Stories I’d like to see

The clown-show economics of storm-hit utilities, and in search of open primaries

By Steven Brill
November 13, 2012

1.   My Alaska-Hawaii electricity repair team:

It’s 10 o’clock and the lights are out. Do you know where your local utility actually lives?

Electoral legal minefields, baseball contracts, and airline woes

By Steven Brill
October 16, 2012

1. The Election Day legal battlefield:

We need all kinds of coverage of the legal Armageddon that we may face on Election Day and the morning after.

Tales of a TARP built to benefit bankers, and waiting for CEOs to pay the price

By Steven Brill
October 2, 2012

1.  The Obama TARP fiasco Romney can’t use:

If the dynamics of the presidential campaign were different, a book called Bailout by Neil Barofsky would be getting a lot more attention. Barofsky left a post in late 2008 as a top federal financial fraud prosecutor in New York to become the special inspector general overseeing the $700 billion TARP bailout program. He’s written a Mr. Smith-Goes-to-Washington-like account of how even after TARP was turned over to a Democratic administration – in fact more so after the Democrats took over – TARP money was dispensed and TARP rules were written almost completely for the benefit of the bankers who drove America into a ditch.

ProPublica’s prize-winning ways, and more questions about Ryan’s role

By Steven Brill
September 25, 2012

1.  How does ProPublica do it? Can it scale?

I received an intriguing email alert last week from ProPublica – the non-profit organization that, according to its mission statement, does “journalism in the public interest.” The email announced that ProPublica’s “nursing home inspection” tool now has a completely searchable database of “140,000-plus” reports from government inspections of these facilities for seniors, many of which have been plagued by charges of poor or even abusive care.

The beef against ABC, and Romney as a debater

By Steven Brill
September 18, 2012

1. The beef against ABC:

Most of us remember seeing or hearing about the multiple ABC news broadcasts beginning last March about how meat packers were adulterating the meat we buy in grocery stores and restaurants with a filler called “pink slime.” Other news outlets picked up on the controversy over the filler, which in fact had been reported on before, but which ABC took on as a crusade. Leading with Diane Sawyer’s flagship evening newscast, on which  she touted her team’s “startling investigation,” ABC did eleven separate broadcasts about “pink slime” over about four weeks. This culminated in cheerleading and self-congratulatory coverage of consumer groups responding to the ABC reports with campaigns to demand that the major grocery store chains boycott products containing “pink slime.”  It was as if Upton Sinclair and his epic novel “The Jungle” that took readers inside the gruesome meat packing plants of the early twentieth century had been reborn in the person of Sawyer and lead on-air reporter Jim Avila.

Tracking the battleground wars

By Steven Brill
September 11, 2012

I always tell my students that the best stories come from what you’re most curious about. And for all the coverage of the presidential campaign we’ve been getting in print, online and on cable, my curiosity about what’s really going on in the battleground states and in their most evenly divided precincts hasn’t come close to being satisfied. With all the time and money CNN, Politico and the major newspapers are spending letting the usual suspects opine on the horse race, they should zero in on the people who count by doing some of the following:

Polling the power of campaign lies, security ideas for 9/11′s 11th, stimulus stories

By Steven Brill
September 5, 2012

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

1. Use polls to monitor the effectiveness of campaign lies:

It’s great that many media organizations have been fact-checking the claims of the presidential candidates and holding them accountable for blatant distortions. But with all the money they are spending on polls, why can’t they poll whether the lies are working?

How would a woman “prove” rape to qualify for Romney’s abortion exemption?

By Steven Brill
August 28, 2012

In the wake of the Todd Akin firestorm, Mitt Romney and a flip-flopping Paul Ryan have emphasized that their anti-choice stance excludes rape. In a Romney administration, abortions would be outlawed except in the case of women who have been raped, the Republican ticket has promised.

Questions for Ryan, working for welfare, updates on Olbermann and Facebook

By Steven Brill
August 14, 2012

1.   Quick questions for Paul Ryan:

It’s too bad Bob Schieffer didn’t get to these questions for Paul Ryan on 60 Minutes last Sunday night:

Romney’s tax audit, Aurora and risk, inside the IRS

By Steven Brill
July 30, 2012

1. What happened with Romney’s audit?

On Sunday, Mitt Romney – while promising ABC he would “go back and check” to see if he had ever paid less than the 13.9 percent in income taxes he reported paying in the only return he has released so far – volunteered that he had been audited in the past by the IRS. So, the next question needs to be, “Governor, when you were audited, did the IRS then require you to pay additional taxes, and, if so, would you specify the discrepancy between what you claimed and what the IRS determined was the appropriate tax? And was more than one year of returns audited? If so, what were the results of those other audits?”