WNYC Studios

On the Media

The Peabody Award-winning On the Media podcast is your guide to examining how the media sausage is made. Hosts Brooke Gladstone and Bob Garfield examine threats to free speech and government transparency, cast a skeptical eye on media coverage of the week
On the Media

Description

The smartest, wittiest, most incisive media analysis show in the universe. The weekly one-hour podcast of NPR’s On the Media is your guide to how the media sausage is made. Hosts Brooke Gladstone and Bob Garfield examine threats to free speech and government transparency, criticize media coverage of the week’s big stories, examine new technology, and unravel hidden political narratives in the media. In an age of information overload, OTM helps you dig your way out. The Peabody Award winning show is produced by WNYC Radio.

Link: www.wnyc.org/series/media-podcast

Episodes

The Dead Consensus

Dec 6, 2019 50:09

Description:

As House leaders begin drafting articles of impeachment, examples from the Nixon and Clinton eras abound. This week, On the Media rewinds to the 19th century — and the turbulent impeachment of Andrew Johnson. Plus, what a debate between two right-wing intellectuals means for the future of conservatism.

1. Brenda Wineapple, author of The Impeachers, on the acrimonious trial of Andrew Johnson. Listen.

2. Matthew Sitman [@MatthewSitman], co-host of the Know Your Enemy podcast, on the rise of illiberalism among the conservative intelligentsia. Listen

Music:

It's Beginning To Look A Lot Like Christmas by Black Dyke Band
Gormenghast by John Zorn
Passing Time by John Renbourn
Prelude of Light by John Zorn
Psalom by Kronos Quartet
Purple Haze by Kronos Quartet

Tribalism, Anger and the State of Our Politics

Dec 4, 2019 23:34

Description:

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

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

We Need To Talk About Poland

Nov 29, 2019 50:22

Description:

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

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

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

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

 

Music:

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

PURPLE EPISODE 4: Media to the Rescue?

Nov 26, 2019 10:31

Description:

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

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

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

Music:

Ashokan Farewell by Jay Ungar

 

PURPLE EPISODE 3: Let’s Not Discount Reality

Nov 25, 2019 10:06

Description:

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

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

Music:

Purple Haze by Jimi Hendrix

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

Nov 24, 2019 14:32

Description:

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

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

Song:

Il Casanova di Federico Fellini by Nino Rota

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

Nov 23, 2019 16:23

Description:

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

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

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

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

Music:

We Insist by Zoë Keating

The Disagreement Is The Point

Nov 22, 2019 49:47

Description:

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

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

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

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

Music:

Misterioso by Kronos Quartet

Human Nature by Vijay Iyer Trio

Il Casanova di Federico Fellini by Nino Rota

Whispers of Heavenly Death by John Zorn

These Boots Are Made For Walkin' by Nancy Sinatra

We Made a Lipstick For You!

Nov 19, 2019 12:47

Description:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thank you so much!

Designed to Intimidate

Nov 15, 2019 50:40

Description:

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

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

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

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

Music:

Zoe Keating — We Insist
Donnie Darko — Cellar Door
Chicago Sunset — Charlie Musselwhite
Carmen Fantasy — Anderson and Row
Tongue in cheek — Gaurav Raina Tarana Marwah
Ototoa — Malphino

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

Nov 13, 2019 55:32

Description:

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

                                                                                                      -Philipp Blom

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

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

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

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

Producer/Host: Sara Fishko
Associate Producer: Olivia Briley
Technical Director: Ed Haber
Editor: Karen Frillmann

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

With the voices of Michael Wist and Alexis Cuadrado

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

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

Curiouser and Curiouser

Nov 8, 2019 50:37

Description:

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

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

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

 

Music from this week's show:

How Strange by Nicola Cruz
I'm the Slime By Frank Zappa
Suite for Solo Cello No. 6 in D Major, BWV 1012: I. Prelude by Yo Yo Ma
Lachrymae Antiquae by Kronos Quartet
Two Thousand Seventeen by Four Tet

Can We Govern Ourselves?

Nov 6, 2019 23:20

Description:

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

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

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

Band-Aid On A Bulletwound

Nov 1, 2019 50:17

Description:

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

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

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

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

Music from this week's show:

John Zorn — Prelude 7: Sign and Sigil
John Zorn — Night Thoughts
Clint Mansell & Kronos Quartet: Coney Island Dreaming
Korla Pandit — Procession of the Grand Moghul
Michael Andrews: The Artifact and Living

 

OTM presents Trump Inc: All the President's Memes

Oct 30, 2019 26:28

Description:

This week on the OTM pod we feature another episode from Trump Inc. 

Read more about who makes money when a bunch of conspiracy theorists throw a party at Trump's hotel. Stay up to date with email updates about WNYC and ProPublica's investigations into the president's business practices.

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

Trump, Inc. was there.

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

This week: The business of conspiracies.

When They Come For You

Oct 25, 2019 50:11

Description:

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

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

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

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

 

Music:

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

 

OTM presents: Impeachment Pod, the Taylor Testimony

Oct 23, 2019 22:36

Description:

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

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

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

Hanging In The Balance

Oct 18, 2019 49:27

Description:

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”

Introducing... Impeachment: A Daily Podcast

Oct 16, 2019 19:47

Description:

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. 

Sticks and Stones

Oct 11, 2019 50:09

Description:

“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

"The Heartbeat of Wounded Knee"

Oct 9, 2019 22:07

Description:

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.

A Likely Story

Oct 4, 2019 50:40

Description:

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. Gabriel Sherman [@GabrielSherman], special correspondent at Vanity Fair, on the chaos at Fox News. Listen.

