On the Media

On the Media

www.wnycstudios.org/shows/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
Rethinking MLK Day
Jan 22 • 19 min
When he was still in his twenties, Martin Luther King Jr. was, among other things, an advice columnist for Ebony magazine. Writer Mychal Denzel Smith studied those columns for an article this week in The Atlantic, and he found that readers asked the civil…
The Giant Referendum On Everything
Jan 18 • 49 min
For the past month, journalists have been reporting on the anxieties of furloughed federal workers. This week, On the Media learns that many reporters face a new threat to their own job security. Plus, an on-screen dramatization of Brexit, and a likely…
That time Brooke met Rosanne Cash
Jan 15 • 40 min
Rosanne’s Cash’s new album features 10 new songs, all written and co-written by Cash, that find her “speaking out and looking inward” (The Boston Globe) from a uniquely female perspective. It features contributions from Elvis Costello, Kris Kristofferson,…
Everything Is Fake
Jan 11 • 49 min
On Thursday, President Trump flew down to McAllen, Texas to push his pro-wall, anti-immigrant narrative. This week, On the Media examines how the community tells a more welcoming story about the border — and a dogged presidential fact-checker joins us to…
10 Things That Scare Jeff VandeMeer
Jan 9 • 6 min
Is it too ordinary to be afraid of your cat dying? Jeff VanderMeer is an author based in Tallahassee, Florida. This week he is the featured guest on the podcast ”10 things that scare me: a tiny podcast about our biggest fears,” produced by WNYC Studios.…
Africatown
Jan 4 • 49 min
Just outside of Mobile, Alabama, sits the small community of Africatown, a town established by the last known slaves brought to America, illegally, in 1860. Decades after that last slave ship, The Clotilde, burned in the waters outside Mobile, Africatown…
Remembering Joe Frank
Jan 2 • 17 min
Joe Frank — the radio producer’s radio producer, the ultimate acquired taste — passed away a year ago this month. He was 79. For over four decades Frank hosted late-night shows that could float between hilarious dreams and suspenseful nightmares, between…
10 Things That Scare Brooke
Dec 25, 2018 • 7 min
Merry Christmas, to those who celebrate! To those who don’t (and, aw heck, to those who do too) we offer a very special end-of-year gift: fear. More specifically, Brooke’s greatest fears, courtesy of our WNYC colleagues, 10 Things That Scare Me. Fear is a…
The Seen and the Unseen
Dec 21, 2018 • 50 min
Two weeks ago, a seven-year-old girl died in Customs and Border Patrol custody. This week, On the Media considers how coverage of her death has resembled previous immigration story cycles. Plus, we make an year-end review of cabinet officials shown the…
What We Learned — And Didn’t Learn — From the Pentagon Papers
Dec 19, 2018 • 15 min
In 1971, federal investigators convened two grand juries to investigate, among other things, the publishing, by major newspapers, of thousands of pages of secret government documents reviewing the history from 1945 on, of the still ongoing war in Vietnam.…
Plague of Suspicion
Dec 14, 2018 • 50 min
It’s been 100 years since one of the deadliest diseases… well, ever. The 1918-1919 flu pandemic (usually and mistakenly called the “Spanish Flu”) infected roughly a third of the world’s population and killed somewhere on the order of 50-100 million…
Three Years for Michael Cohen
Dec 12, 2018 • 26 min
Michael Cohen, President Trump’s former lawyer, was sentenced Wednesday to three years in prison for financial crimes and for lying to Congress. In rendering the sentence, Judge William H. Pauley said Cohen’s crimes — among them, tax evasion and campaign…
How Quickly We Forget
Dec 7, 2018 • 50 min
The death of George H.W. Bush brought us a week’s worth of ceremony, eulogy and wall-to-wall coverage. This week, a look at the choices journalists made when they set out to memorialize the president. And, immigration stories in our media focus on the…
The Centuries-Old Practice of “Slaying Lewks”
Dec 5, 2018 • 12 min
Satisfaction at the political enemy’s hypocrisy can be so rich that partisan critics strain — sometimes absurdly — to locate it. Such is the case with Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, newly elected member of Congress from New York and avowed democratic…
Laugh Until You Cry
Nov 30, 2018 • 50 min
The White House tried to bury a devastating climate assessment on Black Friday; this week, On the Media documents how TV talk shows gave climate change deniers a platform to spin the report for their own ends. We look back on Fox News’ coming-of-age under…
The Long History of Ignoring Climate Scientists
Nov 28, 2018 • 20 min
