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
Apocalypse, Now
Nov 24 • 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 • 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 • 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 • 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 • 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 • 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 • 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 • 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 • 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 • 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 • 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 • 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 • 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 • 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 • 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 • 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,…
Insult to Injury
Sep 29 • 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 • 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 • 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…
OTM live at the Texas Tribune Festival: The Journalists
Sep 27 • 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…
Trust Issues
Sep 22 • 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 • 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…
It’s Just Business
Mar 31 • 50 min
When President Trump signed an order dismantling environmental protections, the photo-op included coal miners. We consider the symbolism and reality of coal country, and what the stereotypes miss. Plus, Congress revoked a rule banning ISPs from selling…
We’ll Always Have Paris
Mar 28 • 13 min
Donald Trump made many, many pronouncements on the campaign trail, one of them was that he would “cancel the Paris climate agreement”. While he can’t cancel the Paris agreement, he can and has walked away from it with an executive order this week…
Highly Irregular
Mar 24 • 49 min
An expensive TV ad campaign has been selling Supreme Court nominee Neil Gorsuch to the American people. We speak with the group behind the effort. Plus, Trump’s accusations of wiretapping may be false, but they remind us that someone is always listening.…
Better Know a Justice
Mar 22 • 23 min
At his confirmation hearing this week, supreme court nominee Neil Gorsuch - according to the New York Times - cast himself as “a humble Westerner, reared on fly-fishing.” And yet, for all the care put into his biography, Judge Gorsuch also seemed to say……
Doesn’t Add Up
Mar 17 • 49 min
The President’s proposed budget seems to prioritize national security over pretty much everything else. We examine how the lowest-income Americans could be affected, and what’s missing from the media debate. Also, how the White House might be manipulating…
This Is Not a Safe Space
Mar 14 • 23 min
Earlier this month libertarian political scientist Charles Murray and author of the book “the Bell Curve,” derided by many as a racist take on the relationship between genetics and intelligence, was invited to speak at Middlebury College in Vermont.…
Seeing Is Believing
Mar 10 • 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.…
When the Press Sues Over “Fake News”
Mar 7 • 9 min
“Fake news.” What began as a description of utterly false articles, fabricated for political advantage or profit, was immediately co-opted by Donald Trump to attack any story or opinion piece in the mainstream media that has the temerity to correct him.…
Follow the Money
Mar 3 • 49 min
As the Trump-Russia saga continues to unfold, how the Obama administration spent its final days scrambling to preserve evidence of Russian interference in the election. Also, the old Soviet-era art of “kremlinology” is back — but does it really help us…
This Gene Was Edited By Brooke
Mar 1 • 25 min
CRISPR is a new technology that enables scientists to quickly alter the genetic makeup of the entire population of a species. It’s so powerful that just one genetically-modified mosquito could eradicate malaria. It’s so easy to do that a grad student…
Smoke & Handcuffs
Feb 24 • 49 min
With a president who would rather watch TV than receive intelligence briefings, CNN’s Brian Stelter helps unpack the symbiotic relationship between Fox News and the White House. Plus, whether Trump’s new guidelines for mass deportation of undocumented…
Leak State
Feb 17 • 49 min
Republicans decry the leakers while Democrats applaud them… oh, how the tables have turned. How to make sense of the Flynn affair and revelations about the Trump team’s communications with Russia. Plus, the steady stream of information from within the…
Out Like Flynn
Feb 14 • 8 min
In response to scandals large and small, first the Trump campaign and now the Trump White House has relied on the fact that each successive lie or outrage will be washed over by the next and the next. And its worked. Until now. Bob ponders whether this…
See You In Court
Feb 10 • 55 min
With the president and the judiciary at odds over the travel ban, the term “constitutional crisis” is ubiquitous. Why it should be deployed carefully. Plus, protests are sweeping the nation – but so are efforts to crack down on free speech. How lawmakers…
What We Know About the Border
Feb 8 • 48 min
The Trump administration’s so-called “Muslim ban” has created chaos and confusion at airports around the country, but horror stories at the border go back much further than this year. In 2014, we devoted an hour to trying to shred the veil of secrecy…
The Ties That Bind
Feb 3 • 49 min
From incendiary phone calls with world leaders to a sloppy military operation in Yemen, a look at what we’ve learned so far from “the leakiest White House in a very long time.” Also, in a week when one journalist was fired for declaring that “objectivity…
#PresidentBannon
Jan 31 • 13 min
WH chief strategist Steve Bannon is credited with influencing the president’s every move, from speeches to executive orders. This week it was announced that he will take the place of the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of staff on the National Security…
New Reality
Jan 27 • 49 min
The first week of the Trump administration was a frenzy of executive actions, falsehoods, and attacks on the media. Bob goes to the White House to talk with the press corps about how they’re handling a moving target. Plus, how Trump’s first executive…
Week One
Jan 24 • 16 min
White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer and his boss have had a rough first few days in their new jobs. Historian Martha Joynt Kumar explains that the relationship between the press secretary and the press has always been a tricky one.
