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Need to Know, July 30, 2010

This week on Need to Know, we talk to blogger and military analyst Joshua Foust about the WikiLeaks documents, and to Harvard Law professor Charles Ogletree about race, gender and the Supreme Court.


Alison Stewart explains the massive backlog of racial discrimination suits filed — and settled — against the U.S. Department of Agriculture. And we return to Louisiana’s Grand Isle for an update on the economic crisis, 100 days after the Deepwater Horizon explosion.

We peer inside the tiny house movement, a trend becoming more popular as people look for ways to save money and the environment. And we revisit a Bill Moyers story about an inspiring prison reform advocate and ex-convict who was killed last month in California.

And finally, satirist Andy Borowitz returns with a special edition of Next Week’s News: “Next WeekyLeaks.”

Watch the individual segments:

Jon Meacham speaks with blogger and military analyst Joshua Foust about the eternal tension between transparency and security.

The Henry Louis Gates arrest, one year later

Alison Stewart talks with Harvard Law professor Charles Ogletree, author of a new book about the arrest of Henry Louis Gates, about that incident and its larger implications.

Beyond Shirley Sherrod

There have been tens of thousands of racial discrimination claims against the USDA in recent years. Alison Stewart steps back from the furor over the Shirley Sherrod saga to explain the backlog and its consequences.

The David Lewis story

David Lewis, a prison reform advocate who founded the organization Free At Last, saved lives. Then last month, his own life was taken, and the crime remains unsolved.

Gulf update: The toll on Grand Isle

Need to Know provides an update on the economic crisis that one Gulf Coast community, Grand Isle, Louisiana, is experiencing 100 days into the oil spill.

Living large: The tiny house movement

Need to Know visited one of the proponents of the “tiny house” movement, Dee Williams, who lives in a simple but stylish 84-square-foot home in Olympia, Wash.

Next week’s news: WeekyLeaks edition

In light of this week’s big news — the release of thousands of pages of confidential military documents on the war in Afghanistan — Andy has decided to leak a few secrets of his own.


  • Marcia Rita Jacobs

    So-o-o disappointed that you gave up “NOW” with David Broncaccio for THIS PROGRAM!!
    Shame on Channel 13!!!

  • Dena

    I agree with the previous poster.. I couldn’t be more disappointed that you replaced “NOW’ with this! This interview with Joshua Foust was more insulting than anything I’ve seen on Fox. He casually dismisses all the Afghan lives lost as meaningless, by saying “people get killed in war” and in the next breath, goes into hissy fits that the wikileaks might have endangered American military lives (or their contacts) AND YOU GUYS LET HIM GET AWAY WITH IT! American lives are no more valuable than the lives of Afghan citizens killed “by mistake” by our military. We used to be a country that treated other people the way we wanted to be treated. What’s happened to us – and why are you serving as an apologist for the War Department? Wikileaks is not responsible for the lost of life in Afghanistan; its the people sending our soldiers to to war against other countries that’s resonsible for loss of life – ours and the Afghans. Shame on you, pbs.

  • roy

    In total agreement with the comment made above, but you got me pretty angry with your “Wiki Leak” segment on Friday. I guess if YOU don’t feel that your news show should provide Americans with an intelligent, thoughtful and truthful point of view, what’s the point of even asking for comments here? Adding that “comedic” segment to the show puts you in the same league as FOX.. and you are supposed to be the alternative to the propaganda newsmachine running our world… You’re not supposed to use them as a model! Duh. Please don’t pretend you’re doing something righteous or honest on public television when clearly, you’re all dreaming of getting picked up by ABC. It’s about time that Americans wake up and realize that PBS is just another corporate entity; beholden to the masters who need us to stay asleep, distracted and entertained while they destroy our democracy. Shame on you all. And of course we know why they took off David and put you guys on…David was for real and real is dangerous to your handlers. Hey, it would have been more honest to have replaced “Now” with another nature show. Doubt you’ll print this, but hey…I won’t watch again.

  • Lilah

    Thank you, PBS, for bringing satire to public television – Andy Borowitz’s brilliant and funny segment is something that my husband and I look forward to every week. We’ll be making a donation to our local PBS affiliate this year for that reason.

  • Maggie Rose

    I’m totally disappointed that we’ve lost NOW with Brancaccio and Bill Moyers for this mess! I haven’t been able to stomach a full episode since it started. PBS has a long history of alternatives to the corporate channels and Need to Know is an insult to that tradition. It is just a rehash of current mainstream news, cloaked in the oh-so-tired conjurer’s trick of appealing to young and tech savvy viewers by pushing the use of Twitter, Facebook and its own website. The illusion isn’t fooling anyone. The WikiLeaks interview (monologue) with Joshua Foust, a Senior Intelligence Analyst at Northrop Grumman Information Systems, was a segment that only FOX News would love. Grumman is one of the largest war profiteers in the world!

    I think it’s time now for viewers to write to and let them know what we think of Need to Know. WNET headlines itself as having “intelligence and Integrity in Public Media” on its website. LOL! Not any more. Most segments on the show have about as much depth and integrity as CNN, FOX and the rest of the main networks. I can understand Bill Moyers leaving to retire after so many years of hard work in bringing us thoughtful and inspiring people who use both their brains and hearts. But why was David Brancaccio let go? This is a mystery, unless you look at what NOW was replaced with. Need to Know is funded by sponsors, WNET and the viewers. PBS is a network for the people, not the military machine!

    Lilah – Andy Borowitz may be funny at times, but in his last segment he completely agreed with Joshua Foust of Grumman on the WikiLeaks story. You might want to read the hundreds of comments over at The Guardian on this story to see what most people think of US military secrecy around the killing of civilians for the last 10 years in the Middle East.

  • Kathy Kelly

    I appreciate your show. I’m sure you will fine tune it. It is not sensationalism. It is true journalism in my book. Your topics are timely and researched well. Recently I read a small book by George Lakoff – Talking Points, for Progressives. The idea of deep frames – in how people hear and make sense of the news, is very interesting to me. Perhaps Conservatives would not be interested in a topic such as this. Would they? Thanks. Kathy Kelly

  • Alice Thomas

    I agree – why did you give up NOW with Brancassio? While this program is interesting, it is not nearly as good a NOW. And, of course, we no longer have Moyers either. I cannot get Ch 6 where I live during the evening – so have to get up at 6:00 am on Saturday morning to see your political shows, while you air absolute garbage (even though I cannot usually get them) in the evening. I do manage to get Lehrer News at 10:00 pm hope you don’t get rid of it too.

    Alice Thomas

    PS Why don’t you have discussions about “kitchen table issues” – like the sneaky, undemocratic committee (bipartisan) in Washington DC that is discussing how to get rid of Soc Sec or privatize it (same as getting rid of) and what the impact is on seniors – no cost of living for two years even though food and evergy have gone up (weak excuse – too volatile) and Seniors will lose the advantage of compound interest for the loss of the two years.

    Too much “entertainment?” if you can even call it that and two little discussion about the issues that are affecting our day to day standard of living.

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