Podcast

On the Media

The Peabody Award-winning On the Media podcast is your guide to examining how the media sausage is made. Host Brooke Gladstone examines 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.

Episodes

  • Handle with Care

    Aug 05 2022

    A group of climate scientists warn that the potential for humanity's mass extinction has been dangerously underexplored. On this week’s On the Media, we hear how facing our planet’s fragility could inspire hope, instead of despair, and a physicist explains how creation stories are essential for understanding our place in the universe. Luke Kemp [@LukaKemp], a Research Associate at Cambridge’s Centre for the Study of Existential Risk, on a new study that says we need to put more attention on the...more

  • Under The Table

    Aug 04 2022

    This week’s podcast extra is about podcasts, but this story has its roots in the early days of rock 'n' roll. Alan Freed was a celebrity DJ on WINS in New York, famous for helping popularize the nascent genre through the 1950s. But, unbeknownst to his listeners, record promoters were secretly bribing Freed and other popular disc jockeys across the country for extra air time for their artists — in a rampant practice known as “payola,” which eventually caught the eye of regulators. In 1960, the Fe...more

  • The Cold Shoulder

    Jul 29 2022

    Former president Donald Trump is trying to bury the January 6th committee’s findings, but his old allies aren’t helping. Meanwhile, we take a look at the governor of Florida’s polarizing press strategy, and why reporters think presidential hopefuls are no longer returning their calls.  David Folkenflik [@davidfolkenflik], media correspondent for NPR, on the resurgence of Trump-related news. Listen.  David Freedlander [@freedlander], freelance political journalist, on why he thinks Republicans...more

  • Great White Lies

    Jul 28 2022

    It's Shark Week. This year's Discovery programs boast flashy titles like Stranger Sharks, Air Jaws, Great White Serial Killer, and Rise of the Monster Hammerheads, and feature sharks writhing through murky water, their jaws clenching on dead fish bait, sharp teeth snapping at divers.  Sharks first splashed into Hollywood — and widespread infamy — with the 1975 blockbuster Jaws. It's the type of horror film that sticks with you, especially when you're on a swim at the beach and think, what's out ...more

  • In This Economy?

    Jul 22 2022

    Gas prices are coming down. Inflation is still going up. Jobs are strong, yet recession fears abound. This week, On the Media dives into the contradictory mess of money news – and what it ultimately says about us.  1. John Cassidy [@JohnCassidy], staff writer at the New Yorker, on why Americans feel gloomy about the economy, even when it isn't affecting their spending. Listen. 2. Rani Molla [@ranimolla], senior data reporter at Vox's Recode, on the data behind today's weird job market. Listen.  ...more

  • Escaping the Kremlin's Propaganda Machine

    Jul 21 2022

    This weekend marks five brutal months since Russia invaded Ukraine — with no end in sight. And in Russia, support for the war has remained high. 77% approve of Putin’s actions in Ukraine, according to a survey conducted in late May by the Levada Center, Russia’s only remaining independent pollster. The war, at least in its neatly repackaged, Kremlin-approved form, is somewhat popular amongst Russians. On March 4th, Putin signed a "fake news" law, which threatens imprisonment for any journalist w...more

  • How to Report a Cold Case

    Jul 15 2022

    In 2014, the brutal killing of John and Joyce Sheridan, a prominent couple with personal ties to three governors, shocked even the most cynical operatives. In February 2015, the Somerset prosecutor announced that John Sheridan had murdered his wife in cold blood and then killed himself. In 2017, the manner of death was updated to “undetermined.” In this episode of On the Media, hear Nancy Solomon's investigation into their brutal deaths, and the damning evidence of corruption she found at the hi...more

  • Why Reporter Nancy Solomon Chose True Crime

    Jul 13 2022

    Earlier this year, the New Jersey Attorney General opened up an investigation into the killings of John and Joyce Sheridan, a well known couple with personal ties to three governors. In 2014, they were found stabbed to death, and their home set on fire. Local police thought that John Sheridan murdered his wife and then killed himself. That was eight years ago. So why is the Attorney General revisiting the case now? Well, this year, our WNYC colleague Nancy Solomon released an investigation into ...more

  • The F-Word

    Jul 08 2022

    Early in the pandemic, weight was named a risk factor for severe covid-19. But what if the greater risk is poor medical treatment for fat people? This week, On the Media dives into the fictions, feelings, and fraught history of fat. Including how sugar and the slave trade laid the groundwork for American beauty standards.  1. Dr. Yoni Freedhoff [@YoniFreedhoff], Associate Professor of Family Medicine at University of Ottawa, on what we do and don't know about the relation of weight and the sever...more

  • Hong Kong's Rewritten Histories

    Jul 06 2022

    This fall, students in Hong Kong will learn a new version of history — one that erases the fact the region was ever a British colony. According to four history textbooks currently under development in China, Hong Kong has always been a part of China, despite over a century of British dominion. And so continues a pattern of effacing and repainting histories.   During her years as a reporter in Hong Kong, Louisa Lim, author of the new book Indelible City: Dispossession and Defiance in Hong Kong, s...more

  • Locked and Loaded

    Jul 01 2022

    The overturning of Roe v. Wade will remain the most discussed opinion of this Supreme Court term. But just a day earlier, the high court issued another monumental opinion — this one on guns. On this week's On the Media, hear why this latest ruling will send lawyers scrambling into historical archives. Plus, an inside look at Justice Clarence Thomas' unique strain of conservatism.  1.  Timothy Zick, professor of law at William and Mary Law School, about what's next in the debate over gun control,...more

  • The End of Roe in the Armed Forces

    Jun 30 2022

    As the country reels from last Friday’s decision by the Supreme Court to overturn Roe v. Wade, people, politicians, and health care providers are scrambling to figure out what’s next. But pregnancy was already an especially complicated process, full of rules and regulations, for one particular sector of the population — the military. According to a 2018 report by the U.S. Government Accountability Office, women made up just 16.5% of active-duty service members in the Department of Defense; howev...more

  • Struck From the Record

    Jun 24 2022

    This week, the Supreme Court officially struck down Roe v. Wade, overturning fifty years of legal precedent and abortion rights across the country. On this week’s On the Media, hear about the case that almost defined the abortion debate instead. Plus, the Jan 6 committee’s latest bombshell evidence of Trump’s manipulation of the justice department.  1. Alana Casanova-Burgess [@Alanallama], former OTM producer, and Jessica Glenza [@JessicaGlenza], health reporter at the Guardian, look at the case...more

  • The 'Country Queers' Who Don't Want to Flee Rural America

    Jun 23 2022

    All across the country this month, people are celebrating queer and trans pride with parades, cookouts, dances, and family gatherings. And yet the future of the community feels darker than it has in a long time. Threats from Proud Boys and elected officials seem to reinforce the idea that LGBT people cannot survive or thrive in places outside a few coastal cities. But a study from the Movement Advancement Project in 2019 revealed that at least 3 million queer people live in rural America. And ma...more

  • The Conspiracy Machine

    Jun 17 2022

    In this week's January 6th committee hearings, a documentary selling election conspiracies was laughed off by the likes of Bill Barr. But myths about a stolen election are no joke. On this week’s On the Media, hear about a pundit's efforts to revitalize and repackage The Big Lie. Plus, one man’s escape from the conspiracy theory machine.  1. Philip Bump [@pbump], national correspondent at The Washington Post, on debunking election myths made for the silver screen. Listen. 2. Nina Jankowicz [@wi...more

  • Alex Jones Doesn't Care About You

    Jun 16 2022

    Josh Owens was an InfoWars employee from 2013 to 2017. In an essay published on CNN.com this week, Owens described his deep regret over the past 5 years as he grappled with the damage his work caused. OTM reporter Micah Loewinger spoke to Owens this week about Jones' role in the dissemination of disinformation in the light of what we are learning about the January 6th insurrection. 

