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

Christian Nationalism is Reshaping Fertility Rights, and Books Dominate at the Oscars

An Alabama Supreme Court ruling on frozen embryos threatens fertility treatments across the state. On this week’s On the Media, hear how a particular branch of Christian nationalism influenced one justice’s decision. Plus, how film adaptations of books have come to dominate our screens. 1. Matthew D. Taylor [@TaylorMatthewD], senior scholar at the Institute for Islamic, Christian, & Jewish Studies, on how a particular strain of Christian Nationalism, once on the fringe of America’s religious landscape, is slowly emerging as a political force. Listen.  2. Alexander Manshel [@XanderManshel], assistant professor of English at McGill University and author of Writing Backwards: Historical Fiction and the Reshaping of the American Canon, on how literary prizes have changed over the last few decades, and how much they actually matter. Listen.  3. Cord Jefferson [@cordjefferson], writer and director of the new film American Fiction, on his movie's critique of Hollywood and the process of adapting a novel for the screen. Listen.   
23/02/24·50m 6s

Revisiting the Documentary, "Navalny"

  Russia's jailed opposition leader, Alexei Navalny, has died in prison. Navalny had been living behind bars since shortly after landing in Moscow in January of 2021. He had been returning home following months of recovery in Europe, after he fell violently sick on a flight between Siberia and Moscow.  In the months following Navalny’s poisoning, Christo Grozev, former lead Russia investigator at Bellingcat, was stuck in Vienna with filmmaker Daniel Roher. The two had just been booted from Ukraine, where they had been trying to film an investigation. Grozev suddenly had a lot of time on his hands, a laptop, and a fresh stack of data from the Russian black market so naturally he began to investigate who was behind the poisoning.  Daniel Roher directed the documentary “Navalny,” which portrays the story of the close collaboration between Navalny, his team, and Grozev, in the hunt for the dissident’s would-be killers. Last year, Brooke spoke to Roher and Grozev about the making of the documentary, which won the Oscar for Best Documentary Feature. This is a segment from our February 10, 2023 show, Hide and Seek.
21/02/24·22m 25s

Breaking News: Biden is Old. Plus, Bobi Wine’s Fight For Democracy

Coverage of President Joe Biden’s age has reached a fever pitch. On this week’s On the Media, hear whether the quality of the reports has matched their volume. Plus, meet Bobi Wine, a pop star and opposition politician who is fighting for democracy in Uganda. 1. Judd Legum [@JuddLegum], founder of the newsletter Popular Information, Charan Ranganath [@CharanRanganath], a neuroscientist at UC Davis and author of the forthcoming book, Why We Remember: Unlocking Memory’s Power to Hold on to What Matters, and Jack Shafer [@jackshafer], senior media critic at Politico, on the flood of coverage around Biden's age following the release of the Hur report last week and the consequences of the media's minute focus on it. Listen.  2. Lili Loofbourow [@Millicentsomer], television critic at the Washington Post, on Jon Stewart's return to The Daily Show after nine years, and whether the unique form of political comedy he pioneered still holds up in today's drastically different political landscape. Listen.  3. Bobi Wine [@HEBobiwine] and Moses Bwayo [@bwayomoses], co-director of the new Oscar-nominated documentary Bobi Wine: The People's President, on the journey of Wine, a popstar-turned-politician, who has used his music as a platform to fight for democracy in Uganda. Listen. 
16/02/24·50m 7s

Tucker Went to Russia and Got a History Lesson

Last week we learned that ousted Fox blowhard Tucker Carlson had gone to Russia. He was spotted eating fake McDonalds and watching a ballet at the Bolshoi theater. But Tucker was there for more important things than fast food and culture; he was there for a sit down with President Putin. Carlson was mainly silent as Putin delivered an almost 40 minute long speech on the history of how Ukraine belongs to Russia. But the myths in Putin's and Russia's state-sponsored version of history are not new. Last summer Brooke spoke to Mikhail Zygar who had traced it back at least as far as the middle ages.    This is a segment from our August 4, 2023 show, Making History.
14/02/24·17m 26s

If You Can’t Beat ’Em… Join ’Em? Journalism in an AI World

In December, the New York Times sued OpenAI for allegedly using the paper’s articles to train chatbots. On this week’s On the Media, a look at how media outlets are trying to survive in this era of generative AI. Plus, why New York’s oldest Black newspaper is joining forces with an AI startup to address biases in the technology.  1. Kate Knibbs [@Knibbs], senior writer at Wired, on AI clickbait flooding the internet. Listen. 2. John Herrman [@jwherrman], tech columnist for New York Magazine, on the love-hate relationship between AI companies and journalism. Listen. 3. Elinor Tatum [@elinortatum], editor in chief of The New York Amsterdam News, on a push to make AI technology and data diverse. Listen. 4. Abbie Richards [@abbieasr], misinformation researcher and a senior video producer at Media Matters, on the AI-generated conspiracy theories multiplying TikTok. Listen.  
09/02/24·50m 25s

Naomi Klein's Trip to the Mirror World

Naomi Klein has been confused for writer Naomi Wolf for much of her career. Wolf rose to prominence with the book The Beauty Myth in the 90s, establishing herself as a bestselling feminist, liberal writer. Klein, on the other hand, wrote acclaimed critiques of capitalism such as No Logo and The Shock Doctrine. To say Klein is often mistaken for Wolf is an understatement. In the interview she did just before ours, a TV host mistakenly called her by Wolf's name. The confusion is incessant on social media, and escalated when Wolf became notorious as a peddler of covid-19 conspiracies. A few weeks ago, Wolf discovered that a fellow anti-vaxxer was spreading a conspiracy theory, this time about her. Ultimately, Klein decided to plunge down the rabbit hole to follow Wolf, and emerged with a new book Doppelganger: A Trip into the Mirror World, a wide-ranging exploration of doubling in our lives, culture, and politics. Brooke speaks to Klein about how social media has given all of us doppelgangers; why she's proud of her "bad" personal brand; and the value of "unselfing." This segment first aired in our September 15, 2023 show, The “Too Old” President and Political Doppelgängers.
07/02/24·17m 17s

What the Media Gets Wrong About Immigration, and Chris Hayes Wants More Trump Coverage!

Texas Governor Greg Abbott has threatened to defy the federal government’s control over the border as the surge of migrants continues. On this week’s On the Media, a look at what might be a brewing constitutional crisis. Plus, hear MSNBC’s Chris Hayes make a case for why journalists should be paying even closer attention to Donald Trump. 1.  Adam Serwer [@AdamSerwer], staff writer at The Atlantic, on the humanitarian and constitutional crisis at the Texas border. Listen. 2. Jonathan Blitzer [@JonathanBlitzer], staff writer at The New Yorker, on what the media misses when it covers immigration. Plus, how and why U.S. immigration changed in the 21st century.Listen. 3. Chris Hayes [@chrislhayes], host of “All In with Chris Hayes” on MSNBC, on reasons why the media should re-up their focus on Donald Trump. Listen.
02/02/24·50m 13s

Micah Speaks To Kyle Chayka About The Filter World

In Micah Loewinger's introduction to this interview, he shared this personal anecdote: "Before I landed a job at this show, I worked for a few years, on and off, at a couple record stores around New York City. And some of my favorite albums to this day, were recommended to me by my coworkers. Men and women who I consider to be archivists –– not just of old formats like vinyl records, CDs, and cassettes –– but of underappreciated artists and niche genres. A knowledge of music history that can only come from a lifetime of obsessive listening, research, and curation.  Nowadays, I pay for Spotify. I try to learn about music off the app and then save it for later listening on Spotify, but sometimes I find myself just letting its recommendation algorithm queue up the next track, and the next. And it definitely works. Spotify has helped me discover great music, but it’s never been as revelatory as a personal recommendation from a friend or an expert at a record store or an independent radio station.  This feeling … that I’ve traded convenience for something deeper is what made me want to read Filterworld: How Algorithms Flattened Culture by Kyle Chayka, a staff writer at the New Yorker."    
31/01/24·20m 31s

DeSantis' Failed Campaign Has Lessons For the Political Press. And A Public Radio Parody.

After New Hampshire and Iowa, the GOP field is narrowing to Donald Trump's benefit once again. On this week’s On the Media, hear how Florida governor Ron DeSantis went from right-wing media darling to the party outcast. Plus, what gets lost in the blow-by-blow coverage of Trump’s legal woes. 1. Nick Nehamas [@NickNehamas], politics reporter for the New York Times, Mary Ellen Klas [@MaryEllenKlas], opinion writer at Bloomberg and former capital bureau chief for the Miami Herald, and Tom Scocca [@tomscocca], creator of the Indignity newsletter, on the rise and fall of Ron DeSantis' presidential campaign, and the lessons it offers about how to cover elections. Listen. 2. Dahlia Lithwick [@Dahlialithwick], lawyer and writer at Slate, on how our legal system isn't designed to save our democracy, and what's wrong with mainstream media's coverage of Trump's trials. Listen. 3. Zach Woods, actor known for his role of Gabe Lewis on The Office, and Brandon Gardner [@BrandonJGardner], improviser and writer, on their new Peacock show, In the Know, which parodies public radio, and reflects our current culture wars. Listen. 
26/01/24·50m 7s

OTM presents - Blindspot: The Plague in the Shadows

This week we're featuring the work of our colleagues at WNYC: Valerie Reyes-Jimenez called it “The Monster.” That’s how some people described HIV and AIDS in the 1980s. Valerie thinks as many as 75 people from her block on New York City’s Lower East Side died. They were succumbing to an illness that was not recognized as the same virus that was killing young, white, gay men just across town in the West Village. At the same time, in Washington, D.C., Gil Gerald, a Black LGBTQ+ activist, saw his own friends and colleagues begin to disappear, dying out of sight and largely ignored by the wider world. In our first episode of Blindspot: The Plague in the Shadows, we learn how HIV and AIDS was misunderstood from the start — and how this would shape the reactions of governments, the medical establishment and numerous communities for years to come. You can listen to more of Blindspot: The Plague in the Shadows by subscribing here. New episodes come out on Thursdays.  Blindspot is a co-production of The HISTORY® Channel and WNYC Studios, in collaboration with The Nation Magazine. A companion photography exhibit by Kia LaBeija featuring portraits from the series is on view through March 11 at The Greene Space at WNYC. The photography for Blindspot was supported by a grant from the Economic Hardship Reporting Project, a nonprofit organization that promotes coverage of social inequality and economic justice.
24/01/24·35m 39s

Trouble at The Baltimore Sun, and the End of an Era for Pitchfork

This year has had a rocky start for journalism. The Baltimore Sun changed hands again, and layoffs loom at the LA Times. On this week’s On the Media, hear how private investment firms broke local news. Meanwhile, nonprofit publications try to repair the damage. Plus, a music critic reflects on the job cuts at Pitchfork and the power of the album review. 1. Margot Susca [@MargotSusca], assistant professor of journalism, accountability, and democracy at American University and author of "Hedged: How Private Investment Funds Helped Destroy American Newspapers and Undermine Democracy," on the tactics used by private equity firms and hedge funds to reshape local news. Listen. 2. Milton Kent [@SportsAtLarge], professor of practice in the School of Global Journalism and Communication at Morgan State University, and Liz Bowie [@lizbowie], education reporter for The Baltimore Banner and former reporter for The Baltimore Sun, on the purchase of The Baltimore Sun by David Smith, the executive chairman of Sinclair Broadcast Group, and what it means for Baltimore's local news landscape. Listen. 3. Ann Powers [@annkpowers], critic and correspondent for NPR Music, on Condé Nast's gutting of the influential music publication Pitchfork, and what this means for the future of music journalism. Listen. 
19/01/24·50m 22s

What Israelis Are Seeing on TV - EXTENDED VERSION

EXTENDED VERSION; Nightmarish images of destruction in Gaza have filled the news and social media feeds for months. But within Israel, mainstream media outlets tell a very different story. This week, Micah Loewinger speaks with Oren Persico, a staff writer at The Seventh Eye, an independent investigative magazine focused on media and freedom of speech in Israel, about the Israeli media landscape in the months following October 7th, and the "dome of disconnection" it created.  This is a segment from our January 12th, 2024 show, Israeli TV News Sanitizes the Bombing of Gaza. Plus, a Plagiarism Fight Gets Political.
16/01/24·29m 6s

Israeli TV News Sanitizes the Bombing of Gaza. Plus, a Plagiarism Fight Gets Political

The conflict in the Middle East has already killed tens of thousands of Palestinians. On this week’s On the Media, hear how Israeli media outlets are broadcasting a sanitized version of what's happening in Gaza to the Israeli people. Plus, how one billionaire is going after the media for an article about plagiarism. 1. Oren Persico [@OrenPersico], staff writer at The Seventh Eye, an independent investigative magazine focused on freedom of speech in Israel, on how Israeli mainstream media outlets are sanitizing the destruction in Gaza. Listen. 2. Will Sommer [@willsommer], media reporter at The Washington Post, on how fights over plagiarism have become a political tool. Listen. 3. Masha Gessen [@mashagessen], staff writer at The New Yorker, on how the politics of memory around the Holocaust damages our ability to understand the conflict in Gaza and Israel. Listen. 
12/01/24·50m 22s

Mysteries of the Euroverse!

50 years ago ABBA won the contest for the song Waterloo.  Recently Brooke's old friend Charlie asked her to take part in a new podcast born of his love of and obsession with Eurovision, an international song contest organized annually by the European Broadcasting Union, or EBU, with reps from some 70 countries!  This week's midweek podcast is episode three of the new series "Mysteries of the Euroverse," hosted by Charlie Sohne and Magnus Riise.  On Instagram: @euroversepodcast On YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC6GlG8M6PKJOxfx5vk9jRiA www.euroversepodcast.com
10/01/24·45m 5s

How a Whistleblower Changed the Course of History

Daniel Ellsberg, the famed whistleblower who leaked the Pentagon Papers to the Washington Post, died six months ago. On this week’s On the Media, hear about his life, how the Pentagon Papers made it to print, and the impact he had on generations of whistleblowers. Plus, the women who covered the War in Vietnam.  1. Tom Devine, legal director for the Government Accountability Project, on Daniel Ellsberg's legacy and the ways he changed public perception of whistleblowers in the U.S. Listen. 2. Les Gelb, former columnist and former Defense Department official, on his experience leading the team that wrote the Pentagon Papers, subject of the Hollywood drama, "The Post." Listen. 3. Seymour Hersh, on how he broke the story of My Lai — the massacre now regarded as the single most notorious atrocity of the Vietnam war. Listen. 4. Reporters Kate Webb, Jurate Kazickas [@juratekazickas], and Laura Palmer on how they covered the Vietnam War and why they went. Listen.  
05/01/24·50m 32s

The Reporter Who Said No to the FBI

On February 23, 1972, oral arguments began in the Supreme Court for a case that would shape the course of journalism. In the case known as “Branzburg v. Hayes,” the arguments rolled together three related cases that explored the reporter's privilege to protect confidential sources in the face of a legal investigation. The most important of these three cases was United States v. Caldwell. Earl Caldwell was a New York Times reporter who covered the civil rights movement in the late 1960s and early 1970s, including the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and activities of the Black Panther Party. Caldwell was approached multiple times by the FBI to give up sources and additional details surrounding his coverage of the Black Panther Party. OTM host Micah Loewinger mined oral history interviews with Earl Caldwell and spoke with Lee Levine, an attorney and media law expert who is writing a book about Earl Caldwell, to learn about legal precedents for journalists being called on to testify in federal investigations, the limits of First Amendment privileges for the press, and the sometimes tenuous relationship between journalists and the government.  Special thanks to the Maynard Institute For Journalism Education for allowing us to use its Earl Caldwell oral history. This segment originally aired in our May 26, 2023 show, Seditious Conspiracy.
03/01/24·20m 37s

What a Year

And just like that, the year is coming to a close. On this episode of On the Media, hear about the challenges that await journalists in the upcoming election in 2024. Plus, what reporters uncovered about our courts this year. And, a look back at one of the deadliest years for journalists in recent memory, in large part due to the Israel-Hamas war. With excerpts from: Inside CNN's Turbulent Year E. Jean Carroll and the Progress of #MeToo The Press Is Still Failing to Responsibly Cover the GOP and Trump What Media Coverage of Trump’s Movement is Missing CNN's Impossible Dilemma Naomi Klein Isn't the Only One With a Doppelganger We Don't Talk About Leonard: Episode 2 Clarence Thomas' Unshaken Belief in Big Money The Supreme Court is in Crisis. Here's How the Press Should Cover It. Reporting on Russia's War in Exile The Arrest of Journalist Evan Gershkovich The Deadly Toll of Reporting From Gaza and Israel
29/12/23·52m 13s

Where Did 'White Jesus' Come From?

