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 tectonic 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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It's All Politics
11:13 pm
Wed October 3, 2012

Lights, Camera, Action (zzzz), Tweet!

Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney and President Barack Obama shake hands at the first presidential debate at the University of Denver, Wednesday.
Charlie Neibergall AP

Originally published on Thu October 4, 2012 10:47 am

I have spent the past few days sequestered with a crack team of political pros — actually, curled into a fetal ball, clutching a fading 1980 John Anderson poster — to gird myself for the vital first debate between President Obama and Mitt Romney.

So many questions lingered:

Would Romney offer to wager Obama $10,000 on who wins the race?

Would Obama tell Romney, "You're taxable enough, Mitt"?

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Election 2012
3:24 am
Tue October 2, 2012

The Politics Of Election Polls

Originally published on Tue October 2, 2012 11:08 am

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

President Obama has held a lead over Mitt Romney in the polls for several weeks now, and that's prompted a conservative reaction. Some are charging that big media outlets are intentionally designing their polling to make it look like the president is getting the kind of voter surge he had in 2008. NPR's David Folkenflik has the story.

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Media
4:10 pm
Tue September 25, 2012

CNN Defends Reporting On Slain Ambassador's Diary

U.S. Ambassador to Libya Chris Stevens was killed in an attack against the American consulate in Benghazi on Sept. 11. CNN recovered Stevens' diary in the ruins of the consulate and used it in its reporting without obtaining consent from his family.
Ben Curtis AP

Originally published on Tue September 25, 2012 11:16 pm

CNN is defending itself against accusations from the U.S. State Department that it trampled on the wishes of the family of the slain U.S. ambassador to Libya in reporting on his fears of a terrorist attack before his death.

The criticism stemmed from CNN's discovery and use of the late Chris Stevens' personal journal to pursue its reporting about his concerns over security in Benghazi, Libya. A top State Department official, Philippe Reines, called CNN's actions "indefensible" and "disgusting," saying the network had broken its promises to the dead ambassador's family.

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Media
3:11 am
Fri September 21, 2012

Smaller Audience, Bigger Payoff For Glenn Beck

Since leaving Fox News in 2011, Glenn Beck has found his way back to TV. His Internet television network, The Blaze TV, is now available to subscribers of the Dish Network.
Kris Connor Getty Images for Dish Network

Originally published on Fri September 21, 2012 1:43 pm

By the time Glenn Beck left the Fox News Channel in June 2011, both sides seemed ready, even eager, to part ways. Beck announced he would move on to bigger and grander ventures with his own production company, Mercury Radio Arts, but some media critics, such as Variety's Brian Lowry, shrugged then and since.

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Media
1:36 am
Wed August 15, 2012

The Next Frontier In TV: English News For Latinos

Millions of Americans rely on Univision anchor Jorge Ramos to tell them about the news, but his children aren't among them. Like many Latinos who've grown up in the U.S., they get their news in English.
Lynne Sladky AP

Originally published on Wed August 15, 2012 10:15 am

This is the third in a three-part series about major American networks trying to appeal to a broader Latino audience.

Jorge Ramos has a humbling problem.

He is one of the best-known Hispanics in the U.S. and a respected news anchor for the Univision networks on which millions of Americans routinely rely.

And yet, in Ramos' telling, his 14-year-old son, Nicolas, and his 25-year-old daughter, Paola, don't watch his newscasts.

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Media
2:07 am
Tue August 14, 2012

Eyeing Latinos, NBC News Snuggles Up To Telemundo

Telemundo anchor and reporter Jose Diaz-Balart made a notable, if fleeting, appearance during NBC's Republican primary debate last summer. This past June, NBC News and Telemundo announced they would be collaborating on the rest of their 2012 election coverage.
Steve Mitchell AP

Originally published on Wed August 15, 2012 7:47 am

This is the second in a three-part series about major American networks trying to appeal to a broader Latino audience.

Every morning at 11:45, NBC News officials hold a conference call with their counterparts at sister networks to sort through stories of interest. Among those on the line are executives at CNBC, MSNBC and The Weather Channel; digital news editors; and executives at Telemundo, a Spanish-language broadcast network.

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Media
3:17 pm
Thu August 9, 2012

Fox Pioneers Formula For Latino News

Francisco Cortes started at Fox as an apprentice, then rose through the ranks to become Fox News Latino's first director.
Courtesy of FOX News Latino

Originally published on Wed August 15, 2012 7:48 am

This is the first in a three-part series about major American networks trying to appeal to a broader Latino audience.

In a glass-walled conference room at Fox News in New York, reporter Bryan Llenas and two of his colleagues discuss the nature and success of their news site, Fox News Latino, largely aimed at English-speaking Hispanics.

