On the Media

On the Media

By WNYC Studios

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

Reading the Room

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_Historian], hosts of the education podcast “Have You Heard,” on the rights—both real and fictional—of parents to shape what their kids learn. Listen. 3. OTM reporter Micah Loewinger [@MicahLoewinger] takes a deep dive into our nations history of taking books off shelves, with the 1982 Supreme Court decision in Island Trees School District v Pico. Featuring: Steven Pico, then student and plaintiff in the case and Arthur Eisenberg, New York Civil Liberties lawyer, who represented him. Listen. Music:Tymperturbably Blue by Duke EllingtonYork Fusiliers by Douglas Monroe & Yorktown Fife and DrumsEye Surgery by Thomas NewmanViderunt Omnes by The Kronos Quartet
12/08/2250m 2s

Erectile Disappointment

In 1998, when Viagra was approved by the FDA, it suddenly opened up new sexual possibilities for people who had previously had none. The drug also sparked an earnest and very public conversation about erectile dysfunction — one that quickly veered toward late-night punchlines. And yet, despite the millions of prescriptions written during its nearly 25 years of existence, for some, Viagra did not prove to be the quick fix they had hoped for. This month, OTM shares the first episode of a compelling 3-part series about the drug from our colleagues at Death, Sex & Money.  You can hear more from Death, Sex & Money here.
10/08/2231m 45s

Handle with Care

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 possibility of human extinction and other climate catastrophes. Bryan Walsh [@bryanrwalsh], editor of Vox’s ‘Future Perfect,’ also explains why our brains have a hard time processing catastrophes like climate change. Listen. Charles Piller [@cpiller], investigative reporter for Science Magazine, on his six month investigation into how faulty images may invalidate groundbreaking advancements in Alzheimer's research. Listen. Guido Tonelli, a particle physicist at CERN, the European Organization for Nuclear Research, on the importance of creation myths, and what scientists can tell us about the fragility of the universe. Listen.
05/08/2250m 6s

Under The Table

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 Federal Communications Commission (FCC) outlawed payola, requiring broadcasters to disclose any payments received. However, members of the music industry would continue to blow the whistle on similar behavior in the decades that followed. According to Bloomberg reporter Ashley Carman, a similar culture of pay-to-play is taking hold in the world of podcasting. Her latest piece is titled, “Podcast Guests Are Paying Up to $50,000 to Appear on Popular Shows.”
04/08/2215m 12s

The Cold Shoulder

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 are no longer speaking to the press. Listen.  Dexter Filkins, staff writer at The New Yorker, on Ron DeSantis’ press strategy and where politicians' relationship with the press went wrong. Listen.  Kate Kelly [@Kate_Kelly_Esq], human rights attorney, on the importance of the the Equal Rights Amendment and how it can protect abortion rights. Listen.   
29/07/2249m 50s

Great White Lies

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 there? Over the last few decades, beachgoers have encountered a slight uptick in shark sightings and incidents. This summer is no exception.  But even as these predators shut down beaches, many marine biologists have waged a counter PR campaign for sharks, arguing that popular media have far overstated their danger. Chris Pepin-Neff is a senior lecturer of Public Policy at the University of Sydney, and author of the book Flaws: Shark Bites and Emotional Public Policymaking. They say that the maligning of these fish harms not only sharks — but humans as well.
28/07/2218m 21s

In This Economy?

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.   3. Felix Salmon [@felixsalmon], chief financial correspondent at Axios, on the power of the price of gas. Listen. 4. Mark Blyth [@MkBlyth], professor of International Economics and Public Affairs at Brown University, on how the economy is ultimately a mirror of our accomplishments, advances, fears, and mistakes. Listen.
22/07/2249m 46s

Escaping the Kremlin's Propaganda Machine

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 who deviates from the Kremlin's depiction of the war in Ukraine, shielding the operation of a durable and effective propaganda machine — which has been turning its gears for decades.  Independent journalist Anastasiia Carrier was born and raised in Russia. She’s spent the last few years in the US working as a reporter, and actively wrenching herself away from the propaganda she grew up believing about Russia’s unequal prominence. In this episode of On the Media, Carrier talks about breaking away from her past as a Putin supporter.  
21/07/2228m 46s

How to Report a Cold Case

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 highest levels in the Garden State. Dead End: A New Jersey Political Murder Mystery is hosted by Nancy Solomon. You can (and you should!) listen to all 8 episodes here
15/07/2250m 10s

Why Reporter Nancy Solomon Chose True Crime

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 their brutal deaths, and found damning evidence of corruption at the highest levels in the Garden State. The series is called Dead End: A New Jersey Political Murder Mystery. In this midweek podcast, Nancy tells Brooke how she used the true crime format to get listeners to care about corruption in New Jersey.
13/07/2216m 39s

The F-Word

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 severity of a Covid infection. Listen. 2. Katherine Flegal [@CeriseFlegal], epidemiologist and former senior scientist at the Centers For Disease Control, on our flawed understanding of the data around weight and death, and Katie Lebesco [@KatieLeBesco], researcher focusing on food, pop culture, and fat activism, on why the "obesity epidemic" is a moral panic hiding behind a thin veil of scientific language. Listen. 3. Sabrina Strings [@SaStrings], sociologist at the University of California, Irvine, on how European attitudes about fat dramatically changed in the 18th century. and set the standards Americans still see today. Listen. Music in this Week's Show:Slim Jenkins Place - Booker T and the MGsEye Surgery- Thomas Newman String Quartet No. 5 (Phillip Glass) - Kronos QuartetDisfarmer - Bill FrisellLost, Night - Bill FrisellIn the Bath - Randy Newman The De Lessup’s Dance - Gavin WrightBreakaway - Regina Carter
08/07/2249m 59s

Hong Kong's Rewritten Histories

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, stumbled across shards of her city's various, conflicting histories — some imposed by colonial forces, others originating from Hong Kongers themselves. This week, Annalee Newitz talks to Lim about the myths that obscure the region's past, and the impact this myriad of histories has had on Hong Kongers' sense of political and cultural identity.  
06/07/2213m 6s

Locked and Loaded

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, and why it will be all about history. Listen.  2. Corey Robin [@CoreyRobin], writer and professor of political science at Brooklyn College and the CUNY Graduate Center, on all that we've missed (or ignored) about Justice Clarence Thomas. Listen. Music: Dream Machine - John ZornSign and Sigil - John ZornWhispers of  A Heavenly Death - John Zorn   
01/07/2250m 23s

The End of Roe in the Armed Forces

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; however, military women are more likely than their civilian counterparts to have unintended pregnancies. They’re also more likely to suffer a miscarriage or ectopic pregnancy, making medical care an essential should the department continue to diversify. This week, Brooke sits down with Kyleanne Hunter, senior political scientist at the RAND Corporation and a Marine Corps combat veteran, to talk about how the department had just begun to make positive changes, and now sits in a complex limbo.  
30/06/2218m 59s

Struck From the Record

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 that Ruth Bader Ginsburg wished the Court heard instead of Roe v. Wade. Neil Siegel, a professor of law and political science at Duke University School of Law, puts the Susan Struck v. Secretary of Defense case in context. Dahlia Lithwick [@Dahlialithwick], who writes about the courts at Slate, untangles what the justices actually decided in Roe. Listen. 2. Michael Waldman [@mawaldman], president of the Brennan Center for Justice at NYU School of Law, discusses how the January 6 committee's findings could aid a Justice Department indictment. Listen. Music: The Water Rises (Laurie Anderson) - The Kronos QuartetJohn’s Book of Alleged Dances - The Kronos QuartetTateh's Picture Book - Randy NewmanAtlantic City - Randy Newman
24/06/2250m 20s

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

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 many have no interest in fleeing to big cities for protection. This week, Annalee Newitz sits in for Brooke, and talks to Rae Garringer about their oral history project, Country Queers. When Garringer was attending college in the early 2000s, the only queer rural representation they saw was in crime stories. Country Queers features LGBT people who are living in rural parts of the United States, in small towns and remote farms, and they’re often taking great joy in it. 
23/06/2216m 28s

The Conspiracy Machine

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 [@wiczipedia], former head of the Disinformation Governance Board, on the lessons learned from government-led attempts to counter disinformation. Listen. 3. Josh Owens [@JoshuaHOwens], former staff member at InfoWars, on what made him leave, and how he's come to terms with his past role in dangerous movement. Listen. Music in this Week's Show:Ava Maria D. 839 - Pascal Jean and Jean BrendersFirst Drive - Clive Carroll and John RenbournBoy Moves the Sun - Michael AndrewsExit Music (For A Film) - Brad Mehldau Trio
17/06/2250m 37s

Alex Jones Doesn't Care About You

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. 
16/06/2234m 55s

Worth a Thousand Words

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 political power of an image. Listen. 2. Spencer and Gail Booker, family of Marvin Booker, who was killed by police in 2010, share what their family went through, and why Marvin's death being caught on camera remains so difficult. Listen. 3. Lois Beckett [@loisbeckett], senior reporter for The Guardian, on why our coverage of gun violence tends to focus on just one kind tragedy, and how we could make it better. Listen.  
10/06/2250m 21s

The Messy Politics of Oprah and Dr. Oz

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 therapies and cures, is his many appearances on Oprah Winfrey's long-running daytime talk show. Kellie Jackson, historian, associate professor of African Studies, Wellesley College and host and executive producer of the Oprahdemics podcast, and Leah Wright Rigueur, associate professor of history, Johns Hopkins University and co-host of the Oprahdemics podcast, talk to Brian about Oprah's role in giving Dr. Oz a platform, what he became and if she has any responsibility to speak out.  
08/06/2222m 57s

When the Fog Clears

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 could be the most consequential yet. Listen. 2. Ilya Marritz [@ilyamarritz] and Andrea Bernstein [@AndreaBNYC] return in an excerpt from their new show Will Be Wild, examining the forces behind the January 6th insurrection with stories from those who tried to stop the attack, and those who took part. Plus, some pineapple. Listen. For transcripts, see individual segment pages.
03/06/2250m 24s

How The Media Failed Amber Heard

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 and judge, and a noisily expanding online audience, drove much of the internet crazy with guilty pleasure. Thus ensued a collective hurling of feces at Amber Heard, despite the evidence gathered meticulously in a 2020 British libel case also focused on Depp’s spousal abuse. The only quarter of the media that seemed reluctant to engage in the facts of the case was the progressive press, or the liberal media. There you could find coverage of the social media chaos, but not the underlying reality. This bothered journalist Michael Hobbes, host of the podcast Maintenance Phase, who observed that usually reliable outlets tended to steer around the facts, and sold an already victimized woman down the river. 
02/06/2241m 22s

Imperfect Immunity

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 when covering herd immunity. Listen. 3. Fiona Lowenstein [@fi_lowenstein], journalist and founder of Body Politic, on how to write about Long Covid. Listen. 4. Jon Cohen [@sciencecohen], writer at Science, on why we shouldn't compare the recent monkeypox outbreak to Covid. Listen. Music: Sleep Talking by Ornette ColemanSonata for Violin and Guitar (Mauro Giuliani) by Itzhak Perlman and John WilliamsSuperstition (Stevie Wonder) by Jung SunghaI Got A Right To Sing the Blues by Billy KyleJohn’s Book of Alleged Dances by The Kronos Quartet For transcripts, see individual segment pages.
27/05/2250m 23s

Again and Again and Again and Again (and Again)

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 within days of each other; one in El Paso, Texas and the next in Dayton, Ohio.  At the time, Washington Post columnist Margaret Sullivan wrote, “When a mass shooting happens, even when it happens twice in a 24-hour period — even when the death tolls soars into the dozens — we reflexively spring into action. We describe the horror of what happened, we profile the shooter, we tell about the victims’ lives, we get reaction from public officials. It’s difficult, gut-wrenching work for journalists on the scene.  And then there’s the next one. And the next one. If journalism is supposed to be a positive force in society — and we know it can be — this is doing no good.” Lois Beckett is a senior reporter for The Guardian. She covered gun violence for many years, now gun policy. She says that mainstream coverage of the issue is flawed because it's focused mainly on one type of tragedy. She explained to me when I spoke to her 3 years ago, how better coverage would mean focusing on the root causes of gun violence. This is a segment from our September 6th, 2019 program, Pressure Drop.
25/05/2220m 33s

Again and Again

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 host, on the tropes that choke coverage of every mass shooting, and why we should focus on consequences and the 'rot at the root.' Listen. 2. Jay Rosen [@jayrosen_nyu], professor of journalism at New York University and media critic for PressThink, on why journalists should still be in "emergency mode." Listen. 3. Paul Auster, acclaimed novelist and author of Burning Boy: The Life and Work of Stephen Crane, on the 19th century writer's forgotten legacy. Listen. Music: White Man Sleeps by The Kronos QuartetFergus River Roundelay by Gerry O’BeirneMiddlesex Times by Michael AndrewsA Ride with Polly Jean by Jenny ScheinmanCellar Door by Michael Andrews
20/05/2249m 54s

Where in the World is Brooke?

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 provide an impartial picture of the wars they document? As Hannah recently explained in Foreign Policy, certain aspects of American war coverage—reliance on government sources and incentives to simplify geopolitics as battles between good and evil—have long compelled news organizations to tilt toward military action.
18/05/2234m 19s

Seeing Is Believing

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 opinion leak and protests to motivate their base ahead of the midterms. Listen. 2. Micah Loewinger [@MicahLoewinger], OTM correspondent, on alarmist news coverage of TikTok challenges and its misleading influence on panicked parents. Listen. 3. Brandy Zadrozny [@BrandyZadrozny], senior reporter for NBC News, on the story of Tiffany Dover, and how misinformation about her death fueled anti-vax messaging. Listen. Music: Fallen Leaves by Marcos Ciscar The Camping Store by Clive Carroll and John Renbourn Coffee Cold by Galt MacDermot Middlesex Times by Michael Andrews 
13/05/2250m 17s

How the Depp v. Heard Trial Became a Meme

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 him of abuse, but he lost that case. Given the history, you might expect to see fewer headlines over this latest trial. But, not so. The ratings for Court TV, which is broadcasting every moment of the trial, have more than doubled. Pair the live visuals with Depp’s rabid online fanbase, and you’ve got a case being watched billions of times over — in fact, the #JusticeforJohnnyDepp hashtag has upwards of 10 billion views on TikTok and it’s spawned several viral sounds and trends and … comedy sketches. Guest host Brandy Zadrozny asks EJ Dickson, senior writer for Rolling Stone, about how pro-Depp coverage of the case took over TikTok, and its consequences.
12/05/2212m 53s

Crime and Punishment

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 [@mattkatz00] WNYC reporter, on what bad coverage of bail reform looks like. Listen. 3. Tom Devine, legal director of the Government Accountability Project, on how to protect whistleblowers on police misconduct. Listen. 4. Tauhid Chappell [@TauhidChappell], Philadelphia Project Manager for Free Press, on abolishing the crime beat. Listen.
06/05/2250m 0s

The Abortion Underground

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 to this story. As a draft of the majority opinion overruling Roe v. Wade was leaked to the media this week, activists are once again preparing to take abortion into their own hands. Reporter Jessica Bruder explores the abortion underground to learn about the movement’s origins, and reveals how activists today are mobilizing around effective and medically safe abortion methods that can be done at home.  A transcript of this episode is available.  Further reading: “A Covert Network of Activists Is Preparing for the End of Roe”
04/05/2233m 18s

Ghost in the Machine

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 Changing the World, Erika D. Smith [@Erika_D_Smith], LA Times columnist, and Natalie Wynn [@ContraPoints], YouTuber and political commentator, on the implications and possible outcomes of Elon Musk's potential purchase of Twitter. Listen.  2. Eli Pariser [@elipariser], co-director of Civic Signals, on how urban planning can manage the problems of social programing to create digital spaces that don't exploit us. Listen.  3. Jill Lepore, Harvard historian and staff writer at the New Yorker, Annalee Newitz [@Annaleen], former Editor-in-Chief of Gizmodo and science fiction author, and Gene Seymour [@GeneSeymour], longtime cultural critic, on tech moguls' obsession with science fiction. Listen. 
29/04/2249m 19s

Dead End

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.chtbl.com/M_a20dat?sid=otmwebsite
27/04/2230m 27s

Work Work Work Work Work

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 journalist, and Charlie Warzel [@cwarzel], contributing writer at The Atlantic, on how technology is—or, dramatically is not — making life easier at work. Listen. 3. Gavin Mueller [@gavinmuellerphd], assistant professor of New Media and Digital Culture at the University of Amsterdam in the Netherlands, on what modern lessons can be learned from the Luddite workers of 19th century England. Listen. Music from this week's show: Sign and Sigil by John ZornBROKE by Modest MouseMiddlesex Times by Michael AndrewsBlues by La Dolce vita Dei NobiliLiquid Spear Waltz by Michael AndrewsStolen Moments by Ahmed Jamal Trio
22/04/2250m 12s

The Holiday You May Have Missed

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 author of America’s Forgotten Holiday: May Day and Nationalism, 1867–1960, and she explains that the fight over May 1, or May Day, is also about the fight for American identity and what it means to be radical and patriotic at the same time.   The OTM crew (in 2018) sings "Into The Streets May First," a never-before-professionally-recorded 1935 Aaron Copland anthem:  
20/04/2217m 49s

How Cassettes Changed the World

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,' which saw pirated material of all types smuggled into 1980s Czechoslovakia via cassette tape. Listen. 3. The role of cassette tapes in the Iranian Revolution. Listen. This episode was reported, produced, scored and sound designed for Radiolab by Simon Adler with original music throughout by Simon. Top tier reporting and production assistance was provided by Eli Cohen.
15/04/2251m 0s

It's Tax Season!

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 primary roadblocks to change, said Huseman, is an organization called the Free File Alliance, a public-private partnership whereby private tax companies agree to provide a free service for most Americans in exchange for the IRS not offering any such service itself. Brooke spoke with Tim Hugo, Executive Director of the Free File Alliance, about whether it is really the best way to help American taxpayers.
13/04/229m 55s

Our Unfinished Pandemic

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 why mass deaths from COVID have failed to provoke a strong political and social reckoning. Listen. Laura Spinney, [@lfspinney], author and science journalist on how pandemics have historically disabled people, and what this teaches us about Covid long-haulers. Listen. Micah Loewinger [@MicahLoewinger], OTM correspondent, on how to make sense of Covid's ever-changing plot, using Kurt Vonnegut's theory of "the shapes of stories." Listen. Music:Agnus Dei by Martin PalmeriLove Theme from Spartacus by Fred HerschPassing Time by John RenbournMisterioso by Kronos QuartetBewitched, Bothered and Bewildered by Brad Mehldau Trio    
08/04/2253m 12s

New Variant on the Block

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 is a segment from our December 3rd, 2021 program, Pigeon With A Mustache.
06/04/2216m 24s

Still Armed, Still Dangerous

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 about disarmament.  1. Gideon Rose, author of How Wars End, on what Russia should've learned from America's misadventures in Vietnam, Iraq, and Afghanistan. Listen. 2. Kristin Ven Bruusgaard[@KBruusgaard], postdoctoral fellow at the University of Oslo, on the actual threat of Russia's nuclear arsenal. Listen. 3. Alex Wellerstein [@wellerstein], historian of science at Stevens Institute of Technology, on why the threat of nuclear apocalypse can be hard to comprehend. Listen.  4. Marsha Gordon [@MarshaGGordon], professor of film studies at North Carolina State University, on one of the most important films about nukes. Listen. Music: Sacred Oracle by John Zorn Horizon by Thomas NewmanIn The Bath by Randy NewmanLa Vie En Rose by Toots ThielemansGormenghast by John ZornWhite Lotus Theme by Cristobal Tapia De Veer99 Luftballoons by Nena
01/04/2252m 59s

The Simpsons in a Time of Nuclear War

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 years back in which Brooke spoke to playwright Anne Washburn, about her work Mr. Burns: A Post-Electric Play. In it she imagines a world that has been devastated by a nuclear incident and how the remaining civilization would process the destruction over time...by retelling an episode of The Simpsons and about what the episode's evolution over the decades says about society's need for stories and about the role of comedy in the face of tragedy. Excerpts taken from the 2013 production at Playwrights Horizons, directed by Steve Cosson, and a 2017 production at Amherst Regional High School, directed by Nathan Baron-Silvern. Music by Michael Friedman.
30/03/2217m 50s

All the World's a Stage

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 Loofbourow [@Millicentsomer], staff writer at Slate, on the eerie experience of watching Zelesnsky act in the television show, "Servant of the People" and more. Listen. 3. OTM presents a story from The Experiment, featuring Franklin Foer [@franklinfoer], on his family's debt to Ukrainians. Listen. Music: Sarabande (Barry Lyndon OST) by National Philharmonic OrchestraGerman Lullaby by The KiboomersJuliet of the Spirits (Main Theme) by Nino RotaHeroes by David BowieLost, Night by Bill Frisell
25/03/2251m 6s

A Handy Guide to How the Supreme Court Works

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
23/03/2215m 57s

We Were Warned

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 Collins [@oneunderscore__], senior reporter with NBC News, on the viral Ukrainian "bioweapon labs" conspiracy theory. Listen. 2. Eliot Higgins [@EliotHiggins], founder of Bellingcat, on how his organization uses open source investigations to track alleged Russian war crimes. And Alexa Koenig [@KAlexaKoenig], Executive Director of the Human Rights Center at the UC Berkeley School of Law, on how such digital evidence may be used by future war crime tribunals. Listen. 4. Deborah Cohen [@DeborahACohen], professor of history at Northwestern University, on her new book about four foreign correspondents who sounded the alarm on WWII. Listen.
18/03/2250m 25s

The Death of Historical Memory in Russia

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 the party line on the war in Ukraine and state controlled media has has tightened its stranglehold l of the airwaves. In the chaos of the past few weeks, Memorial’s closing was - tragically, just another data point…another nail in the coffin for truth seekers.  OTM producer Molly Schwartz - who was in Moscow but has since left, visited Memorial International and spoke with archivist Nikita Lomakin about the importance of preserving Russia’s oldest Human Rights organization. In this piece, Molly also interviews historian Ivan Kurilla, author of The Battle for the Past: How Politics Changes History, about how the attacks on the archive resonate with Russia's invasion of Ukraine. This is a segment from our February 11, 2022 program I’m No Expert.  
16/03/2214m 17s

The Escape

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 obsolete and what he's doing now. Listen. 2. Alexey Kovalev [@Alexey__Kovalev], investigative editor at Meduza, on his experience fleeing Russia after the Kremlin tightened it's grip on information about the war, choking out independent media. Listen.  3. Micah Loewinger [@MicahLoewinger], OTM correspondent, on the Ukrainian Twitch streamer who used his virtual military skills and online community to get his family to safety when the invasion began. Listen.  Music:Frail as a Breeze by Erik FriedlanderGlass House (End Title) by David BergeaudTime is Late  by Marcos Ciscar Horizon 12.2 by Thomas NewmanPeace Piece (Bill Evans) by Kronos Quartet
11/03/2251m 15s

The Kremlin's M.O.

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, expelling and imprisoning opposition leaders, and shutting down independent news outlets. They've also, since April 2021, added 30 Russian journalists or news outlets to the government's list of "foreign agents."  Journalists or news organizations who are labeled as "foreign agents" don't have to to shut down or stop publishing. Instead, they have to jump through various bureaucratic hoops — like reporting all their income and expenses to the Ministry of Justice (to be publicly posted on its website), and, perhaps most Kafkaesque of all, including a 24-word legal disclaimer on top of everything they publish. This includes every article, every advertisement, every tweet, every Instagram story, every response to a friend's comment on social media.  This is a segment from our September 24th, 2021 program, The Subversion Playbook.
09/03/2215m 44s

The Fog of War

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 fellow at the Technology and Social Change Project at Harvard University’s Shorenstein Center, on how to sort out the real from the fake while keeping up with the news from Ukraine. Listen. 2. Peter Aldhous [@paldhous], science reporter at Buzzfeed, on how open-source intelligence is changing how we all experience war. Listen. 3. Casey Michel [@cjcmichel], writer and investigative journalist, on white Christian nationalism—here and in Russia. Listen. 4. Jason Stanley [@jasonintrator], professor of philosophy at Yale University, on the anti-Semitic conspiracy theories that plague eastern Europe. Listen. Music:  Exit Music For A Film by Brad MehldauMotherless Child by LaTonya PeoplesEye Surgery by Thomas NewmanThe Artifact & Living by Michael AndrewsTrance Dance by John ZornUsing the Apostate Tyrant as His Tool by Kronos QuartetFinal Retribution by John Zorn Waltz (From Swan Lake) by Europa Philharmonic Orchestra
04/03/2250m 18s

'La Brega' in Puerto Rico

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 scholar and professor emeritus at Princeton, Arcadio Diaz Quiñonez, the closest English word is "to grapple." Alana also speaks to Cheo Santiago [@adoptaunhoyo], creator of "Adopta Un Hoyo" (Adopt a Pothole), which encourages people to paint around and photograph potholes to alert other drivers. Because the roads are rarely fixed properly, the challenges of potholes and what people do to get around them is a metaphorical and literal brega in Puerto Rico. Listen. 2. Next, Alana turns to the boom and bust of Levittown, a suburb that was founded on the idea of bringing the American middle-class lifestyle to Puerto Rico during a time of great change on the island. Alana (herself the granddaughter of an early Levittown resident) explores what the presence of a Levittown in Puerto Rico tells us about the promises of the American Dream in Puerto Rico. Listen. Created by a team of Puerto Rican journalists, producers, musicians, and artists from the island and diaspora, "La Brega" uses narrative storytelling and investigative journalism to reflect and reveal how la brega has defined so many aspects of life in Puerto Rico. All episodes are out now, and available in English and Spanish.  Listen to the full series: Apple Podcasts | Spotify | Stitcher | Google Podcasts Music in this series comes from Balún and ÌFÉ
25/02/2250m 4s

How SPAM built a town—and tore it apart

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 sustainable, middle-class life. So when that way of life was threatened, they fought back. SPAM boycotts spread to cities and towns around the world. The strike went on for almost two years, pit neighbor against neighbor, and turned violent; the National Guard was called in to protect those who crossed the picket line. In the end, the strike is a Rorschach test: either a lesson in what is possible when workers unite, or a cautionary tale about biting the SPAM that feeds.  This episode is the second in a new three-part miniseries from The Experiment—“SPAM: How the American Dream Got Canned.”
23/02/2243m 9s

Good As Gold

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 [@katienotopoulos], senior tech reporter at BuzzFeed and Maxwell Strachan [@maxwellstrachan], features writer and editor at Motherboard at VICE, on the backlash from covering crypto investors who'd rather remain anonymous. Listen. 3. OTM producer Molly Schwartz [@mollyfication], on how Russian TV downplays talk of war using an American as a straw man. Listen. Music: I’m Forever Blowing Bubbles by Classic Carnival Circus Calliope MusicNewsreel by Randy NewmanAve Maria - Pascal Jean & Jean Brenders Avalon by Randy NewmanFergus Roundelay by Gerry O'BeirneSonata for Violin and Guitar (Mauro Giuliani) by Itzhak Perlman & John WilliamsPeter and the Wolf (Prokofiev) by Mario Rossi & Wiener Opernochester  
18/02/2250m 22s

All about SPAM (the meaty kind)

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 staple Filipino food: a beloved emblem of Filipino identity.  In this episode Gabrielle sets out to understand how SPAM made its way into the hearts of generations of Pacific Islanders, and ends up opening a SPAM can of worms.  This episode is the first in a new three-part miniseries from The Experiment—“SPAM: How the American Dream Got Canned.”  
16/02/2222m 14s

I'm No Expert

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 Webster [@webby2001], senior vice president at Edison Research, on why we're all talking about Joe Rogan. Listen. 2. Jill Filipovic [@JillFilipovic], attorney and writer, on who holds responsibility for misinformation. Listen. 3. Gita Jackson [@xoxogossipgita], on the misguided defenses of Joe Rogan's racist comments. Listen. 4. OTM producer Molly Schwartz [@mollyfication], on Russia's newest effort to erase the past. Listen. Music: Blue Monk by Jimmy GiuffreAin't Misbehavin’ by Hank JonesInvestigations by Kevin MacLeodI Am by India Arie Breathe by India ArieString Quartet No.5 (Philip Glass) by Kronos QuartetPeace Piece (Bill Evans) by Kronos Quartet
11/02/2250m 19s

Man of the Left

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 mentor to many and a huge influence on many who came to the nascent field of media criticism. Among them, New York University journalism professor and Media critic Jay Rosen, writer of the oft-quoted pressthink blog, and a regular here on our show. Brooke spoke with Rosen this week about the influence Gitlin had on his career.    
09/02/2221m 13s

Read the Room

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_Historian], hosts of the education podcast “Have You Heard,” on the rights—both real and fictional—of parents to shape what their kids learn. Listen. 3. OTM reporter Micah Loewinger [@MicahLoewinger] takes a deep dive into our nations history of taking books off shelves, with the 1982 Supreme Court decision in Island Trees School District v Pico. Featuring: Steven Pico, then student and plaintiff in the case and Arthur Eisenberg, New York Civil Liberties lawyer, who represented him. Listen. Music:Tymperturbably Blue by Duke EllingtonYork Fusiliers by Douglas Monroe & Yorktown Fife and DrumsEye Surgery by Thomas NewmanViderunt Omnes by The Kronos Quartet
04/02/2250m 20s

Barney Rosset Never Backed Down

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.   
02/02/2213m 9s

Humans, Being

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 family tree—and the complicated branch that is Neanderthals. Listen. 2. Rebecca Wragg Sykes [@LeMoustier], archeologist and author of Kindred: Neanderthal Life, Love, Death and Art, on and what we know about how they lived. Listen.  3. Clive Finlayson [@CliveFinlayson], Director, Chief Scientist, and Curator of the Gibraltar National Museum, on how studying what’s inside Gorham and Vanguard caves can help reconstruct Neanderthal life beyond them. Listen.  4. Angela Saini, science journalist, on how Neanderthals have been co-opted to push mythologies about the genetic basis of race. Listen. Music:Boy Moves the Sun by Michael AndrewsYoung Heart by Brad MehldauSacred Oracle by John ZornTomorrow Never Knows by Quartetto d’ Archi Di Dell’Orchestra di Milano Guiseppe VerdiInvestigations by Kevin MacLeod
28/01/2250m 28s

Debate This!