During this holiday season, you likely encountered public nativity scenes depicting the birth of Jesus, presenting the family with very rare exceptions as white. And the same can be said of his ubiquitous adult portrait –– with fair skin and hair a radiant gold, eyes fixed on the middle distance. In this segment from 2020, 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 segment first aired in our October 1st, 2020 program, God Bless.  
27/12/23·18m 57s

The Rise of 'News Avoiders,' and a Stand-Up Comedy Scandal

In the run up to the 2024 election, polls are frontpage news. On this week’s On the Media, a guide on which polls to pay attention to, and how to interpret them. Plus, hear about a growing segment of the population: news avoiders. What they can teach us, and what they're missing out on. And, a look at changing expectations of truth in comedy — from Lenny Bruce to Hasan Minhaj. 1. Ruth Igielnik [@RuthIgielnik] on the limitations of polls, and the insights we can draw from them leading up to the 2024 election cycle. Listen. 2. Benjamin Toff [@BenjaminToff] on the rise of news avoiders, and what they're missing. Listen. 3. Jesse David Fox [@JesseDavidFox] on the Hasan Minhaj scandal, and what it reveals about the relationship between truth and comedy. Listen. 
22/12/23·51m 47s

Who Cares About Literary Prizes?

This holiday season, book store displays — and Christmas stockings — will be filled with novels minted with gold and silver medals. Those gilded stamps denote recognition by literary prizes like the National Book Award, which was announced just last month. Alexander Manshel is the author of Writing Backwards: Historical Fiction and the Reshaping of the American Canon. With Melanie Walsh, he recently wrote a piece about how literary prizes have changed over the past few decades, leading to the recognition of more authors of color, for one. This week, Brooke asks Manshel how much these prizes actually matter. And according to another study he co-authored (with J.D. Porter and Laura B. McGrath, titled "Who Cares About Literary Prizes?"), the influence of literary awards is undeniable...
20/12/23·18m 6s

Climate Delay-ism and the Real Goals of the Book Banning Movement

An unprecedented deal on transitioning away from fossil fuels was struck at the United Nations’ COP 28 summit, but many scientists say the timeline is too slow. On this week’s On the Media, hear how climate denialism is being replaced by the increasingly popular climate delayism. Plus, a pulse check on the book-banning movement. 1. Tim McDonnell [@timmcdonnell], energy and climate editor for Semafor, and Michael Mann [@MichaelEMann], climate scientist and geophysicist at the University of Pennsylvania, on the deal made at COP 28, and how climate denialism has turned to "delayism." Listen. 2. Adam Laats [@AdamLaats], professor of education and history at Binghamton University, on the long history leading to Moms For Liberty. Listen. 3. Jennifer Berkshire [@BisforBerkshire], lecturer at Yale’s Education Studies Department, on why Moms for Liberty election losses are not a reason to ignore the group's power. Listen.  
15/12/23·51m 0s

Celebrating Norman Lear

Norman lear the veteran writer and producer behind such hit TV shows as All in the Family and The Jeffersons, died last week at the age of 101. Back in 2015, Anna Sale, host of the podcast Death, Sex and Money interviewed Lear at his luxury apartment in Manhattan. He told Anna he wanted to make sure his kids would never be "desperate for a dollar" — but what "desperate" meant has fluctuated along the way. "I guess now it’s 60 billion," he deadpanned, adding, "That’s a joke."  Lear's own childhood had a degree of desperation: When Lear was nine, his father, Herman, was sent to jail for selling fake bonds. Lear's mother scrambled to make ends meet. "My mother tried to warn him," he said. "But nobody ever told Herman anything." When his father returned from prison three years later, tensions remained high. "I used to sit at the kitchen table and I would score their arguments," he says of his parents. "I would give her points for this, him points for that, as a way of coping with it." Lear has been married three times, and has six kids — ranging in age from 28 to 77. That range of ages has presented its own challenges. "My middle daughter was ... hoping, wishing, trying to be pregnant," he says. "And her dad is suddenly married to a younger woman, and in a year’s time or less, she’s pregnant. That was not an easy time." He spoke about the lessons he’s continued to learn over the years, how he’s managed to bring his family closer together despite their differences, and what he’s anticipating for the final stage of his life.
13/12/23·20m 51s

How Media Fueled a Shoplifting Panic, and an AI-Journalism Experiment Gone Wrong

This holiday season, media outlets across the country are raising the alarm about an apparent crisis in retail crime. On this week’s On the Media, how the data about shoplifting don’t back up the alarmist coverage. Plus, the cost and consequences of media outlets turning to AI to generate stories. 1. Daphne Howland [@daphnehowland], senior reporter at Retail Dive, traces how one baseless data point about retail crime spread unquestioned in media. Listen. 2. Nicole Lewis, engagement editor at The Marshall Project, digs into the data that supposedly proves a shoplifting crisis. Listen. 3. Jeff Asher [@Crimealytics], co-founder of AH Datalytics, explains why perception of crime is often out of step with reality. Listen. 4. Jay Allred [@jayallred651], CEO of Source Media Properties, explains how a collaboration with Gannett and a non-generative AI model went wrong. Listen.
08/12/23·50m 25s

Happy One Year Anniversary Since George Santos Became a Thing!

This month marks the anniversary of when most of us first heard about George Santos and his ever-expanding list of lies from a New York Times report published after the midterm election, but a local newspaper called the North Shore Leader was sounding the alarm months before. The New Yorker staff writer Clare Malone took a trip to Long Island to speak with the Leader’s publisher, Grant Lally, and its managing editor, Maureen Daly, to find out how the story began. “We heard story after story after story about him doing bizarre things,” Lally told her. “He was so well known, at least in the more active political circles, to be a liar, that by early summer he was already being called George Scamtos.” Lally explains how redistricting drama in New York State turned Santos from a “sacrificial” candidate—to whom no one was paying attention—to a front-runner. At the same time, Malone thinks, “the oddly permissive structure that the Republican Party has created for candidates on a gamut of issues” enabled his penchant for fabrication. “[There’s] lots of crazy stuff that’s popped up in politics over the past few years. I think maybe Santos thought, Eh, who’s gonna check?” This story first ran on the New Yorker Radio Hour in January of this year.   
06/12/23·21m 24s

Word Watch: “Genocide,” and Do We Have to Care About OpenAI?

After a seven-day ceasefire, fighting has resumed in Gaza. On this week’s On the Media, how the word “genocide” entered discussions of the Israel-Hamas conflict, and the legal implications of the term. Plus, why boardroom drama at the tech company OpenAI received so much media coverage. 1. Ernesto Verdeja [@ErnestoVerdeja], executive director of the Institute For The Study of Genocide at the University of Notre Dame, on the debate and legal implications surrounding the charge of "genocide." Listen.  2. Max Read [@readmaxread], journalist and writer of the "Read Max" newsletter, on why internal theatrics at OpenAI's made so many headlines. Listen.  3. Deepa Seetharaman [@dseetharaman], reporter covering artificial intelligence for the Wall Street Journal, on the journey of "effective altruism" from the halls of Oxford University to the boardrooms of Silicon Valley. Listen.   
01/12/23·50m 53s

Media Coverage of the Trump Movement is Missing Vital Context

In his Veteran’s day speech a couple of weeks ago former President Donald Trump said this about his political enemies; TRUMP: the threat from outside forces is far less sinister, dangerous and grave than the threat from within. We pledge to you that we will root out the communists, Marxists, fascists and the radical left thugs that live like vermin within the confines of our country.  Jeff Sharlet, author of The Undertow: Scenes from a Slow Civil War, argues that Trump's narratives of martyrdom, a persecuted in-group, a mysterious out-group, and a rhetoric of violence are all hallmarks of fascism. Brooke spoke with Sharlet in June about what the rhetoric, aesthetics, and myth-making of Trump and the movement he rode to power can tell us about a rising fascist movement in the United States, and why Sharlet argues we're in the midst of a slow civil war.   This is a segment from our June 16, 2023 show, Indicted (Again). 
29/11/23·19m 35s

Is the New York Times a Tech Company Now?

This year has seen record layoffs in the media industry, with some digital news giants closing down altogether. On this week’s On the Media, hear how The New York Times became a profitable powerhouse at a time when other outlets are struggling to survive. Plus, instead of reaching for top profits, some new publications have opted for a humbler mission: survival. 1. Ben Smith [@semaforben], editor-in-chief and co-founder of Semafor, on what went wrong for BuzzFeed News, and why digital media is splintering. Listen. 2. Micah Loewinger [@MicahLoewinger] examines why The New York Times is expanding, and thriving, even amongst record layoffs at other media outlets. Listen. 3. Micah Loewinger [@MicahLoewinger] takes a look at a growing cohort of new outlets around the US trying to wrestle journalism away from big capital through a co-operative business model. Listen.
24/11/23·50m 35s

The Hasan Minhaj Saga and Evolving Expectations of Truth in Comedy

In September, The New Yorker published an article by Clare Malone titled “Hasan Minhaj’s Emotional Truths,” fact-checking moments from the comedian’s stand up specials. The article reportedly cost Minhaj the hosting gig for The Daily Show, and Minhaj posted a lengthy Youtube video responding to its claims. The New Yorker has stood behind its story, even after Minhaj called it misleading. The scandal, which has been covered by almost every major news outlet, brings into question what audiences expect from comedians — especially ones who do Jon-Stewart-style political commentary. This week, Brooke speaks to Jesse David Fox, author of Comedy Book: How Comedy Conquered Culture and the Magic That Makes It Work, about why the saga provoked such a strong reaction. Plus, Fox explains the changing role of truth in comedy: from the authentic acts of Lenny Bruce and Richard Pryor, to the vulnerability of Tig Notaro. Fox also notes that the fall from grace of Louis C.K., who pre-#MeToo was often proclaimed the "most honest" comedian, informs the rise of the hyper-performative, absurdist comedy of John Early and Kate Berlant.
22/11/23·20m 11s

TikTok In the Crosshairs... Again. And Saying Goodbye to Jezebel

President Joe Biden and Xi Jinping just recently met face-to-face for the first time in a year. On this week’s On the Media, a look at why Chinese state media released glowing content about the U-S leading up to the summit. Plus, the rise and fall of the online feminist publication Jezebel. 1. Daniel Sneider [@DCSneider], lecturer in East Asian Studies and international policy at Stanford University, on what the media made of President Biden's meeting with President Xi Jinping. Listen. 2. Drew Harwell [@drewharwell], tech reporter for The Washington Post, on TikTok's place in the Israel-Hamas war. Listen. 3. Anna Holmes [@AnnaHolmes], founding editor of Jezebel, on the birth, life, and death of a website devoted to women. Listen.   Music from this week's show: It's Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas - AvalonSkylark - Anita O’DayWhat's That Sound - Michael AndrewsJesusland - Ben FoldsTilliboyo - Kronos Quartet
17/11/23·50m 31s

FTC chair Lina Khan is Kicking A** and Taking Names

As we've discussed on the show at length, most recently with Cory Doctorow in our series The Enshittification of Everything, Amazon has slowly been inserting itself into seemingly every facet of our lives. All the while using its status as a monopoly in the market to squash competition, take advantage of its users and skew prices for everyone. At the end of our series Doctorow described how he has hope in among other people, Lina Khan, the chair of the Federal Trade Commission.  Says Khan; “Amazon has actually quietly been hiking prices for consumers in ways that are not always clearly visible but at the end of the day can result in consumers paying billions of dollars more than they would if there was actually competition in the market.”  In this midweek episode, we are airing a conversation our colleague and host of the New Yorker Radio Hour, David Remnick had with Lina Khan about her plan to sue Amazon for violating antitrust laws.   
15/11/23·19m 19s

Trump Coverage is Still Terrible. Plus, Podcasting’s First Boom and Bust

Donald Trump was out of sight at the GOP presidential primary debate – but definitely not out of mind. On this week’s On the Media, a look at how the press is covering the former president and his threats against democracy. Plus, a deep dive into the meteoric rise and stumble of the podcast industry.  1. Dan Froomkin [@froomkin], editor of presswatchers.org, on how the press is failing the public in covering Donald Trump in this moment. Listen. 2. OTM Producer Molly Rosen [@mollyfication] with Kevin Marks [@kevinmarks], a software engineer who wrote the first script that downloaded "audio blogs" onto iTunes, and Rob Walch, VP of Podcaster Relations at Libsyn, on Apple's power over podcasts. Listen. 3. Micah Loewinger [@MicahLoewinger] takes stock of how we got to this moment in podcasting and the role public radio stations will play in the future, feat: Alex Sujong Laughlin [@alexlaughs], supervising producer and co-owner at Defector Media, Anna Sale [@annasale] host of Death, Sex & Money, Felix Salmon [@felixsalmon], host of Slate Money, and Nick Quah [@nwquah], podcast critic for Vulture and New York Magazine. Listen.  
10/11/23·51m 46s

Making Television After #MeToo

Last week on the show, Brooke spoke to two writers about new wrinkles in the now 6-year-old #MeToo movement. But we had one additional interview that we wanted to share. In this midweek podcast extra, Brooke sits down with Lili Loofbourow, Washington Post television critic, to discuss three phases of TV post-#MeToo. Plus, Loofbourow explains how series like "Fleabag," "The Morning Show," and "Unbelievable" have internalized lessons from the movement, and what we can expect going forward.
08/11/23·16m 3s