Maybe a dozen feet away, two pundits can be seen heatedly arguing in a Fox News TV studio.

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Media
2:24 pm
Fri July 27, 2012

CNN's President Steps Down Amid Poor Ratings

Originally published on Fri July 27, 2012 4:02 pm

Transcript

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Audie Cornish.

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

And I'm Robert Siegel. After more than three decades at CNN, the company's president is stepping down. His resignation is an admission of the challenges facing the profitable but poorly rated network. NPR's David Folkenflik has that story.

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Television
2:43 pm
Fri July 20, 2012

MSNBC Gets Academic: Meet Host Prof. Harris-Perry

Melissa Harris-Perry, MSNBC's newest host, is a Tulane professor with a Ph.D. in political science from Duke. She hosts the two-hour Melissa Harris-Perry show, which airs on Saturday and Sunday mornings.
Eliot Kamenitz The Times-Picayune /Landov

Originally published on Fri July 20, 2012 4:56 pm

Cable news channels tend to treat intellectuals gingerly — as fragile curiosities or as targets for ridicule — when they appear at all.

Not MSNBC's Melissa Harris-Perry. This newly anointed cable host commutes 1,300 miles each week for her eponymous program of opinionated conversation, interviews and essays that runs live for two hours each Saturday and Sunday morning.

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News
2:39 am
Fri July 6, 2012

Fake Bylines Reveal True Costs Of Local News

Newspapers acknowledged publishing dozens of items in print or online from outsourcing firm Journatic that appeared under fake bylines. The Chicago Tribune, for example, said the matter is under investigation. But the newspaper's corporate parent, the Tribune Co., is a new investor in Journatic.
Charles Rex Arbogast AP

Originally published on Fri July 6, 2012 10:10 am

Major newspapers in Chicago, Houston and San Francisco are among those this week that have acknowledged they published dozens of items in print or online that appeared under fake bylines.

As was first disclosed by the public radio program This American Life, the items in question were not written by reporters on the staffs of the papers at all but by employees of what is effectively a news outsourcing firm called Journatic.

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NPR Story
2:13 pm
Thu June 28, 2012

Media Get Health Care Ruling Wrong, At First

Originally published on Thu June 28, 2012 5:32 pm

Transcript

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Audie Cornish.

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

And I'm Melissa Block. On the biggest story of the day, one of the biggest of the year, two leading television news channels got it wrong. CNN and Fox News mistakenly and repeatedly told viewers that the linchpin of the health care law had just been struck down by the Supreme Court. NPR media correspondent David Folkenflik breaks down the reporting breakdown.

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Media
3:31 am
Wed June 27, 2012

Splitting Outlets Could Help News. Corp. Investors

Originally published on Wed June 27, 2012 4:49 pm

News Corp. executives have confirmed they are considering dividing the company in two. One new company would hold all of News Corp.'s profitable entertainment and television outlets. The other would hold all of its newspaper and publishing outlets. The move is seen as a way for the Murdoch family to hang on to its less profitable and troubled newspapers while pleasing investors with a newly independent and far more profitable entertainment company.

Media
2:20 pm
Tue May 1, 2012

News Corp. Contrite In Wake Of Scathing Report

An influential group of British lawmakers says Rupert Murdoch, shown above with his son James (left) last July, is unfit to lead his global media empire. The scathing report also says his company misled Parliament about the scale of phone hacking at one of its tabloids.
Sang Tan AP

Originally published on Tue May 1, 2012 3:04 pm

News Corp. executives Rupert and James Murdoch can give a small sigh of relief, perhaps, that U.K. lawmakers investigating the tabloid hacking and bribery scandal did not conclude they misled Parliament in earlier testimony.

But that may be just about the only relief the Murdochs receive.

The scathing report accuses the company and several of its former top British executives of lying to Parliament and of seeking to cover up widespread phone hacking, computer hacking and bribing of government employees.

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Media
3:04 pm
Mon April 23, 2012

Murdochs, News Corp Face Big Week Of Investigations

Originally published on Mon April 23, 2012 5:39 pm

Transcript

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

You're listening to ALL THINGS CONSIDERED.

In Britain, the allegations keep coming of illegal behavior by Rupert Murdoch's News Corporation. Today, an investigation was announced into email hacking by Sky News. News Corp's British operations already stand accused of phone hacking, along with bribing police officers.

As NPR's David Folkenflik reports, the new investigation comes just before Murdoch is scheduled to testify on the sandal.

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NPR Story
2:47 am
Fri April 20, 2012

Murdoch's News Corp. Faces New Legal Threats

Originally published on Fri April 20, 2012 4:46 am

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

It's MORNING EDITION, from NPR News. I'm Steve Inskeep.