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 it also poses the question: What – if anything – would be lost if the presidential debates didn’t happen? Brooke spoke to Alex Shephard, staff writer at The New Republic who's article on the subject was titled: “Let the Presidential Debates Die.”  
26/01/2215m 36s

Political Fictions

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 intellectuals. Listen. 2. Bill Kristol [@BillKristol], editor-at-large of The Bulwark, reckons with 'Stop the Steal'-ers in his party. Listen. 3. Astead Herndon [@AsteadWesley], national politics reporter at the The New York Times, on why he'd rather interview a 'Big Lie'-believing voter than a politician. Listen. 4. George Lakoff [@GeorgeLakoff], linguist and cognitive scientist, reflects on the "truth sandwich." Listen. Music:  Bewitched, Bothered and Bewildered by Brad MehldauCellar Door by Michael AndrewsCello Song by Nick DrakeBoy Moves the Sun by Michael AndrewsI’m Not Following You by Michael AndrewsWhite Man Sleeps I by Kronos QuartetLove Angel by Marcos CiscarTraveling Music by Kronos Quartet
21/01/2249m 59s

Snow...in the tropics?

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 wonderland came to San Juan free of charge, it wasn't without a cost. In this special episode of La Brega, we learn how the snow was actually transported to San Juan from Hilda Jimenez, Doña Fela’s assistant. And we hear from some of the people who experienced it up-close. Ignacio Rivera (of the radio program Fuego Cruzado) was 8 years old and threw snowballs; the artist Antonio Martorell remembers that too, but also sees the event as part of Puerto Rico’s troubling colonial relationship with the United States. Seventy years later – when ice is at an even greater premium – journalist and author Ana Teresa Toro says Puerto Rico is still grappling with how to understand that special delivery. To learn more about Doña Fela, we recommend a visit to the Casa Museo Felisa Rincón de Gautier. You can learn more about Antonio Martorell in a recent documentary called El Accidente Feliz. His portrait of the mayor is here.  The snowball fight is also the subject of a piece by the artist Sofía Gallisá Muriente, called Lluvia con nieve, now part of Whitney's collection. Ana Teresa Toro’s new book of poetry is “Flora animal.”
19/01/2228m 39s

A Question of War

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 University of California, San Diego, on the tell-tale signs that a country is headed for insurgence. Listen. 3. Charlie Warzel [@cwarzel], journalist and contributing writer at The Atlantic, on when journalists should sound the alarm (and how loud we should ring it). Listen. 4. David M. Perry [@Lollardfish] and Matthew Gabriele [@prof_gabriele], authors of The Bright Ages: A New History of Medieval Europe, on how the Dark Ages might have not been so dark. Listen. Music: Wade in the Water by Hank Jones and Charlie HadenThe Glass House - Marjane’s Inspiration by David BergeaudSeinfeld Theme - Jonathan WolffLowland’s Away by Gregory Blavenz - The Us Army Fife And Drum CorpsHarpsichord - Four TetAd summan missam: Santus II by Ensemble Aeolus
14/01/2250m 20s

Road To Insurrection

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 Micah Loewinger [@MicahLoewinger] and Militia Watch founder Hampton Stall [@HamptonStall] investigate how a walkie-talkie app called Zello is enabling armed white supremacist groups to gather and recruit. Featuring: Joan Donovan [@BostonJoan] Research Director of the Shorenstein Center at Harvard University, and Megan Squire [@MeganSquire0] Professor of Computer Science at Elon University. Listen. 3. OTM reporter Micah Loewinger [@MicahLoewinger] on Zello's role in the January 6th insurrection, and what the app is finally doing about its militia members. Featuring: Marcy Wheeler [@emptywheel] national security reporter for Emptywheel, and Cynthia Miller-Idriss [@milleridriss] Director of Polarization and Extremism Research and Innovation Lab at American University, and Jared Holt [@JaredHolt] Resident Fellow at the Atlantic Council's Digital Forensic Research Lab. Listen. Music: Tick Of The Clock by ChromaticsCyclic Bit by Raymond ScottGenocide by Link WrayProcession Of The Grand Moghul by Korla Pandit Gormenghast by John Zorn
07/01/2250m 19s

Aaron Swartz: The Wunderkind of the Free Culture Movement

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 the fraught, often colorful, history of copyright in America. Brooke talks with Peters about Swartz's legacy and the long line of "data moralists" who came before him. Music in this podcast extra: "Moss Garden" by David Bowie"Heroes" by David Bowie; performed by The Meridian String Quartet"Life On Mars?" by David Bowie; performed by The Meridian String Quartet. This segment originally aired in our January 15, 2016 program, "Terms of Engagement."
05/01/2229m 18s

Reputation

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 Pennsylvania, on his experience being "cancelled" within an academic context. Listen.  3. Clyde McGrady [@CAMcGrady], features writer for The Washington Post, on the derivation and misappropriation of the word "cancelled." Listen. 4. Elizabeth Becker [@Elizbeckerwrite], author of You Don't Belong Here, on how women journalists covered the Vietnam War in groundbreaking ways, and yet were forgotten by history. Listen. Music: Middlesex Times by Michael AndrewsBubble Wrap by Thomas NewmanYou Sexy Thing (Remix) by Hot ChocolateJohn’s Book Of Alleged Dances  by Kronos QuartetCarmen Fantasy by Anderson & Row
31/12/2150m 30s

An Interview With Basketball Great Walt "Clyde" Frazier

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."
29/12/2116m 41s

Scene of the Crime

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 [@RachelNCorbett], author of You Must Change Your Life: The Story of Rainer Maria Rilke and Auguste Rodin, on why the feds love podcasts by mobsters. Listen. Music:After The Fact by John ScofieldThe Hammer of Los by John ZornSmooth Criminal by 2Cellos
24/12/2150m 5s

Ten Things That Scare Brooke Gladstone

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. 
22/12/216m 43s

Fame and Misfortune

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 journalist, on why the profile of Jeremy Strong in The New Yorker struck a chord. Listen. Bobby Finger [@bobbyfinger] and Lindsey Weber [@lindseyweber], co-hosts of the podcast "Who? Weekly," talk about the scrappy, B-list celebrities do for fame. Listen. Music: Il Casanova di Federico Fellini by Nina RotaPaperback Writer by Quartetto dell'Orchestra Sinfonica di Milano Giuseppe VerdiThe Art Of War by Richard BeddowInvestigations by Kevin MacLeodNewsreel by Randy NewmanHard Times by Leftover Salmon
17/12/2150m 38s

Everything You Never Knew About Movie Novelizations

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 else. But the people who write them beg to differ. Back in 2016, former OTM producer Jesse Brenneman went inside the world of novelizations; featuring authors Max Allan Collins, Alan Dean Foster, Elizabeth Hand, and Lee Goldberg. Songs: "The Blue Danube Waltz" by Johann Strauss "The Throne Room and End Title" by John Williams (from the film "Star Wars")   *Correction: In the piece it is stated that the Star Wars novelization begins, "Another time, another galaxy." In fact it begins, "Another galaxy, another time." 
15/12/2111m 29s

Take This Job and Shove It

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 Helen-Peterson [@annehelen], writer and journalist, and Charlie Warzel [@cwarzel], contributing writer at The Atlantic, on how technology is—or, dramatically is not — easing our lives at work. Listen. 3. Gavin Mueller [@gavinmuellerphd], assistant professor of New Media and Digital Culture at the University of Amsterdam in the Netherlands, on what modern lessons can be learned from the Luddite workers of 19th century England. Listen. Music from this week's show: Sign and Sigil by John ZornBROKE by Modest MouseMiddlesex Times by Michael AndrewsBlues by La Dolce vita Dei NobiliLiquid SpearWaltz by Michael AndrewsStolen Moments by Ahmed Jamal Trio
10/12/2150m 33s

Log On For OTM Trivia Tonight!

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 member, check your email. You've already received a Zoom link for the event. See you tonight!  
07/12/214m 3s

Pigeon with A Mustache

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 don't) know about the new omicron variant. Listen. 2. Jeremy Kamil [@macroliter], associate professor of microbiology and immunology at Louisiana State University Health Shreveport, on the scientists who found omicron, and why we should know their names. Listen. 3. Katie Engelhart [@katieengelhart], journalist and New America fellow, on the complicated right to die. Listen. Music from this week's show: Horizon 12.2 - Thomas NewmanEye Surgery - Thomas NewmanSlow Pulse Conga  - William PasleyCello Song - Nick DrakeBerceuse in D Flat Major, Op. 57 (Chopin) - Ivan MoravecTime After Time (Cyndi Lauper) - Miles Davis
03/12/2151m 41s

A Different Hanukkah Story

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 against all odds. According to Rabbi James Ponet, Emeritus Howard M. Holtzmann Jewish Chaplain at Yale University, the kid-friendly Hanukkah mythology has obscured the thorny historical details that offer deeper truths about what it means to be a Jew. In his 2005 Slate piece, "Hanukkah as Jewish Civil War," Ponet looked at the often-overlooked Jew-on-Jew violence that under-girds the Hanukkah story. He and Brooke discuss how this civil war lives on in Jewish views on Israel, and how the tension between assimilation and tradition came to define the Jewish people.   (this is a rebroadcast of a story we first ran in 2018)
01/12/2114m 57s

How Cassette Tapes Changed the World

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,' which saw pirated material of all types smuggled into 1980s Czechoslovakia via cassette tape. Listen. 3. The role of cassette tapes in the Iranian Revolution. Listen. This episode was reported, produced, scored and sound designed for Radiolab by Simon Adler with original music throughout by Simon. Top tier reporting and production assistance was provided by Eli Cohen.
26/11/2150m 52s

Chasing Dash

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 family full of superheroes: The Incredibles.  Back in 2005, the Academy Award-winning animated Pixar film took the world by storm, with its campy 60s noir aesthetic, its nuanced portrayal of family gender roles, and its memorable cast of superheroes. And one of those superheroes, the gifted son named Dash, was played by a real-life kid, the former child actor Spencer Fox. The film would radically change Fox's life, for better and worse. Some 17 years later, Spencer speaks with OTM reporter Micah Loewinger about his complex relationship to the role and why he spent years refusing to watch its sequel. This is segment originally aired as part of the April 23, 2021 program, Not Ready For That Conversation.
23/11/2115m 7s

Bait the Nation

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. Listen. 2. Adam Harris [@AdamHSays], staff writer at The Atlantic, on what the elections can and can't tell us about the impact of  'critical race theory' scaremongering, and why the debate over race has landed in schools. Listen. 3. Alan Jenkins [@Opportunity1], professor at Harvard Law School and co-founder of the Opportunity Agenda, on how powerful stories, effectively communicated, have shaped what's possible for the future. Listen.
19/11/2155m 6s

The Climate Summit Blues

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 play-by-play analysis: all the juicy details about diplomatic attaches, late-night negotiation, and backroom deals. Which is not without value, but it’s worth asking: what are the stories being missed when all eyes are on the summit? To answer that, we called Nathaniel Rich, writer-at-large for the New York Times Magazine, who takes a markedly different approach.
17/11/2120m 51s

Cha-ching!

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 featuring Carlos Matos, one of crypto's most unlikely proponents. Listen. 3. Anil Dash [@anildash] on his ambivalence of what has come from his creation. Listen. Music:72 Degrees and Sunny by Thomas NewmanEye Surgery by Thomas NewmanHorizon 12.2 by Thomas NewmanOkami by Nicola CruzBitconnect Carlos Matos (What Is Love) by PsycholPenguins by Michael HurleySolice by Scott JoplinCarlos Matos (Take On Me) by MemeskiBubblewrap by Thomas NewmanVie En Rose by Toots Thielemans
12/11/2150m 27s

OTM presents The Experiment: Who Would Jesus Mock?

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?”  
10/11/2122m 36s

The History of Tomorrow

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  The American Prospect, on why off-year elections need historical context. Listen. 2. Jill Lepore, Harvard historian and New Yorker staff writer; Gene Seymour [@GeneSeymour], culture critic with work in Newsday, the Nation, the Baffler, and more; and Annalee Newitz [@Annaleen], science fiction author and science journalist, on the makings (and potential mishaps) of the metaverse. Listen. 3. Paul Auster, acclaimed novelist and author of Burning Boy: The Life and Work of Stephen Crane, on the 19th century writer's forgotten legacy. Listen. Music in this week's show:Whistle While You Work - Artie Shaw and his New MusicYou’re Getting to be a Habit with Me - Guy LombardoDo Nothin’ Till You Hear from Me - Ben WebsterBoy Moves the Sun - Michael AndrewsA Ride with Polly Jean - Jenny ScheinmanGerry O'Beirne’s album “The Bog Bodies and other Stories: Music for Guitar"
05/11/2150m 6s

The Only Inevitability

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 the title of her new book The Inevitable: Dispatches on the Right to Die. Brooke Gladstone spoke to Engelhart about the complicated ethics of physician-assisted deaths and the surprising parameters within which people can end their lives.
03/11/2136m 41s

A Rift In the Gun World

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 Haxel and Lisa Hagen, produced by Graham Smith and edited by Robert Little and is a production of NPR, KCUR, WABE, and WAMU. To listen to all 6 episodes (and you should!) go to NPR.org or wherever you get your podcasts.  Music from this week's show: Stormy Weather - Franck Pourcel Washington’s March - Liberty Tree Wind Players Country outro  All other music written and performed by Humpmuscle    
29/10/2150m 22s

When The Mob Gets a Podcast

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 an upcoming book about criminal profiling. The former FBI agents she called up kept talking about a new kind of podcast that they were listening to—where the mobsters of a bygone era were speaking for themselves. This week Corbett, author of a recent article in The New Yorker called “Why the FBI Loves Mob Podcasts,” sits down with Brooke to talk about these new shows and who's listening.  
28/10/2116m 43s

Plot Twist

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. 2. Dr. Paul Offit [@DrPaulOffit], professor of pediatrics at the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania, on why medical progress always carries risk. Listen. 3. OTM correspondent Micah Loewinger [@MicahLoewinger] speaks with Soren Wheeler [@SorenWheeler] and Rachael Piltch-Loeb [@Rpiltchloeb] about why the narrative arc of the COVID-19 pandemic has been deeply unsatisfying. With some help from Kurt Vonnegut. Listen. Music: In the Bath - Randy Newman Milestones - Bill Evans Trio Paperback Writer - Quartetto d'Archi Dell'orchestra Sinfonica di Giuseppe Verdi Quizas Quizas Quizas - Ramon Sole  Misterioso - Kronos Quartet Bewitched, Bothered and Bewildered - Brad Mehldau Trio  
22/10/2150m 17s

Colin Powell's Pivotal Moment That Wasn't

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-breaking hero by folks across the aisle, in his death, as in life, there are those who are using Colin Powell as an opportunity for scoring political points.  Looking back at the life of Colin Powell, it is worth recalling that he was once one of America's most popular public officials, polling favorably among 85 percent of Americans in a 2002 Gallup poll. But what Colin Powell is perhaps most remembered for is his 2003 presentation to the UN Security Council explaining the existence of weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. A little over a year later, Powell went on NBC's Meet the Press and essentially retracted his assertion, saying it "turned out that the sourcing was inaccurate and wrong and in some cases deliberately misleading." Brooke speaks with Fred Kaplan, a veteran reporter on foreign policy and national security, long-time writer of Slate’s "War Stories" column, and even longer-time husband of Brooke, about the life and legacy of Colin Powell.
20/10/2130m 31s

Against the Machine

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 science professor at Aarhus University, on the difference (or lack thereof) between on and offline behaviors, and how Facebook might not be affecting us in the ways we think. Listen. 3. Meghan O’Gieblyn, writer and author of God, Human, Animal, Machine, on the ever-deeper entwining of humanity and technology, and what it might mean for our future. Listen.   Music from this week's show: Passing Time - John RenbournClap Hands - Tom WaitsOkami - Nicola CruzCarmen Fantasy - Anderson and RoeYoung at Heart - Brad MehldauFor the Creator - Richard Souther
15/10/2150m 34s

Who Is The Bad Art Friend? Why Not Both?

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 the podcast Maintenance Phase, to discuss his review of the story, the Twitter storm, and why we're even talking about all this in the first place. 
13/10/2126m 38s

The Big Reveal

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 perils of focusing on politicians' flubs during tech regulation hearings. Listen. 2. Kevin Roose [@kevinroose], tech columnist for The New York Times, on the harbingers of Facebook's demise. Listen. 3. Gerard Ryle [@RyleGerard], director of the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists, on how the Pandora Papers unmask hidden owners of offshore companies. Plus, what the papers might mean for the future of cooperative journalism. Listen. 4. OTM correspondent Micah Loewinger [@MicahLoewinger], on how he and Gothamist's George Joseph uncovered evidence that active police officers are connected to the Oath Keepers, a far-right militia group. Listen. Music from this week's show: Chicago Sunset  - MusselwhiteTilliboyo - Kronos QuartetGormenghast  - John ZornString Quartet No. 5 II Movement 2 -Phillip Glass - Kronos Quartet
08/10/2150m 16s

It's Debt Ceiling Time Again!

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 York Times noted widespread warnings of “global economic calamity”  If all of this sounds familiar, that's because... it is. For years, the media have treated the perennial debt ceiling debate like hurricane season. Is disaster heading to our shores? When will calamity strike? What's the projected damage? Often lost in the coverage is why we have to keep reliving this crisis in the first place. Zachary Karabell is host of the podcast “What Could Go Right” and president of River Twice Capital. He’s also the author of The Leading Indicators: A Short History of the Numbers That Rule Our World. Brooke spoke to him in 2017 about this very subject. 
06/10/219m 43s

Out of Sight

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 social media companies for our health. Listen. 2. Jess Bravin [@JessBravin], Supreme Court reporter for The Wall Street Journal, and Michel Paradis [@MDParadis], senior attorney for the Department of Defense, on the lasting difficulties of covering one of America's most notorious military prisons, Guantanamo Bay. Listen. 3. Muira McCammon [@muira_mccammon], doctoral candidate at the University of Pennsylvania's Annenberg School of Communications, on what the library at Guantamo Bay can tell us about the place and the media's coverage. Listen. 4. Patricia Aufderheide [@paufder], University Professor of Communication Studies in the School of Communication at American University, on the tension between production and ethics in the world of documentaries. Listen. Music from this week's show: Nino Rota - Juliet of SpiritsNicola Cruz - ColibriaKronos - FlugufrelsarinnVijay Iyer - Human NatureMerkabah - John ZornBooker T and The MG's - Slim Jenkins PlaceAlex Wurman - Going Home for the First Time
01/10/2151m 53s

The Big Screen version of Boom and Bust

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, Hollywood hasn't always portrayed Wall Street with such cynicism. In 2018 Brooke spoke to Per Hansen, professor of business history at the Copenhagen Business School, about his study examining cinematic depictions of big business and financial institutions. Hansen sifted through 81 films to understand how America's volatile attitudes on capitalism have evolved through other periods of boom and bust. He and Brooke discussed how classics like Wall Street, It's a Wonderful Life, and The Apartment have reflected and actively shaped the way we feel about money. This segment is from our September 14th, 2018 episode, Doomed to Repeat.
29/09/2114m 32s

The Subversion Playbook

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 Hasen, [@rickhasen], professor of law and political science at the University of California Irvine, on why election subversion is such a dangerous threat to our democracy. Listen. 3. Tanya Lokot [@tanyalokot], media scholar and associate professor at the Dublin City University School of Communications, on why Google and Apple caved to the Kremlin on fair election technology. Listen. 4. OTM producer Molly Schwartz [@mollyfication] on the lives and trials of Russian journalists under siege, featuring: Sonya Groysman [@sonyagro], Russian journalist and podcaster; Joshua Yaffa [@yaffaesque] Moscow correspondent for The New Yorker; Tikhon Dzyadko [@tikhondzyadko], editor-in-chief of TV Rain; and Alexey Kovalyov [@Alexey__Kovalev], investigations editor at the news outlet Meduza. Listen. Music from this week's show: Chicago Sunset - Charlie Musselwhite Time is Late ft. Joakim Johans Unnamed Track - Mark Henry Philips Unnamed Track - Mark Henry Philips Baba O'Rilеy - The Who From Russia With Love - Huma-Huma Дальше действовать будем мы (“We will continue to act”) - Kino   
24/09/2150m 8s

From Birtherism to Election Theft

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 presented to Pence by Trump and Eastman in the Oval Office during the days leading up to January 6th, and offers a chilling look at the lengths to which Trump was prepared to go in order to maintain power.  It also offers a new opportunity to examine the activities of John Eastman, who entered the spotlight in 2020 when he published an op-ed in Newsweek making the false claim that Kamala Harris was ineligible for the Vice Presidency. Back then, Brooke spoke with Slate’s Mark Joseph Stern, who described the origins of this birtherism falsehood and how Eastman and his organization, the Claremont Institute, used the media to spread it.
22/09/2114m 31s

Fire and Brimstone

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 fossil fuel industry became so good at selling its own story. 1. Winnifred Sullivan [@WinniSullivan], Indiana University Bloomington professor of law and religious studies, explains why the constitution doesn't define "religion." Listen. 2. Linda Greenhouse, writer and clinical lecturer at Yale Law School, on the Supreme Court's recent rulings on religious liberties. Listen. 3. Mark Hertsgaard [@markhertsgaard], executive director of Covering Climate Now, on why the press should remind us of climate change's impact on so-called "natural disasters." Listen. 4. Amy Westervelt [@amywestervelt], climate writer and host of the podcast Drilled, on how fossil fuels companies advertised their way out of a public backlash. Listen. Music from this week's show: In the Hall of the Mountain King - Kevin MacLeod  Smells like Teen Spirit - The Bad Plus  Equinox - John Coltrane Sacred Oracle - Bill Frisell Roary’s Waltz - John Zorn Cops or Criminals - The Departed Soundtrack
17/09/2149m 45s

The Trial of Elizabeth Holmes

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 experience. But it turns out that all those lofty promises were empty. There was no revolutionary new way to test blood. And now, years later, Holmes is being charged with 10 counts of wire fraud and two counts of conspiracy to commit wire fraud. Two weeks into the trial, we're re-airing a conversation from 2018 between Brooke and John Carreyrou, host of the narrative podcast Bad Blood: The Final Chapter and the investigative journalist who exposed Holmes's alleged fraud.
15/09/2118m 35s

Aftershocks

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 Poniewozik [@poniewozik] on the documentary styles used to remember 9/11. Listen. 3. OTM's Micah Loewinger [@MicahLoewinger] reports on the legacy of Loose Change. Listen. 4. Mother Jones senior editor Kiera Butler [@kieraevebutler] on how Ivermectin became so politicized. Listen.  
10/09/2150m 31s

Hey Everyone, Meet Sacha Pfeiffer!

