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Al Gore's documentary An Inconvenient Truth is explicit about taking sides on global warming.  With a hero who uses torture, the TV show 24 sends a message of a different kind. Entertainment and propaganda.  Do audiences distinguish between truth, fiction and political argument?   Also, Vice President Dick Cheney travels to Pakistan and Afghanistan and, on Reporter's Notebook, civil rights leader Al Sharpton is linked by slave ancestors to one-time segregationist Senator Strom Thurmond.

Making News On Surprise Visit to Pakistan, Cheney Warns of al Qaeda Return 6 MIN, 4 SEC

Vice President Dick Cheney is in Kabul, Afghanistan, where a meeting with President Hamid Karzai has been cancelled by weather. Earlier he made an unexpected visit to Pakistan to deliver what official Washington calls "an unusually tough message" to President Pervez Musharraf.  David Sanger is Chief Washington Correspondent for the New York Times.

David Sanger, National Security Correspondent for the New York Times (@SangerNYT)

Main Topic Pop Culture's Affect on Politics 34 MIN, 18 SEC

The TV show 24 portrays a hero who saves the country by violating the law. His use of torture is part of a hit program. An Inconvenient Truth is Al Gore's power-point lecture on global warming. For a movie-going audience, that might be the perfect sedative.  But it's made more money than some big-time features and last night it won two Oscars.  Both on stage with Leonardo DiCaprio and after the ceremony, Gore joked about another presidential run. Whether or not he does run again--or sparks action on climate change--one thing is clear: entertainment and politics really do mix.  Do audiences get it?  Are the messages getting through?

Michael Sragow, Film Critic for the Baltimore Sun
Marty Kaplan, Director, USC's Norman Lear Center
Jane Mayer, New Yorker (@JaneMayerNYer)
Robert Thompson, Syracuse University

Reporter's Notebook Contemporary Politics and the Legacy of Slavery 8 MIN, 36 SEC

In 2004, Rev. Al Sharpton ran for President on a civil rights platform. In 1948, South Carolina's late Senator Strom Thurmond ran as a segregationist. Now it turns out that Sharpton is descended from slaves owned by Thurmond's ancestors.  After asking Sharpton's permission to research his ancestry the New York Daily News hired a group called Ancestry.com, which made the connection, one Sharpton calls "part of the shame and glory of America."  Ron Walters is Professor of Political Science at the University of Maryland.

Ron Walters, Professor of Political Science, University of Maryland

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