Podcast

On the Media

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’s big stories and unravel hidden political narratives in everything we read, watch and hear. WNYC Studios is a listener-supported producer of other leading podcasts including Radiolab, Snap Judgment, Death, Sex & Money, Nancy and Here’s th...more

Episodes

  • Joe Rogan: Debate Moderator?

    Sep 16 2020

    Earlier this year we aired a profile of Joe Rogan. The unbelievably popular podcast host was in the headlines because then-presidential candidate Bernie Sanders had gone on his show — resulting in a kerfuffle in the progressive camp, because of Rogans misogyny and racism. He's back in the headlines again this week after Trump tweeted that he would gladly participate in a debate hosted by Rogan. The fact that Joe Rogan wields so much influence is itself a kind of a head-scratcher for many coastal...more

  • What To Expect When You’re Electing

    Sep 11 2020

    Voters looking for a quick resolution this November might have to wait longer than usual to learn who won the presidency. On this week’s On the Media, a look at what we might expect as election night approaches. Plus, lessons on electoral chaos from presidential contests past. And, how QAnon is moving from the web to the streets. 1. Walter Shapiro [@MrWalterShapiro], fellow at the Brennan Center, on why TV news outlets need to be more comfortable with uncertainty on election night. Listen. 2. Re...more

  • OTM presents - Blindspot: The Road to 9/11

    Sep 09 2020

    Every now and then we like to feature the work of our colleagues here at our producing station, WNYC. This week we want to introduce you to a new podcast a co-production of HISTORY and WNYC hosted by reporter, Jim O'Grady. Blindspot: Road to 9/11 is an eight part series that uses the voices of U.S. government and intelligence officials, national security experts, reporters, informants, and associates of the terrorists to tell the little-known story of the lead up to the events of September 11th ...more

  • Armed and Dangerous

    Sep 04 2020

    Armed right-wingers are stoking violence in cities across the country. On this week’s On the Media, a look at the origins of the American militia movement. Plus, as things heat up, Facebook is fanning the flames. And, in the face of an incendiary headline from the Kenosha News, a digital editor resigns. 1. John Temple [@johntemplebooks], author of Up in Arms: How the Bundy Family Hijacked Public Lands, Outfoxed the Federal Government, and Ignited America’s Patriot Movement, on the evolution of r...more

  • The Urban Exodus That Wasn't

    Sep 02 2020

    As the president continues his verbal assault on America's urban centers, presenting nightmare scenarios of what will happen to the suburbs absent his protection, the story of a pandemic-induced mass migration from cities has proliferated in the media: families fleeing increasingly hellish virus-infested urban wastelands, making their way into the safe, idyllic suburbs where bluebirds sing, kids roam free and there’s a Mattress Firm in every strip mall.  It all makes so much sense. But it's not ...more

  • Bizarro World

    Aug 28 2020

    At the Republican National Convention, Trump advisor Larry Kudlow said the pandemic “was awful.” On this week’s On the Media, why some politicians and educators are using the past tense to describe an active threat. Plus, how COVID could prompt long-term changes to American higher ed. 1. James Fallows [@JamesFallows] on the contrasting spectacles of this year's virtual Democratic and Republican National Conventions. Listen. 2. Scott Galloway [@profgalloway], professor of marketing at NYU and ho...more

  • With #SaveTheChildren Rallies, QAnon Sneaks Into The Offline World

    Aug 26 2020

    On Saturday, more than 200 cities from Spokane to Scranton saw modest rallies for a cause so pure, so unifying, that who in their right mind wouldn’t want to join in? "Save the children" was the chant and child trafficking the scourge. But lately it is a movement being hijacked from within, which is just the latest instance of the QAnon conspiracy theory spilling out of its online domain. This we know from reporting by NBC News investigative reporter Brandy Zadrozny, along with reporter Ben Coll...more

  • Don't Fall For It

    Aug 21 2020

    Recently, the president threatened the post office — and with it, the November elections. On this week's On The Media, a look at how decades of cuts to the mail system led to this emergency. Plus, the “birther” lie reared its ugly head once more — but this time, journalists were ready for it. And, the so-called "rising stars" of the Republican Party. 1. Alex Shephard [@alex_shephard], staff writer at the New Republic, on the conservative tropes often employed by journalists covering the public s...more

  • The Covid Conspiracy Boom on Facebook

    Aug 19 2020

    During the COVID-19 pandemic, Facebook has taken a public stance against bogus health claims that discourage people from taking proper precautions against the virus. The company even gave the World Health Organization free advertising to help fight misinformation. But research from Avaaz, a global non-profit that works to protect democracies from disinformation on social media, shows that global health misinformation accumulated an estimated 3.8 billion views on Facebook in the past year. The co...more

  • Apocalypse Now

    Aug 14 2020

    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 Southern Reach Trilogy and Borne, on writing about the relationships between people and nature. 2. Claire Vaye Watkins @clairevaye talks about Gold Fame Citrus, her work of speculative fiction in which an enormous sand dune threatens to engulf the so...more

  • How Close is the End?