3. 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.

 

Go and Get Yourself a Whistle and Blow

Oct 2, 2019 9:17

Description:

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.

Nice Democracy You've Got There...

Sep 27, 2019 50:05

Description:

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 

 

Live Streaming Truth and Reconciliation

Sep 25, 2019 13:44

Description:

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.

Too Hot For School

Sep 20, 2019 49:52

Description:

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.

 

OTM presents Trump Inc: The Family Business

Sep 18, 2019 34:45

Description:

This week we are featuring a brand new episode from our friends at Trump Inc, a podcast produced here at WNYC. Here's a message from Trump Inc's producers: 

When we started all the way back in early 2018, we laid out how we'd be digging into the mysteries around President Donald Trump's business. After all, by keeping ownership of that business, Trump has had dueling interests: the country and his pocketbook. 

We've done dozens of episodes over the past 18 months, detailing how predatory lenders are paying the president, how Trump has profited from his own inauguration and how Trump's friends have sought to use their access in pursuit of profit

We've noticed something along the way. It's not just that the president has mixed his business and governing. It's that the way Trump does business is spreading across the government. 

Trump's company isn't like most big businesses. It is accountable to only one man, it has broken the rules, and those promoting it have long engaged in what Trump has dubbed"truthful hyperbole."

Those traits are now popping up in the government. It may seem like the news from Washington is a cacophony of scandals. But they fit clear patterns — patterns that Trump has brought with him from his business.  

A Very Bitter Joke

Sep 13, 2019 50:12

Description:

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

Why Many Afghans Don't Understand 9/11

Sep 11, 2019 11:56

Description:

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. 

Pressure Drop

Sep 6, 2019 50:34

Description:

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 covering of gun violence obscures the path to optimal solutions.

Remembering Les Gelb

Sep 4, 2019 17:43

Description:

On Saturday, Leslie Gelb died at the age of 82. Gelb was a Senate aide in his 20s, a New York Times correspondent in his 30s, an 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 finally, rounding out his career, president of the Council on Foreign Relations. He also made several memorable appearances on On the Media. Brooke remembers him this week and we revisit a conversation they had back in 2018 about the Pentagon Papers.

Whose Streets?

Aug 30, 2019 50:05

Description:

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: Rail
Iggy Pop — The Passenger
Gary Numan — Cars
Judd Greenstein — Change
Judd Greenstein — A Marvelous Order
Brian Eno — Music For Airports

A History of Persuasion: Part 3

Aug 28, 2019 30:22

Description:

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.

Empire State of Mind

Aug 23, 2019 49:53

Description:

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 

A History of Persuasion: Part 2

Aug 21, 2019 24:40

Description:

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.

A Civilization As Great As Ours

Aug 16, 2019 50:02

Description:

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

A History of Persuasion: Part 1

Aug 14, 2019 20:07

Description:

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.

The Democracy We Think We Live In

Aug 9, 2019 49:52

Description:

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

Deciphering the White Power Movement

Aug 7, 2019 12:58

Description:

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.

Repairing Justice: How to Fix the Internet

Aug 2, 2019 50:09

Description:

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.

Repairing Justice: An Alternative to Prison

Jul 31, 2019 31:06

Description:

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. 

Repairing Justice: The Prosecutor

Jul 26, 2019 50:28

Description:

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. 

What, Me Worry?

Jul 24, 2019 13:45

Description:

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.

Internal Scream

Jul 19, 2019 49:53

Description:

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.

The Right-Wing Web Goes to the White House

Jul 17, 2019 17:25

Description:

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.

Uncomfortably Numb

Jul 12, 2019 50:03

Description:

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.

The Epstein Story Didn't Just Happen Overnight

Jul 10, 2019 26:07

Description:

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.

Full Faith & Credit

Jul 5, 2019 49:41

Description:

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.

The Sound of America

Jul 3, 2019 25:44

Description:

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.

The Scarlet E, Part IV: Solutions

Jun 28, 2019 50:52

Description:

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.

 

Coming Out Posthumously

Jun 26, 2019 7:11

Description:

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. 

The Scarlet E, Part III: Tenants and Landlords

Jun 21, 2019 50:24

Description:

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.

How to Influence US Iran Policy ... Without Actually Existing

Jun 18, 2019 17:03

Description:

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.

40 Acres

Jun 14, 2019 50:08

Description:

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.

What "Running From Cops" Learned From "Cops"

Jun 12, 2019 20:40

Description:

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.  

Introducing: The Scarlet E

Jun 7, 2019 50:31

Description:

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. 

Making America Antitrust Again

Jun 5, 2019 15:36

Description:

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.” 

Climate Obscura

May 31, 2019 50:09

Description:

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.

Hurricane Season is Nearly Here. Brace Yourself for the Coverage.

May 29, 2019 20:40

Description:

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)

 

On Matters of War

May 24, 2019 49:59

Description:

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 Shire
Okami by Nicola Cruz 
Capharnaüm by Khaled Mouzanar
R+B = ? by Aeroc 
Farewell My Good One Forever by Phantasm
Agnus Dei by Martín Palmeri

 

Solving the Facebook Problem at Home and Abroad

May 22, 2019 16:20

Description:

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.

Constellation of Secret Evil

May 17, 2019 49:16

Description:

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

The Past, Present and Future of Nikole Hannah-Jones

May 14, 2019 28:24

Description:

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. 

Impossible!

May 10, 2019 49:36

Description:

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.

Werner Herzog on Gorbachev

May 8, 2019 20:33

Description:

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.

A High State of Agitation

May 3, 2019 49:14

Description:

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.