  • Worth a Thousand Words

    Jun 10 2022

    Gun control legislation appears doomed once again, even as Congress heard heartbreaking testimony from parents of the children killed in Uvalde. On the latest episode of On the Media, why some activists and journalists now advocate for publishing the gruesome photos of victims. Plus, how one family grappled with the brutal video of their loved one's death in prison. 1. Susie Linfield, professor of journalism at New York University, on the push to share photographs of victims, and the limited pol...more

  • The Messy Politics of Oprah and Dr. Oz

    Jun 08 2022

    Back in the before-times, when we used to go into the radio station every day, our office next-door neighbor was WNYC host Brian Lehrer. He hosts a 2 hour live radio call-in show every day from 10 to noon in New York city. In this segment from his show he examines the relationship between Dr. Oz and Oprah Winfrey. The Trump-endorsed Dr. Oz recently won the Republican Senate primary in Pennsylvania. One reason the doctor is so popular, despite the many critics who say he promotes unscientific the...more

  • When the Fog Clears

    Jun 03 2022

    This week, On the Media looks ahead to the January 6th committee hearings that will air live in primetime this month. Find out which questions reporters hope the hearings will answer — like what really happened inside the White House that day. Plus, how a lie about a suitcase full of fake ballots took on a life of its own. 1. Ilya Marritz [@ilyamarritz] and Andrea Bernstein [@AndreaBNYC], creators of the award-winning series Trump, Inc., break down why the upcoming January 6th committee hearings...more

  • How The Media Failed Amber Heard

    Jun 02 2022

    This Wednesday afternoon, in Fairfax County Circuit Court in Virginia, a jury awarded Johnny Depp $15 million in damages in libel suit against Amber Heard, and gave her $2 million in her countersuit against him. All this, over a December 2018 op-ed she wrote in The Washington Post describing herself as "a public figure representing domestic abuse." Depp’s lawyers say he was defamed by the article even though it never mentioned his name. This case, argued over six weeks before a seven-person jury...more

  • Imperfect Immunity

    May 27 2022

    As we trudge through our third year of the pandemic, what is the state of our immunity to COVID? On this week’s On the Media, hear how vaccines and reinfections interact with fast-evolving variants. Plus, why we should take the recent monkeypox outbreak seriously, but avoid panicking.1. Katherine Wu [@KatherineJWu], staff writer for The Atlantic, on building immunity three years into the pandemic. Listen. 2. David Robertson, doctoral candidate at Princeton University, on what the press got wrong...more

  • Again and Again and Again and Again (and Again)

    May 25 2022

    Last week’s show was titled “Again and Again” and it led with an essay about the then latest devastating mass shooting, in Buffalo. We combed our archives for all those people we’d spoken to in the past about the  tropes and mistakes that litter the coverage of these abominations. We didn’t gather new tape because...honestly? We’ve said it all before. And then it happened again. This time in Texas at an elementary school. August of 2019 saw another moment where 2 shooting rampages occurred withi...more

  • Again and Again

    May 20 2022

    In the wake of yet another racist mass shooting, this time in Buffalo, New York, media outlets are churning out heartbreakingly familiar stories, with the same tropes and the same helplessness. On this week's On the Media, how we've become mired in patterns and lost sight of the potential solutions. Plus, how journalists should cover the ongoing siege on democracy. Then, a deep dive into the forgotten legacy of one of America's most influential writers.   1. Brooke Gladstone [@OTMBrooke], OTM ho...more

  • Where in the World is Brooke?

    May 18 2022

    This week we're airing an interview that Brooke did while on a fellowship at the American Academy in Rome. She and her husband Fred Kaplan (author of the War Stories column in Slate), sat down with Mark Hannah, host of the podcast "None of the Above," produced by the Eurasia Group Foundation.  From the Crimean War of 1853 to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine this year, journalists, reporters, and the media have shaped the public’s understanding of war. But do the stories we read and the photos we see...more

  • Seeing Is Believing

    May 13 2022

    With Roe v Wade under threat, some politicians and media outlets are trying to turn the national conversation away from abortion and toward civility. On this week’s On the Media, how the GOP has mastered the art of setting the narrative. Plus, how moral panics surrounding dangerous TikTok trends follow a century-old pattern of blaming new technology for the deviant behavior of teenagers. 1. Paul Waldman [@paulwaldman1], opinion writer for the Washington Post, on Republicans decrying the draft op...more

  • How the Depp v. Heard Trial Became a Meme

    May 12 2022

    This week, we take a look at the latest celebrity trial to ensnare the national attention. Johnny Depp is suing Amber Heard, his ex-wife, for defamation, and she’s counter suing him for the same. Depp’s suit takes issue with an op-ed Heard wrote back in 2018 for the Washington Post in which she identifies herself as a survivor of domestic violence. She first came forward with allegations against Depp in 2016. In 2018, Depp sued British tabloid, The Sun, for defamation over headlines that accused...more

  • Crime and Punishment

    May 06 2022

    Across news outlets, crime reporting often relies on police sources and incomplete data. On this week’s show, hear how to spot bias in crime stories and what more nuanced coverage looks like. And, the struggle to protect whistleblowers calling out police abuse. Plus, the story of one powerful tabloid that has stymied bail reform for decades. 1. Laura Bennett, the co-author of ​“Freedom, Then the Press: New York Media and Bail Reform,” on how to read a crime story. Listen. 2. Matt Katz [@mattkatz...more

  • The Abortion Underground

    May 04 2022

    This week, OTM presents a story from our colleagues at The Experiment. There’s a common story about abortion in this country, that people have only two options to intentionally end a pregnancy: the clinic or the coat hanger. They can choose the safe route that’s protected by Roe v. Wade—a doctor in a legal clinic—or, if Roe is overturned, endure a dangerous back-alley abortion, symbolized by the coat hanger. But a close look at the history of abortion in this country shows that there’s much more...more

  • Ghost in the Machine

    Apr 29 2022

    After news broke that Elon Musk is likely to purchase Twitter later this year, the billionaire began sharing a controversial vision for the app. On this week’s On the Media, hear why Musk’s plan to turn Twitter into a so-called free speech platform could spiral out of control and how urban planning can make safer digital spaces. Plus, how science fiction inspired some of Silicon Valley’s most powerful men. 1. Anand Giridharadas [@AnandWrites], author of Winners Take All: The Elite Charade of Cha...more

  • Dead End

    Apr 27 2022

    On this week's podcast extra we present episode 1 of a new series from our colleague, Nancy Solomon. She’s our New Jersey specialist at WNYC and she’s got quite the tale to tell. It’s about a murder on a Jersey cul de sac that was never solved. And it involves some of the most powerful people in the state. It’s even got a waterfront land deal. It’s sort of like Chinatown meets American Hustle. It’s a seven episode podcast, and we think you’ll like it. Listen and subscribe here: https://link.chtb...more

