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October 18, 2019
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”
October 16, 2019
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. 
October 11, 2019
“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. 
October 9, 2019
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 Present. In 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.
October 4, 2019
The talk from the Trump team is becoming increasingly hard to follow. This week, On the Media takes a look at the conspiracy thinking that’s taken over the executive branch. Plus, leaders at Fox News search for a path forward amidst infighting and impeachment drama. And, a deep dive into Ukrainian politics and the Trump connection. 1. Alex Ward [@AlexWardVox], staff writer at Vox, and Jeet Heer [@HeerJeet], national affairs correspondent at The Nation, on the conspiracies fueling Trump's policies and behaviors. Listen. 2. Trump, Inc.'s Andrea Bernstein [@AndreaWNYC] and Ilya Marritz [@ilyamarritz] take a deep dive into Ukrainian politics and the origins of Giuliani's "investigations." Listen. 3. Gabriel Sherman [@GabrielSherman], special correspondent at Vanity Fair, on the chaos at Fox News. Listen.
October 2, 2019
Ever present in the Snowden and Manning era, the word "whistleblower" is again dominating the airwaves. But where exactly did the word come from? Who gets to decide who qualifies as a whistleblower? Back in 2015, Brooke spoke to language columnist Ben Zimmer, legal director for the Government Accountability Project Tom Devine, and progressive icon Ralph Nader--who "rehabilitated" the word in the 1970's--about the history of the popular epithet.
September 27, 2019
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... 1. Tim Naftali [@TimNaftali], historian at New York University, on what the Nixon impeachment teaches us about the need for a deliberate process. Listen.  2. Tom Devine, legal director at the Government Accountability Project, on the poor protections for intelligence community whistle-blowers. Listen. 3. Adam Entous [@adamentous], staff writer at The New Yorker, on the patchy validity of Trump's Hunter Biden accusations. Listen. 4. Kyrylo Loukerenko [@K_Loukerenko], executive director at Hromadske Radio, helps us make sense of the misinformation about Ukraine. Listen. Music: 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   
September 25, 2019
It's been two years since the brutal and bloody 22-year reign of Gambian leader Yahya Jammeh ended and the country is now embroiled in a uniquely transparent truth and reconciliation process. Officials are interviewing killers and victims about the deaths and disappearances of hundreds of people and it's all being live streamed on YouTube, Facebook and traditional media. Bob spoke to New York Times correspondent Julie Turkewitz, who wrote about how the process has become must-see-tv in The Gambia.
September 20, 2019
Roosevelt’s New Deal remade American society, and now climate activists are pushing for a Green New Deal to do it again. This week, On the Media looks at the attacks from conservatives against both projects, and why congress underestimates support for climate action. Plus, how a wave of labor strikes might be a crucial component in building momentum towards Green New Deal adoption. And, the teenage girls spreading climate awareness on Tik-Tok. 1. Jane McAlevey [@rsgexp], writer and organizer, on why striking is essential to effect meaningful social change. Listen.  2. Kim Phillips-Fein, historian at New York University, on lessons from the origins of and fights against the original New Deal. Listen. 3. Kate Aronoff [@KateAronoff], writer at The Intercept, on what a popular meme tells us about climate activism permeating youth culture. Listen. 4. Leah Stokes [@leahstokes], professor at the University of California at Santa Barbara, on the misunderstandings about public opinion and climate action. Listen.  
September 18, 2019
Trump, Inc. takes a step back to make sense of the seemingly endless scandals swirling around the White House. They're not random. They fit a pattern and that has a precedent. It turns out, Trump is running the government a lot like he's run his business: through bluster, boss-ism, and by ignoring the rules.
September 13, 2019
Good riddance, John Bolton! By dismissing his third National Security Advisor, President Trump prompted renewed concern over White House instability. This week, On the Media makes the case that John Bolton’s outster is good news for the republic. Plus, after four decades of progress, domestic abuse is on the rise and Senate Republicans are stymieing the Violence Against Women Act. And, Brooke visits Lady Liberty to learn about the 130-year political war over the meaning of the statue.  1. Fred Kaplan [@fmkaplan], writer at Slate, on the press coverage surrounding John Bolton's ouster. Listen. 2. Rachel Louise Snyder [@RLSWrites], author of No Visible Bruises, on the legacy and future of the Violence Against Women Act. Listen. 3. Paul Kramer, history professor at Vanderbilt University, on the conflicting depictions and interpretations of the Statue of Liberty. Listen.   Music: Frail as a Breeze by Erik Friedlander The New Colossus by Saunder Choi Toccata and fugue in D minor by J. S. Bach played on glass harp by Robert Tiso  River Man by Brad Mehldau Trio
September 11, 2019
This weekend in a series of tweets, President Trump both disclosed and scrapped secret talks with the Taliban in Camp David. Of course, the Taliban did not perpetrate 9/11. But they did offer safe haven in Afghanistan to Al Qaeda, whose hijackers turned passenger airplanes into bombs in the most deadly act of terrorism on US soil. A few weeks later, America invaded the central Asian crossroads whose history has been one of occupation. "Today we focus on Afghanistan, but the battle is broader," President George Bush said at the time. "Every nation has a choice to make. In this conflict, there is no neutral ground. If any government sponsors the outlaws and killers of innocence, they have become outlaws and murderers themselves. And they will take that lonely path at their own peril." The whole world understood. Or, almost the whole world. One country that was unclear about the US mission and its motives was Afghanistan itself. According to a November 2010 study by the International Council on Security and Development, during the height of fighting in Helmand and Kandahar, 92 percent of southern Afghan males there had never heard of 9/11. The staggering statistic caught the eye of Stars & Stripes reporter J.P. Lawrence — himself a Iraq-war veteran; to mark the anniversary of 9/11 he decided to conduct his own survey last year. In this podcast extra, he and Bob talk about why misconceptions persist about the 18-year war in Afghanistan. 
September 6, 2019
As Hurricane Dorian devastated the Bahamas, Democratic presidential candidates promised climate action in an unprecedented televised event. On this week’s On the Media, how CNN’s town hall advances the climate conversation. Plus, how the bulk of gun violence coverage fails to address the root causes of the crisis.  1. David Roberts [@drvox], writer at Vox, on how the CNN climate town hall advances the conversation on climate change. 2. John Morales [@JohnMoralesNBC6], Chief Meteorologist at WTVJ NBC-6 Miami, on how a meteorologist reports the weather as the climate changes. 3. Lois Beckett [@loisbeckett], Senior Reporter at The Guardian, on how the climate debate obscures the path to optimal solutions.
September 4, 2019
On Saturday, Leslie Gelb died at the age of 82. A Senate aide in his 20's, a NewYork Times diplomatic correspondent in his 30's, assistant secretary of state as he neared 40, then back to the Times as national security correspondent, editor, columnist, part of a Pulitzer prize winning team, and rounding out his career, as Head of the Council on Foreign Relations. He also made several memorable appearances on OTM. Brooke remembers him this week and we revisit a conversation they had back in 2018 after the release of the Spielberg movie, The Post. 
August 30, 2019
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. 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. This episode originally aired on November 23, 2018. 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
August 28, 2019
Silicon Valley’s so-called “millionaire maker” is a behavioral scientist who foresaw the power of putting persuasion at the heart of the tech world’s business model. But pull back the curtain that surrounds the industry’s behemoths, and you'll find a cadre of engineers and executives that's small enough to rein in. This is the final installment of a three-part series from The Stakes. If you haven't heard parts one and two, start there first. In this episode, we hear from: - Alexandra Rutherford, Professor in the Department of Psychology at York University in Toronto and author of Beyond the Box: B.F. Skinner's Technology of Behaviour from Laboratory to Life, 1950s-1970s - Ian Leslie, author of “The Scientists Who Make Apps Addictive” - B.J. Fogg, Director of the Stanford University "Behavior Design Lab” - Tristan Harris, Co-Founder & Executive Director of the Center for Humane Technology - Dorothy Glancy, Professor of Law at Santa Clara University - Senator Mark Warner of Virginia Hosted by Kai Wright. Reported by Amanda Aronczyk.
August 23, 2019
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 
August 21, 2019
Ted Kaczynski had been a boy genius. Then he became the Unabomber. After years of searching for him, the FBI finally caught him in his remote Montana cabin, along with thousands of pages of his writing. Those pages revealed Kaczynski's hatred towards a field of psychology called "behaviorism," the key to the link between him and James McConnell. This is part two of a three-part series from our colleagues at The Stakes. If you haven't heard part one, listen here first. In this episode, we hear from: - Philip Bradley, Harvard contemporary of Ted Kaczynski - Alston Chase, author of A Mind for Murder: The Education of the Unabomber and the Origins of Modern Terrorism - Donald Max Noel, former FBI agent and author of UNABOMBER: How the FBI Broke Its Own Rules to Capture the Terrorist Ted Kaczynski - Dr. Charles Seigerman, former student of James McConnell and Certified Neuropsychologist - Greg Stejskal, former FBI agent - Larry Stern, Professor of Sociology at Collin College Hosted by Kai Wright. Reported by Amanda Aronczyk.