LYNN NEARY, HOST:

And I'm Lynn Neary.

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Media
1:17 am
Thu April 12, 2012

Huckabee Pledges More Civil Alternative To Limbaugh

Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee says his new radio show will be more "conversation and less confrontation."
Gary Kline

Originally published on Fri April 13, 2012 8:22 am

Mike Huckabee fell short four years ago in his quest to become the Republican presidential nominee. As of this week, the former Arkansas governor has a new job: national radio talk show host.

The Mike Huckabee Show started Monday with an anticipatory flourish.

"Welcome to the community of conversation. You've just made a right turn, and you've arrived at the corner of conservatism and common sense," he said. "In this show, we're going to be confronting the issues — not the listeners."

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Remembrances
9:56 am
Sun April 8, 2012

Veteran Newsman Mike Wallace Of '60 Minutes' Dead

60 Minutes correspondent Mike Wallace died on Saturday night, according to a CBS spokesman.
Peter Freed AP

Originally published on Wed May 23, 2012 8:53 am

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Media
4:19 pm
Fri April 6, 2012

News Corp. Coverage: A Climate Change Case Study

News Limited is the Australian arm of Rupert Murdoch's newspaper empire.
Tim Winborne Reuters /Landov

Originally published on Fri April 6, 2012 5:27 pm

Part 4 of four

Some weeks ago, I paid a visit to an eggshell-blue house in Newtown, a neighborhood on the west side of Sydney, to Wendy Bacon and her husband, Chris Nash.

As we sat on the porch of their book-lined home, they pointed with pride to the Australasian trees and blooms defining their interior courtyard.

And then Bacon delved into her own harvest: the results of a case study about how the country's newspapers handled a pressing and contentious issue.

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Media
2:04 am
Fri April 6, 2012

Murdoch's 'Australian': A Powerful Player

A jogger runs past a banner for The Australian, part of Rupert Murdoch's newspaper empire, in Sydney last year.
Tim Wimborne Reuters /Landov

Originally published on Fri April 6, 2012 1:14 pm

Part three of four

Robert Manne, one of Australia's top public intellectuals and journalists, tells me the first thing to know about The Australian.

"It is by far the most detailed paper in regard to national politics," he says. "And it's also at a higher level of analysis, in general, than the other papers."

Second, he says, the paper is "smarter, sharper" than the others — with more resources and fewer profit demands to boot. Manne explains why:

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Media
2:31 pm
Thu April 5, 2012

Murdoch's Unrivaled Hold On The Australian Press

Between 6 and 7 of every 10 copies of national and metro papers sold in Australia are owned by News Ltd., News Corp.'s Australian newspaper arm. The company owns The Australian and The Daily Telegraph; while The Age and The Sydney Morning Herald are owned by rival Fairfax Media.
Rick Rycroft AP

Step up to any newsstand in Australia, like the one in Melbourne's Central Business District, and ask who Rupert Murdoch is, and you might get an appraisal like this one from Tom Baxter, an officer with a local disability foundation: "Long time in newspapers, ruthless; dedicated to their craft; a global citizen."

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Media
1:49 am
Thu April 5, 2012

The Roots Of An Empire: Rupert Murdoch's Australia

Rupert Murdoch takes over the Daily Mirror, a Sydney tabloid, in May 1960. Sometimes soft-spoken, but invariably hard-driving, Murdoch acquired major papers in every Australian state. He bought TV stations and established the first truly national daily.
Keystone Getty Images

Originally published on Thu April 5, 2012 5:44 am

First of four parts

Ultimately, all roads lead home for Rupert Murdoch.

"The story of our company is the stuff of legend: from a small newspaper in Adelaide to a global corporation based in New York, with a market capitalization of about $44 billion," he said last October, when he addressed a News Corp. shareholders meeting in Los Angeles.

Australians view the company's history differently.

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The Two-Way
1:03 pm
Thu March 8, 2012

A Scoop, Really? BuzzFeed, Breitbart.com Spar For Credit On Obama Video

A still frame from a video shot in 1990.
Frontline

Last night a bewildering debate broke out on CNN's Piers Morgan Tonight over video posted online yesterday of a young Barack Obama speaking at a student protest at Harvard Law School more than two decades ago.

The debate focused on whether the new BuzzFeed website or Breitbart.com deserved credit for the scoop.

My bewilderment stemmed from the question of why anyone would consider this video to be a scoop at all.

