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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6:43am

Wed December 21, 2011
Media

CNN's Piers Morgan Testifies In Phone-Hacking Case

Originally published on Wed December 21, 2011 10:35 am

Transcript

LINDA WERTHEIMER, HOST:

It was a reversal for CNN celebrity interviewer Piers Morgan yesterday. He had to answer questions about journalists in Britain hacking into phone messages and bribing police. A scandal about press practices has struck at the heart of Rupert Murdoch's media empire in the UK and has led to more than 20 arrests.

NPR's David Folkenflik reports that Morgan insisted he had no involvement in or knowledge of any of it back when he was a high profile tabloid editor in London.

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8:45am

Tue December 20, 2011
It's All Politics

Why Is Times Columnist Gail Collins So Obsessed With Mitt Romney's Dog?

This 1982 family photo provided by the Romney campaign shows the Romney family during summer vacation: from left, Mitt, Tagg, Ben, Matt, Craig, Ann and Josh Romney. Seamus, unfortunately, is not pictured. His fateful voyage to Canada occurred the following summer.
Anonymous AP

Plenty of folks have their unshakable obsessions. Indiana Jones sought the Holy Grail. Captain Ahab pursued the Great White Whale. For New York Times columnist Gail Collins, it's her fixation on the voyages of an Irish Setter named Seamus.

"For some reason, the idea that you've got this guy who would drive all the way to Canada with an Irish setter sitting on the top of the car — it absolutely fascinated me," Collins says.

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4:00am

Fri December 16, 2011
Remembrances

Writer Christopher Hitchens Dies At 62

Originally published on Fri December 16, 2011 3:23 pm

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

We're going to remember now the acerbic, controversial and always compelling writer and cultural critic Christopher Hitchens. Vanity Fair, where he was a contributing editor, announced last night that he had died from complications of cancer. He was 62 years old.

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12:00am

Fri December 16, 2011
Remembrances

Writer Christopher Hitchens Dies At 62

Originally published on Fri December 16, 2011 3:06 pm

Writer and commentator Christopher Hitchens died Thursday. He was 62.
Amanda Edwards Getty Images

The influential writer and cultural critic Christopher Hitchens died on Thursday at the age of 62 from complications of cancer of the esophagus. Hitchens confronted his disease in part by writing, bringing the same unsparing insight to his mortality that he had directed at so many other subjects.

Over the years, Hitchens' caustic attention was directed at a broad range of subjects, including Henry Kissinger, Prince Charles, Bob Hope, Michael Moore, the Dalai Lama and Mother Teresa.

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7:55am

Sun December 11, 2011
Media

In Time Of Need, Romney Turns To Media

Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney has a newfound eagerness to talk to reporters — some of them, at least.

To hear Romney tell it, you'd think he had always welcomed the press corps.

"You're going to see me all over the country, particularly in early primary states," Romney said last week to Fox News host Neil Cavuto. "I'll be on TV — I'll be on Fox a lot because you guys matter when it comes to Republican primary voters. I want them to hear my message and have an opportunity to make their choice."

Off Mic, On Script

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4:00am

Wed November 30, 2011
NPR Story

British Panel Told Phone-Hacking Was Necessary

Originally published on Wed November 30, 2011 12:07 pm

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

The British government continues investigating the phone-hacking scandal at newspapers owned by Rupert Murdoch. More than a dozen journalists and editors have been arrested, top police and media executives have lost their jobs and an official ethics investigation may challenge the whole idea that the British press can regulate itself. And then, a former features editor for one of Murdoch's papers stole the show at a government hearing yesterday.

Here's NPR media correspondent David Folkenflik.

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12:01am

Thu November 17, 2011
Newt Gingrich

By Attacking The Media, Gingrich Built A Following

Former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich has relished attacking the journalists questioning him during the GOP debates.
Scott Olson Getty Images

Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich was once written off as a footnote in the 2012 Republican presidential primaries. But, for the moment, polls now show him among the leaders.

Gingrich may have found his voice, in part, by turning the tables on the political press. Republicans have been doing this for decades — quite explicitly at least since Richard Nixon and Spiro Agnew in 1968.

In Gingrich's case, it was a strategy masquerading as a tactic — one that he adopted over the summer at a time of desperation.