Future Tense
Jan 20 • 49 min
President Trump may be the most vocal with his disdain, but he’s hardly the first president to have a rocky relationship with the press. Plus, why the White House press corps is so frustrating for everyone involved, and whether Trump’s open animosity…
“Busted” #5: Breaking News Consumer’s Handbook: Poverty in America Edition
Jan 17 • 22 min
When reporting on poverty, the media fall into familiar traps and pundits make prescriptions that disregard the facts. So, in the fifth and final installment of our series, “Busted: America’s Poverty Myths,” we present a Breaking News Consumer’s Handbook:…
“Busted” #4: When the Safety Net Doesn’t Catch You
Jan 17 • 26 min
In the fourth installment of our series ”Busted: America’s Poverty Myths,” we examine the strengths and shortcomings of our nation’s safety net. Government assistance does help lift millions out of poverty each year — indeed, without it, poverty would be…
“Busted” #3: Rags to Riches
Jan 17 • 32 min
In the third installment of our series, ”Busted: America’s Poverty Myths,” we take on one of our country’s most fundamental notions: that America is a land of equal opportunity and upward mobility for all. And we ask why, in spite of a wealth of evidence…
“Busted” #2: Who Deserves To Be Poor?
Jan 17 • 40 min
In the second installment of our series on poverty myths, we trace the history of welfare in America, from aid to widows after the Civil War to Lyndon Johnson’s War on Poverty to Bill Clinton’s pledge to ”end welfare as we know it.” With the help of Kathy…
“Busted” #1: The Poverty Tour
Jan 17 • 23 min
Today, more than 45 million Americans live in poverty. The problem has been addressed countless times since the nation’s founding, but it persists, and for the poorest among us, it gets worse. America has not been able to find its way to a sustainable…
The Game Has Changed
Jan 13 • 49 min
As tensions between the press and the president-elect continue to mount, a look at why some news outlets chose to publish a salacious but unverified set of allegations about Donald Trump. Plus, how the rules of journalism may change in the Era of Trump…
January Surprise
Jan 11 • 21 min
For weeks now, journalists have been aware of a document circulating among top officials and the media; it alleges among other things, that Russia has compromising (Kompromat) information on President Elect Donald Trump. But it wasn’t until a chain of…
No End In Sight
Jan 6 • 50 min
British journalist John Cantlie has been a prisoner of ISIS for more than four years. Throughout his captivity, he’s been forced to act as a sort of warped foreign correspondent, extolling the virtues of the group in propaganda videos. With every…
To Thine Own Self Be True
Dec 30, 2016 • 51 min
It’s been four hundred years since the death of William Shakespeare, and the Bard is as popular as ever… and just as mysterious. For centuries, a war has raged over the question: who is Shakespeare? We explore how the answer has evolved through the ages,…
Donald Trump is not Hitler
Dec 28, 2016 • 19 min
The Man in the High Castle imagines a world in which the Nazi’s won WWII. James Poniewozik wrote about the show’s (unintentional) parallels with today’s political reality.
Hurry Up!
Dec 23, 2016 • 51 min
None of us know what Donald Trump will do once he becomes President Trump. What we do know is what he has said he wants to do and what powers he will have, should he choose to act. That’s why activists are urging President Obama to do all that he can in…
Michigan’s Muckraker
Dec 20, 2016 • 11 min
This week four more officials were charged in the Flint, Michigan water crisis, bringing the total to charged to 13. But the story initially unfolded largely without national attention. State officials denied and dismissed claims that city water was…
Spy vs. Spy
Dec 16, 2016 • 50 min
The saga over Russian interference in the election has been marked by secrecy, rumor, and contradictory evidence. We try to bring some clarity to a cloudy narrative. Also, the CIA says Russian hackers deliberately helped Donald Trump win the election but…
The Art of the Follow-Up
Dec 13, 2016 • 17 min
Recently CNN’s Jake Tapper asked VPEOTUS Mike Pence the same question over and over again, hoping for an answer. Bob spoke to Tapper back in June about the art of the follow-up.
