On the Media

On the Media

www.wnycstudios.org/podcasts/otm
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


Break Your Silence
Jul 31 • 50 min
Despite defiance from police departments and police unions, efforts to limit police secrecy have notched at least one recent victory. On this week’s On The Media, hear how the public can now view misconduct records that had long been closely guarded by…
Why is Trump’s Campaign Suing a Small TV Station in Wisconsin?
Jul 29 • 29 min
In this week’s pod extra, we bring you an episode from Trump, Inc., a podcast from our friends at WNYC Studios, about a new threat to press freedom. This year, President Donald Trump’s reelection campaign filed defamation lawsuits against three of the…
If You Build It…
Jul 24 • 50 min
The White House is sending troops into cities with the stated goal of protecting monuments. On this week’s On The Media, a look at the clash over memorials going back to the American revolution. Plus, lessons for redesigning our post-pandemic built…
The Lincoln Project Is Sorry About All That
Jul 23 • 12 min
It’s yet another day in Trump-era America. You know what that means: Another Lincoln Project ad going viral on Twitter, bound for the evening news. The anti-Trump political action committee’s ads have been subject of much praise in the areas of the media…
“This is Fine”
Jul 17 • 50 min
As climate catastrophe marches apace and the nation’s public health infrastructure continues to unravel, we take stock of how we got here and what it might be like to look back on this year in the future. Plus, the frightening encroachment of QAnon…
Sorry Not Sorry
Jul 15 • 27 min
Fox Primetime host Tucker Carlson has already had quite the July. On the plus side, the latest ratings for his show have made him officially the most watched cable news host. On the other side of the ledger, advertisers are fleeing his show on the grounds…
40 Acres
Jul 10 • 49 min
Home is in your heart and in your head, but mostly home is on land — acreage parceled out, clawed at, stolen, denied for decades and decades. First, there was Field Order No. 15, the Union Army’s plan to distribute 40-acre plots to the newly emancipated.…
Who Is Lady Liberty, And What Does She Want?
Jul 8 • 21 min
The Statue of Liberty is nearly 140 years old, but she’s enjoying renewed relevance in the Trump era. In announcing hostile immigration policies, Trump administration officials have been questioned about Emma Lazarus’ famous poem “The New Colossus” and…
The Worst Thing We’ve Ever Done
Jul 3 • 50 min
After World War II, Germany and the Allied powers took pains to make sure that its citizens would never forget the country’s dark history. But in America, much of our past remains hidden or rewritten. This week, Brooke visits Montgomery, Alabama, home to…
United States of Conspiracy
Jul 1 • 26 min
For much of the past month, a new addition has joined the audioscape of cities across the country: fireworks. Loud ones. Keep-you-up-all-night-ones. And during those sleepless hours in the dark of night, the brain can do some remarkable dot-connecting.…
Your Lying Eyes
Jun 26 • 50 min
In recent weeks, the Trump administration has removed multiple people from key watchdog roles. On the week’s On the Media: how the president keeps weakening the tools meant to hold him accountable. Plus, looking for truth when police keep lying. 1. Liz…
“Abstinence-Only” Coronavirus Guidance Won’t Save Us
Jun 25 • 15 min
When the US entered the early stages of the pandemic, federal and municipal leaders maintained that the best way to prevent the spread of the pandemic was for as many people as possible to “Stay Home.” Technically, that advice was sound: the only surefire…
The Undertow
Jun 19 • 50 min
We visualize the coronavirus pandemic as coming in waves, but the national picture of new cases shows no sign of abating. This week, On the Media examines the lack of urgency around upwards of 20,000 confirmed daily cases. And, making sense of how the…
The Military Stands Up To Trump
Jun 18 • 14 min
It began with the President’s notorious bible photo-op, preceded by a military crackdown north of the White House clearing protesters from Lafayette Square. Several days later, General Mark Milley, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, publicly renounced…
The Milkshake Duck-ing of Bon Appetit
Jun 17 • 15 min
There’s this old internet fable about a duck who liked milkshakes. Everyone loved the Milkshake Duck, until it turned out to be racist. The moral of the story is that everything online either turns to caca, or we learn it always was. The latest example,…
It’s Going Down
Jun 12 • 49 min
As public opinion catches up to the Black Lives Matter movement, some activists are calling to “defund the police.” On this week’s On the Media, the debate over whether to take that slogan literally. Plus, what investigative reporting tells us about how…
All The Opinion That’s Fit To Print?
