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Rank #7 in News Commentary category

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News Commentary

On the Media

Updated 4 days ago

Rank #7 in News Commentary category

News
History
News Commentary
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The Peabody Award-winning On the Media podcast is your guide to examining how the media sausage is made. Hosts Brooke Gladstone and Bob Garfield examine threats to free speech and government transparency, cast a skeptical eye on media coverage of the week’s big stories and unravel hidden political narratives in everything we read, watch and hear. WNYC Studios is a listener-supported producer of other leading podcasts including Radiolab, Snap Judgment, Death, Sex & Money, Nancy and Here’s the Thing with Alec Baldwin. © WNYC Studios

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The Peabody Award-winning On the Media podcast is your guide to examining how the media sausage is made. Hosts Brooke Gladstone and Bob Garfield examine threats to free speech and government transparency, cast a skeptical eye on media coverage of the week’s big stories and unravel hidden political narratives in everything we read, watch and hear. WNYC Studios is a listener-supported producer of other leading podcasts including Radiolab, Snap Judgment, Death, Sex & Money, Nancy and Here’s the Thing with Alec Baldwin. © WNYC Studios

iTunes Ratings

5730 Ratings
Average Ratings
5044
279
147
97
163

Amid informative and lively, a WOW

By LRMH2 - Aug 16 2019
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Thanks for making historical insights so exciting. Exploring the ‘American frontier’ is a gem.

Part 2 missing

By musical_irene - Jun 23 2019
Read more
Can’t seem to find part 2 of the Scarlet E series!

iTunes Ratings

5730 Ratings
Average Ratings
5044
279
147
97
163

Amid informative and lively, a WOW

By LRMH2 - Aug 16 2019
Read more
Thanks for making historical insights so exciting. Exploring the ‘American frontier’ is a gem.

Part 2 missing

By musical_irene - Jun 23 2019
Read more
Can’t seem to find part 2 of the Scarlet E series!

Listen to:

Cover image of On the Media

On the Media

Updated 4 days ago

Read more

The Peabody Award-winning On the Media podcast is your guide to examining how the media sausage is made. Hosts Brooke Gladstone and Bob Garfield examine threats to free speech and government transparency, cast a skeptical eye on media coverage of the week’s big stories and unravel hidden political narratives in everything we read, watch and hear. WNYC Studios is a listener-supported producer of other leading podcasts including Radiolab, Snap Judgment, Death, Sex & Money, Nancy and Here’s the Thing with Alec Baldwin. © WNYC Studios

The Disagreement Is The Point

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In hearings this week, House Democrats sought to highlight an emerging set of facts concerning the President’s conduct. On this week’s On the Media, a look at why muddying the waters remains a viable strategy for Trump’s defenders. Plus, even the technology we trust for its clarity isn’t entirely objective, especially the algorithms that drive decisions in public and private institutions. And, how early radio engineers designed broadcast equipment to favor male voices and make women sound "shrill."

1. David Roberts [@drvox], writer covering energy for Vox, on the "epistemic crisis" at the heart of our bifurcated information ecosystem. Listen.

2. Cathy O'Neil [@mathbabedotorg], mathematician and author of Weapons of Math Destruction: How Big Data Increases Inequality and Threatens Democracy, on the biases baked into our algorithms. Listen.

3. Tina Tallon [@ttallon], musician and professor, on how biases built into radio technology have shaped how we hear women speak. Listen.

Music:

Misterioso by Kronos Quartet

Human Nature by Vijay Iyer Trio

Il Casanova di Federico Fellini by Nino Rota

Whispers of Heavenly Death by John Zorn

These Boots Are Made For Walkin' by Nancy Sinatra

Nov 22 2019

49mins

Play

Three Years for Michael Cohen

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Michael Cohen, President Trump’s former lawyer, was sentenced Wednesday to three years in prison for financial crimes and for lying to Congress. In rendering the sentence,  Judge William H. Pauley said Cohen’s crimes — among them, tax evasion and campaign finance violations — were “motivated by personal greed and ambition.”

The case has implications for Trump himself; Judge Pauley noted at the sentencing that Cohen's campaign finance crimes were designed to affect the outcome of the election. But court filings from this case and from the separate case against Paul Manafort offer many, many threads to follow. In this podcast extra, we turn to our colleagues at the Trump Inc. podcast, an open investigation from a team of ProPublica and WNYC journalists. This week, they unpacked what can be learned from the sentencing memos and what remains a mystery. Also, they just won a prestigious Dupont award! 

Dec 12 2018

26mins

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Introducing: The Scarlet E

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Millions of rent-burdened Americans face eviction filings and proceedings every year. On this week’s On the Media, what we think we know, and what we definitely don’t know, about America’s eviction crisis. Plus, how local journalists failed the Central Park Five. 

1. Jim Dwyer [@jimdwyernyt], columnist for The New York Times, on his experience reporting on the Central Park Five trial. 

2. We hear the story of Jeffrey, a security guard in Richmond, Virginia whose severe rent burden caused his family to be evicted. 

3. Matthew Desmond [@just_shelter], founder of the Eviction Lab, explains what he and his fellow researchers have learned from their massive collection of eviction data. 

Jun 07 2019

50mins

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Everything Is Fake

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On Thursday, President Trump flew down to McAllen, Texas to push his pro-wall, anti-immigrant narrative. This week, On the Media examines how the community tells a more welcoming story about the border — and a dogged presidential fact-checker joins us to pick apart the Oval Office address. Plus, how some progressives used Russian election interference tactics against a right-wing senate campaign. Also, is everything online fake? 