August 16, 2019
The Indian government has revoked autonomy for the Muslim-majority region of Kashmir. This week, a close look at how Hindu nationalists are rewriting Indian history in the world's largest democracy. Plus: what are the stories that America has told about itself?  1. Producer Asthaa Chaturvedi [@Pasthaaa] examines the ways Hindu nationalists have sought to rewrite history in and outside the classroom in an effort to glorify India's Hindu past, and what this movement means for a country founded on principles of multiculturalism. Listen.  2. What are the stories that America has told about itself? Historian Greg Grandin [@GregGrandin] talks about his book, The End of the Myth: From the Frontier to the Border Wall in the Mind of America, and the old idea about limitless growth that influenced American policy and psychology. Listen. 
August 14, 2019
Infinite scrolling. Push notifications. Autoplay. Our devices and apps were designed to keep us engaged and looking for as long as possible. Now, we’ve woken up from years on social media and our phones to discover we've been manipulated by unaccountable powers using persuasive psychological tricks. But this isn’t the first time. In this three-part series from our colleagues at The Stakes, a look at the winding story of the science of persuasion — and our collective reaction to it. In part one, a once-famous psychologist who became embroiled in controversy, and how the Unabomber tried to kill him.  We hear from: - Larry Stern, Professor of Sociology at Collin College - Nicklaus Suino, writer, martial arts expert, attorney and business consultant Hosted by Kai Wright. Reported by Amanda Aronczyk.
August 9, 2019
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
August 7, 2019
When events like the shooting in El Paso happen, the elements may indeed be obvious: Guns. Sociopathy. Alienation. But the obvious is also reductive, and risks obscuring larger forces at play. The same goes with the vocabulary of race violence: White nationalist. White identity. Alt-right. White supremacy. White power. They’re used interchangeably, which further clouds the picture. Following the events in Christchurch, New Zealand earlier this year, we spoke to University of Chicago professor Kathleen Belew. She told us that the shooting was not just born of resentment and paranoia, or even radical racism, but of a clearly defined revolutionary movement: the white power movement. Belew is author of Bring the War Home: The White Power Movement and Paramilitary America, which describes the history of the white power movement that consolidated after the Vietnam War. She argues that if society is to wage an effective response to the white power threat, we need to work to understand it. This segment is from our March 22nd, 2019 program, Hating In Plain Sight.
August 2, 2019
Harassment and bullying are plaguing our online lives, but social media companies seem fresh out of solutions. This week, On the Media experiments with a radical approach for detoxifying the web. Can theories of criminal justice reform rehabilitate trolls and fix the internet?  1. Lindsay Blackwell [@linguangst], Facebook user experience researcher and PhD student at the University of Michigan School of Information, on the source of online harassment. Plus, Jack Dorsey [@jack], CEO of Twitter, and Ashley Feinberg [@ashleyfeinberg], a senior writer at Slate, on how Twitter can improve. Listen. 2. Danielle Sered [@daniellesered], executive director of Common Justice, on the power of replacing punishment with restoration. Producer Micah Loewinger [@MicahLoewinger] and Lindsay Blackwell [@linguangst] team up to implement a "restorative justice" approach in r/ Christianity, one of the largest forums for discussing the religion. Listen. This is the 3rd and final part in our “Repairing Justice” series.
July 31, 2019
Last week on the show, we examined the power of the prosecutor in our justice system, and how voters are electing a new wave of so-called “progressive prosecutors” to try to turn the tide on mass incarceration. If you haven’t heard it yet, be sure to check it out. It was part one of a three-part series we’re calling “Repairing Justice”; this is part two. We’ve talked about how the law-and-order approach doesn’t work, and that we don’t want to keep locking people in jail for every infraction. But that raises the question: what, then, do we do to address injustice when it appears? Rather than the isolation and violence that prison breeds, some advocates are pushing for a new approach… one based not on punishment, but on truth and reconciliation. It’s called "restorative justice," and in this podcast extra, Bob speaks with Danielle Sered, executive director of Common Justice and a pioneer of the practice.  This is Part 2 of our “Repairing Justice” series. 
July 26, 2019
It was the week of the prosecutor, with Special Counsel Robert Mueller grabbing most of the attention. But on this week’s On the Media, a closer look at the “progressive prosecutor” movement — from neighborhood politics to local media to the presidential debate stage.  1. Lara Bazelon [@larabazelon], law professor at the University of San Francisco School of Law and former director of the Loyola Law School Project for the Innocent in Los Angeles, on Sen. Kamala Harris's record as a prosecutor. Listen. 2. Emily Bazelon [@emilybazelon], staff writer at The New York Times Magazine and author of Charged: The New Movement to Transform American Prosecution and End Mass Incarceration, on how the power of the prosecutor has grown to be so big. Listen. 3. Emily Bazelon [@emilybazelon] on the national movement to elect progressive prosecutors. Plus, progressive prosecutors Philadelphia DA Larry Krasner [@DA_LarryKrasner] and Suffolk County, MA DA Rachael Rollins [@DARollins] on their time in office and the pushback they've received. Plus, Staten Island DA Michael McMahon [@StatenIslandDA] on his skepticism about the movement. Listen. This is Part 1 of our “Repairing Justice” series.    Music Fellini’s Waltz - Enrico Pieranunzi and Charlie Haden Misterioso - Kronos Quartet and Ron Carter Young At Heart - Brad Mehldau White Man Sleeps I - Kronos Quartet Smells Like Teen Spirit  - The Bad Plus
July 24, 2019
Earlier this month, DC Comics announced that MAD Magazine will mostly stop doing what it’s done for some six decades, which is to pointedly mock American politics and culture. Barring the occasional end-of-year special, future copies of MAD will consist solely of old material. The publication, which first appeared in 1957 and hit a peak circulation of 2.8 million in 1973, has been in decline since.  MAD Magazine defined an entire generation’s distrust in the media, politicians, advertisers, and all forms of authority. For this podcast extra, Brooke spoke to Jeet Heer, national affairs correspondent for The Nation, about his recent article on the history of MAD.
July 19, 2019
Puerto Ricans packed the streets night after night this week to call for Governor Ricardo Rosselló’s resignation. On this week’s On the Media, what happens when a leader’s mockery becomes too much for citizens to bear — in San Juan, and in Washington. Plus, coming-of-age on the far-right and far-left, on YouTube. 1. Ibram X. Kendi [@DrIbram], founding director of American University’s Antiracist Research and Policy Center, on who gets to be American. Listen. 2. Pedro Reina-Pérez [@pedroreinaperez], journalist and historian with both the University of Puerto Rico and Harvard University, and Jay Fonseca [@jayfonsecapr], television and radio host, on the profane, homophobic and sexist chat messages that pushed Puerto Rico to the breaking point. Listen. 3. OTM Producer Micah Loewinger [@MicahLoewinger] considers how YouTube creators on the left, like Natalie Wynn [@ContraPoints], are challenging the platform’s surge of far right extremism. Listen.
July 17, 2019
On this show, we’ve often observed that what happens online rarely stays online. In the age of Pizzagate, Trump tweets and Wiki Leaks data dumps, it is obvious that conversations online increasingly dominate, even define, our politics — a fact demonstrated yet again last Thursday when the president invited his favorite online trolls, memers and political operatives to clink champagne glasses in the White House and discuss an alleged anti-conservative bias on social media. Will Sommer, tech reporter for The Daily Beast, wrote about the odd cast of characters and what this social media summit tells us about the president’s 2020 re-election strategy.
July 12, 2019
Migrants in detention centers, another assault allegation against the President, and the start to a potentially devastating hurricane season… On this week’s On the Media, how painful news might be making America numb. And, why sometimes it’s okay to tune out. Plus, what Jeffrey Epstein's arrest teaches us about the Q-Anon conspiracy theory.  1. Max Read [@max_read],writer and editor at New York Magazine, on the partial fulfillment of a "message-board prophecy." Listen. 2. David Corn [@DavidCornDC], Washington bureau chief for Mother Jones, and Priya Shukla [@priyology], PhD candidate at the University of California-Davis, on the psychological effects of climate change on those who study it. Listen. 3. Dan Degerman [@ddegerman], philosophy researcher at Lancaster University, on the political implications of "Brexit anxiety." Listen. 4. Jenny Odell [@the_jennitaur], author of How to Do Nothing: Resisting the Attention Economy, on how to protect our attention in the face of information overload. Listen.