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7:13am

Sat November 5, 2011
Remembrances

CBS: '60 Minutes' Veteran Newsman Andy Rooney Dies

Originally published on Wed May 23, 2012 11:18 am

Journalist Andy Rooney poses in his office at CBS in New York City on June 19, 1998. Rooney delivered his first 60 Minutes commentary on July 2, 1978.
Jim Cooper AP

A distinctive voice — and character — in television news has died. Andy Rooney was a signature essayist on the CBS news program 60 Minutes for decades. He was 92.

CBS said Rooney died Friday night in New York of complications following minor surgery last month. Just a month ago, he delivered his last regular essay on the CBS newsmagazine.

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6:41pm

Fri October 21, 2011
Media

Murdoch Confronts Critics At News Corp. Meeting

Protesters demonstrate outside the News Corp. annual shareholder meeting at Fox Studios in Los Angeles on Friday.

Eric Thayer Getty Images

On Friday, News Corp. held its first shareholder meeting since a phone-hacking scandal in the U.K. led the company to close a major tabloid. Outside the meeting at Fox Studios in Los Angeles, about 100 demonstrators assembled to condemn the Murdochs and News Corp.'s leadership.

But the complaints that followed inside were far more specific. There was a vote to approve the board of directors, but it was largely a formality because the Murdoch family and its allies control so many voting shares.

Rupert Murdoch wasted little time in reminding investors of his track record.

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5:35pm

Thu October 20, 2011
The Two-Way

Protest Role Does Not Cost Public Radio Host Her Job On Opera Program

The host of a public radio opera show that is distributed nationally by NPR will keep her job after drawing criticism for her involvement with an offshoot of the Occupy Wall Street protests.

Lisa Simeone, the freelance host of the show World of Opera, also has been acting as a spokeswoman for Washington, D.C., protesters affiliated with the "October 2011" group.

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6:15pm

Thu October 13, 2011
Media

Tracking The Media's Eye On Occupy Wall Street

Originally published on Thu October 13, 2011 10:25 pm

Protesters with Occupy Wall Street march along New York's 5th Avenue, where prominent heads of major business and financial institutions live, on Tuesday. The movement has expanded, along with media coverage.

Spencer Platt Getty Images

In recent days, the Occupy Wall Street protests appear to be gathering steam, spreading beyond New York City to other cities across the country. The growing reach of the demonstrations has added to the pressure on journalists to figure out how to cover them.

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12:01am

Tue October 4, 2011
Media

NPR's New Chief Faces Tough Choices On Funding

Incoming NPR CEO and President Gary Knell.

Sesame Workshop

On Sunday, former NPR CEO Vivian Schiller tweeted a strong endorsement for the choice of Gary Knell to replace her. In the same 140 characters, however, Schiller characterized continued federal funding of public radio as "untenable."

Schiller has told associates the subsidy allows lawmakers to use NPR unfairly as a political punching bag.

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2:41am

Mon October 3, 2011
Business

NPR Turns To Public Television For New Leader

Gary Knell, incoming president and CEO of NPR.
sesameworkshop.org

NPR's board of directors announced Sunday that it had dipped into the world of public television for its new president and CEO: Gary E. Knell, chief executive of the company behind the beloved children's show Sesame Street.

Knell, 57, said he hopes to "calm the waters" at NPR after a rocky year in which the institution lost several top executives and faced renewed challenges to its funding.

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3:34am

Tue September 27, 2011
Media

News Corp.'s U.K. Actions Under Scrutiny In U.S.

The News Corp. headquarters in New York City.
Timothy A. Clary AFP/Getty Images

The British newspaper arm of Rupert Murdoch's News Corp. is in negotiations to pay several million dollars to settle the claims of the family of a slain girl whose mobile voice mail messages were hacked by a private investigator for one of its tabloids. Murdoch would personally pay more than $1.5 million to charity as part of the deal.

But that's only the latest fallout for News Corp. in the phone hacking and bribery scandal there.

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12:56pm

Thu September 15, 2011
Media

Al Sharpton's Unlikely Rise To MSNBC Host

Originally published on Tue September 20, 2011 1:15 pm

The Rev. Al Sharpton is the host of MSNBC's PoliticsNation.
Stephen J Boitano AP

The newest opinion host on cable news channel MSNBC is the Rev. Al Sharpton, a figure much better known for a past in which he cast more heat than light.