 

Is True Crime Jinxed?

May 1, 2019 11:54

Description:

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.

 

Justice Interruptus

Apr 26, 2019 49:20

Description:

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

 

How Is Lead Still A Problem?

Apr 23, 2019 29:38

Description:

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?

Harm To Ongoing Matter

Apr 19, 2019 49:11

Description:

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.

Who Profits When You File Your Taxes?

Apr 16, 2019 15:20

Description:

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. 

 

Wake Up, Sheeple!

Apr 12, 2019 49:13

Description:

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.

 

Spy vs. Spy

Apr 11, 2019 16:54

Description:

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.

Empire State of Mind

Apr 5, 2019 50:09

Description:

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 

Policing the Police

Apr 2, 2019 13:15

Description:

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.

 

The End of Magical Thinking

Mar 29, 2019 49:06

Description:

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

The Opioid Narratives

Mar 27, 2019 20:59

Description:

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. 

 

Hating In Plain Sight

Mar 22, 2019 49:11

Description:

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 Chuki
Untitled by Aphex Twin (Four Tet remix)
Chrysanthemum Complex (Contagion OST) by Cliff Martinez 
Capernaum OST by Khaled Mouzanar
Meg Erase Meta by Qasim Naqvi
Its Motion Keeps by Caroline Shaw
Lo by Dawn of Midi

No Notoriety

Mar 19, 2019 8:25

Description:

The details are different but the story is the same. A mass shooting, scores of people dead, another nation traumatised. Although in the aftermath of the events in New Zealand last week there is a wrinkle. In her first speech to parliament since the rampage Jacinda Adhern, Prime Minister of New Zealand declared that she will never speak the killer's name and she asked the press and others to follow suit.

Adhern said the shooter would get 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.

The Myth of Meritocracy

Mar 15, 2019 49:05

Description:

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.

Tucker Was Tucker All Along

Mar 13, 2019 26:55

Description:

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.

Crossing the Line

Mar 8, 2019 49:21

Description:

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

The Myth That Fuels the Anti-Vaxx Agenda

Mar 6, 2019 6:34

Description:

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.

 

Look Back in Anger

Mar 1, 2019 50:07

Description:

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 Waltz
Angelo Badalamenti: Audrey's Dance
John Zorn: The Hammer of Los
Stonemason’s March
The Kiboomers: German Lullaby

Longing for Wakanda

Feb 26, 2019 13:09

Description:

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.

Twitch and Shout

Feb 22, 2019 49:28

Description:

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. 

When 20,000 Nazis Gathered in New York

Feb 20, 2019 19:34

Description:

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.

 

Bad Reputation

Feb 15, 2019 49:39

Description:

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

 

A Century of Free Speech

Feb 13, 2019 30:27

Description:

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.  

The World's Biggest Problem

Feb 8, 2019 49:48

Description:

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 Movies
I Am Not A Farmer by Bill Frisell 
Coconut Wireless by Moonalice
Fallen Leaves by Marcos Ciscar
Superstition by Sungha Jung
Chez Le Photographe Du Motel by Miles Davis
Dinner Music For A Pack Of Hungry by Raymond Scott

The Too-Good-To-Be-True Cancer Cure

Feb 4, 2019 9:10

Description:

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.

Misery in the Name of Liberty

Feb 1, 2019 49:34

Description:

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 Circuito
Mermelada by Como Las Movies
Contradanza Del Espíritu by Roberto Fonseca
La Canción Bolivariana by Alí Primera
Slow Pulse Conga by William Pasley
Mi Guitarrita by Manuel Silva
Chrysanthemum Complex (Contagion OST) by Cliff Martinez
Bizning Naxshimiz by Ayshemgul Memet, Shohrat Tursun & Ilyar Ayup

A Tell-All Memoir And An NDA

Jan 30, 2019 29:55

Description:

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!

Close Encounters

Jan 25, 2019 49:45

Description:

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

Rethinking MLK Day

Jan 22, 2019 19:22

Description:

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.

The Giant Referendum On Everything

Jan 18, 2019 49:26

Description:

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.

That time Brooke met Rosanne Cash

Jan 15, 2019 40:31

Description:

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. 

Everything Is Fake

Jan 11, 2019 49:33

Description:

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.

10 Things That Scare Jeff VandeMeer

Jan 9, 2019 6:52

Description:

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 InstagramTwitter and Facebook.

Africatown

Jan 4, 2019 49:41

Description:

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's 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 Tribe
Death Have Mercy by Regina Carter
Sacred Oracle by John Zorn and Bill Frisell
Passing Time by John Renbourn
The Thompson Fields by Maria Schneider Jazz Orchestra

Remembering Joe Frank

Jan 2, 2019 17:10

Description:

Joe Frank -- the radio producer’s radio producer, the ultimate acquired taste -- died last January. 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."

The Worst Thing We've Ever Done

Dec 28, 2018 51:22

Description:

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.

10 Things That Scare Brooke

Dec 25, 2018 7:33

Description:

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. 

The Seen and the Unseen

Dec 21, 2018 50:14

Description:

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.

What We Learned — And Didn't Learn — From the Pentagon Papers

Dec 19, 2018 15:57

Description:

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.

Plague of Suspicion

Dec 14, 2018 50:23

Description:

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.

Three Years for Michael Cohen

Dec 12, 2018 26:37

Description:

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! 

How Quickly We Forget

Dec 7, 2018 50:12

Description:

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.

The Centuries-Old Practice of "Slaying Lewks"

Dec 5, 2018 12:59

Description:

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.