  • Work Work Work Work Work

    Apr 22 2022

    Checking in on the so-called Great Resignation. On this week’s On The Media, hear why the trend is a logical response to the cult of work. Plus, when technology makes our jobs harder, maybe being a 'luddite' isn't such a bad thing.  1. Sarah Jaffe [@sarahljaffe], journalist and author of Work Won't Love You Back: How Devotion to Our Jobs Keeps Us Exploited, Exhausted, and Alone, on how love and meaning became intertwined with our jobs. Listen. 2. Anne Helen-Peterson [@annehelen], writer and jou...more

  • The Holiday You May Have Missed

    Apr 20 2022

    International Workers' Day is celebrated with rallies and protests all over the world on May 1, but it's not a big deal in the United States. Back in 2018, Brooke spoke with Donna Haverty-Stacke of Hunter College, CUNY about the American origin of May Day — and about how it has come to be forgotten. The first national turnout for worker's rights in the U.S. was on May 1, 1886; contrary to what you may have heard elsewhere, it wasn't the same thing as the Haymarket Affair. Haverty-Stacke is also ...more

  • How Cassettes Changed the World

    Apr 15 2022

    Cassette tapes mostly gather dust these days. But back in their heyday, they fundamentally changed how we communicate, in ways we’re still making sense of today. On this week’s On the Media, hear how the cassette tape fueled the Iranian revolution, helped pierce the Iron Curtain, and put human connection in the palm of our hands. 1. Simon Goodwin on his innovation to broadcast computer software over the radio back in 1983. Listen. 2. Computer programmer Fuxoft explains his role in 'Sneakernet,' ...more

  • It's Tax Season!

    Apr 13 2022

    Few clichés are as well-worn, and grounded in reality, as the dread many Americans feel towards doing their taxes and the loathing they have for the IRS. But as much as the process is despised, relatively little is known about how it could be improved. Pro Publica's Jessica Huseman said that's largely because tax prep companies keep it that way. Brooke spoke to Huseman in 2017 about what an improved system might look like and how tax prep companies work to thwart any such changes. One of the pri...more

  • Our Unfinished Pandemic

    Apr 08 2022

    Congress is threatening to cut billions in COVID aid even as a new variant emerges. On this week’s On the Media, how our policy debate reveals an indifference for long COVID disabilities and death on a staggering scale. And, how that apathy tracks with a pattern of past pandemics. Plus, a look at the novelist Kurt Vonnegut’s theory of storytelling, and what it tells us about why so many Americans have stopped paying attention to the virus. Ed Yong [@edyong209], staff writer at The Atlantic, on ...more

  • New Variant on the Block

    Apr 06 2022

    Hey waddayaknow? There are more variants in the news. Back when Omicron was first making headlines at the end of last year, we made a Breaking News Consumer's Handbooks: Variant Edition. Brooke spoke to Katherine J. Wu, a staff writer at The Atlantic who covers science, to review the steps a news consumer can take to stay informed minus the anxiety.  Breaking News Consumer's Handbook: Variant Edition (Andrea Latimer/WNYC) For a linkable text equivalent, a pdf version is available here. This ...more

  • Still Armed, Still Dangerous

    Apr 01 2022

    More than a month into Putin’s invasion, Ukrainian resistance has proved mightier than the Russian leader seems to have anticipated. On this week’s On the Media, hear how Russia is following the well-established American track record of entering wars without plans for ending them. Plus, a sober look at Russia’s nuclear strategy. And, how the threat of nuclear apocalypse has shaped American culture since World War II. Then, a look at the 1983 made-for-TV film that spurred a national conversation ...more

  • The Simpsons in a Time of Nuclear War

    Mar 30 2022

    A new poll this week from AP-NORC found that when asked, close to half of Americans say they are very concerned that Russia would directly target the U.S. with nuclear weapons, and an additional 3 in 10 are somewhat concerned. Given that Vladimir Putin put his nuclear forces on high alert at the start of his invasion of Ukraine, and with the rhetoric heating up as the war continues, it's hardly surprising that people are worried.  All the talk of nukes got us thinking about a segment from a few ...more

  • All the World's a Stage

    Mar 25 2022

    This week’s confirmation hearings for Supreme Court Nominee Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson were filled with dog whistles and distractions. On our latest episode, hear how Republicans are using rhetoric about pedophiles to discredit their opponents. Plus, the story of an American author who learned and unlearned Putin’s myth about Ukrainian nazification. 1. Melissa Gira Grant [@melissagira], staff writer at The New Republic, on the cruel new Republican buzzword: "grooming." Listen. 2. Lili Loofbouro...more

  • A Handy Guide to How the Supreme Court Works

    Mar 23 2022

    The Supreme Court is an opaque and difficult to understand institution. Luckily, drawing on the expertise of seasoned SCOTUS reporters, we've put together a handy guide for the discerning news consumer to make sense of the court, its decisions, and its coverage. Song: "Jeopardy! (Theme and Variations)" by the Resonance Flute Consort

  • We Were Warned

    Mar 18 2022

    As the horrific violence in Ukraine escalates, the global far-right is justifying Russia’s invasion with outlandish conspiracy theories. On this week’s On the Media, guest host Matt Katz digs into one viral lie that went mainstream. Plus, how internet sleuths are collecting digital evidence of alleged Russian war crimes to be used in international courts. And, we hear from the author of a new book about four foreign correspondents who shaped early American coverage of World War II. 1. Ben Collin...more

  • The Death of Historical Memory in Russia

    Mar 16 2022

    Russia's Memorial International maintained an archive whose purpose was to amass and preserve the crimes against humanity committed in the Soviet Union. On March 3rd it was closed down by order of the Kremlin. It was only a month ago that we first aired this piece about the threats to the archive, but already the information and media landscape in Russia is unrecognizable. Unknown numbers of journalists have fled draconian new laws that could land them in prison for 15 years for contradicting th...more

  • The Escape

    Mar 11 2022

    The refugee crisis sparked by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine may be the fastest-growing displacement of people in Europe since World War II. On this week’s On the Media, hear the story of an internet community that guided an influencer and his family through the warzone. Plus, how Russia’s draconian anti-press laws have driven journalists out of the country. 1. Michael Wasiura [@michael_wasiura], writer and former pundit, on how his role giving the American perspective on Russian state TV became o...more

  • The Kremlin's M.O.

