the recommendations are Wild Seed by Octavia Butler, The Political Brain: The Role of Emotion in Deciding the Fate of the Nation by Drew Westen, So Damn Much Money: The Triumph of Lobbying and the Corrosion of American Government by Robert G. Kaiser, Another Great Day at Sea: Life Aboard the USS George H.W. Bush by Geoff Dyer.

The surveillance-related stuff includes The File: A Personal History by Timothy Garton Ash, Little Brother & Homeland by Cory Doctorow, Every Man Dies Alone by Hans Fallada, the obligatory Discipline and Punish: The Birth of the Prison by Michel Foucault (Glenn Greenwald’s choice), and my brother’s selection of a thriller — Inside Out by Barry Eisler.

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Planning Ahead

Things to Keep in Mind When You Read the Torture Report – Dan, at The Intercept.

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Dan is Blogging Again

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Dan Froomkin

In most folks’ opinion, including mine, my brother Dan’s most successful media work was when he blogged about the White House at White House Watch from 2004-2009. Now Dan’s back with an expanded brief at The Intercept.

See the inaugural post, Froomkin Blogs Again: Obama Makes Bushism the New Normal. Lots of good stuff about how Obama doubling down on Bush-era policies that destroy privacy, and sweeping torture under the carpet, will make it harder than ever to eradicate either. Plus, there’s a summary of Dan’s new orientation (which, happily, intersects with some of my scholarly interests):

Even in a flawed press climate, a pretty compelling picture emerges when you connect the dots. I’ll be doing that relentlessly, and with a particular focus on the areas that concern me the most. Among them: National security issues and whistleblowing; the collapse of oversight; media failure; political exploitation of fear; torture; the corrupting influence of money; and the moral bankruptcy of the major political parties.

I also want to spend a lot of time exploring issues related to privacy policy in an era of ubiquitous data. NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden’s primary and most admirable goal was to spark a national conversation about surveillance and privacy. But the conversations that have ensued have been relatively narrow and muted.

I’ll be doing original reporting — from the Snowden archive, and elsewhere. I’ll be asking lots of questions. And I intend to serve as a megaphone for sometimes insufficiently heard people who have great ideas — and who have a track record of being proven correct over time, rather than, say, consistently wrong. (Nominees welcome!)

And I’ll be depending on readers to do it all. There’s so much more to keep track of than there was even five years ago — heck, keeping abreast of Twitter lately has been nearly a full-time job — so I’ll need help finding the newest, the most intriguing, the best and the worst. There will be new ways for informed readers to make important contributions to the discussion.

Most significantly, this is a work in progress. The principal goal that seems to be emerging at First Look Media — the umbrella organization financed by Pierre Omidyar that publishes The Intercept — is experimentation in the pursuit of accountability.

It’s great to see Dan back in this harness. Just one cavil: the title of his first post is “Froomkin Blogs Again”? What have I been doing here for the last decade plus?

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Dan’s First First Media

My brother has his inaugural article up at First Media’s “The Intercept”: The Terrible Toll of Secrecy.

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New Media

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).

Posted in Dan Froomkin, The Media | 1 Comment

My Brother Joins Team Greenwald

Dan Froomkin joins Omidyar-financed Greenwald media project:

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.

Posted in Dan Froomkin, The Media | 2 Comments