Jack Shafer

Don’t fear the Web

By Jack Shafer
February 29, 2012

Does the Internet make you anxious? Do you lie awake nights worrying that Russian hackers are turning your children into sex slaves? Have you had the feeling that your iPhone is spying on you?

Wikiyawn

By Jack Shafer
February 27, 2012

I love WikiLeaks — by which I mean that any organization that helps ferret out the secrets of states or the nefarious secrets of corporations deserves a cozy place in my heart. But as anyone who has experienced my love can tell you, it’s not always lovely. So I don’t feel bad at all about taking the business end of my press-crit rake to the latest WikiLeaks project, “The Global Intelligence Files.”

Who cares if a politician buys a newspaper?

By Jack Shafer
February 23, 2012

Philadelphia has gone all hinky at the prospect of an investor group headed by former governor, former mayor, former district attorney, and former head of the Democratic National Committee Ed Rendell purchasing Philadelphia Media Network, the company that owns the Philadelphia Inquirer, the Philadelphia Daily News and Philly.com. The Rendell group includes powerful local businessmen and assorted politicos, causing Philadelphia magazine’s Paul Davies to fret that such a sale would result in newspapers “viewed as a direct extension of the Democratic Party and Chamber of Commerce.”

What made Deep Throat leak?

By Jack Shafer
February 21, 2012

Why did Deep Throat leak to Washington Post reporter Bob Woodward?

Woodward and Carl Bernstein write in their 1974 book, All the President’s Men, that Deep Throat shared his secrets to “protect the office” of the presidency and “effect a change in its conduct before all was lost.” Woodward amended his source’s purely patriotic motives in his 2005 book, The Secret Man: The Story of Watergate’s Deep Throat. In it, Woodward held that Deep Throat — whom he confirmed was W. Mark Felt, a former high-ranking FBI man who outed himself as the leaker — supplied him with information to protect the FBI from the meddling Nixon White House. That harmonized with the rationale offered in A G-man’s Life: The FBI, Being ‘Deep Throat,’ and the Struggle for Honor in Washington, Felt’s 2006 book published with the guiding hand of a co-writer (Felt was 92 and suffering from dementia): that Deep Throat leaked to Woodward to “spark a broader investigation” by the Justice Department of the break-in.

Media Madders

By Jack Shafer
February 15, 2012

The “investigative series” that the conservative Daily Caller commenced this week about the liberal media watchdog outfit Media Matters for America and its founder David Brock accomplishes the impossible: It makes me sympathize with Media Matters and Brock.