Warring Narratives in the Israel-Gaza Conflict and a New #MeToo Movement

Israel began a ground operation in Gaza as a conflict that’s already left thousands dead continues to escalate. On this week’s On the Media, reflections on the unique difficulty of covering this war. Plus, six years after explosive allegations against Harvey Weinstein helped launch a movement, how MeToo lives on in the media. 1. David Remnick, editor of The New Yorker, on striving to balance perceptions and narratives, and the challenges posed to a reporter covering the Israel-Hamas war. Listen. 2. Vickie Wang [@VickieDeTaiwan] is an interpreter, writer, and stand-up comic, on how one television show sparked a movement in Taiwan. Listen. 3. Yomi Adegoke [@yomiadegoke], columnist for The Guardian and British Vogue, on the powerful intersection of #MeToo and the internet. Listen.   Music: Frail as a Breeze - Erik FriedlanderWhispers of a Heavenly Death - John ZornFallen Leaves - Marcos CiscarI Am - India Arie Boy Moves the Sun - Michael AndrewsQuizas Quizas Quizas - Ramon Sole    
03/11/23·52m 26s

The Evolution of Opinions Online and "Statementese"

There's been no shortage of opinions across the globe as the Israel-Hamas conflict rages on. But stateside, there's also been an abundance of statements: from individuals, brands, and even colleges and universities. That isn't uncommon in the social-media age, but do all those words actually tell us something? In this midweek podcast extra, Brooke sits down with Sam Adler-Bell, writer and co-host of the podcast “Know Your Enemy,” to talk about the phenomena of "statementese," when we started expecting comments from institutions, and the potential downside of thinking that Instagram posts are all we can do.
31/10/23·16m 45s

Breaking News Consumer's Handbook: Israel/Gaza Edition

Experts say disinformation around the Israel-Hamas war is running rampant. On this week’s On the Media, a guide to understanding your feed in the midst of armed conflict. Plus, a deep dive into Saudi Arabia’s rebranding experiment. 1. Mike Caulfield [@uwcip], a research scientist at the University of Washington’s Center for an Informed Public, Aric Toler [@AricToler], a reporter at the visual investigations team at the New York Times, and Shayan Sadarizadeh [@Shayan86], a journalist at BBC Monitoring and BBC Verify, on how to navigate your social media feed in the midst of the war in Israel and Gaza. Listen.  2. OTM correspondent Micah Loewinger [@MicahLoewinger] looks at Saudi Arabia's strategy to shore up its power, and the role the nation could play in negotiations for peace between Israel and Palestine. Featuring: Justin Scheck [@ScheckNYTimes], a reporter at the New York Times, and co-author of Blood and Oil: Mohammed Bin Salman’s Ruthless Quest For Global Power, Ahmed Al Omran [@ahmed], a reporter based in Saudi Arabia, and Kim Ghattas [@KimGhattas], a writer at The Atlantic and author of Black Wave: Saudi Arabia, Iran, and the Forty-Year Rivalry That Unraveled Culture, Religion, and Collective Memory in the Middle East. Listen. 
27/10/23·50m 52s

How Right Wing Media Created The House Speaker Fiasco

It's been over 20 days since the United States has had a Speaker of the House. Republican Kevin McCarthy was ousted by the right flank of his party earlier this month, and the tumultuous race for a new Speaker has revealed deep divisions in the Republican party. On Tuesday morning, House Republicans selected Tom Emmer, the majority whip from Minnesota, as their next man up. He's the third nominee the GOP has offered up in the past three weeks, after Steve Scalise and Jim Jordan each failed to secure enough Republican votes to win on the House floor. And with conflict brewing in the Middle East and government shutdown looming on the horizon, House Republicans have left Congress in paralysis with their inability to elect a speaker.  For the midweek podcast, OTM correspondent Micah Loewinger speaks with Brian Rosenwald, a Scholar in Residence at the University of Pennsylvania and author of Talk Radio’s America: How an Industry Took Over a Political Party That Took Over the United States, about how the long-deteriorating relationship between conservative media and the GOP led us to this point.
25/10/23·23m 52s

The Fog of War, and the Deadly Toll of Reporting from Gaza and Israel

More than twenty journalists have been killed during the recent Israel-Hamas conflict. On this week’s On the Media, hear about the deadly challenges facing reporters on the ground. Plus, why comparisons of the Hamas attack on October 7th to September 11th serve as a warning for the geopolitical fallout that may lie ahead. 1. OTM host Brooke Gladstone [@OTMBrooke] on the worsening fog of war surrounding Israel and Palestine, and the confusion and disinformation in the coverage of the conflict. Listen. 2. OTM correspondent Micah Loewinger [@MicahLoewinger] and Sherif Mansour, the Middle East and North Africa Program Coordinator for the Committee to Protect Journalists, on the sharp rise in cases of violence against reporters in Gaza and Israel. Listen.  3. Tareq Baconi, president of the board of Al-Shabaka, the Palestinian Policy Network, and David Klion [@DavidKlion], contributing editor at Jewish Currents, on why comparisons of 9/11 to the Hamas attack forewarn us of geopolitical conflict. Listen.    
20/10/23·51m 35s

What Comparisons to 9/11 Tell Us about the Israel-Hamas Conflict

This week, amid the deluge of coverage of the Israel-Hamas conflict following Hamas’ surprise attack on October 7th, a certain historical analogy kept coming up: "this is Israel's 9/11." The analogy has been widely repeated, by officials abroad and stateside.For some invoking 9/11 explains Israel's retaliation. For others, the analogy is a warning, a reminder of the still unfolding violence and death that the American response wrought around the globe. This week, Brooke sits down with David Klion, contributing editor at Jewish Currents, who wrote about the analogy for n+1 magazine, to discuss why we should see it the invocation of 9/11 as a lesson and a warning.
18/10/23·15m 41s

We Don't Talk About Leonard: Episode 3

In the third episode of "We Don't Talk About Leonard," Leonard Leo is in Maine, a man in his castle, at the height of his powers. He has helped remake the American judicial system, and now he has a plan to do the same for society and politics — to make a Federalist Society for everything. ProPublica reporters Andrea Bernstein, Andy Kroll, and Ilya Marritz drill even further into the fight to gain influence over state courts, and reveal what Leo and his allies are planning for the future. 1. Big money starts pouring into state Supreme Court races in Wisconsin and across the country. Listen. 2. Leonard Leo takes over a network of conservatives trying to shape American culture. Listen. 3. Leonard Leo faces pushback in a town where people know who he is. Listen. This podcast was created in partnership with ProPublica, a nonprofit newsroom that investigates abuses of power. Sign up to receive their biggest stories as soon as they’re published.
13/10/23·50m 52s

How Elon Musk's X Failed During the Israel-Hamas Conflict

This week, Bloomberg reported that social media posts about the Israel-Hamas conflict have led to a sticky cesspool of confusion and conflict on Elon Musk’s X, formerly known as Twitter. On Saturday, just hours after Hamas fighters from Gaza surged into Israel, unverified photos and videos of missile air strikes, buildings and homes being destroyed and other posts depicting military violence — in Israel and Gaza — crowded the platform. But some of the horror, not all of course, were old images passed off as new. Some of this content was posted by anonymous accounts that carried blue checkmarks, which signals that they had purchased verification under X’s “premium” subscription service. Some military footage circulating on X were drawn from video games, and some of the lies were, as usual, pushed by far-right pundits on the platform, for clicks or, possibly, ulterior motives. For the midweek podcast, Brooke speaks with Avi Asher-Schapiro, who covers tech for the Thomson Reuters Foundation, about how Musk's policy changes at X have led to a stronger initial surge of misinformation than usual during this conflict, and how an algorithmically-driven "fog of war" impacts our historical record of this conflict.     
11/10/23·16m 52s

We Don't Talk About Leonard: Episode 2

Leonard Leo realized that in order to generate conservative rulings, the Supreme Court needs the right kind of cases. In this episode of “We Don’t Talk About Leonard,” ProPublica reporters Andrea Bernstein, Andy Kroll, and Ilya Marritz investigate the machine that Leonard Leo built across the country to bring cases to the Supreme Court and fill vacant judgeships, and the web of nonprofits he’s created through which to funnel dark money into judicial races. 1. The rise of a conservative lawyer through the ranks demonstrates the growing importance of state solicitors general. Listen. 2. Leonard Leo cultivates wealthy donors, and a fishing trip sets off a Supreme Court ethics scandal. Listen. 3. Leonard Leo gains power and prominence as the author of former President Trump's list of potential Supreme Court appointees, and a Federalist Society donor becomes disillusioned. Listen. This podcast was created in partnership with ProPublica, a nonprofit newsroom that investigates abuses of power. Sign up to receive their biggest stories as soon as they’re published.
06/10/23·50m 30s

Why You Should Pay Attention to Trump's Civil Fraud Case

Donald Trump is in court this week in New York City, again, for a multimillion dollar civil fraud trial. He, his sons, and the Trump organization have been accused of using false financial statements and inflating their net worth by billions. In addition to this case, Trump is facing four criminal indictments: the January 6th insurrection case in DC, the Stormy Daniels hush money case in New York, the classified documents case in Florida, and the political interference case in Georgia. It’s a lot to keep track of, but this civil trial is worth one's attention. If NY State Attorney General Letitia James succeeds, Trump could lose control of his businesses and his most valuable assets, like Trump Tower — along with whatever’s left of the public image he spent decades constructing on television and in the press. Russ Buettner is a reporter on the New York Times Investigation Desk, the team that hunted down Trump’s tax returns and other elusive financial documents, in an effort to understand how exactly the former president got his money and how he lost so much of it. For the midweek podcast, OTM correspondent Micah Loewinger called Russ to learn about what Trump’s history of fraud means for his future, the revelations of the trial so far, and what details have gotten lost in the deluge of coverage.
04/10/23·20m 0s

We Don't Talk About Leonard: Episode 1

In this first episode of our new miniseries, We Don't Talk About Leonard, ProPublica reporters Andrea Bernstein, Andy Kroll, and Ilya Marritz investigate the background of the man who has played a critical role in the conservative takeover of America's courts — Leonard Leo. From his humble roots in middle class New Jersey, to a mansion in Maine where last year he hosted a fabulous party on the eve of the Supreme Court decision to tank “Roe.” 1. The night before the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade, Leonard Leo threw a lavish party at his house in Maine. Listen. 2. Leonard Leo's journey from a high-schooler with the nickname "Moneybags Kid" to a high-ranking member of the Federalist Society. Listen. 3. Leonard Leo and the Federalist Society turn their attention to the state supreme courts. Listen. This podcast was created in partnership with ProPublica, a nonprofit newsroom that investigates abuses of power. Sign up to receive their biggest stories as soon as they’re published.
29/09/23·50m 40s

The Story Behind Gannett's AI Debacle

In late August, Gannett, the country’s largest newspaper company, rolled out a new artificial intelligence service that promised to automate high school sports coverage across the country. And within a matter of days it had gone horribly wrong. People on Twitter quickly discovered that bizarre phrases like “close encounters of the athletic kind,” or how one team “took victory away” from another, had shown up on Gannett news sites in Florida, Indiana, Georgia, Ohio, Kentucky, and Tennessee. As Scott Simon explained on NPR, in some of these AI articles there were robotic place holders where there should’ve been a mascot’s name. Jay Allred is the CEO of Source Media Properties, which includes Richland Source, a local news organization in Ohio, and LedeAI, the company that built the technology that Gannett was using to automate its high school coverage. For the midweek podcast, OTM correspondent Micah Loewinger speaks with Jay about what went wrong, why he wanted to build this technology in the first place, and whether this disaster had shaken his belief in its potential.
27/09/23·17m 2s

Suing to Save the Planet, and How Climate Activism Got a Bad Rap

Thousands of protesters descended on New York as the United Nations convened its Climate Summit. On this week’s On the Media, hear how Big Oil is being taken to court for lying to the public about fossil fuels. Plus, a look at a global network of think tanks that’s been vilifying climate activism for decades.  1. Rebecca Leber [@rebleber], senior climate reporter at Vox, on why some climate activists are turning to lawsuits to make change. Listen. 2. Amy Westervelt [@amywestervelt], host and producer of the podcast Drilled, on how a network of think tanks is shaping perceptions of peaceful climate activism as dangerous and extreme. Listen. 3. Leah Sottile [@Leah_Sottile], extremism reporter and the host of the podcast Burn Wild, on how eco-terrorism became security priority for the U.S. government. Listen.   Music:Il Casanova de Federico Fellini - Nino RotaPrelude 8: The Invisibles - John Zorn It’s Raining - Irma Thomas Middlesex Times - Donnie Darko - Michael Andrews Way Down in the Hole - Tom WaitsPuck - John ZornFinal Retribution -John Zorn
22/09/23·50m 28s

The “Too Old” President and Political Doppelgängers

The House has opened a formal impeachment inquiry into President Biden. On this week’s On the Media, find out exactly what Republicans are looking for–and why they should’ve already found it. Plus, geriatric men are the likely presidential nominees. Is there such a thing as “too old” for the job? 1. Stephen Collinson [@StCollinson], CNN senior political reporter, on the impact of a baseless impeachment inquiry on the institution of Presidential impeachments. Listen. 2. James Fallows [@JamesFallows], writer of the “Breaking the News'' newsletter on Substack, and the former chief speechwriter for the Carter administration, on if the press is tackling the age question correctly. Listen.  3. Dr. Steven N. Austad [@StevenAustad], The University of Alabama at Birmingham’s Protective Life Endowed Chair in Healthy Aging Research, on what the science of aging can tell us about a potential Biden second term. Listen.  4. Naomi Klein [@NaomiAKlein], journalist and author of Doppelganger: A Trip into the Mirror World, on being confused for writer and conspiracist Naomi Wolf for much of her career, and her exploration of doppelgangers and the mirror world the other Naomi inhabits. Listen.  Music:72 Degrees and Sunny - Thomas NewmanEye Surgery - Thomas Newman Lost Night - Bill Frisell Young at Heart - Brad Mehldau TrioDisfarmer Little Girl - Bill FrissellPavane, Op. 50 - Gabriel Faure - Academy of St. Martin in the FieldsThe First Time Ever I saw Your Face - Bert Jansch
15/09/23·50m 24s

How 9/11 Broke Our Brains

Twenty-two years ago, two planes crashed into the Twin Towers. Another plane hit the Pentagon, and another crashed in Pennsylvania — killing nearly 3,000 people in total. The attacks became the pretense for a sprawling, ongoing war on terror that has directly and indirectly claimed some 4.5 million lives in post-9/11 war zones, including Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iraq, Syria, and Yemen, according to a 2023 estimate from Brown University.  In his 2021 podcast, 9/12, Dan Taberski brought us the story of a documentary filmmaker named Dylan Avery, whose 2005 film Loose Change helped embolden the 9/11 Truther Movement. In this piece, OTM reporter Micah Loewinger speaks with Taberski about Loose Change, and the complicated notoriety it brought to Avery. He also interviews Korey Rowe, a producer on Loose Change, about how Google Video helped it become the internet's first viral film. Then, Micah speaks with Charles B Strozier, author of Until the Fires Stopped Burning: 9/11 and New York City in the Words and Experiences of Survivors and Witnesses, about the moment when exactly 9/11 conspiracy theories broke into the mainstream. This segment originally aired in our September 10th, 2021 program, Aftershocks.
11/09/23·17m 9s

Another Proud Boy Goes to Jail and A Media War in 1980's NYC

This week a former Proud Boys leader received the longest prison sentence for the insurrection so far. On this week’s On the Media, why conspiracy theories that the FBI planned January 6 live on. Plus, in the aftermath of a 1984 subway shooting, hear how the New York press crowned the gunman a hero.  1. Tess Owen [@misstessowen], senior reporter at Vice News, on the latest fallout from the January 6th insurrection. Listen. 2. Leon Neyfakh [@leoncrawl], host of the podcast Fiasco: Vigilante, available exclusively on Audible, on how the press covered a notorious and divisive 1984 New York City subway shooting. Listen.  
08/09/23·50m 52s

Is "Rich Men North of Richmond" a MAGA Anthem or Nah?