July 10, 2019
Julie Brown of the Miami Herald conceived, reported, and wrote one of the most explosive criminal justice stories in recent memory. She revealed the shutting down of an FBI investigation that may have been on the verge of discovering the full extent of a child-sex-trafficking operation run by politically-connected billionaire Jeffrey Epstein. The prosecutor allegedly behind that decision, Alex Acosta, is now President Trump's Secretary of Labor.  Acosta offered Epstein a plea deal in which Epstein pleaded guilty to recruiting underage girls for sex and spent about a year in the local lockup, with work release.  The deal also proactively protected from prosecution any potential co-conspirators.  Brown pored over internal emails to see exactly how Acosta and other powerful law-enforcement officials made these decisions.  While in New York to receive a Polk Award for her work, Brown stopped by WNYC's Greene Space to talk to the host of "Here's the Thing" Alec Baldwin about her reporting.
July 5, 2019
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.
July 3, 2019
There are many Americas. Nowadays they barely speak to each other. But during the most perilous years of the last century, one young composer went in search of a sound that melded many of the nation's strains into something singular and new. He was a man of the left, though of no political party: gay, but neither closeted nor out; Jewish, but agnostic, unless you count music as a religion. His name was Aaron Copland. On this July 4th weekend, WNYC’s Sara Fishko tells his story.
June 28, 2019
We have an eviction crisis, which is really just one part of a broader housing affordability crisis. Incomes are too low for rents. Rents are too high for incomes. The barriers to home-buying are growing, especially for younger Americans. The wealth gap between black and white Americans is spreading, driven largely by inequalities in housing. The shockwaves from the foreclosure crisis continue. And in some cities, gentrification drives up costs and drives away low-income families.   Luckily enough, there are solutions — quite a few of them, in fact. In this fourth and final episode of The Scarlet E: Unmasking America’s Eviction Crisis, we evaluate the proposals, which range from subtle to significant. First, a look back on a solution that worked in some places and was allowed to fail in many others. We visit Atlanta, home to the nation’s first public housing projects. We learn how the city has since destroyed or converted all of its public housing. And with the help of Lawrence Vale, author of Purging the Poorest: Public Housing and the Design Politics of Twice-Cleared Communities, we look at one public housing project, in Boston, that continues to thrive. And then we look at solutions, both proposed and in-play. Again in Atlanta, we meet landlord Marjy Stagmeier, whose unique model improves nearby schools’ performance — and still turns a profit. We speak with sociologist Matt Desmond about the need to fully fund our Section 8 housing voucher program, and to encourage, or compel, landlords to accept voucher-holders. And we touch on the housing proposals from several Democratic candidates for president. Matt wonders whether our federal housing policies — for instance, the mortgage interest deduction — are subsidizing those most in need. We also ask New York City Councilmember Mark Levine and South Carolina legislator Marvin Pendarvis about possible reforms in our housing courts. We hear from Marty Wegbreit, director of litigation for the Central Virginia Legal Aid Society, about how Richmond turned its shame over its high eviction rates into policy. And we consider ways that some cities might increase their affordable housing supply by doing away with restrictive, exclusionary zoning policies. Music by Mark Henry Phillips. To hear other episodes of The Scarlet E and to learn about the eviction stats in your own state, visit onthemedia.org/eviction. Support for “The Scarlet E” is provided by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, and the Melville Charitable Trust. Additional support is provided by the Economic Hardship Reporting Project, and “Chasing the Dream,” a WNET initiative reporting on poverty and opportunity in America. Support for On the Media is provided by the Ford Foundation and the listeners of WNYC Radio.  
June 26, 2019
June marks LGBTQ Pride month, and fifty years since the Stonewall riots. In the past five decades, the conversation around gay rights has moved so quickly that it can be hard to remember where it was in the very recent past.  After the 2012 death of Sally Ride, the first American woman to go to space, the world learned something new about the pioneering astronaut: she was gay, and was survived by her partner Tam O'Shaughnessy. This previously unknown detail of Ride's life was mentioned in one line at the end of a lengthy obituary in The New York Times, and the reaction from readers ranged from criticism for posthumously outing Ride to criticism for not honoring the detail enough. Bob spoke with Bill McDonald, the obituary editor at The New York Times, about the ethics and obligations of obituary writers in creating a bigger picture of the lives of the dead. 
June 21, 2019
This is episode three in our series, “The Scarlet E: Unmasking America’s Eviction Crisis.” It’s the dollars-and-cents episode, in which we account for what we know and don’t know about those who own and those who rent. We digest some new data — compiled and analyzed, in part, by our collaborator, Matthew Desmond — that demonstrate the extent to which landlords often profit in impoverished communities. We speak with the founder of a massive online eviction platform, who defends his company’s “standardized process.” In Camden, New Jersey we hear the story of Destiny, a social worker whose corporate landlord showed no reluctance to bring her to housing court, month after month. In Indianapolis we meet a mom-and-pop landlord who doesn’t deny her profits in the low-income market — she’s a businesswoman, after all — but who also has often given delinquent tenants the chance to get caught up. And in Richmond, Virginia we learn the hard truth about landlords’ comfortable place in the American legal system — even in spite of unmistakable neglect. Music by Mark Henry Phillips, except for "Indiana," sung by Straight No Chaser. To hear other episodes of The Scarlet E and to learn about the eviction stats in your own state, visit onthemedia.org/eviction. Support for “The Scarlet E” is provided by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, and the Melville Charitable Trust. Additional support is provided by the Economic Hardship Reporting Project, and “Chasing the Dream,” a WNET initiative reporting on poverty and opportunity in America. Support for On the Media is provided by the Ford Foundation and the listeners of WNYC Radio.
June 18, 2019
Heshmat Alavi, an Iranian commentator, has been portrayed as a courageous dissident with a broad constituency and rare insight into the inner workings of the Iranian theocracy. His columns have been printed in Forbes, The Diplomat, The Federalist, Voice of America, The Daily Caller and The Hill. And his analysis, such as his assertion that Obama’s nuclear deal with Iran pumped money into the mullah's military budget, has been cited by the White House to justify leaving the agreement. But what if...he doesn't actually exist? The Intercept's Murtaza Hussain reported on Heshmat Alavi, and found that the columnist is not who he purports to be.
June 14, 2019
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.
June 12, 2019
The first episode of the TV show "Cops" aired thirty years ago, and in the ensuing decades it's become influential enough to mold the attitudes of new aspiring police officers. But if the show holds up a mirror to law enforcement in this country, it shows a warped reflection. In the podcast series "Running from Cops", host Dan Taberski and his team watched nearly 850 episodes of the show and tallied what they saw: roughly four times the amount of violent crime than there is in real life, three times as many drug crimes, and ten times the amount of prostitution. "Cops", as the podcast points out, makes the world seem more crime-ridden than in reality. It has also inspired copy-cat shows, like the popular "Live PD," that also warp depictions of what's appropriate (and legal) in policing. In this OTM podcast extra, Bob talks to Dan Taberski about the podcast's findings and what the popularity of these shows says about viewers.  
June 7, 2019
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. 
June 5, 2019
This week, the US House Antitrust subcommittee announced a probe into the mainly-unchecked power of tech giants like Google, Facebook, Apple and Amazon. The investigation could include public hearings and subpoenas toward antitrust intervention into the businesses of Silicon Valley leviathans. The news came on the same day that The Wall Street Journal reported that the Federal Trade Commission and the Justice Department are expanding their oversight into Facebook and Google's anti-competitive practices. Last November, Brooke spoke with Stacy Mitchell, co-director of the Institute for Local Self-Reliance, about Amazon’s domination over industry after industry and where we stand in the arc of antitrust regulation. In 2018, Mitchell wrote an article for The Nation called “Amazon Doesn't Just Want to Dominate the Market — It Wants to Become the Market.” 
May 31, 2019
The Trump administration has ordered federal agencies to stop publishing worst-case scenario projections of climate change. This week, On the Media examines the administration’s pattern of attacks on climate science. Plus, a look at the dark money behind environmental deregulation. 1. Kate Aronoff [@KateAronoff], fellow at the Type Media Center, on the White House's suppression of climate warnings. Listen. 2. Jane Mayer [@JaneMayerNYer], staff writer at The New Yorker and author of Dark Money: The Hidden History of the Billionaires Behind the Rise of the Radical Right, on the billionaires supporting the modern conservative intellectual framework. Listen. 3. Jan Zalasiewicz, Anthropocene Working Group Chair, on the traces that today's humans might leave behind for future civilizations, and Benjamin Kunkel [@kunktation] on whether the Age of Capitalism might be a more appropriate term to describe our epoch. Listen.