Jun 10 • 16 min
Two years ago, Vox’s David Roberts wrote a piece arguing that The New York Times opinion section is not honest about the state of American conservatism. The animating force behind conservative politics in this country, he wrote, is Trumpism. Therefore, to…
No Justice, No Peace
Jun 5 • 50 min
In the midst of a historic week of protests, the national conversation about police is quickly transforming. This week, On the Media looks at the language used here and abroad to describe the “civil unrest” in America. Then, we explore how decades of…
Trump and the Christian Persecution Complex
Jun 3 • 19 min
On Monday, President Trump stood outside St. John’s Episcopal Church, which had caught fire the day prior in protests for racial justice. When he brandished a Bible before photographers, Trump knew exactly what message he was sending: Christianity is…
Boiling Point
May 29 • 50 min
Protestors are expressing outrage over police brutality while the president is threatening violence against them on Twitter. We follow how this latest chapter of unrest follows generations of pain, and how the Karen meme is shedding light on racism and…
Chase Woodruff is angry and he thinks you should be too
May 27 • 14 min
As an On the Media listener, you follow the news - probably more so during this pandemic. And you will have noted articles filled with compassion for the families of those who have died, perhaps cynicism in the coverage of politicians’ motives and a ton…
Mourning in America
May 22 • 50 min
As the Covid-19 death toll continues to climb, many Americans are struggling to mourn in the middle of an ongoing tragedy. This week, On the Media examines how ambitious obituary campaigns may allow our fractured country to grieve together, and help…
Brooke speaks with “Mrs. America” creator Dahvi Waller
May 20 • 20 min
“Mrs. America,” now streaming on Hulu, depicts the near-passage of the Equal Rights Amendment in the 1970s and portrays the preeminent voice of the opposition, Phyllis Schlafly. Brooke spoke with the show’s creator and executive producer, Dahvi Waller,…
Communication Breakdown
May 15 • 50 min
In this episode, a tale of two cities. It turns out there’s a literal playbook for communications during an epidemic. Seattle followed it. New York didn’t. And, how incomplete information from leaders has created room for conspiracies to flourish — and…
Are Online Courts Less Fair?
May 13 • 17 min
The pandemic has forced even the most technophobic online. After refusing for years, the Supreme Court is now hearing oral arguments over the phone and live streaming them, an initiative that — aside from the awkwardness that comes with conference calls —…
No News Is Bad News
May 8 • 51 min
The news breaking every day and every minute makes it possible to miss the local news drought advancing all around us. Hundreds of papers have closed and tens of thousands of reporting jobs have been cut to satisfy a starving bottom line. On this week’s…
Waiting For a Game-Changer
May 6 • 15 min
Over the past few weeks, the public has been introduced — by way of Gilead Science, and a leaked video of doctors discussing their preliminary trial data — to a new potential therapy for Covid-19. Remdesivir, a broad-spectrum antiviral medication, was…
Open Season
May 1 • 52 min
Pressure is mounting for journalists to cover sexual assault allegations against Joe Biden. This week on On the Media, we consider how the Democrats once on the front lines of the #MeToo movement are being forced to answer for their presumptive nominee.…
The Art of Disastertising
Apr 29 • 16 min
Want to do your part in this pandemic? Why don’t you try becoming a Couch Potatotriot, someone who stays home to save lives, but also eats Burger King? It’s part of the company’s brand pivot — one of many that companies have performed in order to keep…
On Matters of Time and Space
Apr 24 • 50 min
Over the past two months, packed cities have been repeatedly blamed for the rapid spread of coronavirus. Meanwhile, in jails and prisons, incarcerated people have been contracting the virus at alarming rates, in no small part due to their own overcrowded…
How The Environment Got Political
Apr 22 • 20 min
To mark the 50th Earth Day, we’re re-airing a piece from 2017. In his proposed 2021 fiscal year budget, Trump has asked Congress for the fourth year in a row to slash funding for the Environmental Protection Agency, essentially stripping away the last…
Model Behavior
Apr 17 • 50 min
As the coronavirus continues to devastate communities across the globe, the Trump administration and right-wing propagandists work to recast the White House response and redirect the blame. This week, On The Media considers partisan revisionist history in…
Virtual Worship Is Older Than You Think
Apr 15 • 17 min
Spring is peak holy season in the United States: Easter and Passover are underway and Ramadan starts next week. While most faith communities have moved worship online, a small number have refused to stop in-person services, with deadly consequences. (Jack…
Blindsided
Apr 10 • 50 min
As the number of COVID cases rises, why are there still so many unknowns about its reach? This week, On the Media explores the lack of government transparency — and how third parties are filling in the gaps. Plus, as sports give way to socially distant…
How Hydroxychloroquine Became A Thing
Apr 8 • 19 min
President Trump has continued to push the anti-malarial drug hydroxychloroquine as a potential treatment for Covid-19, even though scientists say more research is needed to prove that it is safe and effective. But how’d we get here in the first place?…
War, What Is It Good For?
