Rank #1: Hindsight Is 2019
2019 started on a note of fakery, as we made sense of the conspiracies and simulacra that distort our information field. It's ending with a similar air of surreality, with impeachment proceedings bringing the dynamics of the Trump presidency into stark relief. Along the way, we've examined forces, deconstructed narratives, and found the racist core at the heart of so much of the American project. And as we've come to look differently at the world, we've come to look differently at ourselves.
With excerpts from:
- When The Internet is Mostly Fake, January 11th, 2019 United States of Conspiracy, May 17th, 2019 Trump Sees Conspiracies Everywhere, October 4th, 2019 Understanding the White Power Movement, March 22nd, 2019 Why "Send Her Back" Reverberated So Loudly, July 19th, 2019 The Scarlet E, Part II: 40 Acres, June 14th, 2019 Part 1: The Myth Of The Frontier, March 29th, 2019 Empire State of Mind, April 5th, 2019 The Perils of Laundering Hot Takes Through History, March 1st, 2019
Sentimental Journey by Hal McIntyre and his OrchestraNewsreel by Randy NewmanString Quartet No. 5 (II) by Kronos Quartet & Philip Glass8½ by Rino NotaSongs of War by United States Old Guard fife and Drum CorpsThe Water Rises / Our Street Is a Black River by Laurie Anderson & Kronos Quartet Marc Phillips Tribute To America (Medley) by The O’Neill BrothersTomorrow Never Knows by Quartetto d’Archi Dell’Orchestra Sinfonica di Milano Giuseppe VerdiMerkabah by John Zorn
Dec 27 2019
Rank #2: Black Swans
As coronavirus spreads, the Center for Disease Control is warning Americans to take urgent precautions. Meanwhile, the White House says tune out and calm down. On this week’s On the Media, what to expect as COVID-19 threatens to make its way through a ruptured body politic. Plus, amid so much focus on electability, a look at the millions of voters who swing from voting “blue” to simply not voting at all.
Further reading: "The Wuhan Virus: How To Stay Safe," by Laurie Garrett, published by Foreign Policy on January 25, 2020. Garrett also recommends reading coronavirus coverage and commentary from STAT's Helen Branswell, Science Mag's Jon Cohen and Kai Kupferschmidt, and John Hopkins's Tom Inglesby.
John Zorn - Berotim
Cling Mansell & Kronos Quartet - Full Tense
Nino Rota/Enrico Peranunzi & Charlie Haden - Fellini’s Waltz
Martyn Axe - German Lullaby
Nino Rota - Il Casanova de Frederico Fellini
David Bowie/Meridian String Quartet - Heroes
Feb 28 2020
Rank #3: Hurtling Toward Catastrophe
After the US military assassinated an Iranian military general, war propaganda kicked into overdrive. On this week’s On the Media, how news consumers can cut through the misleading claims and dangerous frames. Plus, how Generation Z is interpreting the geopolitical crisis through memes. And, how apocalyptic thinking is a near-constant through history.
Music from this week's show:
Nirvana/The Bad Plus — Smells Like Teen SpiritMichael Andrews — The Artifact & LivingUnknown — March for the 3 Regt. of FootThin Lizzy — The Boys Are Back In TownJohn Zorn — Prelude 3: Prelude of LightHank Jones — Wade in the WaterJohn Zorn — Gormenghast
Jan 10 2020
Rank #4: The Disagreement Is The Point
In hearings this week, House Democrats sought to highlight an emerging set of facts concerning the President’s conduct. On this week’s On the Media, a look at why muddying the waters remains a viable strategy for Trump’s defenders. Plus, even the technology we trust for its clarity isn’t entirely objective, especially the algorithms that drive decisions in public and private institutions. And, how early radio engineers designed broadcast equipment to favor male voices and make women sound "shrill."
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
Rank #5: Let The Record Show
For only the third time in U.S. history, the American press is covering a presidential impeachment. On this week’s On the Media, a look at a few of the coverage missteps made along the way. And, the reporting process behind the Washington Post "Afghanistan Papers" scoop. Plus, the story of an unprecedented trove of TV news history, and the media activist who made it possible.
3. Matt Wolf, documentarian, on the life and work of the activist-archivist Marion Stokes. Listen.
Dec 20 2019
Rank #6: When They Come For You
There’s a growing movement on the left and right for prison reform. On this week’s On the Media, a deep dive into the strange bedfellows coalition working to close prisons down. Also, in speeches, testimony, and leaked audio, Mark Zuckerberg has been trying to make a case for free expression — and for Facebook. Plus, what the TV show COPS reveals about our fascination with punishment.