    Aug 12 2020

    In this episode (which first aired in January), Brooke talks to journalist and devoted amateur historian Dan Carlin, the creator of the podcast, Hardcore History, and the author of a new book The End is Always Near: Apocalyptic Moments, from the Bronze Age Collapse to Nuclear Near Misses about how history treats apocalypse. Carlin explores what can seem impossible to us: that we might suffer the same fate that all previous eras did.

  • "A Kind of Permanent Battle"

    Aug 07 2020

    As we approach November’s contentious presidential election, 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 future. On the Media producer Leah Feder reports. 1. Anne Applebaum [@anneapplebaum] on the conspiracy theories around a 2010 plane crash that redrew lines in Polish politics. Listen. 2. Pawel Machcewicz on the Law & Justice par...more

  • Making Sense of 'Cancel Culture'

    Aug 05 2020

    There’s a standard way the conversation on "cancel culture" goes: on the one side, male comedians and right-wingers saying cancel culture is out of control, you can't say anything anymore without getting dragged. On the other, progressive think piece writers saying cancel culture is blown way out of proportion, and is really just powerful people finally being held accountable for their actions. But according to YouTuber Natalie Wynn, creator of the channel ContraPoints, neither of these argument...more

  • Break Your Silence

    Jul 31 2020

    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 the nation’s largest police force. Plus, how America's most famous cop-whistleblower views the present moment. And, the Black nationalist origins of Justice Clarence Thomas’s legal thinking. 1. Eric Umansky [@ericuman], deputy managing editor at P...more

  • Why is Trump’s Campaign Suing a Small TV Station in Wisconsin?

    Jul 29 2020

    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 country’s most prominent news organizations: the New York Times, the Washington Post and CNN. Then it filed another suit against a somewhat lower-profile news organization: northern Wisconsin’s WJFW-TV, which serves the 134th-largest market in the ...more

  • If You Build It...

    Jul 24 2020

    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 environment — from the disability rights movement. And, a conversation about the new documentary "Crip Camp" and the history of the disability rights movement. 1. Kirk Savage, professor of history of art and architecture at University of Pittsburgh, o...more

  • The Lincoln Project Is Sorry About All That

    Jul 23 2020

    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 that are generally skeptical of the president. Those mainstream media milieus have showed precious little skepticism, though, of the project itself. The president’s defenders on Fox have provided some critical coverage, but one of the few exampl...more

  • "This is Fine"

    Jul 17 2020

    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 conspiracy theorists into mainstream politics. 1. David Roberts [@drvox], staff writer at Vox.com, on how "shifting baselines syndrome" clouds our perspective on climate chaos. Listen. 2. Sarah Kliff [@sarahkliff], investigative reporter at the New Yo...more

  • Sorry Not Sorry

    Jul 15 2020

    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 of not wishing to be associated with lies and hate speech. Oh, also, his head writer Blake Neff, was forced out after his explicitly racist and misogynist social media posts were unmasked online. And now Tucker is off the show for two weeks, as...more

  • 40 Acres

    Jul 10 2020

    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. That was a promise broken almost immediately. Later, there was the Great Migration, in which millions of African Americans fled north, where governments, lenders, and white neighbors would never let them own their land and build their own wealth...more

  • Who Is Lady Liberty, And What Does She Want?

    Jul 08 2020

    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 its message about the monument in New York Harbor. Last year, Acting Citizenship and Immigration Services Director Ken Cuccinelli said on NPR’s Morning Edition, "Give me your tired and your poor who can stand on their own two feet and will not bec...more

  • The Worst Thing We've Ever Done

    Jul 03 2020

    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 The Legacy Museum and the National Memorial for Peace and Justice, a new museum and memorial created by the Equal Justice Initiative that aim to bring America’s history of segregation and racial terror to the forefront. 1. Brooke talks to the Eq...more

  • United States of Conspiracy

    Jul 01 2020

    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. One Twitter thread went mega-viral, conjecturing: “My neighbors and I believe that this is part of a coordinated attack on Black and Brown communities by government forces. [...] It’s meant to sound like a war zone because a war zone is what it’s ...more

  • Your Lying Eyes

    Jun 26 2020

    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 Hempowicz [@lizhempowicz] of the Project on Government Oversight on the breakdown of the accountability state under President Trump. Listen. 2. Eric Boehlert [@EricBoehlert] on what stories that frame cops as victims teach us about the relationshi...more

