On the Media
On the Media
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.
Against the Machine
Have you been wondering exactly what it means to Build Back Better? On this week’s On the Media, hear why political coverage seems to address everything about Joe Biden’s bill--except what’s in it. Plus, find out if social media really does turn nice people into trolls. 1. Andrew Prokop [@awprokop], Senior Politics Correspondent at Vox, on the gap between political coverage of the Build Back Better Act, and what the bill actually says. Listen. 2. Michael Bang Petersen [@M_B_Petersen], political science professor at Aarhus University, on the difference (or lack thereof) between on and offline behaviors, and how Facebook might not be affecting us in the ways we think. Listen. 3. Meghan O’Gieblyn, writer and author of God, Human, Animal, Machine, on the ever-deeper entwining of humanity and technology, and what it might mean for our future. Listen.   Music from this week's show: Passing Time - John RenbournClap Hands - Tom WaitsOkami - Nicola CruzCarmen Fantasy - Anderson and RoeYoung at Heart - Brad MehldauFor the Creator - Richard Souther
Oct 15
50 min
Who Is The Bad Art Friend? Why Not Both?
To watch the rise of viral content is always an interesting exercise. From "Charlie bit my finger" to the "Lulz That Broke Wall Street," the internet is capable of elevating any story, meme, joke, or idea through the ranks of digital fame. This week, we unpack one story, and one question, that took twitter by storm: "Who is the Bad Art Friend?".  The Robert Kolker piece from The New York Times Magazine proved digital catnip, but why? Brooke sits down with Michael Hobbes, journalist and host of the podcast Maintenance Phase, to discuss his review of the story, the Twitter storm, and why we're even talking about all this in the first place. 
Oct 13
26 min
The Big Reveal
From a six hour service outage to a senate whistleblower hearing, the PR disasters keep mounting for Facebook. On this week’s show, hear how the tech giant might be following a well-worn pattern of decline. And, the so-called "Pandora Papers" reveal dirty financial secrets, dwarfing the Panama Papers in the size, scope, and reach. Plus, how a new data leak shows links between law enforcement and far-right militia groups. 1. Makena Kelly [@kellymakena], policy reporter for The Verge, on the perils of focusing on politicians' flubs during tech regulation hearings. Listen. 2. Kevin Roose [@kevinroose], tech columnist for The New York Times, on the harbingers of Facebook's demise. Listen. 3. Gerard Ryle [@RyleGerard], director of the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists, on how the Pandora Papers unmask hidden owners of offshore companies. Plus, what the papers might mean for the future of cooperative journalism. Listen. 4. OTM correspondent Micah Loewinger [@MicahLoewinger], on how he and Gothamist's George Joseph uncovered evidence that active police officers are connected to the Oath Keepers, a far-right militia group. Listen. Music from this week's show: Chicago Sunset  - MusselwhiteTilliboyo - Kronos QuartetGormenghast  - John ZornString Quartet No. 5 II Movement 2 -Phillip Glass - Kronos Quartet
Oct 8
50 min
It's Debt Ceiling Time Again!
While Democrats fight amongst themselves over getting their legislative agenda passed, Senate majority leader Chuck Schumer is locked in his own battle with minority leader Mitch McConnell over raising the country’s debt ceiling. Democrats need ten Senate Republicans to join them in voting to raise the debt limit to avoid, as the Washington Post put it, “catapulting the country into an economic recession.” The Post also cited the potential for quote, “widespread financial havoc," while the New York Times noted widespread warnings of “global economic calamity”  If all of this sounds familiar, that's because... it is. For years, the media have treated the perennial debt ceiling debate like hurricane season. Is disaster heading to our shores? When will calamity strike? What's the projected damage? Often lost in the coverage is why we have to keep reliving this crisis in the first place. Zachary Karabell is host of the podcast “What Could Go Right” and president of River Twice Capital. He’s also the author of The Leading Indicators: A Short History of the Numbers That Rule Our World. Brooke spoke to him in 2017 about this very subject. 
Oct 6
9 min
Out of Sight
Facebook and Instagram are harming young users, according to leaked research discussed in a Senate hearing this week. On this week’s On the Media, hear why lawmakers are chasing the white whale that is tech accountability. Also, how do we cover the tightly guarded, and complicated, news that comes from Guantanamo Bay? And, as the documentary industry booms, its ethics standards lag far behind.  1. Brandy Zadrozny [@BrandyZadrozny], NBC senior reporter, unpacks the evolving responsibilities of social media companies for our health. Listen. 2. Jess Bravin [@JessBravin], Supreme Court reporter for The Wall Street Journal, and Michel Paradis [@MDParadis], senior attorney for the Department of Defense, on the lasting difficulties of covering one of America's most notorious military prisons, Guantanamo Bay. Listen. 3. Muira McCammon [@muira_mccammon], doctoral candidate at the University of Pennsylvania's Annenberg School of Communications, on what the library at Guantamo Bay can tell us about the place and the media's coverage. Listen. 4. Patricia Aufderheide [@paufder], University Professor of Communication Studies in the School of Communication at American University, on the tension between production and ethics in the world of documentaries. Listen. Music from this week's show: Nino Rota - Juliet of SpiritsNicola Cruz - ColibriaKronos - FlugufrelsarinnVijay Iyer - Human NatureMerkabah - John ZornBooker T and The MG's - Slim Jenkins PlaceAlex Wurman - Going Home for the First Time
Oct 1
51 min
The Big Screen version of Boom and Bust
It was 13 years ago this month when news broke that the Wall Street investment firm Lehman Brothers collapsed, setting in motion the financial crisis that devastated the world’s economy. For all the misery the financial meltdown caused, Americans have never balked at opportunities to relive the crisis through hundreds of films, books and even plays. But while greedy investment bankers have become a staple archetype of recent movies like The Wolf of Wall Street, The Big Short, and Margin Call, Hollywood hasn't always portrayed Wall Street with such cynicism. In 2018 Brooke spoke to Per Hansen, professor of business history at the Copenhagen Business School, about his study examining cinematic depictions of big business and financial institutions. Hansen sifted through 81 films to understand how America's volatile attitudes on capitalism have evolved through other periods of boom and bust. He and Brooke discussed how classics like Wall Street, It's a Wonderful Life, and The Apartment have reflected and actively shaped the way we feel about money. This segment is from our September 14th, 2018 episode, Doomed to Repeat.