Apr 3 • 50 min
Many elected officials have declared metaphorical war against the coronavirus. On this week’s show, On The Media examines the historical risks and benefits of relying on bombastic cliches. Plus, quarantined celebrities are revealing how they are and, more…
We Live On Zoom Now – And That Might Be a Problem
Apr 2 • 13 min
Since many of us have retreated to our homes in the past month, we’ve been connected to each other mostly through our screens. Work meetings, dinners, catch-ups with old friends, classes, religious ceremonies, weddings, funerals. They’re all taking place…
Playing The Hero
Mar 27 • 50 min
Elected officials offer a flood of facts and spin in daily coronavirus briefings. On this week’s On the Media, hear how the press could do a better job separating vital information from messaging. Plus, a look at the unintended consequences of armchair…
When Coronavirus Isn’t The Only Crisis
Mar 25 • 13 min
Last week, roughly 400 Israelis got an alert on their cell phone: “You must immediately go into isolation [for 14 days] to protect your relatives and the public.” Data-tracking suggested that they had recently spent time near someone who had tested…
Bracing for Impact
Mar 20 • 50 min
As a global pandemic threatens to upend life as we know it, the future is becoming increasingly difficult to grapple with. On this week’s On the Media, we turn to people who have been spent years readying themselves for societal collapse: doomsday…
Can Eviction Moratoriums Stop The Bleeding?
Mar 18 • 14 min
From Miami to Massachusetts, from San Francisco to Pittsburgh to New York, housing courts are closing up and marshals are standing down as various eviction moratoriums provide at least one answer to the mounting economic uncertainties caused by the…
Civilization, Interrupted
Mar 13 • 62 min
The World Health Organization has officially declared the spread of COVID-19 a global pandemic. On this week’s On the Media, how coverage of the virus in the United States, overseas and onscreen is informing how we cope with the threat of infection. 1.…
A Unique Petri Dish
Mar 12 • 8 min
The COVID-19 pandemic has expanded our vocabulary with terms like “social distancing” and “self-isolation.” In an article in Slate, physician and Harvard Medical School instructor Jeremy Samuel Faust gave us one more: “case fatality rate,” or CFR. Initial…
Why Nonvoters Choose to Opt Out
Mar 11 • 14 min
In advance of yesterday’s primaries, we saw some electoral anxieties of a slightly new variety: would voters turn out in the face of COVID-19? In the end, over 3.5 million people voted — not an appreciable decline, but then, the virus is still relatively…
Our Bodies, Ourselves
Mar 6 • 50 min
The press called out President Trump after he dismissed an alarming coronavirus statistic on – quote – a “hunch.” On this week’s On The Media, what both Trump and his critics miss in their pursuit of certainty. Plus, why the political scientist who…
Covering a Pandemic When Institutions Go Dark
Mar 4 • 14 min
As the global death toll from novel coronavirus continues to increase, the American media are looking to national public health institutions to make sense of the scope and severity of the damage. Much reporting has come from semi-regular phone pressers…
Black Swans
Feb 28 • 50 min
As coronavirus spreads, the Center for Disease Control is warning Americans to take urgent precautions. Meanwhile, the White House says tune out and calm down. On this week’s On the Media, what to expect as COVID-19 threatens to make its way through a…
MSNBC Is Being Very, Very Calm About Bernie Sanders
Feb 26 • 11 min
On Saturday, what most pollsters, politicos, and Bernie Sanders campaign organizers had been saying for days, if not weeks, proved true: namely, that the Democratic Socialist candidate for president had been well-poised for victory in Nevada, the most…
Money, Power, Glory
Feb 21 • 50 min
The showdown for the Democratic nomination continues, and the gloves have come off. This week, On the Media examines the conflicting narratives around how each candidate raises money. Plus, how changes at the National Archives could distort the historical…
Corporations Were Always People
Feb 19 • 12 min
No discussion of money and politics is complete without a tip of the hat to Citizens United, the landmark Supreme Court ruling of 10 years ago that recognized corporations as people and their money as speech. That ruling was followed a few years ago by…
Norm!