1. Lorenzo Zazueta [@lorenzozazueta], immigration reporter for The Monitor in McAllen, Texas, on the theatrics of a political border visit. Listen.

2. Daniel Dale [@ddale8], Washington bureau chief for the Toronto Star, fact-checks President Trump's Oval Office address. Listen.

3. Scott Shane [@ScottShaneNYT], national security reporter for the New York Times, on the Russian interference social media tactics used by some progressives in the run-up to the 2017 Alabama special senate election. Listen.

4. Matt Osborne [@OsborneInk], progressive Alabama activist, on his own deceptive role in the political battle between Roy Moore and now–Senator Doug Jones. Listen.

5. Max Read [@max_read], writer and editor at New York Magazine, on the overwhelming fakeness of the internet. Listen.

Jan 11 2019

49mins

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Full Faith & Credit

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Ten autumns ago came two watershed moments in the history of money. In September 2008, the bankruptcy of Lehman Brothers triggered a financial meltdown from which the world has yet to fully recover. The following month, someone using the name Satoshi Nakamoto introduced BitCoin, the first cryptocurrency. Before our eyes, the very architecture of money was evolving — potentially changing the world in the process. In this hour, On the Media looks at the story of money, from its uncertain origins to its digital reinvention in the form of cryptocurrency.

1. The life and work of JSG Boggs, the artist who created hand-drawn replicas of currency that he used to buy goods and services. With Lawrence Weschler and MIT's Neha Narula [@neha]. Listen.

2. A brief history of money with UC Irvine's Bill Maurer and Mark Blyth [@MkBlyth] from Brown University. Listen.

3. How cryptocurrency could shape the future of money, with MIT's Neha Narula [@neha], New York Times' Nathaniel Popper [@nathanielpopper], Vinay Gupta [@leashless] of Mattereum, Brown University's Mark Blyth [@MkBlyth] and artist Kevin Abosch [@kevinabosch]. Listen.

Jul 05 2019

49mins

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Empire State of Mind

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In a special hour this week, On the Media examines the history of US imperialism — and why the familiar US map hides the true story of our country. Brooke spends the hour with Northwestern University historian Daniel Immerwahr, author of How to Hide an Empire: A History of the Greater United States.

This is Part 2 of our series "On American Expansion." This episode originally aired April 5th, 2019.

Music:

Bill Frisell - Lost Night

The O’Neil Brothers - Tribute to America

Eileen Alannah - Original recording from 1908

Ali Primera - Yankee Go Home

Michael Andrews - The Artifact and Living

Michael Andrews - Liquid Spear Waltz 

Matt Farley - Bird Poop Song 

Aug 23 2019

49mins

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Look Back in Anger

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When President Trump’s former personal lawyer testified in front of Congress this week, it was both captivating and oddly familiar. This week, On the Media looks at the tropes that ran through the hearings, and offers a guide to news consumers trying to understand the tangled threads of the Mueller investigation. Plus, a sideways glance at historical hot takes and a second look at an infamous Nazi rally in the heart of New York City. 

1. Bob and Brooke on Michael Cohen's enthralling testimony this week. Listen.

2. Eric Umansky [@ericuman], co-host of Trump, Inc. from WNYC Studios and ProPublica, on how news consumers can best understand Mueller-related news. Listen.

3. Corey Robin [@CoreyRobin], political theorist, on the tendency for journalists to launder their hot takes through history. Listen.

4. Marshall Curry [@marshallcurry], documentary filmmaker, on his Oscar-nominated short, A Night At The Garden. Listen.

CORRECTION: In the opening segment, we describe U.S. Representative Jim Cooper, of Tennessee, as belonging to the wrong political party. Rep. Cooper is a Democrat.

Music in this week's show:

Enrico Pieranunzi: Fellini's WaltzAngelo Badalamenti: Audrey's DanceJohn Zorn: The Hammer of LosStonemason’s MarchThe Kiboomers: German Lullaby

Mar 01 2019

50mins

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Knock, Knock

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With the midterms approaching, Democrats and Republicans are fighting to control the national conversation. This week, On the Media looks at how to assess the predictions about a blue or red wave this November. Republican messaging — especially from the White House — has emphasized the dangers presented by the so-called caravan. How did that caravan begin? And, what is the history behind the documents that regulate international travel? Plus, how transgender rights activists in Massachusetts are deploying a counter-intuitive door-to-door tactic.

1. Clare Malone [@ClareMalone], senior political writer for FiveThirtyEight, on the electoral reporting tropes that dominate midterm coverage. Listen.

2. Sarah Kinosian [@skinosian], freelance reporter, on the origins of the current Central American caravan. Listen.

3. John Torpey [@JohnCTorpey], historian at the CUNY Graduate Center, on the history of passports. Listen.

4. David Broockman [@dbroockman], political scientist at the Stanford Graduate School of Business, and Matt Collette [@matt_pc], producer of WNYC's Nancy, on the activism surrounding a transgender rights referendum in Massachusetts. Listen.

Oct 26 2018

49mins

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Designed to Intimidate

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Millions tuned into impeachment hearings this week — the first two of five already scheduled. On this week’s show, why shifts in public opinion may not necessarily sway the GOP. Plus, what we can learn from the predatory tactics that enriched Bill Gates.

1. Nicole Hemmer [@pastpunditry], author of Messengers of the Right: Conservative Media and the Transformation of American Politicson the false premise underlying hope for President Trump's removal. Listen.