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 Rachel McAdams and who is.....drumroll, going to guest-host OTM! You're in safe hands, listeners. 
08/09/2116m 16s

Organizing Chaos

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 [@mollyfication] takes a deep dive into one imposition of human order so commonplace most of us never notice: the library. But the famed Dewey Decimal System is not an unbiased ordering machine. Featuring: Jess deCourcy Hinds [@HindsJess] librarian at the Bard High School, Early College library in Queens, New York, Wayne A. Wiegand a library historian and author of Irrepressible Reformer: A Biography of Melvil Dewey, Caroline Saccucci, the former Dewey Program Manager at the Library of Congress, Emily Drabinski [@edrabinski] interim chief librarian of the Mina Rees Library at CUNY, and Dartmouth librarian Jill Baron [@jillebaron] from the documentary Change the Subject. Listen. Music from this week's show: Nocturne For Piano in B flat minor- Frédéric Chopin  Il Casanova di Federico Fellini Tomorrow Never Knows - Quartetto D’archi dell Orchestra Sinfonica Songs of War - US Army Old Guard Fife and Drum Corps  The Dewey Decimal System - Jason Munday
03/09/2149m 36s

Biased Algorithms, Biased World

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 going to college and getting a job, to online advertising and criminal sentencing. She and Brooke discuss the science behind predictive algorithms and how they can go terribly wrong. This segment originally aired on our November 22, 2019 program, The Disagreement is the Point.
01/09/2116m 6s

Constitutionally Speaking

“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 what he sees as the problem with free speech absolutism. Listen.  2. John Powell [@profjohnapowell], law professor at UC Berkeley, P.E. Moskowitz [@_pem_pem], author of The Case Against Free Speech: The First Amendment, Fascism, and the Future of Dissent, and Susan Benesch [@SusanBenesch], Director of the Dangerous Speech Project, on our complicated legal right to speak. Listen.  3. Andrew and Brooke discuss the philosopher Richard Rorty, whose work can teach us much about where the present approach to speech might take us, as a nation. Listen.  Music from this week's show: Jeopardy: Think Music - Malcolm HamiltonFallen Leaves - Marcos CiscarTime is Late - Marcos Ciscar  
27/08/2150m 8s

A New First Amendment

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.
25/08/2110m 39s

Maligned Women

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 podcast, on how coverage of maligned women in the 1990s fueled lasting and harmful myths. Listen. Music: Okami — Nicola CruzRiver Man — Brad Mehldaw TrioFellini’s Waltz — Nino RotaLa Vie En Rose — Toots Thielemans  
20/08/2150m 17s

How Radio Makes Female Voices Sound Shrill

"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 voices were perniciously exacerbated by the broadcast technology that powers radio and audio recording technology. They're designed to thin higher frequency voices and enrich lower ones. In this interview from 2019, she and Brooke revisit the proliferation of radio in the 1920's and 1930's, when our ears were trained to prefer listening to men talk, and reflect on how societal gender standards have been shaped since.
18/08/2116m 0s

A 40 Acre Promise

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, turning black and brown renters into debtors and evictees.  Matthew Desmond [@just_shelter], founder of The Eviction Lab and our partner in this series, and Marty Wegbreit, director of litigation for the Central Virginia Legal Aid Society, point us toward the legal and historical developments that evolved into the present crisis. And WBEZ’s Natalie Moore [@natalieymoore], whose grandparents moved to Chicago during the Great Migration, shows us around a high-eviction area on Chicago’s South Side.  
13/08/2149m 58s

I'm Brooke Gladstone and I Am a Trekker

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.
11/08/2115m 21s

Bad Idea Machine

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 reporter and OTM guest host Brandy Zadrozny [@BrandyZadrozny] traces the roots of anti-vaxx propaganda, from the 1980s to today. Listen. 2. Lois Beckett [@loisbeckett], senior reporter at the Guardian, on how a viral anti-trans Instagram video led to a street brawl, and Julia Serano [@JuliaSerano], author of "Whipping Girl, A Transsexual Woman on Sexism and the Scapegoating of Femininity," on where the anti-trans movement gets its playbook. Listen. 3. Julie K. Brown [@jkbjournalist], investigative reporter at the Miami Herald, on her new book, "Perversion of Justice: The Jeffrey Epstein Story," detailing what she saw missing in the decade of Epstein coverage before her own investigative series at the Herald which brought his victims' voices on the record for the first time. Listen.
06/08/2150m 13s

"Haiti Needs a New Narrative"

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 a country with strong grassroots, pro-democracy movements. But it simultaneously remains plagued by a past (and present) of United States and United Nations' invasion, occupation, and election meddling.  To understand the whole story, guest host Brandy Zadrozny talks to Gina Athena Ulysse, Professor of Feminist Studies at UC Santa Cruz and author of Why Haiti Needs New Narratives, about how the international media too often spreads dehumanizing narratives of perpetual chaos — setting the stage for intervention — and then looks away.
04/08/2114m 2s

Undercover and Over-Exposed

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 government defines, and attacks, domestic terrorism. Listen. 2. OTM reporter Micah Loewinger [@MicahLoewinger] and guest host Brandy Zadrozny [@BrandyZadrozny] examine whether or not it's possible to ethically use information from data breaches. Featuring: Kevin Collier [@kevincollier], cybersecurity and privacy reporter for NBC News, Kim Zetter [@KimZetter], a journalist covering cybersecurity  and the author of Countdown to Zero Day: Stuxnet and the Launch of the World's First Digital Weapon, and Lorax Horne [@bbhorne], writer with Distributed Denial of Secrets. Listen. 3. Sara Morrison [@SaraMorrison], data and privacy reporter at Recode at Vox, discusses the dangers information for sale after a Catholic priest was outed by a newsletter that obtained his location data from an app. Listen.  4. Mike O’Loughlin [@MikeOLoughlin], national correspondent at Catholic media organization America, reflects on how new methods are stoking old fights in the Catholic Church. Listen. Music: Invitation To A Suicide by John ZornNon, Je Ne Regrette Rien by François Plaf, Blue Radio OrchestraHow Strange by Nicola CruzNatural Light by Bill FrisellSlow Pulse Conga by William PasleyWallpaper by Woo
30/07/2153m 33s

Occupational Hazards

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 from reporting on topics into which they have insight. Listen.  3. Ernest Owens [@mrernestowens], Philadelphia Association of Black Journalists president, about the double-standards facing journalists who have identities or lived experiences that are different from editors who still determine what constitutes "objectivity." Listen.  4. Steve Friess [@stevefriess], editor at Hour Detroit and contributor for Newsweek, looks back at how he covered gay marriage when his own marriage hung in the balance. Listen.  5. Lewis Raven Wallace [@lewispants], author of The View from Somewhere, on why what we call "neutrality" so often reflects the ideological assumptions of the status quo. Listen. Music from this week's show: Frail As a Breeze — Erik FriedlanderNight Thoughts — John ZornFallen Leaves — Marcos CiscarMiddlesex Times — Michael AndrewsBubble Wrap — Thomas Newman Transparence — Charlie Haden & Gonzalo RubalcabaCarmen Fantasy — Anderson + RowTribute to America — The O’Neill Brothers  
23/07/2150m 22s

How a Nightclub Fire Brought Down a Government

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 confirmed when the Gazette learned that a national supplier of medical disinfectants was diluting their products, nearly ten times over, to reap profits and pad the pockets of its CEO. The burn victims of the fire hadn't died from injuries; they died from preventable bacterial infections, a consequence of malpractice that stemmed from doctors, hospital managers and the highest officials in government.  In 2019, filmmaker Alexander Nanau wrote, produced and directed the film Collective, chronicling this saga. Last year, the film was released in the US, and in early 2021 it received two Academy Award nominations. In this podcast extra, recorded in March, Nanau speaks with Brooke about why he decided to follow the story, how the pieces fell into place, and how this single story changed Romania's relationship with the press — possibly for good.  Watch Collective here. 
21/07/2124m 13s

As You Like It

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, author of A Fort of Nine Towers, on how a production of Shakespeare resonated in Kabul, Afghanistan. Listen. Music: The Dancing Master: Maiden Lane (John Playford) - The Broadside Band & Jeremy BarlowJohn’s Book of Alleged Dances (John Adams) - Kronos QuartetFife Feature: Lowland’s Away (Roy Watrous) - Gregory S. Balvanz & The US Army Fife and Drum CorpsBallad No. 2 in F, Op. 38 (Chopin) - Ivan MoravecLittle Rose is Gone/Billy in the Lowground - Jim TaylorCollectionFrail As a Breeze - Erik FriedlanderThe De Lesseps' Dance - Shakespeare in Love SoundtrackKiss Me Kate Overture - Kiss Me Kate SoundtrackBrush Up Your Shakespeare - Kiss Me Kate SoundtrackLove & the Rehearsal - Shakespeare in Love SoundtrackHarpsichord - Four TetTimber Town - Derek and Brandon Fiechter
16/07/2149m 58s

Painting for the Future and Talking to the Dead

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 display in a building like the one she imagined, her work is a sensation that has invited a radical re-imagining of the history of abstract art. In 2019, Brooke walked through the exhibit with senior curator Tracey Bashkoff, who brought af Klint's work to the Guggenheim after discovering it in a catalogue. Next, Brooke explores Spiritualism — a movement that shaped af Klint's life and work. Broadly defined as a religious movement based on the idea that the living can communicate with spirits dwelling in the afterlife — that we can talk to the dead — Spiritualism grew quickly. After all, the telegraph was allowing people to communicate across time and space; why not spiritual realms? At the time, the ideal spirit medium was thought to be an adolescent girl, unencumbered by education and thoughts of her own. But a curious thing happened as women started speaking as spirit mediums: they became accustomed to speaking in public, and others became accustomed to hearing them. And on top of that, the spirits had some radically progressive ideas about individual self-sovereignty, abolition and women's rights. Brooke speaks with Ann Braude, director of the Women's Studies in Religion Program at Harvard Divinity School and author of Radical Spirits: Spiritualism and Women's Rights in Nineteenth-Century America, about this curious moment in American history, and how it helped bring women — and reformist ideas — into the public sphere.
14/07/2124m 16s

Blame It On the Booze

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. Iain Gately, author of Drink: A Cultural History of Alcohol, on the ancient origins of our core beliefs about booze. Listen. 3. Robert Taylor, managing editor at Wine Spectator Video, on red wine's constantly changing reputation as a healthy substance. Listen. 4. David Nutt [@ProfDavidNutt], psychologist at Imperial College London, on his alcohol substitute, once called "alcosynth," now rebranded as "alcarelle." Listen. Music: When I Get Low I Get High - Ella Fitzgerald Tomorrow Never Knows - Quartetto D/Archi Dell'Orchestra Sinfonica Di Milano Il Casanova Di Federico Fellini - Solisti E Orchestre Del Cinema Italiano Option with Variations - Kronos Quartet/composer Rhiannon Giddens
09/07/2150m 20s

Aaron Copland's Sound of America

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.  
07/07/2125m 34s

The Road to Insurrection

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 Virginia's Lobby Day. Listen. 2. OTM reporter Micah Loewinger [@MicahLoewinger] and Militia Watch founder Hampton Stall [@HamptonStall] investigate how a walkie-talkie app called Zello is enabling armed white supremacist groups to gather and recruit. Featuring: Joan Donovan [@BostonJoan] Research Director of the Shorenstein Center at Harvard University, and Megan Squire [@MeganSquire0] Professor of Computer Science at Elon University. Listen. 3. OTM reporter Micah Loewinger [@MicahLoewinger] on Zello's role in the January 6th insurrection, and what the app is finally doing about its militia members. Featuring: Marcy Wheeler [@emptywheel] national security reporter for Emptywheel, and Cynthia Miller-Idriss [@milleridriss] Director of Polarization and Extremism Research and Innovation Lab at American University. Listen. Music: Tick Of The Clock by ChromaticsCyclic Bit by Raymond ScottGenocide by Link WrayProcession Of The Grand Moghul by Korla Pandit Gormenghast by John Zorn
02/07/2149m 37s

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

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 Dixie Down” by The Band may be pop culture’s most celebrated, and misunderstood, contribution. Despite its charged subject matter, the song is rock-and-roll canon, listed as one of the best of all time by Time Magazine and Rolling Stone. On paper, its lyrics read as if lifted from the Lost Cause playbook: a nostalgic retelling of the end of the Civil War history seen through the eyes of a downtrodden Southern farmer, laden with grief but not a trace of white supremacy. But the song is not what it seems, or what it seemed when it was first loosed upon the world. The Band’s lead guitarist Robbie Robertson, a Canadian, hadn’t logged much time in the South when he penned “The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down” in 1969. But in the ensuing decades, some have claimed it as a Neo-Confederate anthem. This uncomfortable fact led Early James, a songwriter from Alabama, to alter the lyrics when he performed the song at an annual The Band tribute concert last summer. Inspired by last summer's racial reckoning, James sang about toppling Confederate monuments.  According to Jack Hamilton, Slate pop critic and author of Just Around Midnight: Rock and Roll and the Racial Imagination, the meaning behind the song is both more and less complex than many fans know.
30/06/2119m 34s

"We Are Putting Out A Damn Paper"

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. Listen. Part 3: The Layoffs. Listen. Music in this week's show: Time Is Late — Marcos Ciscar feat. Joakim Johansson We Insist — Zoë Keating
25/06/2150m 33s

A New Model for Local Journalism?

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 representative of a phenomenon happening in small towns across the United States. It’s local daily newspaper, The Standard-Times, has been bought by Gannett, a hedge fund-backed news conglomerate and stripped down to barebones. It’s become what’s known as a “ghost newspaper," called such for its trimmed down staff and scant original reporting. The mayor of New Bedford was quoted in the New York Times saying: “It used to be that I couldn’t sneeze without having to explain myself. Now, I have to beg people to show up at my press conferences. Please, ask me questions!”  A year and a half ago, a small group of concerned community members gathered to try to address this dearth of local journalism. The result? A new, non-profit news outlet called The New Bedford Light. Brooke talks to Barbara Roessner, the founding editor of The New Bedford Light, about the challenges facing the fledgling outlet and the benefits that local journalism brings to the civic health of a community. 
23/06/2115m 56s

Behind Closed Doors

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 Meduza, on what Russian and American media got right and wrong about Putin and Biden's first meeting. Listen. 2. Matt Apuzzo [@mattapuzzo], New York Times reporter, on how the government seizes journalists’ records and chills speech under guise of protecting national security. Listen. 3. Kurt Andersen [@KBAndersen], host of Nixon At War, says Watergate might have been Nixon's downfall, but the Vietnam War was his real undoing. Listen. 4. The late Les Gelb, the man who supervised the team that compiled the Pentagon Papers, explains how the media misinterpreted the documents. Listen. Music: Tymperturbably Blue by Duke EllingtonFergus River Roundelay by Gerry O’BeirneWhispers of a Heavenly Death by John ZornTrance Dance by John ZornMiddlesex Times by Michael AndrewsTribute to America (Medley) by The O’Neill Brothers Group
18/06/2150m 19s

From Public Shaming To Cancel Culture

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 Marshall that there were a few pivotal events along the way that led to the term cancel culture becoming the moral panic that it is today. One of them was the 2015 release of Jon Ronson’s book “So You’ve Been Publicly Shamed.” A series of case studies of people who were canceled before we started using that word.   
16/06/2125m 14s

Little Fires Everywhere

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 at New York University and media critic for PressThink, on why journalists should still be in "emergency mode." Listen. 2. Jake Grumbach [@JakeMGrumbach], assistant professor of political science at the University of Washington, on how Republican state lawmakers reduce "democratic performance" when they take power. Listen. 3. Ryan P. Delaney [@rpatrickdelaney], education reporter for St. Louis Public Radio, on a Missouri school district's debate over Critical Race Theory, and Adam Harris [@AdamHSays], staff writer at The Atlantic, on how conservatives constructed the critical race theory boogeyman. Listen. Music: Little Motel - Modest Mouse  Auld Lang Syne  - Salsa Celtica  L’Illusionista - Nino Rota   Paperback Writer - Quartetto d'Archi Dell'orchestra Sinfonica di Milano Guiseppe Verdi Milestones - Bill Evans Trio Going Home - Hank Jones & Charlie Haden  (post at 2:24 or 3:07) Quizás, Quizás, Quizás - Ramón Solé (back time this) In the Bath - Randy Newman
11/06/2150m 9s

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

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 the first chapters of the Newspaper Guild...and she reported on labor and race until she was pushed out of journalism by redbaiting.   Lewis Raven Wallace is the creator of The View from Somewhere, a podcast about journalism with a purpose, and author of the book The View from Somewhere: Undoing the Myth of Journalistic Objectivity.  For years he’s been researching journalists in U.S. history whose stories haven’t been thoroughly told — because they were marginalized by a structure that didn’t see them as “real” “objective” reporters. And that’s what happened to Marvel Cooke...
09/06/2124m 26s

Shamed and Confused

After a young Associated Press journalist lost her job last month following online attacks, On the Media considers how bad faith campaigns against the media have become an effective weapon for the far right. Plus, should we cancel the word “cancel”? One journalist argues, yes, and one academic says, no. Plus, the origins of "cancelled" in Black culture.  1. OTM reporter Micah Loewinger [@MicahLoewinger] on the A.P.'s firing of Emily Wilder, and how newsrooms can learn to respond to right-wing smears without firing valued journalists. Listen.  2. Michael Hobbes [@RottenInDenmark], co-host of You're Wrong About, on the anecdotes that fuel "political correctness" and "cancel culture" panics. Listen.  3. Erec Smith [@Rhetors_of_York], associate professor of rhetoric and composition at the York College of Pennsylvania, on his experience being "cancelled" within an academic context. Listen.  4. Clyde McGrady [@CAMcGrady], features writer for The Washington Post, on the derivation and misappropriation of the word "cancelled." Listen.    Music from this week's show: Main Title, Ragtime - Randy Newman What’s that Sound?  - Thomas Newman Middlesex Times - Michael AndrewsBubble Wrap - Thomas NewmanBlues: La Dolce Vita dei Nobili - Nino RotaBubble Wrap - Thomas NewmanYou Sexy Thing - Hot Chocolate
04/06/2150m 11s

OTM Presents: "Blindspot: Tulsa Burning"

On May 31, 1921, Tulsa, Oklahoma’s Greenwood District was a thriving Black residential and business community — a city within a city. By June 1, a white mob, with the support of law enforcement, had reduced it to ashes. And yet the truth about the attack remained a secret to many for nearly a century. Chief Egunwale Amusan grew up in Tulsa — his grandfather survived the attack — and he’s dedicated his life to sharing the hidden history of what many called “Black Wall Street.” But Dr. Tiffany Crutcher, also a descendant of a survivor, didn’t learn about her family history or the massacre until she was an adult. Together, they’re trying to correct the historical record.  As Greenwood struggles with the effects of white supremacy 100 years later, people there are asking: in this pivotal moment in American history, is it possible to break the cycle of white impunity and Black oppression? Our WNYC colleague KalaLea tells the story.  This podcast contains descriptions of graphic violence and racially offensive language. This is the first episode of Blindspot: Tulsa Burning, a new series from WNYC Studios and The HISTORY Channel. 
02/06/2136m 5s

Not a Perfect Science

COVID-19 deaths in the U.S. are falling and the number of the vaccinated continue to rise, but the pandemic’s harm to our mental health is still beyond measure. This week, On the Media explores how society is describing its pandemic state of mind. Plus, a look at the high-stakes fight to drag science out from behind paywalls. 1. Roxanne Khamsi [@rkhamsi] speaks with Science Magazine staff writer Meredith Wadman [@meredithwadman] on the Global Initiative On Sharing All Influenza Data, known as GISAID. Listen. 2. Roxanne Khamsi [@rkhamsi] speaks with Bloomberg's Justin Fox [@foxjust] and Josh Sommer [@sommerjo] about the movement to make science journals open access. Listen. 3. Roxanne Khamsi [@rkhamsi] speaks with The Cut's Molly Fischer [@mollyhfischer] about the rise of therapy apps. Listen. 4. OTM producer Eloise Blondiau [@eloiseblondiau] with Jerry Useem, Adam Grant [@AdamMGrant], Dr. Laurence Kirmayer, Anne Harrington and Dr. Monnica Williams [@DrMonnica] on naming and soothing our pandemic mental health woes. Listen. Music from this week's show: John Zorn — Prelude 4: DiatesseronJack Body/Kronos Quartet — Long-GeUnknown — Solo Cello Suite No. 1John Zorn — Night ThoughtsMarcos Ciscar — Time Is LateKronos Quartet — MisteriososFranck Pourcel — Story Weather  
28/05/2150m 3s

I Would Prefer Not To

We live in a time of sensory overload and overwhelm. A global pandemic, an ongoing climate catastrophe, and online discourse run amok. And a sense that we are powerless to do anything about any of it. In response, artist and writer Jenny Odell has a curious prescription: do nothing. In her 2019 book How to Do Nothing: Resisting the Attention Economy, Odell advocates for occupying a space of "critical refusal": rejecting the terms of engagement as they're handed down to us and removing ourselves from the clamor and undue influence of public opinion. With lessons from ecology, art, history and beyond, Odell tells Brooke about her own journey toward more context and contemplation, and offers listeners an alternative way to think and be in relation to an overstimulating world. This segment is from our July 12th, 2019 program, Uncomfortably Numb.
26/05/2118m 49s

How It Started, How It's Going

A year and a half into the pandemic, we still don’t know how it began. This week, a look at how investigating COVID-19’s origins became a political and scientific minefield. Plus, how a mistake of microns caused so much confusion about how COVID spreads. And, making sense of the "metaverse." 1. Alina Chan [@Ayjchan], postdoctoral researcher at the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard, on the lack of investigation into COVID's origins. Listen. 2. Megan Molteni [@MeganMolteni], science writer at Stat News, on the 60-year-old mix-up that helped COVID-10 kill. Listen. 3. Gene Park [@GenePark], gaming reporter for The Washington Post, on what the "metaverse" really means. Listen. 4. Margaret Atwood [@MargaretAtwood], novelist, on submitting a manuscript to a library of the future. Listen. Music from this week's show: Sacred Oracle - John ZornEye Surgery - Thomas Newman   The Old House  - Marcos Ciscar Tomorrow Never Knows -  Quartetto d’ Archi Dell'orchestra Sinfonica di Milano Giuseppe Verdi 72 Degrees and Sunny - Thomas NewmanViderunt Omnes - Kronos QuartetOnce in a Lifetime - Talking Heads
21/05/2150m 21s

The Ghosts of the Rust Belt

The old US Steel building in Pittsburgh, PA is a black monolith, symbol and fortress of industrial power, soaring above the confluence of three mighty rivers. But its vista has changed. Gone is the golden, sulfurous haze. Gone are the belching smokestacks, blazing furnaces and slag-lined river valleys snaking along Appalachian foothills. The industry that sustained a region, girded the world’s infrastructure and underwrote a now-vanished way of life has long since crossed oceans. Steel City is now Healthcare City, representing almost 1 in 4 jobs in the region. Some 92,000 of them work for just one employer, the sprawling, omnivorous University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, whose logo now adorns the black-skyscraper sentinel of the Three Rivers. But this is not just a case of a clean economy displacing a filthy one. To Gabriel Winant, author of The Next Shift: The Fall of Industry and the Rise of Health Care in Rust Belt America, the story of economic transformation in the Rust Belt is the story of disparity — of wealth, income and political power — that didn't vanish when the smokestacks came down.  In this special hour, Winant tells Bob the real story behind the economic transformation that took place in the rust belt, and what it tells us about our economy, and our future, more broadly. Music from this week's show: Flugufrelsarinn — Kronos QuartetSteel Mill Blues — Joe GlazerLiquid Spear Waltz — Michael AndrewsSacred Oracle — John Zorn (feat. Bill Frisell, Carol Emanuel & Kenny Wollesen)Human Nature — Vijay IyerPittsburgh—Joe Glazer  
14/05/2150m 36s

The Price of a Free Market

Last Friday, the Department of Labor released its monthly jobs report, and the numbers were...disappointing. Expectations had rested around adding approximately a million jobs, and April yielded a meager 266,000. In a rare moment of genuine surprise in Washington, some economists said they didn’t know the exact cause of the drop. But for weeks prior to the report, the press had offered stories across the country with a simple explanation: there are jobs, but no one wants them. The great labor shortage. And as anecdotes of fast food chains begging for workers and local restaurants limiting hours poured in, so did theories of an alleged culprit keeping potential employees away: covid-era unemployment benefits were depressing America’s work ethic. Bob spoke with Heidi Shierholz, director of policy at the Economic Policy Institute, and former chief economist for the Department of Labor during the Obama administration, to find out what the numbers can really tell us, and what they can't.
13/05/2119m 4s

Trans* Formations

There’s a long history of campaigns to “save the children,” whether they need saving or not. This week, On the Media looks at the latest: an effort to block access to medical care for trans kids. Plus, how years of Hollywood representation — from The Crying Game to Transparent — have shaped the public’s ideas about trans people. 1. Katelyn Burns [@transscribe], freelance journalist and co-host of the "Cancel Me, Daddy!" podcast, on the the politics and propaganda behind the recent wave of anti-trans legislation, and Jack Turban [@jack_turban], fellow in child and adolescent psychiatry at Stanford University School of Medicine, on what the science tells us about gender affirming care in adolescence. Listen. 2. Jules Gill-Petersen [@gp_jls], professor of english and gender, sexuality, and women's studies at the University of Pittsburgh and author of Histories of the Transgender Child, on the long history of trans children. Listen.  3. Imara Jones [@imarajones], creator of TransLash media and host of the TransLash podcast, on how trans visibility paves the way toward trans liberation. Listen. 4. Sam Feder [@SamFederFilm], director of the Netflix documentary “Disclosure," on how Hollywood representations of trans lives have shaped the public understanding of who trans people are. Listen.   Music: Prelude 7: Sign and Sigil - John Zorn Totem Ancestor - John Cage Blackbird - Brad Mehldau Harpsichord - Four Tet Peace Piece - Bill Evans - Kronos Quartet Black Is the Color / Theme from "Spartacus" - Fred Hersch After the Fact - John Scofield
07/05/2150m 5s

Still Processing the MOVE Bombing, 36 Years Later

Last Friday, remains of at least one victim of the infamous 1985 MOVE bombing were turned over to a Philadelphia funeral home, capping more than a week of confusion and re-opened wounds. MOVE members claim the remains were those of 14-year-old Tree Africa and 12-year-old Delisha Africa, among the five children and six adults killed 36 years ago this month after an anti-government, pro-environment, Black liberation group called MOVE defied arrest warrants and barricaded themselves in a West Philadelphia rowhouse. On May 13, 1985, C-4 explosives dropped on that home by Philadelphia police led to a fire that destroyed 61 homes in a predominantly Black neighborhood. Though consciousness of the bombing seems to have grown in recent years, when native Philadelphian and NPR correspondent Gene Demby reported on the 30th anniversary of the bombing back in 2015, he got a reaction he wasn't expecting: much of his audience hadn't heard of it before. 
05/05/2110m 1s

War of the Words

This week we take a close look at how the words we choose can unknowingly condemn people caught up in the criminal justice system. Plus, the costs and complications of working as a journalist while incarcerated. And, the overlooked, self-trained women journalists of the Vietnam War. 1. Brooke tracks the evolution of language in the early days of Biden's presidency. Listen. 2. Akiba Solomon [@akibasolomon], senior editor at The Marshall Project, explains how terms like "inmate" and "offender" can distract, dehumanize, and mislead, and why "people-first" language is more appropriate for journalists. Listen. 3. John J. Lennon [@johnjlennon1], contributing writer at The Marshall Project and contributing editor Esquire, tells us what it's like to read and report the news while inside prison. Listen. 4. Elizabeth Becker, author of You Don't Belong Here, on how women journalists covered the Vietnam War in groundbreaking ways, and yet were forgotten by history. Listen. Music from this week's show: Tilliboyo (“Sunset”) — Kronos QuartetBewitched, Bothered and Bewildered — Brad Mehldau   The Butterfly — The Bothy BandClonycavan Man — Gerry O’BeirneJohn’s Book Of Alleged Dances  — Kronos QuartetCarmen Fantasy —  Anderson & Row
30/04/2150m 14s

It's Gonna Be May Day

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 author of America’s Forgotten Holiday: May Day and Nationalism, 1867–1960, and she explains that the fight over May 1, or May Day, is also about the fight for American identity and what it means to be radical and patriotic at the same time.   The OTM crew (in 2018) sings "Into The Streets May First," a never-before-professionally-recorded 1935 Aaron Copland anthem:   
28/04/2117m 51s

Not Ready For That Conversation

A jury has found Derek Chauvin guilty in the case that sparked a historic wave of protests last summer. This week we examine how fears over those protests are being channeled into restrictive new legislation across the country. And, what it’s like to drive the Mars rover from your childhood bedroom. Plus, a former child actor grapples with how his character defined him. 1. Tami Abdollah [@latams], national correspondent for USA Today, on how Republican-controlled legislatures across the country have been introducing bills to criminalize protests — or as they put it, to stop the rioting. Listen. 2. Brendan Chamberlain-Simon, a robotics technologist at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, explains what it's like to live on Mars Time, and the questions that led him to space. Avi Loeb, Frank B. Baird, Jr., Professor of Science at Harvard University, makes a compelling case for intelligent life beyond Earth. Listen. 3. OTM Reporter Micah Loewinger [@micahloewinger] presents the case of Spencer Fox, the former child actor who played Dash in the first Incredibles film, but not the second. Listen. Music from this week's show: Equinox - John ColtraneNight Thoughts - John Zorn72 Degrees and Sunny - Thomas NewmanHorizon 12.2 - Thomas NewmanEye Surgery - Thomas NewmanThe Glory Days - Michael Giacchino
23/04/2153m 24s

A Little-Known Statute Compels Medical Research Transparency. Compliance Is Pretty Shabby.

Evidence-based medicine requires just that: evidence. Access to the collective pool of knowledge produced by clinical trials is what allows researchers to safely and effectively design future studies. It's what allows doctors to make the most informed decisions for their patients. Since 2007, researchers have been required by law to publish the findings of any clinical trial with human subjects within a year of the trial's conclusion. Over a decade later, even the country's most well-renown research institutions sport poor reporting records. This week, Bob spoke with Charles Piller, an investigative journalist at Science Magazine who's been documenting this dismal state of affairs since 2015. He recently published an op-ed in the New York Times urging President Biden to make good on his 2016 "promise" to start withholding funds to force compliance. 
21/04/2116m 17s

You Better Work!