Imagine That
Dec 9, 2016 • 50 min
The Justice Department just vastly expanded the government’s power to hack into your devices… but you probably haven’t heard about it. We examine how this change flew under the radar, and why it could be dangerous. Also, a growing threat to free speech:…
The Mistrial of Michael Slager
Dec 7, 2016 • 19 min
After a mistrial this week in the case of Michael Slager, the police officer caught on camera shooting Walter Scott in the back as he ran away, we revisit two interviews we did this summer. Patrisse Cullors is the co-founder of Black Lives Matter and…
Normalize This!
Dec 2, 2016 • 50 min
We devote this hour to a question put to us pretty much daily since election day: How to cover President Trump? First, we ask the AP, Univision, NPR, USA Today, and other news outlets about how they are defining a relationship with a president-elect who…
How (NOT) to Cover Cuba!
Nov 29, 2016 • 13 min
In 1957, Fidel Castro was believed to be dead — until New York Times writer Herbert L. Matthews conducted an interview with Castro in the Cuban jungle. Matthews’ portrayal of a romantic figure and a promising leader was trusted, until Castro revealed…
Ghosts
Nov 25, 2016 • 50 min
This election season, the media frequently looked to history in an attempt to explain the rise of Donald Trump. We consider how historical parallels don’t always serve us well. Plus, revisiting a notorious murder that the press got wrong; the long reach…
Thanks for Everything, Bing
Nov 23, 2016 • 9 min
A few years ago, Brooke spoke with the writer Paul Ford about the remarkable connection between Bing Crosby, magnetic tape, Nazi technology, and the computer hard drive. We’re putting it down the podcast feed again this week, just before the Thanksgiving…
Unreal
Nov 18, 2016 • 50 min
In the months leading up to the election, some fake news stories generated more engagement on Facebook than real news stories. We consider the landscape of misinformation and how to separate truth from fiction. Plus: Steve Bannon, Trump’s chief…
When Real Police Shootings Look Nothing Like The Movies
Nov 16, 2016 • 13 min
According to The Washington Post, more than 800 people have been shot and killed by police officers in the United States this year. As videos of many of these shootings— especially ones depicting confrontations between police officers and black men— go…
Wrong Number
Nov 11, 2016 • 50 min
The press didn’t see it coming. Or did they? This week, we examine the role of data – and delusion – in this election. Nate Silver reflects on the promise and pitfalls of polling, and Zachary Karabell discusses how financial indicators gloss over the…
Now What?
Nov 9, 2016 • 17 min
It’s the morning after in the offices of On the Media. Usually editorial meetings take place in Brooke’s office with Bob dialed in on the conference phone. This week we did it in the studio so you can hear the hosts talk about how they are feeling and how…
On Shaky Ground
Nov 4, 2016 • 50 min
The months-long protest against the North Dakota Access Pipeline finally received mainstream attention this week after a misdirection campaign on Facebook, but to what end? Plus, making sense of what you’ve been told about Russia’s role in the election;…
Debunking the AIDS “Patient Zero” Myth
Nov 2, 2016 • 10 min
One of the most enduring myths of HIV/AIDS history has finally been laid to rest. The so-called “patient zero,” a Canadian flight attendant named Gaétan Dugas, was once blamed for igniting the entire AIDS epidemic in America. Media outlets fixated on his…
Poor Judgment
Oct 28, 2016 • 50 min
The Trump camp is pointing to ”oversampling” in the polls as the latest sign that the election is rigged against him. But the pollsters say that’s not how polling works. FiveThirtyEight helps separate the conspiratorial from the commonplace in election…
FiveThirtyEight presents: The Perot Condundrum
Oct 25, 2016 • 40 min
Ever since his 1992 dark horse candidacy captured nearly 19% of the popular vote, there have been arguments over the real role of Ross Perot. Was he a spoiler candidate, stealing the election from Bush? Did he de-legitimize Clinton’s victory by keeping…
The System Is Rigged
Oct 21, 2016 • 50 min
By now you know that Donald Trump likes to claim that the media, the Hillary Clinton campaign, and dead voters are among those rigging the election against him. But he’s not the only politician during this campaign to claim the system is manipulated to…