May 29, 2019
Tornadoes ripped across multiple states on Tuesday, killing at least one person. It was the twelfth straight day of tornado activity in the U.S. — a new record, according to the National Weather Service. But as the New York Times reported yesterday, limited data make it difficult to draw explicit connections between a warming climate and trends in tornadic activity. Even in our hyper-quantified time, there's still an element of mystery to where, why, and how twisters strike.  And then there are hurricanes. For media professionals, hurricanes offer the very best kind of bad news, because the story arc is predictable, and invariably compelling. In our Breaking News Consumer’s Handbooks, we examine the myths, misleading language, and tired media narratives that clog up news coverage at a time when clarity can be a matter of life and death. Since the Atlantic hurricane season begins this week, we're republishing our guide to consuming the coverage to come. In this segment, which originally aired in Sept. 2017, Brooke speaks with Dr. Robert Holmes, National Flood Hazard Coordinator for the U.S. Geological Survey; Gina Eosco, a risk communication consultant; and Scott Gabriel Knowles of Drexel University, author of The Disaster Experts: Mastering Risk in Modern America. Add Caption Here (On the Media/WNYC)  
May 24, 2019
Controversy erupted over news that President Trump may grant more pardons for alleged war criminal Edward Gallagher and others. This week, On the Media looks at Fox News’s influence on the president’s decision. And, how the Navy may be spying on a reporter who's tracked Gallagher's case. Plus, how the latest Julian Assange indictment could spell disaster for the future of investigative journalism.  1. James Goodale, former General Counsel for The New York Times and author of Fighting For The Press, on the disastrous new Julian Assange indictments. Listen.  2. Adam Weinstein [@AdamWeinstein], an editor with The New Republic, on the unofficial Fox News campaign to push the president to pardon alleged war criminals. Listen. 3. Andrew Tilghman [@andrewtilghman], Executive Editor of the Military Times, on the Navy's troubling assault on press freedom. Listen. 4. Scott J. Shapiro [@scottjshapiro], professor of philosophy and law at Yale, on how militaries across the globe navigate the horrors of war. Listen. Songs: All the Presidents Men Theme by David ShireOkami by Nicola Cruz Capharnaüm by Khaled MouzanarR+B = ? by Aeroc Farewell My Good One Forever by PhantasmAgnus Dei by Martín Palmeri  
May 22, 2019
When former Facebook co-founder Chris Hughes penned a New York Times op-ed calling for the breakup of the platform, he was lauded by anti-corporate politicians and the press. Then came a series of hard questions: how exactly would breaking up Facebook, which owns WhatsApp and Instagram, address free speech concerns? Or help stifle the spread of propaganda on the platform? And how would American regulations affect the majority of Facebook users, who live in the global south? According to Michael Lwin, an American-born antitrust lawyer living in Yangon, Myanmar, US regulators should tread lightly. He and Bob speak about how calls to break up Facebook could have wide ranging unintended consequences, especially outside of the US.
May 17, 2019
A controversial bill in Alabama is the latest in a wave of different abortion bans sweeping the country. This week, On the Media looks at the influence of Janet Porter, a little-known lobbyist who has been pushing what are misleadingly referred to as “heartbeat” laws. And, a deep dive into the rise of Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán, and what his autocratic regime tells us about the future of Europe. Plus, a new book reveals how conspiracy theories became a fact of American life. 1. Jessica Glenza [@JessicaGlenza], health reporter at the Guardian US, on the influence of Janet Porter, the lobbyist behind the so-called "heartbeat" abortion laws. Listen. 2. Paul Lendvai, author of Orban: Hungary's Strongman, on the rise of Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán. Listen. 3. Anna Merlan [@annamerlan], author of Republic of Lies, on the long arc of conspiratorial thinking in the United States. Listen. Support On the Media today at onthemedia.org/donate.  Songs:  Dame tu Mano by Combo Chimbita Passing Time by John Renbourn The Glass House by Marjane's Inspiration Califone by Burned by Christians We Insist by Zoe Keating Green Onions by Booker T. and The MG's X-File Theme High Water Everywhere Part 1 by Charlie Patton Bullwinkle, Part II by The Centurians
May 14, 2019
This week, we want to bring you a terrific new episode of Death, Sex and Money, another WNYC show that we think our listeners will appreciate. The show's host, Anna Sale, is on maternity leave, and an exciting cohort of former guests and friends of the show are hosting in her absence, talking with the people they're most curious about. The episode this week is hosted by Al Letson. Normally he hosts the podcast Reveal, but here he’s talking with Nikole Hannah-Jones, an award-winning investigative reporter covering racial injustice for the New York Times Magazine. If you’re familiar with Nikole’s reporting (and even if you're not), we think you’ll enjoy this conversation about how her life brought her to the work she does today. 
May 10, 2019
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 8, 2019
Renowned director and documentarian Werner Herzog's latest filmmaking endeavor examines the legacy of the eighth and final leader of the Soviet Union, Mikhail Gorbachev. For the film, Herzog sat down with the 88 year-old former General Secretary for a candid conversation about his complicated legacy. In the latest installment of Bob's Docs, Herzog joins Bob to discuss his filmmaking process and the history of the man he profiled.
May 3, 2019
After accusations that he mischaracterized the Mueller investigation’s findings, Attorney General William Barr blames the media for muddling the story. This week, On the Media dissects Barr’s deflections. And, how a Jewish satirist uses grotesque caricatures to cut to the heart of the discourse on antisemitism and why effectively combating hate requires building coalitions. Plus, how ABC's The View became one of the biggest political stages on television. 1. Dahlia Lithwick [@Dahlialithwick], host of the Amicus podcast and writer at Slate, on Barr's mischaracterization of the Mueller report. 2. Leo Ferguson [@LeoFergusonnyc], organizer with Jews for Racial and Economic Justice, on the ways to understand and combat antisemitism. 3. Eli Valley [@elivalley], comic artist and satirist, on feeling gaslit by the antisemitism debate. 4. Ramin Setoodah [@RaminSetoodeh], author of Ladies Who Punch: The Explosive Inside Story of The View and the New York bureau chief for Variety, on The View's surprising role in American politics.  
May 1, 2019
Whether Robert Durst confessed on camera will become a relevant legal matter in the real estate figure's upcoming trial. The supposed confession — "What the hell did I do? Killed them all, of course." — at the end of HBO's The Jinx: The Life and Deaths of Robert Durst has recently been revealed to have been seriously, deceptively edited. In 2015 Bob spoke with documentary filmmaker Joe Berlinger, co-creater of the Paradise Lost trilogy, about modern filmmaker, the responsibility of the artist and different interpretations of "truth." It's a relevant conversation to revisit, this week in particular.  
April 26, 2019
A week after the redacted Mueller report’s release, Democrats weigh the risks — and imperatives — of impeachment. On this week’s On the Media, why our founders gave congress the power to oust the president in the first place. Plus, the forgotten roots of May Day, the international workers’ holiday. 1. Paul Waldman [@paulwaldman1], columnist and senior writer for the American Prospect and the Washington Post, on the politics and virtues of impeachment. Listen. 2. Jeffrey Engel [@jeffreyaengel], the founding director of the Center for Presidential History at Southern Methodist University, and coauthor of Impeachment: An American History on the the history of impeachment. Listen. 3. Zephyr Teachout [@ZephyrTeachout], author of Corruption in America, on how our nation lost its original anti-corruption zeal. Listen. 4. Donna Haverty-Stacke, [@DHavertyStacke], professor of History at Hunter College, CUNY, on the U.S. origin of May Day and how it has come to be forgotten. Listen. Music: Time Is Late by Marcos Ciscar   Jeopardy: Think Music (in style of Handel) by Donald Fraser, Merv Griffin, Donald Fraser Here It Comes by Modest Mouse Liquid Spear Waltz by Michael Andrews Tymperturbably Blue (Live 1959) by Duke Ellington Into the Streets May First: written by Aaron Copland; performed by Jon Hanrahan (direction, piano); vocals by Alana Casanova-Burgess, Leah Feder, Micah Loewinger, Brooke Gladstone, Karen Frillman, Jim O’Grady, Philip Yiannopoulos, engineered by Irene Trudel  
April 23, 2019
Once in a while, in this space, we offer you an episode of another podcast that we think is pretty aligned with our goals here at On the Media. This week, we’re offering you the first episode of a new podcast from WNYC Studios, called The Stakes. The angle is: we built the society we've got. And maybe it's time to build a new one. You can and should subscribe to The Stakes wherever you get your podcasts (we are). But in the meantime, here's their first episode all about the pervasive problem of lead paint still poisoning children. The ancient Greeks knew lead is poisonous. Ben Franklin wrote about its dangers. So how did it end up being all around us? And how is it still a problem?