    Mar 09 2022

    This is a piece we first ran last September. It's reported by OTM producer Molly Schwartz who until the war in Ukraine started was a fellow on a journalism program in Moscow. Molly’s recounted for us the effects of a bizarre and cumbersome law - one of the many tactics used by the Kremlin to silence dissenting voices.  Following widespread protests across Russia last year in support of jailed opposition leader Alexey Navalny, Putin's government has engaged in a wave of crackdowns on dissent, exp...more

  • The Fog of War

    Mar 04 2022

    Footage captured and shared by Ukrainian civilians is helping the world see through the fog of war. But not every video in your news feed is the real deal. On this week’s On the Media, how to sift fact from fiction with our new Breaking News Consumer's Handbook: Ukraine Edition. Plus, how journalists and analysts are using OSINT to track the war. Then, how an international white Christian nationalist movement is fueling Putin’s views and violence.  1. Jane Lytvynenko [@JaneLytv], senior research...more

  • 'La Brega' in Puerto Rico

    Feb 25 2022

    This week, OTM presents stories from Puerto Rico as told in a podcast series called "La Brega," hosted by Alana Casanova-Burgess. Hear what that term means, how it's used, and what it represents. Also, how one of the most famous homebuilding teams in American history tried to export American suburbanism to Puerto Rico... as a bulwark against Cuban communism.  1. Alana [@AlanaLlama] explores the full meaning(s) of la brega, which has different translations depending on who you ask. According to s...more

  • How SPAM built a town—and tore it apart

    Feb 23 2022

    This week, OTM presents the second installment of a new series by our colleagues at The Experiment. In this episode, we learn that SPAM is at the center of one of the longest and most contentious labor battles in U.S. history. In 1985, workers at the Hormel Foods plant in Austin, Minnesota, went on strike, demanding better working conditions and stable wages. Generations of meatpackers had worked at the plant, some for most of their lives—and that gruesome, difficult work afforded them a sustain...more

  • Good As Gold

    Feb 18 2022

    Mainstream journalists keep falling for crypto scams that can end up costing their audiences a fortune. On this week’s On the Media, hear why all of us might want to become at least a bit literate in crypto-technology. Plus, the story of an American pundit living in Moscow, who’s being paid to be Russian TV’s favorite punching bag. 1. Adam Davidson [@adamdavidson], founder of NPR's Planet Money, on the need for market context when reporting on cryptocurrency. Listen. 2. Katie Notopoulos [@katie...more

  • All about SPAM (the meaty kind)

    Feb 16 2022

    On this week's  podcast we’re bringing you a story from our colleagues at The Experiment. It’s about SPAM: the meaty kind. During World War II, wherever American troops spread democracy, they left the tinned pork-mix in their wake; tossing cans of SPAM out of trucks to the hungry people they sought to liberate. That’s how Experiment producer Gabrielle Berbey’s grandfather first came to know and love SPAM as a kid in the Philippines. Once a classic American product, 80 years later it is now a sta...more

  • I'm No Expert

    Feb 11 2022

    Joe Rogan’s fans, critics, and everyone in between have spent weeks hearing his name plastered on the news. On this week’s On the Media, a look at the real lessons emerging from the debate about the debate. Plus, what Putin’s attack on Russia’s past might tell us about Ukraine’s future. 1. Greg Bensinger [@GregBensinger], member of New York Times editorial board, Peter Kafka [@pkafka], host of the Vox podcast Recode Media, Andy Campbell [@AndyBCampbell], senior editor at HuffPost, and Tom Webste...more

  • Man of the Left

    Feb 09 2022

    Todd Gitlin - writer, academic, media analyst, sociologist and lifelong activist died on February 5th. In his youth he helped organize the first national demonstration against the Vietnam War, held in Washington in  1965.  He organized rallies against South Africa aparthied and for civil rights in America. Later as an educator and author and media critic of the left and right, worked as both an observer and shaper of thoughts  about media narrative until the end of his life.   Gitlin was also a ...more

  • Read the Room

    Feb 04 2022

    An old threat has returned to classrooms across the country — and it’s made of pages and ink. On this week’s On the Media, hear what it means to ban a book, and who has the right to choose what kids learn. Plus, meet the student who took his school board all the way to the Supreme Court in the 80s.  1. Kelly Jensen, editor for Book Riot who writes a weekly update on “book censorship news,” on what it means to ban a book. Listen. 2. Jennifer Berkshire [@BisforBerkshire] and Jack Schneider [@Edu_H...more

  • Barney Rosset Never Backed Down

    Feb 02 2022

    In 1951, Grove Press was a tiny, almost-defunct independent publisher, with just three titles in its catalog, including Herman Melville’s The Confidence Man. But then Barney Rosset took over and, with a few choice books, helped push America past its Puritanical roots and into the sexual revolution. He died in 2012 and we are re-airing this interview I did with him many years back, to set up this week’s show in which we’ll be trying to unpack the latest round of book banning in America.   

  • Humans, Being

    Jan 28 2022

    When you hear the word “Neanderthal,” you probably picture a mindless, clumsy brute. It’s often used as an insult — even by our president, who last year called anti-maskers “Neanderthals.” But what if we have more in common with our ancestral cousins than we think? On this week’s On the Media, hear how these early humans have been unfairly maligned in science and in popular culture. 1. John Hawks [@johnhawks], professor of anthropology at the University of Wisconsin–Madison, on our biological fa...more

  • Debate This!

    Jan 26 2022

    Earlier this month, Ronna McDaniel, Chairwoman of the Republican National Committee, wrote a letter to the Commission on Presidential Debates—the independent, bipartisan organization that has convened general election debates since the 1980's. In her letter, McDaniel said that the RNC would boycott the presidential debates during the upcoming election cycle. That is – unless the commission was willing to meet its demands. The move is the latest refusal by Republicans to meet political norms. And...more

  • Political Fictions

    Jan 21 2022

    It’s been over a year since Donald Trump was defeated fair and square in the 2020 election, but polling shows that belief in the Big Lie is as strong as ever. On this week’s On the Media, hear journalists debate how to interview Americans convinced by this dangerous myth. Plus, find out why one political linguist isn’t sure the press can pull democracy back from the brink. 1. Matthew Sitman [@MatthewSitman], host of the Know Your Enemy podcast, shares his tips for interviewing right-wing intelle...more

  • Snow...in the tropics?

    Jan 19 2022

    This week we are airing another episode from the show "La Brega"a podcast about life in Puerto Rico and hosted by former OTM producer Alana Casanova-Burgess. During the early 1950s, the children of Puerto Rico were invited to an icy winter spectacle. Mayor Felisa Rincón de Gautier, the charismatic mayor of San Juan, arranged for Eastern Airlines to bring a plane-load of snow for a snowball fight in the city. It was a feat that has become legend for a whole generation. But while this winter wonde...more

  • A Question of War

    Jan 14 2022

    Since the insurrection on January 6, warnings of a second American Civil War have been sounded. This week, On the Media explores whether the civil war talk is an alarmist cry, or actually a sober assessment. Plus, hear how the myth of “the Dark Ages” paints an unfair portrait of medieval times.  1. David Remnick, editor of The New Yorker and host of the New Yorker Radio Hour, on the risk of second civil war. Listen. 2. Barbara Walter [@bfwalter], professor of International Relations at the Unive...more

  • Is New York Times v Sullivan on the Chopping Block?