In early August, Christopher Anthony Lunsford, who goes by Oliver Anthony, quietly released a song called "Rich Men North of Richmond." A week later, the folk song had rocketed to the top of the Billboard charts — a historic feat for someone with no chart history to speak of. But the ascent wasn't without controversy. The song, to some, sounded like a right-wing anthem. And it was heralded as such online by right wing pundits, and included as a part of the first question of the opening Republican presidential primary debate. But Oliver Anthony's politics, and the song's appeal, have turned out to be a little more complicated. This week, OTM correspondent Micah Loewinger sits down with Chris Molanphy, Slate’s pop-chart columnist, and author of the forthcoming book "Old Town Road," to talk about how such an unlikely song rose to the top. Micah speaks to Molanphy about how the Billboard charts have gotten weirder, and more anarchic, and what "Rich Men North of Richmond" has in common with "Ballad of the Green Berets," a song released almost 60 years prior.
07/09/23·20m 5s

How Big Tech Went to Sh*t

Why does every social media platform seem to get worse over time? This week’s On the Media explores an expansive theory on how we lost a better version of the internet, and the systems that insulate Big Digital from competition. Plus, some solutions for fixing the world wide web. 1. Cory Doctorow [@doctorow], journalist, activist, and the author of Red Team Blue, on his theory surrounding the slow, steady descent of the internet. Listen. 2. Brooke asks Cory if the troubles that plague some corners of the internet are specific to Big Digital, rather than the economy at large-- and how our legal systems enabled it all. Listen. 3. Cory and Brooke discuss possible solutions to save the world wide web, and how in a sea of the enshittified there's still hope. Listen. Music:I’m Not Following You - Michael AndrewsI’m Forever Blowing BubblesThe Desert and Two Grey Hills - Gerry O’BeirneLa vie en rose - Toots ThielemansAll I Want (Joni Mitchel) - Fred Hersch
01/09/23·50m 41s

Lina Khan Is in the Hot Seat

In March 2021, when President Joe Biden announced the nomination of Lina Khan to be a commissioner at the Federal Trade Commission, the decision was met with a rare kind of excitement for the otherwise sleepy agency. The excitement seemed bipartisan as 21 Republican senators voted to confirm the commissioner. Not long after, then 32-year-old Khan was promoted to chairperson of the agency, making her the youngest chair in the FTC's history. Since then the tone around Khan has changed dramatically, as Republican commissioners at the agency have pushed back against what they see as a radical agenda. Back in March, OTM correspondent Micah Loewinger spoke to Emily Birnbaum, technology and lobbying reporter for Bloomberg, about a growing anti-antitrust movement emerging in the press and in Washington, and why Khan has become its main target. 
30/08/23·22m 46s

Mysteries of Sound

In late 2016, American diplomats in Havana, Cuba started hearing a mysterious buzzing sound and experiencing debilitating symptoms. On this week’s On the Media, why the government now disputes theories that it was a secret Russian weapon. Plus, what the electric hum of your refrigerator and the uncanny hearing ability of pigeons reveal about the world we live in. 1. Adam Entous, staff writer at The New York Times, Jon Lee Anderson, staff writer at The New Yorker, and Robert Bartholomew, sociologist and author of Havana Syndrome: Mass Psychogenic Illness and the Real Story Behind the Embassy Mystery and Hysteria, on the investigation into the mysterious affliction that spread across the globe. Listen. 2. Jennifer Munson, OTM Technical Director, and Nasir Memon, New York University professor of computer science and engineering, on the obscure technology called electrical network frequency analysis, or ENF, and the world of audio forensics. Listen. 3. Robert Krulwich [@rkrulwich], co-creator and former co-host of Radiolab, and John Hagstrum, a geophysicist emeritus at the U.S. Geological Survey, on the mysterious avian disappearance that rocked world headlines. Listen. Music:Meet Tina - Havana SyndromeHistory Lesson - Havana SyndromeOkami - Nicola CruzElectricity - OMDWallpaper - Woo
25/08/23·50m 39s

The Wilhelm Scream

When two blockbuster movies, Barbie and Oppenheimer, premiered in U.S. theaters on the same day in July 2023, they ushered in a renewed enthusiasm for the double feature, and introduced the word "Barbenheimer" to moviegoers' vocabularies. For this midweek podcast, we’re returning to an old OTM piece by David Serchuk about a sound—more specifically, a scream—that's lived an amazingly long and storied life on the silver screen. 
23/08/23·8m 54s

Read All About It

This summer’s extreme heat has contributed to disasters around the world--but some of them are hard to see. On this week’s On the Media, why extreme heat is one of the most challenging climate disasters for reporters to cover. Plus, the story of how historical fiction became the unexpected darling of the literary world. 1. Jake Bittle [@jake_bittle], staff writer at Grist, on this year's scarily hot summer and the impacts of extreme heat. Listen. 2. OTM producer Eloise Blondiau [@eloiseblondiau] takes a deep dive into how historical fiction became a rich resource for reckoning with our past, feat: Alexander Manshel, assistant professor of English at McGill University [@xandermanshel], and novelists Alexander Chee [@alexanderchee] and Min Jin Lee [@minjinlee11]. Listen. 3. Tiya Miles [@TiyaMilesTAM], professor of history at Harvard University and author of All That She Carried: The Journey of Ashley’s Sack, a Black Family Keepsake, on rediscovering lost histories. Listen. Music:Misterioso - (Monk) - Kronos QuartetNon Pusc SofirPrincipio di VirtuGoing Home - Hank Jones, Charlie HadenThe Beatitudes - Kronos QuartetTilliboyo - Kronos QuartetTraveling Music - Kronos Quartet
18/08/23·50m 38s

The Lasting Impact of the Library of Alexandria

In the first half of the last school year, PEN America has recorded almost 900 different books pulled from library shelves across the country. As long as libraries have existed, people have tried to police what goes in them. The burning of the Library of Alexandria is a metaphor that gets invoked any time we lose access to a treasure trove of books. But for centuries it has also inspired scientists and inventors, philosophers and programmers to dream about creating an ideal library, one that provides access to all the knowledge in the world. OTM producer Molly Schwartz goes to a birthday party for Wikidata at the Brooklyn Public Library, where she talks to Wikimedia New York City president Richard Knipel, Wikimedia software engineer James Forrester, and long-time Wikipedia editor Jim Henderson about how the free online encyclopedia has made strides toward providing knowledge to the sum of human knowledge. She also speaks with library historian Alex Wright, author of the book Glut: Mastering Information Through the Ages, and software engineering consultant Gyula Lakatos, creator of the Library of Alexandria application suite, about the history of universal library projects and what keeps the dream alive. 
16/08/23·16m 21s

Go Woke, Go Broke

When the US women’s soccer team was knocked out of the world cup, they became the latest target of a right-wing media campaign. On this week’s On the Media, the state of discourse around gender. Plus, the quality of coverage around trans rights, and how it’s changed. 1. Alex Abad-Santos [@alex_abads], senior correspondent at Vox, on the right-wing outrage against the US women's national soccer team after their elimination from the World Cup. Listen. 2. Micah Loewinger [@MicahLoewinger], OTM correspondent, on the state of coverage of trans rights, and how it has changed since New York Times contributors wrote an open letter to the paper accusing it of biased reporting several months ago. Listen.  
11/08/23·50m 38s

The Trump Case Against E. Jean Carroll and The Progress of #MeToo

This week, another legal blow for former president Donald Trump after a judge ruled to dismiss Trump's counter defamation lawsuit against E Jean Carroll for statements she made about a ruling on civil case earlier this year. Back in May, a Manhattan federal jury found that former president Donald Trump sexually abused writer E. Jean Carroll in a luxury department store dressing room in the mid 1990s, and awarded her $5 million for defamation and battery. The jurors, however, rejected Carroll's claim that she was raped. This came at the end of a seven-day trial, during which Carroll testified against Trump's claims that she was lying, and that he had never met her. The day of the verdict, Carroll strolled out of the courtroom onto the New York City sidewalk, sunglass-clad and triumphant. Rebecca Traister is a writer-at-large for New York magazine, and author of “Good and Mad: The Revolutionary Power of Women’s Anger.” This week, she speaks with Brooke about the place that this nearly thirty-year-old case holds in the landscape of Me Too, the premature death bells of the movement, and just how long it takes for movements to fully permeate laws, practices, and attitudes. This is segment originally aired in our May 12, 2023 show, Her Day in Court.  
09/08/23·18m 37s

Making History

This year, the Department of Defense began renaming military bases that honor the Confederacy. On this week’s On the Media, a former general explains why the reckoning with the myth of the “lost cause” is overdue. Plus, hear how Russian propaganda about the war in Ukraine has been hundreds of years in the making. 1. Ty Seidule [@Ty_Seidule], the Vice Chair of the National Commission on Base Renaming, on the military's efforts to reckon with the "Lost Cause." Listen.  2. Alexis Akwagyiram [@alexisak], Managing Editor of Semafor Africa and former Reuters bureau chief in Nigeria, on the potential widespread impact of the coup in Niger. Listen.  3. Mikhail Zygar [@zygaro], investigative journalist and founder of the independent Russian TV channel Rain, on debunking some of Russia's most powerful myths about itself. Listen. Music:The Last Bird - Zoe KeatingTomorrow Never Knows  - Quartetto D’Archi Dell’orchestra Sinfonia di Milano Giuseppi VerdiWinter Sun - Gerry O’BeirneAli Farka Toucche  - Jenny ScheinmanAirborne Toxic Event  - Danny ElfmanLieutenenent Kije  - Sergei ProkofievLieutenenent Kije  - Sergei Prokofiev
04/08/23·50m 34s

Presidential Debates: Yay or Nay?

According to a New York Times-Siena poll released this week 54 percent of republican voters said if the election were held today they would vote for Donald Trump. DeSantis trails by 37 percentage points and the others in the field are in single digits.  Despite, (or because of?) his solid lead, Trump is wavering on whether he will show his face at the first Republican presidential debate set for August 23rd. As he told Maria Bartiromo on Fox; “You’re leading people by 50 or 60 points, you say, why would you be doing a debate? It’s actually not fair. Why would you let someone who’s at zero or one or two or three be popping you with questions?” Trump’s debate snubbing is just the latest example of the GOP resistance to a longstanding political norms. refusal by Republicans to meet political norms. Last year 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 80s. In her letter, she 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. Between the RNC’s demands and now the potential absence of the Republican front-runner the question is; what, if anything, would be lost if the presidential debates didn't happen? Brooke spoke to Alex Shephard - senior editor at The New Republic, last year after he wrote an article titled, Let the Presidential Debates Die.
02/08/23·15m 47s

To Catch a War Criminal

Click here to support this work. President Biden just ordered U.S. investigators to share evidence of Russian war crimes with The International Criminal Court. On this week’s On the Media, what will it take to secure justice for Ukraine? Plus, a moving look back at the early days of the conflict. 1. Mstyslav Chernov [@mstyslav9], a video journalist for the Associated Press and director, on the making of the documentary, "20 Days in Mariupol," and what footage from Ukrainian frontlines didn't make it to American newsreels. Listen.  2. Deborah Amos [@deborahamos], a veteran Middle East correspondent and this week's guest co-host, on how war crime investigators focusing on Ukraine first learned how to document war crimes in Syria, and what this means for holding Russia accountable. Listen.  3. Nathaniel Raymond [@nattyray11], war crimes investigator and Executive Director of Yale's Humanitarian Research Lab, about his report confirming the Russian government held at least six thousand Ukrainian children in re-education camps. Listen. 4. Philippe Sands [@philippesands], professor of law at University College London, on why Western nations are hesitant to charge Putin for the “crime of aggression.” Listen.  Music:The Glass House (End Title) -David Bergeaud Yesterdays - Fred Hersch and Bill Frizell When Doves Cry (Prince) -Starr Parodi Whispers of a Heavenly Death - John ZornBertotim - John Zorn Night Thoughts - John ZornRobert’s Sermon - John Renbourn
28/07/23·51m 52s

Investigating Russia's War Crimes Against Ukrainian Children

The researchers at Yale's Humanitarian Research Lab gather in a carpeted underground bunker, beneath the campus library, to steadily gather evidence of Russia's alleged war crimes. In a report published earlier this year, in collaboration with the State Department, they presented evidence of the Russian government operating more than 40 child custody centers for Ukrainian children who have been forcibly removed from their homes to Russia. On the other hand, Russia's embassy in Washington has claimed that the children were forced to flee to safety due to the war. About a month later, on March 17, the International Criminal Court issued an arrest warrant for Russian president Vladimir Putin, accusing him of the war crime of illegally deporting children from Ukraine. For this week's midweek podcast, we're airing a piece by our guest co-host Deborah Amos, first broadcast by NPR's Morning Edition in February, in which she reported on the devastating evidence unearthed by the Yale researchers, and what this means for leveraging accountability against Putin.     
26/07/23·7m 35s

Staying Alive

This year has seen record layoffs in the media industry, with some digital news giants closing down altogether. On this week’s On the Media, how did The New York Times rise to the top of the bleeding news business? Plus, instead of reaching for top profits, some new publications have opted for a humbler mission: survival. 1. Ben Smith [@semaforben], editor-in-chief and co-founder of Semafor, on what went wrong for BuzzFeed News, and why digital media is splintering. Listen. 2. OTM correspondent Micah Loewinger [@MicahLoewinger] examines why The New York Times is expanding, and thriving, even amongst record layoffs at other media outlets. Listen. 3. OTM correspondent Micah Loewinger [@MicahLoewinger] takes a look at a growing cohort of new outlets around the US trying to wrestle journalism away from big capital through a co-operative business model. Listen.
21/07/23·50m 52s

A. G. Sulzberger on Bias and Objectivity at The New York Times

For the big show this weekend OTM correspondent Micah Loewinger is working on a piece about the extraordinary transformation of the New York Times from a struggling newspaper into a digital behemoth. In the meantime, and as kind of background research for you guys, we’re airing a fascinating interview about the Grey Lady from our colleagues at the New Yorker Radio Hour. Host David Remnick spoke to A. G. Sulzberger, the publisher of The New York Times, whose family has owned the paper since 1896. Sulzberger says he wants to push back on a culture of “certitude” in journalism. “In this hyper-politicized, hyper-polarized moment, is society benefiting from every single player getting deeper and deeper, and louder and louder, about declaring their personal allegiances and loyalties and preferences?” he asks. 
18/07/23·40m 30s