April 19, 2019
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
April 16, 2019
Tax Day is behind us, but the Taxpayer First Act is not. The bipartisan proposal passed the House last week and is now under consideration in the Senate — and one of the provisions is exactly what the for-profit tax preparation industry has been pushing for.  Through an agreement with the IRS, companies like H&R Block and Intuit currently offer free tax filing services to taxpayers making less than $66,000 dollars a year. But only 1.6 percent of taxpayers actually use Free File, and critics say that the companies engage in aggressive up-selling through the portal. A provision in the Taxpayer First Act would bar the IRS from developing their own free system.  Dennis Ventry is a tax scholar at the University of California, Davis. He has written about the shortcomings of the Free File program, and explains to Bob why he thinks the IRS isn't doing enough to protect taxpayers who try to use it. He wrote an opinion piece last year titled "Free File providers scam taxpayers; Congress shouldn't be fooled" — which made him the target of a public records request from an industry group.   
April 12, 2019
WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange was arrested in London, and now faces prosecution. On this week’s On the Media, a look at what Assange’s arrest may mean for press freedom. Plus, what the new image of a black hole tell us about the power of science in the face of a conspiracy theory minefield. And, a look at a new documentary about former Trump strategist Steve Bannon. 1. Bob [@bobosphere] opines about what Julian Assange's arrest means — and doesn't mean — for the future of press freedom. Listen. 2. Yale astronomy and physics professor Priyamvada Natarajan [@SheerPriya] finally gets a glimpse at what she's spent years theorizing about: a black hole. Listen. 3. New York Magazine's Madison Malone Kircher [@4evrmalone] on how YouTuber Logan Paul stokes the conspiracy flames. Listen. 4. New York Magazine's Max Read [@max_read] on how the Matrix's "red pill" idea has been so foundational for modern-day skeptics. Listen. 5. Alison Klayman [@aliklay], director of "The Brink," a new documentary about Steve Bannon, on what we can learn by looking at Bannon's role in our political and media world. Listen.  
April 11, 2019
New York Times reporter Michael Schwirtz set out to investigate a series of assassinations in Ukraine with low expectations. Reporting on a homicide as a member of the foreign press is daunting enough to begin with. His assignment was formidable beacuse many of the murders were linked to Russia — a government hostile to the media at best and notorious for murdering foreign journalists at worst. But when Schwirtz approached alleged Russian assassin Oleg Smorodinov to question him about a murder, the accused provided an unexpected bit of testimony: a confession. And on top of that, Smorodinov disclosed the specific role the Kremlin played in ordering and directing his crime. Schwirtz published his findings in a New York Times feature last week. Bob spoke with Schwirtz about spies, state-facilitated assassination and the experience of following a true story that reads like a Russian mystery novel.
April 5, 2019
Recently, a member of the Trump administration called Puerto Rico “that country,” obscuring once more the relationship between the island colony and the American mainland. 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."   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 
April 2, 2019
California recently passed a law that eliminates some of the barriers to accessing records on egregious police misconduct and deadly use of force. With the floodgates open, journalists, like KPCC investigative reporter Annie Gilbertson, are elated and terrified. Just one police violation can come with hundreds of associated documents for journalists to comb through.  So, instead of fighting tooth and nail for the scoop, over 30 media organizations across the state are teaming up to share resources, bodies and insight as they begin the arduous task of combing through the newly-available records. The coalition is called the California Reporting Project. Bob Garfield talked with Gilbertson about what the project is uncovering.  
March 29, 2019
With the Mueller investigation complete, talking heads have given the short public summary their usual spin. This week, On the Media looks at why the framing of the report produced so much misunderstanding. Plus, how historical amnesia and old ideas about limitless growth have influenced American psychology and foreign policy.  1. Dahlia Lithwick [@Dahlialithwick], writer for Slate and host of the Amicus podcast, on how the summary of Mueller's findings is being spun. Listen. 2. Corey Robin [@CoreyRobin], political science professor at Brooklyn College, on Americans' flawed historical memories. Listen. 3. Greg Grandin [@GregGrandin], history professor at New York University, on his latest book, The End of The Myth: From Frontier to the Border Wall in the Mind of America. Listen.   MUSIC: Prelude 8: The Invisibles - John Zorn Trance Dance - John Zorn Kronos - Purple Haze Sacred Oracle - John Zorn Rebel Soldier - The Nashville Sessions
March 27, 2019
Purdue Pharma has settled a lawsuit with the state of Oklahoma for $270 million, a larger figure than two other cases the company has settled with other states. In doing so, the company also avoided a televised trial in May at a time when there's been growing public pressure on Purdue and its owners, the Sackler family, amid allegations that they misled the public about the dangers of OxyContin.  Back in 2017, Bob spoke with Barry Meier about how public discourse about chronic pain and treatment have been shaped by companies like Purdue with help from physicians, consultants, and the media. Meier is a former reporter for The New York Times and author of Pain Killer: A "Wonder" Drug's Trail of Addiction and Death.  Bob also interviewed journalist Anna Clark about her reporting for the Columbia Journalism Review on opioid-related death notices. Sites like Legacy.com, she explained, have often chronicled the crisis' individual human toll.   
March 22, 2019
In the aftermath of white supremacist attacks in New Zealand, there's a tension between reporting on the shooter's motivations and not amplifying his message. This week, On the Media examines how the press can navigate that persistent dilemma. Plus, the debate over whether online archives of jihadi terrorist propaganda should be open to the public.  1. Joan Donovan [@BostonJoan] describes the way the press has evolved in its responses to far-right terrorism, and argues for continued caution in coverage of white supremacists. Listen. 2. Kathleen Belew [@kathleen_belew] describes the White Power roots of the Christchurch attack, and argues that to effectively fight this hate, we must understand the movement in which it grows. Listen. 3. Dan Feidt [@HongPong] of Unicorn Riot [@UR_Ninja] on what alt-right groups are discussing in their secret online chatrooms, and what we learn by reading them. Listen. 4. Charlie Winter [@charliewinter], Rukmini Callimachi [@rcallimachi], Ali Fisher [@WandrenPD], Amarnath Amarasingam [@AmarAmarasingam], Pieter Van Ostaeyen [@p_vanostaeyen], and Seamus Hughes [@SeamusHughes] on the debate over whether online archives of jihadi terrorist propaganda should be open to the public. Listen. Songs:Capicua by Animal ChukiUntitled by Aphex Twin (Four Tet remix)Chrysanthemum Complex (Contagion OST) by Cliff Martinez Capernaum OST by Khaled MouzanarMeg Erase Meta by Qasim NaqviIts Motion Keeps by Caroline ShawLo by Dawn of Midi
March 19, 2019
The details are different but the story is the same. A mass shooting, scores of people dead, another nation traumatized. Although in the aftermath of the events in New Zealand last week there is a wrinkle. In her first speech to parliament since the attacks, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern declared that she will never speak the killer's name and she asked the press and others to follow suit. Ardern said the shooter would not get notoriety, perhaps a nod to the group “No Notoriety” started by Tom Teves and his wife Caren. The Teves lost their son in the 2012 shooting rampage in an Aurora, Colorado movie theater and later formed the group to beseech news outlets not to turn mass killers into media icons. Bob spoke to Tom back in 2015 as jury selection was beginning for the trial of his son’s killer.
March 15, 2019
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.
March 13, 2019
To suggest that Tucker Carlson has a tendency to hint at deeply discriminatory tropes would be cliché — but also dead-on. Just this week, thanks to newly unearthed audio released by Media Matters, the Fox News darling ditches his signature dog whistle in exchange for unmistakable and unapologetic hate speech. Who is Tucker Carlson, really? In this week's pod extra, Bob delves into the origins of the now-notorious commentator with Lyz Lenz, a writer for Columbia Journalism Review who profiled Carlson in September.
March 8, 2019
Mexican officials and U.S. Customs and Border Protection are using a secret database to target journalists and advocates at the southern border. This week, On the Media speaks with a reporter on the list who was detained for questioning by Mexican authorities. Plus, what the Obama Library’s unique arrangement with the National Archives means for the future of presidential history. And, the grotesque origins of segregation.  1. Mari Payton [@MariNBCSD], reporter at NBC 7 in San Diego, and Kitra Cahana, freelance photojournalist, on the secret government database of immigration reporters and advocates. Listen. 2. Tim Naftali [@TimNaftali], historian at New York University and former director of the Nixon Presidential Library and Museum, and Louise Bernard, director of the museum at the Obama Presidential Center, on the Obama Foundation's decision to curate its own presidential museum. Listen. 3. Steve Luxenberg [@SLuxenberg], author of Separate, on the history of Plessy v. Ferguson. Listen.   Music in this week's show: Fallen Leaves by Marcos Ciscar  Gormenghast by John Zorn With Plenty of Money and You by Hal Kemp And His Orchestra   Let's Face This Music And Dance by Roy Fox And His Orchestra Wade in the Water by Charlie Haden and Hank Jones Get Back - Black, Brown And White by Big Bill Broonzy Moulin Rouge by Toots Thielemans
March 6, 2019
This Tuesday, lawmakers in Washington heard from an 18-year-old who, against all odds, got his shots. Ethan Lindenberger, who fought with his own mother to get vaccinated, told senators, "for my mother, her love, affection, and care as a parent was used to push an agenda to create a false distress." That "anti-vaxx" agenda, the dangerous legacy of a thoroughly debunked 1998 study in the British medical journal Lancet, was dealt yet another devastating — though not mortal — blow this week, courtesy of epidemiologists from Denmark’s Staten Serum Institute. Their new study, which included more than 650,000 children, found that the MMR vaccine did not raise the risk of developing autism.  And yet, even in the face of study after study, and even as websites like Pinterest have moved to stamp out the spread of anti-vaxx materials on their websites, the debunked vaccine-autism link and its impact on public health live on. In this 2012 interview, Brooke spoke with Seth Mnookin, author of The Panic Virus: A True Story of Medicine, Science and Fear, about why these myths persist.  
