Episode 17, with guests Antony Blinken, National Security Advisor to the Vice President and Brian Stelter, media reporter for The New York Times

Antony Blinken and Brian Stelter are our interview guests this week
Show produced by Katherine Caperton

Original Air Date: July 2, 2011 on SiriusXM Satellite Radio “POTUS” Channel 124.  Click above to listen.
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Show also available for download on Apple iTunes by clicking here

On this episode of Polioptics, we go into the Situation Room of the White House with the National Security Advisor to the Vice President of the United States, Tony Blinken.  He was one of only a dozen people pictured in that new famous Pete Souza shot with President Obama on that historic Sunday when operatives assaulted the compound of Osama Bin Laden.  That’s Tony in the open-collar blue shirt peering over the shoulder of White House Chief of Staff Bill Daley (full disclosure: Tony is a long-time friend dating back to the political wars of 1988, and we worked together for many years in the Clinton White House).

The President’s National Security Team watches the raid on Osama Bin Laden’s compound in Pakistan. Photo by Pete Souza, The White House

Tony’s placement Pete Souza’s shot in the Sit Room belies his extraordinary influence in the West Wing (and let’s be clear — if you were in that room on May 1, 2011, you were among tiny group on this very big planet who knew what was going down at that very moment in Pakistan).  About the most that public has ever heard from Tony can be found in his rare on-the-record briefings at the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad, such as this one or this one, during the Vice President’s many trips to the war zone.  Our conversation on Polioptics is Tony’s first broadcast interview as National Security Advisor to the Vice President.

Starting as a journalist, then serving the full eight years of the Clinton Administration, first at State and then at the White House, followed by six years on the Hill as Staff Director of the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations, Tony has been a fixture on the Washington National Security Scene.  Part of that record of public service includes over 20 trips to Iraq and Afghanistan during his tours of duty on Capitol Hill and at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.  In a wide-ranging conversation on Polioptics radio on SiriusXM, we hear his perspectives borne from that front row seat over the years.

Then, switching gears, we turn our focus north to New York, specifically to the New York Times, and one of the hottest young reporters working for the Grey Lady.  Reporter Brian Stelter joins us, and if there’s one journalist whose work is helping to turn the Times into a platform for the digital age, it’s Stelter, all of 25 years old, who’s actually a seasoned veteran in the field of media reporting.

Stelter started writing an anonymous blog called TV Newser while in collegethat became a must read at every network and cable channel.  He’s gone from obscurity to mainstream, and this summer his name will become household – at least to the art house crowd – with the release of the much anticipated PAGE ONE documentary from director Andrew Rossi.


As the NYT’s veteran newsman David Carr aptly states in the movie’s trailer, “I still can’t get over the feeling that Brian Stelter was a robot assembled to destroy me.”

Brian sets the standard for today’s multi-platform journalists.  At work around the clock, he covers the media industry with about 65,000 followers on Twitter, filing major stories for the print and online editions of the New York Times, and posting new entries in his Media Decoder blog throughout the day.

From Tony Blinken, practicing the Old School art of global statecraft and stagecraft, to Brian Stelter, a practitioner of the New School art of digital journalism, this is an episode of Polioptics perfect for an iTunes download accompanying a trip to the beach on the Fourth of July weekend.  Spend an hour with Tony and Brian — and then pick up that Tom Clancy book at the bottom of your tote bag.

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