  • "Abstinence-Only" Coronavirus Guidance Won't Save Us

    Jun 25 2020

    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 way to prevent illness is to eliminate contact with all possible vectors. Still, that advice was impossible to heed perfectly and indefinitely, and people almost immediately began taking risks to fulfill their basic wants and needs. Unfortunate...more

  • The Undertow

    Jun 19 2020

    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 current social uprisings fit into a cycle of social movements. Then, how the messiness of protests can be easily forgotten. Plus, efforts to remember one of the single worst incidents of racist violence in American history. 1. Caitlin Rivers [@cmye...more

  • The Military Stands Up To Trump

    Jun 18 2020

    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 his role in enabling the June 1st incident. Secretary of Defense Mark Esper also spoke out, undercutting the president's apparent desire to use the Insurrection Act to quell protests across the country. And just days before Trump’s commencement...more

  • The Milkshake Duck-ing of Bon Appetit

    Jun 17 2020

    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, we submit, is the so-called Food Media — or at least its most prominent avatar, Bon Appetit. Adam Rapoport resigned last Monday after weeks of furious attention to systemic racial inequality nation-wide, and after a month of similar scrutiny with...more

  • It's Going Down

    Jun 12 2020

    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 police departments protect abusive cops. And, the case for canceling movies and TV shows with police protagonists. Then, the story of a small town that prepared to go to war with imaginary Antifa hordes.  1. Amna Akbar [orangebegum], law professo...more

  • All The Opinion That's Fit To Print?

    Jun 10 2020

    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 invite conservative writers who truly articulated Trump's views to readers would mean inviting a strain of authoritarianism and illiberalism that would never actually be welcome in its opinion pages. Instead, they invite relatively palatable co...more

  • No Justice, No Peace

    Jun 05 2020

    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 criminal justice policy decisions brought us to this boiling point. Plus, are human beings, against all odds, actually pretty decent?  1. Karen Attiah [@KarenAttiah], The Washington Post Global Opinions Editor, on how our media would cover American ...more

  • Trump and the Christian Persecution Complex

    Jun 03 2020

    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 under siege and the president is the defender of the faith. Never mind the fact that peaceful protesters, clergy among them, were driven from the area minutes before with tear gas to make way for the photoshoot. The narrative of Christianity under a...more

  • Boiling Point

    May 29 2020

    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 entitlement during the pandemic. Plus: how do we get to a better place? And, Bob examines Twitter's efforts to address Trump's use of the platform. 1. Apryl Williams [@AprylW] of the University of Michigan examines the Karen meme and what it tells...more

  • Chase Woodruff is angry and he thinks you should be too

    May 27 2020

    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 of data analysis to interpret the numbers we’re bombarded with.  Chase Woodruff, a journalist who was recently laid off from his alt-weekly job in Denver, Colorado thinks that’s all fine...but not enough. What’s missing from the media’s content c...more

  • Mourning in America

    May 22 2020

    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 future generations tell the story of our chaotic moment. Plus, why stifled press coverage may have erased the 1918 flu from our collective memory.  1. Terry Parris Jr. [@terryparrisjr], engagement editor at THE CITY, on the importance and challenge o...more

  • Brooke speaks with "Mrs. America" creator Dahvi Waller

    May 20 2020

    "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, about what drew her to the era and what lessons she takes from that contentious decade.     

  • Communication Breakdown

    May 15 2020

    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 what we can do about them.  1. Phil McCausland [@PhilMcCausland], NBC News reporter, on how, absent federal data and directives about coronavirus, civilians in the American heartland are being left largely in the dark about the severity of their c...more

  • Are Online Courts Less Fair?

    May 13 2020

    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 — seems to be going well. On May 12, the public was able to tune in to hear arguments about whether or not the president's tax returns should be released. Advocates for online courts cite low costs and efficiency. But in some cases, online courts...more

  • No News Is Bad News

    May 08 2020

    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 On The Media: the local news business, at the intersection of transformation and annihilation. 1. Penny Abernathy [@businessofnews], Knight Chair in Journalism and Digital Media Economics at the University of North Carolina, on America's "local n...more

  • Waiting For a Game-Changer

    May 06 2020

    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 cleared by the FDA this week to treat severely ill Covid-19 patients, despite limited preliminary results from a handful of clinical trials. Some in the media initially touted the drug as a potential miracle cure. But as the mounting pressure to co...more

  • Open Season

    May 01 2020

    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. Plus, fringe groups are calling to reopen the economy early — but what does that even mean? 1. Rebecca Traister [@rtraister], writer-at-large at New York Magazine and The Cut, on who will have to answer for Joe Biden. Listen. 2. Emma Grey Ellis [...more

