60 Words That Lead to America’s Longest War

Consider this sentence-60 Words.

That the President is authorized to use all necessary and appropriate force against those nations, organizations, or persons he determines planned, authorized, committed, or aided the terrorist attacks that occurred on September 11, 2001, or harbored such organizations or persons in order to prevent any future acts of international terrorism against the United States by such nations, organizations or persons.

That sentence is what the United States used to justify its involvement in its longest ever war.
Where did that language come from, who wrote it and why did Congress go along?

RadioLab examines that in it’s award-winning examination “60 Words.” The Peabody Awards jurors wrote:

60 Words tells the fascinating story of how one 60-word sentence, pieced together in the fraught aftermath of 9/11, became the distinguishing legal marker between war and peace in the United States. Tracing the evolution of the “AUMF” – or “the authorization to use military force” – the program combines recreations, analysis and interviews to chronicle the phrase’s inception, the frenzied discussions over its viability, the pressured congressional voting that ushered it into existence, and its contemporary implications. Together it weaves a riveting patchwork of legal intrigue, political strategizing, moral handwringing and linguistic nuance that has since been used to authorize and justify the Iraq war, the “War on Terror” and other conflicts. A collaborative effort between Radiolab and BuzzFeed, the program is radio at its finest, using sound to artfully recreate the context by which legal and political circles came to authorize the language that would repeatedly permit America’s entry into military conflict.


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How to use Surprises in Storytelling

Sometimes storytellers choose not to reveal the big surprise of the story right at the top. This is a story that allows the viewer to discover the surprise on their own.

It would be right, however, to wonder if the journalist should ask the woman in the story questions the viewer would ask:
-why are you doing this?
-why not just a picture of a painting?
-what do you tell people who think you are strange?

After all, Roy Rogers had Trigger stuffed.

Inside Vent Farms

When there is little hope for medical recovery, a patient may find himself/herself being kept alive by machines. And so many people now live this way that an entire industry has grown up around keeping these patients alive.

An Impossible Choice from inewsource on Vimeo.

inewsource discovered and exposed a world — little known even within the medical field — where more than 4,000 people are kept alive on machines. Reporter Joanne Faryon and videographer Brad Racino revealed a network of “vent farms” to the nation through documents, data and unprecedented access to a facility in San Diego County that is home to people spending years, sometimes more than a decade, on life support. Most are not conscious and haven’t tasted food in years. They are dependent on others to brush their teeth, comb their hair and change their diapers. More than 120 such places in California exist.
They are the end of the line, the place people go once medicine has saved them, but where there is little hope for recovery. This inewsource investigation, called “An Impossible Choice,” posed the point-blank question faced by an increasing number of people across the country: When is a life no longer worth living?
See the entire project at impossiblechoice.org/