On the Media

On the Media

www.wnyc.org/series/media-podcast
The Peabody Award-winning On the Media podcast is your guide to examining how the media sausage is made. Hosts Brooke Gladstone and Bob Garfield examine threats to free speech and government transparency, cast a skeptical eye on media coverage of the week
What Lies Ahead For Puerto Rico
Sep 21 • 15 min
Following Hurricane Maria’s landfall on Wednesday morning, we have only scarce images and reports from which to comprehend the scale of devastation in Puerto Rico right now. Perhaps due to disaster fatigue, perhaps due to the territory’s second-class…
“Free Speech Week” Puts Berkeley Back in the Crosshairs
Sep 19 • 25 min
Alt-right provocateur Milo Yiannopoulos recently released a list of speakers for his upcoming ”Free Speech Week” at University of California Berkeley, a four-day event featuring Steve Bannon, Ann Coulter, and a host of other conservative voices. Yet,…
Look What You Made Me Do
Sep 15 • 49 min
A week after President Trump cut a surprise deal with Democrats, and 100 years after it was created, is the debt ceiling still serving its intended purpose? Plus, inside the alt-right idolization of Taylor Swift and medieval history and how some are…
The Counter-Jihad Movement & the Making of a President
Sep 12 • 32 min
President George W. Bush, speaking at a mosque on Sept. 17, 2001: “The face of terror is not the true faith of Islam. That’s not what Islam is all about. Islam is peace.” Donald Trump, campaigning for president on March 9, 2016: “I think Islam hates us.”…
Duck and Cover
Sep 8 • 50 min
The Trump administration has announced the end of the DACA program. We examine the rhetoric used to justify the decision. Plus: the Southern Poverty Law Center faces questions from across the political spectrum about its messaging and fundraising; and the…
Unnatural Disaster
Sep 1 • 50 min
Hurricane Harvey makes landfall, bringing with it a familiar set of reporting tropes. We unpack the language of storm reporting and why it falls short, and why these disasters expose a society’s priorities. Plus: why there’s no such thing as a “natural”…
Bob’s Docs Finale: Conflicting Narratives
Aug 30 • 11 min
For the month of August, we’ve been running a series of interviews Bob has done with documentary filmmakers. We’ve been calling it “Bob’s Docs,” and each we’ve week we’ve gone through some of the themes of documentary filmmaking — from the personal…
This American War on Drugs
Aug 25 • 50 min
Attorney General Jeff Sessions has signaled that he’d like to revamp the war on drugs. We take a look at the history of the battle, and how sensational media depictions of crack, heroin, and meth have helped fuel it. Plus: our Breaking News Consumer’s…
Bob’s Docs Episode Four: It’s Personal
Aug 23 • 29 min
This episode features two interviews, and the first is actually a guest spot from Brooke Gladstone. Last year, Brooke spoke with James Solomon about his documentary, “The Witness”, about the story of Kitty Genovese — a young woman who was famously…
Gutted
Aug 18 • 50 min
In the 1960s, pollution was a visible, visceral problem, and public pressure led a Republican president to create the Environmental Protection Agency. Now, the GOP wants to slash the agency’s budget and roll back “burdensome” environmental regulations.…
Bob’s Docs Episode Three: Prurience
Aug 16 • 15 min
For the month of August we’ll be running a series of interviews Bob has done over the years with documentary filmmakers. In the OTM office, the producers have been referring to the collection as “Bob’s docs.” Over the next few weeks we’ll go through some…
You’ve Been Warned
Aug 11 • 50 min
After a week of fury and fire, On the Media takes a chill pill. We look at chilling warnings and opaque impediments, from reporters working with whistleblowers or trying to cover immigration courts, to media organizations reckoning with their future in…
Bob’s Docs Episode Two: Access
Aug 9 • 25 min
For the month of August we’ll be running a series of interviews Bob has done over the years with documentary filmmakers. In the OTM office, the producers have been referring to the collection as “Bob’s docs.” Over the next few weeks we’ll go through some…
“Shmashmortion”
Aug 4 • 51 min
The surprising political history of abortion in America; how the language of the abortion debate impacts us all; state lawmakers are tightening the rules around how doctors communicate with their patients about abortion; and more. 1. Historian and New…
Bob’s Docs Episode One: Manipulation
Aug 1 • 21 min
For the month of August we’ll be running a series of interviews Bob has done over the years with documentary filmmakers. In the OTM office, the producers have been referring to the collection as “bob’s docs.” Over the next few weeks we’ll go through some…
Essential Coverage
Jul 28 • 50 min
The battle over Republican Senators’ most recent attempt at repealing and replacing the Affordable Care Act dominated the media this week, and seemingly at all hours of the day. We take a look at a few players in the saga, from the putative maverick who…
Armchair diagnosing do’s and don’ts
Jul 26 • 22 min
In March, the American Psychoanalytic Association emailed its 3500 members giving them the go ahead to bring their professional judgement to bear in commenting publicly about the president’s words and deeds. But Tuesday, the much larger American…
Doubt It
Jul 21 • 50 min