Laugh Until You Cry

Nov 30, 2018 50:23

Description:

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.

The Long History of Ignoring Climate Scientists

Nov 28, 2018 20:21

Description:

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.

Whose Streets?

Nov 23, 2018 50:15

Description:

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

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

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

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

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

 

Music from this week's show:

Dan Deacon — USA III: Rail
Iggy Pop — The Passenger
Gary Numan — Cars
Judd Greenstein — Change
Judd Greenstein — A Marvelous Order
Brian Eno — Music For Airports

The Civil War, One Day at a Time

Nov 19, 2018 10:34

Description:

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. 

Do Not Pass Go

Nov 16, 2018 49:39

Description:

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 Orchestra
Through the Street by David Bergeaud
With Plenty Of Money And You by Hal Kemp
Don't Dream It's Over by The Bad Plus
Avalon by Randy Newman

The Stories Fires Tell

Nov 13, 2018 13:13

Description:

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. 

We're Not Very Good At This

Nov 9, 2018 58:20

Description:

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.

 

Why We're So Polarized

Nov 6, 2018 25:25

Description:

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!

The Others

Nov 2, 2018 49:24

Description:

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

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

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

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

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

Gab is Back in the Headlines and Off the Web

Oct 30, 2018 11:47

Description:

The social media website Gab has faced sanction and scorn in the days since one of its active users killed 11 members of Pittsburgh's Jewish community. Gab had, for the past few years, made itself out as a "free speech" harbor, safe from the intellectual strictures of the mainstream web. That is to say, it attracted — and very rarely rejected — hordes of neo-nazis, anti-PC provocateurs and right-wing trolls. 

When Brooke interviewed Gab's then-COO Utsav Sanduja last fall, the company was in the midst of an anti-trust lawsuit against Google, claiming the the tech titan had wielded its monopoly power to silence a competitor. Brooke spoke with Sanduja about that lawsuit — and about his website's frequently deplorable content. 

Knock, Knock

Oct 26, 2018 49:35

Description:

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

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

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

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

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

West Virginia's "Genius" Watchdog

Oct 24, 2018 19:38

Description:

Nearly two years since the 2016 Presidential Election, much of the press are still covering so-called "Trump country" using a series of simplistic narratives, blaming these states for Trump and portraying them as irrevocably scarred by the decline of the coal industry. That doesn't mean there aren't real problems surrounding the fossil fuel industry.

Ken Ward Jr. is a reporter at West Virginia’s Charleston Gazette-Mail, where since 1991 he’s been covering the coal, chemical and natural gas industries, and their impact on communities that were promised a better future. Bob speaks with Ken about the reporting that earned him a 2018 “genius grant” from the MacArthur Foundation, and how West Virginia's coal country is moving forward.

Bloodlines

Oct 19, 2018 49:52

Description:

In using a genetic test to try to prove her Native ancestry, Senator Elizabeth Warren inadvertently stepped into a quagmire. This week, we examine the tensions around DNA and identity. Plus, after Jamal Khashoggi’s death, revisiting the trope of the so-called reformist Saudi royal. And, a look at what we can learn — and how we've tried to learn it — from twins, triplets and other multiple births.

1. Abdullah Al-Arian, [@anhistorian] professor of Middle East History at Georgetown University, on the decades-long trope in American op-ed pages about reformist Saudi royals. Listen.

2. Kim TallBear, [@KimTallBear] professor of Native Studies at the University of Alberta and author of Native American DNA: Tribal Belonging and the False Promise of Genetic Science, on the way "blood" has been used to undermine tribal sovereignty. Listen.

3. Alondra Nelson, [@alondra] president of the Social Science Research Council, professor of sociology at Columbia University and author of The Social Life of DNA: Race, Reparations, and Reconciliation After the Genome, on why DNA testing has been so valuable to African-American communities. Listen.

4. Nancy Segal, [@nlsegal] director of the Twin Studies center at California State University at Fullerton and author of Accidental Brothers: The Story of Twins Exchanged at Birth and the Power of Nature and Nurture, on what we've learned about human nature from the study of twins. Listen.

Songs:

The Glass House (End Title) by David Bergeaud
Liquid Spear Waltz by Michael Andrews
Slow Pulse Conga by William Pasley
Turn Down the Sound by Adrian Younge
I Wish I Had An Evil Twin by The Magnetic Fields

The Radical Catalog

Oct 18, 2018 16:41

Description:

Another chapter in the history of American consumerism came to a close this week when the retail giant Sears announced it was filing for bankruptcy and closing 142 of its unprofitable stores. As experts sifted through the details about what doomed Sears, we found ourselves reading a Twitter thread about a little-known bit of shopping history. Louis Hyman is an economic historian and professor at Cornell University’s School of Industrial and Labor Relations. He tweeted: "In my history of consumption class, I teach about Sears, but what most people don't know is just how radical the catalogue was in the era of Jim Crow." In this week's podcast extra, Hyman talks to Brooke about what we can learn from the way Sears upended Jim Crow power dynamics, and what lessons it offers about capitalism more broadly. His latest book is Temp: How American Work, American Business, and the American Dream Became Temporary.

 

Full Faith & Credit

Oct 12, 2018 49:38

Description:

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 Nerula [@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.

Reimagining History

Oct 10, 2018 16:46

Description:

Last week, the MacArthur Foundation awarded genius grants to 25 creatives in art, literature, science and music. John Keene, a writer of poetry, fiction and cultural criticism, was one of them. He was recognized for his innovative use of language and form, and the way his work “exposes the social structures that confine, enslave, or destroy” people of color and queer people. Keene spoke to Brooke back in 2015 about his story collection, Counternarratives, which centers the voices of the marginalized in both imagined and reimagined historical moments.