From the Johnson & Johnson pause to talk of “break-through cases” among the already-vaccinated, we’re facing an onslaught of dispiriting and confusing vaccine news. On this week’s On The Media, a guide to separating the facts from the noise. Plus, why pro-labor journalists got the story of an Amazon warehouse union drive so wrong. And, how media coverage of labor movements has morphed over the past century. 1. Nsikan Akpan [@MoNscience], health and science editor at WNYC, and Kai Kupferschmidt [@kakape], contributing correspondent at Science Magazine, on how best to consume the non-stop vaccine news. Listen. 2. Jane McAlevey [@rsgexp], labor organizer and senior policy fellow at the University of California at Berkeley’s Labor Center, on how the mood in Bessemer, Alabama turned from optimism to defeat. Listen. 3. Chris Martin [@chrismartin100], professor of digital journalism at the University of Northern Iowa, on the historical devolution of the labor beat. Listen. Music from this week's show: Fallen Leaves  - Marcos Ciscar  Let’s Face The Music & Dance - Harry Roy & His Orchestra
16/04/2150m 6s

On the Inside Looking Out

The past year most of us were awash in a news cycle driven by the pandemic. Daily we grappled with infection data, vaccine updates, social restrictions, and public officials trying to balance fatigue, facts, and safety. But there are some in the country cut off from the deluge, offered instead, merely a trickle. Obviously the American prison system wasn’t built with a pandemic in mind — with inadequate spacing for quarantine, cleaning supplies, and access to healthcare, but the pandemic has focused a brighter light on decades-old issues surrounding incarceration. Including access to information about news and policies that could be matters of life and death. John J. Lennon has been especially concerned, he’s written about prison life under Covid in the New York Times Magazine and he’s contributing writer for the Marshall Project, contributing editor at Esquire, and an adviser to the Prison Journalism Project. He’s also serving an aggregate sentence of 28 years to life at Sullivan Correctional Facility in New York. That accounts for the quality of the phone line when he spoke to Brooke this week.  
13/04/2120m 31s

Broken Promise

With Congress set to consider bills next week that could set the future of Puerto Rican self-determination, we consider how a 70-year-old promise to decolonize the island keeps getting broken. Plus, how Puerto Ricans notched a hugely symbolic victory over the U.S. — during the 2004 Olympics. 1. Yarimar Bonilla [@yarimarbonilla], political anthropologist at Hunter College, examines the afterlife of Puerto Rico's political experiment. Listen. 2. Julio Ricardo Varela [@julito77], co-host of In the Thick and editorial director at Futuro Media, on what the showdown between the Puerto Rican and U.S. Olympic basketball teams in 2004 meant to him then and now. Listen. Music: We Insist by Zoe KeatingYUMAVISION by ÌFÉMalphino by Ototoa La Brega is a podcast series hosted by OTM producer/reporter Alana Casanova-Burgess. The series uses narrative storytelling and investigative journalism to reflect and reveal how la brega has defined so many aspects of life in Puerto Rico, and is available in English and Spanish. 
09/04/2151m 35s

SLAPP Un-Happy

For over four years, Reveal, an award-winning program from the Center for Investigative Reporting, was embroiled in a multimillion-dollar libel suit. Planet Aid, a non-profit known for clothing collection, had sued the podcast over an intensive two-year investigation that "tied the charity to an alleged cult and raised significant questions about whether the funds from the U.S. and other governments actually were reaching the people they were intended to help." Two weeks ago, a judge in California dismissed the case. Here's the judge's full ruling. Despite being a fairly straightforward SLAPP case—the case required dozens of reporter hours that took away from crucial reporting work—the newsroom only managed to stay afloat long enough to fight the suit because of generous pro-bono support. This week, Bob spoke to Victoria Baranetsky, general counsel at Reveal, about what small newsrooms stand to lose in court battles with wealthy public figures and organizations. EDITOR'S NOTE: After publication, we were contacted by a PR firm representing Planet Aid. They took issue with our characterization of Reveal’s reporting on “abuse of US Foreign Aid by the charity and its subcontractors.” Although the Reveal series reported on Planet Aid’s use of grant money, following a two-year investigation, and the judge dismissed Planet Aid’s lawsuit with prejudice under California’s anti-SLAPP statute, we acknowledge, at the request of Planet Aid, that the judge also held in the recent ruling (full decision available above) that Planet Aid had demonstrated that a number of specific factual assertions made by the Center of Investigative Reporting presented triable issues of fact. While Planet Aid failed to respond to Reveal's repeated requests for comment prior to publication, Planet Aid reached out to the Center of Investigative Reporting prior to filing its lawsuit asking for a retraction and correction.      
07/04/2117m 44s

The End Of The Promises

La Brega is a seven-part podcast series hosted by OTM producer/reporter Alana Casanova-Burgess. The series uses narrative storytelling and investigative journalism to reflect and reveal how la brega has defined so many aspects of life in Puerto Rico, and is available in English and Spanish. This is episode seven. Puerto Rico’s relationship with the United States has long been a subject of intense debate. In 1952, Puerto Rico adopted a new status that was meant to decolonize the island. In English, we call it a “Commonwealth.” In Spanish, it’s called “Estado Libre Asociado”, or ELA. Puerto Ricans were promised for decades that this unique status meant they had a special kind of sovereignty while maintaining ties to the US. Now, a series of recent crises on the island have led many to question that promise, and to use the word “colony” more and more. In this episode, political anthropologist and El Nuevo Día columnist Yarimar Bonilla looks for those who  still believe in the ELA, and asks what happens when a political project dies. You can get more resources for related issues at the Puerto Rico Syllabus website. 
06/04/2148m 8s

The View From Everywhere

The trial of the former police officer charged in the death of George Floyd has been broadcasting live all this week. This week, we examine what effect the cameras in the court can have on the verdict and on us, watching from home. Plus, how striving for the appearance of journalistic “objectivity” can make newsrooms less diverse, and how trauma informs journalism. 1. Steven Zeitchik [@ZeitchikWaPo], entertainment business reporter at the Washington Post, explains how Court TV became the world’s window into the Derek Chauvin trial. Listen. 2. Ishena Robinson [@ishenarobinson], staff writer at The Root, about the mounting toll of watching Black people lose their lives on camera. Listen. 3. Bruce Shapiro [@dartcenter], executive director of the Dart Center for Journalism and Trauma at Columbia Journalism School, on why trauma shouldn't disqualify reporters from reporting on topics into which they have insight. Listen. 4. Ernest Owens [@mrernestowens], Philadelphia Association of Black Journalists president, about the double-standards facing journalists who have identities or lived experiences that are different from editors who still determine what constitutes "objectivity." Listen. 5. Steve Friess [@stevefriess], editor at Hour Detroit and contributor for Newsweek, looks back at how he covered gay marriage when his own marriage hung in the balance. Listen. 6. Lewis Raven Wallace [@lewispants], author of The View from Somewhere, on why what we call "neutrality" so often reflects the ideological assumptions of the status quo. Listen. Music from this week's show: Frail As a Breeze — Erik Friedlander The Artifact and the Living — Michael AndrewsNight Thoughts — John ZornFallen Leaves — Marcos CiscarMiddlesex Times — Michael Andrews Bubble Wrap — Thomas Newman Carmen Fantasy — Anderson + RowTribute to America — The O’Neill Brothers
02/04/2152m 15s

"You Don't Belong Here"

Before the Vietnam War there was a law that banned women from reporting on the frontlines of any war for the U.S. When President Johnson refused to officially declare a state of war in Vietnam, an opening appeared: no war, no ban. A handful of pioneering women bought one-way tickets into the battlefield. They had no editors, no health insurance and little or no formal training. This week, Brooke spoke about this time to reporter Elizabeth Becker, formerly a Washington Post war correspondent in Cambodia, NPR's foreign editor and then national security correspondent for the New York Times. Becker is the author of a new book: You Don't Belong Here: How Three Women Rewrote the Story of War.
31/03/2136m 13s

The Bankruptcy Letters

La Brega is a seven-part podcast series hosted by OTM producer/reporter Alana Casanova-Burgess. The series uses narrative storytelling and investigative journalism to reflect and reveal how la brega has defined so many aspects of life in Puerto Rico, and is available in English and Spanish. This is episode six. Luis J. Valentín Ortiz from the Centro de Periodismo Investigativo tells a hidden story  from Puerto Rico’s debt crisis, that of the micro-creditors — thousands of low-income retirees and former public employees with claims that the government may never pay, ranging from hundreds to thousands of dollars. As a federal judge prepares to make a decision on whether they’ll get paid, this episode asks: how can the government settle its many debts — not just monetary — with its citizens?  You can read more about micro-creditors in this piece from CPI. We also recommend this Radio Ambulante episode, produced by Luis Trelles, for more context about the debt crisis. 
30/03/2140m 4s

How to Lose Friends and Influence People

A so-called surge of migrants at the southern border has caught the attention of immigration reform advocates, conservative trolls, and TV news crews, but alarming headlines may not tell the full story. Plus, a #MeToo reckoning on YouTube has caused a new media empire to crumble. Then, a look at the controversy surrounding the newsletter site Substack, home to "sustainable journalism" and culture war punditry. And, the internet's most innovative observer on the cultivation of her misunderstood beat. 1. Tom K. Wong [@TomWongPhD], founding director of the U.S. Immigration Policy Center, on misleading coverage about the southern border. Listen. 2. Kat Tenbarge [@kattenbarge], digital culture reporter at Insider, and Taylor Lorenz [@TaylorLorenz], tech reporter for The New York Times, on the exploitation behind YouTube's viral prank culture. Listen. 3. Peter Kakfa [@pkafka], senior correspondent at Recode, and Taylor Lorenz [@TaylorLorenz], tech reporter for The New York Times, on the promises and controversies at the heart of Substack. Listen. 4. Taylor Lorenz [@TaylorLorenz], tech reporter for The New York Times, on how she keeps her finger on the internet's pulse. Listen.   Music from this week's show:Whispers of a heavenly death — John ZornThe Desert and Two Grey Hills — Gerry O’BeirneInvestigations — Kevin MacLeodIl Casanova de Frederico Fellini — Nino RotaString Quartet No. 5 - Philip Glass — Kronos QuartetWhat’s that Sound — Michael AndrewsTrance Dance — John Zorn  
26/03/2150m 4s

Corruption At the Highest Levels, Exposed

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 confirmed when the Gazette learned that a national supplier of medical disinfectants was diluting their products, nearly ten times over, to reap profits and pad the pockets of its CEO. The burn victims of the fire hadn't died from injuries; they died from preventable bacterial infections, a consequence of malpractice that stemmed from doctors, hospital managers and the highest officials in government.  In 2019, filmmaker Alexander Nanau wrote, produced and directed the film Collective, chronicling this saga. Last year, the film was released in the US, and, this month, it received two Academy Award nominations. In this podcast extra, Nanau speaks with Brooke about why he decided to follow the story, how the pieces fell into place, and how this single story changed Romania's relationship with the press — possibly for good.  Watch Collective here. 
25/03/2124m 0s

Basketball Warriors

La Brega is a seven-part podcast series hosted by OTM producer/reporter Alana Casanova-Burgess. The series uses narrative storytelling and investigative journalism to reflect and reveal how la brega has defined so many aspects of life in Puerto Rico, and is available in English and Spanish. This is episode five. In this episode: David and Goliath play basketball in Athens.  Despite being a U.S. colony, Puerto Rico competes in sports as its own country on the world stage. Since the 70s, Puerto Rico’s national basketball team has been a pride of the island, taking home trophy after trophy. But in the 2004 at the Athens Olympics, the team was up against the odds, with an opening game against a U.S. Dream Team stacked with players like Lebron James and Allen Iverson. Futuro Media’s Julio Ricardo Varela tells the story of a basketball game that Puerto Ricans will never forget, and why he thinks now, more than ever, is a crucial moment to remember it.  The documentary "Nuyorican Basquet" is here. If you want to see the famous photo of Carlos Arroyo, click here.   To read more about sovereignty and sports, we recommend The Sovereign Colony: Olympic Sport, National Identity, and International Politics in Puerto Rico, by Antonio Sotomayor. 
23/03/2137m 55s

Pain, Power, Poets

Police statements about the Atlanta shooter’s motives defined early media reports and earned swift derision. This week, we examine how bad habits in the press undermined coverage of the tragedy. Plus, how we equate presidential power with presidential willpower. And a behind-the-scenes look at a new radio play that interweaves Shakespeare’s English with its Spanish translation. 1. Erika Lee [@prof_erikalee] Regents Professor of History and Asian American Studies at the University of Minnesota, on how Asian women have been targets of exclusion in the U.S ever since they first arrived in the United States. And Jason Oliver Chang [@chinotronic], Associate Professor of History and Asian/Asian American Studies at the University of Connecticut, explains how the model minority myth has cloaked patterns of brutality against Asian-Americans in the U.S. long before Tuesday's tragedy. Listen. 2. Brendan Nyhan, [@brendannyhan] professor of government at Dartmouth College, on his "Green Lantern theory of the presidency," the limits on executive power, and the history of presidents who thought they could expand it. Listen. 3. Saheem Ali, director of Romeo y Julieta from New York’s Public Theater and WNYC Studios, on the aim to both entertain and show that language need not divide us. Listen. Music from this week's show:The Glass House — David BergeaudMisterioso (Thelonoius Monk) — Kronos QuartetSomeday My Prince Will Come — Fred HerschUluwati — John Zorn  
19/03/2150m 11s

The Summer Camp That Inspired A Disability Rights Movement

The movement surrounding the passage of the Americans with Disabilities Act introduced some ubiquitous elements of our public infrastructure, but many of the activists who were key players in lobbying for the law's passage met in an unlikely way: as campers at Camp Jened, or lovingly, "Crip Camp," a place of liberation for disabled kids and teenagers. A Netflix documentary called Crip Camp, nominated for an Oscar on Monday, explores the history of the movement and its leaders, including Judy Heumann, a Jened camper turned lifelong disability rights activist. She served as Special Advisor for International Disability Rights for the Obama administration and wrote the book Being Heumann: An Unrepentant Memoir of a Disability Rights Activist. In July, on the anniversary of the ADA, Judy and Brooke discussed how the egalitarian values of Camp Jened helped inspire the ADA, and how social and political change takes shape. This segment originally aired in our July 24th, 2020 program, If You Build It....
17/03/2117m 43s

Vieques and the Promise To Build Back Better

La Brega is a seven-part podcast series hosted by OTM producer/reporter Alana Casanova-Burgess. The series uses narrative storytelling and investigative journalism to reflect and reveal how la brega has defined so many aspects of life in Puerto Rico, and is available in English and Spanish. This is episode four. Weeks after Hurricane Maria, the Government of Puerto Rico accepted an emphatic suggestion from officials of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), put it in writing as if it were its own decision, and celebrated it would be used to rebuild in a “resilient” way. On the island of Vieques — which has a very high rate of cancer — they were supposed to rebuild its only hospital, destroyed by the hurricane in 2017. Now, a young girl has died from lack of care, and a neglected community fights for their basic human right: access to quality medical services. Reporter Cristina del Mar Quiles from El Centro de Periodismo Investigativo explains how federal red tape has hindered hurricane recovery. A guide to understanding the bureaucracy around "recovery" in Puerto Rico, including Section 428, is here.  You can read more about the lawsuit brought by the family of Jaideliz Moreno Ventura against the government of Puerto Rico here.
16/03/2146m 18s

Home Green Home

As Biden-era climate policy begins to take shape, many corporations assure the public that they’re all-in on going green. This week, On The Media considers whether pledges from energy utilities, plastics manufacturers, natural gas providers, and fake meat wunderkinds are all they’re cracked up to be. 1. Alicia Kennedy [@aliciakennedy], food, drink, and climate writer, on the overly-ambitious promises of alt-meat. Listen. 2. Leah Stokes [@leahstokes], energy policy expert at the University of California, Santa Barbara, on “The Dirty Truth About Climate Pledges,” specifically from energy companies. Listen.  3. Rebecca Leber [@rebleber], reporter at Mother Jones, on empty promises of "clean natural gas" for the home. Listen. 4. Laura Sullivan [@LauraSullivaNPR], NPR investigative correspondent, explains why plastic recycling rarely works. Listen. Songs:In The Bath by Randy NewmanHarpsichord by Four TetCrow Of Homer by Gerry O’BeirneAccentuate The Positive by Syd Dale Double Dozen & Alex GouldYoung At Heart by Brad Mehldau
12/03/2150m 8s

To Name, or Not to Name

It's been a staple of local, nightly news for decades: while an anchor recites a vivid crime report, sometimes embellished with security footage or street interviews, a name and mugshot flash across the screen. Then, in the paper the next day, a column full of all the details a reporter could obtain on the alleged culprit appears. Beyond our own hometowns, national news often gives us the names of criminals before they give us anything else—sometimes that's all they've got. But is that right?  This week, Bob spoke with Romayne Smith Fullerton, a journalism professor at the University of Western Ontario, and Maggie Jones Patterson, a journalism professor at Duquesne University, to talk about their book “Murder in Our Midst: Comparing Crime Coverage Ethics in an Age of Globalized News.” Fullerton and Patterson spent a decade studying how ten different countries publicize criminals and crime. And what they found was a world of journalists unaware that everyone does it differently. 
11/03/2122m 21s

Encyclopedia of Betrayal

La Brega is a seven-part podcast series hosted by OTM producer/reporter Alana Casanova-Burgess. The series uses narrative storytelling and investigative journalism to reflect and reveal how la brega has defined so many aspects of life in Puerto Rico, and is available in English and Spanish. This is episode three. Photographer Chris Gregory-Rivera examines the legacy of the surveillance files known in Puerto Rico as las carpetas — produced from a decades-long secret government program aimed at fracturing the pro-independence movement. Gregory-Rivera looks at las carpetas through the story of one activist family, the traitor they believed was close to them, and the betrayal that holds more mystery than they realize. Chris' photographs and photos the police took as part of their surveillance are here. If you're in the New York area, you can see his show at the Abrons Art Center until March 14, 2021.  The documentary "Las Carpetas" is here. 
09/03/2141m 10s

Are We There Yet? Are We There Yet?

The Johnson and Johnson vaccine was approved this week, expanding the nation’s supply and moving us closer to the end of the pandemic. On this week’s On the Media, why unvaccinated people should resist the urge to comparison shop. And, how will we know when, if ever, the pandemic is over? Plus, how New York Governor Andrew Cuomo’s TV persona has helped him skate past previous scandals in the past — and why it’s not working as well this time. 1. Rachael Piltch-Loeb, preparedness fellow at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health and associate research scientist at the NYU School of Global Public Health, on when the pandemic will be over, and what people can safely do now. Listen. 2. Helen Branswell [@HelenBranswell], senior writer about infectious diseases at STAT, on why people should resist the impulse to "vaccine shop" for a seemingly superior vaccine. Listen. 3. Derek Thompson [@DKThomp], staff writer at The Atlantic, on overcoming vaccine hesitancy. Listen. 4. Alex Pareene [@pareene], staff writer at The New Republic, on how the recent reporting about New York Governor Andrew Cuomo has allowed television news consumers to see what close readers of newspaper coverage of the governor have been seeing for some time. Listen.   Music: Prelude 7: Sign and Sigil - John Zorn Tilliboyo (Sunset) - Kronos Quartet Ain’t Misbehavin’ - Hank Jones Tomorrow Never Knows  - Quartetto d'Archi Dell’Orchestra Sinfonica di Milano Giuseppe Verdi
05/03/2149m 48s

The Decline of Cuomo, the TV Personality

During the pandemic, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo transformed into a fully fledged TV star — propelled by his daily coronavirus briefings, which reassured an anxious, leaderless public. Comedians fawned over him. New fans declared their adoration in TikTok videos, memes, and... song. And the chummy treatment of the governor of course extended to news networks like CNN, where his brother asked him the tough questions. But in the past few weeks, Cuomo’s television persona as the deeply principled, self-aware fatherly truth-talker has faltered. A report from the state attorney general and a court order found the official count of deaths of nursing home residents was nearly double the figure first reported by Cuomo’s administration. Plus, so far three women have accused the governor of sexual harassment, including two former aides. But for close readers of reporting on the governor in print media, this fall from grace is less surprising. This week, Alex Pareene, staff writer at The New Republic, talks to Brooke about the collision of Cuomo’s “newspaper” and “television” personas in this moment.
03/03/2122m 22s

OTM Presents: La Brega

This week, OTM presents stories from a new series hosted by our own Alana Casanova-Burgess, called "La Brega." 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 scholar and professor emeritus at Princeton, Arcadio Diaz Quiñonez, the closest English word is " to grapple." Alana also speaks to Cheo Santiago [@adoptaunhoyo], creator of "Adopta Un Hoyo" (Adopt a Pothole), which encourages people to paint around and photograph potholes to alert other drivers. Because the roads are rarely fixed properly, the challenges of potholes and what people do to get around them is a metaphorical and literal brega in Puerto Rico. Listen. 2. Next, Alana turns to the boom and bust of Levittown, a suburb that was founded on the idea of bringing the American middle-class lifestyle to Puerto Rico during a time of great change on the island. Alana (herself the granddaughter of an early Levittown resident) explores what the presence of a Levittown in Puerto Rico tells us about the promises of the American Dream in Puerto Rico. Listen. Created by a team of Puerto Rican journalists, producers, musicians, and artists from the island and diaspora, "La Brega" uses narrative storytelling and investigative journalism to reflect and reveal how la brega has defined so many aspects of life in Puerto Rico. All episodes are out now, and available in English and Spanish.  Listen to the full series: Apple Podcasts | Spotify | Stitcher | Google Podcasts Music in this series comes from Balún and ÌFÉ
26/02/2150m 10s

Beware Trump Investigation Big-Talk

With the news this week that the Supreme Court gave the go-ahead for Manhattan District Attorney Cy Vance to obtain key financial documents relating to Donald Trump, some news consumers may find themselves wrapped up in the delectable prospect of seeing a rule-breaking, tax-dodging, Constitution-shedding president on trial. They have been encouraged by commentators who claim that every little investigatory development is "very, very bad for Trump"; that the prosecution of Donald Trump "could go to trial sooner than you think"; and that Trump's post-election behavior "basically guarantees" criminal charges.  Writer, lawyer, and former federal prosecutor Ankush Khardori has his critiques of this genre of punditry — in August he described some of it as "insane" in the Wall Street Journal — but he has also published his own theory for prosecuting the president. In this interview, originally recorded in December, he and Brooke discuss what he sees as the "structural flaws" in most discussions of post-presidential prosecution. This interview originally aired as part of our December 11th, 2020 program, Last Wish.  
24/02/2112m 12s

No Silver Bullets

In a reversal of the past four years, President Biden has vowed to take on the violent threat posed by the far-right. But how? On this week’s On the Media, a look at the techniques and tactics used to undermine extremism, here and abroad. 1. Brad Galloway [@bjgalloway1717], a former neo-Nazi and now case manager with Life After Hate and ExitUSA and coordinator at the Center on Hate, Bias and Extremism at Ontario Tech University, on how he and his colleagues work to get far-right extremists to accept responsibility for their choices and move beyond hate. Listen. 2. Kurt Braddock [@KurtBraddock], professor of communications at American University, and the author of Weaponized Words: The Strategic Role of Persuasion in Violent Radicalization and Counter-Radicalization, on messaging campaigns designed to neutralize rightwing propaganda, conspiracy theories, and calls to action. Listen. 3. Ross Frenett [@rossfrenett], co-founder of Moonshot CVE, on redirecting people away from extremist search results online. Listen. 4. Stig Jarle Hansen [@stigjarlehansen], co-editor of the Routledge Handbook for Deradicalisation and Disengagement on the long, checkered history of global de-radicalization efforts, and Michael German [@rethinkintel], fellow with the Brennan Center for Justice’s Liberty & National Security Program, and author of Disrupt, Discredit, and Divide: How the New FBI Damages Democracy, on how the term "radical" has always swayed in the wind of power and the perils of the "de-radicalization" framing. Listen. Music: Schubert — Piano Trio No. 2 in E-Flat Major, Op. 100 Khaled Mouzanar — Cockroachman Marcos Ciscar — The Old House Tom Waits — Way Down in the Hole Chopin — Berceuse In D Flat Major, Op. 57  
19/02/2149m 39s

How Rush Limbaugh Paved The Way For Trump REBROADCAST

What more can we say: El Rushbo is dead. He died Wednesday after a months-long bout of lung cancer, and following decades of racist invective, misogynistic bombast, and other assorted controversy. He had become the most listened-to voice on talk radio, wielding a towering, destructive influence on the American body politic. He was 70.  Early last year, President Donald Trump awarded Limbaugh the Presidential Medal of Freedom, inducting him into a gilded class of American history alongside Norman Rockwell, Maya Angelou, Thurgood Marshall, and Martin Luther King, Jr. We spoke then with Matt Gertz, a senior fellow at Media Matters for America, who explained how the award could be seen as the culmination of the GOP's transformation, precipitated by Limbaugh and solidified by Trump. 
17/02/2114m 36s

Toxic

It’s been a week of legal battles, from Donald Trump’s second impeachment to Britney Spears’s fight for control over her finances and her career. On this week's On the Media, a look at the new documentary that’s put the pop star back in the spotlight. Plus, how revisiting stories of maligned women from the 90s can help us understand our media — and ourselves.  1. Brooke considers the developments this week in the impeachment trial, and also its wild distortion in some corners of the media. Listen. 2. Samantha Stark [@starksamantha], director of the New York Times documentary “Framing Britney Spears,” on the #FreeBritney movement and the #WeAreSorryBritney reckoning. Listen. 3. Sarah Marshall [@Remember_Sarah] and Michael Hobbes [@RottenInDenmark], hosts of the You're Wrong About podcast, on how coverage of maligned women in the 1990s fueled lasting and harmful myths. Listen. Music from this week's show:Equinox — John ColtraneInvitation to a Suicide — John Zorn Baby One More Time — Britney Spears Cello Song — Nick Drake Fellini’s Waltz — Nino RotaLa Vie En Rose — Toots Thielemans
12/02/2149m 51s

Its Tax Time!

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 primary roadblocks to change, said Huseman, is an organization called the Free File Alliance, a public-private partnership whereby private tax companies agree to provide a free service for most Americans in exchange for the IRS not offering any such service itself. Brooke spoke with Tim Hugo, Executive Director of the Free File Alliance, about whether it is really the best way to help American taxpayers.
10/02/2116m 4s

Slaying the Fox Monster

Fox News has been stoking rage on the right for decades. As the former president faces an impeachment trial for his role in the invasion of the Capitol, some are asking whether Fox News also bears responsibility for the violence. On this week’s On the Media, a look at the arguments for and against the de-platforming of Fox News. 1. Bob [@bobosphere] talks to Angelo Carusone [@GoAngelo], Nandini Jammi [@nandoodles], Jason Hirschhorn [@JasonHirschhorn] and Steven Barnett [@stevenjbarnett] about the ethics and efficacy of the "deplatform Fox" movement. Listen. 2. Rod Smolla, dean and professor of law at the Delaware Law School of Widener University, on the free speech protections afforded by a classic first amendment case, Brandenburg v. Ohio. Listen. 3. Nicole Hemmer [@pastpunditry], Columbia University research scholar, on why the Fairness Doctrine won't fix Fox News. Listen.   Music: Mysterioso - Kronos Quartet Oboe Mambo - Machito & His Afro-Cuban Orchestra Stormy Weather - Franck Pourcel Night Thoughts - John Zorn
05/02/2149m 55s

OTM Presents - The Experiment: The Loophole

This week, OTM presents the first episode of a new weekly show hosted by our WNYC colleague Julia Longoria: The Experiment. When Mike Belderrain hunted down the biggest elk of his life, he didn’t know he’d stumbled into a “zone of death,” the remote home of a legal glitch that could short-circuit the Constitution—a place where, technically, you could get away with murder. At a time when we’re surrounded by preventable deaths, The Experiment documents one journey to avert disaster. • Mike Belderrain is a hunter and former outfitter in Montana.• C. J. Box is the author of more than 20 novels, including Free Fire, a thriller set in Yellowstone National Park. • Brian Kalt teaches law at Michigan State University. He wrote a 2005 research paper titled “The Perfect Crime.• Ed Yong is a staff writer for The Atlantic. Here's the link to the episode at The Atlantic Be part of The Experiment. Use the hashtag #TheExperimentPodcast or write to us at theexperiment@theatlantic.com. Listen and subscribe: Apple Podcasts | Spotify | Stitcher | Google Podcasts This episode was produced by Julia Longoria and Alvin Melathe, with editing by Katherine Wells and sound design by David Herman.
04/02/2134m 31s

Billion Dollar Idea

On this week’s show, we look at what happens when scientists try to save the public...from itself. Plus, why vaccine distribution might be slowed down by intellectual property rights. And how, memers and righteous redditors used GameStop to upend Wall Street.  1. Zeynep Tufecki [@zeynep], associate professor at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, explains why public health officials send mixed messages on everything from masks to variants. Listen. 2. Dean Baker [@DeanBaker13], senior economist at the Center for Economic and Policy Research, on why intellectual property may be getting in the way of vaccine distribution. Listen. 3. James Surowiecki [@JamesSurowiecki], unpacks what GameStop's wild week reveals about Wall Street, the economy, and memes. Listen. Music: Liquid Spear Waltz by Michael AndrewsLife on Mars (David Bowie) by Meridian String QuartetThe Artifact and Living by Michael AndrewsShoot the Piano Player  by Georges DelerueUluwati by John Zorn  
29/01/2150m 1s

Did Lulz Break Wall Street?