  • The Art of Disastertising

    Apr 29 2020

    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 their goods and services relevant. Another trend? Lots of somber piano music.  Despite the fact that most people are stuck at home watching Netflix, advertisers are still vying for their bucks — promising that consumers can buy what they’re selling...more

  • On Matters of Time and Space

    Apr 24 2020

    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 conditions. On this week's On the Media, we explore what gets lost in conversations about urban density, prisons and the climate amid coronavirus. Plus, what the history of timekeeping can teach us about our current disorientation. 1. Sam Kling ...more

  • How The Environment Got Political

    Apr 22 2020

    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 remaining programs aimed at curbing climate change. Earlier this month, as Americans were transfixed by the pandemic, EPA director (and former coal lobbyist) Andrew Wheeler announced that coal- and oil-fired power plants would no longer need to com...more

  • Model Behavior

    Apr 17 2020

    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 the White House briefing room and beyond. Plus, a peek inside the thorny world of infectious disease modeling. 1. McKay Coppins [@mckaycoppins], staff writer at The Atlantic, on the latest pivots in the Trump administration's ever-evolving "dis...more

  • Virtual Worship Is Older Than You Think

    Apr 15 2020

    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 Jenkins at Religion News Service is tracking which states have religious exemptions from their stay-at-home orders on a map you can find here.)  Samuel Boyd is assistant professor of Religious Studies and Jewish Studies at the University of Col...more

  • Blindsided

    Apr 10 2020

    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 e-sports, how broadcasters are adapting their playbooks to suit the moment. Don’t miss On The Media from WNYC Studios. 1. Alexis Madrigal [@alexismadrigal], staff writer at The Atlantic, tells us why the federal government's release of data has be...more

  • How Hydroxychloroquine Became A Thing

    Apr 08 2020

    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? Julia Carrie Wong is a reporter for The Guardian who has traced how a misleading, flawed study from France has become a widely-cited piece of evidence by media personalities on Fox and elsewhere. In this podcast extra, she explains what's deeply wr...more

  • War, What Is It Good For?

    Apr 03 2020

    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 often, aren’t just like us.  1. Jeet Heer [@HeerJeet], correspondent at The Nation, explains why treating the pandemic like a war might benefit essential workers on the frontline. Listen. 2. Nicholas Mulder [@njtmulder], historian at Cornell Un...more

  • We Live On Zoom Now – And That Might Be a Problem

    Apr 02 2020

    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 in one location: our computers. And often, over an app called Zoom. A piece of software that until recently was mostly used for business-to-business conversations, Zoom has taken over lives... and, given the company's track record of misrepresen...more

  • Playing The Hero

    Mar 27 2020

    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 epidemiology. And, how one watchdog journalist has won paid sick leave for thousands of workers during the pandemic.  1. Bob [@bobosphere] on the challenges of covering the pandemic amidst a swirl of political messaging. Listen.  2. Ivan Oransky [...more

  • When Coronavirus Isn't The Only Crisis

    Mar 25 2020

    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 positive for Covid-19. The next day, hundreds of Israelis set up a convoy of cars to demonstrate outside the Knesset, the Israeli parliament (since mass gatherings are prohibited, to slow the spread of the virus). Protestors said that the surveillance...more

  • Bracing for Impact

    Mar 20 2020

    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 preppers. Plus, how a different disaster — Hurricane Katrina — revealed inconsistencies in how we care for one another in times of crisis.  1. As the pandemic continues to disrupt our communities and daily routines, the very passage of time feels disto...more

  • Can Eviction Moratoriums Stop The Bleeding?

    Mar 18 2020

    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 coronavirus. In this podcast extra, Brooke and Matthew Desmond (Evicted author and producing partner of our series, The Scarlet E: Unmasking America's Eviction Crisis) discuss whether the policy changes we've seen can avert a total housing catastrophe...more

  • Civilization, Interrupted

    Mar 13 2020

    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.  McKay Coppins [@mckaycoppins], staff writer at The Atlantic, on right-wing media's coronavirus misinformation campaign. Listen. 2. Rachel Donadio [@RachelDonadio], European politics and culture reporter for The Atlantic, on how the Italian media ...more

  • A Unique Petri Dish

    Mar 12 2020

    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 reports have the CFR for this disease at 2 to 3 percent — but Faust writes that the actual numbers could in fact be much lower. Faust analyzes the "unique petri dish" that is the Diamond Princess cruise ship, and explains that, of the 3,711 peo...more

  • Why Nonvoters Choose to Opt Out

    Mar 11 2020

    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 limited here in the US. And even under the best of circumstances, over 40 percent of American citizens don’t vote. In fact, in November 2016, around 100 million eligible voters passed on the opportunity. That’s more people who voted for either H...more