    Jan 13 2022

    None

  • Road To Insurrection

    Jan 07 2022

    It’s been one year since the armed insurrection at the Capitol, what do we know now about how it happened? On this week’s On the Media, hear about the signs that reveal militia groups were preparing for that day — or something like it — long before January 6th. Plus, how the attack may have transformed the far-right in America.  1. OTM reporter Micah Loewinger [@MicahLoewinger] on the efforts to shape the media narrative among gun rights activists at Virginia's Lobby Day. Listen. 2. OTM reporter...more

  • Aaron Swartz: The Wunderkind of the Free Culture Movement

    Jan 05 2022

    In 2013, 26-year-old software developer and political activist Aaron Swartz died by suicide. He had been indicted on federal charges after illegally downloading 4.8 million articles from JSTOR, a database of academic journals, and potentially faced a million dollar fine and decades in jail. While his death made headline news, Swartz had long been an Internet folk hero and a fierce advocate for the free exchange of information. In his book, The Idealist, writer Justin Peters places Swartz within ...more

  • Reputation

    Dec 31 2021

    Should we cancel the word “cancel”? On this week’s On the Media, find out who benefits from the newest culture scare, and a history of "cancellation." Plus, hear how three women reporters covered the Vietnam War against all odds. 1. Michael Hobbes [@RottenInDenmark], co-host of Maintenance Phase, on the anecdotes that fuel "political correctness" and "cancel culture" panics. Listen.  2. Erec Smith [@Rhetors_of_York], associate professor of rhetoric and composition at the York College of Pennsylv...more

  • An Interview With Basketball Great Walt "Clyde" Frazier

    Dec 29 2021

    Basketball Hall of Famer Walt "Clyde" Frazier made a successful transition from NBA star to sports broadcaster on the MSG Network. With his cool rhymes and even cooler clothes, Frazier sat down with Brooke for a live event in 2013 to discuss basketball, broadcasting, and the art of being cool. This segment originally aired in our March 29, 2013 program, "Culture and the Courts, The Legacy of Rand Paul's Filibuster, and More."

  • Scene of the Crime

    Dec 24 2021

    On this week’s On the Media, a look at the journalists and newspapers we lost in 2021, and hopes for the press in the year ahead. Plus, is the ever-popular genre of true crime good for us? And the mob gets a podcast. 1. Micah Loewinger [@micahloewinger], tells Brooke about a year of newspaper closures, murdered journalists, and the end of the Trump Bump. Listen. 2. Emma Berquist [@eeberquist], author of Devils Unto Dust, on how the true crime genre can rot our brains. Listen. 3. Rachel Corbett [...more

  • Ten Things That Scare Brooke Gladstone

    Dec 22 2021

    Merry Christmas, to those who celebrate! To those who don't (and, aw heck, to those who do too) we offer a very special end-of-year gift: fear. More specifically, Brooke's greatest fears, courtesy of our WNYC colleagues 10 Things That Scare Me. Fear is a subject — and experience — near and dear to our beloved Brooke, so we can assure you that this is not a conversation to skip. 

  • Fame and Misfortune

    Dec 17 2021

    Text messages obtained by the January 6 commission revealed the panic of Fox News hosts — even as they downplayed the insurrection on camera. On this week’s On the Media, how to hold the news station accountable. Plus, an investigation of the celebrity profile – from the biting to the banal. Angelo Carusone [@GoAngelo], President and CEO of Media Matters, explains what the new January 6th revelations say about the state of Fox News. Listen. Anne Helen-Peterson [@annehelen], writer and journalis...more

  • Everything You Never Knew About Movie Novelizations

    Dec 15 2021

    Write a great book and you're a genius. Turn a book into a great film and you're a visionary. Turn a great film into a book...that's another story. Novelizations of films are regular best-sellers with cult followings -- some are even more beloved than the films that spawned them -- but respected they are not. Instead, they're assumed to be the literary equivalent of merchandise: a way for the movie studios to make a few extra bucks, and a job for writers who aren't good enough to do anything els...more

  • Take This Job and Shove It

    Dec 10 2021

    Amid the so-called Great Resignation, nearly 39 million Americans have left their jobs. On this week’s On The Media, hear why this trend is a logical response to the cult of work. Plus, when technology makes our jobs harder, maybe being a 'luddite' isn't such a bad thing.  1. Sarah Jaffe [@sarahljaffe], journalist and author of Work Won't Love You Back: How Devotion to Our Jobs Keeps Us Exploited, Exhausted, and Alone, on how love and meaning became intertwined with our jobs. Listen. 2. Anne Hel...more

  • Log On For OTM Trivia Tonight!

    Dec 07 2021

    Tonight at 7pm ET, join Brooke, the OTM staff, and other listeners from around the country for our first ever Zoom trivia night! Flex your knowledge of the show for a chance to win some sweet prizes including hats hand-crocheted by Brooke herself. All you gotta do to participate is become a sustaining member. Click this link. Or, text the letters O T M to 70101. That’s the money that powers our journalism and keeps the show pumping through your speakers each week.  If you're already a sustaining...more

  • Pigeon with A Mustache

    Dec 03 2021

    By now, the new coronavirus variant has been detected in dozens of countries – including the U.S. On this week’s On the Media, hear what pigeons can tell us about how to react to the omicron variant. Plus, why we should know the names of the scientists in Botswana, South Africa, and Hong Kong who found the new strain. And what rights we do, and don't, have when it comes to when we die.  1. Katherine J. Wu [@KatherineJWu], staff writer at The Atlantic covering science, on what we do (and mostly d...more

  • A Different Hanukkah Story

    Dec 01 2021

    This week is Hanukkah, Judaism’s eight-day 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 faith agains...more

  • How Cassette Tapes Changed the World

    Nov 26 2021

    Cassette tapes mostly gather dust these days. But back in their heyday, they fundamentally changed how we communicate, in ways we’re still making sense of today. On this week’s On the Media, hear how the cassette tape fueled the Iranian revolution, helped pierce the Iron Curtain, and put human connection in the palm of our hands. 1. Simon Goodwin on his innovation to broadcast computer software over the radio back in 1983. Listen. 2. Computer programmer Fuxoft explains his role in 'Sneakernet,' ...more

  • Chasing Dash

    Nov 23 2021

    Last year at this time, 9 months into the pandemic, so many of us stayed separated from one another, missing out on all the gathering, yam-eating, relative-screaming, football-watching, insert-holiday-themed-cliche-here, of Thanksgiving. Not so this year. This year, vaxxed and tested and maybe even boosted, we gather once more. Like a bunch of gosh-darn superheroes.  And so, for this very special Thanksgiving-edition podcast extra, we’re re-airing the story of another lovable, dysfunctional fami...more

  • Bait the Nation

    Nov 19 2021

    Politicians and pundits on the right are eager to pin rising rates of inflation on President Biden — but that misses the bigger picture. Plus, how scaremongering over 'critical race theory' is impacting elections, school boards and classrooms. And, how the stories we tell about our present shape what's possible for the future, from paid parental leave to immigration policy and beyond.  1. John Cassidy [@JohnCassidy], staff writer at The New Yorker, on the real story behind the inflation numbers....more

  • The Climate Summit Blues

    Nov 17 2021

    The U.N. climate summit in Glasgow, Scotland concluded last weekend—the 26th “Conference of Parties.” After more than two decades of these promises, it’s worth wondering how much of this is all just hot air. According to the non-profit Climate Action Tracker, not a single country is on target to meet the COP21 pledge, also known as the Paris Climate Accords, and many aren’t even on target for their COP3 pledge, the Kyoto Protocol.   And yet, these summits are often still covered with breathless ...more

  • Cha-ching!