F. Scott Fitzgerald notwithstanding, Sharpton is now on at least his third act in public life: as a civil rights activist with a history of divisive and confrontational tactics; an increasingly accepted player in Democratic Party politics; and now, cable news pundit and host of PoliticsNation, which airs weeknights at 6.

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4:00am

Wed August 10, 2011
Business

News Corp. Board Meets After Phone-Hacking Scandal

The News Corp. board of directors met in Los Angeles Tuesday. It was the first time they had gotten together since the phone-hacking scandal that has roiled its British holdings.

3:00pm

Fri August 5, 2011
Media

CNN's Morgan Under Pressure Amid Hacking Scandal

CNN's Piers Morgan is under growing pressure to return to the U.K. to face questions about whether the Daily Mirror engaged in hacking voicemails while he was editor.
Alberto E. Rodriguez Getty Images

For years, CNN's Piers Morgan has alternately prospered and flopped on the basis of how readily his roguish charm could get him out of scrapes.

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3:00pm

Fri July 29, 2011
Media

In Britain, News Corp. Remains Under Pressure

News International executive James Murdoch testified at a parliamentary hearing that he was unaware of a wider problem of cell phone hacking until a lawsuit in 2010.
Warren Allott AFP/Getty Images

Rupert and James Murdoch appear to have won important corporate backing for their continued leadership of News Corp. amid the voice-mail hacking and police corruption scandal besetting the company in the U.K.

James Murdoch oversees the company's British, European and Asian operations, and it owns 39 percent of shares of the giant British broadcaster BSkyB. He is also that company's chairman. On Thursday, BSkyB's board delivered a vote of confidence in him while moving to mollify investors with a major stock buyback.

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3:00pm

Wed July 27, 2011
Media

In 'Muzzled,' Williams Tells His Side Of The Story

In his new book, Muzzled: The Assault on Honest Debate, the journalist Juan Williams argues that his contract was terminated by NPR as part of a larger pattern of the suppression of unwelcome opinions.

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6:48pm

Fri July 22, 2011
Media

How Has 'Wall Street Journal' Fared Under Murdoch?

The News Corp.-owned Wall Street Journal blasted critics for double standards and insisted that the phone-tapping scandal in Britain should not tarnish all of Rupert Murdoch's media empire.
Paul J. Richards AFP/Getty Images

The news Friday that the U.S. Justice Department is preparing wide-ranging subpoenas in the News Corp. phone hacking case was first disclosed by The Wall Street Journal. The paper is owned by News Corp. and Rupert Murdoch considers it the jewel in his crown.

And although the Journal has not been directly linked to any journalistic misconduct, the scandal has raised the question of how it has fared under Murdoch's ownership.

Murdoch's Acquisition Brought Big Changes

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12:01am

Wed July 20, 2011
Media

Does British Scandal Risk Murdoch's Hold On Empire?

News Corp. CEO Rupert Murdoch (right), testifying alongside his son James, said his appearance Tuesday before a British parliamentary inquiry in London was "the most humble day of my life."
Parbul AFP/Getty Images

As News Corp. executives Rupert and James Murdoch gave testimony to members of a parliamentary panel in London on Tuesday, they were also speaking to a different audience: The people who own their company's shares and sit on its board.

From the opening moments, Rupert Murdoch made clear even in crisis that News Corp., while a publicly traded company, is very much propelled by the vision of one man. He interrupted his son James to make the point.

"I'd just like to say one sentence: This is the most humble day in my life," he said.

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5:54am

Tue July 19, 2011
Media

CNN's Morgan Breaks Silence On 'News Of The World'

In the mid 90's, Piers Morgan cut his teeth as an editor at Murdoch's London tabloid the "Sun" and then became the top editor of its sister Sunday paper "News of the World." Two of his successors have been arrested and a third lost his job along with his staff when the paper closed.

3:00pm

Mon July 18, 2011
Media

A Look At The Relationship Between Britain's Police And Press

Britain's phone-hacking scandal has put the spotlight on the relationship between News Corp. and the police. London's two top police officers have resigned amid the scandal.
Oli Scarff Getty Images

Two top British police officials have resigned amid the News Corp. hacking scandal, throwing the problematic relationship between the media giant and the police into sharp relief.