  • Our Bodies, Ourselves

    Mar 06 2020

    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 predicted the 2018 midterms thinks Democrats will beat Trump in 2020. And, how the White House is seeking to re-write international norms about “women’s health,” “women’s rights,” and “gender equality” by avoiding those very words. 1. Jon Cohen [@scie...more

  • Covering a Pandemic When Institutions Go Dark

    Mar 04 2020

    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 with the Center for Disease Control and Prevention. But over the past week, the CDC telebriefings have shifted — in tone, substance and frequency. Gothamist senior editor Elizabeth Kim has listened in on the CDC coronavirus press briefings since ...more

  • Black Swans

    Feb 28 2020

    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 ruptured body politic. Plus, amid so much focus on electability, a look at the millions of voters who swing from voting “blue” to simply not voting at all. 1. Journalist [@Laurie_Garrett] on the nature of contagions and how a nation of so-called “e...more

  • MSNBC Is Being Very, Very Calm About Bernie Sanders

    Feb 26 2020

    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 diverse state in the race thus far. Since the AP was able to call the race early in the day, the punditry had all the time they needed to speak to the moment. But, Columbia Journalism Review's Jon Allsop observed, despite the fact that Sanders's wi...more

  • Money, Power, Glory

    Feb 21 2020

    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 record of the Trump administration. 1. Michael Grynbaum [@grynbaum], media correspondent for The New York Times, and Kathy Kiely [@kathykiely], former news director at Bloomberg Politics and journalism professor at University of Missouri Schoo...more

  • Corporations Were Always People

    Feb 19 2020

    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 the Hobby Lobby decision, giving business owners the right to flout federal law based on their religious beliefs. To many Americans, particularly on the left, both rulings were bizarre and ominous expansions of corporate rights. But, if you think...more

  • Norm!

    Feb 14 2020

    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 builds a new bulwark against disclosure and transparency. And, a family migration story three decades in the making.  1. Dahlia Lithwick, writer for Slate, on what the latest Dept. of Justice news tells us about the fragility of American justice...more

  • OTM Presents: U.S. of Anxiety's "40 Acres in Mississippi"

    Feb 12 2020

    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 pretty unlikely, so our WNYC colleague Kai Wright, host of The United States of Anxiety, went on a search for the truth and uncovered a story about an old and fundamental question in American politics, one at the center of the current election: Who...more

  • Picture-Perfect Democracy

    Feb 07 2020

    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 examine the power struggle at the heart of the upcoming contest.  1. Galen Druke [@galendruke] on the history of America's unique primary system. Listen. 2. Stranglehold reporters Jack Rodolico [@JackRodolico], Lauren Chooljian [@laurenchooljian],...more

  • How Rush Limbaugh Paved The Way For Trump

    Feb 06 2020

    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 Limbaugh's ascent to Republican royalty. By awarding him the Presidential Medal of Freedom, Trump inducted Limbaugh into a gilded class of American history, featuring Norman Rockwell, Maya Angelou, Thurgood Marshall, and Martin Luther King Jr. Acco...more

  • Cancel This!

    Jan 31 2020

    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 spotlight on Joe Rogan, and has renewed the debate over "cancel culture." And, the impeachment proceedings continue to move toward a conclusion.  1. Brooke [@OTMBrooke] reflects on the impeachment proceedings as they come to an anti-climactic ending...more

  • OTM presents: Here's the Thing with Megan Twohey and Jodi Kantor

    Jan 29 2020

    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 scoop -- they cultivated and cajoled sources ranging from the Weinsteins’ accountant to Ashley Judd.  The article that emerged on October 5th, 2017, was a level-headed and impeccably sourced exposé, whose effects continue to be felt around the ...more

  • Optical Delusion

    Jan 24 2020

    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 Rico, and why the senate impeachment trial feels so predictable.  1. Bob Garfield [@Bobosphere] on the present moment in the impeachment trial. Listen. 2. Lois Beckett [@loisbeckett], reporter at the Guardian, and OTM producer Micah Loewinger [...more

  • The Alleged Crimes of Greenwald

    Jan 22 2020

    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 freedom advocates immediately decried the charges as a dangerous blow to basic press freedoms; Greenwald himself told Washington Post cybersecurity reporter Joseph Marks, "Governments [are] figuring out how they can criminalize journalism based on la...more

  • Family Feud

    Jan 17 2020

    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 for civic participation. And, the origins of two oligarchic dynasties: the Trumps and the Kushners. 1. Rebecca Traister [@rtraister], writer for New York Magazine, on the inevitability of the questions facing women in politics. Listen. 2. Eitan...more