2. John Dean [@JohnWDean] former White House counsel, on the lessons he's applying from Watergate to the impeachment hearings for President Trump. Listen.

3. Former Labor Secretary Rob Reich [@RBReich] and Goliath author Matt Stoller [@matthewstoller] on how billionaires like Bill Gates use their power and wealth to force their vision on society. Listen.

Music:

Zoe Keating — We InsistDonnie Darko — Cellar DoorChicago Sunset — Charlie MusselwhiteCarmen Fantasy — Anderson and RowTongue in cheek — Gaurav Raina Tarana MarwahOtotoa — Malphino

Nov 15 2019

50mins

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We Made a Lipstick For You!

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What counts as media? For us, its any medium through which we express ourselves — whether from one to one, from one to many, or just from one... to one’s own self. 

We can do it with our style. Our hair. Even our glasses. They're choices that express not just our aesthetics, but our politics, too. 

And so for this seasonal fundraising effort, we are offering something new. It was the idea of Poppy King, lipstick designer extraordinaire, whose Frog Prince lipstick was last year listed by Elle Australia as one of the most iconic lipstick shades of all time. King's a devoted listener, so, in collaboration with the show, she designed a special lipstick. It's called Well Red and she offered a batch of them to us as a donation so that we can pass them on to you.

We are offering these very special lipsticks to you for a donation of $12 a month or $144 for a year's worth of support for this show. 

If you donate by December 6th, we can guarantee delivery in time for the holidays. Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa? We have your lipstick gifting needs covered. 

When you get this lipstick as a thank-you gift, you’re checking two important year-end items off your list: you’re supporting OTM to help fund another year of reporting and you’re getting a unique gift for yourself or a loved one.

Go to onthemedia.org/donate or text lipstick to 70101.

Thank you so much!

Nov 19 2019

12mins

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The Others

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After a week of hate-fueled attacks, we examine the "dotted line" from incitement to violence. We dig deep into tribalism and how it widens the gulf between Republicans and Democrats. Plus, the history of antisemitic propaganda and how it inspires modern-day violence. Also, why is the GOP running against California in midterm races around the country? 

1. A look at the possible connections between hateful rhetoric and violent acts, with law professor Garrett Epps [@Profepps], historian Michael Beschloss, and writer Amanda Robb. Listen.

2. Leo Ferguson [@LeoFergusonnyc] of Jews for Racial & Economic Justice on the history of antisemitic propaganda. Listen.

3. Lilliana Mason [@LilyMasonPhD], author of Uncivil Agreement: How Politics Became Our Identity, on tribalism and partisanship. Listen.

4. Why is California the bogeyman in the midterms? Lawrence Wright [@lawrence_wright] on the California/Texas relationship, KQED's Marisa Lagos [@mlagos] with the view from California, and Seth Masket [@smotus] of the University of Denver on the Californication of Colorado. Listen.

Nov 02 2018

49mins

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The Giant Referendum On Everything

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For the past month, journalists have been reporting on the anxieties of furloughed federal workers. This week, On the Media learns that many reporters face a new threat to their own job security. Plus, an on-screen dramatization of Brexit, and a likely sea-change in Youtube's rankings. 

1. Dave Krieger [@DaveKrieger], former editorial page director of the Boulder Daily Camera, on the latest newspaper target of vulture capitalism. Listen.

2. James Graham [@mrJamesGraham], screenwriter of "Brexit," on his star-studded depiction of an urgent, present-day dispute. Listen.

3. Matthew Goodwin [@GoodwinMJ], professor of politics and international relations at the University of Kent, on why so many people got the Brexit narrative wrong. Listen.

4. Clay Shirky [@cshirky], Ajey Nagar [@CarryMinati], Sarah Moore [@sarahlynn_1995] and others on the global culture war over PewDiePie and T-Series. Listen.

Jan 18 2019

49mins

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Bad Reputation

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The 2020 Democratic field is the most diverse ever, and five women are running to be the party’s presidential nominee. This week, we look at the sexist coverage of female candidates with a new Breaking News Consumer's Handbook: Gender and Politics Edition. Then, a re-examination of a 90's tabloid spectacle, Lorena Gallo (Lorena Bobbitt), arrested for cutting her husband's penis off after he raped her. Plus, how Black History Month undermines black history. 

1. Lili Loofbourow [@Millicentsomer], staff writer at Slate, on the sexist coverage of women in politics. Listen.

2. Joshua Rofé [@joshua_rofe], filmmaker, and Lorena Gallo (FKA Lorena Bobbitt) on the new documentary "Lorena." Listen.

3. Doreen St. Félix [@dstfelix], staff writer at The New Yorker, on the commercialization of Black History Month. Listen.

Songs:

The Crave by Jelly Roll Morton

Juliet of Spirits by Nino Rota and Eugene Walter

Okami by Nicola Cruz

River Man by Brad Mehldaw Trio

Mai Nozipo by Kronos Quartet

Feb 15 2019

49mins

Play

40 Acres

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President Trump claims to have struck a deal with Mexico to settle a dispute of his own making. On this week’s On the Media, a look at the lives of the people who stand to suffer most. Plus, how the path to America’s eviction crisis begins, in part, with the Great Migration. 

1. Bob Moore [@BobMooreNews], freelance reporter based in El Paso, on the human reality at the border amidst the latest Trumpian mendacity. Listen.