Feb 14 • 50 min
Attorney General Bill Barr appeared to spar with Donald Trump in the latest chapter of the Roger Stone case. On this week’s On the Media, why the apparent interference in the Justice Department’s work should cause concern. Plus, Customs and Border Patrol…
OTM Presents: U.S. of Anxiety’s “40 Acres in Mississippi”
Feb 12 • 44 min
Elbert Lester has lived his full 94 years in Quitman County, Mississippi, on land he and his family own. That’s exceptional for black people in this area, and some family members even say the land came to them through “40 acres and a mule.” But that’s…
Picture-Perfect Democracy
Feb 7 • 50 min
The sloppy roll-out of Iowa results prompted disinformation and confusion over the mechanics of the caucus system. This week, On the Media looks at the origins of the nomination process to explain how we got here. Plus, local reporters in New Hampshire…
How Rush Limbaugh Paved The Way For Trump
Feb 6 • 14 min
A lot was reported about Tuesday night’s State of the Union address. President Trump’s characteristic self-congratulation, the fact-checking of his error-filled speech, and Nancy Pelosi’s sensational paper rip stunt. Tuesday night also solidified Rush…
Cancel This!
Jan 31 • 50 min
As the coronavirus continues to spread, the World Health Organization has declared a state of emergency. This week, On the Media looks at how panic and misinformation are going viral, too. Plus, a controversial endorsement for Bernie Sanders puts the…
OTM presents: Here’s the Thing with Megan Twohey and Jodi Kantor
Jan 29 • 32 min
Our colleagues at “Here’s the Thing” produced a great episode this week that we think you’ll enjoy: Jodi Kantor and Megan Twohey are the New York Times reporters who broke the Harvey Weinstein story. For five months — perpetually in danger of losing the…
Optical Delusion
Jan 24 • 50 min
A gathering of thousands of armed protesters in Virginia last weekend prompted fears of mass violence. On this episode of On the Media, how some militia groups are spinning the lack of bloodshed as victory. Plus, fresh demands for accountability in Puerto…
The Alleged Crimes of Greenwald
Jan 22 • 9 min
The Brazilian federal government on Tuesday revealed charges of cybercrimes against Pulitzer Prize–winning journalist Glenn Greenwald, for his alleged role in the leaking of explosive messages written by high-ranking law enforcement officials. Press…
Family Feud
Jan 17 • 50 min
A pre-debate news drop from CNN threatened the relative peace between Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren. On this week’s On the Media, why the feud is more distracting than illuminating. Plus, why paying close attention to political news is no substitute…
Climate Change, News Corp, and the Australian Fires
Jan 15 • 18 min
For years, climate change experts have said that hotter and drier summers would exacerbate the threat of bushfires in Australia. Fires have been raging since September and a prolonged drought and record-breaking temperatures mean the blazes won’t stop for…
Hurtling Toward Catastrophe
Jan 10 • 50 min
After the US military assassinated an Iranian military general, war propaganda kicked into overdrive. On this week’s On the Media, how news consumers can cut through the misleading claims and dangerous frames. Plus, how Generation Z is interpreting the…
The Weinstein Trial Begins
Jan 8 • 11 min
In New York this week, jury selection began in the trial of former Hollywood titan Harvey Weinstein. News of his alleged sexual predations launched the #MeToo movement in October 2017, through investigative reporting from both The New York Times and The…
Can Restorative Justice Save The Internet?