Money, Money, Money

Over the past year, the federal reserve has raised interest rates repeatedly in its attempt to curb inflation. On this week’s On The Media, is greed to blame for our inflation woes? Plus, how a century-long PR campaign taught Americans to love the free market and loathe their own government.  1. Lydia DePillis [@lydiadepillis], economy reporter at The New York Times, on what "greedflation" actually is. Listen. 2. Naomi Oreskes [@NaomiOreskes], professor of the history of science at Harvard University and the co-author, with Erik M. Conway, of “The Big Myth: How American Business Taught Us to Loathe Government and Love the Free Market,” on century-old PR campaign, conducted by big business, to imbue Americans with a quasi-religious belief in the free market. Listen. 3. China Miéville, a speculative fiction writer and author of the recent book, "A Spectre, Haunting: On the Communist Manifesto," on the ebb and flow of the text’s popularity through the decades, and what we might draw from it today. Listen.Music:Nocturne No.1 in B-Flat Major Op.9. No1 (Chopin) - Ivan MoravecBallade No. 2 in F, Op. 38 (Chopin) - Maurizio PolliniMarch for the 3rd Regiment of Foot - Liberty Tree Wind PlayersThe New East Louis Toodle-Oo (Duke Ellington)The People United Will Never Be Defeated - Carla Bley, Charlie Haden, Don CherryStolen Moments - Ahmad Jamal Trio
14/07/23·50m 52s

The Decline of AM Radio Will Hurt More Than Conservative Talk Shows

This spring, Volkswagen and Mazda announced that they will be removing AM radios from their upcoming fleets of electric vehicles.Tesla, BMW, Audi, and Volvo have already gotten rid of AM radios in their electric fleet. The automakers cited engineering difficulties. AM's already crackly reception is vulnerable to even more buzz and interference when installed near an electric motor. This announcement, however, incited a burst of outrage from conservative talk radio hosts, such as Charlie Kirk, who called it an "all-out attack on AM radio," and Mark Levin, who claimed, "they finally figured out how to attack conservative talk radio."  But it isn't just conservatives lambasting the automakers' moves — a bipartisan group of lawmakers are joining forces to stop the exclusion of AM radios from these cars. In May, Senator Ed Markey and Representative Josh Gottheimer, both Democrats, helped introduce bills that would require car companies to include AM radios. And in late June, Senators Ted Cruz and Ed Markey co-wrote a letter to seven major automakers asking them to commit by July 7 to keep radios in new vehicles. For the midweek podcast, OTM correspondent Micah Loewinger speaks with Katie Thornton, a freelance journalist and host of OTM's Peabody Award-winning miniseries, "The Divided Dial," about the dangerous myth of AM radio's reputation as a solely conservative platform, the medium's potential as a highly accessible source of local news, and what this story means for the future of AM radio.   
12/07/23·17m 14s

I, Robot

This year, headlines have been dominated by claims that artificial intelligence will either save humanity – or end us. On this week’s On the Media, a reckoning with the capabilities of programs like ChatGPT, and declarations that machines can think. Plus, the potential implications of handing over decision-making to computers.  1. Tina Tallon [@ttallon], assistant professor of A.I. and the Arts at the University of Florida, on the love-hate relationship with AI technology over the past 70 years, and Nitasha Tiku [@nitashatiku], tech culture reporter for The Washington Post, on what ChatGPT can actually do. Listen. 2. Geoffrey Hinton [@geoffreyhinton], a cognitive psychologist and computer scientist, on holograms, memories, and the origins of neural networks. Listen.3. Matt Devost [@MattDevost], international cybersecurity expert and CEO and co-founder of the global strategic advisory firm OODA llc., on the rise of AI-powered weapons and what it means for the future of warfare. Listen. Music:Original music by Tina TallonHorizon 12.2 by Thomas NewmanBubble Wrap by Thomas NewmanSeventy-two Degrees and Sunny by Thomas NewmanEye Surgery by Thomas NewmanFinal Retribution by John ZornLachrymose Fairy by Thomas Newman
07/07/23·50m 52s

Why the Supreme Court Broke Up Hollywood's Studio System

The dominance of giant streaming services like Netflix and Disney Plus has led to the current strike by television writers, who say their ubiquity has led to lower pay, shakier job security, and perhaps even worse writing. In order to understand our current media moment, historian Peter Labuza directs us to a pivotal time for the film industry, when the government successfully broke up the major studios that ruled Hollywood in the 1930s and ‘40s. Earlier this year, OTM correspondent Micah Loewinger asked Labuza about how independent film flourished in the aftermath, and the lessons that apply to media in 2023.
05/07/23·14m 9s

On the Trail With RFK Jr.

Almost as soon as an armed rebellion flared in Russia last week, it fizzled. On this week’s On the Media, how the brief revolt compares to military coups from history, and how it’s different. Plus, how to cover a new kind of conspiracy theory candidate, and what it might mean for the country. 1. Naunihal Singh [@naunihalpublic], author of "Seizing Power: The Strategic Logic of Military Coups," on the brief rebellion in Russia, and how paying attention to the narratives in the aftermath of the mutiny is equally as important as the mutiny itself. Listen. 2. Anna Merlan [@annamerlan], author of "Republic of Lies: American Conspiracy Theorists and Their Surprising Rise to Power," on the mistake the media have made in covering RFK Jr. Listen. 3. Claire Wardle [@cward1e], co-founder and co-director of the Information Futures Lab at the Brown School of Public Health, on the backlash to content moderation, and the impacts of these changes as candidates like RFK Jr., an anti-vaccine activist, enter the 2024 presidential race. Listen. 4. Paul Offit [@DrPaulOffit], a pediatrician specializing in infectious diseases, vaccines, immunology, and virology and the co-inventor of a rotavirus vaccine, on the science community's response to RFK Jr. over the years, and the dangers of elevating such conspiracies to the White House. Listen.
30/06/23·50m 52s

Trump Caught On Tape Talking About Classified Documents

On Monday, CNN aired a bombshell recording in the classified documents case against former president Donald Trump. The recording, released to CNN by the special counsel working on the Department of Justice’s indictment of Trump, is reportedly of a 2021 meeting in Bedminster, New Jersey, where Trump discussed and seemingly showed secret documents to a group of onlookers. It was just the latest revelation in the government's case against the former president. Classified documents that belonged to former high-level government officials, including but not limited to former President Trump, former Vice President Pence, and President Biden, have been found in unauthorized locations in recent months. These cases vary greatly in volume and severity, but they point to a larger, systemic problem in the American government: the problem of overclassification. The latest data that the government released, in 2017, showed that around 50 million government documents are classified a year by over four million people, including outside government contractors, costing American taxpayers around $18 million, says Oona Hathaway, professor of law at Yale Law School, former special counsel to the Pentagon, and author of the Foreign Affairs article "Keeping the Wrong Secrets." In this conversation with Brooke, Hathaway talks about the incentives driving government employees to classify so many documents, the differences between the Trump and Biden document dramas, and why labeling so many things as "secret" makes these secrets less safe.  This is a segment originally aired on our January 27, 2023 show, Sorry, That’s Classified.
28/06/23·15m 17s

The Whistleblower Who Changed History

Daniel Ellsberg, the famed whistleblower who leaked the Pentagon Papers to the Washington Post, has died. On this week’s On the Media, hear about his life, how the Pentagon Papers made it to print, and the impact he had on generations of whistleblowers. Plus, the women who covered the War in Vietnam.   1. Tom Devine, legal director for the Government Accountability Project, on Daniel Ellsberg's legacy and the ways he changed public perception of whistleblowers in the U.S. Listen. 2. Les Gelb, former columnist and former Defense Department official, on his experience leading the team that wrote the Pentagon Papers, subject of the Hollywood drama, "The Post." Listen. 3. Seymour Hersh, on how he broke the story of My Lai — the massacre now regarded as the single most notorious atrocity of the Vietnam war. Listen. 4. Reporters Kate Webb, Jurate Kazickas [@juratekazickas], and Laura Palmer on how they covered the Vietnam War and why they went. Listen.
23/06/23·50m 32s

The Battle to Save Reddit

Last Monday, Reddit moderators from nearly 9,000 subreddits shut down their forums in what might be the largest moderator-coordinated social media protest in internet history. They're battling against Reddit CEO Steve Huffman's decision to start charging for access to the platform's software framework, or API, in an attempt to spin a profit, woo investors, and eventually IPO in the second half of 2023. Although the blackout began to die down within 48 hours of its inception, over 3,000 subreddits, such as those with over 30 million followers each like r/funny, r/gaming, and r/music are still dark to this day. On this week's podcast extra, OTM correspondent Micah Loewinger speaks with Jason Koebler, the editor-in-chief at Motherboard, Vice’s tech section, to discuss the intricacies of the protest and why he dubbed it "a battle for the soul of the human internet.”
21/06/23·29m 3s

Indicted (again)

On Tuesday, former president Trump was arraigned following his federal indictment. On this week’s On the Media, debunking claims that the former president is being targeted for his politics. Plus, one reporter’s cross-country examination of fascism in the United States. 1. Eric Levitz, [@EricLevitz], features writer covering politics and economics for New York Magazine, on the political narratives around Trump's federal indictment. Listen. 2. Jeff Sharlet [@JeffSharlet], journalist and author of The Undertow: Scenes from a Slow Civil War, on the rhetoric, aesthetics, and myth-making of Trump and a rising fascist movement in the United States. Listen. 3. Jim Fallows [@JamesFallows], this week's co-host and writer of the “Breaking the News” newsletter on Substack, speaks with OTM host Brooke Gladstone [@OTMBrooke] about the journalistic portrayal of middle America and how not to cover presidential elections. Listen.
16/06/23·50m 12s

Understanding "Greedflation"

In late 2021, Isabella Weber, an economist at University of Massachusetts, Amherst published a paper with a new idea. The theory, what she called "seller's inflation," sought to address the confounding fact that the economy was seeing rising high prices and skyrocketing corporate profits. The idea quickly moved from the halls of academia to the political arena. And quicker still, it was dismissed—at one point called a "conspiracy theory." But now, in 2023, "greedflation" is popping up across headlines. This week, OTM correspondent Micah Loewinger sits down with Lydia DePillis, a reporter on the business desk at The New York Times, to talk about her 2022 article dissecting the arguments for and against greedflation’s impact on the economy, and everything that's happened since. 
14/06/23·18m 27s

CNN’s No Good, Very Bad Year

CNN recently ousted CEO Chris Licht after a bombshell profile brought up questions about CNN’s editorial direction. On this week’s On the Media, what the turmoil at CNN can teach us about how to cover politicians who continually lie on air. Plus, a deep dive into newspaper archives reveals that we’ve been having the same debates for over a century.  1. Brian Stelter [@brianstelter], former anchor of CNN's now-discontinued Reliable Sources, on the origins of CNN's tumultuous year and the ongoing fallout inside the network. Listen. 2. Jay Rosen [@jayrosen_nyu], a press critic and professor of journalism at New York University, on CNN's dilemma of trying to both interview GOP candidates and pursue accuracy, and how networks should learn how to cover Trump in 2024. Listen. 3. OTM correspondent Micah Loewinger [@MicahLoewinger] speaks with political scientist Paul Fairie [@paulisci] about the big media narratives that still animate online debates and press coverage, and how little has changed in our political discourse from decade to decade. Listen.
09/06/23·50m 32s

TAYLOR SWIFT TICKETS!

On January 24, the Senate Judiciary Committee held a hearing on Ticketmaster. The hearing followed in the aftermath Taylor Swift's "Eras Tour" tickets going on sale last November, a debacle during which Ticketmaster broke down during the presale, leaving millions of fans without tickets. Senators convened to hear testimony from a top Live Nation executive (Ticketmaster’s parent company), competitors in ticketing and concert promotion, antitrust experts, and a musician. The hearing represented a step toward a potential antitrust case against Live Nation and Ticketmaster, which merged in 2010.  Moe Tkacik and Krista Brown are researchers at the American Economic Liberties Project, a left-leaning think tank which is part of a consortium that is pushing for the DOJ to break up the Live Nation monopoly. In February Micah Loewinger spoke to them about an article they co-wrote for The American Prospect about Ticketmaster’s forty-plus-year-history, and how the company came to dominate, and in some ways reshape, the live music landscape. This is a segment from our February 3, 2023 show, Too Big to Fail?.
07/06/23·14m 8s

Objection!

This week, the White House agreed to restart student loan payments to broker the debt ceiling deal. On the latest On the Media, hear how a prominent lawsuit against Biden’s student debt relief plan falls apart under scrutiny. Plus, a look at ways journalists have faltered in covering the Supreme Court.  1. Eleni Schirmer [@EleniSchirmer], writer and research associate with the Future of Finance Initiative at UCLA's Luskin Institute on Inequality and Democracy, on the legal battle being waged against relieving student debt. Listen. 2. Dahlia Lithwick [@Dahlialithwick], lawyer and writer at Slate, on how we cover the Supreme Court when it doesn't act like one. Listen. 3. Dan Charnas [@dancharnas], associate arts professor at NYU, on how music copyright law suppresses the artistic voices of hip hop producers. Listen.  
02/06/23·50m 37s

Leaving the Extreme Right, and a Marriage, Behind

Last week, Tasha Adams watched her ex-husband, Stewart Rhodes, get sentenced to 18 years in prison for seditious conspiracy. Rhodes both founded and led the Oath Keepers, a far-right anti-government militia group that marched on the Capitol during the January 6th insurrection. Earlier the same week, Adams also finalized her divorce proceedings against Rhodes — ending over twenty years of a marriage that culminated in abuse and isolation. In our last episode, OTM correspondent Micah Loewinger and Anna Sale, host of Death, Sex & Money, traveled to Montana to speak to Adams about her marriage with Rhodes. Now we're giving you an extended look at that conversation through a segment that originally aired on Death, Sex & Money.  Anna and Micah talk to Tasha about her decades-long marriage with Stewart, from their courtship in a ballroom dance class in Las Vegas, to abuse and isolation as Stewart became transfixed on politics and apocalyptic ideas. Plus, Tasha sits down with Kelly Jones, ex-wife of far-right radio host Alex Jones, and they compare notes on their marriages, and reflect on their secret text exchanges from 2018, when Tasha was plotting her escape from Stewart with her six kids.
31/05/23·50m 12s

Seditious Conspiracy

On Thursday May 25, founder of the Oath Keepers Stewart Rhodes was sentenced to 18 years in prison for his role in the January 6th attack on the Capitol. On this week’s On the Media, hear how OTM correspondent Micah Loewinger’s reporting became evidence in a federal trial. Plus, what can history tell us about when journalists are called to testify. 1. OTM reporter Micah Loewinger [@MicahLoewinger] speaks with senior editor of Lawfare, Roger Parloff [@rparloff], about becoming a federal witness in the trial of Oath Keeper Stewart Rhodes. Listen. 2. Micah talks to Lee Levine, first amendment lawyer, about the case of civil rights reporter Earl Caldwell and the impact it continues to have on journalists testifying in court. Listen. 3. Micah and Death, Sex, & Money host, Anna Sale [@annasale], speak with Stewart Rhodes' ex-wife Tasha Adams [@That_Girl_Tasha] on her relationship with Rhodes and the impact of his 18-year prison sentence. Listen. 
26/05/23·52m 10s