    Nov 12 2021

    Twenty months since the start of the pandemic, economic recovery has been uneven at best. This week, On the Media takes a look at one sector that’s been booming: cryptocurrency and, in particular, NFTs. Hear how a technology invented to give artists more control over their work has become a tool for speculators hoping to win big. 1. Anil Dash [@anildash], CEO of Glitch, helps explain the origin of NFTs. Listen. 2. OTM Correspondent Micah Loewinger [@MicahLoewinger] attends an NFT auction featuri...more

  • OTM presents The Experiment: Who Would Jesus Mock?

    Nov 10 2021

    The satire site The Babylon Bee, a conservative Christian answer to The Onion, stirred controversy when some readers mistook its headlines for misinformation. In this episode of WNYC/The Atlantic's The Experiment, religion reporter Emma Green sits down with the editor-in-chief, Kyle Mann, to talk about where he draws the line between making a joke and doing harm, and to understand what humor can reveal about American politics. Further reading: “Who Would Jesus Mock?”  

  • The History of Tomorrow

    Nov 05 2021

    For decades, Silicon Valley leaders have been borrowing ideas from science fiction — from the metaverse to the latest tech gadgets. On this week’s show, hear why they might need to start reading their source material more closely. Also, why the midterm election results tell us so little about what’s coming next in American politics. And a forgotten behemoth of American literature gets a closer look.  1. Paul Waldman [@paulwaldman1], opinion columnist at the Washington Post and senior writer for ...more

  • The Only Inevitability

    Nov 03 2021

    700,000. That’s the latest COVID death count to dominate a headline in the United States. Over the last 19 months, we’ve seen a steady trickle of these morbid milestones in the news. They are one way to measure, and try to understand, the COVID-19 pandemic. In the world of journalism, death is a metric that’s important. It indicates significance, newsworthiness, and tragedy. But death is also an inevitable part of the human experience. This is a fact that journalist Katie Engelhart highlights in...more

  • A Rift In the Gun World

    Oct 29 2021

    This week, On the Media takes a deep dive into the "No Compromise" gun rights movement. Its members see the NRA as too amenable to gun control measures. Follow reporters Lisa Hagen and Chris Haxel on their journey to understand how 3 brothers used a network of Facebook pages to grow their following with some startling results.  Part 1: A World Where The NRA Is Soft On Guns. Listen. Part 2: The Facebook Flock. Listen. Part 3: A One-Man Propaganda Band. Listen. No Compromise is hosted by Chris Hax...more

  • When The Mob Gets a Podcast

    Oct 28 2021

    True crime is incredibly popular. Whether it's books, movies, television shows, or podcasts, stories that play to our deepest fears and most sensational imaginations command large audiences. The genre, when done poorly, can also aggravate our misconceptions and biases about crime. But true crime, at its best, offers something most of us can’t turn down, despite our better instincts—the chance to understand a master criminal mind.  That’s what writer Rachel Corbett stumbled upon while working on ...more

  • Plot Twist

    Oct 22 2021

    From boosters to breakthrough infections, pandemic vocabulary is still all over the news. On this week’s On the Media, why the terms we use to talk about the virus obscure as much as they reveal. And, why the history of medical progress is filled with so many twists and turns. Plus, why a preference for simple stories has made it so hard to keep track of the pandemic.  1. Katherine J. Wu [@KatherineJWu], staff writer at The Atlantic, on the slippery definitions of our pandemic vocabulary. Listen...more

  • Colin Powell's Pivotal Moment That Wasn't

    Oct 20 2021

    Colin Powell, former Secretary of State, Joint Chiefs chairman, and omnipresence in American foreign policy for the past 20 years, died on Monday from complications from COVID-19. He was 84-years-old and been sick for years with multiple myeloma, a rare blood cancer.  Colin Powell was many things to many people. A symbol of the American dream. The public voice — for a time — of the Iraq War. A so-called “RINO,” or Republican-in-name-only. A good soldier. Though widely remembered as a barrier-bre...more

  • Against the Machine

    Oct 15 2021

    Have you been wondering exactly what it means to Build Back Better? On this week’s On the Media, hear why political coverage seems to address everything about Joe Biden’s bill--except what’s in it. Plus, find out if social media really does turn nice people into trolls. 1. Andrew Prokop [@awprokop], Senior Politics Correspondent at Vox, on the gap between political coverage of the Build Back Better Act, and what the bill actually says. Listen. 2. Michael Bang Petersen [@M_B_Petersen], political ...more

  • Who Is The Bad Art Friend? Why Not Both?

    Oct 13 2021

    To watch the rise of viral content is always an interesting exercise. From "Charlie bit my finger" to the "Lulz That Broke Wall Street," the internet is capable of elevating any story, meme, joke, or idea through the ranks of digital fame. This week, we unpack one story, and one question, that took twitter by storm: "Who is the Bad Art Friend?".  The Robert Kolker piece from The New York Times Magazine proved digital catnip, but why? Brooke sits down with Michael Hobbes, journalist and host of t...more

  • The Big Reveal

    Oct 08 2021

    From a six hour service outage to a senate whistleblower hearing, the PR disasters keep mounting for Facebook. On this week’s show, hear how the tech giant might be following a well-worn pattern of decline. And, the so-called "Pandora Papers" reveal dirty financial secrets, dwarfing the Panama Papers in the size, scope, and reach. Plus, how a new data leak shows links between law enforcement and far-right militia groups. 1. Makena Kelly [@kellymakena], policy reporter for The Verge, on the peril...more

  • It's Debt Ceiling Time Again!

    Oct 06 2021

    While Democrats fight amongst themselves over getting their legislative agenda passed, Senate majority leader Chuck Schumer is locked in his own battle with minority leader Mitch McConnell over raising the country’s debt ceiling. Democrats need ten Senate Republicans to join them in voting to raise the debt limit to avoid, as the Washington Post put it, “catapulting the country into an economic recession.” The Post also cited the potential for quote, “widespread financial havoc," while the New Y...more

  • Out of Sight

    Oct 01 2021

    Facebook and Instagram are harming young users, according to leaked research discussed in a Senate hearing this week. On this week’s On the Media, hear why lawmakers are chasing the white whale that is tech accountability. Also, how do we cover the tightly guarded, and complicated, news that comes from Guantanamo Bay? And, as the documentary industry booms, its ethics standards lag far behind.  1. Brandy Zadrozny [@BrandyZadrozny], NBC senior reporter, unpacks the evolving responsibilities of so...more

  • The Big Screen version of Boom and Bust

    Sep 29 2021

    It was 13 years ago this month when news broke that the Wall Street investment firm Lehman Brothers collapsed, setting in motion the financial crisis that devastated the world’s economy. For all the misery the financial meltdown caused, Americans have never balked at opportunities to relive the crisis through hundreds of films, books and even plays. But while greedy investment bankers have become a staple archetype of recent movies like The Wolf of Wall Street, The Big Short, and Margin Call, Ho...more

  • The Subversion Playbook

    Sep 24 2021

    By now, we’re familiar with voter suppression tactics, from long voting lines to voter ID laws. On this week’s On the Media, hear how election subversion takes the anti-democratic playbook to the next level. Plus, how the Russian government is using bureaucracy to stifle elections — and the press.  1. Dan Hirschhorn [@Inky_Dan], assistant managing editor at The Philadelphia Inquirer, on why his paper won't use the word "audit" to describe the wave of partisan "election reviews." Listen. 2. Rick ...more