GameStop is a corporation that sells digital cartridges containing video games, and also video game consoles and other fun widgets, from brick-and-mortar stores to flesh-and-blood consumers. It is a thing of the natural world, and so must abide by its fundamental, physical laws. GamesStop’s stock, on the other hand... well, for most of last year, the company was “worth” a pretty dismal 250 million dollars. But you may have heard that lately GameStop stock has soared upward into the exosphere, ballooning the company’s “worth” to somewhere in the ballpark of 20 billion dollars. That is, last we checked.  How this happened — how the very laws of gravity seemed to break this week on Wall Street — is best explained not by corporate actions or the current milieu of the actual American economy, but rather, as writer James Surowiecki explained this week in Marker, as a meme. In this podcast extra, Surowiecki explains how the on-going short squeeze originated on forums like r/WallStreetBets, and how it reminds us of the internet's ability to meme itself into reality.   CORRECTION: As Brooke said, she paid so little attention to her investment in GameStop that she misremembered the exact size of her holdings. She owned 42 shares of GameStop, not 65, and sold them for a total of $4,200, not $6,500. She deeply regrets the error. 
28/01/2126m 6s

Well, That Was Some Weird Sh*t

On this week’s show, we take a deep breath. Plus, journalists reflect on the deep damage done to our information ecosystem and how we can begin to repair it. And, Brooke and Bob take a journey through 20 years of OTM. 1. Brooke and Bob on the (short-lived) reprieve following the 45th president's departure, and McKay Coppins [@mckaycoppins], staff writer at The Atlantic, on how the environment for "elite" journalists has changed in the past four years. Listen. 2. Yamiche Alcindor [@Yamiche], White House correspondent for the PBS NewsHour, Jay Rosen [@jayrosen_nyu], media critic and journalism professor at New York University, and Karen Attiah [@KarenAttiah], global opinions editor at the Washington Post, on what they've learned as journalists from the Trump era, and what comes next. Listen. 3. Bob and Brooke reflect on more than a thousand shows together, and twenty years of On the Media. Listen. Music from the show:Misterioso — Kronos Quartet Passing Time — John Renbourn Newsreel — Randy NewmanA Ride with Polly Jean — Jenny ScheinmanYou're Getting to be a Habit with Me — Bing Crosby & Guy Lombardo and His Royal Canadians  
22/01/2150m 11s

The Trump Inc. Podcast Made a Time Capsule

This story was co-published with ProPublica. A birth certificate, a bar receipt, a newspaper ad, a board game, a Ziploc bag of shredded paper, a pair of museum tickets, some checks, and a USB drive. The series finale of Trump, Inc. This episode was reported by Andrea Bernstein, Meg Cramer, Anjali Kamat, Ilya Marritz, Katherine Sullivan, Eric Umansky, and Heather Vogell. We assembled our time capsule at Donald J. Trump State Park; it will be stored until 2031 with WNYC's archives department. This is the last episode of Trump, Inc. But it's not the end of our reporting: subscribe to our newsletter for updates on what we're doing next. Show your support with a donation to New York Public Radio.
20/01/2148m 56s

You Missed a Spot

Evidence shows that insurrectionists used the walkie-talkie app Zello to help organize the riot at the capitol. On this week’s On the Media, a look at how the platform has resisted oversight, despite warnings that it was enabling right-wing extremism. Plus, how to sniff out the real corporate boycotts from the PR facades. And, how to build social media that doesn't exploit users for profit.  1. OTM reporter Micah Loewinger [@MicahLoewinger] on Zello's role in last week's insurrection, and what the app is finally doing about its militia members. Listen. 2. Casey Newton [@CaseyNewton], writer for Platformer, on why this wave of social media scrubbing might not be such a bad thing. Listen. 3. Siva Vaidhyanathan [@sivavaid], professor of media studies at the University of Virginia, and Americus Reed II [@amreed2], professor of marketing at the Wharton School of Business, on the true costs of corporate boycotts. Listen. 4. Eli Pariser [@elipariser], co-director of Civic Signals, on how to build digital spaces that do not monetize our social activity or spy on us for profit. Listen. Music from the show:Fallen Leaves — Marcos Ciscar The Hammer of Loss — John Zorn — A Vision in Blakelight Hard Times — Nashville Sessions — Songs of the Civil WarWhat’s that Sound? — Michael AndrewsIn the Bath — Randy NewmanBoy Moves the Sun — Michael AndrewsAin’t Misbehavin’ — Hank Jones
15/01/2150m 11s

How the School Transmission Conversation Became So Muddled

Over the past 10 months, debates have raged over how to keep the coronavirus in check. What to open? What to close? Where does the virus spread, and where are we relatively safe? Through it all, one kind of space in particular has been the subject of vigorous debate — and, starting a few months into the virus, a kind of unexpected conventional wisdom emerged: that schools were relatively safe. In the midst of the darkness, it brought some welcome light: kids are safe! They can go to school! While other institutions closed, countries around the world — particularly in Europe and the UK — kept their schools open. And yet, in response to rising rates and a new, more contagious variant, many of those same countries have since closed their school doors. It turns out that, if you believe the epidemiologists, schools do, in fact, bring risk of transmission. How could we ever have thought otherwise? Rachel Cohen has been covering the debates around school closings and openings, most recently at The Intercept. In this week's podcast extra, she tells Brooke about how the school transmission narrative has evolved since the beginning of the pandemic, and how our understanding of the issue came to be so muddled.
12/01/2117m 50s

Breaking the Myth

On this week’s On The Media, journalists struggle to find the words to describe what happened at the capitol on Wednesday. Was it a riot? A mob? An insurrection? Plus, why supporters of the president’s baseless election fraud theories keep invoking the “lost cause” myth of the confederacy. And, taking a second look at "The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down." 1. Brooke [@OTMBrooke] and Bob [@bobosphere] on the events at the Capitol on Wednesday. Listen. 2. Caroline Janney [@CarrieJanney], historian of the Civil War at University of Virginia, on the evolution of the post-Civil War Lost Cause mythology. Listen. 3. Kimberlé Williams Crenshaw [@sandylocks], professor of law at UCLA and Columbia Law School, on how post-Civil War appeasement allowed for the perpetuation of white supremacy in the United States. Listen. 4. Jack Hamilton [@jack_hamilton], associate professor of American studies and media studies at the University of Virginia, on the mixed and missed messages in the rock anthem "The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down" by The Band. Listen. Music from this week's show:Invitation to a Suicide — John ZornSneaky Adventure — Kevin MacLeodGlass House/Curtains — David BergeaudThe Last Bird — Zoe KeatingLost, Night — Bill FrisellUsing the Apostate Tyrant as His Tool — Kronos QuartetThe Night They Drove Ol' Dixie Down — The BandThe Night They Drove Ol' Dixie Down — Richie Havens
08/01/2150m 11s

The World, Remade

With vaccinations underway, we’re edging closer and closer to the end of the pandemic. This week, On The Media looks at how the pandemic has shaped what’s possible for the future — from the built environment to the way we work to the way we learn.  1. Sam Kling [@SamKling2], American Council of Learned Societies public fellow, on whether cities like New York were bound to become hubs for disease. Listen. 2.  Vanessa Chang [@vxchang], lecturer at California College of the Arts, explains how pandemics of the past have been instrumental in shaping architecture; Mik Scarlet [@MikScarlet] delineates the social model of disability; and Sara Hendren [@ablerism], author of What Can A Body Do?: How We Meet the Built World, describes how the wisdom of people with disabilities can inform the redesign our post-pandemic world. Listen. 3. OTM reporter Micah Loewinger [@micahloewinger] tells the story of how distance learning saved his friend's life. Listen.  
01/01/2149m 59s

A Brief History of Timekeeping

We spend our lives bound to a clock and calendar that tell us what to do and what to expect. But now, millions of Americans are newly jobless, untethered from structure and predictability. Hundreds of of thousands fight a virus that could cut their time on earth dramatically short. And all of us wait out a life-stoppage of unknown duration. And so, we may find ourselves outside of time. Passing it, but no longer marking it. Anthony F. Aveni, professor emeritus of astronomy, anthropology, and Native American studies at Colgate University, says that to understand our current time consciousness, we have to return to a land before time — or at least, time as we know it. Aveni and Bob talk about the history of timekeeping, and how we might find our orientation during this collective time-out. This is a segment from our April 24th, 2020 program, On Matters of Time and Space.
30/12/2019m 36s

What Just Happened?!

The new year approaches, marking an end to a truly unexpected trip around the sun. This week, On the Media reflects on our 2020 coverage, from the pandemic to the global uprising to the rise of the anti-majoritarian right.  With excerpts from: The Virality of Virality, January 31, 2020 Epidemic Voyeurs No More, February 28, 2020 Infectious Diseases Show Societies Who They Really Are, March 6, 2020 Why The Toilet Paper Shortage Makes More Sense Than You Think, April 10, 2020 Is The Pandemic Making Us Numb To One Another's Pain?, December 11, 2020 Is This 'Unrest' or an 'Uprising'?, June 5, 2020 Why Activists Are Demanding That Cities "Defund the Police", June 12, 2020 Movements, Sanitized In Hindsight, June 19, 2020 Imprecision 2020, November 5, 2020 They Prepared for War With Antifa. Antifa Never Came., June 12, 2020 With #SaveTheChildren Rallies, QAnon Sneaks Into The Offline World, August 26, 2020 The Ancient Heresy That Helps Us Understand QAnon, November 20, 2020 The Right's Long History of Ignoring the Will of the People, November 6, 2020 Against Democracy, October 9, 2020
25/12/2051m 28s

Unlearning White Jesus

In a time where monuments are being toppled, institutions and icons reconsidered, we turn to a portrait encountered by every American: "White Jesus." You know, that guy with sandy blond hair and upcast blue eyes. For On the Media, Eloise Blondiau traces the history of how the historically inaccurate image became canon, and why it matters. In this segment, Eloise talks to Mbiyu Chui, pastor at the Shrine of the Black Madonna in Detroit, about unlearning Jesus's whiteness. She also hears from Edward Blum, author of The Color of Christ: The Son of God and the Saga of Race in America, about how the image came dominate in the U.S., and psychologist Simon Howard on how White Jesus has infiltrated our subconsciouses. Lastly, Eloise speaks to Rev. Kelly Brown Douglas, womanist theologian and Dean of the Episcopal Divinity School at Union Theological Seminary, about the theology of the Black Christ. This is a segment from our October 1st, 2020 program, God Bless.
23/12/2020m 22s

Who Owns the Future?

Facebook has already been accused of spreading lies and polarizing society. Now, the federal government says it illegally crushed competition. On this week’s On the Media, how to roll back a global power that has transformed our economy and warped our democracy.  1. Dina Srinivasan [@DinaSrinivasan], author of the 2019 paper, “The Antitrust Case Against Facebook,” on digital-age interpretations of the Sherman Antitrust Act. Listen. 2. Carole Cadwalladr [@carolecadwalla], journalist for The Guardian and The Observer, on the harms of Facebook unaddressed by both antitrust law and the company's own attempts at self-regulation. Listen.  3. Shoshana Zuboff [@shoshanazuboff], professor emeritus at Harvard Business School and author of The Age of Surveillance Capitalism, on the data extraction and human futures markets that comprise much of our economy. Listen.    Music: Joeira by Kurup Capernaum by Khaled Mouzanar Okami by Nicola Cruz Peer Gynt Suite No. 1 by Edvard Grieg
18/12/2050m 36s

Investigating the Toll of 2-Day Shipping

 Last year, the investigative podcast Reveal documented an extraordinary number of workplace injuries at Amazon warehouses around the country. It was a huge national story, bigger now because of the soaring reliance of Amazon amid pandemic conditions and with it Amazon's growing impact on the labor market. But the national story was essentially compilation of a hundred-some local stories. If broken out and reported locally, communities can be informed of the collateral damage attendant to new jobs dangled by a commercial colossus. So Reveal -- a product of the Center for Investigative Reporting -- built the “Behind the Smiles Network” enlisting local news organizations to investigate their own Amazon facilities with the help of date supplied to them by Reveal. In this podcast extra, Bob talks with Byard Duncan, Reveal's engagement and collaborations reporter and the liaison between his team's national reporters and the local reporting network.
16/12/2013m 15s

Last Wish

Scientists and policymakers are hopeful about a slate of vaccines, but it may be a long time before everyone has access. This week, On the Media explores the ethical questions around vaccine distribution. Plus, how some pundits are inflating the odds of Donald Trump facing criminal charges. And, how death rituals can help us face our mounting grief. 1. Ankush Khardori, writer and former federal prosecutor, explains why we need to stop speculating about a post-presidency downfall for Trump. Listen. 2. Jordan Kisner [@jordan_kisner], author of "What the Chaos in Hospitals Is Doing to Doctors" for The Atlantic, on the burden of moral decision-making in the pandemic, and how it relates to the vaccine rollout. Listen. 3. Micah Loewinger [@MicahLoewinger], OTM reporter/producer, talks to Brooke about how an article in the Washington Post shook him out of pandemic-induced numbness. Listen. 4. Amy Cunningham [@BrooklynFuneral], death educator and funeral director, on how to repair our relationship with death amid the pandemic. Listen. Music: Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy/Tchaikovsky — Kevin Mcleod Anything for Love — Daniel Birch Quizas Quizas Quizas — Ramon Sole Cellar Door — Michael Andrews What’s that Sound — Michael Andrews Boy Moves the Sun — Michael AndrewsThe Beatitudes — Kronos Quartet
11/12/2050m 14s

Shifting Baselines

David Roberts wrote for Vox.com in July, about the mental phenomenon of “shifting baselines,” in which we calibrate our expectations to the world we were born into, irrespective of what came before. And in so doing, he wrote, we unintentionally discount the severity of threats to our well-being. The term first came into fashion in 1995, when fisheries scientist Daniel Pauly observed that each generation of fisheries scientists accepts as a baseline the number of fish and the species composition at the beginning of their careers and uses that baseline to evaluate changes. Roberts spoke with Bob in the summer, about the social science of shifting baselines, generational amnesia and the psychological immune system — and what it all means for how we communicate about climate change. This is a segment from our July 17th program, “This Is Fine”.
09/12/2016m 51s

A Dose Of Reality

With the pandemic’s second wave in full-swing, two vaccine makers are seeking emergency use authorization from the FDA. This week, On The Media explores how to convince enough Americans to take a coronavirus vaccine so that the country can reach herd immunity. First we look to past vaccine rollouts for lessons, and then to how to identify and reach current skeptics. Plus, how a new voting conspiracy is taking hold on the right.  1. Michael Kinch [@MichaelKinch], author of Between Hope and Fear: A History of Vaccines and Human Immunity, on lessons from vaccines past; and Matt Motta [@Matt_Motta], assistant professor of political science at Oklahoma State University, explains how to reach vaccine skeptics. Listen. 2. The Rev. Paul Abernathy on his work addressing vaccine skepticism in Black communities, starting by earning trust and recruiting vaccine trial volunteers in predominantly Black neighborhoods in Pittsburgh. Listen. 3. Brandy Zadrozny [@BrandyZadrozny], investigative reporter for NBC News, tells Bob about how science quackery transformed into a booming anti-vax industry. Listen. 4. In an essay, Bob explores the baseless Dominion Voting Systems conspiracy, and looks at the bizarre characters who have been embraced by an increasingly desperate right-wing media. Listen.
04/12/2050m 8s

"Defund the Police" revisited

On Wednesday morning, former president Barack Obama appeared on “Snap Original Good Luck America,” which is an interview program on Snapchat — and thus a proper setting to chasten the young. He warned young activists, "I guess you can use a snappy slogan like 'defund the police,' but you know you've lost a big audience the minute you say it, which makes it a lot less likely that you're actually going to get the changes you want done."  When the idea — not slogan — first became audible to the mainstream this summer, some politicians immediately sought to water it down, reinterpreting abolition as just another go at reform. Proponents, though, say that they mean exactly what they say. They also emphasize that the demand to remove money from police departments and redistribute it to improve the social conditions that drive criminality isn't new. In June, Bob spoke with Amna Akbar, law professor at The Ohio State University, about where the demand comes from, and what "abolition" really means. This interview originally aired as part of our June 12, 2020 program, It’s Going Down.
03/12/2012m 48s

No Ado About Much

With the an apparent second wave of COVID-19 in full force, the media are sounding the alarm on a deadly virus growing out of control. But during the Spanish Flu 100 years ago, the media downplayed the pandemic. On this week's show, a look at how the Spanish Flu vanished from our collective memory. Then, how Shakespeare, a British icon, became an American hero.  1. John Barry [@johnmbarry], author of The Great Influenza, on how America forgot about the pandemic of 1918. Listen. 2. James Shapiro, author of Shakespeare in a Divided America, on what the Brit's plays teach us about life in the US. Listen. Music:Berceuse in D Flat Major, Op. 57 Chopin - Ivan MoravecCrows of Homer - Gerry O'BeirneThe Dancing Master: Maiden Lane (John Playford) - The Broadside Band & Jeremy Barlow John’s Book of Alleged Dances (John Adams) - Kronos QuartetFife Feature: Lowland’s Away (Roy Watrous) - Gregory S. Balvanz & The US Army Fife and Drum Corps    Ballad No. 2 in F, Op. 38 (Chopin) - Ivan MoravecLittle Rose is Gone/Billy in the Lowground - Jim TaylorCollection Frail As a Breeze - Erik FriedlanderThe De Lesseps' Dance - Shakespeare in Love SoundtrackKiss Me Kate Overture - Kiss Me Kate Soundtrack Brush Up Your Shakespeare - Kiss Me Kate SoundtrackLove & the Rehearsal - Shakespeare in Love SoundtrackHarpsichord - Four Tet
27/11/2049m 56s

Epidemics Show Societies Who They Really Are

Communicable disease has haunted humanity for all of history. As such, the responses to coronavirus in our midst have a grimly timeless quality. In fact, to one scholar, epidemics are a great lens for peering into the values, temperament, infrastructures and moral structures of the societies they attack. Frank M. Snowden is a professor emeritus of the history of medicine at Yale and author of Epidemics and Society: From the Black Death to the Present. An epidemic, he writes, “holds a mirror” to the civilization in which it occurs. In this podcast extra, he speaks to Bob about what we can learn about ourselves from the infectious diseases we've faced, from the bubonic plague in the 14th century to the Ebola outbreak in 2014 to COVID-19 today. This interview originally aired as a segment in our March 6, 2020 program, Our Bodies, Ourselves.
25/11/2014m 28s

EXTENDED VERSION The Ancient Heresy That Helps Us Understand QAnon

EXTENDED VERSION (includes content we had to leave on the cutting room floor to make the interview fit into the broadcast) It’s been two weeks since Trump lost the election to Biden. But he and his followers are still claiming victory. Jeff Sharlet, who has been covering the election for Vanity Fair, credits two Christian-adjacent ideas for these claims. The first is the so-called “prosperity gospel”: the notion that, among other things, positive thinking can manifest positive consequences. Even electoral victory in the face of electoral loss. But the problem with prosperity gospel, like day-and-date rapture prophecies, is that when its bets don’t pay off, it’s glaringly obvious. As prosperity thinking loses its edge for Trump, another strain of fringe Christianity — dating back nearly two millennia — is flourishing. Jeff Sharlet says an ancient heresy, Gnosticism, can help us understand the unifying force of pseudo-intellectualism on the right. Sharlet explains how a gnostic emphasis on "hidden" truths has animated QAnon conspiracies and Trump’s base. This is the extended version of a segment from our November 20th, 2020 program, Believe It Or Not.
23/11/2024m 26s

Believe It Or Not

As the pandemic spreads, officials are imposing new public health policies. On this week’s On the Media, why so many of the new rules contradict what science tells us about the virus. Plus, what a fringe early Christian movement can tell us about QAnon. And, a former White House photographer reflects on covering presidents in the pre-Trump era.  1. Roxanne Khamsi [@rkhamsi], science journalist, on how political leaders have failed to consistently explain the science behind their policies. Listen. 2. Jeff Sharlet [@jeffsharlet], professor of English at Dartmouth College and author of This Brilliant Darkness: A Book of Strangers, explains how an ancient heresy serves as a blueprint for right wing conspiracies. Listen. 3. Pete Souza [@petesouza] examines the role of the chief White House photographer. Listen. Music from this week's show: Chopin — Nocturne for piano in B flat minorGotan Project — Vuelvo al SurHans Zimmer/The Da Vinci Code soundtrack — There Has To Be MysteriesMichael W. Smith — Agnus DeiSentimental journey (instrumental)
20/11/2050m 7s

Rewatching "Contagion" in a Pandemic

Back in February we spoke to Pulitzer Prize–winning science writer Laurie Garrett, author of The Coming Plague, in an episode we called "Black Swans". The coronavirus had yet to make landfall in the US but the anxiety was building. After the segment aired, New York Times critic Wesley Morris told us that after he heard the part where Garrett described her role as a consultant on the movie, "Contagion" he felt compelled to rewatch the 2011 thriller. In the film, competency — specifically, within federal government agencies — is the solution to a destructive crisis. This is comforting to watch, like a sort of public health "West Wing." It is also unnerving, and heavy, to watch the thrilling procedural un-spool as people, on- and off-screen, die. Brooke spoke to Morris in March about how for him, it was the pandemic film that most perfectly fit with the current moment — down to Kate Winslet, playing a dogged pathogenic detective, reminding her colleague to stop touching his face.   
18/11/2011m 32s

Another World Entirely

With President Trump refusing to accept the results of the election, analysts are asking if he’s trying to wage a coup. On this week’s On the Media, why so many Republicans support the president’s claims, despite the evidence. Don’t miss On the Media, from WNYC Studios. 1. Bob on the latest Trumpian Big Lie, concerning the very foundation of democracy. Listen. 2. Casey Newton [@CaseyNewton], author of the Platformer newsletter, on the surging post-election popularity of the social media platforms Parler and MeWe. Listen. 3. Matthew Sheffield [@mattsheffield], former conservative journalist and host of the Theory Of Change podcast, on why he hopes to "free people" from the very media ecosystem he helped build. Listen. 4. Samanth Subramanian [@Samanth_S], journalist, on the Trump administration's assault on public data. Listen.   Music: Hidden Agenda  - Kevin MacLeodSlow Pulse Conga - William PasleyAccentuate the Positive - Syd Dale Double Dozen and Alec GouldBlues: La dolce vita dei Nobili - Nino Rota  
13/11/2050m 20s

The Pfizer Vaccine Isn't a Home Run Yet

Pfizer announced Monday that its coronavirus vaccine demonstrated more than 90% effectiveness and no serious bad reactions in trial results — an outcome that should enable the company to obtain an emergency authorization soon. Between the vaccine and the unveiling, also on Monday, of a Biden-led coronavirus task force, it seemed like the rare pandemic-era day in which the good news could compete with the tragic. But Pulitzer Prize–winning science writer Laurie Garrett wrote this week in Foreign Policy that even if this vaccine works as advertised, there are still plenty of reasons to worry about much good it can do. In this podcast extra, Garrett tells Brooke about what she views as caveats to the potential breakthrough.  CORRECTION: This podcast contains an error concerning the timing of testing after the second dose of Pfizer's coronavirus vaccine candidate. According to a protocol released by Pfizer, Phase 3 study participants were tested for coronavirus "at least 7 days after receipt of the second dose," [emphasis added]. In this interview, Garrett says, "7 days after [the second dose], [participants] got a COVID test. The results presented are what was found at that seven-day point." Rather, the results announced by Pfizer earlier this month were based on testing conducted at least one week after the second dose.  We reached out to Garrett for additional comment, and she added this: "All [Pfizer's] protocol required was a single test at the 7 day point. Eventually, Pfizer has extended that to 14 days. Since we don’t have any breakdown on numbers in the only published info — press release — we don’t know what % of the vax recipients were tested at 7 days, 8 days, 12 days…..no idea. So all we CAN say is that they all got a minimum of response time before testing. It’s a glass half full, half empty issue."
11/11/2019m 49s

This Is Us

With Joe Biden approaching victory, Donald Trump and his political allies flooded the internet with conspiracy theories. This week, On the Media examines the misinformation fueling right-wing demonstrations across the country. Plus, why pollsters seemed to get the election wrong — again. And, how the history of the American right presaged the Republican Party's anti-majoritarian turn.  1. John Mark Hansen, professor of political science at the University of Chicago, explains what exactly it would take to steal a presidential election. Listen. 2. Zeynep Tufecki [@zeynep], associate professor at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, argues in favor of doing away with election forecasting models. Listen. 3. Rick Perlstein [@rickperlstein], author of Reaganland: America's Right Turn 1976-1980, on the history of anti-majoritarian politics on the American right. Listen. Music from this week's show: White Man Sleeps — Kronos QuartetL’Illusionista — Nino RotaGerman Lullaby — The KiboomersFrail as a Breeze, Part 2 — Erik FriedlanderWouldn’t It Be Loverly — Fred Hersh
06/11/2050m 24s

Imprecision 2020

For election night 2020, while cable news had white boards and talking heads, the OTM crew hosted comedians, singers and friends for some great conversation with occasional updates on what was happening in the presidential race. In this podcast extra we highlight one of those conversations. Mychal Denzel Smith is a writer and fellow at Type Media Center. Brooke spoke to him about his most recent book titled Stakes Is High: After The American Dream which focuses on the perils, for the individual, and the nation of embracing the American myth, better known as the American Dream, the idea that everything is possible for those who work hard. And she asked him what kind of changes the outcome of this election might herald. To round out the broadcast, Bob and Brooke answered some audience questions...and revisited some of the issues in the conversation they had the day after the 2016 election, Now What? 
05/11/2023m 3s

Chaos Reigns

The past few decades have been a time of deep partisan animosity. On this week’s On The Media, how we might move beyond the current polarization. Plus, how one man’s obsession with organizing the natural world led him down a dark path.  1. Lilliana Mason [@lilymasonphd], political psychologist at the University of Maryland, on why our political landscape became so polarized, and where we might go from here. Listen. 2. 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.   Music: Songs of War - US Army Old Guard Fife and Drum Corps John’s Book of Alleged Dances - Kronos Quartet Nocturne for Piano in B flat minor - Chopin Il Casanova di Federico Fellini Death Have Mercy/Breakaway - Regina Carter
30/10/2050m 13s

The Amazing Randi (just don't call him a magician)

