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Peace talks scheduled for Geneva next month would bring Syria's government together with rebel forces. But bloody fighting continues and there’s growing concern that the civil war will finally be decided not at the conference table but on the battlefield. On this archived edition of To the Point, recorded in early December, we look at the Syrian peace talks and the battle on the ground. Also, watching a whole season of television in one week, and why dozens of photojournalists are calling the Obama White House "undemocratic."


Banner image: Free Syrian Army rebels cleaning their AK47s in Aleppo, Syria during the civil war. Photo: VOA News

Making News Watching a Whole TV Season in One Week 7 MIN, 29 SEC

More and more TV viewers are switching from network programs to streaming services and DVD's. The practice of watching a show's season all at one time has made "binge-watch" a runner-up to "selfie" for the Oxford English Dictionary's 2013 word of the year. How much binge-watching do we do? John Jurgensen covers music, television and digital entertainment for the Wall Street Journal.

John Jurgensen, Wall Street Journal (@johnjurg)

Main Topic Does Peace Have a Chance in Syria? 33 MIN, 49 SEC

The Geneva conference that led to a nuclear deal with Iran last month also established Geneva II. Scheduled for January 22, it would be the first meeting between the Syrian government of Bashar al-Assad and rebel forces. With 125,000 dead, one million starving and three million refugees in Syria’s civil war, the goal is a “transition government.” But President Assad says he’ll never step down, rebel forces are so divided they’re fighting among themselves, and all sides are battling to gain advantage on the ground. Is that where the issues finally will be decided? We look at the prospects for a “diplomatic solution” and what’s at stake for Russia, the US and the rest of the Middle East.

Martin Chulov, The Guardian (@martinchulov)
Salman Shaikh, Brookings Doha Center (@Salman_Shaikh1)
Robert Danin, Council on Foreign Relations (@robertdanin)
Joshua Keating, Slate (@joshuakeating)

Today's Talking Point Photojournalists Protest White House Limits 8 MIN, 47 SEC

A photojournalist covering the White House attends a lot of stage managed photo-ops, but the best photographers are still able to capture moments that show what's most revealing and human about the President and his Administration. That's hard to do when photographers are shut out of many White House news events. Thirty-eight news organizations recently delivered a letter to the White House protesting photojournalists' diminished access since President Obama moved in. KCRW's Madeleine Brand talked to Santiago Lyon, Vice President and Director of Photography for the Associated Press, about why some photographers are calling President Obama "undemocratic."

Santiago Lyon, Associated Press (@slyon66 )


Warren Olney

Jenny Hamel
Sonya Geis

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