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.
Okami - Nicola Cruz Dirty Money - Antibalas Chez Le Photographe Du Motel - Miles DavisI Feel Fine - Bela Fleck and Tony Trishka
Oct 25 2019
Rank #7: We Need To Talk About Poland
With the US deep in questions of impeachment, what lessons can we learn from divided societies abroad? This week, On the Media travels to Poland, where conspiracy, xenophobia and the rise of illiberalism have the country in an existential fight for its future. On the Media producer Leah Feder reports.
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
Rank #8: Designed to Intimidate
Millions tuned into impeachment hearings this week — the first two of five already scheduled. On this week’s show, why shifts in public opinion may not necessarily sway the GOP. Plus, what we can learn from the predatory tactics that enriched Bill Gates.
1. Nicole Hemmer [@pastpunditry], author of Messengers of the Right: Conservative Media and the Transformation of American Politics, on the false premise underlying hope for President Trump's removal. Listen.
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.
Zoe Keating — We InsistDonnie Darko — Cellar DoorChicago Sunset — Charlie MusselwhiteCarmen Fantasy — Anderson and RowTongue in cheek — Gaurav Raina Tarana MarwahOtotoa — Malphino
Nov 15 2019
Rank #9: Civilization, Interrupted
The World Health Organization has officially declared the spread of COVID-19 a global pandemic. On this week's On the Media, how coverage of the virus in the United States, overseas and onscreen is informing how we cope with the threat of infection.
Mar 13 2020
Rank #10: The Dead Consensus
As House leaders begin drafting articles of impeachment, examples from the Nixon and Clinton eras abound. This week, On the Media rewinds to the 19th century — and the turbulent impeachment of Andrew Johnson. Plus, what a debate between two right-wing intellectuals means for the future of conservatism.
It's Beginning To Look A Lot Like Christmas by Black Dyke BandGormenghast by John ZornPassing Time by John RenbournPrelude of Light by John ZornPsalom by Kronos QuartetPurple Haze by Kronos Quartet
Dec 06 2019
Rank #11: Curiouser and Curiouser
President Trump’s concerns about corruption in Ukraine began, in part, with a series of articles in a publication called The Hill. On this week’s On the Media, a close-up on the columnist whose dubious tales may lead to an impeachment. Plus, the black nationalist origins of Justice Clarence Thomas’s legal thinking.
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
Rank #12: Money, Power, Glory
The showdown for the Democratic nomination continues, and the gloves have come off. This week, On the Media examines the conflicting narratives around how each candidate raises money. Plus, how changes at the National Archives could distort the historical record of the Trump administration.
1. Michael Grynbaum [@grynbaum], media correspondent for The New York Times, and Kathy Kiely [@kathykiely], former news director at Bloomberg Politics and journalism professor at University of Missouri School of Journalism, on how Bloomberg News is — and isn't — covering the candidacy of its owner. Listen.
4. Matthew Connelly [@mattspast], history professor at Columbia University, explains how policy changes at the National Archives could distort the historical record about the Trump Administration. Listen.
Music from this week's show:
David Holmes — $160 Million Chinese ManAdrian Younge — Turn Down the SoundBilly Bragg and Wilco — Union PrayerAntibalas — Dirty MoneyBill Frisell — Lost, NightCalifone — Burned by the Christians
Feb 21 2020
Rank #13: Optical Delusion
A gathering of thousands of armed protesters in Virginia last weekend prompted fears of mass violence. On this episode of On the Media, how some militia groups are spinning the lack of bloodshed as victory. Plus, fresh demands for accountability in Puerto Rico, and why the senate impeachment trial feels so predictable.
2. Lois Beckett [@loisbeckett], reporter at the Guardian, and OTM producer Micah Loewinger [@MicahLoewinger] on the efforts to shape the media narrative among gun rights activists at Virginia's Lobby Day. Listen.
All the President's Men Theme by Nini RossoJoeira by KurupGeneral Scott's March by Liberty Tree Wind PlayersOriginal music by Mark Henry PhillipsCantus for Bob Hardison by Michael LinnenKerala by Bonobo
Jan 24 2020
Rank #14: Playing The Hero
Elected officials offer a flood of facts and spin in daily coronavirus briefings. On this week’s On the Media, hear how the press could do a better job separating vital information from messaging. Plus, a look at the unintended consequences of armchair epidemiology. And, how one watchdog journalist has won paid sick leave for thousands of workers during the pandemic.