Sep 29
14 min
The Subversion Playbook
By now, we’re familiar with voter suppression tactics, from long voting lines to voter ID laws. On this week’s On the Media, hear how election subversion takes the anti-democratic playbook to the next level. Plus, how the Russian government is using bureaucracy to stifle elections — and the press.  1. Dan Hirschhorn [@Inky_Dan], assistant managing editor at The Philadelphia Inquirer, on why his paper won't use the word "audit" to describe the wave of partisan "election reviews." Listen. 2. Rick Hasen, [@rickhasen], professor of law and political science at the University of California Irvine, on why election subversion is such a dangerous threat to our democracy. Listen. 3. Tanya Lokot [@tanyalokot], media scholar and associate professor at the Dublin City University School of Communications, on why Google and Apple caved to the Kremlin on fair election technology. Listen. 4. OTM producer Molly Schwartz [@mollyfication] on the lives and trials of Russian journalists under siege, featuring: Sonya Groysman [@sonyagro], Russian journalist and podcaster; Joshua Yaffa [@yaffaesque] Moscow correspondent for The New Yorker; Tikhon Dzyadko [@tikhondzyadko], editor-in-chief of TV Rain; and Alexey Kovalyov [@Alexey__Kovalev], investigations editor at the news outlet Meduza. Listen. Music from this week's show: Chicago Sunset - Charlie Musselwhite Time is Late ft. Joakim Johans Unnamed Track - Mark Henry Philips Unnamed Track - Mark Henry Philips Baba O'Rilеy - The Who From Russia With Love - Huma-Huma Дальше действовать будем мы (“We will continue to act”) - Kino   
Sep 24
50 min
From Birtherism to Election Theft
In their new book "Peril," Bob Woodward and Robert Costa released a previously unpublished memo by a man named John Eastman, who served as an attorney advising President Trump during the 2020 election. That memo outlined an anti-democratic six-step plan for Vice President Pence to overturn the election results — stealing the election in favor of Trump — by refusing to tally votes from states with "multiple slates of electors," throwing the final decision to the House of Representatives. It was presented to Pence by Trump and Eastman in the Oval Office during the days leading up to January 6th, and offers a chilling look at the lengths to which Trump was prepared to go in order to maintain power.  It also offers a new opportunity to examine the activities of John Eastman, who entered the spotlight in 2020 when he published an op-ed in Newsweek making the false claim that Kamala Harris was ineligible for the Vice Presidency. Back then, Brooke spoke with Slate’s Mark Joseph Stern, who described the origins of this birtherism falsehood and how Eastman and his organization, the Claremont Institute, used the media to spread it.
Sep 22
14 min
Fire and Brimstone
Throughout the pandemic, religious rights advocates have protested some public health measures like bans on large gatherings. Now, some Americans are making the case for religious exemptions to President Biden's new workplace vaccine mandate. On this week’s On the Media, why religious protections are deliberately vague. Plus, hear how the current Supreme Court has been quietly bolstering the power of Christian interest groups. And, a look at climate coverage during storm season, and how the fossil fuel industry became so good at selling its own story. 1. Winnifred Sullivan [@WinniSullivan], Indiana University Bloomington professor of law and religious studies, explains why the constitution doesn't define "religion." Listen. 2. Linda Greenhouse, writer and clinical lecturer at Yale Law School, on the Supreme Court's recent rulings on religious liberties. Listen. 3. Mark Hertsgaard [@markhertsgaard], executive director of Covering Climate Now, on why the press should remind us of climate change's impact on so-called "natural disasters." Listen. 4. Amy Westervelt [@amywestervelt], climate writer and host of the podcast Drilled, on how fossil fuels companies advertised their way out of a public backlash. Listen. Music from this week's show: In the Hall of the Mountain King - Kevin MacLeod  Smells like Teen Spirit - The Bad Plus  Equinox - John Coltrane Sacred Oracle - Bill Frisell Roary’s Waltz - John Zorn Cops or Criminals - The Departed Soundtrack
Sep 17
49 min
The Trial of Elizabeth Holmes
In 2014, Fortune magazine ran a cover story featuring Elizabeth Holmes: a blonde woman wearing a black turtleneck, staring deadpan at the camera, with the headline, “This CEO is out for blood.” A decade earlier, Holmes had founded Theranos, a company promising to “revolutionize” the blood testing industry, initially using a microfluidics approach — moving from deep vein draws to a single drop of blood. It promised easier, cheaper, more accessible lab tests — and a revolutionized healthcare experience. But it turns out that all those lofty promises were empty. There was no revolutionary new way to test blood. And now, years later, Holmes is being charged with 10 counts of wire fraud and two counts of conspiracy to commit wire fraud. Two weeks into the trial, we're re-airing a conversation from 2018 between Brooke and John Carreyrou, host of the narrative podcast Bad Blood: The Final Chapter and the investigative journalist who exposed Holmes's alleged fraud.
Sep 15
18 min
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