There’s new research about how people process information, errors, and corrections. A look at what those findings tell us about the efficacy of journalism. Plus, how unethical research practices and liberal bias have created a cloud of doubt in the world…
Not Repealed, Not Replaced
Jul 19 • 13 min
After the Republican Party’s seven-year attempt to dismantle the Affordable Care Act kicked the bucket this week, Donald Trump declared that he would “let Obamacare fail.” He has plenty of options for moving that failure along and his actions inevitably…
Three-Dimensional Chess
Jul 14 • 50 min
The press are calling Don Jr.’s meeting with a Russian lawyer a “smoking gun.” Why Trump supporters see it otherwise. Plus, the White House’s plan to cement the voter fraud narrative in service of future voter suppression. And, an Iraqi radio broadcaster…
In Which Brooke Explains OTM’s Secret Sauce To Jesse Thorn
Jul 12 • 46 min
Bullseye host Jesse Thorn has just launched a new podcast called The Turnaround. It’s a series of longform interviews with interviewers about interviewing, with people ranging from Ira Glass to Larry King to Marc Maron and this week, with Brooke. Jesse…
Apocalypse, Now
Jul 7 • 51 min
Science fiction has always been an outlet for our greatest anxieties. This week, we delve into how the genre is exploring the reality of climate change. Plus: new words to describe the indescribable. 1. Jeff VanderMeer @jeffvandermeer, author of the…
It’s the End of the World and We Know It
Jul 5 • 13 min
In our upcoming episode we’ll examine how science fiction has taken on the challenge of imagining life after global warming. There’s drought, flood, grievous loss and even some optimism. So with that in mind, we thought we’d whet your appetite for…
What Ails America
Jun 30 • 50 min
Our northern neighbor is celebrating its 150th birthday this weekend, yet many Canadians don’t care. Why Canada’s lack of patriotism might be a good thing. Also, how families of black people killed by police often have to grieve under the media spotlight.…
“The American people elected a fighter”
Jun 29 • 10 min
Bob’s take on this week’s back and forth between the President and the press who cover him.
Newton Minow Still Cares About the Media
Jun 28 • 34 min
This week, at the annual conference of the National Association for Media Literacy Education, Bob sat down with former FCC chairman Newton Minow to survey the “vast wasteland” of television. They discuss the Kennedy administration, the changing landscape…
Stand And Be Counted
Jun 23 • 50 min
Following the Republican victory in Georgia this week, a look at how gerrymandering makes some political outcomes inevitable—and why the media aren’t talking about it. Also, the US Census is on the rocks, and the repercussions could be severe. Plus, how…
The Slants Win the Day!
Jun 20 • 8 min
On Monday, the Supreme Court ruled that a law denying federal trademark protection to names deemed disparaging is unconstitutional. Justice Samuel Alito wrote in the unanimous decision that “it offends a bedrock First Amendment principle: speech may not…
Sterner Stuff
Jun 16 • 58 min
After the politically charged shooting at a Virginia baseball field this week, a look at how politicians and the press blamed everyone from Democrats to William Shakespeare. Plus, trying to get behind the secret deliberation over the Republican healthcare…
No One Is Above the Law
Jun 14 • 20 min
This week Attorneys General from DC and Maryland alleged in a lawsuit that payments by foreign governments to President Trump’s businesses violate anti-corruption clauses in the Constitution. With a president who is also a real estate tycoon, reality TV…
Enough With Reality
Jun 9 • 49 min
The Trump administration has been threatening to crack down on leakers for months, and this week, it did. We examine how a news outlet inadvertently helped the government arrest a 25-year-old NSA contractor. Also, the story of how the AP made deals with…
Doug Stamper Is A Very Bad Man
Jun 7 • 33 min
Help us meet the OTM listener challenge by becoming a member today! Sign up to donate just $7 a month and you’ll unlock $25,000 from the Tow Foundation to support On the Media. Donate now. A couple of years back Brooke did On House of Cards, a recap show…
Mind the Gap
Jun 2 • 50 min
A recent anti-Muslim hate crime in Portland has sparked a debate about free speech. Plus: conspiracy theories that appeal to liberals; the media’s obsession with the Trump-Russia story; and what drives hyper-partisan clickbait. 1. Corey Pein @coreypein,…
The United States of Anxiety: America’s Allergy to Intellectualism
May 31 • 25 min
Help us meet the OTM listener challenge by becoming a member today! Sign up to donate just $7 a month and you’ll unlock $25,000 from the Tow Foundation to support On the Media. Donate now. During the last election, when asked his opinion about experts and…
Focus
May 26 • 50 min
In the wake of the Manchester attack, tech companies are again under pressure to fight extremism online. A look at whether they’re really doing all that they can. Also, can reporters inform the public about terrorist attacks without supplying the very…
Drawing New Lines
May 24 • 8 min
This week, the Supreme Court struck down two congressional districts in North Carolina, deciding that the majority-black districts were created to diminish the voting strength of African American democrats in the state. It’s an opinion that opens the door…
Curtains!