Mar 27 2020
Rank #15: Bracing for Impact
As a global pandemic threatens to upend life as we know it, the future is becoming increasingly difficult to grapple with. On this week's On the Media, we turn to people who have been spent years readying themselves for societal collapse: doomsday preppers. Plus, how a different disaster — Hurricane Katrina — revealed inconsistencies in how we care for one another in times of crisis.
1. As the pandemic continues to disrupt our communities and daily routines, the very passage of time feels distorted. Brooke [@otmbrooke] examines how covid-19 is warping a sense of chronology. Listen here.
2. OTM Producer Micah Loewinger [@MicahLoewinger] immerses himself in the survivalist media sphere, and talks to Richard Mitchell Jr., professor emeritus of sociology at Oregon State University, about how preppers are reacting to news that the moment they've been planning for may finally be here. Listen here.
Music from this week's show:
Time is Late by Marcos Ciscar
PRELUDE 8: The Invisibles by John Zorn
Coffee Cold by Galt MacDermot
Slow Pulse Conga by William Pasley
Down to Earth by Peter Gabriel
"Auf einer Burg" by Don Byron
Melancolia by Marcos Ciscar
Mar 20 2020
Rank #16: Band-Aid On A Bulletwound
As wildfires tear through California, our decades-old infrastructure comes back to bite us. On this week’s On the Media, how we can understand this latest climate catastrophe through a metaphor from the computer world. Plus, the on-going struggle over the fate of the internet message board 8chan. And, Radiolab's Molly Webster digs into the right to be forgotten.
1. Writer Quinn Norton [@quinnnorton] on how California's wildfires are caused in large part by infrastructure decays, or the "technical debt" being accumulated by the state, and governments around the country. Listen.
2. Producer Micah Loewinger [@MicahLoewinger] reports on whether 8chan can remain dead after being de-platformed in August, featuring a conversation with the founder of the site Frederick Brennan [@HW_BEAT_THAT], who now advocates for shutting it down. Listen.
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
Rank #17: Norm!
Attorney General Bill Barr appeared to spar with Donald Trump in the latest chapter of the Roger Stone case. On this week’s On the Media, why the apparent interference in the Justice Department’s work should cause concern. Plus, Customs and Border Patrol builds a new bulwark against disclosure and transparency. And, a family migration story three decades in the making.
Music from this week's show:
In The Bath — Randy NewmanThe Artifact & Living — Michael AndrewsString Quartet No. 5 — Philip Glass, performed by Kronos QuartetThe Glass House - Marjanes's Inspiration — David BergeaudFrail as a Breeze, Pt. 2 — Erik FriedlanderThe Thompson Fields — Maria Schneider
Feb 14 2020
Rank #18: Can Restorative Justice Save The Internet?
As prison populations soar, advocates on both side of the spectrum agree that the law-and-order approach to criminal justice is not making us safer. On this week's On the Media, we look at restorative justice, an alternative to prison that can provide meaningful resolution and rehabilitation. Meanwhile, harassment and bullying are plaguing our online lives, but social media companies seem fresh out of solutions. OTM brings you the story of a reporter and a researcher who teamed up to test whether restorative justice can be used to help detoxify the web.
2. Lindsay Blackwell [@linguangst], UX researcher at Facebook, and OTM reporter Micah Loewinger [@micahloewinger] share the story of their online restorative justice experiment. Plus, Jack Dorsey [@jack], CEO of Twitter, and Ashley Feinberg [@ashleyfeinberg], a senior writer at Slate, on the toxic state of Twitter. Listen.
Jan 03 2020
Rank #19: Nice Democracy You've Got There...
The impeachment inquiry into President Trump is tangled up in Ukrainian politics, but few Washington reporters understand the dynamics at play. This week, On the Media looks at what we all need to know to make sense of the news. Plus, why there are no whistle-blower protections for those in the intelligence community. And, how the Nixon impeachment makes a case for a more deliberate Trump inquiry. Don't miss...
2. Tom Devine, legal director at the Government Accountability Project, on the poor protections for intelligence community whistle-blowers. Listen.
Nuages (Clouds) by James Carter
Life On Mars? by Meridian String Quarter
A Ride With Polly Jean by Jenny Scheinman
Nocturne for piano in B flat minor
Sep 27 2019
Rank #20: OTM presents: Shell Shock 1919: How the Great War Changed Culture
You really have a feeling that here is a building that looks fantastically beautiful, and it’s got its whole façade simply blown off by this war.
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)
Still from Wallace Worsley’s The Hunchback of Notre Dame (1923, Universal) starring Lon Chaney as Quasimodo and Patsy Ruth Miller as Esmeralda
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