David Folkenflik

Geraldo Rivera of the Fox News Channel once described David Folkenflik as "a really weak-kneed, backstabbing, sweaty-palmed reporter." Others have been kinder. The Columbia Journalism Review, for example, gave him a "laurel" for his reporting that immediately led the U.S. military to institute safety measures for journalists in Baghdad.

Folkenflik is NPR's media correspondent based in New York City. His stories are broadcast on NPR's newsmagazines and shows, including All Things Considered, Morning Edition and Talk of the Nation. His reports offer insight into the operation of the media amid tectonic shifts in the industry and cast light on figures who help shape the way the news business works. NPR's listeners were first to learn how the corporate owners of the glossy magazine GQ sought to smother distribution of its provocative story about Russian Premier Vladimir Putin. They also found out, amid the sexual abuse crisis in the Catholic church, how a small, liberal Catholic weekly based in Kansas City had been documenting allegations of abuse by priests for a generation. Folkenflik provides media criticism on the air and at NPR.org on coverage of a broad array of issues — from the war in Afghanistan, to the financial crisis, to the saga of the "Balloon Boy."

Before joining NPR in 2004, Folkenflik spent more than a decade at the Baltimore Sun, where he covered higher education, Congress, and the media. He started his career at the Durham (N.C.) Herald-Sun. In 1991, Folkenflik graduted with a bachelor's degree in history from Cornell University, where he served as editor-in-chief of The Cornell Daily Sun.

A three-time winner of the Arthur Rowse Awards for Press Criticism from the National Press Club, Folkenflik won the inaugural 2002 Mongerson Award for Investigative Reporting on the News, presented by the Center for Media and Public Affairs and the University of Virginia's Center for Governmental Studies. Folkenflik's work has also been recognized with top honors from the National Headliners Club and the Society of Professional Journalists. He was the first Irik Sevin Visiting Fellow at Cornell and speaks frequently at colleges across the country. He has served as a media analyst on such television programs as CNN's Reliable Sources, ABC News' Nightline, Fox News' O'Reilly Factor, and MSNBC's Countdown with Keith Olbermann.

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4:40pm

Tue October 9, 2012
Television

'Sesame Street' Tries To Keep Big Bird Out Of Politics

Originally published on Tue October 9, 2012 7:10 pm

When Mitt Romney said he would cut PBS funding in the first presidential debate — and singled out Big Bird, whom he said he liked a lot — he perhaps inadvertently introduced the befeathered yellow children's icon smack into the center of political debate. President Obama approved a cable-only commercial dinging Romney for going after Sesame Street rather than Wall Street, but Romney appears to think he has a winning hand — castigating the president for focusing on a profitable educational puppet empire rather than big issues, like terrorism in the Arab world.

1:13am

Thu October 4, 2012
It's All Politics

Lights, Camera, Action (zzzz), Tweet!

Originally published on Thu October 4, 2012 12:47 pm

Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney and President Barack Obama shake hands at the first presidential debate at the University of Denver, Wednesday.
Charlie Neibergall AP

I have spent the past few days sequestered with a crack team of political pros — actually, curled into a fetal ball, clutching a fading 1980 John Anderson poster — to gird myself for the vital first debate between President Obama and Mitt Romney.

So many questions lingered:

Would Romney offer to wager Obama $10,000 on who wins the race?

Would Obama tell Romney, "You're taxable enough, Mitt"?

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6:10pm

Tue September 25, 2012
Media

CNN Defends Reporting On Slain Ambassador's Diary

Originally published on Wed September 26, 2012 1:16 am

U.S. Ambassador to Libya Chris Stevens was killed in an attack against the American consulate in Benghazi on Sept. 11. CNN recovered Stevens' diary in the ruins of the consulate and used it in its reporting without obtaining consent from his family.
Ben Curtis AP

CNN is defending itself against accusations from the U.S. State Department that it trampled on the wishes of the family of the slain U.S. ambassador to Libya in reporting on his fears of a terrorist attack before his death.

The criticism stemmed from CNN's discovery and use of the late Chris Stevens' personal journal to pursue its reporting about his concerns over security in Benghazi, Libya. A top State Department official, Philippe Reines, called CNN's actions "indefensible" and "disgusting," saying the network had broken its promises to the dead ambassador's family.