2. We continue our four-part series on eviction by charting the persistent line between racist housing policies, localized profiteering and the devastating plunder of generations of wealth. Guests include Matt Desmond [@just_shelter], founder of the Eviction Lab; Natalie Moore [@natalieymoore], reporter for WBEZ; and Marty Wegbreit, director of litigation for the Central Virginia Legal Aid Society. Listen.

Jun 14 2019

50mins

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Impossible!

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The political press has long used the vague notion of “electability” to drive horserace coverage of presidential candidates. This week, On the Media considers how the emphasis on electability takes the focus away from the issues and turns voters into pundits. Plus, the shady dealings of the tax preparation industry, and how FOIA has been weaponized. And, how Trump duped financial journalists about his net worth in the 1980s.

1. Investigative journalist Jonathan Greenberg [@JournalistJG] on how Trump obscured his finances to wind up on the Forbes list of richest Americans — and why it mattered so much to him.

2. Dennis Ventry, professor at UC Davis School of Law, on how the tax preparation industry united to shield themselves from a publicly-funded alternative.

3. OTM producer Alana Casanova-Burgess [@AlanaLlama] speaks with Dennis Ventry, Michael Halpern [@halpsci], Eric Lipton [@EricLiptonNYT] and Claudia Polsky about a bill in California that seeks to curb the weaponization of FOIA.

4. Alex Pareene [@pareene], staff writer at The New Republic, on how the idea of "electability" has metastasized among democratic voters.

May 10 2019

49mins

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The Myth of Meritocracy

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A college admissions scandal has highlighted what people refer to as "the myth of meritocracy." But actually, meritocracy itself is a myth. This week, On the Media looks at the satirical origins of the word and what they tell us about why the US embraces it. Plus, the messaging for and against Medicare for All, as well as a historical look at why we don't have universal healthcare. And economic historian and Tucker Carlson antagonist Rutger Bregman.

1. John Patrick Leary [@JohnPatLeary], professor at Wayne State University, on the history of the satirical origins of the word "meritocracy". Listen.

2.  Paul Waldman [@paulwaldman1] of The Washington Post on the messaging war over Medicare for All and what the media is getting wrong about the proposal. Listen.

3. Jill Quadagno of [@floridastate] on the history of why the U.S. has shunned universal healthcare. Listen.

4. Rutger Bregman [@rcbregman] on the myths about wealth and who creates it. Listen.

Mar 15 2019

49mins

Play

The Democracy We Think We Live In

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The pathways and origins of white nationalist thought were a matter of deadly importance in coverage of last weekend’s shootings. On this week’s On the Media, how mainstream punditry launders a tolerance for xenophobia. Also, the history of American presidents and media figures dismissing black and brown claims to power in a democracy. Plus, what calls for additional federal oversight in Puerto Rico mean for Puerto Ricans.

1. Tom Scocca [@tomscocca], politics editor at Slate, on the journalists, writers and political figures who cater to America's racist id. Listen.

2. Adam Serwer [@AdamSerwer], staff writer at The Atlantic, on the catastrophic, deadly idea that "only white people are fit for self-government." Listen.

3. OTM producer Alana Casanova-Burgess [@AlanaLlama] reports on the conversations some Puerto Ricans are having in Puerto Rico in a historic moment for the island, including demands more democracy -- and what that means in a colonial context. Listen.

Music

Exurgency by Zoe Keating

Aug 09 2019

49mins

Play

Harm To Ongoing Matter

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After years of waiting, journalists finally began digging into the redacted version of the Mueller report. On this week’s On the Media, how the special counsel’s findings confirm years of reporting about turmoil within the White House. Plus, what the Notre Dame fire and the Sacklers show us about the dark side of philanthropy, and how the Justice Department stopped prosecuting executives. And, an undercover investigation shines a light on the NRA’s PR machinery. 

1. Eric Umansky [@ericuman], deputy editor at ProPublica and co-host of the Trump Inc. podcast, on the Mueller revelations. Listen.

2. Anand Giridharadas [@AnandWrites], author of Winners Take All: The Elite Charade of Changing the World, on the dark side of philanthropy. Listen.

3. Jesse Eisinger [@eisingerj], author of The Chickenshit Club, on how the Justice Department stopped prosecuting executives. Listen.

4. Peter Charley, executive producer of Al Jazeera's "How To Sell a Massacre," on the NRA's PR machinery. Listen.

Songs:

Okami by Nicola Cruz Capicua by Animal Chuki Colibria by Nicola Cruz Let's Face the Music and Dance by Harry Roy Lost, Night by Bill Frissell This is NRA Country by Justin Moore

Apr 19 2019

49mins

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Whose Streets?

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The message from Silicon Valley seems to be that self-driving cars are the way of the future. This week, On the Media considers the history behind the present-day salesmanship. Plus, why transit rights mean much more than point-A-to-point-B mobility. Also, a new opera about Robert Moses and Jane Jacobs. 

1. Angie Schmitt [@schmangee], national reporter at Streetsblog, on the "heartwarming" stories of Americans who walk miles and miles to workListen.

2. Peter Norton, professor of history at University of Virginia's Department of Engineering and Society, and Emily Badger, urban policy reporter for the New York Times, on the past, present and dazzling future of self-driving car salesmanship. Listen.

3. Judd Greenstein [@juddgreenstein], composer, on the in-progress opera, A Marvelous Order. Listen.

4. Kafui Attoh, professor of urban studies at the CUNY Graduate Center, on the deeper political meanings of "transit rights." Listen.