The Victimhood

Oct 5, 2018 50:00

Description:

On Thursday in the Wall Street Journal, Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh acknowledged his sharp tone in recent hearings. This week, we examine the anger and resentment driving the #MeToo backlash. Plus, a deep dive into into our flawed narratives about Native American history, and a close look at the role problematic fantasies about indigenous people play in German culture.

1. Lili Loofbourow [@Millicentsomer], staff writer at Slate, on the purposeful role of male anger in the Kavanaugh nomination process. Listen.

2. David Treuer [@DavidTreuer], writer and historian, on the simplistic, flawed narratives tied up in popular Native American history. Listen.

3. Frank Usbeck, historian and professor at Leipzig University, and Evan Torner, German Studies professor at the University of Cincinnati, on the fantasies about indigenous people involved in German politics and culture. Listen.

Songs:

Rebel Soldier by Nashville Sessions
Prelude of Light by John Zorn
Puck by John Zorn
Tribute to America by The O'Neill Brothers Group
Her Avwerah by Norfolk and Western
Lost, Night by Bill Frisell

Trump, Inc.: The Business of Silence

Oct 3, 2018 29:12

Description:

President Donald Trump has had many roles in his life: Real estate scion, reality show star, Oval Office holder. But through it all, one thing has remained consistent. He tries to control what information becomes public about himself and his business.

In the latest episode of Trump, Inc., a WNYC collaboration with ProPublica, our colleagues look at the ways Trump has tried to buy and enforce silence — and how it matters more than ever now that he’s president. They talk to The New Yorker’s Ronan Farrow about just one of the tactics used by those helping the president: the “catch and kill.”  

What Goes Around, Comes Around?

Sep 28, 2018 50:01

Description:

The Kavanaugh-Ford hearings this week felt like a watershed moment — but it’s not yet clear what long-term impact they’ll have. This week, we examine some of the policies that could be affected by the Supreme Court if Kavanaugh is confirmed, including dark money disclosure and voting rights. Plus, a moment of zen during trying times. 

1. Brooke on this week's Kavanaugh-Ford hearings. Listen. 

2. Carol Anderson [@ProfCAnderson], professor of history at Emory University, on how voter suppression is destroying democracyListen. 

3. Michelle Ye Hee Lee [@myhlee], national reporter for the Washington Post, on the recent Supreme Court action regarding the disclosure of dark money donationsListen.

4. Robert Wright [@robertwrighter], author and professor at Union Seminary, on how living a mindful life can make us savvier, saner news consumers. Listen.

It's Time for Justice

Sep 26, 2018 8:02

Description:

On Tuesday, nearly four years since a viral comedy routine helped usher a long list of rape and sexual assault allegations against Bill Cosby into the fore, the once-beloved artist was sentenced to three to 10 years in a state prison. Years before Cosby's predatory behavior became public knowledge, rumors circulated in Hollywood and privileged circles, well within earshot of journalist Ta-Nehisi Coates. But, in a 2008 profile of Cosby for The Atlantic, Coates merely mentioned some of the sexual assault accusations in passing, without digging into the damning details. Whether willful denial or reckless mistake, this oversight would come to haunt him — so much that he fessed up and agreed to mull it all over with Bob back in 2014.

Make Amends

Sep 21, 2018 49:52

Description:

Senators are weighing serious allegations of attempted rape as they consider Judge Kavanaugh's nomination to the Supreme Court. Meanwhile, McDonald's employees in ten cities went on strike to bring attention to sexual harassment at the fast food chain. This week, we look at the ripples from the #MeToo movement and how much further they have to go. 

1. Dr. Christine Blasey Ford's expected testimony against Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh has echoes of Anita Hill's testimony against Clarence Thomas in 1991. Kai Wright [@kai_wright] of the podcast The United States of Anxiety revisits how that moment led to a "Year of the Woman" in 1992. Listen. 

2. Disgraced former radio hosts Jian Ghomeshi and John Hockenberry recently wrote essays reflecting on their lost status after #MeToo allegations. Slate's Laura Miller [@magiciansbook] discusses the serious shortcomings of those essays. Listen.

3. Rabbi Danya Ruttenberg [@TheRaDR] explains what atonement and repentance actually mean, and why a clear definition matters in the context of the #MeToo movement. Listen.

4. History professor Annelise Orleck [@AnneliseOrleck1] puts this week's McDonald's strike over sexual harassment allegations in its global and historical context. Listen.

 

Songs:

Middlesex Times by Michael Andrews
Bubble Wrap by Thomas Newman
Liquid Spear Waltz by Michael Andrews
John’s Book of Alleged Dances by Kronos Quartet
Human Nature by Steve Porcaro, John Bettis, Vijay Iyer
Love Theme from Spartacus by Yusef Lateef

An Obit, This Time For Real

Sep 18, 2018 8:51

Description:

This past week’s coverage of Hurricane Florence has had all the trappings of a terrible storm: the satellite images, the sandbags and empty grocery stores, the newscasters dressed in flood gear.  One recurring side character we seem to have avoided this time around, though, is the doctored image of a shark swimming on a flooded highway.

It’s a preposterous hoax that succeeds, occasionally, on the merits of some kernel of truth; for instance, whole swathes of interstate highway in North Carolina are, as of this moment, covered with water. That kernel of truth is what hoaxers and jokers build their handiwork upon — as did the veteran hoaxer Alan Abel, who passed away late last week at the age of 94.