Jan 3 • 50 min
As prison populations soar, advocates on both side of the spectrum agree that the law-and-order approach to criminal justice is not making us safer. On this week’s On the Media, we look at restorative justice, an alternative to prison that can provide…
Ken Kesey’s Acid Quest
Jan 1 • 18 min
Happy New Year! In this pod extra, we’re celebrating what might be your first hangover of 2020 — whether it’s fueled by alcohol or just the thought of the year ahead. So, we thought we’d bring you the story of an odd holiday known as Bicycle Day, April…
Hindsight Is 2019
Dec 27, 2019 • 50 min
2019 started on a note of fakery, as we made sense of the conspiracies and simulacra that distort our information field. It’s ending with a similar air of surreality, with impeachment proceedings bringing the dynamics of the Trump presidency into stark…
The Hidden Truths of Hanukkah
Dec 25, 2019 • 13 min
Today is Christmas, but it’s also Hanukkah — the Jewish festival of lights. With its emphasis on present-giving, dreidel games and sweet treats, the holiday seems to be oriented towards kids. Even the story of Hanukkah has had its edges shaved down over…
Let The Record Show
Dec 20, 2019 • 49 min
For only the third time in U.S. history, the American press is covering a presidential impeachment. On this week’s On the Media, a look at a few of the coverage missteps made along the way. And, the reporting process behind the Washington Post…
Sons of the Soil
Dec 18, 2019 • 20 min
Last week, India’s ruling party (the BJP) passed the Citizenship Amendment Act. The legislation grants a clear path to Indian citizenship to non-Muslim refugees from Bangladesh, Pakistan and Afghanistan. Opponents pointed out flaws in the law almost as…
Body of Law: Beyond Roe
Dec 13, 2019 • 50 min
A majority of Americans polled by CSPAN last year couldn’t name a Supreme Court case. Of those who could, Roe v. Wade was by far the most familiar, with 40 percent able to name it. (Only five percent could name Brown v. Board of Education.) And since it…
The “Pentagon Papers” Of Our Time
Dec 11, 2019 • 35 min
On Monday, the Washington Post released the fruits of a three-year investigative effort: the “Afghanistan Papers,” a once-secret internal government history of a deadly, costly, and ultimately futile entanglement. The hundreds of frank, explosive…
The Dead Consensus
Dec 6, 2019 • 50 min
As House leaders begin drafting articles of impeachment, examples from the Nixon and Clinton eras abound. This week, On the Media rewinds to the 19th century — and the turbulent impeachment of Andrew Johnson. Plus, what a debate between two right-wing…
Tribalism, Anger and the State of Our Politics
Dec 4, 2019 • 23 min
If solidarity and the recognition of mutual self-interest are the keys to moving past our fractious moment, it can be hard to see how we’ll get there. Anger and tribalism appear to be at an all-time high, creating political and societal rifts that seem…
We Need To Talk About Poland
Nov 29, 2019 • 50 min
With the US deep in questions of impeachment, what lessons can we learn from divided societies abroad? This week, On the Media travels to Poland, where conspiracy, xenophobia and the rise of illiberalism have the country in an existential fight for its…
PURPLE EPISODE 4: Media to the Rescue?
Nov 26, 2019 • 10 min
As part of a month-long campaign called the Purple Project for Democracy, (a strictly non-partisan, apolitical effort that a number of other large news organizations have also contributed to) we are featuring a series of conversations about an alarming…
PURPLE EPISODE 3: Let’s Not Discount Reality
Nov 25, 2019 • 10 min
As part of a month-long campaign called the Purple Project for Democracy, OTM is using its podcast feed for a series of conversations about an alarming loss of trust, faith and devotion by Americans for American democracy — and what to do about it. Bob…
PURPLE EPISODE 2: “Low Information, High Misinformation Voters”
Nov 24, 2019 • 14 min
As part of a month-long campaign called the Purple Project for Democracy, (a strictly non-partisan, apolitical effort that a number of other large news organizations have also contributed to) we are featuring a series of conversations about an alarming…
PURPLE EPISODE 1: “Is Democracy up for grabs?”