Music from this week's show:

Dan Deacon — USA III: RailIggy Pop — The PassengerGary Numan — CarsJudd Greenstein — ChangeJudd Greenstein — A Marvelous OrderBrian Eno — Music For Airports

Nov 23 2018

50mins

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Tribalism, Anger and the State of Our Politics

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If solidarity and the recognition of mutual self-interest are the keys to moving past our fractious moment, it can be hard to see how we'll get there. Anger and tribalism appear to be at an all-time high, creating political and societal rifts that seem unbridgeable. Indeed, it is hard to believe that only 70 years ago, the country was deemed by political scientists to be not polarized enough. In 1950, the American Political Science Association put out a report that suggested that the parties were not distinct enough and that it was making people's political decision making too difficult.

Over the next few decades, they became distinct alright. Lilliana Mason is a political psychologist at the University of Maryland. When we spoke to her last fall, she told us that most people think they know exactly what each party stands for — leaving us with two camps that both seek to destroy the other. 

Dec 04 2019

23mins

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We Need To Talk About Poland

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With the US deep in questions of impeachment, what lessons can we learn from divided societies abroad? This week, On the Media travels to Poland, where conspiracy, xenophobia and the rise of illiberalism have the country in an existential fight for its future. On the Media producer Leah Feder reports.

1. Anne Applebaum [@anneapplebaum] on the conspiracy theories around a 2010 plane crash that redrew lines in Polish politics. Listen.

2. Pawel Machcewicz on the Law & Justice party's takeover of the Museum of the Second World War in Gdansk. Also featuring Anne Applebaum [@anneapplebaum], Janine Holc and Angieszka Syroka. Listen.

3. An exploration of left and right strategies in contemporary Poland, with Igor Stokfiszewski of [@krytyka], Anne Applebaum [@anneapplebaum] and Jaroslaw Kuisz of [@kultliberalna]. Listen.

Music:

OldNova - Taniec KikimoryChopin - Nocturne en mi Bémol Majeur op 9 no° 2Wojciech Kilar, Tadeusz Strugala, The Warsaw Philharmonic National Orchestra of Poland - Moving to the Ghetto Oct 31, 1940Chopin - Nocturne no° 1 in B Flat MajorChopin, Ivan Moravec - Berceuse in D Flat Minor, Op. 57 Przepis Po Polsku (Polish Recipe)BOKKA - Town of Strangers

Nov 29 2019

50mins

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PURPLE EPISODE 4: Media to the Rescue?

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As part of a month-long campaign called the Purple Project for Democracy, (a strictly non-partisan, apolitical effort that a number of other large news organizations have also contributed to) we are featuring a series of conversations about an alarming loss of trust, faith and devotion by Americans for American democracy — and what to do about it. Bob is one of the Purple Project organizers. In episode four, Bob examines the media’s responsibility for instilling devotion, or at least perspective, for our democracy.

A 2014 National Assessment of Educational Progress, or NAEP, showed only 23 percent of eighth graders in the United States attained “proficient” status in civics. A 2011 Newsweek survey found that 70 percent of Americans didn’t even know that the Constitution is the supreme law of the land. And only 26% of those surveyed in 2017 by the University of Pennsylvania could name all three branches of government. And no wonder: with STEM curriculum and standardized testing squeezing the school day, civics has become the snow leopard of the social studies curriculum. 

So if the knowledge vacuum is otherwise filled by misinformation and disinformation, and the result is a loss of faith and trust in democracy itself, who is left to intervene? Jan Schaffer — ombudsman for the Corporation of Public Broadcasting, Pulitzer Prize–winning former journalist and founder of The Institute for Interactive Journalism — talks to Bob about what responsibility the media have to become educators, and maybe even re-assurers, of last resort.

Music:

Ashokan Farewell by Jay Ungar

Nov 26 2019

10mins

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PURPLE EPISODE 3: Let’s Not Discount Reality

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As part of a month-long campaign called the Purple Project for Democracy, OTM is using its podcast feed for a series of conversations about an alarming loss of trust, faith and devotion by Americans for American democracy — and what to do about it. Bob himself is one of the Purple Project organizers. We recommend that you listen to this four-part mini-series in order. In this third episode he explores some of the causes for disaffection.

One of the reasons so many Americans have lost trust and faith is democratic institutions is simple misunderstanding about how the system is designed to work.  Another, however, is familiarity with how the system does work— which isn’t exactly of, by and for the People. Anand Giridharadas is author of Winners Take All: The Elite Charade of Changing the World. He says the founders also didn’t plan on politicians constantly trash-talking government itself and that a decline in trust in government is the result of a concerted, private sector propaganda war waged over the last four decades.

Music:

Purple Haze by Jimi Hendrix

Nov 25 2019

10mins

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

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As part of a month-long campaign called the Purple Project for Democracy, (a strictly non-partisan, apolitical effort that a number of other large news organizations have also contributed to) we are featuring a series of conversations about an alarming loss of trust, faith and devotion by Americans for American democracy –– and what to do about it. Bob is one of the Purple Project organizers.

The Pizzagate pedophile conspiracy, crisis actors at Sandy Hook, the flat Earthers...and on and on. Absolute nonsense peddled by the cynical and the naive, and eagerly lapped up by the gullible. Misinformation is a problem that Brendan Nyhan, professor of government at Dartmouth College, has studied for years. In this interview, Brendan and Bob discuss new research on how Americans form their political beliefs and how civic institutions may begin to win back their trust.

Song:

Il Casanova di Federico Fellini by Nino Rota

Nov 24 2019

14mins

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

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As part of a month-long campaign called the Purple Project for Democracy, (a strictly non-partisan, apolitical effort that a number of other large news organizations have also contributed to) we are featuring a series of conversations about an alarming loss of trust, faith and devotion by Americans for American democracy -- and what to do about it. Bob is one of the Purple Project organizers.