Abel made a name for himself inventing characters and causes and turning the joke on the media; in 1980 he staged his own death and got himself an obituary in the New York Times.

Brooke spoke to Abel — and his daughter, Jenny Abel, the director of the documentary, "Abel Raises Cain" — in 2008.

Doomed to Repeat

Sep 14, 2018 50:09

Description:

The anniversary of a disaster gives us a moment to reflect on whether we have learned the right lessons — or any at all. This week, we examine the narratives that have solidified ten years after the financial crisis, and one year after Hurricane Maria. 

1. Political anthropologist Yarimar Bonilla [@yarimarbonilla] on how we can focus our attention on Puerto Rico's structural challenges even as the president spouts falsities about the "unsung success" of the federal response to Hurricane Maria. Listen.

2. Dean Starkman [@deanstarkman], author of The Watchdog That Didn't Bark: The Financial Crisis and the Disappearance of Investigative Journalism, on how the signs of the financial crisis had been visible leading up to it but many journalists were looking elsewhere. Listen.

3. Brown University professor Mark Blyth [@MkBlyth] takes on the most popular narratives of the financial crash. Listen.

4. Copenhagen Business School business historian Per Hansen on Hollywood's depiction of the board room and Wall Street from 1928 to 2015. Listen.

Songs:

Marjane's Inspiration by David Bergeaud
Glass House by Bonobo
Dinner Music For A Pack of Hungry Cannibals by Raymond Scott
With Plenty Of Money And You by Hal Kemp
Coffee Cold by Galt MacDermot
Modern Times OST by Charlie Chaplin

FEMA Time

Sep 12, 2018 11:47

Description:

On Wednesday, as Florence swirled ominously off the coast of the Carolinas, and states prepared for imminent disaster, Senator Jeff Merkley (D-OR) thought it would be a good time to draw everyone’s attention to the shifting priorities of this administration. Specifically, he released a budget that showed the Department of Homeland Security had transferred nearly 10 million dollars from the Federal Emergency Management Agency to Immigration and Customs Enforcement to pay for detention and removal operations.

FEMA officials maintain that the smaller budget won’t hinder their operations, but as wildfires rage and hurricanes make landfall, they have a lot on their plate. We don't think about FEMA much, until that's all we think about. Historian Garrett Graff says the agency’s, quote, “under-the-radar nature” was originally a feature, not a bug. Graff wrote about "The Secret History of FEMA" for Wired last September and he spoke to Bob about the agency's Cold War origins as civil defense in the event of a nuclear attack and how it transitioned to "natural" disaster response. Plus, they discuss the limitations to FEMA's capabilities and why it has such a spotty record. Graff is also author of Raven Rock: The Story of the U.S. Government's Secret Plan to Save Itself -- While The Rest of Us Die.

O See, Can You Say

Sep 7, 2018 50:11

Description:

Between the Kavanaugh confirmation hearings on Capitol Hill and an anonymous op-ed from within the Trump White House, a wave of rule-bending and -breaking has crashed on Washington. This week, we explore how political decorum and popular dissent have evolved since the early days of our republic — and how the legal protections for those core freedoms could transform our future.

1. Brooke and Bob on how best to cover the anonymous op/ed written by a "senior official in the Trump administration." Listen.

2. Geoffrey Stone, professor of law at University of Chicago, on our evolving — and occasionally faulty — interpretations of the first amendment. And, Laura Weinrib, professor of law at University of Chicago, on how early-20th century labor struggles gave birth to our modern ideas about freedom of speech. Listen.

3. Tim Wu [@superwuster], professor of law at Columbia University, on how the first amendment could inform new regulations for Silicon Valley. Listen.

Music:

John Renbourn - Passing Time
Puck - John Zorn
Joeira - Kurup
Mulatu Astatke - Tezeta

 

CNN's Lanny Davis Problem

Sep 5, 2018 12:07

Description:

Six weeks ago, CNN broke a blockbuster story: According to several anonymous sources, President Trump had advance knowledge of the infamous Trump Tower meeting. It was a potential smoking gun, until one of those sources — Lanny Davis, attorney for Michael Cohen — recanted.

Beyond that headache for CNN, there was another. The original article had claimed, "Contacted by CNN, one of Cohen's attorneys, Lanny Davis, declined to comment." Depending on how you understand the word "comment," and depending your general disposition, that claim could be technically true or woefully, mendaciously disingenuous. Bob spoke with Washington Post media reporter Paul Farhi about the implications — and dangers — of this latest media mishap. 

Face the Racist Nation

Aug 31, 2018 49:58

Description:

For more than a year, Lois Beckett [@loisbeckett], senior reporter at The Guardian US, has been showing up at white nationalist rallies, taking their pictures, writing down what they say. And she finds herself thinking: How did we get here? How did her beat as a political reporter come to include interviewing Nazis? And what are the consequences of giving these groups this much coverage?

In this week's program, we revisit this deep dive into what the news media often get wrong about white supremacists, and what those errors expose about the broader challenge of confronting racism in America.

1. Elle Reeve [@elspethreeve], correspondent for VICE News, Anna Merlan [@annamerlan], reporter for Gizmodo Media’s special projects desk, Vegas Tenold [@Vegastenold], journalist and author of Everything You Love Will Burn, and Al Letson [@Al_Letson], host of Reveal, from The Center for Investigative Reporting, on the pitfalls and perils of covering white supremacist groups. Listen.

2. Felix Harcourt [@FelixHistory], professor of history at Austin College and author of "Ku Klux Kulture," on the history of the Ku Klux Klan in the press in the 1920s. Listen.