March 1, 2019
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
February 26, 2019
On Sunday night, Marvel’s Black Panther film won the Oscar for three of its six Academy Award nominations: Ludwig Göransson for Best Original Score, Ruth E. Carter for Best Costume Design and Hannah Beachler and Jay R. Hart for Best Production design — just a few of the artists who helped bring Wakanda, the Black Panther’s mythical homeland, to life. A persistent site for utopian longing, Wakanda has once more captured the public imagination: endowed with unlimited access to the most precious natural resource in the world, unsullied by the ravages of colonialism, Wakanda has reignited conversations about what black liberation can and should look like. According to Johns Hopkins University history professor Nathan Connolly, this latest chapter is part of a much longer tradition of imagining and reimagining black utopias. Connolly speaks with Brooke about how Wakanda arises from a 500-year history — from Maroon communities to Haiti to the actual Black Panther movement — a journey that takes us from "dreams to art to life, and back again." This segment originally aired on February 23rd, 2018.
February 22, 2019
Twitch.tv is a video streaming platform where millions of people broadcast their lives and video game action in real-time. It's like unedited, real, reality TV. This week, On the Media digs into why so many people want to share so much on Twitch, and what it tells us about the future of entertainment. First, a look at a couple of the biggest streamers of the platform, Ninja and Dr. Disrespect, who command devoted audiences and giant paychecks. Then, Bob dives into the inaugural season of the Overwatch League, the most expensive and highly produced pro gaming venture to date. Finally, Brooke speaks with Radiolab's Jad Abumrad about the life of a homeless streamer who's life was saved by Twitch. 1. Julia Alexander [@loudmouthjulia] and Allegra Frank [@LegsFrank], two writers with Polygon, on the pitfalls and para-social allure of Twitch. Listen. 2. Cecilia D'Anastasio [@cecianasta] a reporter with Kotaku, Saebyeolbe [@saebyeolbe] and Pine [@tf2pine], two pro gamers, and Farzam Kamel, a venture capitalist with Sterling VC, on the inaugural season of the Overwatch League. Listen. 3. Jad Abumrad [@JadAbumrad] of Radiolab and VP Gloves, a homeless Twitch streamer, on the murky ethics of Twitch's IRL (in real life) section. Listen. This hour was originally broadcast on August 18th, 2018. 
February 20, 2019
Founded in 1936, the German-American Bund had approximately 25,000 members and 70 chapters around the country. While the Nazis were building concentration camps, the Bund held pro-Hitler retreats and summer camps. February 20th marks the 80th anniversary of the Bund’s most notorious event when 20,000 of its members gathered at Madison Square Garden for a "Pro-American Rally" featuring speeches and performances, staged in front of a 30-foot-high portrait of George Washington. The rally is the subject of the Oscar-nominated documentary short "A Night at The Garden" by filmmaker Marshall Curry. In this On the Media podcast extra, Brooke talks with Curry about how the film's themes resonate today and how a 30-second broadcast spot has had a media moment of its own.  
February 15, 2019
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  
February 13, 2019
For this week's pod extra, we feature a conversation from WNYC'S Brian Lehrer Show. Brian talked with Columbia University President Lee Bollinger and University of Chicago Law Professor Geoffrey Stone, editors of The Free Speech Century, a collection of essays by leading scholars, marking 100 years since the Supreme Court issued the three decisions that established the modern notion of free speech. Whether it’s fake news or money in politics, we’re still arguing over the First Amendment, and their book lays out the origins of the argument just after the first World War.  
February 8, 2019
At Tuesday's State of the Union, President Trump continued to call for a wall at the southern border. Meanwhile, some Democrats point to the real crisis: climate change. A look at the messaging of urgency and hope around the Green New Deal. And, a former mentor to Mark Zuckerberg lays out his deep criticisms of Facebook. Then, a Facebook employee makes the case for one potential solution. Plus, a new documentary about Pete Hamill and Jimmy Breslin, two New York City reporters, who helped turn column writing into an art form. 1. Kate Aronoff [@KateAronoff], contributing writer with The Intercept, on how Democrats are selling the urgent need to address climate change. Listen. 2. Roger McNamee [@Moonalice], author of Zucked: Waking Up to the Facebook Catastrophe, on the damage that Facebook has done. Listen. 3. Andy O'Connell [@facebook], manager of content distribution and algorithm policy at Facebook, on the network's new "Supreme Court" for content moderation.  Listen. 4. Jonathan Alter [@jonathanalter], filmmaker and journalist, on the legacy of two masterful newspaper columnists. Listen. Songs: Mermelada by Como Las MoviesI Am Not A Farmer by Bill Frisell Coconut Wireless by MoonaliceFallen Leaves by Marcos CiscarSuperstition by Sungha JungChez Le Photographe Du Motel by Miles DavisDinner Music For A Pack Of Hungry by Raymond Scott
February 4, 2019
Despite steadily declining rates of cancer deaths over the past two decades, cancer remains responsible for 1 in every 6 deaths worldwide. It’s a scourge. So when, this week, an Israeli company called Accelerated Evolution Biotechnologies captured the news cycle with promises of a complete cure for cancer within the year, the story caught fire. The company’s technology is called “MuTaTo” — that's multi-target toxin. And, to judge from the news media this week, it seems vetted, verified and veering us all toward a cancer-free future. Reports began in the Jerusalem Post, but quickly took off, making their way into various Murdoch-owned publications like FOX and the New York Post and landing in local news outlets around the country and the globe. A couple days into the fanfare, the skeptics started coming out: for one thing, as oncologist David Gorski points out in his blog “Respectful Insolence,” the claims are based on experiments with mice: no human trials have yet started. For another, they haven’t been sufficiently peer reviewed. In fact, the company won’t share its research, claiming it can’t afford the expense. The too-good-to-be-true story appears to be just that, built on PR puffery. But who can resist a good cancer cure? With Mutato in mind, for this week’s podcast extra, we revisit our Breaking News Consumer’s Handbook: Health News edition, with Gary Schwitzer, publisher & founder of HealthNewsReview.org.
February 1, 2019
The Venezuelan press has been facing repression for years. This week, On the Media explores how journalists in the country are struggling to cover the standoff between two men who claim to be president. Also, how both the history of American interventionism and the legacy of Simón Bolívar color coverage of Venezuela. Plus, a critical look at the images coming out of Chinese internment camps. 1. Mariana Zuñiga [@marazuniga], freelance reporter based in Caracas, on her experience covering Venezuela's presidential standoff. Listen.  2. Miguel Tinker Salas [@mtinkersalas], professor of history at Pomona College, on the legacy of Simón Bolívar. Listen. 3. Stephen Kinzer [@stephenkinzer], professor of international relations at Brown University, on the history of American intervention in Latin America. Listen.  4. Rian Thum [@RianThum], senior research fellow at the University of Nottingham, on the internment of Uighurs by the Chinese government. Listen.  Songs: Sueno en Paraguay by Chancha Via CircuitoMermelada by Como Las MoviesContradanza Del Espíritu by Roberto FonsecaLa Canción Bolivariana by Alí PrimeraSlow Pulse Conga by William PasleyMi Guitarrita by Manuel SilvaChrysanthemum Complex (Contagion OST) by Cliff MartinezBizning Naxshimiz by Ayshemgul Memet, Shohrat Tursun & Ilyar Ayup
January 30, 2019
This week, the latest tell-all memoir from a former White House staffer hit bookstores. Team of Vipers: My 500 Extraordinary Days in the Trump White House is by Cliff Sims — who was, depending on who you ask, either key player as Director of Message Strategy or, as Trump tweeted this week, “nothing more than a gofer.” The book, of course, is a landfill of trash and dirt on his former colleagues. And even as Sims toured the morning shows, the late shows and the everything-else shows to hawk his book, Trump Campaign COO Michael Glassner was threatening to sue him for violating the campaign's non disclosure agreement. Sims says he remembers signing some paperwork, but doesn’t remember if there was an NDA in there and, as other lawyers have since chimed in, there is established precedent that would make it very hard for the campaign to silence a former federal employee. The subject of NDAs comes up a lot for people in Trump’s orbit — which is why the team at Trump, Inc. (produced here at our station, WNYC) did a whole episode on the topic. We present that episode for you as our podcast extra this week. Enjoy!