British Home Secretary Teresa May told Parliament on Monday that both Paul Stephenson, the Metropolitan Police commissioner, and Assistant Commissioner John Yates had resigned. The Metropolitan Police is commonly known as Scotland Yard.

A Two-Fold Scandal

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8:00am

Sat July 9, 2011
Media

Rupert Murdoch Rules More Than The 'World'

The scandal that has collapsed the British tabloid, News of the World, and rocked the News Corp empire, brings into question the pervasive influence of Rupert Murdoch's media holdings on British media and politics. NPR's David Folkenflik examines the extent of Murdoch's influence and his cozy relationships with politicians.

4:18pm

Fri July 8, 2011
Europe

Cameron Vows Full Probe Of Phone Hacking Scandal

Investigators carry bags of evidence from the home of Andy Coulson, a former News of the World editor and Cameron aide, in London on Friday. Police arrested Coulson in the phone hacking scandal.
Andrew Cowie AFP/Getty Images

British Prime Minister David Cameron has announced two investigations into the phone hacking scandal that brought down Rupert Murdoch's News of the World tabloid and led to the arrest Friday of the paper's former top editor, a former Cameron aide.

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12:01am

Fri July 1, 2011
Media

New CNN News Chief Takes Stock

CNN is known for its coverage of breaking news, like the killing in May of Osama bin Laden.
Bay Ismoyo AFP/Getty Images

It's pretty easy to see the winning formula for Fox News and MSNBC. They spend their evening hours stoking outrage from the political right and left, respectively.

But it's not as clear what the missing secret sauce should be for CNN. The cable news pioneer now continually lags in ratings during prime time, the most heavily watched hours.

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3:00pm

Tue June 7, 2011
Media

Familiar Role For Conservative Provocateur Breitbart

Andrew Breitbart, who runs BigGovernment.com, speaks to the media before a press conference held by Rep. Anthony Weiner on Monday.
Andrew Burton Getty Images

Rep. Anthony Weiner (D-NY) clearly brought the scandal over his digital dalliances upon himself, but the media's coverage of the story from the moments after he sent that errant tweet has been orchestrated almost entirely by one person: conservative blog entrepreneur Andrew Breitbart.

Breitbart, the other famous guy at the center of this scandal, has made the scandal a national fixation.

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7:32pm

Thu June 2, 2011
Media

Keller To Hand Off 'New York Times' To Chief Deputy

New York Times Executive Editor Bill Keller, seen at a benefit in 2008, is stepping down to become a full-time writer for the paper.
Scott Gries Getty Images

New York Times Executive Editor Bill Keller is stepping down to return to writing for the newspaper. He will be replaced by his chief deputy, Jill Abramson, the managing editor for news.

By all accounts, Keller is departing voluntarily after a successful but challenging eight-year tenure. In an interview, he said he went to Arthur Sulzberger Jr., the paper's publisher and the chairman of its parent, the Times Co., to reveal his decision.

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3:52pm

Tue May 17, 2011
The Two-Way

Blogger's 'Ugly' Conclusions Anger Some In The Black Community

A blog posting on the website of Psychology Today asserted that black women were "objectively less physically attractive than other women" and then, as a backlash built — it vanished.

The posting was written by Satoshi Kanazawa, an evolutionary psychology scholar associated with the London School of Economics, on a blog for the publication called The Scientific Fundamentalist. The posting's headline was initially tweaked and the entire essay was subsequently removed altogether on Monday.

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12:01am

Mon May 16, 2011
Media

Livelihood 'On The Line,' Anchor Reveals He's Gay

CNN anchor Don Lemon says his mentors and agents challenged him to consider whether he was willing to wear "the gay anchor" label throughout his career. " And I'd have to say, at this point, why the hell not?" he says,
CNN

CNN weekend anchor Don Lemon is many things: A 45-year-old African-American native of Baton Rouge, La., he was raised Southern Baptist, attended Catholic schools and graduated from Brooklyn College in New York, and subsequently prospered in the competitive world of television news.

One more facet of his life that he reveals publicly for the first time today: He is gay.

"Do I want to be 'the gay anchor'?" Lemon said.

He said his mentors and agents challenged him to consider whether he was willing to wear that label throughout his career.

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