  • Climate Change, News Corp, and the Australian Fires

    Jan 15 2020

    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 weeks — if not months.  But to read or watch or listen to the conservative press in Australia is to get an altogether different story: that it's arson, not climate change, that's mainly responsible for the deaths of nearly 30 humans and an esti...more

  • Hurtling Toward Catastrophe

    Jan 10 2020

    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 geopolitical crisis through memes. And, how apocalyptic thinking is a near-constant through history.  1. Nathan Robinson [@NathanJRobinson], editor of Current Affairs, on the most suspect tropes in war coverage. Listen. 2. Lee Fang [@lhfang], inve...more

  • The Weinstein Trial Begins

    Jan 08 2020

    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 New Yorker. Even as he prepares to stand trial in New York, sexual assault charges were filed against him in Los Angeles. To date, over eighty women in the film industry have accused him of rape and sexual assault and abuse. Weinstein claims they...more

  • Can Restorative Justice Save The Internet?

    Jan 03 2020

    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 meaningful resolution and rehabilitation. Meanwhile, harassment and bullying are plaguing our online lives, but social media companies seem fresh out of solutions. OTM brings you the story of a reporter and a researcher who teamed up to test whethe...more

  • Ken Kesey's Acid Quest

    Jan 01 2020

    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 19: the day in 1943, when Swiss scientist Albert Hofmann rode his bike home from work after dosing himself with his lab concoction, lysergic acid diethylamide, or LSD. The first acid trip. Hofmann’s wobbly ride is what launches us into an explorat...more

  • Hindsight Is 2019

    Dec 27 2019

    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 relief. Along the way, we've examined forces, deconstructed narratives, and found the racist core at the heart of so much of the American project. And as we've come to look differently at the world, we've come to look differently at ourselves. Wit...more

  • The Hidden Truths of Hanukkah

    Dec 25 2019

    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 time. Ostensibly, the holiday is a celebration of a victory against an oppressive Greek regime in Palestine over two thousand years ago, the miracle of oil that lit Jerusalem's holy temple for 8 days and nights, and the perseverance of the Jewish...more

  • Let The Record Show

    Dec 20 2019

    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 "Afghanistan Papers" scoop. Plus, the story of an unprecedented trove of TV news history, and the media activist who made it possible. 1. Jon Allsop [@Jon_Allsop], writer for Columbia Journalism Review, on the impeachment coverage that's been less-than-per...more

  • Sons of the Soil

    Dec 18 2019

    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 soon as it was introduced. The law fails to mention Muslim minorities who face persecution in their own countries, such as the Rohingyas in Myanmar. Critics see it as the latest step in the Hindu nationalist government’s steady march toward a Hind...more

  • Body of Law: Beyond Roe

    Dec 13 2019

    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 was decided in 1973, a majority — roughly 70 percent — have consistently said they want Roe upheld, albeit with some restrictions on legal abortion. But what do we really know about Roe? Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg has often said she wishes it h...more

  • The "Pentagon Papers" Of Our Time

    Dec 11 2019

    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 interviews — along with a new tranche of memos written by the former Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld — revealed the extent to which American leaders misled the public on their efforts to hunt down Osama Bin Laden, rout the Taliban, expel Al Qaeda, ...more

  • The Dead Consensus

    Dec 06 2019

    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 intellectuals means for the future of conservatism. 1. Brenda Wineapple, author of The Impeachers, on the acrimonious trial of Andrew Johnson. Listen. 2. Matthew Sitman [@MatthewSitman], co-host of the Know Your Enemy podcast, on the rise of illibe...more

  • Tribalism, Anger and the State of Our Politics

    Dec 04 2019

    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 unbridgeable. Indeed, it is hard to believe that only 70 years ago, the country was deemed by political scientists to be not polarized enough. In 1950, the American Political Science Association put out a report that suggested that the parties wer...more

  • We Need To Talk About Poland

    Nov 29 2019

    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 future. On the Media producer Leah Feder reports. 1. Anne Applebaum [@anneapplebaum] on the conspiracy theories around a 2010 plane crash that redrew lines in Polish politics. Listen. 2. Pawel Machcewicz on the Law & Justice party's takeover o...more

  • PURPLE EPISODE 4: Media to the Rescue?

