Jack Shafer

Daniel Patrick Moynihan’s 1998 lesson on the price of secrets

By Jack Shafer
December 27, 2013

This article originally appeared in the November/December 2013 issue of the Columbia Journalism Review and is reprinted with permission.

The information singularity is coming!

By Jack Shafer
December 19, 2013

“Data! Data! Data!” Sherlock Holmes cried impatiently. “I can’t make bricks without clay.”

Plotting the Snowden plea bargain

By Jack Shafer
December 16, 2013

CBS News gave the National Security Agency an early Christmas present on Sunday—a segment on “60 Minutes.” The title of the segment, “NSA Speaks Out on Snowden, Spying,” telegraphed the network’s generosity. After taking beatings in the press and in Congress, NSA Director Gen. Keith Alexander reached out to “invite” (which is how CBS News put it) the program to receive the NSA’s version of the Snowden affair. “What they got was a chance to make their case,” said correspondent John Miller.

Newtown’s magical thinking

By Jack Shafer
December 12, 2013

Newtown, Conn., city officials want my type to stay out of town this Saturday, which marks the first anniversary of the Dec. 14, 2012, massacre of schoolchildren at Sandy Hook Elementary School. My type, of course, is the nosey parkers who call themselves journalists, the ones who stick microphones and cameras in the faces of the distraught, who knock on the doors of the bereaved and phone them incessantly for interviews.

What’s worse than sponsored content? The FTC regulating it

By Jack Shafer
December 6, 2013

What’s more dangerous to consumer well-being, sponsored content or the intervention of the Federal Trade Commission? On Wednesday, the agency held a conference, “Blurred Lines: Advertising or Content,” to “discuss native advertising,” as the New York Times put it. The event attracted several hundred “advertisers, academics and media executives,” who listened to the agency’s views about native advertising — or sponsored content, infomercial, or advertorial, as some call it — those Web ads that are designed to look like editorial content, not ads.