A government climate change report was released last week and summarily dismissed…by the government. It was a worrying development, to be sure — but it was also only the latest chapter in the long history of scientists’ unheeded warnings. Back in 1988,…
The Civil War, One Day at a Time
Nov 19, 2018 • 10 min
On the 155th anniversary of The Gettysburg Address, we bring you a conversation with Professor Adam Goodheart. He ran The New York Times blog, Disunion, which covers the American Civil War as if it were a real-time event unfolding today. Goodheart’s used…
Do Not Pass Go
Nov 16, 2018 • 49 min
Over a week after the midterms, there’s uncertainty in key races in Florida and Georgia. We examine the pervasive conspiracy theories around vote counting. Plus, Amazon has concluded their infamous HQ2 search. At the time, it seemed like a reality show…
The Stories Fires Tell
Nov 13, 2018 • 13 min
The Camp Fire in California is the deadliest in the state’s history, leaving the entire city of Paradise in ashes. Parts of Malibu were destroyed by the Woolsey Fire, which firefighters are still trying to bring under control as of this writing. Every…
Why We’re So Polarized
Nov 6, 2018 • 25 min
Last week on our show, Bob spoke with Lilliana Mason, a University of Maryland political psychologist and author of Uncivil Agreement: How Politics Became Our Identity, about the reasons behind the tribalism and enmity that characterize our politics. The…
Gab is Back in the Headlines and Off the Web
Oct 30, 2018 • 11 min
The social media website Gab has faced sanction and scorn in the days since one of its active users killed 11 members of Pittsburgh’s Jewish community. Gab had, for the past few years, made itself out as a “free speech” harbor, safe from the intellectual…
West Virginia’s “Genius” Watchdog
Oct 24, 2018 • 19 min
Nearly two years since the 2016 Presidential Election, much of the press are still covering so-called “Trump country” using a series of simplistic narratives, blaming these states for Trump and portraying them as irrevocably scarred by the decline of the…
The Radical Catalog
Oct 18, 2018 • 16 min
Another chapter in the history of American consumerism came to a close this week when the retail giant Sears announced it was filing for bankruptcy and closing 142 of its unprofitable stores. As experts sifted through the details about what doomed Sears,…
Reimagining History
Oct 10, 2018 • 16 min
Last week, the MacArthur Foundation awarded genius grants to 25 creatives in art, literature, science and music. John Keene, a writer of poetry, fiction and cultural criticism, was one of them. He was recognized for his innovative use of language and…
Trump, Inc.: The Business of Silence
Oct 3, 2018 • 29 min
President Donald Trump has had many roles in his life: Real estate scion, reality show star, Oval Office holder. But through it all, one thing has remained consistent. He tries to control what information becomes public about himself and his business. In…
It’s Time for Justice
Sep 26, 2018 • 8 min
On Tuesday, nearly four years since a viral comedy routine helped usher a long list of rape and sexual assault allegations against Bill Cosby into the fore, the once-beloved artist was sentenced to three to 10 years in a state prison. Years before Cosby’s…
An Obit, This Time For Real
Sep 18, 2018 • 8 min
This past week’s coverage of Hurricane Florence has had all the trappings of a terrible storm: the satellite images, the sandbags and empty grocery stores, the newscasters dressed in flood gear. One recurring side character we seem to have avoided this…
FEMA Time
Sep 12, 2018 • 11 min
On Wednesday, as Florence swirled ominously off the coast of the Carolinas, and states prepared for imminent disaster, Senator Jeff Merkley (D-OR) thought it would be a good time to draw everyone’s attention to the shifting priorities of this…
CNN’s Lanny Davis Problem
Sep 5, 2018 • 12 min
Six weeks ago, CNN broke a blockbuster story: According to several anonymous sources, President Trump had advance knowledge of the infamous Trump Tower meeting. It was a potential smoking gun, until one of those sources — Lanny Davis, attorney for Michael…
Summer Series Episode 4: Tectonic Edition
Aug 29, 2018 • 14 min
After an earthquake struck Nepal in April of 2015, the post-disaster media coverage followed a trajectory we’d seen repeated after other earth-shaking events. We put together a template to help a discerning news consumer look for the real story. It’s our…
Summer Series Episode 3: Airline Crash Edition
Aug 22, 2018 • 11 min
When a commercial plane goes down, media speculation ensues. With the help of The Atlantic’s James Fallows, we give you some tips that can help you comb through the coverage.