Democracy is in trouble. Not necessarily because of our current political mayhem, or even because of the accumulated sins and failures of American society, but because vast swaths of the public are giving up on the system that has governed us for 243 years.

Here are some alarming data points: One, in 2018 only 33% of the general population expressed trust for government. Two, among 1400 adults asked about the importance of democracy, only 39% of younger participants said “absolutely important.” Three, in a 2018 Democracy Fund survey of 5000 Americans, 24% of respondents expressed support for “a strong leader who doesn’t have to bother with Congress or elections,” and either a “strong leader” and 18% for “army rule.

The more complicated question is what as a society we are to do about it? In this mini-series we’ll be talking that over, but we’ll begin with the actual state of public sentiment and public participation. Eric Liu is the co-founder and CEO of Citizen University and Co-chair of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences Commission on the Practice of Democratic Citizenship. He and Bob discuss potential solutions for taking on widespread disaffection.

Music:

We Insist by Zoë Keating

Nov 23 2019

16mins

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The Disagreement Is The Point

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In hearings this week, House Democrats sought to highlight an emerging set of facts concerning the President’s conduct. On this week’s On the Media, a look at why muddying the waters remains a viable strategy for Trump’s defenders. Plus, even the technology we trust for its clarity isn’t entirely objective, especially the algorithms that drive decisions in public and private institutions. And, how early radio engineers designed broadcast equipment to favor male voices and make women sound "shrill."

1. David Roberts [@drvox], writer covering energy for Vox, on the "epistemic crisis" at the heart of our bifurcated information ecosystem. Listen.

2. Cathy O'Neil [@mathbabedotorg], mathematician and author of Weapons of Math Destruction: How Big Data Increases Inequality and Threatens Democracy, on the biases baked into our algorithms. Listen.

3. Tina Tallon [@ttallon], musician and professor, on how biases built into radio technology have shaped how we hear women speak. Listen.

Music:

Misterioso by Kronos Quartet

Human Nature by Vijay Iyer Trio

Il Casanova di Federico Fellini by Nino Rota

Whispers of Heavenly Death by John Zorn

These Boots Are Made For Walkin' by Nancy Sinatra

Nov 22 2019

49mins

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We Made a Lipstick For You!

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What counts as media? For us, its any medium through which we express ourselves — whether from one to one, from one to many, or just from one... to one’s own self. 

We can do it with our style. Our hair. Even our glasses. They're choices that express not just our aesthetics, but our politics, too. 

And so for this seasonal fundraising effort, we are offering something new. It was the idea of Poppy King, lipstick designer extraordinaire, whose Frog Prince lipstick was last year listed by Elle Australia as one of the most iconic lipstick shades of all time. King's a devoted listener, so, in collaboration with the show, she designed a special lipstick. It's called Well Red and she offered a batch of them to us as a donation so that we can pass them on to you.

We are offering these very special lipsticks to you for a donation of $12 a month or $144 for a year's worth of support for this show. 

If you donate by December 6th, we can guarantee delivery in time for the holidays. Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa? We have your lipstick gifting needs covered. 

When you get this lipstick as a thank-you gift, you’re checking two important year-end items off your list: you’re supporting OTM to help fund another year of reporting and you’re getting a unique gift for yourself or a loved one.

Go to onthemedia.org/donate or text lipstick to 70101.

Thank you so much!

Nov 19 2019

12mins

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Designed to Intimidate

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Millions tuned into impeachment hearings this week — the first two of five already scheduled. On this week’s show, why shifts in public opinion may not necessarily sway the GOP. Plus, what we can learn from the predatory tactics that enriched Bill Gates.

1. Nicole Hemmer [@pastpunditry], author of Messengers of the Right: Conservative Media and the Transformation of American Politicson the false premise underlying hope for President Trump's removal. Listen.

2. John Dean [@JohnWDean] former White House counsel, on the lessons he's applying from Watergate to the impeachment hearings for President Trump. Listen.

3. Former Labor Secretary Rob Reich [@RBReich] and Goliath author Matt Stoller [@matthewstoller] on how billionaires like Bill Gates use their power and wealth to force their vision on society. Listen.

Music:

Zoe Keating — We InsistDonnie Darko — Cellar DoorChicago Sunset — Charlie MusselwhiteCarmen Fantasy — Anderson and RowTongue in cheek — Gaurav Raina Tarana MarwahOtotoa — Malphino

Nov 15 2019

50mins

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

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You really have a feeling that here is a building that looks fantastically beautiful, and it’s got its whole façade simply blown off by this war.

                                                                                                      -Philipp Blom

World War I presented civilization with unprecedented violence and destruction. The shock of the first modern, “industrial” war extended far into the 20th century and even into the 21st, and changed how people saw the world and themselves. And that was reflected in the cultural responses to the war – which included a burgeoning obsession with beauty and body image, the birth of jazz, new thinking about the human psyche, the Harlem Renaissance, Surrealism...and more.

WNYC's Sara Fishko and guests sift through the lingering effects of the Great War on modern art and life in Shell Shock 1919: How the Great War Changed Culture.