January 25, 2019
The Lincoln Memorial debacle showed how vulnerable the press are to a myriad of social and political forces. This week, we examine how the outrage unfolded and what role MAGA hat symbolism might have played. And, a graphic photo in the New York Times spurs criticism. Plus, a reality show that attempts to bridge the gap between indigenous people and white Canadians.  1. Bob's thoughts on where the Lincoln Memorial episode has left us. Listen. 2. Charlie Warzel [@cwarzel], tech writer, on the zig-zagging meta-narratives emerging from the Lincoln Memorial episode, and the role played by right-wing operatives. Listen. 3. Jeannine Bell [@jeanninelbell], professor at Indiana University's Maurer School of Law, on MAGA hat symbology. Listen. 4. Kainaz Amaria [@kainazamaria], visuals editor at Vox, on the Times' controversial decision to publish a bloody photo following the January 15 attack in Nairobi, Kenya. Listen. 5. Vanessa Loewen, executive producer of the Canadian documentary series First Contact and Jean La Rose, CEO of the Aboriginal Peoples Television Network, on their televised effort to bridge the gap between indigenous and settler Canadians. Listen
January 22, 2019
When he was still in his twenties, Martin Luther King Jr. was, among other things, an advice columnist for Ebony magazine. Writer Mychal Denzel Smith studied those columns for an article this week in The Atlantic, and he found that readers asked the civil rights leader about everything from race relations to marriage problems. In some instances Dr. King was surprisingly unorthodox — the preacher's thoughts on birth control are particularly eloquent — and in others, his advice was less than sage. When one reader complained about her philandering husband, he told her to self-reflect: "Are you careful with your grooming? Do you nag? Do you make him feel important?" When another described her husband as a "complete tyrant," self-reflection on the part of the woman was, again, the answer.  Denzel Smith joins Brooke to discuss Dr. King's mid-century masculinity, how it is still wielded as a cudgel against young black Americans, and why he thinks Americans — black and white — are due for a vacation from MLK-mania.  This segment is from our April 6, 2018 program, Paved With Good Intentions.
January 18, 2019
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.
January 15, 2019
Rosanne's Cash's new album features 10 new songs, all written and co-written by Cash, that find her "speaking out and looking inward" (The Boston Globe) from a uniquely female perspective. It features contributions from Elvis Costello, Kris Kristofferson, Colin Meloy and Sam Phillips, plus three extra tracks that appear on the deluxe edition of the record. The album's title track was just named one of the Top 5 songs of 2018 by The New York Times.  She sat down with Brooke for an evening of talk and music at WNYC's very own theater, The Greene Space. 
January 11, 2019
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.
January 9, 2019
Is it too ordinary to be afraid of your cat dying? Jeff VanderMeer is an author based in Tallahassee, Florida. This week he is the featured guest on the podcast "10 things that scare me: a tiny podcast about our biggest fears," produced by WNYC Studios. We spoke to Jeff a year ago about the impending climate change disaster for a show we called Apocalypse, Now. His award-winning Southern Reach trilogy has been published in over 35 languages.  Join the 10 Things That Scare Me conversation, and tell them your fears here. And follow 10 Things That Scare Me on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook.
January 4, 2019
Just outside of Mobile, Alabama, sits the small community of Africatown, a town established by the last known slaves brought to America, illegally, in 1860. Decades after that last slave ship, The Clotilde, burned in the waters outside Mobile, Africatown residents are pushing back against the forces of industrial destruction and national amnesia. Local struggles over environmental justice, land ownership, and development could determine whether Africatown becomes an historical destination, a living monument to a lingering past — or whether shadows cast by highway overpasses and gasoline tanks will erase our country's hard-learned lessons.  Brooke spoke with Deborah G. Plant, editor of a new book by Zora Neale Hurston about a founder of Africatown, Joe Womack, environmental activist and Africatown resident, Vickii Howell, president and CEO of the MOVE Gulf Coast Community Development Corporation, Charles Torrey, research historian for the History Museum of Mobile, and others about the past, present, and future of Africatown, Alabama.  **This episode was originally aired in May of 2018.** Songs: Traditional African Nigerian Music of the Yoruba TribeDeath Have Mercy by Regina CarterSacred Oracle by John Zorn and Bill FrisellPassing Time by John RenbournThe Thompson Fields by Maria Schneider Jazz Orchestra
January 2, 2019
Joe Frank -- the radio producer’s radio producer, the ultimate acquired taste -- passed away a year ago this month. He was 79. For over four decades Frank hosted late-night shows that could float between hilarious dreams and suspenseful nightmares, between fact and fiction. And though his shows were rarely mainstream hits, cultural figures like Ira Glass of This American Life and film director Alexander Payne consider Frank a major influence on their own work. Brooke discussed Joe Frank's life, style and legacy with Jad Abumrad, co-host of WNYC's Radiolab, and Mark Oppenheimer, host of Tablet magazine's Unorthodox podcast, who wrote an article in Slate titled "Joe Frank Signs Off."
December 28, 2018
After World War II, Germany and the Allied powers took pains to make sure that its citizens would never forget the country’s dark history. But in America, much of our past remains hidden or rewritten. This week, Brooke visits Montgomery, Alabama, home to The Legacy Museum and the National Memorial for Peace and Justice, a new museum and memorial created by the Equal Justice Initiative that aim to bring America’s history of segregation and racial terror to the forefront. 1. Brooke talks to the Equal Justice Initiative's [@eji_org] Bryan Stevenson about what inspired him to create The Legacy Museum and memorial and to historian Sir Richard Evans [@RichardEvans36] about the denazification process in Germany after World War II. Listen. 2. Brooke visits The Legacy Museum and National Memorial for Peace and Justice. Listen. 3. Brooke speaks again with Bryan Stevenson about his own history and America's ongoing struggle to confront our racist past and present. Listen. This episode originally aired on June 1st, 2018. It was re-broadcast on December 28, 2018.
December 25, 2018
Merry Christmas, to those who celebrate! To those who don't (and, aw heck, to those who do too) we offer a very special end-of-year gift: fear. More specifically, Brooke's greatest fears, courtesy of our WNYC colleagues, 10 Things That Scare Me. Fear is a subject — and experience — near and dear to our beloved Brooke, so we can assure you that this is not a conversation to skip. 
December 21, 2018
Two weeks ago, a seven-year-old girl died in Customs and Border Patrol custody. This week, On the Media considers how coverage of her death has resembled previous immigration story cycles. Plus, we make an year-end review of cabinet officials shown the door as the result of investigative reporting — and we honor the 80 journalists killed around the globe this year. Also, we explore the subversive, revolutionary art of Hilma af Klint. Aura Bogado [@aurabogado], immigration reporter at Reveal, on the conditions migrants experience when they cross the border and the importance of hearing them in their own words. Listen. Columbia Journalism Review's Jon Allsop [@Jon_Allsop] on how reporters have cut through the noise of the Trump administration to uncover stories with impact. Listen. Brooke on this year's slain journalists and the risks they took in pursuit of their reporting. Listen. Tracey Bashkoff, curator at the Guggenheim Museum, walks Brooke through an exhibition of Hilma af Klint's work. Listen. Harvard University historian Ann Braude on the relationship between 19th century spiritualism and the women's rights movement. Listen.
December 19, 2018
In 1971, federal investigators convened two grand juries to investigate, among other things, the publishing, by major newspapers, of thousands of pages of secret government documents reviewing the history from 1945 on, of the still ongoing war in Vietnam.  The Pentagon Papers' consequences were vast — including that historic effort by the federal government to investigate — under the Espionage Act — staffers at the Washington Post, the New York Times, and the Boston Globe. As tends to be the case with sprawling grand jury cases, the investigators’ questions and methods remain a secret. But Jill Lepore hopes to change that. On Monday of this week, Lepore — Harvard historian, New Yorker staff writer, and author of These Truths: A History of the United States — asked a federal court to order the release of documents related to those grand juries. “Why and when was the investigation opened?” Lepore demands in court documents. “Why was it closed? To what lengths did the government go in conducting the investigation?” A half-century after Pentagon analyst Daniel Ellsberg’s mammoth revelations, questions still linger.  Earlier this year, Brooke spoke with Les Gelb, one of the drafters of the original papers, about what journalists and historians previously failed to understand about the Pentagon Papers.
