Called "one of the last bastions of serious journalism on TV" by the AUSTIN AMERICAN-STATESMAN, the series occupies a unique place in the American television landscape. For three seasons the broadcast has been led by Bill Moyers. At the helm in 2005 is veteran journalist David Brancaccio, who joined NOW in fall 2003 after a decade as host of public radio's MARKETPLACE.
"What do the policies set in Washington and state capitols mean for working Americans? It may be a sound-bite society, but there are real-world consequences and Americans are grappling with them everyday," says Brancaccio, whose work has been honored with a duPont-Columbia University Award and a George Foster Peabody Award. "Each week, we're on the ground at the nexus where the policies meet the people with intelligent reporting and thoughtful analysis."
The vulnerability of chemical facilities to terrorist attack, campaign finance, the future of intellectual property, public education, the environment, and America's relationship with the world have been the focus of NOW's exhaustive reportage. In an important post-election year, NOW will compare the promises to the reality â€” the state of national security, the erosion of jobs, the rising cost of health care, the problems with retirement, and the quality and availability of child care.
Through documentary segments and interviews with original thinkers, NOW goes beyond the noisy churn of the news cycle and gives viewers the context to explore their relationship with the larger world. In an era where commercial values in journalism risk overwhelming democratic values and corporate interests can prevail over the public interest, NOW continues to stand apart as what THE CHRISTIAN SCIENCE MONITOR called the "one program going against the grain."
This week, NOW reports on new evidence suggesting the existence of a secret government program that intercepts millions of private e-mails each day in the name of terrorist surveillance. News about the alleged program came to light when a former AT&T employee, Mark Klein, blew the whistle on what he believes to be a large-scale installation of secret Internet monitoring equipment deep inside AT&T's San Francisco office. The equipment, he contends, was created at the request of the U.S. government to spy on e-mail traffic across the entire Internet. Though the government and AT&T refuse to address the issue directly, Klein backs up his charges with internal company documents and personal photos.
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Criminal Defense Lawyer Nancy Hollander, who represents several Muslim-Americans, feels her confidential e-mails are anything but secure. "I've personally never been afraid of my government until now. And now I feel personally afraid that I could be locked up tomorrow," she told NOW.
Who might be eyeing the hundreds of millions of e-mails Americans send out each day, and to what end?