3. Anna Merlan, Elle Reeve, Al Letson, Gary Younge [@garyyounge], editor-at-large for The Guardian, and Josh Harkinson [@joshharkinson], former senior writer at Mother Jones, on how individual identity impacts reporting on discriminatory movements. Listen.

4. Ibram X. Kendi [@DrIbram], professor of history and international relations at American University and author of "Stamped from the Beginning: The Definitive History of Racist Ideas in America," on the enduring myths surrounding the perpetuation of racist ideas and whose interests these misconceptions serve. Listen.

Songs:

Lost, Night by Bill Frisell

Disfarmer Theme by Bill Frisell

I Am Not a Farmer by Bill Frisell

Gone Tomorrow by Lambchop

Summer Series Episode 4: Tectonic Edition

Aug 29, 2018 14:27

Description:

After an earthquake struck Nepal in April of 2015, the post-disaster media coverage followed a trajectory we'd seen repeated after other earth-shaking events. We put together a template to help a discerning news consumer look for the real story. It's our Breaking News Consumer's Handbook: Tectonic Edition. Brooke spoke to Jonathan M. Katz, who wrote "How Not to Report on an Earthquake" for the New York Times Magazine. 

Fallout

Aug 24, 2018 51:05

Description:

End-of-times narratives themselves are nothing new; only the means have changed. While once a few horsemen and a river of blood were enough to signal the dusk of man, apocalypse now requires the imaginations of entire atomic laboratories — or roving squads of special effects crews. This week we look through a few recent highlights from the genre: from a 1980's made-for-TV spectacle, to a new piece of speculative fiction documenting a hypothetical nuclear conflict with North Korea.

1. Jeffrey Lewis [@ArmsControlWonk], author of "The 2020 Commission Report," on what we might say to ourselves after a devastating war with North Korea. Listen.

2. Marsha Gordon [@MarshaGGordon], film studies professor at North Carolina State University, on the 1983 film "The Day After," which imagines a massive nuclear strike in the Midwestern U.S. Listen.

3. Anne Washburn, playwright, on "Mr. Burns: A Post-Electric Play," in which she imagines American cultural life after a devastating nuclear event. Listen.

4. Andrew Fitzgerald [@magicandrew], chief digital content officer at Hearst TV, on what journalists, seven years ago, thought about the prospect of covering the end of the world. Listen.

Summer Series Episode 3: Airline Crash Edition

Aug 22, 2018 11:42

Description:

When a commercial plane goes down, media speculation ensues. With the help of The Atlantic's James Fallows, we give you some tips that can help you comb through the coverage.

 

 

Twitch And Shout

Aug 17, 2018 58:59

Description:

Twitch.tv is a video streaming platform where tens of thousands people broadcast their lives and video game game-play 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 why the site draws more viewers than HBO and Netflix. 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.

Summer Series Episode 2: Military Coup Edition

Aug 15, 2018 11:43

Description:

Back in the summer of 2016, Turkish putschists shut down highways, attacked government buildings and took broadcasters hostage, world media outlets struggled to provide sober reports of the coup. During the chaos, some listeners told us on Twitter that they’d appreciate an OTM Breaking News Consumer's Handbook: Coup Edition. Coups are especially tricky to report on because they're mainly about perception and narrative. Plotters and the government are both trying to establish dominance, and misreporting can determine whether the attempt succeeds or not. 

Naunihal Singh, author of Seizing Power: The Strategic Logic of Military Coups, says the first step for a successful military coup is to take control of radio and tv broadcasters. From there, they can literally and figuratively control the narrative. 

Brooke spoke to Singh about how to understand coups through the media, and how to understand whether an attempt will succeed or fail. 

Song:

"Cops or Criminals" by Howard Shore

Breaking News Consumer's Handbook: Military Coup Edition (On The Media/WNYC)

Planet Fire

Aug 10, 2018 50:15

Description:

People like neo-nazi Andrew Anglin and conspiracy theorist Alex Jones have long tested the limits of permissible speech. On this week’s On the Media, hear from a lawyer who defends the First Amendment rights of society’s worst actors. Plus, a lawyer suing in defense of government transparency, a fire historian weighs in on the coverage of the California wildfires, and a Texas journalist who has reported on hundreds of executions.

1. Marc Randazza [@marcorandazza], first amendment lawyer, on Alex Jones, the Unite the Right rally, and free speech. Listen. 

2. Mark Pedroli [@MarkPedroli], attorney, on the technology used by former Missouri governor Eric Greitens to skirt transparency lawsListen. 

3. Stephen Pyne, fire historian and professor at Arizona State University, on the tropes, faults, and failings of wildfire coverageListen. 

4. Michael Graczyk, recently retired A.P. reporter, on his experience covering more than 400 executions in TexasListen.

 

Frail as a Breeze, Erik Friedlander

Solace, The Sting Soundtrack

Mulatu Astatke, Tezeta (Nostalgia)

Kokoroke, Abusey Junction, We Out Here

Summer Series Episode 1: US Storm Edition

Aug 8, 2018 28:23

Description:

For media professionals, hurricanes offer the very best kind of bad news because the story arc is predictable and invariably compelling. In this summer series revisiting some of 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.

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.

 

Enemy of the People

Aug 3, 2018 50:23

Description:

At a rally in Tampa, Florida, Trump supporters attacked CNN reporter Jim Acosta, prompting the president to double down on his anti-press "Enemy of the People" rhetoric. A look at how and why the president incites his base — and where it all might lead. And, as the regulatory battle surrounding 3D gun blueprints rages on, we dive into the worldview of Cody Wilson, the man who started the controversy. Plus, why we’re still living in the aftermath of Trayvon Martin’s killing, six years later.