    Nov 26 2019

    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 loss of trust, faith and devotion by Americans for American democracy — and what to do about it. Bob is one of the Purple Project organizers. In episode four, Bob examines the media’s responsibility for instilling devotion, or at least perspective...more

  • PURPLE EPISODE 3: Let’s Not Discount Reality

    Nov 25 2019

    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 himself is one of the Purple Project organizers. We recommend that you listen to this four-part mini-series in order. In this third episode he explores some of the causes for disaffection. One of the reasons so many Americans have lost trust and f...more

  • PURPLE EPISODE 2: “Low Information, High Misinformation Voters"

    Nov 24 2019

    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 loss of trust, faith and devotion by Americans for American democracy –– and what to do about it. Bob is one of the Purple Project organizers. The Pizzagate pedophile conspiracy, crisis actors at Sandy Hook, the flat Earthers...and on and on. Abso...more

  • PURPLE EPISODE 1: “Is Democracy up for grabs?”

    Nov 23 2019

    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 loss of trust, faith and devotion by Americans for American democracy -- and what to do about it. Bob is one of the Purple Project organizers. Democracy is in trouble. Not necessarily because of our current political mayhem, or even because of the...more

  • The Disagreement Is The Point

    Nov 22 2019

    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 technology we trust for its clarity isn’t entirely objective, especially the algorithms that drive decisions in public and private institutions. And, how early radio engineers designed broadcast equipment to favor male voices and make women sound "shril...more

  • We Made a Lipstick For You!

    Nov 19 2019

    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 just our aesthetics, but our politics, too.  And so for this seasonal fundraising effort, we are offering something new. It was the idea of Poppy King, lipstick designer extraordinaire, whose Frog Prince lipstick was last year listed by Elle Aus...more

  • Designed to Intimidate

    Nov 15 2019

    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. 1. Nicole Hemmer [@pastpunditry], author of Messengers of the Right: Conservative Media and the Transformation of American Politics, on the false premise underlying hope for President Trump's removal. Listen. 2. John Dean [@JohnWDean] former Whi...more

  • OTM presents: Shell Shock 1919: How the Great War Changed Culture

    Nov 13 2019

    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 the first modern, “industrial” war extended far into the 20th century and even into the 21st, and changed how people saw the world and themselve...more

  • Curiouser and Curiouser

    Nov 08 2019

    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 nationalist origins of Justice Clarence Thomas’s legal thinking. 1. Paul Farhi [@farhip], Washington Post media reporter, and Mike Spies [@mikespiesnyc], ProPublica reporter, on John Solomon's role in the impeachment saga. Listen.  2. Corey Robin [...more

  • Can We Govern Ourselves?

    Nov 06 2019

    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 ourselves. It all starts to beg an uncomfortable question: in the end, can we govern ourselves? John Adams didn’t think so. He said that all political systems, whether monarchy, democracy, aristocracy, were equally prey to the brutish nature of mank...more

  • Band-Aid On A Bulletwound

    Nov 01 2019

    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 fate of the internet message board 8chan. And, Radiolab's Molly Webster digs into the right to be forgotten.  1.  Writer Quinn Norton [@quinnnorton] on how California's wildfires are caused in large part by infrastructure decays, or the "techni...more

  • OTM presents Trump Inc: All the President's Memes

    Oct 30 2019

    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 conference that attracted conspiracy theorists, where a violent video featuring a fake Trump massacring members of the media was shown. (The conference organizers say they "condemn political violence.")  Trump, Inc. was there.  So was the President’s ...more

  • When They Come For You

    Oct 25 2019

    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 trying to make a case for free expression — and for Facebook. Plus, what the TV show COPS reveals about our fascination with punishment.  1. Kate Klonick [@Klonick], assistant professor at St. John's Law School, on Mark Zuckerberg's pronouncements t...more

  • OTM presents: Impeachment Pod, the Taylor Testimony

    Oct 23 2019

    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 testimony. In it, he described "two channels of U.S. policy-making" in Ukraine, official State Department and security channels, and the "highly irregular" efforts by others in the President's circle to undermine the longstanding policy in Ukraine....more

  • Hanging In The Balance

    Oct 18 2019

    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 direct democracy that has flourished in northern Syria for the past five years. Plus: how debate moderators fail audiences when they focus on taxes. And, how reporters have negotiated dangerous conditions while reporting on the Turkish operation i...more

  • Introducing... Impeachment: A Daily Podcast

    Oct 16 2019

    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 ever more twists and turns. To help us follow the developments, Brian Lehrer — whose office here at WNYC is mere steps away from OTM HQ — has started a daily podcast: Impeachment. In this second episode of the podcast, New York Times reporter Kat...more

  • Sticks and Stones

    Oct 11 2019

    “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 speech. Plus, a prophetic philosopher predicts America 75 years after Trump. 1. Andrew Marantz [@andrewmarantz], author of Anti-Social: Online Extremists, Techno-Utopians, and the Hijacking of the American Conversation — and our guest host for th...more

  • "The Heartbeat of Wounded Knee"