Nov 23, 2019 • 16 min
As part of a month-long campaign called the Purple Project for Democracy, (a strictly non-partisan, apolitical effort that a number of other large news organizations have also contributed to) we are featuring a series of conversations about an alarming…
The Disagreement Is The Point
Nov 22, 2019 • 49 min
In hearings this week, House Democrats sought to highlight an emerging set of facts concerning the President’s conduct. On this week’s On the Media, a look at why muddying the waters remains a viable strategy for Trump’s defenders. Plus, even the…
We Made a Lipstick For You!
Nov 19, 2019 • 12 min
What counts as media? For us, its any medium through which we express ourselves — whether from one to one, from one to many, or just from one… to one’s own self. We can do it with our style. Our hair. Even our glasses. They’re choices that express not…
Designed to Intimidate
Nov 15, 2019 • 50 min
Millions tuned into impeachment hearings this week — the first two of five already scheduled. On this week’s show, why shifts in public opinion may not necessarily sway the GOP. Plus, what we can learn from the predatory tactics that enriched Bill Gates.…
OTM presents: Shell Shock 1919: How the Great War Changed Culture
Nov 13, 2019 • 55 min
You really have a feeling that here is a building that looks fantastically beautiful, and it’s got its whole façade simply blown off by this war. -Philipp Blom World War I presented civilization with unprecedented violence and destruction. The shock of…
Curiouser and Curiouser
Nov 8, 2019 • 50 min
President Trump’s concerns about corruption in Ukraine began, in part, with a series of articles in a publication called The Hill. On this week’s On the Media, a close-up on the columnist whose dubious tales may lead to an impeachment. Plus, the black…
Can We Govern Ourselves?
Nov 6, 2019 • 23 min
As Americans battle for control of the future of the United States, it seems that we’re always going back to founding documents and core principles: relying on them and reinterpreting them, in what seems to be an increasingly arduous effort to govern…
Band-Aid On A Bulletwound
Nov 1, 2019 • 50 min
As wildfires tear through California, our decades-old infrastructure comes back to bite us. On this week’s On the Media, how we can understand this latest climate catastrophe through a metaphor from the computer world. Plus, the on-going struggle over the…
OTM presents Trump Inc: All the President’s Memes
Oct 30, 2019 • 26 min
President Trump’s Doral resort has been in the news a lot lately. His chief of staff announced from the White House that America would host the next G-7 summit there. Then, Trump backed off. We’re looking at a conference that did happen at Doral. A…
When They Come For You
Oct 25, 2019 • 50 min
There’s a growing movement on the left and right for prison reform. On this week’s On the Media, a deep dive into the strange bedfellows coalition working to close prisons down. Also, in speeches, testimony, and leaked audio, Mark Zuckerberg has been…
OTM presents: Impeachment Pod, the Taylor Testimony
Oct 23, 2019 • 22 min
This week’s OTM pod extra is another episode from the new podcast hosted by WNYC’s Brian Lehrer: Where are we on impeachment today?Yesterday evening, the public got the chance to read the opening statement of U.S. emissary to Ukraine William Taylor’s…
Hanging In The Balance
Oct 18, 2019 • 49 min
In covering President Trump’s decision to stop protecting Kurdish fighters in Syria, press reports have focused on the Kurds as US allies and tools in fighting ISIS. This week, On the Media looks at a different aspect of Kurdish life: the experiment in…
Introducing… Impeachment: A Daily Podcast
Oct 16, 2019 • 19 min