Summer Series Episode 2: Military Coup Edition
Aug 15, 2018 • 11 min
Back in the summer of 2016, as Turkish putschists shut down highways, attacked government buildings and took broadcasters hostage, world media outlets struggled to provide sober reports of the coup. During the chaos, some listeners told us on Twitter that…
Summer Series Episode 1: US Storm Edition
Aug 8, 2018 • 28 min
For media professionals, hurricanes offer the very best kind of bad news, because the story arc is predictable, and invariably compelling. In the latest edition of our Breaking News Consumer’s Handbooks, we examine the myths, misleading language, and…
Enemy of the People
Aug 3, 2018 • 50 min
At a rally in Tampa, Florida, Trump supporters attacked CNN reporter Jim Acosta, prompting the president to double down on his anti-press “Enemy of the People” rhetoric. A look at how and why the president incites his base — and where it all might lead.…
Journalism To The Rescue
Aug 2, 2018 • 11 min
This summer, in a project designed by ProPublica, 10 news organizations are sharing information to flesh out the hidden details of families separated by the Trump administration’s zero tolerance immigration policy. Bob speaks with Selymar Colón, digital…
The Center Folds
Jul 27, 2018 • 50 min
Socialism is having a moment in the sunlight — that is, on daytime television. Yet at the same time that the left earns a closer look from political pundits, Democrats and Republicans still fail to understand each other with nuance. Plus, after newspaper…
On the Media presents Episode 1 of The Realness
Jul 25, 2018 • 30 min
This week On the Media recommends a new podcast from our colleagues at WNYC. Check it out. Prodigy and Havoc begin laying down rhymes together in high school. When their first album flops, they come up with a new sound that’s directly influenced by P’s…
Blah Blah Blah… BANG
Jul 20, 2018 • 49 min
In a matter of months, we’ve moved from bipartisan immigration talks to calls to abolish ICE. On this week’s On the Media, a look at how leftists are employing a right-wing communications strategy in order to change the national debate. Plus, thirty years…
I Can’t Breathe
Jul 17, 2018 • 14 min
Four years ago this week, on July 17, 2014, Eric Garner died in Staten Island at the hands of a New York City police officer. We probably wouldn’t have known if it hadn’t been for a cellphone video that captured his arrest, the excessive force that killed…
Big Sky, Dark Money
Jul 10, 2018 • 14 min
With President Trump’s nomination of federal judge Brett Kavanaugh, the Supreme Court will likely be locked up by the political right for a generation. This is in large part thanks to a historic decision made in 2010 by the court’s then-shakier…
A Guide To SCOTUS News
Jun 28, 2018 • 13 min
There’s a reason why Supreme Court reporters know to never to take a vacation in June. The end of this season’s term brought us a head-spinning drumbeat of huge 5-4 decisions, from upholding the Muslim travel ban to dealing a huge blow to organized labor…
The Rise and Fall of Elizabeth Holmes
Jun 19, 2018 • 19 min
In 2014, Fortune magazine ran a cover story featuring Elizabeth Holmes: a blonde woman wearing a black turtleneck, staring deadpan at the camera, with the headline, “This CEO’s out for blood.” A decade earlier, Holmes had founded Theranos, a company…
Seymour Hersh Looks Back (extended mix)
Jun 12, 2018 • 48 min
For decades, Seymour Hersh has been an icon of muckraking, investigative reporting: his work exposed such atrocities as the massacre of Vietnamese civilians in My Lai and the torture of Iraqis in Abu Ghraib. He also documented the US’s development of…
Hurricane Season
Jun 6, 2018 • 16 min
Puerto Rico was (briefly) back in the news this week when a Harvard study shed more light on many people died in the aftermath of Hurricane Maria. The study has a wide range of estimated deaths, but the mid-point is stunning: 4,645 people died as a result…
Fact Checking #WhereAreTheChildren
May 30, 2018 • 15 min
We talk a lot about right wing news outlets picking up out-of-context facts and amplifying them in their outrage machine, so as to infuriate and validate their angry audiences. But this phenomenon is not solely the province of the political right, as we…