Ben Smith on the Death of BuzzFeed News

On April 20, 2023, BuzzFeed CEO Jonah Peretti announced that BuzzFeed would be closing down its newsroom and laying off 15 percent of its staff. The news came amidst a deluge of headlines about struggles in the media industry, including: layoffs at NBC, Vox, NPR, Spotify, Insider, News Corp, ABC, and Gannett; the closure of MTV news; bankruptcy at Vice. But the end of BuzzFeed News in particular symbolized the end of an era. BuzzFeed's rapid rise and success in the late aughts and 2010s helped define the style and format of digital media. In 2013, BuzzFeed was getting 130 million unique viewers a month. Disney made an offer to buy BuzzFeed for half a billion dollars that same year, which Peretti turned down. In 2016, BuzzFeed was valued at $1.7 billion. And then, last fiscal quarter, BuzzFeed reported $106 million in net losses. In this conversation, Brooke talks with Ben Smith, the Editor-in-Chief and co-founder of Semafor and author of the new book, Traffic: Genius, Rivalry, and Delusion in the Billion-Dollar Race to Go Viral, about his goals in building a newsroom at BuzzFeed, the lessons he learned, and what he thinks about the future of of news.
24/05/23·20m 53s

REGULATE ME

This week, the CEO of OpenAI testified at a senate hearing about the dangers of artificial intelligence and called for its regulation. On this week’s On the Media, how long-term fears about AI are shaping perceptions of the technology today, and steps Congress could take to fix problems with internet platforms. Plus, debunking myths about the writers’ strike. 1. Will Oremus [@WillOremus], technology and the digital world reporter for The Washington Post, on the fears and hopes circulating around AI in Congress and Silicon Valley. Listen. 2. Emily St. James [@emilystjams], TV critic turned TV writer, on the age-old myths around Hollywood writers' strikes. Listen. 3. Cory Doctorow [@doctorow], journalist, activist, and the author of Red Team Blue, on solutions to the enshittification of the internet. Listen.  
19/05/23·51m 51s

Debunking Myths About the Writers' Strike

On Tuesday we entered the third week of one of the largest entertainment strikes in recent memory, the first TV writer's strike since 2007. More than 11,000 people are participating in the action by the Writers Guild of America, resulting in shows like The Tonight Show and Last Week Tonight going dark.  At the heart of the strike are concerns about the changes streamers like Netflix have presented for writer pay and career development. For one, the streamers don’t pay writers residuals, the cut of money they would traditionally get every time their show was rerun on television. Now writers are more likely to be paid for the number of days they work on any given show. But while writer's fight for a new contract some old myths are resurfacing about the strike's impact, including the idea that when writers stopped working in 2007, there was an explosion of reality tv shows. For this week's podcast extra, Brooke speaks with former TV critic turned TV writer Emily St. James about some of the less than true notions about the current strike and previous strikes and why they keep circulating. 
17/05/23·20m 5s

Her Day in Court

This week, E. Jean Carroll was awarded 5 million dollars in damages in a trial that found Donald J. Trump liable for sexual abuse and defamation. Shortly after, Trump mocked Carroll in a town hall on CNN. On this week’s On the Media, hear what Carroll’s case, and its coverage, tells us about the progress of the Me Too Movement. Plus, how Big Tech has made the internet harder to use. 1. Our host Brooke Gladstone [@OTMBrooke] on what the CNN town hall actually revealed. Listen. 2. Rebecca Traister [@rtraister], writer-at-large for New York Magazine, and author of Good and Mad: The Revolutionary Power of Women’s Anger, on what E. Jean Carroll's case can tell us about the #MeToo movement. Listen. 3. Cory Doctorow [@doctorow], journalist, activist, and the author of Red Team Blue, on the political attitudes and technical mechanisms that lead to the decline of platforms online. Listen.  
12/05/23·51m 49s

Episode 5 - The Divided Dial

If you discovered this series through Apple podcasts, or because you heard that we won a Peabody Award for our work; WELCOME! For our longtime listeners who have heard these episodes before, your weekly dose of On the Media will be available as ever, on Friday afternoon. Enjoy!   Episode 5: There's Something About Radio Highly politicized, partisan companies like Salem have a hold on the airwaves — and they don’t plan to give it up. Senior Vice President of Salem, Phil Boyce speaks candidly to Katie about the personalities he handpicked to spread Salem’s message and about the company’s plans to expand into the media world off the airwaves. And in this final episode of the series we ask the perennial question: peddling election denialism seems to be a solid business model — but is it legal?    The Divided Dial is hosted by journalist and Fulbright Fellow Katie Thornton. Her written articles and audio stories have appeared in The Atlantic, 99% Invisible, The Washington Post, BBC, NPR, WNYC, Minnesota Public Radio, The Guardian, Bloomberg’s CityLab, National Geographic, and others. She is a lifelong radio nerd who got her start in media as a teenager, volunteering and working behind the scenes at radio stations for many years. You can follow her work on Instagram or on her website. The Divided Dial was edited by On the Media's executive producer, Katya Rogers. With production support from Max Balton and fact-checking by Tom Colligan, Sona Avakian, and Graham Hacia. Music and sound design by Jared Paul. Jennifer Munson is our technical director. Art by Michael Brennan.  With support from the Fund for Investigative Journalism.
10/05/23·48m 29s

Episode 4 - The Divided Dial

If you discovered this series through Apple podcasts, or because you heard that we won a Peabody Award for our work; WELCOME! For our longtime listeners who have heard these episodes before, your weekly dose of On the Media will be available as ever, on Friday afternoon. Enjoy!     Episode 4: From The Extreme to The Mainstream In the 1970s, talk radio was hitting its stride, with hosts and listeners from all political persuasions. But the radio dial was about to change forever. Community needs assessments, requirements to offer public service programs and multiple perspectives, and limits on how many stations a single company could own were all eradicated. Technological and legal changes would consolidate the radio industry exponentially, allowing conservative talk radio hosts like Rush Limbaugh to take over the airwaves. In this episode, we look at radio’s last four decades to understand how we got to where we are today, and how conservative talk radio came to dominate a medium that once thrived on varied viewpoints.   The Divided Dial is hosted by journalist and Fulbright Fellow Katie Thornton. Her written articles and audio stories have appeared in The Atlantic, 99% Invisible, The Washington Post, BBC, NPR, WNYC, Minnesota Public Radio, The Guardian, Bloomberg’s CityLab, National Geographic, and others. She is a lifelong radio nerd who got her start in media as a teenager, volunteering and working behind the scenes at radio stations for many years. You can follow her work on Instagram or on her website. The Divided Dial was edited by On the Media's executive producer, Katya Rogers. With production support from Max Balton and fact-checking by Tom Colligan, Sona Avakian, and Graham Hacia. Music and sound design by Jared Paul. Jennifer Munson is our technical director. Art by Michael Brennan.  With support from the Fund for Investigative Journalism.
09/05/23·36m 17s

Episode 3 - The Divided Dial

If you discovered this series through Apple podcasts, or because you heard that we won a Peabody Award for our work; WELCOME! For our longtime listeners who have heard these episodes before, your weekly dose of On the Media will be available as ever, on Friday afternoon. Enjoy!   Episode 3: The Liberal Bias Boogeyman How did the right get their vice grip of the airwaves, all the while arguing that they were being silenced and censored by a liberal media? In this episode we look at the early history of American radio to reveal that censorship of far-right and progressive voices alike was once common on radio. And we learn how, in the post-war and Civil Rights period, the US government encouraged more diverse viewpoints on the airwaves — until it didn’t.   The Divided Dial is hosted by journalist and Fulbright Fellow Katie Thornton. Her written articles and audio stories have appeared in The Atlantic, 99% Invisible, The Washington Post, BBC, NPR, WNYC, Minnesota Public Radio, The Guardian, Bloomberg’s CityLab, National Geographic, and others. She is a lifelong radio nerd who got her start in media as a teenager, volunteering and working behind the scenes at radio stations for many years. You can follow her work on Instagram or on her website. The Divided Dial was edited by On the Media's executive producer, Katya Rogers. With production support from Max Balton and fact-checking by Tom Colligan, Sona Avakian, and Graham Hacia. Music and sound design by Jared Paul. Jennifer Munson is our technical director. Art by Michael Brennan. Special thanks this episode to Tianyi Wang. With support from the Fund for Investigative Journalism.
08/05/23·32m 8s

Episode 2 - The Divided Dial

If you discovered this series through Apple podcasts, or because you heard that we won a Peabody Award for our work; WELCOME! For our longtime listeners who have heard these episodes before, your weekly dose of On the Media will be available as ever, on Friday afternoon. Enjoy!   Episode 2: From Pulpit to Politics How did the little-known Salem Media Group come to have an outsized political influence? In this episode we trace the company’s rise to power from its scrappy start in the 1970s to the present day — a growth that paralleled and eventually became inextricable from the growth of the Religious Right. We learn that Salem is tightly networked with right wing political strategists, pollsters, big donors, far right leaders and Republican party mainstays thanks to their involvement with the Council for National Policy — a secretive group of Evangelical and conservative leaders. For decades, the CNP has been working behind the scenes to get a specific, highly influential subset of voters to act. And Salem has been a megaphone for their cause. The Divided Dial is hosted by journalist and Fulbright Fellow Katie Thornton. Her written articles and audio stories have appeared in The Atlantic, 99% Invisible, The Washington Post, BBC, NPR, WNYC, Minnesota Public Radio, The Guardian, Bloomberg’s CityLab, National Geographic, and others. She is a lifelong radio nerd who got her start in media as a teenager, volunteering and working behind the scenes at radio stations for many years. You can follow her work on Instagram or on her website. The Divided Dial was edited by On the Media's executive producer, Katya Rogers. With production support from Max Balton and fact-checking by Tom Colligan, Sona Avakian, and Graham Hacia. Music and sound design by Jared Paul. Jennifer Munson is our technical director. Art by Michael Brennan. With support from the Fund for Investigative Journalism.
07/05/23·32m 52s

Episode 1 - The Divided Dial

If you discovered this series through Apple podcasts, or because you heard that we won a Peabody Award for our work; WELCOME! SUBSCRIBE TO ON THE MEDIA TO LISTEN TO THE OTHER 4 EPISODES IN THE SERIES   Episode 1: The True Believers In 2016, Christian talk radio host Eric Metaxas begrudgingly encouraged his listeners to vote for then-presidential candidate Donald Trump. By 2020, he pledged his life to fighting the “stolen election” while talking with Trump on the air. Ahead of the midterm elections, Metaxas and many of his fellow talk radio hosts made sure the falsehood of massive 2020 election fraud was top of mind — on the airwaves and beyond. And while election-denying candidates didn't do as well as many on the right had hoped, at least 170 such candidates have been elected to state and national offices, some of whom will be in charge of future elections. We meet the company whose hosts never backed down from the lies of the stolen 2020 election: Salem Media Group, the largest Christian, conservative multimedia company in the country – and perhaps the most influential media company you’ve never heard of. The Divided Dial is hosted by journalist and Fulbright Fellow Katie Thornton. Her written articles and audio stories have appeared in The Atlantic, 99% Invisible, The Washington Post, BBC, NPR, WNYC, Minnesota Public Radio, The Guardian, Bloomberg’s CityLab, National Geographic, and others. She is a lifelong radio nerd who got her start in media as a teenager, volunteering and working behind the scenes at radio stations for many years. You can follow her work on Instagram or on her website. The Divided Dial was edited by On the Media's executive producer, Katya Rogers. With production support from Max Balton and fact-checking by Tom Colligan, Sona Avakian, and Graham Hacia. Music and sound design by Jared Paul. Jennifer Munson is our technical director. Art by Michael Brennan. With support from the Fund for Investigative Journalism.
06/05/23·29m 5s

Once Upon A Dream

Two decades have passed since George W. Bush gave his “Mission Accomplished” speech about the U.S. invasion of Iraq. On this week’s On the Media, hear how Iraqi journalists have fought to tell their stories over the last twenty years. Plus, what coverage of the Disney v. Florida lawsuits is missing, and a theory to account for the internet’s creeping demise. 1. Mark Joseph Stern [@mjs_DC], a senior writer covering courts and the law for Slate, on Disney taking Ron DeSantis to court. Listen. 2. OTM producer Suzanne Gaber [@SuzanneGaber] takes a closer look the troubles and triumphs of Iraqi journalism, twenty years after George W. Bush delivered his famous “Mission Accomplished” speech. Listen. 3. Cory Doctorow [@doctorow], journalist, activist, and the author of Red Team Blue, on his theory surrounding the slow, steady descent of the internet. Listen.   Music from this week's show: I’m Not Following You - Michael Andrews I'm Forever blowing bubbles We Insist - Zoe Keating The Glass House - David Bergau  The Hammer of Los - John Zorn
05/05/23·50m 45s

The Day Saddam Hussein’s Statue Came Down

On April 9, 2003, a US marine battalion rolled triumphantly into Firdos Square, in the center of Baghdad, two and a half weeks after the US invasion of Iraq began. Hours later, the marines toppled a statue of Saddam Hussein, amongst what seemed like a roaring, jubilant crowd of Iraqis. It became, perhaps, the most televised image of the Iraq War — and it seared itself into the minds of its viewers. Twenty years later, that image is still circulated, and sometimes celebrated. Peter Maass, then a contributing writer for the New York Times Magazine, stood at the edge of Firdos Square that day. What he witnessed, was vastly different from what viewers were seeing on their television screens across the world. Years later, Maass reconstructed the chain of events that led to the toppling to see what went wrong. For this week's podcast extra, he speaks with Brooke about how the media subconsciously creates events for itself to cover — and how the rampant misconceptions that followed in the wake of the toppling led to a pernicious view of the Iraq War that we're still trying to divorce from today. 
03/05/23·24m 31s

Boom!

In late 2016, American diplomats in Havana, Cuba started hearing a mysterious buzzing sound, followed by debilitating symptoms. On this week’s On the Media, why the government now disputes theories that it was a secret Russian weapon. Plus, what the electric hum of your refrigerator and the uncanny hearing ability of pigeons reveal about the world we live in. 1. Adam Entous, staff writer at The New York Times, Jon Lee Anderson, staff writer at The New Yorker, and Robert Bartholomew, sociologist and author of Havana Syndrome: Mass Psychogenic Illness and the Real Story Behind the Embassy Mystery and Hysteria, on the investigation into the mysterious affliction that spread across the globe. Listen. 2. Jennifer Munson, OTM Technical Director, and Nasir Memon, New York University professor of computer science and engineering, on the obscure technology called electrical network frequency analysis, or ENF, and the world of audio forensics. Listen. 3. Robert Krulwich [@rkrulwich], co-creator and former co-host of Radiolab, and John Hagstrum, a geophysicist emeritus at the U.S. Geological Survey, on the mysterious avian disappearance that rocked world headlines. Listen. 
28/04/23·50m 38s

Meet the Redstones, the Complicated Family Behind a Media Empire

The Redstone family controls Paramount Global, formerly known as ViacomCBS, Inc., — one of the biggest entertainment companies out there. (Think CBS entertainment, MTV, Nickelodeon.) The family is also one of the inspirations for HBO's Succession, which makes sense the more you get to know them. Sure, Rupert Murdoch plays his kids off each other and broke up with one wife on email. But Sumner Redstone, who died at 97 in 2020, had a love life that shook his media empire to its core, never mind the tabloids. This week, Brooke speaks to Rachel Abrams, a senior producer and reporter for The New York Times Presents, and the co-author with James B. Stewart of Unscripted:​​ The Epic Battle for a Media Empire and the Redstone Family Legacy.   
25/04/23·17m 23s

Rupert. Logan. Clarence.