Guests include Jon Batiste, Ann Temkin, David Lubin, Philipp Blom, Jay Winter, Ana Carden-Coyne, Sabine Rewald, David Levering Lewis, Emma Chambers, Marion von Osten, Emily Bernard, and Gail Stavitsky

‘L.H.O.O.Q.’ by Marcel Duchamp; readymade [postcard reproduction of Leonardo da Vinci’s Mona Lisa] and pencil (1919)
(Philadelphia Museum of Art)
James Reese Europe and the 369th Regiment band, also known as the Harlem Hellfighters (1918)
(U.S. National Archives and Record Administration)
Margaret Gorman, the first Miss America, on the Atlantic City boardwalk (1921)
(Wikimedia Commons)
Still from Wallace Worsley’s The Hunchback of Notre Dame (1923, Universal) starring Lon Chaney as Quasimodo and Patsy Ruth Miller as Esmeralda
(Universal Pictures)
The Cenotaph in Whitehall, London on November 9, 2015, surrounded by poppy wreaths for Remembrance Day
(Bailey-Cooper Photography / Alamy Stock Photo)

Producer/Host: Sara FishkoAssociate Producer: Olivia BrileyTechnical Director: Ed HaberEditor: Karen Frillmann

Production help from Terence Mickey, Meara Sharma, and Frederic Castel

With the voices of Michael Wist and Alexis Cuadrado

Thanks to Loren Schoenberg, Jennifer Keene, Jo Fox, Katy Wan, Marion von Osten, Marion Kiesow II, Patrick Helber, Shannon Connolly, and Natalia Ramirez

Shell Shock 1919 is supported by the Revada Foundation of the Logan Family

Nov 13 2019

55mins

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Curiouser and Curiouser

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President Trump’s concerns about corruption in Ukraine began, in part, with a series of articles in a publication called The Hill. On this week’s On the Media, a close-up on the columnist whose dubious tales may lead to an impeachment. Plus, the black nationalist origins of Justice Clarence Thomas’s legal thinking.

1. Paul Farhi [@farhip], Washington Post media reporter, and Mike Spies [@mikespiesnyc], ProPublica reporter, on John Solomon's role in the impeachment saga. Listen

2. Corey Robin [@CoreyRobin], writer and political scientist at Brooklyn College and the CUNY Graduate Center, on all that we've missed (or ignored) about Justice Clarence Thomas. Listen

Music from this week's show:

How Strange by Nicola CruzI'm the Slime By Frank ZappaSuite for Solo Cello No. 6 in D Major, BWV 1012: I. Prelude by Yo Yo MaLachrymae Antiquae by Kronos QuartetTwo Thousand Seventeen by Four Tet

Nov 08 2019

50mins

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Can We Govern Ourselves?

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As Americans battle for control of the future of the United States, it seems that we're always going back to founding documents and core principles: relying on them and reinterpreting them, in what seems to be an increasingly arduous effort to govern ourselves. It all starts to beg an uncomfortable question: in the end, can we govern ourselves? John Adams didn’t think so. He said that all political systems, whether monarchy, democracy, aristocracy, were equally prey to the brutish nature of mankind.

Harvard historian Jill Lepore wrote a sweeping history of the American experiment called These Truths: A History of the United States. Brooke spoke with Lepore about this country's history and the history of the contested — and supposedly self-evident — truths under-girding our shaky democracy. 

This segment is from our November 9th, 2018 episode, We're Not Very Good At This.

Nov 06 2019

23mins

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Band-Aid On A Bulletwound

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As wildfires tear through California, our decades-old infrastructure comes back to bite us. On this week’s On the Media, how we can understand this latest climate catastrophe through a metaphor from the computer world. Plus, the on-going struggle over the fate of the internet message board 8chan. And, Radiolab's Molly Webster digs into the right to be forgotten. 

1.  Writer Quinn Norton [@quinnnorton] on how California's wildfires are caused in large part by infrastructure decays, or the "technical debt" being accumulated by the state, and governments around the country. Listen.

2. Producer Micah Loewinger [@MicahLoewinger] reports on whether 8chan can remain dead after being de-platformed in August, featuring a conversation with the founder of the site Frederick Brennan [@HW_BEAT_THAT], who now advocates for shutting it down. Listen.

3. Radiolab [@Radiolab] producer Molly Webster on a group of journalists in Ohio trying an experiment: unpublishing content they’ve already published. Listen

Music from this week's show:

John Zorn — Prelude 7: Sign and SigilJohn Zorn — Night ThoughtsClint Mansell & Kronos Quartet: Coney Island Dreaming Korla Pandit — Procession of the Grand MoghulMichael Andrews: The Artifact and Living

Nov 01 2019

50mins

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OTM presents Trump Inc: All the President's Memes

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President Trump's Doral resort has been in the news a lot lately. His chief of staff announced from the White House that America would host the next G-7 summit there. Then, Trump backed off. We're looking at a conference that did happen at Doral. A conference that attracted conspiracy theorists, where a violent video featuring a fake Trump massacring members of the media was shown. (The conference organizers say they "condemn political violence.") 

Trump, Inc. was there. 

So was the President’s son, Donald Trump, Jr.

This week: The business of conspiracies.

Oct 30 2019

26mins

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When They Come For You

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There’s a growing movement on the left and right for prison reform. On this week’s On the Media, a deep dive into the strange bedfellows coalition working to close prisons down. Also, in speeches, testimony, and leaked audio, Mark Zuckerberg has been trying to make a case for free expression — and for Facebook. Plus, what the TV show COPS reveals about our fascination with punishment. 

1. Kate Klonick [@Klonick], assistant professor at St. John's Law School, on Mark Zuckerberg's pronouncements this month on democracy, free expression, and the future of Facebook. Listen.