Glenn Beck Reverses His Reversal
May 24, 2018 • 19 min
In November 2016, Bob spoke to Blaze bloviator Glenn Beck to hear about how he was a changed man. More compassionate, a better listener and very opposed to Donald Trump. This weekend, Beck proudly donned a MAGA hat. Why the turnaround? According to Beck,…
Africatown
May 18, 2018 • 50 min
Just outside of Mobile, Alabama, sits the small community of Africatown, a town established by the last known slaves brought to America, illegally, in 1860. Decades after that last slave ship, The Clotilde, burned in the waters outside Mobile, Africatown…
The Recording of America
May 16, 2018 • 9 min
Studs Terkel, born 106 years ago on this date, May 16, spent the majority of his life documenting the lives of others – very often everyday, working-class people he believed were “uncelebrated and unsung.” From coal miners and sharecroppers to gangsters…
An Extended Trip Through Wild Wild Country
May 8, 2018 • 33 min
Back in the early 1980s, thousands of followers of the Indian guru Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh descended upon a 64,000 acre piece of land in central Oregon to found their utopia. The Rajneeshees had millions of dollars at their disposal and an ideology based…
Mayday, May Day
May 2, 2018 • 24 min
International Workers’ Day is celebrated with rallies and protests all over the world on May 1st, but it’s not a big deal in the United States. In this podcast extra, Brooke speaks to Donna Haverty-Stacke of Hunter College, CUNY about the U.S. origin of…
Introducing Nancy: a podcast about all things LGBTQ
Apr 24, 2018 • 24 min
This week we want to introduce you to some friends of ours at WNYC. Nancy podcast is hosted by best friends Tobin Low and Kathy Tu and its about all things LGBTQ. This week’s episode has Kathy solving a mystery on behalf of our WNYC colleague Kai Wright.…
The One and Only, Carl Kasell
Apr 18, 2018 • 11 min
This week the venerable Carl Kasell, legendary newscaster and Wait, Wait Don’t Tell Me scorekeeper, died aged 84, from complications related to Alzheimer’s. Brooke sat down with Carl back in 2014 on the occasion of his retirement to commemorate a…
Trump Inc.: Trump, the Ex-Lobbyist and ‘Chemically Castrated’ Frogs
Apr 10, 2018 • 20 min
From our colleagues in the WNYC newsroom who produce Trump Inc.: This week, we’re doing a couple of things differently on Trump, Inc. Instead of focusing on President Trump’s businesses, we’re looking more broadly at business interests in the Trump…
Paved With Good Intentions
Apr 6, 2018 • 50 min
With a caravan of activists making its way through Mexico, President Trump signed a proclamation to send troops to defend the border. This week we examine that caravan’s unintended consequences, as well as the unintended consequences of a bill, recently…
TV News Anchors Speaking From the Heart — Uh, TelePrompter
Apr 3, 2018 • 11 min
Did you see the video that was making the rounds this weekend? It features a seemingly endless parade of Sinclair Broadcast Group TV news anchors — those smiley folks so trusted by their local audiences — speaking from the heart. OK, not from the heart,…
We, the Liberators
Mar 30, 2018 • 50 min
In March of 2003, U.S.–led coalition forces invaded Iraq, sparking a seemingly endless conflagration that claimed tens of thousands of lives and continues to shape events both international and domestic. Fifteen years later, what have we forgotten? What…
Iraq’s Accidental Journalists
Mar 28, 2018 • 18 min
Last week marked the fifteenth anniversary of the night of “Shock and Awe” exploding across the night sky over Baghdad, the opening salvo in an ongoing war. It was a deadly conflict to cover and foreign reporters increasingly relied on Iraqis to take the…
Crowdsourcing Justice: The Truth Behind the Steubenville Rape
Mar 20, 2018 • 15 min
Five years ago, two high school football players in Steubenville, Ohio were found responsible in juvenile court for the rape of a 16-year-old girl. For much of the national media, that was the end of the story — but for those in Steubenville who lived…
Did Farhad “Unplug”?