Famed conjurer, illusionist -- and even more famously exposer of supernatural fraud --  James Randi died last week at his Florida home at the age of 92. Co-founder of the Committee for Skeptical Inquiry the Amazing Randi tirelessly exposed the deceit behind (as his New York Times obituary summarized): "spoon bending, mind reading, fortunetelling, ghost whispering, water dowsing, faith healing, U.F.O.-spotting and sundry varieties of bamboozlement, bunco, chicanery, flimflam, flummery, humbuggery, mountebankery, pettifoggery and out-and-out quacksalvery." He’s lauded as a great “debunker,” but he didn’t like that descriptor, preferring “investigator.” And if you didn’t wish to be corrected, it was also wise not to call him a magician. Because “magic” isn’t really magic, is it?  For The Genius Dialogues (Bob's Audible.com podcast series of interviews with MacArthur Genius Grant laureates) Bob visited the then 87-year-old Randi in Plantation, Florida. Here is that conversation. 
28/10/2038m 9s

The Games We Play

With the election underway, both camps are pushing their “get out the vote” messages. This week, On the Media looks at the origins of the modern presidential campaign, and how livestream technology is transforming the look and feel of voter outreach. Plus, how a mysterious network of fake news sites duped real journalists into creating propaganda. And, the empty, recurring trope of Republicans "distancing" themselves from Trump. 1. Makena Kelly [@kellymakena] explains the rising role of fandom in politics, and how Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez's event on Twitch this week was a landmark in online organizing. Listen. 2. Greg Mitchell [@GregMitch] and Jill Lepore on how modern methods of seeding lies and hysteria into a campaign can be traced back to a single race in 1934. Listen. 3. Priyanjana Bengani [@acookiecrumbles] on the emergence of "pink slime" news outlets, which take legitimate journalism and use it as a cover for more nefarious goals at home and abroad. Also featuring Pat Morris and Laura Walters [@walterslaura]. Listen. 4. Bob [@Bobosphere] explains why outlets need to stop saying Republicans like Ben Sasse are "breaking" with Trump. Listen.
23/10/2052m 1s

OTM presents - Blindspot Ep. 5: The Idea

For this week's podcast extra, we're once more highlighting the work of our colleague Jim O'Grady and his brilliant podcast "Blindspot: The Road to 9/11." This is episode 5: The Idea. The World Trade Center was built with soaring expectations. Completed in 1973, its architect, Minoru Yamasaki, hoped the towers would stand as “a representation of man’s belief in humanity” and “world peace.” He even took inspiration from the Great Mosque in the holy city of Mecca with its tall minarets looking down on a sprawling plaza. What he did not expect was that the buildings would become a symbol to some of American imperialism and the strangling grip of global capitalism. Our story picks up in Manila — January 6th, 1995 — where police respond to an apartment fire and uncover a plot to assassinate the Pope. A suspect gives up his boss in the scheme: Ramzi Yousef, the mastermind of the 1993 World Trade Center bombing. Yousef has been on the run for two years and has disappeared again. Port Authority Detective Matthew Besheer and FBI Special Agent Frank Pellegrino fly to Manila to follow his trail. They learn that Yousef has a horrifying attack in the works involving bombs on a dozen airplanes, rigged to explode simultaneously. President Bill Clinton grounds all U.S. flights from the Pacific as the era of enhanced airline security begins. Yousef’s plot is foiled. But what it reveals about his intentions is chilling. 
21/10/2054m 45s

Emergency Mode

Premonitions of Election Day violence abound, especially with the growing visibility of extremist militia groups. This week, On The Media looks at a little-known app fueling those groups’ recruitment and organizing. Plus, why skepticism of election forecasts might be a good thing. And, how election coverage has changed (and stagnated) since 2016. 1. Jay Rosen [@jayrosen_nyu], media critic and author of the blog PressThink, on how political journalism needs to switch to an "emergency" setting. Listen. 2. Nate Silver [@NateSilver538], founder and editor-in-chief at FiveThirtyEight, on how his election forecast model has changed (and remained the same) since 2016. Listen. 3. Sam Jackson [@sjacks26], professor at University of Albany, on the debate over "militia member" vs. "domestic terrorist." Listen. 4. OTM reporter Micah Loewinger [@MicahLoewinger] investigates how a walkie-talkie app called Zello is enabling armed white supremacist groups to gather and recruit. Listen. Music from this week's show: Mysterioso — Kronos Quartet Full Tense — Clint Mansell and Kronos Quartet I Saw The Light — Hank Williams I Saw The Light — Hank Williams (reprise)
16/10/201h 2m

Brooke speaks with Lulu Miller about her new book, "Why Fish Don't Exist"

Earlier this month, Stanford University announced it would rename Jordan Hall, named for David Starr Jordan, noted natural historian, ichthyologist, and Stanford's founding president back in 1891. Jordan's name is also coming off of several sites at Indiana University, where he also served as president. So who is this long-heralded, lately-demoted David Starr Jordan? He was, among many other things, a great obsession of Lulu Miller, co-host of Radiolab and author of the book, Why Fish Don't Exist: A Story of Loss, Love, and the Hidden Order of Life. In this podcast extra, Brooke and Lulu discuss Jordan's history, as well as the author's obsession with him, as a supreme taxonomist who sought determinedly to order the natural world — at least, in part, by finding and naming its fish and later, notoriously, by ranking its people. 
14/10/2030m 48s

The Unlucky Many

GOP Senator Mike Lee tweeted this week that “we are not a democracy.” On this week’s On the Media, why the Republican party’s political future may depend upon anti-democratic — small-’d’ — ideas. Plus, how the good luck of the so-called “silent” generation has shaped the politics of Joe Biden. And, how the bad luck of the millennial generation might shape our collective future. 1. Nicole Hemmer [@pastpunditry], Columbia University research scholar and author of Messengers of the Right: Conservative Media and the Transformation of American Politics, on the origins and evolution of the "republic, not a democracy" slogan. Listen. 2. Matthew Sitman [@MatthewSitman], associate editor at the Catholic journal Commonweal and co-host of the Know Your Enemy podcast, on the anti-democratic state of the Republican party. Listen. 3. Elwood Carlson, sociology professor at Florida State University, on the "silent generation," members of which comprise much of the governing elite. Listen. 4. Anne Helen Petersen [@annehelen], author of Can’t Even: How Millennials Became the Burnout Generation, on the downwardly mobile millennial generation. Listen. Music from this week's show:Prelude of Light — John Zorn  Invitation to a Suicide — John ZornThe Glass House - Curtains — David BergeaudTrance Dance — John ZornWhistle While You Work — Bunny Berigan And His OrchestraYoung At Heart — Brad MehldauThe Invisibles — John Zorn
09/10/2050m 12s

Trump's War on Critical Race Theory

The Trump administration issued executive orders last month that ban federal workers from participating in anti-racism trainings. Under the orders, such phrases as “critical race theory” and “white privilege” are verboten during executive branch on-boardings. The White House has previously issued guidance meant to stifle the teaching of negative aspects of American history — spurred, at least in part, by the overwhelmingly racist backlash to the New York Times' 1619 project. In this podcast extra, Bob talks with Georgetown law professor Paul Butler about how the president is using executive authority to curate a culture of white ignorance. 
08/10/2020m 35s

God Bless

President Trump has once more tried to cast himself as an ally of the Christian right — this time, by nominating Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court. This week, On the Media explains how the religious right goes beyond white evangelicals and the persistent allure of persecution narratives in Christianity. Plus, we examine the overlooked religious left. And, we explore how the image of Jesus as a white man was popularized in the 20th century, and why it matters.  1. Andrew Whitehead [@ndrewwhitehead], professor of sociology at Indiana University – Purdue University Indianapolis, explains how Christian nationalism holds the religious right together. Listen. 2. Candida Moss [@candidamoss], professor of theology and religion at the University of Birmingham in the U.K., on how false claims of persecution date back centuries, to the early Christian church. Listen. 3. Jack Jenkins [@jackmjenkins], national reporter at Religion News Service, explains why the religious left is harder to define, and its influence more difficult to measure, than its right-wing counterpart. Listen. 4. OTM reporter Eloise Blondiau [@eloiseblondiau] examines how "White Jesus" came to America, how the image became ubiquitous, and why it matters. Listen.   Music from this week's show: Ave Maria — Pascal Jean and Jean BrendersAmazing Grace — Robert D. Sands, Jr.I Got a Right to Sing the Blues — Billy KyleWhat’s That Sound? — Michael AndrewsWade in the Water — Charlie Haden and Hank JonesFor the Creator — Hildegard von BingenWalking by Flashlight — Maria Schneider (The Thompson Fields)
02/10/2050m 20s

Covering the Proud Boys, Without Platforming Them

At the debate between Joe Biden and President Trump in Cleveland this Tuesday, moderator Chris Wallace of Fox News gave the president an explicit opportunity to condemn white supremacy and white supremacist organizations. Trump deflected, but when Wallace and Biden prompted him to denounce the Proud Boys — a far-right fraternal organization known for enacting political violence — the president instructed the group members to "stand back and stand by." The fiasco raises a question the press has been grappling with for the better part of four years: how does one report on a moment like that responsibly? Bob speaks with Dr. Joan Donovan, Research Director of the Shorenstein Center on Media, Politics and Public Policy at Harvard University, about how the press can cover the president's remarks without amplifying far-right ideologies.
01/10/2023m 44s

The Politicization of the Justice Department Press Shop

Federal investigations seldom begin with an uproar. Internal rules keep fledgling probes on the down-low, lest evidence — or reputations — be destroyed. Before elections the Justice Department is (historically) especially mum, so as not to influence voters on the basis of mere suspicion. Not lately, however. In this pod extra, Bob talks with writer and former federal prosecutor Ankush Khardori about the transformation of a historically circumspect Justice Department press office into a Trump propaganda machine.
30/09/2018m 55s

Spheres of Influence

Conspiracy theories are spreading like wildfire on YouTube, Twitter, and Facebook. This week, On the Media examines the role their slicker sister site Instagram plays in spreading disinformation online. Plus, a look at the "real" Paris Hilton in a new documentary. And, what the world of reality dating shows can teach us about America’s tenuous grasp on the truth. 1. OTM Reporter Leah Feder [@leahfeder] investigates how QAnon has infiltrated and donned the Instagram aesthetic, contributing to a toxic stew known as "conspirituality." Listen. 2. Director Alexandra Dean [@alexhaggiagdean] explains the process of making a new Youtube documentary called This is Paris, which paints a wholly unrecognizable portrait of the mogul. Listen. 3. OTM Producer Xandra Ellin [@xandraellin], tells us what watching reality dating shows has taught her about the truth. Listen.  
25/09/2050m 32s

Better Questions About Amy Coney Barrett's Faith

As Republicans rush to nominate a judge to fill the late Ruth Bader Ginsburg's seat, Amy Coney Barrett has emerged as a frontrunner. Democrats have plenty to fear about her appointment. But instead of poring over her judicial record, many of Barrett’s critics are making assumptions about how she might preside on the court based on her faith. Newsweek published a piece — now corrected — that claimed Barrett's faith community, called People of Praise, inspired Margaret Atwood's The Handmaid's Tale. Others inferred that when Barrett used the Christian phrase "Kingdom of God" she meant that she favored a theocracy. It’s a replay of sorts of her confirmation hearing for her appeals court seat in 2017. Whether or not Barrett is revealed to be Trump's pick, she will be remembered for inspiring some bad takes on religion. So what assumptions about religion are distracting journalists? And what better questions should be put to Barrett about her faith and its role in her judicial decision making? In this podcast extra, Brooke speaks to Michael O'Loughlin, national correspondent at America Media, a Catholic news organization, and host of the podcast Plague: Untold Stories of AIDS and the Catholic Church.
24/09/2019m 27s

The Wrong Fires

As wildfires blaze across the United States, some right-wing politicians and pundits are blaming racial justice protesters. On this week’s On the Media, how to stay focused on the realities of climate change when everything is politicized. Plus, the mistakes we make when we talk about human trafficking. And, the Gamergate playbook is the template for a coordinated attack on Netflix and an indie film on its platform. 1. Dave Karpf [@davekarpf], professor at George Washington University's School of Media and Public Affairs, on the tension between business-as-usual campaign coverage and serious concerns about election integrity. Listen. 2. Kate Knibbs [@Knibbs], senior writer at Wired, on the Cuties controversy. Listen. 3. Michael Hobbes [@RottenInDenmark], senior enterprise reporter at Huffington Post, on the disastrous effects of misreporting on child trafficking. Listen. 4. Amy Westervelt [@amywestervelt], climate journalist and host of the podcast "Drilled," on wildfire misinformation. Listen.
18/09/2050m 11s

Joe Rogan: Debate Moderator?

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 media observers. “Why Is Joe Rogan So Popular?” is the title of a profile in The Atlantic by Devin Gordon, a writer who immersed himself in Joe Rogan's podcast and lifestyle to understand his enormous popularity. In this segment, first aired in January, he and Brooke discuss Rogan's complicated appeal. 
16/09/2018m 6s

What To Expect When You’re Electing

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. Renee DiResta [@noUpside], Stanford Internet Observatory research manager, on how social media chaos sown by domestic actors could have disastrous consequences on election night. Listen. 3. Ed Kilgore [@Ed_Kilgore], political columnist at New York Magazine, on the what we can learn from the contentious election of 1876. Listen. 4. Brandy Zadrozny [@BrandyZadrozny], NBC News investigative reporter, on how QAnon falsehoods are motivating seemingly innocuous protests to "save our children" nationwide. Listen.   Music from this week's show: Sneaky Snitch — Kevin MacLeodThe Builder — Kevin MacLeodIn the Hall of the Mountain King — Kevin MacLeodHidden Agenda — Kevin MacLeodDance of the Sugar Plum Fairies — Kevin MacLeod
11/09/2050m 22s

OTM presents - Blindspot: The Road to 9/11

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 2001. This is episode one: The Bullet. The 9/11 attacks were so much more than a bolt from the blue on a crisp September morning. They were more than a decade in the making. The story starts in a Midtown Manhattan hotel ballroom in 1990. Shots ring out and the extremist rabbi, Meir Kahane, lies mortally wounded. His assassin, El-Sayyid Nosair, is connected to members of a Brooklyn mosque who are training to fight with Islamic freedom fighters in Afghanistan. NYPD Detective Louis Napoli and FBI Special Agent John Anticev catch the case, and start unraveling a conspiracy that is taking place in plain sight by blending into the tumult of the city. It is animated by an emerging ideology: violent jihad. Listen wherever you get your podcasts.   
09/09/201h 1m

Armed and Dangerous

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 right-wing militias in the United States. Listen. 2. Julia Carrie Wong [@juliacarriew], senior technology reporter for The Guardian, on how Facebook is creating the conditions for violence on the streets. Listen. 3. Daniel Thompson [@olfashionednews], former digital editor for the Kenosha News, on his decision to resign over an editorial stand-off. Listen.
04/09/2050m 33s

The Urban Exodus That Wasn't

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 true. Jeff Andrews wrote about this media myth in a recent Curbed article called No, the Pandemic Is Not Emptying Out America’s Cities. In this podcast extra, Andrews joined Bob to dissect the tale of the urban flight that wasn't.  
02/09/2013m 4s

Bizarro World

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 host of Pivot Podcast, on why so many colleges and universities decided to reopen despite the pandemic, and what it tells us about the future of higher education. Listen. 3. OTM producer/reporter Micah Loewinger [@MicahLoewinger] tells the story of how remote learning saved his friend’s life. Listen.
28/08/2050m 16s

With #SaveTheChildren Rallies, QAnon Sneaks Into The Offline World

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 Collins. In this podcast extra, Zadrozny explains how these rallies function as "information laundering," and how local journalists have inadvertantly taken part in QAnon's recruitment strategy. 
26/08/2022m 29s

Don't Fall For It

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 sector — including the USPS. Listen. 2. Charlie Warzel [@cwarzel], opinion writer-at-large at the New York Times, on the deluge of information and misinformation unleashed by the post office scandal. Listen.   3. Mark Joseph Stern [@mjs_DC], staff writer at Slate, on the “think tank” behind the Kamala Harris "birther" lie. Listen. 4. Eugene Scott [@Eugene_Scott], political reporter at the Washington Post, on how journalists have covered the latest unfounded “birther” conspiracy, compared with the original one nearly a decade ago. Listen. 5. Alex Pareene [@pareene], staff writer at the New Republic, on far-right fringe candidates finding a serious foothold in the Republican Party. Listen.     Music from this week's show: Passing Time - John Renbourn Cellar Door - Michael Andrews Turnaround - Ornette Colema Shoot the Piano Player Player - Georges Delarue Sleep Talking - Ornette Coleman Mysterioso - Thelonius Monk/Kronos Quartet Middlesex Times - Michael Andrews
21/08/2050m 13s

The Covid Conspiracy Boom on Facebook

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 conspiracies circulating on Facebook can be fatal — some of them suggest ingesting poisonous substances, while others tell people not to wear masks or to shun vaccines. In this podcast extra, Bob talks to Fadi Quran, campaign director at Avaaz, about the "superspreader" pages that are amassing these page views, the most popular health conspiracies on Facebook, and whether there's any hope that Facebook will address the proliferation of disinformation on its site.
19/08/2019m 24s

Apocalypse Now

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 southwest.  3. Kim Stanley Robinson discusses his latest work, New York 2140. The seas have risen 50 feet and lower Manhattan is submerged. And yet, there's hope. 4. British writer Robert Macfarlane @RobGMacfarlane on new language for our changing world. **The recording of huia imitation heard in this segment was performed in 1949 by Henare Hāmana and narrated by Robert A. L. Batley at Radio Station 2YA in Aotearoa New Zealand. Julianne Lutz Warren, a fellow at the Center for Humans and Nature, has written about it in "Hopes Echo" available here. Her work was also described by Macfarlane in his piece "Generation Anthropocene.”  Throughout the show: listeners offer their own new vocabulary for the Anthropocene era. Many thanks to everyone who left us voice memos! Support On the Media by becoming a member today at OntheMedia.org/donate.
14/08/2050m 12s

How Close is the End?

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.
12/08/2015m 22s

"A Kind of Permanent Battle"

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 party's takeover of the Museum of the Second World War in Gdansk. Also featuring Anne Applebaum [@anneapplebaum], Janine Holc and Angieszka Syroka. Listen. 3. An exploration of left and right strategies in contemporary Poland, with Igor Stokfiszewski of [@krytyka], Anne Applebaum [@anneapplebaum] and Jaroslaw Kuisz of [@kultliberalna]. Listen. This episode originally aired on November 29th, 2019. Music: Krzysztof Penderecki - 3 miniature: per clarinetto e pianoforteChopin - Nocturne en mi Bémol Majeur op 9 no° 2Wojciech Kilar, Tadeusz Strugala, The Warsaw Philharmonic National Orchestra of Poland - Moving to the Ghetto Oct 31, 1940Chopin - Nocturne no° 1 in B Flat MajorChopin, Ivan Moravec - Berceuse in D Flat Minor, Op. 57 Przepis Po Polsku (Polish Recipe)BOKKA - Town of Strangers
07/08/2049m 49s

Making Sense of 'Cancel Culture'

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 is quite correct. Wynn herself has been canceled. Many times over. For a host of offenses. And it’s given her plenty of time to reflect on all the ways the dominant conversations around cancel culture miss the particular pernicious effects of the phenomenon. In her video, "Canceling," she takes an honest look at her own cancellations and its effects, and outlines a set of principles around cancel culture to help clarify what, exactly, it is — and what it can lead to. In this conversation, Wynn breaks those principles down for Brooke. This is a longer version of an interview that originally in our January 31st, 2020 program, “Cancel This!”
05/08/2032m 17s

Break Your Silence

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 ProPublica, on never-before-seen New York Police Department misconduct records. Listen.   2. Tom Devine, legal director of the Government Accountability Project [@GovAcctProj], and Frank Serpico [@SerpicoDet], former New York Police Department detective, on the whistleblower protections necessary in any police reform. Listen. 3. Corey Robin [@CoreyRobin], writer and political scientist at Brooklyn College and the CUNY Graduate Center, on all that we've missed (or ignored) about Justice Clarence Thomas. Listen.  
31/07/2050m 3s

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

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 country. In this piece, Trump, Inc. reporters Meg Cramer and Katherine Sullivan tell the story of the Trump campaign's aggressive and exceedingly expensive legal operation. 
29/07/2029m 44s

If You Build It...

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, on the early origins of American anti-monument sentiment. Listen. 2. Vanessa Chang [@vxchang], lecturer at California College of the Arts; Mik Scarlet [@MikScarlet]; and Sara Hendren [@ablerism], on issues of accessibility and health in design — past, present, and future. Listen. 3. Judy Heumann [@judithheumann], disability rights activist, on the 30th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act and the documentary "Crip Camp." Listen.
24/07/2050m 26s

The Lincoln Project Is Sorry About All That

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 examples of such coverage from elsewhere in the televised political media came from a cartoon news show, Tooning Out The News, executive produced by Stephen Colbert. The Lincoln Project also received a sideways glance earlier this month from Jeet Heer, national affairs correspondent for The Nation. In this podcast extra, Jeet and Brooke discuss the Lincoln Project's funding, spending, style, politics, and its co-founders origins in Republican politics. 
23/07/2012m 28s

"This is Fine"

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 York Times, on the obstacles to effective sharing of health data, from politics to fax machines. Listen. 3. Anthea M. Hartig [@amhistdirector], director of the Smithsonian's National Museum of American History, on archivists' efforts to document 2020 in real time. Listen. 4. Alex Kaplan [@AlKapDC], senior researcher at Media Matters, on how fringe conspiracy theory QAnon rose to prominence and has consumed segments of the political right. Listen.
17/07/2050m 12s

Sorry Not Sorry

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 he put it “on a long-planned vacation.”  The last time Carlson was in the headlines — with the March 2019 resurrection of his very own hate speech — we spoke to writer Lyz Lenz, who wrote a profile of Carlson for CJR. 
15/07/2027m 57s

40 Acres

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. And now a system, purpose-built, extracts what it can, turning black and brown renters into debtors and evictees.  In this excerpt from our series, The Scarlet E: Unmasking America’s Eviction Crisis, we catalog the thefts and the schemes — most of which were perfectly legal — and we ask how long this debt will fester. Matthew Desmond, founder of The Eviction Lab and our partner in this series, and Marty Wegbreit, director of litigation for the Central Virginia Legal Aid Society, point us toward the legal and historical developments that evolved into the present crisis. And WBEZ’s Natalie Moore, whose grandparents moved to Chicago during the Great Migration, shows us around a high-eviction area on Chicago’s South Side.  
10/07/2049m 36s

Who Is Lady Liberty, And What Does She Want?

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 become a public charge. That plaque was put on the Statue of Liberty at almost the same time as the first public charge law was passed." That's a common nativist response to both the statue and poem, and it reveals some of the different ways the Statue of Liberty has reflected different attitudes towards migrants since 1886. Paul Kramer is a professor of history at Vanderbilt University who has written about the symbolism of the Statue of Liberty and how it intersects with views of immigration in US history. Last year, he and Brooke visited Liberty Island and reflected on her different meanings and portrayals in American history. For this week's podcast extra, we're re-airing that segment. You can read Professor Kramer's piece in Slate on President Reagan and the Statue of Liberty here. You can watch his presentation on the history of the three statues (The Guardian Statue, the Exile Statue, and the Imperial Statue) here.
08/07/2021m 35s

The Worst Thing We've Ever Done

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 Equal Justice Initiative's [@eji_org] Bryan Stevenson about what inspired him to create The Legacy Museum and memorial and to historian Sir Richard Evans [@RichardEvans36] about the denazification process in Germany after World War II. Listen. 2. Brooke visits The Legacy Museum and National Memorial for Peace and Justice. Listen. 3. Brooke speaks again with Bryan Stevenson about his own history and America's ongoing struggle to confront our racist past and present. Listen. This episode originally aired on June 1st, 2018. It was re-broadcast on July 3rd, 2020.
03/07/2050m 3s

United States of Conspiracy

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 about to become.” That the fireworks were being supplied by the NYPD to cause chaos and provide pretext for a violent police crackdown sounds unlikely. And people reporting out the story have found little evidence to back it up, finding instead that vendors in neighboring states were selling the fireworks in bulk, at a discount, to young people looking to blow off steam.  But those drawing connections between fireworks and law enforcement should perhaps be given a pass. After all, some of the most outlandish-sounding conspiracy theories in American history have, after a time, proven to be true. For this week's podcast extra, we're revisiting a conversation from last year between Bob and journalist Anna Merlan, author of Republic of Lies, who explained that conjuring up conspiracies is a pastime as old as history.    
01/07/2026m 24s

Your Lying Eyes

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 relationship between police and the press. Listen. 3. Kevin Riley [@ajceditor], Atlanta Journal Constitution editor, on what happens when reporters demand more skeptical coverage of law enforcement. Listen. 4. Dan Taberski [@dtaberski] on his podcast series “Running From Cops,” which interrogated how the newly-cancelled series COPS made the world seem like a more crime-ridden place. Listen.
26/06/2050m 8s

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

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. Unfortunately, as a public health strategy, "Stay Home" offered no guidance for how to most safely take particular risks — as a consequence making already high-risk behaviors even less safe. For public health professionals whose work involves sex safety, drug and alcohol use, and HIV/AIDS prevention, the discourse surrounding coronavirus — the absolutism, the moralism, the shaming and the open hostility towards public health recommendations — is familiar. As epidemiologist Julia Marcus wrote in a recent piece for The Atlantic, the "Stay Home" edict bears striking resemblance to that famous mantra preached by abstinence advocates: "Just Say No." In this podcast extra, Marcus and Brooke consider the shortcomings of an abstinence-only response to the pandemic, and how harm-reduction approaches could better serve the public.
25/06/2015m 3s

The Undertow

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 [@cmyeaton], researcher at Johns Hopkins University, on the messaging surrounding the "second wave" of the pandemic. Listen. 2. Allen Kwabena Frimpong [@a_kwabena], co-founder of the AdAstra Collective, on how to situate the current uprisings for racial justice in the cycle of social movements. Listen. 3. Maggie Astor [@MaggieAstor], reporter at the New York Times, on how protest movements can be sanitized by history. Listen. 4. Russell Cobb [@scissortail74], author of The Great Oklahoma Swindle, on remembering the Tulsa Massacre. Listen.   Music from this week's show: Let Yourself Go- Fred Hersch Auf Einer Burg - Don Byron Transparence - Charlie Haden & Gonzalo Rubalcaba Love Theme from Spartacus - Fred Hersch Middlesex Times - Michael Andrews... Young at Heart - Brad Mehldau
19/06/2050m 10s

The Military Stands Up To Trump

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 speech at West Point, several hundred alumni of the military academy signed an open letter urging new West Point graduates to approach future orders from the president, especially those concerning military force against civilians, with caution. According to Slate writer Fred Kaplan (full disclosure: he's married to Brooke), author of The Bomb: Presidents, Generals, and the Secret History of Nuclear War, such public insubordination from the general class down to the rank and file, is highly unusual. He and Bob discuss what these unprecedented events might tell us about Trump's standing. 
18/06/2014m 28s

The Milkshake Duck-ing of Bon Appetit

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 within food media, beginning last month with the tumble of viral-recipe-author Alison Roman. It was around then that technology and culture writer Navneet Alang wrote an essay for Eater titled “Stewed Awakening: Alison Roman, Bon Appetit, and the Global Pantry Problem.” In this podcast extra, Brooke and Navneet discuss the faulty editorial decisions and disastrous, un-inspected assumptions that led to food media's recent failings. 
17/06/2015m 39s

It's Going Down

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 professor at The Ohio State University, on the origins of the police abolition movement. Listen. 2. George Joseph [@georgejoseph94], investigative reporter for WNYC and Gothamist, on how police departments skirt accountability. Listen. 3. Alyssa Rosenberg [@AlyssaRosenberg], Washington Post culture columnist, on why Hollywood should rethink cop-focused entertainment. Listen. 4. Brandy Zadrozny [@BrandyZadrozny], NBC News reporter, on how Antifa became the right's boogeyman du jour. Listen.
12/06/2049m 58s

All The Opinion That's Fit To Print?

