BROOKE GLADSTONE: From WNYC in New York this is NPR's On the Media. I'm Brooke Gladstone.
BOB GARFIELD: And I'm Bob Garfield.] [SOME MATERIAL NOT RECORDED HERE] ...news staffer has been treated for Anthrax. This on the heels of the death of a tabloid employee in Florida and reports of wider attacks on journalists swirled. In Washington, meanwhile, the administration took several unusual steps to deal with news it has been helpless to control.
President Bush, angered by what he regards as a wrecklessly leak-prone Congress, tried to stop the regular classified briefings that members receive from the White House. But this week he backed down when he learned that he was obligated by law to keep Congress quote "fully and currently informed."
BROOKE GLADSTONE:The White House turned next to the networks. National Security Advisor Condoleeza Rice held a morning conference call with ABC, CBS, NBC, CNN and Fox News asking the to limit their use of the tapes of Bin Laden and his aides aired on a Middle East news service. Rice suggested that bin Laden's pre-recorded statements warning of further attacks on the U.S. could frighten allies and inspire supporters or even contain coded messages for his operatives.
The networks agreed to review the tapes before airing them and to quote "consider guidance from the White House."]
BOB GARFIELD:Former ABC Pentagon reporter Bob Zelnick, now a journalism professor, said he doubted the 5 networks could stop bin Laden from sending coded messages if that's what he was doing, and he worried about Washington's general inclination to try to control the information flow.
But CBS news president Andrew Heyward, while conceding that the request was unprecedented, said that none of the network execs took umbrage at it, and he added the propaganda issue is a legitimate issue.