A look back at Selma, then and now.
America’s leading expert on police accountability says the FBI—once regarded as law enforcement’s standard-setter—has become an outlier outfit that ignores “best-practices” police procedures. In an exclusive Q&A with WhoWhatWhy, Samuel Walker says that a key aspect of the Bureau’s probes of shootings by agents is “just crazy.” His comments hold particular relevance considering the FBI’s long-delayed explanation of how and why its agent killed a witness in the Boston Marathon Bombing case.
When Republican Congressman Trey Radel was busted for cocaine in Washington, the Tea Party poster boy from Florida went straight to the political scandal playbook to try to salvage his career: He invoked God, family and forgiveness, then ducked into rehab. Is his career toast? Probably, though Newt Gingrich says Radel might get a do-over if his constituents think his rehab is for real. WhoWhatWhy put together thumbnails of some of the elders of Washington scandals who, over the past 40 years, have paved the path of duplicity for callow dudes like Radel. It turns out his drug denouement was a rarity. When it comes to turpitude in D.C., it’s usually about sex.
A federal judge ruled Monday that the government’s bulk collection of phone data probably violates the Constitution. His 68-page ruling has withering words about the NSA, calling the data collection “Orwellian.” You can read his full ruling here.
WhoWhatWhy is compiling its version of that enduring annual news feature, the year-end Top Stories list. Ours will have a twist, of course: We’re looking for the top untold, underreported and misreported stories of 2013. And we’d like nominations from our readers.
In his first press interview since he was jailed a month ago, Alabama journalist Roger Shuler tells WhoWhatWhy that he will stay put behind bars rather than give in to a judge’s “unlawful” order that he scrub his blog of unseemly stories about a former governor’s son. Shuler called the court proceedings “worse than a joke.” A day later, he got indirect support from U.S. Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor, who wrote in a withering dissent that “Alabama stands alone” with its highly politicized judiciary.
An Alabama journalist is jailed for contempt of court after revealing an alleged affair involving one of the state’s elite political families. A hand-picked judge takes the unprecedented steps of sealing all records related to a subsequent lawsuit and decreeing that the stories be scrubbed from the Internet. First Amendment advocates are stunned. WhoWhatWhy reports from Alabama.
Another member of Congress questions the FBI’s candor on the Boston bombing. And he hints at something deeply problematical going on. Read his letter to the Bureau.
You’ve heard that prison populations are declining, right? It might be a bait-and-switch trick. A new study reveals that life sentences have risen to an all-time high across the country’s ideological spectrum, in states red, blue and purple. And we’ll pay for that down the line, as our prisons become geriatric care centers for lifers. WhoWhatWhy analyzes this important new criminal justice data.
The coroner’s report ruled the journalist’s car-wreck death an accident. But a new profile suggests that Michael Hastings was terrified that someone had tampered with his car—the very issue that has fueled speculation about the cause of the fiery crash. And WhoWhatWhy adds a biographical note about the “credibility problems” of Dr. James K. Ribe, the pathologist who signed the coroner’s report.
Picking up on WhoWhatWhy’s scoop, Mother Jones takes a closer look at Kimberly Dvorak, the San Diego reporter who has enjoyed a media star turn while covering the car-crash death of muckraker Michael Hastings. Her reporting has been “questionable,” Mojo says. Inadvertently, she raises an interesting point: What’s more important for the media–relevance or accuracy?