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 conservatives who make irrelevant arguments about politics. It's a losing game. Last week, however, the paper invited Senator Tom Cotton, R-Ark., to write an opinion piece arguing for the military to be sent to American streets to "restore order." Former Times opinion editor James Bennet (who has since resigned) also admitted that he had not read it before it was published. So, what does this latest episode tell us about the media's role in upholding America's values? This week, David Roberts once again wrote about the Times opinion section for Vox, in a post arguing that the Cotton op-ed "revealed a pathology on the editorial side... an insistence on extending the presumption of good faith to the GOP, even in the face of its rising authoritarianism."
10/06/2016m 58s

No Justice, No Peace

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 police brutality protests if they were happening abroad. Listen. 2. Elizabeth Hinton [@elizabhinton], historian at Yale University, on the historical roots of American law enforcement. Listen. 3. Rutger Bregman [@rcbregman], author of Humankind: A Hopeful History, on what our policies would like if we believed in the decency of people. Listen.
05/06/2050m 8s

Trump and the Christian Persecution Complex

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 attack is a familiar one. Just a few weeks ago, Trump declared that houses of worship should open amid the pandemic on the grounds of religious liberty — despite the public health risk. But it turns out, the myth of Christian persecution can be traced far further back than the Culture Wars. In fact, according to Candida Moss, Christian historians coined the idea that to be persecuted was to be righteous in the 4th Century and they exaggerated claims that Christians were persecuted in the first place. Moss is a professor of theology and religion at Birmingham University in the U.K., and author of The Myth of Persecution: How Early Christians Invented a Story of Martyrdom. Moss spoke to Bob just after Trump has announced his call for churches to open. In this week's Pod Extra she explains how Christian history has been revised for political means, from the early church to present day.
03/06/2019m 2s

Boiling Point

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 us about criticism of privilege in the pandemic. Listen here.  2. Jessie Daniels [@JessieNYC] of the CUNY Graduate Center on the history of white women in racial dynamics. Listen here.  3. Kara Swisher [@karaswisher] of Record Decode discusses Twitter's efforts this week, and attorney Bradley Moss [@BradMossEsq] on why Trump can't be sued for his tweets. Listen here.  **NOTE: In this episode, Bob refers to Jack Dorsey as "interim" CEO of Twitter. He is co-founder and CEO. Bob also refers to "common carriers" in a description of threatened changes to Section 230. "Common carriers" are not relevant to the subject at hand and we regret the errors. The sentence should have read: "Publishers, like the New York Times or Star magazine, can be sued over the content they print, but online platforms from Reddit to Pinterest to Wikipedia have immunity from that through Section 230. Without that protection, Twitter, Facebook and so on would have to either delete much of their content for fear of being sued, or simply stop policing it altogether." For more information on Section 230 can be found in this handy explainer from Verge. Please see the transcript tab for precise locations about about where those mistakes are in the show.
29/05/2050m 9s

Chase Woodruff is angry and he thinks you should be too

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 checklist, he says, is anger. In an essay on the place of righteous indignation as a staple of the alt-weekly world he once inhabited, he wrote about his fears that as the so-called "rude press" die off at an even more rapid pace than dailies, vital outlets for resistance and emotion will be lost too. 
27/05/2014m 31s

Mourning in America

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 of building a citywide obituary archive for New York. Listen. 2. Janice Hume, author of Obituaries in American Culture, on the how obituaries will help historians make sense of our pandemic. Listen. 3. Colin Dickey [@colindickey], author of Ghostland & The Unidentified, on national grieving in a time of hyper-partisanship. Listen. 4. John Barry [@johnmbarry], author of The Great Influenza, on how the 1918 pandemic vanished from our collective memory. Listen.
22/05/2050m 21s

Brooke speaks with "Mrs. America" creator Dahvi Waller

"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.     
20/05/2020m 59s

Communication Breakdown

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 circumstances. Listen. 2. Charles Duhigg [@cduhigg], host of How To! With Charles Duhigg, on how Seattle and NYC's communications strategies following their Covid-19 outbreaks differed so widely — and what we can learn from the results. Listen. 3. Daily Beast reporter Kelly Weill [@KELLYWEILL] on how Covid-19 disinformation may be leading some Americans to other dangerous conspiracy theories like QAnon. And, Atlantic staff writer Joe Pinsker [@jpinsk] on how to cautiously confront friends and family who may be in the early stages of a conspiracy theory kick. Listen. Music from this week's show:Zoe Keating - The Last BirdFour Tet - Two thousand and SeventeenJohn Renbourne - Passing TimeThe Bad Plus - Time After Time
15/05/2050m 20s

Are Online Courts Less Fair?

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 can prove less fair than the courthouses people have historically visited in person. Public defenders say that they can't do their jobs online, and not all of their clients even have internet access, let alone a smartphone. Some research suggests that at hearings conducted by video, asylum applicants are twice as likely to be denied asylum and defendants are more likely to be deported. Douglas Keith is counsel in the Democracy Program at The Brennan Center for Justice at New York University Law School. Keith says that if online courts are the future of justice, we need to set better guidelines to make sure they're fair.  
13/05/2017m 16s

No News Is Bad News

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 news deserts." Listen. 2. Bob [@Bobosphere], on the rise and fall of the ad revenue–supported newspaper business model, with Cynthia B. Meyers [@AnneHummert], Craig Forman [@cforman], Jeff Jarvis [@jeffjarvis], and Siva Vaidhyanathan [@sivavaid]. Listen. 3. Rachel Dissell [@RachelDissell], investigative reporter, spoke to us on April 21 about what her sudden joblessness means for her beat and her community. Listen. 4. Steven Waldman [@stevenwaldman], president and co-founder of Report For America, on his efforts to funnel non-profit money into much-needed reporting jobs across the country. Listen.   Music from the show: Newsreel - Randy Newman / Cello Song - Nick Drake Death Have Mercy/BreakAway - Regina Carter I Moaned and Moaned - Regina Carter Totem Ancestor - Kronos Liquid Spear Waltz - Michael Andrews Tribute to America (Medley)- The O’Neill Brothers A Ride with Polly Jean- Jenny Scheinman
08/05/2051m 35s

Waiting For a Game-Changer

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 cope with an increasingly dire pandemic makes anything less than a silver bullet difficult to swallow, Derek Lowe, the organic chemist behind the science blog In the Pipeline, urges caution. He speaks with Bob about how to report on the so-called "game changer" drugs, and where he believes reporting on the "race for a cure" falls short.
06/05/2015m 43s

Open Season

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 [@EmmaGreyEllis], writer WIRED, on the media's focus on anti-lockdown protests. Listen. 3. Timothy Mitchell, historian and political theorist at Columbia University, on how our understanding of "the economy" came to be. Listen. 4. Derek Thompson [@DKThomp], staff writer at The Atlantic, on how the pandemic could change the shape of the American marketplace. Listen.
01/05/2052m 0s

The Art of Disastertising

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 without winding up on a ventilator. This stark change in tone and approach is what Amanda Mull, staff writer at The Atlantic, dubbed "disaster-tising" in her recent piece, "How to Advertise In a Pandemic."     
29/04/2016m 57s

On Matters of Time and Space

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 [@SamKling2], Global Cities Fellow at the Chicago Council on Global Affairs, on why anti-urbanist tropes come up again and again in the fight against disease. Listen. 2. Ashley Rubin [@ashleytrubin], sociology professor at the University of Hawai'i at Mānoa, on how American jails and prisons became coronavirus epicenters. Listen. 3. Brian Kahn [@blkahn], editor at Earther, on the flawed and dangerous notion that coronavirus is good for the environment. Listen. 4. Anthony Aveni, professor emeritus of astronomy, anthropology and Native American studies at Colgate University, on the invention of time as we know it. Listen.   Music from the show: Frail as a Breeze - Erik Friedlander Prelude light - John Zorn I’m Not Following You - Michael Andrews River Man/Nick Drake - Brad Mehldau The Glass House (Marjaine’s Inspiration) - Daniel Bergeaud What’s that Sound - Michael Andrews After the Fact - John Scofield
24/04/2050m 6s

How The Environment Got Political

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 comply with regulations designed to reduce mercury and other toxic pollutants.  But flash back to the late 1960s and it's a very different story. The environment was a bipartisan issue, and a Republican president created the EPA in 1970 in response to public pressure. So how did we get here? How did the environment go from universal concern to political battleground — with the EPA caught in the crossfire?  With the help of Richard Andrews, professor emeritus of environmental policy at UNC Chapel Hill, and William Ruckelshaus, EPA administrator under presidents Richard Nixon and Ronald Reagan, Brooke considers the tumultuous history of the EPA, its evolving relationship with the public, and its uncertain future.
22/04/2020m 52s

Model Behavior

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 "disinformation architecture." Listen.  2. David Siders [@davidsiders], national political correspondent at Politico, on how coronavirus models became a partisan point of contention. Listen. 3. Joshua Epstein, director of New York University’s Agent-Based Modeling Lab, on how to best interpret and apply infectious disease modeling. Listen. Music from the show:The Glass House  - Marjane’s Inspiration - Daniel BergeaudThe Hammer of Los  - John ZornJeopardy (Think Music In the Style of Handel) - Malcolm Hamilton Jesusland - Ben Folds Stay Away - Randy Newman  
17/04/2050m 22s

Virtual Worship Is Older Than You Think

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 Colorado, Boulder. He explains that there’s a tension common across faith traditions between the idea that God dwells in specific holy places, and the idea that God can be found in all places and things. According to Boyd, Zoom seders, Facebook Live Jummah prayers and online Mass all feel new, but virtual worship has historic roots. There’s a long tradition of religious communities adapting when they’re denied access to their houses of worship — like when, say, the temple in Jerusalem was destroyed. Twice.
15/04/2017m 36s

Blindsided

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 been in short supply. Listen. 2. Noam Levy [@NoamLevey], staff writer for the Los Angeles Times, on the questions of efficacy and transparency surrounding the federal government's efforts to distribute medical supplies. Listen. 3. Will Oremus [@WillOremus], senior writer at OneZero, on why the toilet paper shortage makes more sense than you think. Listen. 4. Micah Loewinger [@MicahLoewinger], on the experimental state of no-sports sports TV. And, Ian Bogost [@ibogost], professor of media studies at Georgia Tech, on what this moments tells us about what sports really mean to America. Listen. Music from the show:Fellini’s Waltz — Nino RotaThe Artifact and Living — Michael AndrewsWhat’s That Sound — Michael AndrewsCellar Door — Will OremusLiquid Spear Waltz — Michael Andrews  Kernkraft 400 — Zombie Nation  
10/04/2050m 3s

How Hydroxychloroquine Became A Thing

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 wrong with the study's conclusions and what happened when it got to be featured prominently by Trump's preferred television network. Wong talks to Bob about what's so appealing about the hydroxychloroquine narrative and why the administration might be so attracted to it. 
08/04/2019m 15s

War, What Is It Good For?

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 University, on how wartime economic policies change societies. Listen. 3. Eula Biss, author of On Immunity, on the perils of painting public health crises with the broad brush of war. Listen. 4. Bob [@bobosphere] reflects on famesplaining celebs, using their platforms for good and for not-good. Listen.
03/04/2050m 8s

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

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 misrepresenting its data and encryption policies, that might be a bit of a problem. For this podcast extra, Bob speaks with Motherboard journalist Joseph Cox, who recently broke the story that Zoom was sharing user data with Facebook.
02/04/2013m 32s

Playing The Hero

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 [@ivanoransky], professor of medical journalism at New York University, on the rapidly-changing ways that medical scientists are communicating with each other. Listen.  3. Ryan Broderick [@broderick], senior reporter at Buzzfeed News, on "coronavirus influencers." Listen.  4. Judd Legum [@JuddLegum], author of the Popular Information newsletter, on pressing large corporations to offer paid sick leave. Listen.  5. Brooke [@OTMBrooke] on the cost-benefit analysis being performed with human lives. Listen.   
27/03/2050m 9s

When Coronavirus Isn't The Only Crisis

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 measures were just one of a series of undemocratic actions taken by Benjamin Netanyahu's government in a power grab that uses the coronavirus as a cover. So what happens when a country faces a series of crises on top of a pandemic? Bob spoke with Steve Hendrix, Jerusalem bureau chief for The Washington Post, about what the virus has meant for Israelis in the midst of a politically polarized maelstrom.
25/03/2013m 47s

Bracing for Impact

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 distorted. Brooke [@otmbrooke] examines how covid-19 is warping a sense of chronology. Listen here. 2. OTM Producer Micah Loewinger [@MicahLoewinger] immerses himself in the survivalist media sphere, and talks to Richard Mitchell Jr., professor emeritus of sociology at Oregon State University, about how preppers are reacting to news that the moment they've been planning for may finally be here. Listen here. 3. Rebecca Onion [@rebeccaonion], staff writer at Slate, on survivalist novelist and blogger John Wesley Rawles and the rise of prepper fiction. Listen here. 4. Vann Newkirk II, staff writer at The Atlantic and host of the new podcast "Floodlines," on the lessons of Hurricane Katrina. Listen here.   Music from this week's show: Time is Late by Marcos Ciscar PRELUDE 8: The Invisibles by John Zorn Coffee Cold by Galt MacDermot Slow Pulse Conga by William Pasley Down to Earth by Peter Gabriel "Auf einer Burg" by Don Byron Melancolia by Marcos Ciscar  
20/03/2050m 4s

Can Eviction Moratoriums Stop The Bleeding?

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 — and whether the present crisis might cause us to ask deeper questions about housing affordability in America.
18/03/2014m 16s

Civilization, Interrupted

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 have been keeping a nation under lockdown informed. Listen. 3. Christopher Miller [@ChristopherJM], Buzzfeed News correspondent, on how coronavirus rumors decimated a small Ukrainian village. Listen. 4. Gideon Lasco [@gideonlasco], medical anthropologist at the University of the Philippines Diliman, on the symbolism of surgical masks. Listen. 5. Wesley Morris [@Wesley_Morris] of the New York Times, on rewatching the movie Contagion. Listen.
13/03/201h 2m

A Unique Petri Dish

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 people on board, at least 705 tested positive for the virus and 6 people have died...indicating a CFR of 0.85 percent. 
12/03/208m 47s

Why Nonvoters Choose to Opt Out

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 Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump. And it might be even more than that, since nonvoter statistics seem often to be underreported. Eitan Hersh, associate professor of political science at Tufts, was an academic adviser on a new Knight Foundation study, The 100 Million Project: The Untold Story of American Non-voters. It was the largest survey of chronic nonvoters in history — and it overturned some age-old conventional wisdom.
11/03/2014m 13s

Our Bodies, Ourselves

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 [@sciencecohen], staff writer for Science, on the various difficulties of reporting on COVID-19. Listen. 2. Frank Snowden, professor emeritus of medical history at Yale University, on the lessons from historical epidemics. Listen. 3. Rachel Bitecofer [@RachelBitecofer], political scientist at Christopher Newport University, on what she sees as Super Tuesday's clear lessons. Listen. 4. Jessica Glenza [@JessicaGlenza], health reporter for The Guardian, on the embattled language of women's health. Listen.  Music from this week's show:Accentuate the Positive by Syd Dale Double Dozen and Alec GouldCarmen Fantasy by Anderson and RoeCellar Door by Michael AndrewsChicago Sunset by Charlie MusselwhiteFirst Drive by Clive Carroll and John RenbournFallen Leaves by Marcus CiscarStarlings by Vijay Iyer Trio
06/03/2050m 4s

Covering a Pandemic When Institutions Go Dark

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 the outbreak began in January. For this podcast extra, Kim joins Brooke to discuss what she and other reporters need from the CDC right now to keep the public informed in the face of a possible pandemic.
04/03/2014m 57s

Black Swans

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 “epidemic voyeurs” is reacting to a possible pandemic on American soil. Listen. 2. Farhad Manjoo [@fmanjoo], New York Times opinion columnist, on making prediction in an unpredictable world. Listen. 3. Ibram X. Kendi [@DrIbram], executive director of the Antiracist Research and Policy Center at American University and author of How to be an Antiracist, on the "other swing voter." Listen. Further reading: "The Wuhan Virus: How To Stay Safe," by Laurie Garrett, published by Foreign Policy on January 25, 2020. Garrett also recommends reading coronavirus coverage and commentary from STAT's Helen Branswell, Science Mag's Jon Cohen and Kai Kupferschmidt, and John Hopkins's Tom Inglesby.  Music: John Zorn - Berotim Cling Mansell & Kronos Quartet - Full Tense Nino Rota/Enrico Peranunzi & Charlie Haden - Fellini’s Waltz Martyn Axe - German Lullaby Nino Rota - Il Casanova de Frederico Fellini David Bowie/Meridian String Quartet - Heroes  
28/02/2050m 19s

MSNBC Is Being Very, Very Calm About Bernie Sanders

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 win had been predicted by analysts across the board, the day-of analysis had an unmistakable vibe of alarm. In this podcast extra, Bob and Allsop discuss the latest friction between the Sanders campaign and MSNBC, and what the network is doing — and can do moving forward — to avoid any repeat of Saturday's blunders. CORRECTION: Iowa, not Nevada, is the most populous state to have already cast votes in the 2020 election. 
26/02/2011m 39s

Money, Power, Glory

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 School of Journalism, on how Bloomberg News is — and isn't — covering the candidacy of its owner. Listen. 2. Taylor Lorenz [@TaylorLorenz], reporter for The New York Times, on Bloomberg's meme-ification. Listen. 3. Sarah Bryner [@AKSarahB], Director of Research & Strategy at Open Secrets, on the state of campaign financing, ten years after Citizens United. Listen. 4. Matthew Connelly [@mattspast], history professor at Columbia University, explains how policy changes at the National Archives could distort the historical record about the Trump Administration. Listen. Music from this week's show:  David Holmes — $160 Million Chinese ManAdrian Younge — Turn Down the SoundBilly Bragg and Wilco — Union PrayerAntibalas — Dirty MoneyBill Frisell — Lost, NightCalifone — Burned by the Christians
21/02/2050m 11s

Corporations Were Always People

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 this is the novel handiwork of a uniquely conservative Supreme Court, you haven't been paying attention to the past three or four hundred years of court cases and American history. Adam Winkler, professor of law at UCLA, is the author of We the Corporations: How American Business Won Their Civil Rights. He told us in 2018 that the principle of corporate rights has been litigated forever and predates our very founding.   
19/02/2012m 10s

Norm!

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. Listen. 2. Susan Hennessey [@Susan_Hennessey], executive editor at Lawfare, on the latest threats to "prosecutorial independence." Listen. 3. Ken Klippenstein [@kenklippenstein], DC correspondent at The Nation, on Customs and Border Patrol (CBP)'s re-designation as a "security agency." Listen. 4. Jason DeParle [@JasonDeParle], author of A Good Provider Is One Who Leaves, on the 32-year process of reporting one family's migration story. Listen. Music from this week's show: In The Bath — Randy NewmanThe Artifact & Living — Michael AndrewsString Quartet No. 5 — Philip Glass, performed by Kronos QuartetThe Glass House - Marjanes's Inspiration — David BergeaudFrail as a Breeze, Pt. 2 — Erik FriedlanderThe Thompson Fields — Maria Schneider   
14/02/2050m 32s

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

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 are the rightful owners of this country’s staggering wealth? - John Willis is author of Forgotten Time - Eric Foner is author of The Second Founding - The National Memorial for Peace and Justice is located in Montgomery, Alabama. For more information about documented lynchings in Mississippi, and elsewhere, visit the Equal Justice Initiative's interactive report, Lynching in America. You can navigate to each county to learn about documented lynchings there.
12/02/2044m 52s

Picture-Perfect Democracy

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], and Casey McDermott [@caseymcdermott] on Dixville Notch's mythical status. Listen.   3. Lauren Chooljian [@laurenchooljian] examines how New Hampshire's local press benefits from being a first-in-the-nation primary. Listen. Music from this week's show:  Sacred Oracle by John ZornYoung at Heart by Brad MehldauThe Camping Store by Clive Carroll and John RenbournMilestones by Bill Evan Trio
07/02/2050m 20s

How Rush Limbaugh Paved The Way For Trump

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. According to Matt Gertz, a senior fellow at Media Matters for America, the award could be seen as the culmination of the GOP's transformation, precipitated by Limbaugh and solidified by Trump. 
06/02/2014m 57s

Cancel This!

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. Listen. 2. Alexis Madrigal [@alexismadrigal] of The Atlantic explains how panic online is spreading faster than the coronavirus itself. Listen. 3. Devin Gordon [@DevinGordonX] talks about why Joe Rogan is so popular, and reflects on the controversy surrounding his tentative endorsement of Bernie Sanders. Listen. 4. Natalie Wynn, creator of the Youtube channel ContraPoints, lays out her criticism of "cancel culture" and takes an honest look at her own "cancellations." Listen. Music:  Roary's Waltz by John Zorn Psychotic Girl by Black Keys Baba O'Reilly by The Who Life on Mars by David Bowie (covered by Meridian String Quartet) River Man by Brad Mehldau
31/01/2050m 7s

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

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 world.  Their conversation with Alec Baldwin covers their reporting process, and moves on to a joint wrestling with Alec’s own early knowledge of one of the Weinstein allegations, and his ongoing friendship with accused harasser James Toback.  The guests ask Alec questions about the movie industry’s ethics about sex and “the casting couch.”  Over a respectful and surprising half-hour, host and guests together talk through the many dilemmas posed by the #MeToo movement that Kantor and Twohey did so much to unleash.
29/01/2032m 56s

Optical Delusion

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 [@MicahLoewinger] on the efforts to shape the media narrative among gun rights activists at Virginia's Lobby Day. Listen. 3. OTM producer Alana Casanova-Burgess [@AlanaLlama] on the "double-bind" Puerto Rico faces as earthquakes shake the state. Listen here.  Music: All the President's Men Theme by Nini RossoJoeira by KurupGeneral Scott's March by Liberty Tree Wind PlayersOriginal music by Mark Henry PhillipsCantus for Bob Hardison by Michael LinnenKerala by Bonobo
24/01/2050m 9s

The Alleged Crimes of Greenwald

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 large-scale leaks." In this podcast extra, Marks breaks down the charges and draws comparisons (and contrasts) with the American government's prosecution of Wikileaks founder Julian Assange. 
22/01/209m 33s

Family Feud

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 Hersh [@eitanhersh], political scientist at Tufts University, on the political hobbyism and news consumption. Listen. 3. Andrea Bernstein [@AndreaWNYC], co-host of WNYC's Trump, Inc. podcast, on the corruption, improbabilities, and ironies of the Trump and Kushner family histories. Listen.
17/01/2050m 6s

Climate Change, News Corp, and the Australian Fires

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 estimated one billion animals. Damien Cave is the New York Times bureau chief in Sydney, and he recently wrote about "How Rupert Murdoch Is Influencing Australia's Bushfire Debate." He spoke to Bob about the media landscape of denial and deflection, and why critics say it's making it harder to hold the government accountable. 
15/01/2018m 27s

Hurtling Toward Catastrophe

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], investigative journalist at The Intercept, on the pundits with unacknowledged conflicts of interest. Listen. 3. Ian Bogost [@ibogost], contributing writer at The Atlantic, on #WorldWar3 memes. Listen. 4. Dan Carlin [@HardcoreHistory], host of "Hardcore History," on apocalyptic moments throughout human history. Listen. Music from this week's show: Nirvana/The Bad Plus — Smells Like Teen SpiritMichael Andrews — The Artifact & LivingUnknown — March for the 3 Regt. of FootThin Lizzy — The Boys Are Back In TownJohn Zorn — Prelude 3: Prelude of LightHank Jones — Wade in the WaterJohn Zorn — Gormenghast
10/01/2050m 24s

The Weinstein Trial Begins

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 were all consensual acts.  The reporting has been groundbreaking in its detail, laying out the allegations for the public. But in Hollywood, Weinstein’s abuses already were an open secret. In 2017, Brooke spoke with Buzzfeed senior culture writer Anne Helen Petersen about the essential role of gossip and whisper networks in protecting the vulnerable and spreading news that threatens the powerful.   
08/01/2011m 0s

Can Restorative Justice Save The Internet?

