Presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton was in Springfield, Ill., Wednesday where she sought to use the symbolism of a historic landmark to draw parallels to a present-day America that is in need of repairing deepening racial and cultural divides.

The Old State Capitol — where Abraham Lincoln delivered his famous "A house divided" speech in 1858 warning against the ills of slavery and where Barack Obama launched his presidential bid in 2007 — served as the backdrop for Clinton as she spoke of how "America's long struggle with race is far from finished."

Episode 711: Hooked on Heroin

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When we meet the heroin dealer called Bone, he has just shot up. He has a lot to say anyway. He tells us about his career--it pretty much tracks the evolution of drug use in America these past ten years or so. He tells us about his rough past. And he tells us about how he died a week ago. He overdosed on his own supply and his friend took his body to the emergency room, then left.

New British Prime Minister Theresa May announced six members of her Cabinet Wednesday.

Amid a sweeping crackdown on dissent in Egypt, security forces have forcibly disappeared hundreds of people since the beginning of 2015, according to a new report from Amnesty International.

It's an "unprecedented spike," the group says, with an average of three or four people disappeared every day.

The Republican Party, as it prepares for its convention next week has checked off item No. 1 on its housekeeping list — drafting a party platform. The document reflects the conservative views of its authors, many of whom are party activists. So don't look for any concessions to changing views among the broader public on key social issues.

Many public figures who took to Twitter and Facebook following the murder of five police officers in Dallas have faced public blowback and, in some cases, found their employers less than forgiving about inflammatory and sometimes hateful online comments.

As Venezuela unravels — with shortages of food and medicine, as well as runaway inflation — President Nicolas Maduro is increasingly unpopular. But he's still holding onto power.

"The truth in Venezuela is there is real hunger. We are hungry," says a man who has invited me into his house in the northwestern city of Maracaibo, but doesn't want his name used for fear of reprisals by the government.

The wiry man paces angrily as he speaks. It wasn't always this way, he says, showing how loose his pants are now.

Ask a typical teenage girl about the latest slang and girl crushes and you might get answers like "spilling the tea" and Taylor Swift. But at the Girl Up Leadership Summit in Washington, D.C., the answers were "intersectional feminism" — the idea that there's no one-size-fits-all definition of feminism — and U.N. climate chief Christiana Figueres.

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Monitoring For Signs Of Bias In Media's Shutdown Reporting

Oct 4, 2013
Originally published on October 4, 2013 10:36 am



The partial shutdown of the federal government involves real lives, people out of work and also politics, the blame game. It's a wide-ranging story that forces news outlets to confront a familiar question. How do you present the story, remain even-handed and explain accurately what's happening? Here's NPR media correspondent David Folkenflik.


DAVID FOLKENFLIK, BYLINE: A lot of headlines and coverage has sounded something like this.

UNIDENTIFIED MAN #1: No midnight deal in Washington, just more partisan fights.

UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN: With lawmakers deeply divided, Americans are feeling the brunt of it. No...

UNIDENTIFIED MAN #2: Republicans still waiting for Senate Democrats to show up at the table.

FOLKENFLIK: That, from ABC's Good Morning, America, NBC's Today Show and Fox's Fox & Friends this week. And much, though not all, of the coverage sounds that way, apportioning equal blame to both parties. Now, I'd like to introduce you to two journalists who approach their profession very differently in age, outlook and publication, yet reach similar conclusions about what the story really is.

James Fallows was speech writer for President Jimmy Carter more than three decades ago. He is now national correspondent and a media critic for The Atlantic magazine. Robert Costa is the Washington editor for the conservative National Review magazine. He specializes in reporting on congressional Republicans.

James Fallows says coverage of the shutdown must focus largely...

JAMES FALLOWS: On tensions within one party, that is with the Republican Party, between the Boehner/McConnell traditionalist faction and on the other hand, the newly elected sort of Tea Party faction.

FOLKENFLIK: For decades, Fallows says, the default position of journalists has been to give credence to the idea that both parties carry equal culpability in every crisis. Not so, he argues. Now, Robert Costa of the National Review.

ROBERT COSTA: When you look at the Democrats right now, they're on the sidelines, and there's a reason for that because they're looking at the divisions within the Republican ranks and they know there's no opportunity even to really craft a deal to their liking.

FOLKENFLIK: Again, James Fallows after watching coverage of the shutdown on cable news.

FALLOWS: The anchor person kept saying again and again, well, isn't really the blame on both sides? The American people think this is all just a bunch of squabbling. And so in the guise of being objective, that anchor was actually pushing one interpretation of reality.

FOLKENFLIK: And here's Robert Costa.

COSTA: I think Speaker John Boehner is the central figure in this entire shutdown discussion. House Speaker Boehner was just unable to get his conference together onto any bill, any legislation to fund the government.

FOLKENFLIK: Articles and editorials that say there's been a partisan standoff and that President Obama and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid have refused to compromise offer an accurate account, but not a sufficiently precise one, the two reporters say. Costa says tensions within the Republican ranks are often misunderstood by reporters who don't take conservative lawmakers seriously enough.

COSTA: Every day, I'm surprised almost by some of the machinations within the House Republican Conference. It's almost surreal to cover it. But that doesn't mean I write about it in a surreal way because the way conservatives now maneuver within national politics and especially within a weak Republican Party, they are a very serious force and they're something that deserves deep and penetrating coverage.

FOLKENFLIK: For its part, the National Republican Senatorial Committee is criticizing the media from a different direction for what it characterizes as alarmist and unfair coverage. Fox News senior analyst Brit Hume told viewers the media had rushed to judgment.

BRIT HUME: One reason people think Republicans are to blame for government shutdowns is that so much of the media keep telling them that that's the case.

FOLKENFLIK: Hume cited a publication that, like Fox, is part of the greater media empire of Rupert Murdock.

HUME: Even as balanced a paper as the Wall Street Journal reported this morning that the, quote, "simplest path" to avoiding a shutdown would be for the House to immediately pass the Senate funding bill. Well, it would be just as simple for the Senate to pass the House bill and send it to the president for him to sign.

FOLKENFLIK: Hume said that reflects bias by journalists against Republicans. But James Fallows argues that a critique like Hume's only works in a past era in which the nation reaches a rough consensus on how to move forward.

FALLOWS: I think we are evolving towards a journalism that strives relentlessly to be as fair and accurate and transparent and correctable as it can be, but doesn't imagine that in every dispute that comes down the pike there's going to be a sort of 50/50 reasonableness balance between the Democratic Party and the Republican Party.

FOLKENFLIK: On Tuesday, the New York Daily News ran a front page that portrayed John Boehner as the villainous anti-hero of the political thriller "House of Cards." Yesterday, it depicted Boehner, Reid and Obama as the Three Stooges. David Folkenflik, NPR News. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.