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5:11am

Fri September 21, 2012
Media

Smaller Audience, Bigger Payoff For Glenn Beck

Originally published on Fri September 21, 2012 3:43 pm

Since leaving Fox News in 2011, Glenn Beck has found his way back to TV. His Internet television network, The Blaze TV, is now available to subscribers of the Dish Network.
Kris Connor Getty Images for Dish Network

By the time Glenn Beck left the Fox News Channel in June 2011, both sides seemed ready, even eager, to part ways. Beck announced he would move on to bigger and grander ventures with his own production company, Mercury Radio Arts, but some media critics, such as Variety's Brian Lowry, shrugged then and since.

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3:36am

Wed August 15, 2012
Media

The Next Frontier In TV: English News For Latinos

Originally published on Wed August 15, 2012 12:15 pm

Millions of Americans rely on Univision anchor Jorge Ramos to tell them about the news, but his children aren't among them. Like many Latinos who've grown up in the U.S., they get their news in English.
Lynne Sladky AP

This is the third in a three-part series about major American networks trying to appeal to a broader Latino audience.

Jorge Ramos has a humbling problem.

He is one of the best-known Hispanics in the U.S. and a respected news anchor for the Univision networks on which millions of Americans routinely rely.

And yet, in Ramos' telling, his 14-year-old son, Nicolas, and his 25-year-old daughter, Paola, don't watch his newscasts.

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4:07am

Tue August 14, 2012
Media

Eyeing Latinos, NBC News Snuggles Up To Telemundo

Originally published on Wed August 15, 2012 9:47 am

Telemundo anchor and reporter Jose Diaz-Balart made a notable, if fleeting, appearance during NBC's Republican primary debate last summer. This past June, NBC News and Telemundo announced they would be collaborating on the rest of their 2012 election coverage.
Steve Mitchell AP

This is the second in a three-part series about major American networks trying to appeal to a broader Latino audience.

Every morning at 11:45, NBC News officials hold a conference call with their counterparts at sister networks to sort through stories of interest. Among those on the line are executives at CNBC, MSNBC and The Weather Channel; digital news editors; and executives at Telemundo, a Spanish-language broadcast network.

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5:17pm

Thu August 9, 2012
Media

Fox Pioneers Formula For Latino News

Originally published on Wed August 15, 2012 9:48 am

Francisco Cortes started at Fox as an apprentice, then rose through the ranks to become Fox News Latino's first director.
Courtesy of FOX News Latino

This is the first in a three-part series about major American networks trying to appeal to a broader Latino audience.

In a glass-walled conference room at Fox News in New York, reporter Bryan Llenas and two of his colleagues discuss the nature and success of their news site, Fox News Latino, largely aimed at English-speaking Hispanics.

Maybe a dozen feet away, two pundits can be seen heatedly arguing in a Fox News TV studio.

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4:39pm

Fri July 27, 2012
Media

CNN's President Steps Down Amid Poor Ratings

Originally published on Fri July 27, 2012 6:02 pm

Transcript

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Audie Cornish.

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

And I'm Robert Siegel. After more than three decades at CNN, the company's president is stepping down. His resignation is an admission of the challenges facing the profitable but poorly rated network. NPR's David Folkenflik has that story.

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4:43pm

Fri July 20, 2012
Television

MSNBC Gets Academic: Meet Host Prof. Harris-Perry

Originally published on Fri July 20, 2012 6:56 pm

Melissa Harris-Perry, MSNBC's newest host, is a Tulane professor with a Ph.D. in political science from Duke. She hosts the two-hour Melissa Harris-Perry show, which airs on Saturday and Sunday mornings.
Eliot Kamenitz The Times-Picayune /Landov

Cable news channels tend to treat intellectuals gingerly — as fragile curiosities or as targets for ridicule — when they appear at all.

Not MSNBC's Melissa Harris-Perry. This newly anointed cable host commutes 1,300 miles each week for her eponymous program of opinionated conversation, interviews and essays that runs live for two hours each Saturday and Sunday morning.

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4:30am

Mon July 16, 2012
Election 2012

Romney Responds To Obama's Bain Capital Charges

Originally published on Mon July 16, 2012 7:04 am

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

Until this past weekend, Romney generally ignored invitations to be interviewed, except on Fox News. Then on Friday night, he did a series of TV talks defending his work at Bain Capital.

NPR's media correspondent David Folkenflik was watching.

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