The pace of impeachment-related revelations is breathtaking, and it isn’t slowing yet. With each day comes yet another executive branch staffer defying the White House by testifying behind closed doors on Capitol Hill — new names, fresh allegations, and…
Sticks and Stones
Oct 11, 2019 • 50 min
“The right to throw a punch ends at the tip of someone’s nose.” It’s the idea that underlies American liberties — but does it still fit in 2019? This week, On the Media looks back at our country’s radical — and radically inconsistent — tradition of free…
“The Heartbeat of Wounded Knee”
Oct 9, 2019 • 22 min
This coming Monday, some states and cities will celebrate Indigenous People’s Day, renamed from Columbus Day to honor the lives and history lost due to centuries of colonialism. Meanwhile, the few American Indian stories most Americans learn in school,…
A Likely Story
Oct 4, 2019 • 50 min
The talk from the Trump team is becoming increasingly hard to follow. This week, On the Media takes a look at the conspiracy thinking that’s taken over the executive branch. Plus, leaders at Fox News search for a path forward amidst infighting and…
Go and Get Yourself a Whistle and Blow
Oct 2, 2019 • 9 min
Ever present in the Snowden and Manning era, the word “whistleblower” is again dominating the airwaves. But where exactly did the word come from? Who gets to decide who qualifies as a whistleblower? Back in 2015, Brooke spoke to language columnist Ben…
Nice Democracy You’ve Got There…
Sep 27, 2019 • 50 min
The impeachment inquiry into President Trump is tangled up in Ukrainian politics, but few Washington reporters understand the dynamics at play. This week, On the Media looks at what we all need to know to make sense of the news. Plus, why there are no…
Live Streaming Truth and Reconciliation
Sep 25, 2019 • 13 min
It’s been two years since the brutal and bloody 22-year reign of Gambian leader Yahya Jammeh ended and the country is now embroiled in a uniquely transparent truth and reconciliation process. Officials are interviewing killers and victims about the deaths…
Too Hot For School
Sep 20, 2019 • 49 min
Roosevelt’s New Deal remade American society, and now climate activists are pushing for a Green New Deal to do it again. This week, On the Media looks at the attacks from conservatives against both projects, and why congress underestimates support for…
OTM presents Trump Inc: The Family Business
Sep 18, 2019 • 34 min
Trump, Inc. takes a step back to make sense of the seemingly endless scandals swirling around the White House. They’re not random. They fit a pattern and that has a precedent. It turns out, Trump is running the government a lot like he’s run his business:…
A Very Bitter Joke
Sep 13, 2019 • 50 min
Good riddance, John Bolton! By dismissing his third National Security Advisor, President Trump prompted renewed concern over White House instability. This week, On the Media makes the case that John Bolton’s outster is good news for the republic. Plus,…
Why Many Afghans Don’t Understand 9/11
Sep 11, 2019 • 11 min
This weekend in a series of tweets, President Trump both disclosed and scrapped secret talks with the Taliban in Camp David. Of course, the Taliban did not perpetrate 9/11. But they did offer safe haven in Afghanistan to Al Qaeda, whose hijackers turned…
Pressure Drop
Sep 6, 2019 • 50 min
As Hurricane Dorian devastated the Bahamas, Democratic presidential candidates promised climate action in an unprecedented televised event. On this week’s On the Media, how CNN’s town hall advances the climate conversation. Plus, how the bulk of gun…
Remembering Les Gelb
Sep 4, 2019 • 17 min
On Saturday, Leslie Gelb died at the age of 82. Gelb was a Senate aide in his 20s, a New York Times correspondent in his 30s, an assistant Secretary of State as he neared 40, then back to the Times as national security correspondent, editor, columnist,…
Whose Streets?
