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Radio and TV gave presidents direct access to the American public. Now social media make controlling the message easier than ever. We hear what that means for the White House Press Corps and its role of telling American voters what they need to know about the policies and the actions of America's chief executive. 

Later on the program, wildlife appears to be thriving near Chernobyl, despite massive contamination from history's worst nuclear accident. 

Photo: White House press briefing, April 28, 2016.

The GOP Circus Comes to California 6 MIN, 30 SEC

The last time California’s June primary election mattered in a presidential year, it was 1972, when Democrat George McGovern defeated Vice President Hubert Humphrey. This year, the state with the largest number of delegates could make a difference to the GOP. Mike Madrid is a Republican political consultant at the firm Grassroots Labs and a student of Latino voting trends.

Mike Madrid, GOP strategist (@madrid_mike)

Is the White House Press Corps Really Necessary? 33 MIN, 47 SEC

Veteran White House reporters say the vague promise that the president will take questions in the briefing room has become all too common. But that moment seldom comes, and social media has made it easier than ever for presidents to master the art of avoiding reporters and controlling the message. With the latest White House Correspondents' Dinner scheduled for this weekend, what are the consequences for democracy when spin trumps journalism?

President Obama addresses the press, November 3, 2010
Official White House photo by Pete Souza

Peter Baker, New York Times (@peterbakernyt)
Patrick Sloyan, Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist
David Greenberg, Rutgers University (@republicofspin)
Katie Zezima, Washington Post (@katiezez)

Sloyan on whether we need a White House press corps

Republic of Spin

David Greenberg

Animals Are Masters of Chernobyl's Poisoned Land 9 MIN, 34 SEC

Photo: Gerd Ludwig, National Geographic Creative

In a place where nobody thought it could happen, wildlife appears to be abundant. Wolves howl near the Chernobyl nuclear power plant — 30 years after it exploded and melted down in history's worst accident of its kind. One hundred thousand people were evacuated, never to return.

Construction of the new sarcophagus in Chernobyl, 2013
Photo: Kuba Danecki

 A massive containment dome is still under construction — designed to be mobile, so workers would not be exposed to more deadly radiation than absolutely necessary. So how can wildlife be thriving despite massive contamination?  Erika Engelhaupt is editor at the National Geographic.

Erika Engelhaupt, National Geographic (@GoryErika)

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