Mar 13, 2018 • 12 min
Last week we spoke with New York Times tech columnist Farhad Manjoo after he published an article titled, “For two months, I got my news from print newspapers. Here’s what I learned.” He wrote that, earlier this year, “after the breaking-newsiest year in…
Like We Used To Do
Mar 9, 2018 • 45 min
In an age of constant breaking news, it can be hard to tell what matters and what’s just noise. This week, a look at what we’ve learned from recent coverage of the Russia investigation, and what we’ve missed everywhere else — particularly in West…
Everything You Love Will Burn
Mar 7, 2018 • 30 min
Last week, we put out a special show hosted by The Guardian US’s Lois Beckett, devoted to how reporters should approach the alt-right, and white supremacy, in America, called ”Face the Racist Nation.” As a bonus, we’re putting out a full interview with…
Face the Racist Nation
Mar 2, 2018 • 49 min
For the past year, Lois Beckett [@loisbeckett], senior reporter at The Guardian US, has been showing up at white nationalist rallies, taking their pictures, writing down what they say. And she finds herself thinking: How did we get here? How did her beat…
Follow The Money
Feb 28, 2018 • 24 min
The podcast Trump Inc. is a collaboration between WNYC Studios and ProPublica. A team of investigative reporters is examining whether and how the Trump family is profiting from the presidency, and they’ve organized the show around an “open investigation”…
Back to the Future
Feb 23, 2018 • 49 min
Since the Parkland school shooting, the student-led #NeverAgain movement has kept gun control in the headlines. This week, we look at how the movement began — and how pro-gun internet trolls have tried to undermine its message. Plus, how the world of…
Rinse and Repeat
Feb 22, 2018 • 14 min
In the wake of the school shooting in Florida we are recycling two interviews that we recorded following two other mass shooting tragedies. The first is about a chapter in the NRA’s history that not many people know about. We’ve become accustomed in the…
The Safety Net Just Got a Little Less Safe
Feb 14, 2018 • 27 min
On Monday, Donald Trump released the second budget proposal of his presidency. There’s lots in it — more money for defense, veterans and border security and some tax changes too. But what really jumps out is the proposal to cut funding for federal…
Trump Inc.
Feb 7, 2018 • 26 min
Back in January last year, Donald Trump, newly elected, not yet sworn in, tried to quell concerns about his many conflicts of interest by declaring he would turn over the day-to-day running of his company to his sons. Did he follow through on that? Has he…
Gitmo Is Back in Business
Jan 31, 2018 • 16 min
In his State of the Union speech this week the president announced - to rapturous applause from congressional Republicans, that he had just signed an order to keep open the detention facilities in Guantanamo Bay. When Mohamedou Ould Slahi was released…
Unsettled: A Story from the Global Refugee Crisis
Jan 23, 2018 • 33 min
Over these last few months, WNYC reporter Matt Katz has been reporting the story of a congolese man named Andre and his wife, Lisette. They were living in a Malawi refugee camp, but then Andre was given the chance to be resettled in Elizabeth New Jersey.…
A Journalist of Consequence
Jan 17, 2018 • 38 min
During his career as a national security reporter for The New York Times, James Risen reported several major scoops about the CIA. Risen exposed the Bush administration’s phone surveillance program and misrepresentations of weapons of mass destruction in…
What ‘The Post’ Missed
Jan 10, 2018 • 29 min
Leslie Gelb, the man who supervised the team that compiled the Pentagon Papers, wasn’t a character in the new Hollywood drama, The Post. He is rarely called for comment in documentaries and films about the Pentagon Papers leak. Back in 1971, Gelb was…
The Man Behind Black Mirror
Jan 3, 2018 • 16 min
When the British TV show Black Mirror first arrived in the US in late 2014, it was applauded for imagining dystopian, technology-centric scenarios that did not seem terribly far off. Now, as the show launches its fourth season, real life seems to be…
The Feelings Show
Dec 29, 2017 • 50 min
Father Time — his 2017 sash bloodied and muddied, no doubt — will soon hand off the baton to Baby New Year and, like the reluctant old fellow reaching the end of his tenure, we have some feelings about it. It’s been a weird one, and we’re obviously not…
Don’t Expect Filing Your Taxes to Get Any Easier