May 19 • 50 min
The Trump-Comey story is largely missing from the far right-wing media. A look at how pro-Trump outlets choose to cover, or ignore, unfavorable news. Plus: the Montana special election has been described as a “referendum” on Trump… but the truth is…
The Trouble With Reality
May 16 • 29 min
We’re living in an era of smoke and mirrors as never before. Do you find yourself wondering how we reached this pass, where basic facts have no impact and fundamental norms are violated at will? Or, at the very least, would you like to follow Brooke down…
Shiny Objects
May 12 • 49 min
With an administration that seems to break new traditions every day, we look at the rapid-fire changes to the White House story about Comey’s firing. What they mean for communications between the President and the public. Plus, some worry that the media…
The United States of Anxiety is Back!
May 10 • 34 min
The United States of Anxiety: Culture Wars introduces you to people who have been battling to shape America’s political culture for decades. The WNYC team profile culture warriors, past and present, who have influenced debates over race, religion,…
Rewriting the Right
May 5 • 49 min
The passage of the Obamacare repeal bill this week—hailed as a triumph of conservative ideology—didn’t come out of nowhere. We examine the decades-long, carefully orchestrated right-wing campaign to influence academia and politics. Plus: what’s going on…
Climate of Poor Rhetoric
May 3 • 9 min
The New York Times’ new conservative columnist, Bret Stephens, immediately stirred up controversy when he used his inaugural column to criticize liberals for being too “certain” about climate change. But while many piled on Stephens for seemingly…
In Other Words
Apr 28 • 49 min
Trump has backed off his signature campaign promise to build a border wall right away. We look at the symbolism of a barrier on the southern border, and how it obscures the truth about immigration. Also, how our president has long managed to succeed…
The Art of Winning a Pulitzer
Apr 26 • 13 min
Northwestern Iowa’s Storm Lake Times is a twice-weekly county newspaper with a circulation of 3,330. It has a staff of about 10, including the recipes editor. Its top advertiser is “Builders Sharpening and Service.” And it just…won the Pulitzer Prize for…
“We’ll Do It Live!”
Apr 21 • 50 min
Bill O’Reilly was the bombastic, blustery face of Fox News. Now that he’s out, what happens to the identity and future of the channel? Plus, how to read the scary headlines about US-North Korea relations; why erratic foreign policy can be effective…
Closing the Blinds
Apr 20 • 15 min
Breaking from an open government initiative started by President Obama, the White House announced last Friday that visitor logs will no longer be published due to ”national security concerns.” It’s the latest move in a plethora of actions the White House…
This American War on Drugs
Apr 14 • 49 min
Attorney General Jeff Sessions has signaled that he’d like to revamp the war on drugs. We take a look at the history of the battle, and how sensational media depictions of crack, heroin, and meth have helped fuel it. Plus: our Breaking News Consumer’s…
How the Press Gets Seduced By War
Apr 12 • 16 min
Last week, President Trump ordered the firing of 59 Tomahawk cruise missiles on Syria in retaliation against the chemical attack allegedly committed by Syrian President Bashar al-Assad against his own people. The coverage of the strikes appeared to…
Out With The Old…
Apr 7 • 50 min
Neil Gorsuch is the newest Supreme Court Justice and all it took was the destruction of a Senate tradition. A look at the colorful history of filibustering. Also, how tax season could potentially be more pleasant and why tax companies don’t want it to be.…
The (Nonexistent) Good Old Days
Apr 4 • 27 min
In the midst of several days of his Supreme Court confirmation hearings last week, Judge Neil Gorsuch took a moment to wax nostalgic for the days when the process took only 90 minutes and a nominee could relax, even smoke cigarettes, throughout the…