  • From Birtherism to Election Theft

    Sep 22 2021

    In their new book "Peril," Bob Woodward and Robert Costa released a previously unpublished memo by a man named John Eastman, who served as an attorney advising President Trump during the 2020 election. That memo outlined an anti-democratic six-step plan for Vice President Pence to overturn the election results — stealing the election in favor of Trump — by refusing to tally votes from states with "multiple slates of electors," throwing the final decision to the House of Representatives. It was p...more

  • Fire and Brimstone

    Sep 17 2021

    Throughout the pandemic, religious rights advocates have protested some public health measures like bans on large gatherings. Now, some Americans are making the case for religious exemptions to President Biden's new workplace vaccine mandate. On this week’s On the Media, why religious protections are deliberately vague. Plus, hear how the current Supreme Court has been quietly bolstering the power of Christian interest groups. And, a look at climate coverage during storm season, and how the foss...more

  • The Trial of Elizabeth Holmes

    Sep 15 2021

    In 2014, Fortune magazine ran a cover story featuring Elizabeth Holmes: a blonde woman wearing a black turtleneck, staring deadpan at the camera, with the headline, “This CEO is out for blood.” A decade earlier, Holmes had founded Theranos, a company promising to “revolutionize” the blood testing industry, initially using a microfluidics approach — moving from deep vein draws to a single drop of blood. It promised easier, cheaper, more accessible lab tests — and a revolutionized healthcare exper...more

  • Aftershocks

    Sep 10 2021

    Twenty years after the Twin Towers came down, we’re still wrestling over how to make sense of what happened. On this week’s On the Media, how the conspiracies birthed in the aftermath of 9/11 set the stage for the paranoia to come. Plus, how Afghanistan’s thriving new media scene hopes to survive Taliban rule. And, how Ivermectin became politicized. 1. Tolo founder Saad Mohseni [@saadmohseni] on the mounting threat to journalism in Afghanistan. Listen. 2. NYTimes television critic James Poniewoz...more

  • Hey Everyone, Meet Sacha Pfeiffer!

    Sep 08 2021

    By way of introduction to the person who will be sitting in for Brooke for a few weeks, we are revisiting our interview about "Spotlight." The 2015 movie depicts the Boston Globe's Pulitzer Prize-winning investigation that uncovered the systemic sexual abuse and widespread cover up in the Catholic church. Brooke spoke with Walter Robinson, who headed the investigation and is played by Michael Keaton in the film, and Sacha Pfeiffer, who was one of the four reporters on the team and is played by R...more

  • Organizing Chaos

    Sep 03 2021

    A debate has been raging among the librarians of the world, and it's all about order. The Dewey Decimal System became our way of managing information long ago, but it may be time to reassess. Plus, how one man’s obsession with ordering the natural world took a very dark turn. 1. Lulu Miller [@lmillernpr], author of Why Fish Don't Exist and co-host of WNYC's Radiolab, charts the quest of taxonomist David Starr Jordan to categorize the world. Listen. 2. On the Media producer Molly Scwartz [@mollyf...more

  • Biased Algorithms, Biased World

    Sep 01 2021

    Algorithms are everywhere, making crucial decisions at almost every juncture of our lives. But, while we may believe in the objectivity of these mathematical models, they're made from and produce far more bias than we think. Mathematician and former Wall Street quant, Cathy O'Neil wants us to question our unexamined faith in predictive algorithms. Her book, Weapons of Math Destruction, calls out an urgent need to investigate these black box constructions that govern so much of our lives, from go...more

  • Constitutionally Speaking

    Aug 27 2021

    “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 2021? We look 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 this hour — explains wha...more

  • A New First Amendment

    Aug 25 2021

    Nearly six decades ago, the Supreme Court made a decision in the case New York Times v. Sullivan that would forever alter the way journalists practiced journalism. Brooke spoke with Andrew Cohen, senior editor at The Marshall Project and fellow at the Brennan Center for Justice, about the decision's impact on the First Amendment. Supreme Court audio courtesy of Oyez®, a multimedia judicial archive at IIT Chicago-Kent College of Law.

  • Maligned Women

    Aug 20 2021

    Cries to free Britney Spears from her conservatorship this summer have prompted a reevaluation of how the pop star was covered by the press decades ago. This week, On the Media looks at how the maligned women of the 90s and 2000s help us understand our media — and ourselves.  1. Joshua Rofé [@joshua_rofe], filmmaker, and Lorena Gallo (FKA Lorena Bobbitt) on the documentary "Lorena." Listen. 2. Sarah Marshall [@Remember_Sarah] and Michael Hobbes [@RottenInDenmark], hosts of the You're Wrong About...more

  • How Radio Makes Female Voices Sound Shrill

    Aug 18 2021

    "Shrill" popped back up in the national lexicon in the coverage of Hillary Clinton's 2016 presidential bid, and again, in a 2020 race filled with female candidates. "This spike in usage is hardly a revelation," writes University of Florida professor Tina Tallon, in a piece for The New Yorker. "Women who speak publicly and challenge authority have long been dismissed as 'shrill' or 'grating.'" But these slurs are not just the product of age-old misogynistic stereotypes. Biases against female voic...more

  • A 40 Acre Promise

    Aug 13 2021

    Last week, the federal government, in a limited way, extended the eviction moratorium in place since the start of the pandemic. It's a temporary solution to a long-looming crisis — a crisis we explored in our series "The Scarlet E: Unmasking America’s Eviction Crisis" back in 2019. In this excerpt from that series, we catalog the long line of thefts and schemes — most of which were perfectly legal at the time — that led to where we are today: a system, purpose-built, that extracts what it can, t...more

  • I'm Brooke Gladstone and I Am a Trekker

    Aug 11 2021

    In September 1966, Gene Roddenberry dispatched the crew of the Starship Enterprise on its maiden voyage through space and time and into the American living room. In a vintage OTM piece, Brooke explores the various television incarnations of the franchise and the infinitely powerful engine behind it all: the fan.

  • Bad Idea Machine

    Aug 06 2021

    With Delta Variant cases surging, public health officials are pleading with Americans to get vaccinated ASAP. This week, we examine at how some journalists are turning anti-vaxxer deaths into COVID-19 fables. Plus, we hear from the reporter who tracked down Jeffrey Epstein’s victims. 1. Rebecca Onion [@rebeccaonion], historian and staff writer at Slate, on her latest article "The Fable of the Sick Anti-Vaxxer," and how stories of remorse may only appeal to the vaccinated. Plus, NBC senior report...more

  • "Haiti Needs a New Narrative"

    Aug 04 2021

    In the wake of the assassination of Haiti’s President Jovenel Moïse on July 7th, international media rushed to cover Haiti’s latest political crisis—painting a familiar picture of a nation in turmoil, Haitians in need, and an international community offering rescue. In this week's podcast extra, Nathalie Cerin, co-founder and lead editor of the online Haitian media project Woy Magazine, argues that news consumers just tuning in after the assassination after may miss the bigger picture. Haiti is ...more