2. David Dagan [@DavidDagan], post-doctoral political science scholar at George Washington University; Mark Holden, senior vice president of Koch Industries; and Brittany Williams, activist with No New Jails in New York City, on the closing down of prisons and jails.

3. Dan Taberski [@dtaberski], host of the podcast "Running From Cops," on what he and his team learned from watching hundreds of episodes of "COPS." Listen.

Music:

Okami - Nicola Cruz Dirty Money - Antibalas Chez Le Photographe Du Motel - Miles DavisI Feel Fine - Bela Fleck and Tony Trishka  

Oct 25 2019

50mins

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OTM presents: Impeachment Pod, the Taylor Testimony

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This week's OTM pod extra is another episode from the new podcast hosted by WNYC's Brian Lehrer: 

Where are we on impeachment today?Yesterday evening, the public got the chance to read the opening statement of U.S. emissary to Ukraine William Taylor's testimony. In it, he described "two channels of U.S. policy-making" in Ukraine, official State Department and security channels, and the "highly irregular" efforts by others in the President's circle to undermine the longstanding policy in Ukraine. Taylor laid out the most complete timeline of those efforts available thus far, and cited contacts he'd had with others that indicate President Trump's direct involvement. 

On today’s episode:Michael Isikoff, chief investigative correspondent for Yahoo! News, host of the podcast "Conspiracyland," co-host of the "Skullduggery" podcast and co-author of Russian Roulette: The Inside Story of Putin's War on America and the Election of Donald Trump  

Oct 23 2019

22mins

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Hanging In The Balance

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In covering President Trump’s decision to stop protecting Kurdish fighters in Syria, press reports have focused on the Kurds as US allies and tools in fighting ISIS. This week, On the Media looks at a different aspect of Kurdish life: the experiment in direct democracy that has flourished in northern Syria for the past five years. Plus: how debate moderators fail audiences when they focus on taxes. And, how reporters have negotiated dangerous conditions while reporting on the Turkish operation in Syria. 

1. Daniel Estrin [@DanielEstrin], NPR international correspondent, on the difficulties in reporting from Syria, from outside Syria. Listen

2.  Jenna Krajeski [@Jenna_Krajeski], a journalist with the Fuller Project for International Reporting, on the Kurdish political project, and Rapareen abd Elhameed Hasn, a 27-year-old activist and co-president of her local health authority in Rojava, on what it's been like on the ground. Listen.

3. Arthur Delaney [@ArthurDelaneyHP], on the worst debate question moderators keep asking. Listen.

Music from this week's show:

Marcus Ciscar — “Fallen Leaves”Michael Linnen — “Cantus for Bob Hardison”Zoe Keating — “We Insist”Mark Henry Phillips — [untitled track]Mark Henry Phillips — [untitled track]Gaurav Raina and Tarana Marwah — “Tongue in Cheek”Howard Shore — “Cops or Criminals”

Oct 18 2019

49mins

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Introducing... Impeachment: A Daily Podcast

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The pace of impeachment-related revelations is breathtaking, and it isn't slowing yet. With each day comes yet another executive branch staffer defying the White House by testifying behind closed doors on Capitol Hill — new names, fresh allegations, and ever more twists and turns. To help us follow the developments, Brian Lehrer — whose office here at WNYC is mere steps away from OTM HQ — has started a daily podcast: Impeachment. In this second episode of the podcast, New York Times reporter Katie Benner explains why George Kent, a senior State Department official for Ukraine policy, told Congressional investigators that he was instructed by a supervisor to "lie low" after raising concerns about the Trump administration's conduct. 

Oct 16 2019

19mins

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Sticks and Stones

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“The right to throw a punch ends at the tip of someone’s nose.” It’s the idea that underlies American liberties — but does it still fit in 2019? This week, On the Media looks back at our country’s radical — and radically inconsistent — tradition of free speech. Plus, a prophetic philosopher predicts America 75 years after Trump.

1. Andrew Marantz [@andrewmarantz], author of Anti-Social: Online Extremists, Techno-Utopians, and the Hijacking of the American Conversation — and our guest host for this hour — explains what he sees as the problem with free speech absolutism. Listen

2. John Powell [@profjohnapowell], law professor at UC Berkeley, P.E. Moskowitz [@_pem_pem], author of The Case Against Free Speech: The First Amendment, Fascism, and the Future of Dissent, and Susan Benesch [@SusanBenesch], Director of the Dangerous Speech Project, on our complicated legal right to speak. Listen

3. Andrew and Brooke discuss the philosopher Richard Rorty, whose work can teach us much about where the present approach to speech might take us, as a nation. Listen

Oct 11 2019

50mins

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"The Heartbeat of Wounded Knee"

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This coming Monday, some states and cities will celebrate Indigenous People’s Day, renamed from Columbus Day to honor the lives and history lost due to centuries of colonialism. Meanwhile, the few American Indian stories most Americans learn in school, like those found in Dee Brown's best-selling Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee, only reinforce simplistic narratives of genocide, disease, and suffering.

David Treuer, an Ojibwe professor of literature at the University of Southern California, offers a counter-narrative to this tragic account of Indian life in his book, The Heartbeat of Wounded Knee: Native America From 1890 to the PresentIn this interview from fall of 2018, he and Brooke discuss the overlooked American Indian Movement that informed the viral 2016 protest at Standing Rock, and the means by which Indians have been fighting for social and political change for centuries.

This is a segment from our October 5, 2018 program, The Victimhood.

Oct 09 2019

22mins

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