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Media
12:56 am
Tue March 6, 2012

Rush To Judgment: Advertisers Flee Limbaugh's Show

Talk radio host Rush Limbaugh's apology for comments he made about a Georgetown Law student has done little to stem criticism.
Alexis C. Glenn UPI /Landov

Originally published on Tue March 6, 2012 6:37 pm

An increasing number of corporations have announced that they will no longer advertise on the show of the undisputed king of political radio talk, Rush Limbaugh, in the wake of caustic and sexually charged comments he made about a Georgetown Law student.

An apology over the weekend failed to quell the controversy, as both corporations and conservative commentators denounced Limbaugh's latest provocative remarks. It is far from his first such episode. Part of Limbaugh's appeal involves getting listeners to tune in to hear just what shibboleth-bursting thing he'll say next.

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Media
2:00 am
Tue February 28, 2012

2nd Murdoch Tabloid Focus Of Scandal

The senior police official investigating wrongdoing by journalists in London says there was a culture of illegal payments at the Sun tabloid to create a network of paid informants across the British government. The Sun is the second tabloid owned by Rupert Murdoch's News Corp to be the focus of wrongdoing.

Media
10:01 pm
Thu February 23, 2012

With Sale, Phila. Reporters Fear Loss Of Integrity

The publisher of the Philadelphia Inquirer and the Philadelphia Daily News has been accused of interfering with coverage of the newspapers' pending sale.
Joseph Kaczmarek AP

Originally published on Fri February 24, 2012 2:50 am

Philadelphia's financially troubled newspapers — the jointly owned Inquirer and Daily News — may be sold for the fourth time in six years. Circulation and advertising are down. A new set of layoffs has been announced, and the papers' newsrooms are about to be combined with the news site Philly.com.

But reporters and editors there are outraged by something else: the actions of their own publisher to influence their coverage of the company's sale.

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Media
12:14 pm
Tue January 17, 2012

In Britain, Calls To Regulate A Freewheeling Press

British tabloids such as The Sun are known for being brash, cheeky and salacious.
Carl Court AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Tue January 17, 2012 5:19 pm

The voice mail and computer hacking and police bribery scandal that has roiled the British newspaper industry has also led to calls for government regulation of the press in one of the world's greatest democracies.

Some newspaper executives, such as Paul Dacre, editor of the Daily Mail and editor-in-chief of the Mail on Sunday, are attempting to draw the line.

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It's All Politics
7:55 am
Tue January 10, 2012

Don't Get Your Hopes Up Over This Political Coverage

Former Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman speaks to reporters before a campaign stop in Concord, N.H. In interviews, Huntsman has said that his goal in New Hampshire is to "beat market expectations."
Matthew Cavanaugh Getty Images

This may well be the worst story you've come across yet on politics.

Really, I beg you: You should have very, very low expectations for this story.

And this expectations thing is important stuff.

Pundits, reporters and the campaigns themselves have devoted a lot of energy to setting expectations for the candidates' performances.

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The News Tip On Weekend Edition Sunday
5:52 am
Sun January 8, 2012

The News Tip: Stay Mindful Of Politics' Visitors

Republican presidential candidate Newt Gingrich speaks to reporters during a campaign stop on Dec. 28 in Mason City, Iowa.
Scott Olson Getty Images

With election season in full swing now, the sheer amount of media coverage can be daunting to anyone trying to follow the races.

For the press covering politics, NPR media correspondent David Folkenflik has this reminder: Most people are visitors to the land of political obsession, not full-time residents.

Folkenflik tells Weekend Edition Sunday host Rachel Martin that much of the campaign coverage "assumes that everybody is up to date on real minutiae."

Some people don't have the time to keep up with minor — or even major — developments.

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Media
5:38 am
Wed January 4, 2012

Iowa Race Fit Many Convenient Story Lines For Media

Republican presidential candidate, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney is the center of attention at rally in Des Moines, Iowa, Tuesday.
Charlie Neibergall AP

Originally published on Wed January 4, 2012 8:51 am

At the start of his show yesterday morning, MSNBC's Chuck Todd could not contain his glee: "It's caucus day. Finally! I've been waiting for this day for 3 1/2 years."

Speak for yourself, Chuck.

In the build-up to the Iowa caucuses, we heard about the ground game, the expectations game, the endorsement game, and the super PACs. And we get the justification: It's blood sport, it's a vetting process, it's a surge, it's a generous slathering of awesome on an Iowa corn dog.

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It's All Politics
3:19 pm
Thu December 22, 2011

With 'Lie Of The Year' Controversy, Fact Checking Comes Under Scrutiny

A screen grab from "America the Beautiful" by The Agenda Project. According to PolitiFact, videos like this one used elderly actors to falsely suggest that Rep. Paul Ryan's Medicare plan would adversely affect current senior citizens.
The Agenda Project YouTube

Originally published on Thu December 22, 2011 8:08 pm

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