Aug 30, 2019 • 50 min
The message from Silicon Valley seems to be that self-driving cars are the way of the future. This week, On the Media considers the history behind the present-day salesmanship. Plus, why transit rights mean much more than point-A-to-point-B mobility.…
A History of Persuasion: Part 3
Aug 28, 2019 • 30 min
Silicon Valley’s so-called “millionaire maker” is a behavioral scientist who foresaw the power of putting persuasion at the heart of the tech world’s business model. But pull back the curtain that surrounds the industry’s behemoths, and you’ll find a…
Empire State of Mind
Aug 23, 2019 • 49 min
In a special hour this week, On the Media examines the history of US imperialism — and why the familiar US map hides the true story of our country. Brooke spends the hour with Northwestern University historian Daniel Immerwahr, author of How to Hide an…
A History of Persuasion: Part 2
Aug 21, 2019 • 24 min
Ted Kaczynski had been a boy genius. Then he became the Unabomber. After years of searching for him, the FBI finally caught him in his remote Montana cabin, along with thousands of pages of his writing. Those pages revealed Kaczynski’s hatred towards a…
A Civilization As Great As Ours
Aug 16, 2019 • 50 min
The Indian government has revoked autonomy for the Muslim-majority region of Kashmir. This week, a close look at how Hindu nationalists are rewriting Indian history in the world’s largest democracy. Plus: what are the stories that America has told about…
A History of Persuasion: Part 1
Aug 14, 2019 • 20 min
Infinite scrolling. Push notifications. Autoplay. Our devices and apps were designed to keep us engaged and looking for as long as possible. Now, we’ve woken up from years on social media and our phones to discover we’ve been manipulated by unaccountable…
The Democracy We Think We Live In
Aug 9, 2019 • 49 min
The pathways and origins of white nationalist thought were a matter of deadly importance in coverage of last weekend’s shootings. On this week’s On the Media, how mainstream punditry launders a tolerance for xenophobia. Also, the history of American…
Deciphering the White Power Movement
Aug 7, 2019 • 12 min
When events like the shooting in El Paso happen, the elements may indeed be obvious: Guns. Sociopathy. Alienation. But the obvious is also reductive, and risks obscuring larger forces at play. The same goes with the vocabulary of race violence: White…
Repairing Justice: How to Fix the Internet
Aug 2, 2019 • 50 min
Harassment and bullying are plaguing our online lives, but social media companies seem fresh out of solutions. This week, On the Media experiments with a radical approach for detoxifying the web. Can theories of criminal justice reform rehabilitate trolls…
Repairing Justice: An Alternative to Prison
Jul 31, 2019 • 31 min
Last week on the show, we examined the power of the prosecutor in our justice system, and how voters are electing a new wave of so-called “progressive prosecutors” to try to turn the tide on mass incarceration. If you haven’t heard it yet, be sure to…
Repairing Justice: The Prosecutor
Jul 26, 2019 • 50 min
It was the week of the prosecutor, with Special Counsel Robert Mueller grabbing most of the attention. But on this week’s On the Media, a closer look at the progressive prosecutor movement — from neighborhood politics to local media to the presidential…
What, Me Worry?
Jul 24, 2019 • 13 min
Earlier this month, DC Comics announced that MAD Magazine will mostly stop doing what it’s done for some six decades, which is to pointedly mock American politics and culture. Barring the occasional end-of-year special, future copies of MAD will consist…
Internal Scream
Jul 19, 2019 • 49 min
Puerto Ricans packed the streets night after night this week to call for Governor Ricardo Rosselló’s resignation. On this week’s On the Media, what happens when a leader’s mockery becomes too much for citizens to bear — in San Juan, and in Washington.…
The Right-Wing Web Goes to the White House
Jul 17, 2019 • 17 min
On this show, we’ve often observed that what happens online rarely stays online. In the age of Pizzagate, Trump tweets and Wiki Leaks data dumps, it is obvious that conversations online increasingly dominate, even define, our politics — a fact…
Uncomfortably Numb
Jul 12, 2019 • 50 min
Migrants in detention centers, another assault allegation against the President, and the start to a potentially devastating hurricane season… On this week’s On the Media, how painful news might be making America numb. And, why sometimes it’s okay to tune…
The Epstein Story Didn’t Just Happen Overnight
Jul 10, 2019 • 26 min
Julie Brown of the Miami Herald conceived, reported, and wrote one of the most explosive criminal justice stories in recent memory. She revealed the shutting down of an FBI investigation that may have been on the verge of discovering the full extent of a…
Full Faith & Credit
Jul 5, 2019 • 49 min
Ten autumns ago came two watershed moments in the history of money. In September 2008, the bankruptcy of Lehman Brothers triggered a financial meltdown from which the world has yet to fully recover. The following month, someone using the name Satoshi…
The Sound of America
Jul 3, 2019 • 25 min
There are many Americas. Nowadays they barely speak to each other. But during the most perilous years of the last century, one young composer went in search of a sound that melded many of the nation’s strains into something singular and new. He was a man…
The Scarlet E, Part IV: Solutions
Jun 28, 2019 • 50 min
We have an eviction crisis, which is really just one part of a broader housing affordability crisis. Incomes are too low for rents. Rents are too high for incomes. The barriers to home-buying are growing, especially for younger Americans. The wealth gap…