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 whether restorative justice can be used to help detoxify the web. 1. Danielle Sered [@daniellesered], author of Until We Reckon: Violence, Mass Incarceration, and a Road to Repair, on her promising foray into restorative justice. Listen. 2. Lindsay Blackwell [@linguangst], UX researcher at Facebook, and OTM reporter Micah Loewinger [@micahloewinger] share the story of their online restorative justice experiment. Plus, Jack Dorsey [@jack], CEO of Twitter, and Ashley Feinberg [@ashleyfeinberg], a senior writer at Slate, on the toxic state of Twitter. Listen.
03/01/2050m 33s

Ken Kesey's Acid Quest

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 exploration of a moment, when Ken Kesey, an evangelist of acid would emerge from a Menlo Park hospital lab, and plow through the nation’s gray flannel culture in a candy colored bus. Some know Kesey as the enigmatic author behind One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest — others, as the driving force in The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test, Tom Wolfe’s seminal work in New Journalism. In honor of the 50th anniversary of the release of Acid Test, Brooke spoke in 2018 with Wolfe (since deceased) and writer River Donaghey about how acid shaped Kesey, spawned the book and de-normalized American conformity. This segment is from our April 20, 2018 show, Moving Beyond the Norm. Songs: Holidays B by Ib GlindemannIm Glück by Neu!Apache '65 by Davie Allan and the ArrowsSelections from "The Acid Tests Reels" by The Merry Pranksters & The Grateful DeadAlicia by Los MonstruosThe Days Between by The Grateful Dead (Live 6/24/95)
01/01/2018m 44s

Hindsight Is 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. With excerpts from: When The Internet is Mostly Fake, January 11th, 2019 United States of Conspiracy, May 17th, 2019 Trump Sees Conspiracies Everywhere, October 4th, 2019 Understanding the White Power Movement, March 22nd, 2019 Why "Send Her Back" Reverberated So Loudly, July 19th, 2019 The Scarlet E, Part II: 40 Acres, June 14th, 2019 Part 1: The Myth Of The Frontier, March 29th, 2019 Empire State of Mind, April 5th, 2019 The Perils of Laundering Hot Takes Through History, March 1st, 2019 Music: Sentimental Journey by Hal McIntyre and his OrchestraNewsreel by Randy NewmanString Quartet No. 5 (II) by Kronos Quartet & Philip Glass8½ by Rino NotaSongs of War by United States Old Guard fife and Drum CorpsThe Water Rises / Our Street Is a Black River by Laurie Anderson & Kronos Quartet Marc Phillips Tribute To America (Medley) by The O’Neill BrothersTomorrow Never Knows by  Quartetto d’Archi Dell’Orchestra Sinfonica di Milano Giuseppe VerdiMerkabah by John Zorn  
27/12/1950m 36s

The Hidden Truths of Hanukkah

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 faith against all odds. According to Rabbi James Ponet, Emeritus Howard M. Holtzmann Jewish Chaplain at Yale University, the kid-friendly Hanukkah mythology has obscured the thorny historical details that offer deeper truths about what it means to be a Jew. In his 2005 Slate piece, "Hanukkah as Jewish Civil War," Ponet looked at the often-overlooked Jew-on-Jew violence that under-girds the Hanukkah story. In 2018, he and Brooke discussed how this civil war lives on in Jewish views on Israel, and how the tension between assimilation and tradition came to define the Jewish people. We're re-releasing it today in time for the holidays.
25/12/1913m 57s

Let The Record Show

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-perfect. Listen. 2. Craig Whitlock [@CraigMWhitlock], investigative reporter for the Washington Post, on a once-secret internal government history of the Afghanistan War. Listen. 3. Matt Wolf, documentarian, on the life and work of the activist-archivist Marion Stokes. Listen.
20/12/1949m 35s

Sons of the Soil

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 Hindu nation-state. The move follows the revocation of Kashmir’s autonomy this summer, and two million people losing statehood in Northeast India after being left off of a national register of citizens. The list requires citizens to provide documents to prove Indian ancestry. Many Muslims fear that the National Register of Citizens will be enacted across India, leaving religious minorities in the world’s largest democracy in danger of losing their home. Union Home Minister Amit Shah twisted history to provide justification for the Citizenship Amendment Act, shouting to his colleagues in Parliament that decades ago it was the now opposition, Congress Party, that divided India and Pakistan along religious lines. As Indian historian Romila Thapar wrote in The New York Times earlier this year, “extreme nationalists require their own particular version of the past to legitimize their actions in the present.” This week, we go back to a piece reported by OTM Producer Asthaa Chaturvedi. She examines how Hindu nationalists are rewriting Indian history in the world’s largest democracy, with journalist Shoaib Daniyal, political scientist Christophe Jaffrelot, and sociology professor Nandini Sundar.  
18/12/1920m 19s

Body of Law: Beyond Roe

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 had been another case that the Supreme Court heard as the first reproductive freedom case instead. It was Susan Struck v. Secretary of Defense, and it came to the high court during the same term as Roe.  The year was 1970, and the Air Force (like the other branches of the military) had a regulation banning female service members from having a family. If a servicewoman got pregnant, she would get discharged. Captain Susan Struck was a nurse serving in Vietnam, and she challenged the decision in court with Ginsburg as her lawyer. However, the court never heard the case because the Air Force changed their policy first. For this week's show, we partnered with The Guardian (read their story here) to learn more about Susan Struck’s fight and its bigger lessons for reproductive freedom and for women in the workplace.  Our producer Alana Casanova-Burgess and The Guardian's health reporter Jessica Glenza spoke to Struck about the difficult decision she made to give her baby up for adoption in order to fight the regulation. Plus, we hear why legal scholars think this case "deserves to be honored by collective memory," and how Ginsburg's arguments to the Supreme Court differed from what the justices decided in Roe.  Then: - Slate's Dahlia Lithwick explains the threats to reproductive rights in the court right now; - Neil Siegel of Duke Law School puts the Struck case in context and discusses what better questions we could be asking about women's equality; - activist and scholar Loretta Ross explains the tenets of reproductive justice and how they expand the frame beyond Roe and abortion; - and Reva Siegel of Yale Law School tells the story of how abortion was discussed before 1973, including during the Women's Strike of 1970. And she describes the framework of ProChoiceLife, which expands the idea of what pro-life policy is. She is also the co-editor of Reproductive Rights and Justice Stories.  Read The Guardian’s print version here, and share your story with Jessica Glenza if you were a woman serving in the military before 1976. Music by Nicola Cruz, Kronos Quartet, and Mark Henry Phillips
13/12/1950m 11s

The "Pentagon Papers" Of Our Time

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, install democracy, and undo corruption. In this podcast extra, investigative reporter Craig Whitlock tells Bob about the monumental story that the Post uncovered — and the extraordinary effort it took to report it out. 
11/12/1935m 9s

The Dead Consensus

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 illiberalism among the conservative intelligentsia. Listen.  Music: It's Beginning To Look A Lot Like Christmas by Black Dyke BandGormenghast by John ZornPassing Time by John RenbournPrelude of Light by John ZornPsalom by Kronos QuartetPurple Haze by Kronos Quartet
06/12/1950m 9s

Tribalism, Anger and the State of Our Politics

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 were not distinct enough and that it was making people's political decision making too difficult. Over the next few decades, they became distinct alright. Lilliana Mason is a political psychologist at the University of Maryland. When we spoke to her last fall, she told us that most people think they know exactly what each party stands for — leaving us with two camps that both seek to destroy the other. 
04/12/1923m 34s

We Need To Talk About Poland

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 of the Museum of the Second World War in Gdansk. Also featuring Anne Applebaum [@anneapplebaum], Janine Holc and Angieszka Syroka. Listen. 3. An exploration of left and right strategies in contemporary Poland, with Igor Stokfiszewski of [@krytyka], Anne Applebaum [@anneapplebaum] and Jaroslaw Kuisz of [@kultliberalna]. Listen.   Music: OldNova - Taniec KikimoryChopin - Nocturne en mi Bémol Majeur op 9 no° 2Wojciech Kilar, Tadeusz Strugala, The Warsaw Philharmonic National Orchestra of Poland - Moving to the Ghetto Oct 31, 1940Chopin - Nocturne no° 1 in B Flat MajorChopin, Ivan Moravec - Berceuse in D Flat Minor, Op. 57 Przepis Po Polsku (Polish Recipe)BOKKA - Town of Strangers
29/11/1950m 22s

PURPLE EPISODE 4: Media to the Rescue?

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, for our democracy. A 2014 National Assessment of Educational Progress, or NAEP, showed only 23 percent of eighth graders in the United States attained “proficient” status in civics. A 2011 Newsweek survey found that 70 percent of Americans didn’t even know that the Constitution is the supreme law of the land. And only 26% of those surveyed in 2017 by the University of Pennsylvania could name all three branches of government. And no wonder: with STEM curriculum and standardized testing squeezing the school day, civics has become the snow leopard of the social studies curriculum.  So if the knowledge vacuum is otherwise filled by misinformation and disinformation, and the result is a loss of faith and trust in democracy itself, who is left to intervene? Jan Schaffer — ombudsman for the Corporation of Public Broadcasting, Pulitzer Prize–winning former journalist and founder of The Institute for Interactive Journalism — talks to Bob about what responsibility the media have to become educators, and maybe even re-assurers, of last resort. Music: Ashokan Farewell by Jay Ungar  
26/11/1910m 31s

PURPLE EPISODE 3: Let’s Not Discount Reality

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 faith is democratic institutions is simple misunderstanding about how the system is designed to work.  Another, however, is familiarity with how the system does work— which isn’t exactly of, by and for the People. Anand Giridharadas is author of Winners Take All: The Elite Charade of Changing the World. He says the founders also didn’t plan on politicians constantly trash-talking government itself and that a decline in trust in government is the result of a concerted, private sector propaganda war waged over the last four decades. Music: Purple Haze by Jimi Hendrix
25/11/1910m 6s

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

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. Absolute nonsense peddled by the cynical and the naive, and eagerly lapped up by the gullible. Misinformation is a problem that Brendan Nyhan, professor of government at Dartmouth College, has studied for years. In this interview, Brendan and Bob discuss new research on how Americans form their political beliefs and how civic institutions may begin to win back their trust. Song: Il Casanova di Federico Fellini by Nino Rota
24/11/1914m 32s

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

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 accumulated sins and failures of American society, but because vast swaths of the public are giving up on the system that has governed us for 243 years. Here are some alarming data points: One, in 2018 only 33% of the general population expressed trust for government. Two, among 1400 adults asked about the importance of democracy, only 39% of younger participants said “absolutely important.” Three, in a 2018 Democracy Fund survey of 5000 Americans, 24% of respondents expressed support for “a strong leader who doesn’t have to bother with Congress or elections,” and either a “strong leader” and 18% for “army rule. The more complicated question is what as a society we are to do about it? In this mini-series we’ll be talking that over, but we’ll begin with the actual state of public sentiment and public participation. Eric Liu is the co-founder and CEO of Citizen University and Co-chair of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences Commission on the Practice of Democratic Citizenship. He and Bob discuss potential solutions for taking on widespread disaffection. Music: We Insist by Zoë Keating
23/11/1916m 23s

The Disagreement Is The Point

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 "shrill." 1. David Roberts [@drvox], writer covering energy for Vox, on the "epistemic crisis" at the heart of our bifurcated information ecosystem. Listen. 2. Cathy O'Neil [@mathbabedotorg], mathematician and author of Weapons of Math Destruction: How Big Data Increases Inequality and Threatens Democracy, on the biases baked into our algorithms. Listen. 3. Tina Tallon [@ttallon], musician and professor, on how biases built into radio technology have shaped how we hear women speak. Listen. Music: Misterioso by Kronos Quartet Human Nature by Vijay Iyer Trio Il Casanova di Federico Fellini by Nino Rota Whispers of Heavenly Death by John Zorn These Boots Are Made For Walkin' by Nancy Sinatra
22/11/1949m 47s

We Made a Lipstick For You!

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 Australia as one of the most iconic lipstick shades of all time. King's a devoted listener, so, in collaboration with the show, she designed a special lipstick. It's called Well Red and she offered a batch of them to us as a donation so that we can pass them on to you. We are offering these very special lipsticks to you for a donation of $12 a month or $144 for a year's worth of support for this show.  If you donate by December 6th, we can guarantee delivery in time for the holidays. Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa? We have your lipstick gifting needs covered.  When you get this lipstick as a thank-you gift, you’re checking two important year-end items off your list: you’re supporting OTM to help fund another year of reporting and you’re getting a unique gift for yourself or a loved one. Go to onthemedia.org/donate or text lipstick to 70101. Thank you so much!
19/11/1912m 47s

Designed to Intimidate

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 White House counsel, on the lessons he's applying from Watergate to the impeachment hearings for President Trump. Listen. 3. Former Labor Secretary Rob Reich [@RBReich] and Goliath author Matt Stoller [@matthewstoller] on how billionaires like Bill Gates use their power and wealth to force their vision on society. Listen. Music: Zoe Keating — We InsistDonnie Darko — Cellar DoorChicago Sunset — Charlie MusselwhiteCarmen Fantasy — Anderson and RowTongue in cheek — Gaurav Raina Tarana MarwahOtotoa — Malphino
15/11/1950m 40s

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

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 themselves. And that was reflected in the cultural responses to the war – which included a burgeoning obsession with beauty and body image, the birth of jazz, new thinking about the human psyche, the Harlem Renaissance, Surrealism...and more. WNYC's Sara Fishko and guests sift through the lingering effects of the Great War on modern art and life in Shell Shock 1919: How the Great War Changed Culture. Guests include Jon Batiste, Ann Temkin, David Lubin, Philipp Blom, Jay Winter, Ana Carden-Coyne, Sabine Rewald, David Levering Lewis, Emma Chambers, Marion von Osten, Emily Bernard, and Gail Stavitsky ‘L.H.O.O.Q.’ by Marcel Duchamp; readymade [postcard reproduction of Leonardo da Vinci’s Mona Lisa] and pencil (1919) (Philadelphia Museum of Art) James Reese Europe and the 369th Regiment band, also known as the Harlem Hellfighters (1918) (U.S. National Archives and Record Administration) Margaret Gorman, the first Miss America, on the Atlantic City boardwalk (1921) (Wikimedia Commons) Still from Wallace Worsley’s The Hunchback of Notre Dame (1923, Universal) starring Lon Chaney as Quasimodo and Patsy Ruth Miller as Esmeralda (Universal Pictures) The Cenotaph in Whitehall, London on November 9, 2015, surrounded by poppy wreaths for Remembrance Day (Bailey-Cooper Photography / Alamy Stock Photo) Producer/Host: Sara FishkoAssociate Producer: Olivia BrileyTechnical Director: Ed HaberEditor: Karen Frillmann Production help from Terence Mickey, Meara Sharma, and Frederic Castel With the voices of Michael Wist and Alexis Cuadrado Thanks to Loren Schoenberg, Jennifer Keene, Jo Fox, Katy Wan, Marion von Osten, Marion Kiesow II, Patrick Helber, Shannon Connolly, and Natalia Ramirez Shell Shock 1919 is supported by the Revada Foundation of the Logan Family
13/11/1955m 32s

Curiouser and Curiouser

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 [@CoreyRobin], writer and political scientist at Brooklyn College and the CUNY Graduate Center, on all that we've missed (or ignored) about Justice Clarence Thomas. Listen.    Music from this week's show: How Strange by Nicola CruzI'm the Slime By Frank ZappaSuite for Solo Cello No. 6 in D Major, BWV 1012: I. Prelude by Yo Yo MaLachrymae Antiquae by Kronos QuartetTwo Thousand Seventeen by Four Tet
08/11/1950m 37s

Can We Govern Ourselves?

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 mankind. Harvard historian Jill Lepore wrote a sweeping history of the American experiment called These Truths: A History of the United States. Brooke spoke with Lepore about this country's history and the history of the contested — and supposedly self-evident — truths under-girding our shaky democracy.  This segment is from our November 9th, 2018 episode, We're Not Very Good At This.
06/11/1923m 20s

Band-Aid On A Bulletwound

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 "technical debt" being accumulated by the state, and governments around the country. Listen. 2. Producer Micah Loewinger [@MicahLoewinger] reports on whether 8chan can remain dead after being de-platformed in August, featuring a conversation with the founder of the site Frederick Brennan [@HW_BEAT_THAT], who now advocates for shutting it down. Listen. 3. Radiolab [@Radiolab] producer Molly Webster on a group of journalists in Ohio trying an experiment: unpublishing content they’ve already published. Listen.  Music from this week's show: John Zorn — Prelude 7: Sign and SigilJohn Zorn — Night ThoughtsClint Mansell & Kronos Quartet: Coney Island Dreaming Korla Pandit — Procession of the Grand MoghulMichael Andrews: The Artifact and Living  
01/11/1950m 17s

OTM presents Trump Inc: All the President's Memes

This week on the OTM pod we feature another episode from Trump Inc.  Read more about who makes money when a bunch of conspiracy theorists throw a party at Trump's hotel. Stay up to date with email updates about WNYC and ProPublica's investigations into the president's business practices. 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 son, Donald Trump, Jr. This week: The business of conspiracies.
30/10/1926m 28s

When They Come For You

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 this month on democracy, free expression, and the future of Facebook. Listen. 2. David Dagan [@DavidDagan], post-doctoral political science scholar at George Washington University; Mark Holden, senior vice president of Koch Industries; and Brittany Williams, activist with No New Jails in New York City, on the closing down of prisons and jails. 3. Dan Taberski [@dtaberski], host of the podcast "Running From Cops," on what he and his team learned from watching hundreds of episodes of "COPS." Listen.   Music: Okami - Nicola Cruz Dirty Money - Antibalas Chez Le Photographe Du Motel - Miles DavisI Feel Fine - Bela Fleck and Tony Trishka    
25/10/1950m 11s

OTM presents: Impeachment Pod, the Taylor Testimony

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. Taylor laid out the most complete timeline of those efforts available thus far, and cited contacts he'd had with others that indicate President Trump's direct involvement.  On today’s episode:Michael Isikoff, chief investigative correspondent for Yahoo! News, host of the podcast "Conspiracyland," co-host of the "Skullduggery" podcast and co-author of Russian Roulette: The Inside Story of Putin's War on America and the Election of Donald Trump  
23/10/1922m 36s

Hanging In The Balance

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 in Syria.  1. Daniel Estrin [@DanielEstrin], NPR international correspondent, on the difficulties in reporting from Syria, from outside Syria. Listen.  2.  Jenna Krajeski [@Jenna_Krajeski], a journalist with the Fuller Project for International Reporting, on the Kurdish political project, and Rapareen abd Elhameed Hasn, a 27-year-old activist and co-president of her local health authority in Rojava, on what it's been like on the ground. Listen. 3. Arthur Delaney [@ArthurDelaneyHP], on the worst debate question moderators keep asking. Listen. Music from this week's show: Marcus Ciscar — “Fallen Leaves”Michael Linnen — “Cantus for Bob Hardison”Zoe Keating — “We Insist”Mark Henry Phillips — [untitled track]Mark Henry Phillips — [untitled track]Gaurav Raina and Tarana Marwah — “Tongue in Cheek”Howard Shore — “Cops or Criminals”
18/10/1949m 27s

Introducing... Impeachment: A Daily Podcast

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 Katie Benner explains why George Kent, a senior State Department official for Ukraine policy, told Congressional investigators that he was instructed by a supervisor to "lie low" after raising concerns about the Trump administration's conduct. 
16/10/1919m 47s

Sticks and Stones

“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 this hour — explains what he sees as the problem with free speech absolutism. Listen.  2. John Powell [@profjohnapowell], law professor at UC Berkeley, P.E. Moskowitz [@_pem_pem], author of The Case Against Free Speech: The First Amendment, Fascism, and the Future of Dissent, and Susan Benesch [@SusanBenesch], Director of the Dangerous Speech Project, on our complicated legal right to speak. Listen.  3. Andrew and Brooke discuss the philosopher Richard Rorty, whose work can teach us much about where the present approach to speech might take us, as a nation. Listen. 
11/10/1950m 9s

"The Heartbeat of Wounded Knee"

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 a counter-narrative to this tragic account of Indian life in his book, The Heartbeat of Wounded Knee: Native America From 1890 to the Present. In this interview from fall of 2018, he and Brooke discuss the overlooked American Indian Movement that informed the viral 2016 protest at Standing Rock, and the means by which Indians have been fighting for social and political change for centuries. This is a segment from our October 5, 2018 program, The Victimhood.
09/10/1922m 7s

A Likely Story

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 policies and behaviors. Listen. 2. Gabriel Sherman [@GabrielSherman], special correspondent at Vanity Fair, on the chaos at Fox News. Listen. 3. Trump, Inc.'s Andrea Bernstein [@AndreaWNYC] and Ilya Marritz [@ilyamarritz] take a deep dive into Ukrainian politics and the origins of Giuliani's "investigations." Listen.  
04/10/1950m 40s

Go and Get Yourself a Whistle and Blow

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.
02/10/199m 17s

Nice Democracy You've Got There...

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 impeachment teaches us about the need for a deliberate process. Listen.  2. Tom Devine, legal director at the Government Accountability Project, on the poor protections for intelligence community whistle-blowers. Listen. 3. Adam Entous [@adamentous], staff writer at The New Yorker, on the patchy validity of Trump's Hunter Biden accusations. Listen. 4. Kyrylo Loukerenko [@K_Loukerenko], executive director at Hromadske Radio, helps us make sense of the misinformation about Ukraine. Listen. Music: Nuages (Clouds) by James Carter Life On Mars? by Meridian String Quarter A Ride With Polly Jean by Jenny Scheinman Nocturne for piano in B flat minor   
27/09/1950m 5s

Live Streaming Truth and Reconciliation

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 Gambia.
25/09/1913m 44s

Too Hot For School

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 why striking is essential to effect meaningful social change. Listen.  2. Kim Phillips-Fein, historian at New York University, on lessons from the origins of and fights against the original New Deal. Listen. 3. Kate Aronoff [@KateAronoff], writer at The Intercept, on what a popular meme tells us about climate activism permeating youth culture. Listen. 4. Leah Stokes [@leahstokes], professor at the University of California at Santa Barbara, on the misunderstandings about public opinion and climate action. Listen.  
20/09/1949m 52s

OTM presents Trump Inc: The Family Business

This week we are featuring a brand new episode from our friends at Trump Inc, a podcast produced here at WNYC. Here's a message from Trump Inc's producers:  When we started all the way back in early 2018, we laid out how we'd be digging into the mysteries around President Donald Trump's business. After all, by keeping ownership of that business, Trump has had dueling interests: the country and his pocketbook.  We've done dozens of episodes over the past 18 months, detailing how predatory lenders are paying the president, how Trump has profited from his own inauguration and how Trump's friends have sought to use their access in pursuit of profit.  We've noticed something along the way. It's not just that the president has mixed his business and governing. It's that the way Trump does business is spreading across the government.  Trump's company isn't like most big businesses. It is accountable to only one man, it has broken the rules, and those promoting it have long engaged in what Trump has dubbed"truthful hyperbole." Those traits are now popping up in the government. It may seem like the news from Washington is a cacophony of scandals. But they fit clear patterns — patterns that Trump has brought with him from his business.  
18/09/1934m 45s

A Very Bitter Joke

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 Kaplan [@fmkaplan], writer at Slate, on the press coverage surrounding John Bolton's ouster. Listen. 2. Rachel Louise Snyder [@RLSWrites], author of No Visible Bruises, on the legacy and future of the Violence Against Women Act. Listen. 3. Paul Kramer, history professor at Vanderbilt University, on the conflicting depictions and interpretations of the Statue of Liberty. Listen.   Music: Frail as a Breeze by Erik Friedlander The New Colossus by Saunder Choi Toccata and fugue in D minor by J. S. Bach played on glass harp by Robert Tiso  River Man by Brad Mehldau Trio
13/09/1950m 12s

Why Many Afghans Don't Understand 9/11

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," President George Bush said at the time. "Every nation has a choice to make. In this conflict, there is no neutral ground. If any government sponsors the outlaws and killers of innocence, they have become outlaws and murderers themselves. And they will take that lonely path at their own peril." The whole world understood. Or, almost the whole world. One country that was unclear about the US mission and its motives was Afghanistan itself. According to a November 2010 study by the International Council on Security and Development, during the height of fighting in Helmand and Kandahar, 92 percent of southern Afghan males there had never heard of 9/11. The staggering statistic caught the eye of Stars & Stripes reporter J.P. Lawrence — himself a Iraq-war veteran; to mark the anniversary of 9/11 he decided to conduct his own survey last year. In this podcast extra, he and Bob talk about why misconceptions persist about the 18-year war in Afghanistan. 
11/09/1911m 56s

Pressure Drop

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 NBC-6 Miami, on how a meteorologist reports the weather as the climate changes. 3. Lois Beckett [@loisbeckett], senior reporter at The Guardian, on how covering of gun violence obscures the path to optimal solutions.
06/09/1950m 34s

Remembering Les Gelb

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 they had back in 2018 about the Pentagon Papers.
04/09/1917m 43s

Whose Streets?

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 University of Virginia's Department of Engineering and Society, and Emily Badger, urban policy reporter for the New York Times, on the past, present and dazzling future of self-driving car salesmanship. Listen. 3. Judd Greenstein [@juddgreenstein], composer, on the in-progress opera, A Marvelous Order. Listen. 4. Kafui Attoh, professor of urban studies at the CUNY Graduate Center, on the deeper political meanings of "transit rights." Listen. This episode originally aired on November 23, 2018. Music from this week's show: Dan Deacon — USA III: RailIggy Pop — The PassengerGary Numan — CarsJudd Greenstein — ChangeJudd Greenstein — A Marvelous OrderBrian Eno — Music For Airports
30/08/1950m 5s

A History of Persuasion: Part 3

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, Professor in the Department of Psychology at York University in Toronto and author of Beyond the Box: B.F. Skinner's Technology of Behaviour from Laboratory to Life, 1950s-1970s - Ian Leslie, author of “The Scientists Who Make Apps Addictive” - B.J. Fogg, Director of the Stanford University "Behavior Design Lab” - Tristan Harris, Co-Founder & Executive Director of the Center for Humane Technology - Dorothy Glancy, Professor of Law at Santa Clara University - Senator Mark Warner of Virginia Hosted by Kai Wright. Reported by Amanda Aronczyk.
28/08/1930m 22s

Empire State of Mind

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 - Original recording from 1908 Ali Primera - Yankee Go Home Michael Andrews - The Artifact and Living Michael Andrews - Liquid Spear Waltz  Matt Farley - Bird Poop Song 
23/08/1949m 53s

A History of Persuasion: Part 2

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 from: - Philip Bradley, Harvard contemporary of Ted Kaczynski - Alston Chase, author of A Mind for Murder: The Education of the Unabomber and the Origins of Modern Terrorism - Donald Max Noel, former FBI agent and author of UNABOMBER: How the FBI Broke Its Own Rules to Capture the Terrorist Ted Kaczynski - Dr. Charles Seigerman, former student of James McConnell and Certified Neuropsychologist - Greg Stejskal, former FBI agent - Larry Stern, Professor of Sociology at Collin College Hosted by Kai Wright. Reported by Amanda Aronczyk.
21/08/1924m 40s

A Civilization As Great As Ours

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 principles of multiculturalism. Listen.  2. What are the stories that America has told about itself? Historian Greg Grandin [@GregGrandin] talks about his book, The End of the Myth: From the Frontier to the Border Wall in the Mind of America, and the old idea about limitless growth that influenced American policy and psychology. Listen. 
16/08/1950m 2s

A History of Persuasion: Part 1

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, a once-famous psychologist who became embroiled in controversy, and how the Unabomber tried to kill him.  We hear from: - Larry Stern, Professor of Sociology at Collin College - Nicklaus Suino, writer, martial arts expert, attorney and business consultant Hosted by Kai Wright. Reported by Amanda Aronczyk.
14/08/1920m 7s

The Democracy We Think We Live In

The pathways and origins of white nationalist thought were a matter of deadly importance in coverage of last weekend’s shootings. On this week’s On the Media, how mainstream punditry launders a tolerance for xenophobia. Also, the history of American presidents and media figures dismissing black and brown claims to power in a democracy. Plus, what calls for additional federal oversight in Puerto Rico mean for Puerto Ricans. 1. Tom Scocca [@tomscocca], politics editor at Slate, on the journalists, writers and political figures who cater to America's racist id. Listen. 2. Adam Serwer [@AdamSerwer], staff writer at The Atlantic, on the catastrophic, deadly idea that "only white people are fit for self-government." Listen. 3. OTM producer Alana Casanova-Burgess [@AlanaLlama] reports on the conversations some Puerto Ricans are having in Puerto Rico in a historic moment for the island, including demands more democracy -- and what that means in a colonial context. Listen. Music Exurgency by Zoe Keating
09/08/1949m 52s

Deciphering the White Power Movement

When events like the shooting in El Paso happen, the elements may indeed be obvious: Guns. Sociopathy. Alienation. But the obvious is also reductive, and risks obscuring larger forces at play. The same goes with the vocabulary of race violence: White nationalist. White identity. Alt-right. White supremacy. White power. They’re used interchangeably, which further clouds the picture. Following the events in Christchurch, New Zealand earlier this year, we spoke to University of Chicago professor Kathleen Belew. She told us that the shooting was not just born of resentment and paranoia, or even radical racism, but of a clearly defined revolutionary movement: the white power movement. Belew is author of Bring the War Home: The White Power Movement and Paramilitary America, which describes the history of the white power movement that consolidated after the Vietnam War. She argues that if society is to wage an effective response to the white power threat, we need to work to understand it. This segment is from our March 22nd, 2019 program, Hating In Plain Sight.
07/08/1912m 58s

Repairing Justice: How to Fix the Internet

Harassment and bullying are plaguing our online lives, but social media companies seem fresh out of solutions. This week, On the Media experiments with a radical approach for detoxifying the web. Can theories of criminal justice reform rehabilitate trolls and fix the internet?  1. Lindsay Blackwell [@linguangst], Facebook user experience researcher and PhD student at the University of Michigan School of Information, on the source of online harassment. Plus, Jack Dorsey [@jack], CEO of Twitter, and Ashley Feinberg [@ashleyfeinberg], a senior writer at Slate, on how Twitter can improve. Listen. 2. Danielle Sered [@daniellesered], executive director of Common Justice, on the power of replacing punishment with restoration. Producer Micah Loewinger [@MicahLoewinger] and Lindsay Blackwell [@linguangst] team up to implement a "restorative justice" approach in r/ Christianity, one of the largest forums for discussing the religion. Listen. This is the 3rd and final part in our “Repairing Justice” series.
02/08/1950m 9s

Repairing Justice: An Alternative to Prison

Last week on the show, we examined the power of the prosecutor in our justice system, and how voters are electing a new wave of so-called “progressive prosecutors” to try to turn the tide on mass incarceration. If you haven’t heard it yet, be sure to check it out. It was part one of a three-part series we’re calling “Repairing Justice”; this is part two. We’ve talked about how the law-and-order approach doesn’t work, and that we don’t want to keep locking people in jail for every infraction. But that raises the question: what, then, do we do to address injustice when it appears? Rather than the isolation and violence that prison breeds, some advocates are pushing for a new approach… one based not on punishment, but on truth and reconciliation. It’s called "restorative justice," and in this podcast extra, Bob speaks with Danielle Sered, executive director of Common Justice and a pioneer of the practice.  T