December 14, 2018
It’s been 100 years since one of the deadliest diseases... well, ever. The 1918-1919 flu pandemic (usually and mistakenly called the “Spanish Flu”) infected roughly a third of the world’s population and killed somewhere on the order of 50-100 million people, leaving no corner of the world untouched. It came just as the world was beginning its recovery from the other global catastrophe of the time — the First World War. The pandemic is sometimes referred to as the “Forgotten Plague” because the extent of the devastation wasn’t realized at the time, and it’s been missing from most history books since.   This week on On the Media, we look back at what happened and ask: could it, would it happen again? This hour of On the Media is part of “Germ City” a series produced by the WNYC newsroom in collaboration with the Museum of the City of New York and the New York Academy of Medicine. Laurie Garrett [@Laurie_Garrett], author and infectious disease expert, and Nancy Tomes, historian at Stony Brook University, on the 1918 flu pandemic. Listen. Dr Harvey V. Fineberg, president of the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation, on the 1976 swine flu fiasco. Listen. Matthew Gertz [@MattGertz], senior fellow at Media Matters, on the media’s coverage of the 2014 Ebola outbreak. Listen. Dr Amesh Adalja [@AmeshAA], Senior Scholar at the John Hopkins Center for Health Security and Dr Hoe Nam Leong, an infectious disease specialist at Mount Elizabeth Novena Hospital in Singapore, on airplanes and infectious disease. Listen.  Professor Dominique Brossard [@brossardd], Chair of the Department of Life Sciences Communication at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, on how media covers pandemics. Listen.
December 12, 2018
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! 
December 7, 2018
The death of George H.W. Bush brought us a week’s worth of ceremony, eulogy and wall-to-wall coverage. This week, a look at the choices journalists made when they set out to memorialize the president. And, immigration stories in our media focus on the U.S.–Mexico border — but what about immigration elsewhere in Latin America? Is there a journalistic solution to the scale of global immigration? Plus, a baseball metaphor and a bit of forgotten Hanukkah history. 1. Anne Helen Petersen [@annehelen], senior culture writer at Buzzfeed, and David Greenberg [@republicofspin], historian at Rutgers University, on the history — and pitfalls — of presidential eulogies. Listen. 2. Bob on the speculation surrounding Robert Mueller's investigation. Listen. 3. Diego Salazar [@disalch], journalist, on the immigration crisis within Latin America.  Listen. 4. Masha Gessen [@mashagessen], staff writer at The New Yorker, on her modest proposal for immigration coverage. Listen. 5. Rabbi James Ponet, Jewish chaplain emeritus at Yale University, on the historical origins of Hanukkah. Listen. Songs:  Ototoa by MalphinoFallen Leaves by Marcos CiscarWallpaper by WooString Quartet, No. 2 by Kronos QuartetViderunt Omnes by Kronos Quartet
December 5, 2018
Satisfaction at the political enemy’s hypocrisy can be so rich that partisan critics strain — sometimes absurdly — to locate it. Such is the case with Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, newly elected member of Congress from New York and avowed democratic socialist.  How to prove she is a phony? Why, her clothes, of course. It’s an absurd attempt at gotcha, but not an uncommon one. Bob spoke with Einav Rabinovitch-Fox, historian at Case Western Reserve University, about the long history of media obsession with the clothing of outspoken women — in particular, the thousands of garment workers who went on strike in 1909.
November 30, 2018
The White House tried to bury a devastating climate assessment on Black Friday; this week, On the Media documents how TV talk shows gave climate change deniers a platform to spin the report for their own ends. We look back on Fox News' coming-of-age under Roger Ailes and we consider what comes next for the company amidst pressure, transition and unprecedented proximity to power. Plus, a pro-migration video goes viral in Honduras for all the wrong reasons. 1. Lisa Hymas [@lisahymas], director of the climate and energy program at Media Matters for America, on climate denialism in environmental coverage. Listen. 2. Alexis Bloom, director of Divide and Conquer: The Story of Roger Ailes [@rogerailesfilm], on Ailes' role as newsman and political kingmaker. Listen. 3. Sarah Ellison [@Sarahlellison], staff writer at the Washington Post, on what comes next for "New Fox." Listen. 4. Alana Casanova-Burgess [@AlanaLlama], producer for On the Media, on how a pro-migration satire got out of its creators' hands. Listen. Songs: Ototoa by MalphinoFallen Leaves by Marcos CiscarString Quartet No. 2 (Company) by Kronos QuartetViderunt Omnes by Kronos Quartet
November 28, 2018
A government climate change report was released last week and summarily dismissed...by the government. It was a worrying development, to be sure — but it was also only the latest chapter in the long history of scientists' unheeded warnings. Back in 1988, Andrew Revkin started covering global warming, beginning with a cover piece for Discover Magazine (and later for The New York Times). Last summer, he spoke with Brooke about the lessons he's learned in thirty years of coverage — and what they mean for how humankind might be able to navigate a much warmer future.  Revkin's piece on thirty years of climate change reporting was in the July issue of National Geographic. He is also the co-author of Weather: An Illustrated History: From Cloud Atlases to Climate Change. He is now Strategic Adviser for Environmental and Science Journalism at the National Geographic Society.
November 23, 2018
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. 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
November 19, 2018
On the 155th anniversary of The Gettysburg Address, we bring you a conversation with Professor Adam Goodheart. He ran The New York Times blog, Disunion, which covers the American Civil War as if it were a real-time event unfolding today. Goodheart's used Civil War Era journalism as one of his primary sources and says that sharing updates about the war gives his readers a sense of immediacy that a traditional history book can't provide. He spoke to Brooke in 2010, also on November 19th, the anniversary of The Gettysburg Address. 
November 16, 2018
Over a week after the midterms, there's uncertainty in key races in Florida and Georgia. We examine the pervasive conspiracy theories around vote counting. Plus, Amazon has concluded their infamous HQ2 search. At the time, it seemed like a reality show contest. What did it cost the participants? Also, how Amazon fits into a history of anti-trust attitudes in the U.S. And, a look back at a time when capitalism squared off against Jim Crow — and won.  1. Will Sommer [@willsommer] digs into the conspiratorial buzz around the Florida recounts and how right-wing media is fueling doubt. Listen. 2. David Dayen [@ddayen] talks about Amazon's HQ2 sweepstakes and what the contest may have cost participants and the public. Listen. 3. Stacy Mitchell [@stacyfmitchell] goes through the history of anti-trust regulation and where Amazon fits in as a monopoly. Listen. 4. Sears once disrupted the power structure of Jim Crow with a mail-order catalog. Louis Hyman [@louishyman] tells the story of how American consumerism squared off against racism. Listen. Songs: The Pink Panther Theme by Henry Mancini & His OrchestraThrough the Street by David BergeaudWith Plenty Of Money And You by Hal KempDon't Dream It's Over by The Bad PlusAvalon by Randy Newman
November 13, 2018
The Camp Fire in California is the deadliest in the state's history, leaving the entire city of Paradise in ashes. Parts of Malibu were destroyed by the Woolsey Fire, which firefighters are still trying to bring under control as of this writing. Every year, the press rushes to the scene to capture the fury and the heroic images of efforts to manage fires, but we may be missing a deeper, more dangerous story. In August, when the Mendocino Complex Fire was raging, Bob spoke to historian Stephen J. Pyne about what the typical media narratives overlook and how we can rethink them. 
November 9, 2018
America’s divisions are all the more clear after another frenzied news cycle. This week, we ask a historian and a data scientist whether we humans are capable of governing ourselves. Plus, the post-midterm prognosis on climate change, and how our media have often complicated our country’s founding spirit of self-reflection. 1. Brooke [@OTMBrooke] looks at the Shepard tone of anti-democratic news developments over the past week. Listen. 2. Kate Aronoff [@KateAronoff], contributing writer at the Intercept, on how climate change fared in this week's midterms. Listen. 3. Mary Christina Wood, University of Oregon law professor, on the public trust doctrine. Listen. 4. Jill Lepore, Harvard historian and New Yorker staff writer, on the enduring argument over the role of government in American life. Listen. 5. Joshua M. Epstein, director of NYU's Agent-Based Modeling Lab, on the computerized models that can teach us about how we behave in groups. Listen.  
November 6, 2018
Last week on our show, Bob spoke with Lilliana Mason, a University of Maryland political psychologist and author of Uncivil Agreement: How Politics Became Our Identity, about the reasons behind the tribalism and enmity that characterize our politics. The conversation covered a lot of ground, and much of it — including the political decisions that have shaped the two major parties over the past 50 years, as well as the distinct ways that Republicans and Democrats deploy partisan rage — didn’t make it into our tightly packed show. But, it’s too interesting and important to leave on the cutting room floor, so we’re sharing it as this week’s midterm edition podcast extra. Enjoy!
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