Rank #1: What Goes Around, Comes Around?
The Kavanaugh-Ford hearings this week felt like a watershed moment — but it’s not yet clear what long-term impact they’ll have. This week, we examine some of the policies that could be affected by the Supreme Court if Kavanaugh is confirmed, including dark money disclosure and voting rights. Plus, a moment of zen during trying times.
1. Brooke on this week's Kavanaugh-Ford hearings. Listen.
3. Michelle Ye Hee Lee [@myhlee], national reporter for the Washington Post, on the recent Supreme Court action regarding the disclosure of dark money donations. Listen.
Black Coffee by Galt MacDermotMelancholia by Marcos Ciscar
Sep 28 2018
Rank #2: 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 #3: OTM presents Trump Inc: All the President's Memes
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
Rank #4: Three Years for Michael Cohen
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
Rank #5: Everything Is Fake
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?
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.
Jan 11 2019
Rank #6: Introducing: The Scarlet E
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.
Jun 07 2019
Rank #7: Full Faith & Credit
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.
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
Rank #8: Empire State of Mind
In a special hour this week, On the Media examines the history of US imperialism — and why the familiar US map hides the true story of our country. Brooke spends the hour with Northwestern University historian Daniel Immerwahr, author of How to Hide an Empire: A History of the Greater United States.
This is Part 2 of our series "On American Expansion." This episode originally aired April 5th, 2019.
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
Rank #9: Look Back in Anger
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.
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:
Mar 01 2019
Rank #10: The Victimhood
On Thursday in the Wall Street Journal, Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh acknowledged his sharp tone in recent hearings. This week, we examine the anger and resentment driving the #MeToo backlash. Plus, a deep dive into into our flawed narratives about Native American history, and a close look at the role problematic fantasies about indigenous people play in German culture.
1. Lili Loofbourow [@Millicentsomer], staff writer at Slate, on the purposeful role of male anger in the Kavanaugh nomination process. Listen.
2. David Treuer [@DavidTreuer], writer and historian, on the simplistic, flawed narratives tied up in popular Native American history. Listen.
3. Frank Usbeck, historian and researcher-curator at the State Ethnographic Collections of Saxony, and Evan Torner, German Studies professor at the University of Cincinnati, on the fantasies about indigenous people involved in German politics and culture. Listen.
Rebel Soldier by Nashville SessionsPrelude of Light by John ZornPuck by John ZornTribute to America by The O'Neill Brothers GroupHer Avwerah by Norfolk and WesternLost, Night by Bill Frisell
Oct 05 2018
Rank #11: The Giant Referendum On Everything
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.
2. James Graham [@mrJamesGraham], screenwriter of "Brexit," on his star-studded depiction of an urgent, present-day dispute. Listen.
Jan 18 2019
Rank #12: Impossible!
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
Rank #13: The Myth of Meritocracy
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.
Mar 15 2019
Rank #14: Bad Reputation
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.
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
Rank #15: OTM presents: Impeachment Pod, the Taylor Testimony
This week's OTM pod extra is another episode from the new podcast hosted by WNYC's Brian Lehrer:
Where are we on impeachment today?Yesterday evening, the public got the chance to read the opening statement of U.S. emissary to Ukraine William Taylor's testimony. In it, he described "two channels of U.S. policy-making" in Ukraine, official State Department and security channels, and the "highly irregular" efforts by others in the President's circle to undermine the longstanding policy in Ukraine. Taylor laid out the most complete timeline of those efforts available thus far, and cited contacts he'd had with others that indicate President Trump's direct involvement.
On today’s episode:Michael Isikoff, chief investigative correspondent for Yahoo! News, host of the podcast "Conspiracyland," co-host of the "Skullduggery" podcast and co-author of Russian Roulette: The Inside Story of Putin's War on America and the Election of Donald Trump
Oct 23 2019
Rank #16: Whose Streets?
The message from Silicon Valley seems to be that self-driving cars are the way of the future. This week, On the Media considers the history behind the present-day salesmanship. Plus, why transit rights mean much more than point-A-to-point-B mobility. Also, a new opera about Robert Moses and Jane Jacobs.
1. Angie Schmitt [@schmangee], national reporter at Streetsblog, on the "heartwarming" stories of Americans who walk miles and miles to work. Listen.
2. Peter Norton, professor of history at University of Virginia's Department of Engineering and Society, and Emily Badger, urban policy reporter for the New York Times, on the past, present and dazzling future of self-driving car salesmanship. Listen.
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
Rank #17: Harm To Ongoing Matter
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.
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
Rank #18: The Democracy We Think We Live In
The pathways and origins of white nationalist thought were a matter of deadly importance in coverage of last weekend’s shootings. On this week’s On the Media, how mainstream punditry launders a tolerance for xenophobia. Also, the history of American presidents and media figures dismissing black and brown claims to power in a democracy. Plus, what calls for additional federal oversight in Puerto Rico mean for Puerto Ricans.
1. Tom Scocca [@tomscocca], politics editor at Slate, on the journalists, writers and political figures who cater to America's racist id. Listen.
2. Adam Serwer [@AdamSerwer], staff writer at The Atlantic, on the catastrophic, deadly idea that "only white people are fit for self-government." Listen.
3. OTM producer Alana Casanova-Burgess [@AlanaLlama] reports on the conversations some Puerto Ricans are having in Puerto Rico in a historic moment for the island, including demands more democracy -- and what that means in a colonial context. Listen.
Exurgency by Zoe Keating
Aug 09 2019
Rank #19: 40 Acres
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.
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
Rank #20: The Others
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?
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