Dec 20, 2017 • 16 min
In selling their new tax bill to the public, Republicans have leaned heavily on the theme of simplification. According to them, one of the primary benefits of overhauling our mammoth tax code is that it would make the dreaded filing process easier for…
A Reckoning in Our Own House
Dec 5, 2017 • 36 min
Update: On Wednesday, following the release of this pod extra, New York Public Radio announced that Jonathan Schwartz and Leonard Lopate had been placed on indefinite leave as the station investigates “accusations of inappropriate conduct” filed against…
About that Nazi Next Door
Nov 27, 2017 • 11 min
The New York Times’ profile of Tony Hovater, a white nationalist and Nazi sympathizer, set Twitter on fire last weekend — and not in a good way. Bob speaks with Charlie Warzel, senior technology writer at Buzzfeed, about what the story got wrong. As…
Apocalypse, Now
Nov 24, 2017 • 49 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…
Brooke Gets Mindful
Nov 21, 2017 • 27 min
If you find yourself fuming at the Thanksgiving table this week when the conversation turns political, rather than losing your cool in front of your friends and family, consider pausing and taking a deep breath. According to Robert Wright, author of Why…
The Reckoning
Nov 17, 2017 • 50 min
As allegations of sexual misconduct continue to dominate the news, a look at how we are dealing with high-profile offenders and who is being ignored. Plus, a critical reexamination of Bill Clinton’s reputation, the difficulty of processing good art made…
Rebecca Traister Says ‘the Anger Window’ Is Open
Nov 14, 2017 • 31 min
New York Magazine writer Rebecca Traister says that every new revelation about sexual harassment confirms what women have always known. In her most recent article she asks “as stories about abuse, assault, and complicity come flooding out, how do we think…
The Ecstasy of Gold
Nov 10, 2017 • 49 min
Another massive data leak has cast scrutiny on the world of the ultra-wealthy, but some doubt whether much will change. A look inside the Paradise Papers and at the secretive industry of “wealth management” that makes sure the wealthy remain rich and…
12 Months Later: Brooke and Bob on Covering Trump
Nov 8, 2017 • 21 min
It’s now a year since Election Day 2016, and a year since we gathered in our office the day after Election Day to figure out what exactly had happened. The mood was tense, and our Executive Producer Katya Rogers seized the opportunity to offer listeners…
Off the Radar
Nov 3, 2017 • 50 min
Following the announcement of the first indictments in Robert Mueller’s special investigation, the media were scrambling to put together the pieces…or else ignoring the news completely. How to make sense of the details, and the silences, in Mueller’s…
Monumental Questions
Oct 31, 2017 • 26 min
Speaking this week on Fox News, White House Chief of Staff John Kelly warned against the removal of Confederate monuments on the grounds that it would erase important history. But the statues in question have never been about preserving a neutral version…
Chokehold
Oct 27, 2017 • 50 min
Since the news about Harvey Weinstein’s sexual predations, allegations have surfaced against other powerful men. We look back at the early days in the fight against sexual harassment with the woman who coined the term. Plus: journalist Matt Taibbi…
Scary Clowns
Oct 25, 2017 • 13 min
The days are getting shorter, the leaves are changing and Halloween is on its way. And with these annual rites comes another yearly tradition: the coming of the clowns. Last year at this time, to believe the reporting, the country was overrun with…
Under the Influence
Oct 20, 2017 • 50 min
As the opioid crisis in America rages, the government struggles to react. A look at how a 2016 bill weakened the Drug Enforcement Agency and why nobody noticed. Also, how painkillers took off in America, thanks to industry-sponsored junk science; the…
Raqqa Liberated
Oct 18, 2017 • 22 min
News came this week that the US backed Syrian Democratic Forces had finally liberated the city of Raqqa from the grip of ISIS. For the past three years the people trapped inside the oppressive ISIS regime suffered daily. Yet, reports of torture and…
Losing Power
Oct 13, 2017 • 50 min
The President is once again threatening the press, but it’s unclear whether he will be able to follow through. A look at which threats to the First Amendment we should be taking seriously. Also, looking beyond the “adults in the room” trope; reporting on…