Fox News settled with Dominion Voting Systems for over 780 million dollars on Tuesday. On this week’s On the Media, the impact media moguls, and their families, have had on our culture at large. Plus, the bigger lessons we can learn about money and free speech from the revelations surrounding Clarence Thomas. 1. Jim Rutenberg [@jimrutenberg], writer-at-large for the New York Times and its Sunday magazine, on the Dominion lawsuit settlement and what's next for Fox News. Listen. 2. Robert Thompson, professor of television, radio, and film at Syracuse University, on the impact of the Murdoch family and their media empire, and what can be learned about their real-life power from the fictional tv show. Listen. 3. Corey Robin [@CoreyRobin], professor of political science at Brooklyn College and the CUNY Graduate Center, on what bigger lesson we can learn from the newest controversy around Justice Clarence Thomas. Listen. Music from this week's show: Finding Mink - Danny Elfman Eye Surgery - Thomas NewmanSuccession (Main Title Theme)Time is Late - Marcos CiscarString Quartet No. 5 - Philip Glass - Kronos QuartetTateh’s Picture Book - Randy Newman  
21/04/23·50m 43s

The Life and Times of the FDA

Earlier this month, a Texas judge issued a contentious decision about a drug named Mifepristone, widely used as an abortion pill and a medication to aid treatment of people who suffer miscarriages. U.S. District Judge Matthew Kacsmaryk, a Trump-appointee with documented anti-abortion views, ruled to suspend use of the drug across the entire country, saying that the Food and Drug Administration didn't properly vet the drug when it was cleared for market over twenty years ago.  The FDA has spent quite a bit of time in the national limelight the past few years, largely due to the pandemic. But despite its occupation of headlines, the FDA’s history–and at times contentious relationship with the government that created it–aren’t always as widely covered. This week, Brooke sits down with Daniel Carpenter, the Allie S. Freed Professor of Government at Harvard University and author of the book, “Reputation and Power: Organizational Image and Pharmaceutical Regulation at the FDA,” to talk about the agency's origins and complicated task in the face of our modern political arena. 
19/04/23·26m 5s

Inside Russia’s Crackdown on Journalists

For the first time since the Cold War, an American reporter has been charged with espionage in Russia. On this week’s On the Media, hear about one journalist who stayed to cover Putin’s invasion, and from one who left. Plus, a look at why NPR has sworn off Twitter for good, and how it will affect people who get their news from the app. 1. OTM producer Molly Schwartz [@mollyfication], takes a deep dive into the imprisonment of Wall Street Journal reporter Evan Gershkovich, and the challenges of reporting on the ground in Russia right now. Listen. 2. Nikita Kondratyev, reporter for Novaya Gazeta Europe, on leaving Russia and covering Putin's invasion in exile. Listen. 3. Zoe Schiffer [@ZoeSchiffer], managing editor of Platformer, on Elon Musk's newest fight with the press and the departure of NPR from Twitter. Listen.   Music from this week's show: Berotim - John ZornWe Insist - Zoe KeatingApril - KinoFellini’s Waltz - Enrico PieranunziBryter Layter - Nick DrakeBlue Monk - Jimmy GiuffreCello Song - Nick Drake
14/04/23·50m 41s

How (Not) to Cover Trump’s Indictment

Donald Trump is the first ever president to be charged with criminal activity. And leading up to his arraignment, cable news has dug in, breathlessly tracing his every movement — his jet touching down in LaGuardia, his short journey from Trump Tower to the courthouse, and even his expressions and body language inside the courtroom. TV news hosts left no detail unturned, offering up 24/7, wall-to-wall coverage. According to Alex Shephard, staff writer at The New Republic, the coverage saw media outlets stumbling back into some of its "worst habits." In this week's podcast, Shephard tells Brooke about what reporters missed about the indictment.
11/04/23·21m 40s

Made In America

Today, more than 37 million Americans live in poverty. The problem has been addressed countless times since the nation’s founding, but it persists, and for the poorest among us, it gets worse. America has not been able to find its way to a sustainable solution, because most of its citizens see the problem of poverty from a distance, through a distorted lens. So in 2016, we presented "Busted: America's Poverty Myths," a series exploring how our understanding of poverty is shaped not by facts, but by private presumptions, media narratives, and the tales of the American Dream. This week we're revisiting part of that series.  1. Matthew Desmond [@just_shelter], author of "Evicted: Poverty and Profit in the American City" and the new book "Poverty, by America," on the myriad factors that perpetuate wealth inequality and Jack Frech [@FrechJack], former Athens County Ohio Welfare Director, on how the media's short attention span for covering inequality stymies our discourse around poverty. Listen. 2. Jill Lepore, historian and staff writer for the New Yorker, on the long history of America's beloved "rags to riches" narrative and Natasha Boyer, a Ohio woman whose eviction was initially prevented thanks to a generous surprise from strangers, on the reality of living in poverty and the limitations of "random acts of kindness." Listen. 3. Brooke considers the myth of meritocracy and how it obscures the reality: that one's economic success is more due to luck than motivation. Listen. You can find all 5 episodes of the series on our website.   
07/04/23·50m 40s

When Presidents Go to Trial

On Tuesday, April 4, former President Donald Trump was arrested and appeared in court for his arraignment in New York. The charges stem from hush money paid to Stormy Daniels in 2016, allegedly to cover up an extramarital affair. The entire case leads to larger questions about how democracies, where everyone is supposed to be equal under the law, do or don’t hold their leaders to account. Guest host Ilya Marritz spoke with Rick Perlstein, a journalist, historian, and author of The Invisible Bridge: The Fall of Nixon and the Rise of Reagan, about perhaps the most famous case of a former US president alluding punishment. On September 8, 1974, President Gerald Ford pardoned his predecessor, Richard Nixon, who resigned from office one month earlier. The pardon rocked a nation still in the throes of the Watergate scandal, and perhaps permanently altered the trust of the public in the executive branch. But a quieter, separate movement had begun within the Republican Party. Perlstein explains how the groundwork for our struggle to prosecute, even the most guilty seeming presidents, can be traced back to that fateful fall day in 1974. This is a segment from our September 9, 2022 show, Lock Him Up?.
05/04/23·12m 55s

Indicted

For the first time in our history, a former U.S. president has been indicted. On this week’s On the Media, what Israel can teach us about when a nation’s leader runs afoul of the law. Plus, social media companies are back in the hot seat, facing serious legal threats at the local and national levels. 1. Yael Freidson [@YaelFreidson], legal correspondent for the Israeli newspaper Haaretz, on why the crisis in Israel reached a boiling point after Prime Minister Netanyahu's attempts to cut down systems of accountability. Listen. 2. Julia Bacha [@juliabacha], the director of the documentary film ‘Boycott’ and the creative director at Just Vision, a nonprofit media organization that creates content about Israel and Palestine, on how Israel’s Ministry of Strategic Affairs was created to combat the boycott movement—first within borders, then overseas. Listen. 3. Avi Asher-Schapiro [@AASchapiro], tech reporter at the Thomson Reuters Foundation, on the surge of bills across the United States aiming to reduce the impact of social media on the mental health of children and teens. Listen. 4. Jacqueline Nesi [@JacquelineNesi], assistant professor of Psychiatry and Human Behavior at Brown University, on the murkiness of the data on teen mental health and social media, and the possible consequences of restricting screen time. Listen.   Music:We Insist - Zoe KeatingThe Glass House - Going to TehranHow Strange - Nicole Cruz RemixOtotoa - Malphino Equinox - John Coltrane
31/03/23·50m 48s

It's not TV it's...

In 2022 HBO picked up nearly forty Emmy awards — many of which went to The White Lotus. That year also happened to be the Home Box Office's 50th birthday. John Koblin co-wrote the book It's Not TV: The Spectacular Rise, Revolution, and Future of HBO with Felix Gillette. Last winter, guest host Ilya Marritz spoke to Koblin, who covers the television industry for The New York Times, about how the network came to be a critical darling, and HBO's fraught future under its new owner, Discovery+.  This is a segment from our December 9, 2022 show, Still Watching?.
29/03/23·17m 25s

Is Lying On the Radio...Legal?

Highly politicized, partisan companies like Salem Media Group have a hold on the airwaves — and they don’t plan to give it up. This week, Senior Vice President of Salem Phil Boyce speaks candidly to reporter Katie Thornton about the personalities he handpicked to spread Salem’s message and about the company’s plans to expand into the media world off the airwaves. Peddling election denialism seems to be a solid business model — but is it legal?  This episode is an adaptation of our latest series, The Divided Dial. You can listen to the full series here.  The Divided Dial is reported and hosted by journalist and Fulbright Fellow Katie Thornton. You can follow her work on Instagram or on her website. The Divided Dial was edited by On the Media's executive producer, Katya Rogers. With production support from Max Balton and fact-checking by Tom Colligan, Sona Avakian, and Graham Hacia. Music and sound design by Jared Paul. Jennifer Munson is our technical director. Art by Michael Brennan. With support from the Fund for Investigative Journalism.
24/03/23·50m 48s

How Neoconservatism Led the US to Invade Iraq

If you ask Democrats why the US invaded Iraq in 2003, many will say that President George W. Bush cynically lied about weapons of mass destruction. Meanwhile, some Republicans will say that President Bush meant well, but had been led astray by faulty intelligence.  As we pass the 20th anniversary of the US invasion of Iraq, both of these narratives persist — and both distort the past, according to New York Times columnist Max Fisher. Fisher argues that the invasion was instead simply the natural unfolding of the neoconservative worldview. In this week's pod, we revisit his 2018 conversation with Brooke to unpack the hubris behind this worldview and examine how it grew from an esoteric, academic ideology into a force that still shapes American policies and minds today.
22/03/23·15m 3s

How did Talk Radio Get So Politically Lop-Sided?

How did the right get their vice grip of the airwaves, all the while arguing that they were being silenced and censored by a liberal media? This week, we look at the early history of American radio to reveal that censorship of far-right and progressive voices alike was once common on radio. And reporter Katie Thornton explains how, in the post-war and Civil Rights period, the US government encouraged more diverse viewpoints on the airwaves — until it didn’t. Plus, the technological and legal changes that led to conservative talk radio hosts like Rush Limbaugh taking over the airwaves.  This episode is an adaptation of our latest series, The Divided Dial. You can listen to the full series here.  The Divided Dial is reported and hosted by journalist and Fulbright Fellow Katie Thornton. You can follow her work on Instagram or on her website. The Divided Dial was edited by On the Media's executive producer, Katya Rogers. With production support from Max Balton and fact-checking by Tom Colligan, Sona Avakian, and Graham Hacia. Music and sound design by Jared Paul. Jennifer Munson is our technical director. Art by Michael Brennan. With support from the Fund for Investigative Journalism.    
17/03/23·50m 52s

Silenced Samples: How Copyright Laws Infringe on Hip Hop

Iconic hip hop group De La Soul's music is finally available on streaming platforms, just in time for the fiftieth anniversary of hip hop. To say listeners are overjoyed is an understatement. Only a few days after their streaming debut, De La Soul's 1989 debut album, 3 Feet High and Rising, soared to no. 5 on the UK album chart, even topping their original 1990 high of no. 13. For fans this was a long time coming. The hip hop group had a towering presence in the 80s and 90s, their playful ingenuity and eccentricity even inspired other greats like the Beastie Boys, Childish Gambino, OutKast, and the Pharcyde. But what kept De La Soul's tunes out of rotation for decades — and thus, largely out of the public imagination — was an infuriating entanglement of legal restrictions surrounding sampling, an art form where producers take snippets of songs and stitch them together to form sonic collages. For this week's pod extra, OTM Correspondent Micah Loewinger speaks to Dan Charnas, an associate arts professor at NYU and author of the book "Dilla Time: The Life and Afterlife of J Dilla, the Hip-Hop Producer Who Reinvented Rhythm," about how music copyright law suppresses the artistic voices of hip hop producers.
15/03/23·24m 26s

The Most Influential Christian Talk Radio Network You've Probably Never Heard of

In 2016, Christian talk radio host Eric Metaxas begrudgingly encouraged his listeners to vote for then-presidential candidate Donald Trump. By 2020, he pledged his life to fighting the “stolen election” while talking with Trump on the air. Ahead of the midterm elections, Metaxas and many of his fellow talk radio hosts made sure the falsehood of massive 2020 election fraud was top of mind — on the airwaves and beyond. And while election-denying candidates didn't do as well as many on the right had hoped, at least 170 such candidates have been elected to state and national offices, some of whom will be in charge of future elections. This week, reporter Katie Thornton introduces us to the company whose hosts never backed down from the lies of the stolen 2020 election: Salem Media Group, the largest Christian, conservative multimedia company in the country – and perhaps the most influential media company you’ve never heard of. Thornton traces the company’s rise to power from its scrappy start in the 1970s to the present day — a growth that paralleled and eventually became inextricable from the growth of the Religious Right.  This episode is an adaptation of our latest series, The Divided Dial. You can listen to the full series here.  The Divided Dial is reported and hosted by journalist and Fulbright Fellow Katie Thornton. You can follow her work on Instagram or on her website. The Divided Dial was edited by On the Media's executive producer, Katya Rogers. With production support from Max Balton and fact-checking by Tom Colligan, Sona Avakian, and Graham Hacia. Music and sound design by Jared Paul. Jennifer Munson is our technical director. Art by Michael Brennan. With support from the Fund for Investigative Journalism.
10/03/23·50m 42s

How Lina Khan Became Antitrust Critics' Favorite Target

In March 2021, when President Joe Biden announced the nomination of Lina Khan to be a commissioner at the Federal Trade Commission, the decision was met with a rare kind of excitement for the otherwise sleepy agency. The excitement seemed bipartisan as 21 Republican senators voted to confirm the commissioner. Not long after, then 32-year-old Khan was promoted to chairperson of the agency, making her the youngest chair in the FTC's history. Since then the tone around Khan has changed dramatically, as Republican commissioners at the agency have pushed back against what they see as a radical agenda. For this week's pod OTM correspondent Micah Loewinger speaks with Emily Birnbaum, a technology and lobbying reporter for Bloomberg, about a growing anti-antitrust movement emerging in the press and in Washington and why Khan has become its main target. 
08/03/23·26m 36s

Historical Fictions

A billion dollar defamation lawsuit has given the public an unprecedented view into the inner workings of Fox News. On this week’s On the Media, how the network’s election falsehoods reveal the company’s commitment to profit over truth. Plus, the story of how historical fiction became the unexpected darling of the literary world. And, how a historian grapples with gaps in our historical record. 1. Andrew Prokop [@awprokop], senior politics correspondent at Vox, and David Folkenflik [@mjs_DC], media correspondent for NPR News, on the latest revelations in Dominion Voting Systems' lawsuit against Fox News. Listen. 2. OTM producer Eloise Blondiau [@eloiseblondiau] takes a deep dive into how historical fiction became a rich resource for reckoning with our past, feat: Alexander Manshel, assistant professor of English at McGill University [@xandermanshel], and novelitsts Alexander Chee [@alexanderchee] and Min Jin Lee [@minjinlee11]. Listen. 3. Tiya Miles [@TiyaMilesTAM], professor of history at Harvard University and author of All That She Carried: The Journey of Ashley’s Sack, a Black Family Keepsake, on rediscovering lost histories. Listen.
03/03/23·50m 45s

The OTHER Lawsuit Involving the Murdochs

Fox News is in the fight of its legal life right now. Dominion is suing Fox News for 1.6 billion dollars in damages over false claims that it helped rig the 2020 elections for President Biden. Dominion’s legal team draws a direct line from the heated rhetoric of Fox hosts to the January 6, 2021 protests that became a violent siege of the US Capitol. And that forms the basis of an entirely different defamation suit, filed roughly 10,000 miles away. This time, the suit was filed by Lachlan Murdoch against a small Australian paper for an opinion piece that implied the Murdochs had some responsibility in the events of the January 6 insurrection. Guest host David Folkenflik speaks with Lachlan Cartwright, the Editor at Large of the Daily Beast where he covers power, crime, celebrity and justice, to get a look into the lawsuits and what they mean for the future of the Fox empire.  This is a segment from our October 7th, 2022 program, So Sue Me.
01/03/23·8m 55s

Who Profits?