    Oct 09 2019

    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, like those found in Dee Brown's best-selling Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee, only reinforce simplistic narratives of genocide, disease, and suffering. David Treuer, an Ojibwe professor of literature at the University of Southern California, offers ...more

  • A Likely Story

    Oct 04 2019

    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 impeachment drama. And, a deep dive into Ukrainian politics and the Trump connection. 1. Alex Ward [@AlexWardVox], staff writer at Vox, and Jeet Heer [@HeerJeet], national affairs correspondent at The Nation, on the conspiracies fueling Trump's policie...more

  • Go and Get Yourself a Whistle and Blow

    Oct 02 2019

    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 Zimmer, legal director for the Government Accountability Project Tom Devine, and progressive icon Ralph Nader--who "rehabilitated" the word in the 1970's--about the history of the popular epithet.

  • Nice Democracy You've Got There...

    Sep 27 2019

    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 whistle-blower protections for those in the intelligence community. And, how the Nixon impeachment makes a case for a more deliberate Trump inquiry. Don't miss... 1. Tim Naftali [@TimNaftali], historian at New York University, on what the Nixon imp...more

  • Live Streaming Truth and Reconciliation

    Sep 25 2019

    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 and disappearances of hundreds of people and it's all being live streamed on YouTube, Facebook and traditional media. Bob spoke to New York Times correspondent Julie Turkewitz, who wrote about how the process has become must-see-tv in The Gambi...more

  • Too Hot For School

    Sep 20 2019

    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 climate action. Plus, how a wave of labor strikes might be a crucial component in building momentum towards Green New Deal adoption. And, the teenage girls spreading climate awareness on Tik-Tok. 1. Jane McAlevey [@rsgexp], writer and organizer, on...more

  • OTM presents Trump Inc: The Family Business

    Sep 18 2019

    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: through bluster, boss-ism, and by ignoring the rules.

  • A Very Bitter Joke

    Sep 13 2019

    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, after four decades of progress, domestic abuse is on the rise and Senate Republicans are stymieing the Violence Against Women Act. And, Brooke visits Lady Liberty to learn about the 130-year political war over the meaning of the statue.  1. Fred K...more

  • Why Many Afghans Don't Understand 9/11

    Sep 11 2019

    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 passenger airplanes into bombs in the most deadly act of terrorism on US soil. A few weeks later, America invaded the central Asian crossroads whose history has been one of occupation. "Today we focus on Afghanistan, but the battle is broader," ...more

  • Pressure Drop

    Sep 06 2019

    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 violence coverage fails to address the root causes of the crisis.  1. David Roberts [@drvox], writer at Vox, on how the CNN climate town hall advances the conversation on climate change. 2. John Morales [@JohnMoralesNBC6], chief meteorologist at WTVJ...more

  • Remembering Les Gelb

    Sep 04 2019

    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, part of a Pulitzer Prize–winning team and finally, rounding out his career, president of the Council on Foreign Relations. He also made several memorable appearances on On the Media. Brooke remembers him this week and we revisit a conversation the...more

  • Whose Streets?

    Aug 30 2019

    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. Also, a new opera about Robert Moses and Jane Jacobs.  1. Angie Schmitt [@schmangee], national reporter at Streetsblog, on the "heartwarming" stories of Americans who walk miles and miles to work. Listen. 2. Peter Norton, professor of history at Uni...more

  • A History of Persuasion: Part 3

    Aug 28 2019

    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 cadre of engineers and executives that's small enough to rein in. This is the final installment of a three-part series from The Stakes. If you haven't heard parts one and two, start there first. In this episode, we hear from: - Alexandra Rutherford,...more

  • Empire State of Mind

    Aug 23 2019

    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 Empire: A History of the Greater United States. This is Part 2 of our series "On American Expansion." This episode originally aired April 5th, 2019.   Music: Bill Frisell - Lost Night The O’Neil Brothers - Tribute to America Eileen Alannah - Origi...more

  • A History of Persuasion: Part 2

    Aug 21 2019

    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 field of psychology called "behaviorism," the key to the link between him and James McConnell. This is part two of a three-part series from our colleagues at The Stakes. If you haven't heard part one, listen here first. In this episode, we hear fr...more

  • A Civilization As Great As Ours

    Aug 16 2019

    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 itself?  1. Producer Asthaa Chaturvedi [@Pasthaaa] examines the ways Hindu nationalists have sought to rewrite history in and outside the classroom in an effort to glorify India's Hindu past, and what this movement means for a country founded on ...more

  • A History of Persuasion: Part 1

    Aug 14 2019

    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 powers using persuasive psychological tricks. But this isn’t the first time. In this three-part series from our colleagues at The Stakes, a look at the winding story of the science of persuasion — and our collective reaction to it. In part one, ...more