  • Undercover and Over-Exposed

    Jul 30 2021

    This week, we consider whether information should ever be off-limits to journalists. It’s a thorny ethical question raised by FBI informants, hacked sources and shockingly intimate personal data. Plus, why a conservative Catholic publication’s outing of a gay priest has garnered criticism from all sides.  1. Ken Bensinger [@kenbensinger], investigative reporter for Buzzfeed News, on what new evidence surrounding the plot to kidnap Michigan governor Gretchen Whitmer says about the how the governm...more

  • Occupational Hazards

    Jul 23 2021

    A look at how journalism selectively judges objectivity and bias… Which produces better reporting: proximity to the community you cover? Or distance? Who gets to decide?  1. Joel Simon [@Joelcpj], outgoing executive director of the The Committee to Protect Journalists, on why it's a dangerous time to be a journalist. Listen.  2. Bruce Shapiro [@dartcenter], executive director of the Dart Center for Journalism and Trauma at Columbia Journalism School, on why trauma shouldn't disqualify reporters ...more

  • How a Nightclub Fire Brought Down a Government

    Jul 21 2021

    In 2015, a tragedy gripped Romanian consciousness when a fire at a popular club in the country's capital killed 27 people, injured nearly 200 more, and sparked national protests about corruption. In the weeks following the fire, 37 of those injured died in hospitals — a statistic that authorities and doctors claimed was simply a result of their injuries.  But the victims' families and a small team of reporters at the Romanian daily paper the Sports Gazette had their doubts — doubts that were con...more

  • As You Like It

    Jul 16 2021

    As numbers of the vaccinated rise, theaters around the country are once again opening. In celebration, this week’s show is all about Shakespeare, including how the quintessentially English Bard became an American icon, and what a production in Kabul, Afghanistan meant to the community that produced it. 1. James Shapiro, Professor of English and Comparative Literature at Columbia University, explains how Shakespeare was absorbed into American culture and identity. Listen. 2. Qais Akbar Omar, auth...more

  • Painting for the Future and Talking to the Dead

    Jul 14 2021

    Hilma af Klint was a Swedish painter born in 1862 who painted big, bold canvases suffused with rich, strange colors denoting masculine and feminine, the gush of life and the serenity of cosmic order. She found inspiration in unorthodox places, including the spirit realm. And she had a vision: that her work would one day be displayed in a spiral temple. For decades after her death, her work was hidden away — at first by her request, and then because it couldn't find an audience. Now that it's on ...more

  • Blame It On the Booze

    Jul 09 2021

    Nearly a quarter of American adults reported drinking more at home to cope with their pandemic blues. This week, we take a deep dive into the ancient history of booze, how Americans normalized drinking alone, and how the media shaped the shifting reputation of red wine. Plus, can scientists cook up a synthetic alcohol with all its perks, and none of its dangers? 1. Kate Julian [@katejulian], senior editor at the Atlantic, on America's long and fraught history with solitary drinking. Listen. 2. I...more

  • Aaron Copland's Sound of America

    Jul 07 2021

    There are many Americas. Nowadays they barely speak to each other. But during the most perilous years of the last century, one young composer went in search of a sound that melded many of the nation's strains into something singular and new. He was a man of the left, though of no political party: gay, but neither closeted nor out; Jewish, but agnostic, unless you count music as a religion. This independence day (or near enough!), we revisit Sara Fishko's 2017 piece on the story of Aaron Copland....more

  • The Road to Insurrection

    Jul 02 2021

    This week marks six months since January 6th, the day a pro-Trump mob stormed the US Capitol. Over 500 rioters have since been arrested, but the legal consequences of what they did are only just beginning to roll in. In this hour, we revisit reporting by OTM's Micah Loewinger surrounding the organizing tactics, media narratives, and evolution of far-right militias.  1. OTM reporter Micah Loewinger [@MicahLoewinger] on the efforts to shape the media narrative among gun rights activists at Virgini...more

  • Is 'The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down' a Neo-Confederate Anthem?

    Jun 30 2021

    It's been noted that Trump’s Big Lie and the violence it produced is reminiscent of the Lost Cause of the Confederacy — a potent narrative of grievance after the Civil War recasting the South’s stand as heroic and patriotic. Undergirded by racism, the Lost Cause apologia would stymie Reconstruction, justify decades of lynching and throughout the South, and prove as impossible to uproot as Kudzu. When it comes to art identified with the Lost Cause of the Confederacy, “The Night They Drove Old Dix...more

  • "We Are Putting Out A Damn Paper"

    Jun 25 2021

    June 28th marks the anniversary of a mass shooting that took place inside a newsroom in Annapolis, Maryland, killing five journalists. On this week's On the Media, an intimate portrait of the staff of the Capital Gazette in the immediate aftermath of the death of their colleagues — and then over the next several years as they contend with a corporate takeover, buyouts, and the loss of their newsroom. Reported by Chris Benderev of NPR's Embedded. Part 1: The Attack. Listen. Part 2: The Aftermath....more

  • A New Model for Local Journalism?

    Jun 23 2021

    In the 1800s, New Bedford, Massachusetts was the world’s “center of whaling.” More than half of the world’s whaling ships in the 1840s came from New Bedford. The small city was so emblematic of a New England whaling town that it served as the setting for Herman Melville’s novel Moby Dick. According to the New York Times, it was then the richest city per capita on the continent.  Now, more than a fifth of its approximately 95,000 citizens live in poverty.  But this exceptional historic town is re...more

  • Behind Closed Doors

    Jun 18 2021

    New reports show that the Trump Department of Justice spied on reporters. But that’s just a small part of a much longer story, going back decades. This week, we examine when and why the government surveils journalists. And, following their first meeting this week, is there a headline beyond “Putin and Biden talked to each other?” Plus, on the 50th anniversary of the Pentagon Papers, how the story’s biggest lessons were lost to time.  1. Alexey Kovalev [@Alexey__Kovalev], investigative editor at ...more

  • From Public Shaming To Cancel Culture

    Jun 16 2021

    Over the last couple of weeks we’ve taken on some of the battles in the ongoing culture war. The granddaddy of them all is cancel culture. Michael Hobbes, co-host of the podcast You’re Wrong About, told us that there isn’t a situation that has been labeled a cancellation that couldn’t benefit from a more accurate word to describe what had happened. So and so was fired...such and such was met with disagreement on twitter. Cancel need not apply. He also explained on his own podcast with Sarah Mars...more

  • Little Fires Everywhere

    Jun 11 2021

    Trump may be out of office, but the GOP's campaign to limit voting rights, free speech, and reproductive rights is still in full-swing. On this week’s On the Media, where do you focus your attention when there are little fires everywhere? Plus, a look at a chilling new look for America: the "authoritarian mullet" — culture war in the front, the destruction of democracy in the back. And, how critical race theory became a right-wing bogeyman.  1. Jay Rosen [@jayrosen_nyu], professor of journalism ...more

  • One of the Most Influential Black Journalists You Probably Never Heard Of

    Jun 09 2021

    Record numbers of journalists formed unions over the last few years, surpassing data even from the surges of labor organizing in the 1930s. And the pandemic didn't slow the trend. Just this week journalists at the Atlantic announced that they were forming a union affiliated with the News Guild. But even with all the recent coverage, it's unlikely that you've heard of the very first person to lead a journalism unionization effort. Marvel Cooke was a crusading Black journalist who organized one of...more