Puerto Rico’s Never-ending Emergency
Oct 10, 2017 • 13 min
David Begnaud of CBS was in Puerto Rico before Hurricane Maria hit on September 20. Then, he and his team reported for two weeks straight, posting videos on Twitter and sending dispatches to the network. He tracked the logjam of aid stuck in ports, the…
More Human Than Human
Oct 6, 2017 • 50 min
The news has been awash in reports of the rising death tolls for the Las Vegas shooting and the ongoing devastation in Puerto Rico. This week, why the media’s emphasis on the numbers distorts our understanding of tragedies. Also, a case for using the word…
After Vegas
Oct 2, 2017 • 8 min
On Sunday night, a gunman opened fire on an outdoor music festival in Las Vegas, NV. Since then, reports of deaths and injuries have been mounting, making for what’s being called “the deadliest mass shooting” in modern American history. Amid the tragedy,…
OTM live at the Texas Tribune Festival: The Journalists
Sep 30, 2017 • 25 min
Last week Brooke was at the Texas Tribune Festival, an annual event that gathers hundred of speakers and thousands of citizens to discuss big issues of the day, ranging from education to climate change to politics. She moderated a couple of sessions: One…
Insult to Injury
Sep 29, 2017 • 49 min
As Puerto Rico rations resources and seeks help from the US government, the mainland media has mostly been preoccupied with Donald Trump’s provocations towards the NFL. This week, what’s actually happening on the island (and with the NFL). Also, a look at…
Among Many Victims in Mexico, There Was One Who Never Existed
Sep 28, 2017 • 10 min
In Central Mexico, rescuers continue to sift through piles of rubble left by last week’s 7.1 magnitude earthquake. Hundreds of volunteers have joined the rescue effort. One of the most widely reported stories from the earthquake reveals how the people in…
OTM live at the Texas Tribune Festival: The Politicians
Sep 27, 2017 • 26 min
When Brooke was at the Texas Tribune festival in Austin last week, she moderated two sessions, one with reporters and one with couple of US Representatives from Texas. Democrat Beto O’Rourke of El Paso, and Republican Will Hurd of Helotes. The two - who…
Trust Issues
Sep 22, 2017 • 52 min
Facebook is under fire for allowing Russian propagandists to buy ads during the 2016 election. This week, how we do and don’t hold tech giants accountable. 1. Max Seddon [@maxseddon], Moscow correspondent for The Financial Times, on the push by the US…
What Lies Ahead For Puerto Rico
Sep 21, 2017 • 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, 2017 • 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, 2017 • 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, 2017 • 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, 2017 • 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…
This American War on Drugs
Aug 25, 2017 • 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, 2017 • 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, 2017 • 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, 2017 • 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…
Bob’s Docs Episode Two: Access
Aug 9, 2017 • 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…
Bob’s Docs Episode One: Manipulation
Aug 1, 2017 • 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…
Armchair diagnosing do’s and don’ts
Jul 26, 2017 • 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…
Not Repealed, Not Replaced
Jul 19, 2017 • 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…
In Which Brooke Explains OTM’s Secret Sauce To Jesse Thorn
Jul 12, 2017 • 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…
It’s the End of the World and We Know It
Jul 5, 2017 • 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…
“The American people elected a fighter”
Jun 29, 2017 • 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, 2017 • 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…
The Slants Win the Day!
Jun 20, 2017 • 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, 2017 • 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, 2017 • 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…
Doug Stamper Is A Very Bad Man
Jun 7, 2017 • 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…
The United States of Anxiety: America’s Allergy to Intellectualism
May 31, 2017 • 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…
Drawing New Lines
May 24, 2017 • 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…