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 techtonic 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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A new law is raising concern that the journalistic independence of Voice of America and other federal broadcasters could be compromised by a future White House eager to market itself abroad.

The federally funded Voice of America — and its affiliated broadcasters such as Radio Martí, Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty and Radio Free Asia — is intended to provide reliable news reports in multiple languages to countries that lack a viable independent media and to promote democratic values abroad.

Even after he becomes president, Donald Trump will hold another title dear to his heart: executive producer.

The next head of the U.S. government is to retain a stake and a credit for the NBC reality series Celebrity Apprentice, Trump spokeswoman Hope Hicks tells NPR. The story was first reported in the Hollywood trade publication Variety.

Alex Jones has a following. His radio show is carried on more than 160 stations, and he has more than 1.8 million subscribers on YouTube.

And he claims to have the ear of the next president of the United States.

Jones is also one of the nation's leading promoters of conspiracy theories — some of which take on lives of their own. He has been a chief propagator of untrue and wild claims about a satanic sex trafficking ring run by one of Hillary Clinton's top advisers out of a pizzeria in Washington, D.C.

Donald Trump is meeting with The New York Times after all, despite announcing by Tweet early Tuesday morning that he was canceling sessions with the paper's executives and journalists.

It continued a whirlwind 24 hours of Trump's mixed messages to the media.

The president-elect kicked it off Monday with a session in which he had invited television news anchors and executives to establish a new working relationship, only to berate them for what he termed unfair campaign coverage. He then told them he wanted a reset with the press.

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LINDA WERTHEIMER, HOST:

From pretty much the very start of this election season, Donald Trump grabbed the media by the press pass. He didn't even wait. As Trump, a former reality show host, once said in a slightly different context, "When you're a star, they let you do it."

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AT&T's proposed $85.4 billion acquisition of Time Warner has cast renewed attention on the financial performance and journalistic independence of one of the media conglomerate's best-known possessions, CNN.

"You have to allow the organization to run independently," AT&T Chairman and CEO Randall Stephenson tells NPR. "It's not an altruistic thing either. I mean, I personally think it's a smart business thing to do. If the customer ever believes that the news is being tainted by the opinion of myself or somebody else within AT&T, that's brand damaging."

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It is one of the most recognizable shows on television — a mainstay for nearly a half-century, with a theme song promising, "Sunny day, sweepin' the clouds away."

Yet dark financial clouds have hovered over Sesame Street's parent company in recent years.

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For all the changes wrought by the sexual harassment scandal that brought down former Fox News Chairman Roger Ailes, the Murdoch family that controls the network has held one goal paramount: to maintain continuity.

Monday night's debate between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump will be the first time the two square off directly during this general election campaign. At such moments, the stakes are invariably characterized as high for the candidates, their presidential prospects on the brink of success or ruin.

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The parent company of Fox News has agreed to pay $20 million to settle a sexual harassment lawsuit against Roger Ailes, the channel's former chairman and CEO.

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Hillary Clinton has not held a single press conference since the start of 2016, triggering charges that she's trying to duck questions from reporters on the campaign trail.

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For Gawker Media's websites to live, Gawker.com, the actual namesake website, has to die. It will be shut down next week by its new owner, a victim of its own poisoned legacy.

Any obituary should start by acknowledging the good the subject rendered to the world. There's no reason not to do that here, other than the extent to which that impulse might appall some of Gawker's own writers were it a piece about the demise of another publication.

Sumner Redstone and his daughter Shari reasserted their control of Viacom Thursday night, resolving a crisis gripping the media conglomerate by arranging the departure of their renegade executive chairman, president and CEO Philippe Dauman in exchange for a $72 million payout.

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Arianna Huffington, the charismatic and self-invented founder of the Huffington Post, is stepping down as the site's editor-in-chief to build a new site around the concepts of health and wellness.

The move comes a few weeks after the Huffington Post's parent company, Verizon, acquired the fading digital powerhouse Yahoo.

Huffington ascribed her departure to the desire to pursue her separate and new initiative, called Thrive Global, built around the concepts of wellness and striking a balance between work and personal realms.

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The news that sexual harassment allegations have cost Roger Ailes his job threatens to obscure Ailes' singular career and his almost unrivaled influence in the public sphere.

But no contemporary figure has done more to shape the intersection of American media and politics than Ailes, who, until Thursday, had been the Fox News chief since its very first day on the air in 1996.

In his long career, Ailes advised a succession of Republican presidents on how to gain power and maintain it — both on their payrolls and off the books.

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