The Supreme Court heard two cases this week that could upend Silicon Valley. On this week’s On The Media, a look at the fragile law holding the modern internet together. Plus, how a century-long PR campaign taught Americans to love the free market and loathe their own government.  1. Emily Birnbaum [@birnbaum_e], tech lobbying reporter with Bloomberg, Mark Joseph Stern [@mjs_DC], senior writer at Slate, and Emma Llanso [@ellanso], director of the Free Expression Project at the Center for Democracy and Technology, on two cases argued in front of the Supreme Court this week and how they could impact the future of the internet. Listen. 2. Naomi Oreskes [@NaomiOreskes], professor of the history of science at Harvard University and the co-author, with Erik M. Conway, of “The Big Myth: How American Business Taught Us to Loathe Government and Love the Free Market,” on century-old PR campaign, conducted by big business, to imbue Americans with a quasi-religious belief in the free market. Listen. 3. China Miéville, a speculative fiction writer and author of the recent book, "A Spectre, Haunting: On the Communist Manifesto," on the ebb and flow of the text’s popularity through the decades, and what we might draw from it today. Listen.Music:Nocturne No.1 in B-Flat Major Op.9. No1 (Chopin) - Ivan MoravecBallade No. 2 in F, Op. 38 (Chopin) - Maurizio PolliniMarch for the 3rd Regiment of Foot - Liberty Tree Wind Players The New East Louis Toodle-Oo (Duke Ellington) The People United Will Never Be Defeated - Carla Bley, Charlie Haden, Don Cherry Stolen Moments - Ahmad Jamal Trio
24/02/23·50m 45s

Brooke on the Press in Times of War

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 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. This interview originally aired on May 18, 2022.
22/02/23·34m 29s

Off the Rails

1. Julia Rock [@jul1arock], reporter at the The Lever, and Allison Fisher [@citizenfisher], director of the Climate and Energy Program for Media Matters for America, on why the Ohio derailment was a foreseeable disaster and how dearth of early media coverage, which failed to hold parties accountable, left space for distrust. Listen. 2. Gönül Tol [@gonultol], the founding director of the Middle East Institute's Turkey program and author of "Erdoğan’s War: A Strongman’s Struggle at Home and in Syria," on the impact of government corruption on Turkey's death toll after this month's earthquake. Listen. 3. Natasha Hall [@NatashaHallDC], a senior fellow at the Middle East Program at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, on the ways politics have played into a delay in aid in Syria. Listen. 4. Keren Landman [@landmanspeaking], senior reporter covering public health and emerging infectious diseases at Vox, on the risks of bird flu and if we should be worried about another pandemic. Listen. Music:Fallen Leaves - Marcos CiscarInvitation to a Suicide - John ZornBerceuse In D Flat Major, Op. 57 - Ivan MoravecTime Is Late - Marcos CiscarWhen Doves Cry Airborne Toxic EventLachrymae Antiquae - Kronos QuartetWhite Man Sleeps - Kronos QuartetThe Old House - Marcos Ciscar
17/02/23·50m 27s

Joke, Threat, Obvious

YouTube is one of the biggest media companies in the world. In 2020, we uploaded 500 hours of footage to the site every minute. And on average we watched over 5 billion videos every day. It’s a broadcasting machine so complex, it would make Marshall McLuhan’s head explode. OTM Correspondent Micah Loewinger has been obsessed with YouTube since he was 13. Last fall he sat down with journalist Mark Bergen to discuss his new book, Like, Comment, Subscribe: Inside YouTube’s Chaotic Rise to World Domination. According to Bergen, the founders of the site originally envisioned something more akin to Tinder than homemade TV. This is a segment from our September 30, 2022 program, Still Loading….
15/02/23·19m 10s

Hide and Seek

It’s a bird, it’s a plane… no, it’s a spy balloon. On this week’s On the Media, how to grasp a news event that’s equal parts concerning and absurd. Plus, the hunt for who poisoned the Russian dissident Alexei Navalny, and re-reading classic Russian novels in the shadow of the Ukraine war. 1. Jon Allsop [@Jon_Allsop], freelance journalist and author of the Columbia Journalism Review's newsletter The Media Today, on how to understand polarizing reactions to the Chinese spy balloon. Listen. 2. Christo Grozev [@christogrozev], lead Russia investigator at Bellingcat, and Daniel Roher [@DanielRoher], director of the documentary "Navalny," on investigating, and filming, Alexei Navalny's search for the truth behind his own poisoning. Listen. 3. Elif Batuman [@BananaKarenina], novelist and staff writer at The New Yorker, on revisiting classic Russian literature in times of war. Listen.
10/02/23·50m 51s

David Remnick Speaks to Salman Rushdie About Surviving the Fatwa

Thirty-four years ago, the Ayatollah Khomeini, the Supreme Leader of Iran, issued a fatwa calling for the assassination of the novelist Salman Rushdie, whose book “The Satanic Verses” Khomeini declared blasphemous. It caused a worldwide uproar. Rushdie lived in hiding in London for a decade before moving to New York, where he began to let his guard down. “I had come to feel that it was a very long time ago and, and that the world moves on,” he tells David Remnick. “That’s what I had agreed with myself was the case. And then it wasn’t.” In August of last year, a man named Hadi Matar attacked Rushdie onstage before a public event, stabbing him about a dozen times. Rushdie barely survived. Now, in his first interview since the assassination attempt, Rushdie discusses the long shadow of the fatwa; his recovery from extensive injuries; and his writing. It was “just a piece of fortune, given what happened,” that Rushdie had finished work on a new novel, “Victory City,” weeks before the attack. The book is being published this week. “I’ve always thought that my books are more interesting than my life,” he remarks. “Unfortunately, the world appears to disagree.”  David Remnick’s Profile of Rushdie appears in the February 13th & 20th issue of The New Yorker.
09/02/23·50m 10s

Too Big to Fail?

On this week’s On the Media, what the data says about how boys and men are struggling today. Plus, the history behind Ticketmaster’s dominance in the live music industry, and how Hollywood trust-busting in the 1930s and 1940s unleashed an era of indie films. 1. Richard Reeves [@RichardvReeves], a senior fellow in Economic Studies at the Brookings Institution and author of the book Of Boys and Men: Why the Modern Male Is Struggling, Why It Matters, and What to Do About It, on the research that shows gender disparities growing in a surprising direction. Listen. 2. Moe Tkacik and Krista Brown [@moetkacik and @KristaKBrown], researchers at the American Economic Liberties Project, on how the grunge band Pearl Jam tried to take on Ticketmaster in the 1990s. Listen.  3. Peter Labuza [@labuzamovies], a film historian and researcher with the International Cinematographers Guild, on how a Supreme Court case broke up Hollywood's studio system and what this history can teach us about the present moment. Listen. 
03/02/23·50m 45s

Puerto Rico in 8 Songs

Former OTM producer Alana Casanova-Burgess is back with season 2 of her critically acclaimed podcast series, La Brega. This one is all about the music! For over a century, Puerto Rican musicians have been influential across the hemisphere. From the Harlem Hellfighters of WWI who helped develop jazz to the reggaetoneros who dominate today’s charts, Puerto Rican music is everywhere. We start the season with the island’s most celebrated composer Rafael Hernandez, who wrote beloved songs like “Lamento Borincano,” “Ahora Seremos Felices,” and “Perfume de Gardenias” – and one of the island’s unofficial anthems, “Preciosa.” It’s a love song written for Puerto Rico that praises the island’s beauty and, remarkably, also calls out the forces that oppress it. When Bad Bunny exploded onto the scene and became the most-streamed artist in the history of the world, it became undeniable that Puerto Rican lyrics – the poetry of what people sing about, the bregas in every chorus – resonate all over the hemisphere. In September, he put out a music video for his hit “El Apagón,” (“The Blackout,”) which then turned into a mini-documentary about gentrification – the way people from the states are taking advantage of tax benefits and displacing Boricuas. It’s called “Aqui Vive Gente" ("People Live Here"). “El Apagón,” has become somewhat of an anthem – an installment in the long tradition of Puerto Ricans singing about home, longing and belonging, popularized by Rafael Hernandez. But Bad Bunny isn’t singing about yearning for Puerto Rico – his music is often about never even leaving in the first place. It’s about staying, and creating a future for Puerto Ricans in Puerto Rico. If the video’s Youtube comments – declarations of solidarity – are any indication, his music has touched on something deeply relatable across Latin America. Learn more about the voices in this episode:• Myzo, the singer from the plane• Bobby Sanabria, Grammy-nominated bandleader and educator• Elena Martínez, folklorist at City Lore and the Bronx Music Heritage Center• Watch Marc Anthony’s performance of “Preciosa”• Watch Bianca Graulau’s documentary “Aquí Vive Gente” (“People Live Here”) Our cover of “Preciosa” is by the artist Xenia Rubinos (out in March). You can listen to first season of La Brega and hear new episodes from this season here. Listen to the La Brega Spotify playlist, featuring music from this episode – and this season. It will be added to each week as new episodes come out.  
01/02/23·27m 38s

Sorry, That's Classified

If millions of Americans have access to classified documents, can we really call them secrets? On this week's On the Media, a former Pentagon official explains how America’s bloated classification system came to be. Plus, a look at the stories we tell about Baby Boomers, and how our country might change after they’re gone. 1. Oona Hathaway [@oonahathaway], professor at Yale Law School and former special counsel at the Pentagon, on the complicated nature of classified documents. Listen. 2. Noah Smith [@VildeHaya], contributing reporter for The Washington Post, on how a video game led to leaks of military documents. Listen.  3. Philip Bump [@pbump], national columnist at The Washington Post, on his latest book 'The Aftermath: The Last Days of the Baby Boom and the Future of Power in America.' Listen.  4. Brian Lehrer [@BrianLehrer], host of WNYC's The Brian Lehrer Show, on the news events that defined generations. Listen.  Music: Passing Time by John RenbournAtlantic City by Randy NewmanEye Surgery by Thomas NewmanYoung at Heart by Brad MehldauYour Mother Should Know by Brad MehldauWhen I'm 64 by Fred Hersch
27/01/23·50m 45s

Operation Podcast: What the CIA's Latest Media Venture Can Teach Us About the Agency

For decades, the Central Intelligence Agency has cultivated its appeal as an organization shrouded in secrecy, engaged in cutting edge tech and no-holds-barred espionage in defense of the US. It’s an image that sells in Hollywood. The CIA also assisted in the making of some movies about some real life operations. But as the agency ages, it continues to strive to stay up to date. In 2022, when the CIA turned 75, the agency launched operation:podcast. Brooke speaks with David Shamus McCarthy, author of Selling the CIA: Public Relations and the Culture of Secrecy, about the latest venture for the agency and the CIA's long history of public relations initiatives.   
24/01/23·26m 26s

Great Expectations

Many of us are still cookin’ with gas, but should we? On this week’s On the Media, a look at why gas stoves, and the political flame-war over appliances, are back in the news. Plus, why new research says we’ve left the golden age of science and technology. 1. Paris Marx [@parismarx], the host of the podcast ‘Tech Won’t Save Us,’ and the author of ‘Road to Nowhere: What Silicon Valley Gets Wrong about the Future of Transportation,' on the longstanding debate on electric cars in the US, and whether they really do enough to lower carbon emissions. Listen. 2. Rebecca Leber [@rebleber], a senior reporter covering climate at Vox, on how the controversy surrounding gas stoves is nothing new, and the gas industry's long PR campaign to convince the public that "cooking was gas" is just better. Listen.  3. William Broad [@WilliamJBroad], a science journalist and senior writer at The New York Times, on new research published in Nature that suggests that our mad sprint for scientific breakthroughs has slowed significantly, and what this might mean for science. Listen.   
20/01/23·50m 11s

Salvation Through Technology?

Human aspirations for technology are vast. One day, maybe we'll develop technologies that cure cancer. Rid us of viruses. Perhaps fix that pesky climate change. Even, deliver us from death altogether.... But is the increasing belief in salvation through technology just religion in new clothes? Meghan O'Gieblyn is the author of the book God, Human, Animal, Machine: Technology, Metaphor, and the Search for Meaning. In the fall of 2021 Brooke spoke to O'Gieblyn about the shared assumptions of Christian creationists and transhumanist tech leaders, the flawed metaphor of the mind as a computer, and the relationships of humans to the machines we build. This is a segment from our October 15th, 2021 program, Against the Machine.
18/01/23·17m 53s

It’s a Machine’s World

Schools across the country are considering whether to ban the new AI chatbot, ChatGPT. On this week’s On the Media, a look at the ever-present hype around AI and claims that machines can think. Plus, the potential implications of handing over decision-making to computers. 1. Tina Tallon [@ttallon], assistant professor of A.I. and the Arts at the University of Florida, on the love-hate relationship with AI technology over the past 70 years, and Nitasha Tiku [@nitashatiku], tech culture reporter for The Washington Post, on history of the tech itself. Listen. 2. Geoffrey Hinton [@geoffreyhinton], a cognitive psychologist and computer scientist, on holograms, memories, and the origins of neural networks. Listen.3. Matt Devost [@MattDevost], international cybersecurity expert and CEO and co-founder of the global strategic advisory firm OODA llc., on the rise of AI-powered weapons and what it means for the future of warfare. Listen. Music:Original music by Tina TallonHorizon 12.2 by Thomas NewmanBubble Wrap by Thomas NewmanSeventy-two Degrees and Sunny by Thomas NewmanEye Surgery by Thomas NewmanFinal Retribution by John ZornLachrymose Fairy by Thomas Newman
13/01/23·50m 42s
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