1. Greg Sargent [@ThePlumLineGS], columnist at the Washington Post, on the president's dangerous anti-press rhetoric. Listen.

2. Andy Greenberg [@a_greenberg], reporter for Wired, on the regulatory battles surrounding 3D gun blueprints. And, Cody Wilson [@Radomysisky], founder of Defense Distributed, speaking on his vision for an open source library for gun schematics. Listen.

3. Benjamin Crump [@AttorneyCrump], civil rights attorney, and Jenner Furst, one of the filmmakers behind the docu-series "Rest in Power: The Trayvon Martin Story," on Trayvon Martin's legacy. Listen.

Songs:

Sacred Oracle by John Zorn (feat. Bill Frisell)
String Quartet No. 5 (II) by Kronos Quartet & Philip Glass
Fallen Leaves by Marcos Ciscar
Cellar Door by Michael Andrews
Walking By Flashlight by Maria Schneider
Melancolia by Marcos Ciscar

Journalism To The Rescue

Aug 2, 2018 11:33

Description:

This summer, in a project designed by ProPublica, 10 news organizations are sharing information to flesh out the hidden details of families separated by the Trump administration's zero tolerance immigration policy. Bob speaks with Selymar Colón, digital managing editor at Univision News, one of the organizations involved in the collaboration, about how the consortium has investigated and reported on some of the 200 tips it has received —and about the four families that were reunited after their stories were published.

The Center Folds

Jul 27, 2018 50:17

Description:

Socialism is having a moment in the sunlight — that is, on daytime television. Yet at the same time that the left earns a closer look from political pundits, Democrats and Republicans still fail to understand each other with nuance. Plus, after newspaper layoffs and a White House lockout this week, we assess the press’s appetite for solidarity. 

1. Nathan Robinson [@NathanJRobinson], editor-in-chief at Current Affairs, on socialism's renewed place in mainstream political discourse. Listen.

2. Perry Bacon Jr. [@perrybaconjr], political writer at FiveThirtyEight, on the misconceptions Democrats and Republicans have about each otherListen.

3. Pete Vernon [@byPeteVernon], writer at the Columbia Journalism Review, on the White House's decision this week to bar a CNN reporter from a press event. Listen.

4. Chelsia Rose Marcius [@chelsiamarchius], former staff reporter at the New York Daily News, Tom Laforgia [@thomaslaforgia], former editor at the NYDN, and Molly Crane-Newman [@molcranenewman], reporter at the NYDN, on the layoffs at the tabloid earlier this weekListen.

5. Felix Salmon [@felixsalmon], financial journalist, on the motivations — and, he says, incompetence — behind tronc's business decisionsListen.

Songs:

Carnival of Souls by Verne Langdon
Uluwati by John Zorn
Going Home for the First Time by Alex Wurman
Frail as a Breeze, Pt. 2 by Erik Friedlander
Fellini's Waltz by Enrico Pieranunzi & the Charlie Haden
Do Nothin' Till You Hear From Me by Ben Webster

On the Media presents Episode 1 of "The Realness"

Jul 25, 2018 30:32

Description:

This week On the Media recommends a new podcast from our colleagues at WNYC. Check it out.

Prodigy and Havoc begin laying down rhymes together in high school. When their first album flops, they come up with a new sound that's directly influenced by P's sickle cell, and it helps define a generation of hip hop. Plus: Big Twins talks about the sickle cell attack he’ll never forget.

 LANGUAGE WARNING: The Realness contains strong language that some listeners may find offensive. 

WNYC’s health coverage and The Realness by Only Human is supported in part by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, Jane and Gerald Katcher and the Katcher Family Foundation, Science Sandbox, an initiative of the Simons Foundation, and the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation. 

Audio of Prodigy on Questlove Supreme is provided by Pandora, which also has a recording of Mobb Deep's classic hit "Shook Ones (Part II)" performed by Nas.

Blah Blah Blah... BANG

Jul 21, 2018 49:57

Description:

In a matter of months, we've moved from bipartisan immigration talks to calls to abolish ICE. On this week’s On the Media, a look at how leftists are employing a right-wing communications strategy in order to change the national debate. Plus, thirty years into the conversation on global warming, what have we really learned? And in the days following the Trump-Putin summit, what did we miss? 

1. Brooke on this week's coverage of the Trump-Putin summit, and on a new metaphor for the Trump era: the Shepard toneListen. 

2. Joseph Lehman, president of the Mackinac Center for Public Policy; Laura Marsh [@lmlauramarsh], literary editor at The New Republic; and Sean McElwee [@SeanMcElwee], activist and contributor at The Nation, on the Overton WindowListen. 

3. Andrew Revkin [@Revkin] of the National Geographic Society on thirty years of global warming coverageListen. 

I Can't Breathe

Jul 18, 2018 14:33

Description:

Four years ago this week, on July 17, 2014, Eric Garner died in Staten Island at the hands of a New York City police officer. We probably wouldn't have known if it hadn't been for a cellphone video that captured his arrest, the excessive force that killed him, and his final words. The national media couldn’t look away, until they did look away.

Matt Taibbi is a journalist and author of the book, I Can't Breathe: A Killing on Bay Street, an exploration of Eric Garner’s life and death in the media — and of his real life, too. Brooke spoke to him last year.

Russian Dressing On Everything

Jul 14, 2018 50:10

Description:

Reporting on the Russia investigation is not for the faint of heart. This week, a look at how a journalist became entangled in the investigation when she turned her source over to the FBI. Plus, how another reporter avoided common journalistic mistakes during the Iraq War and a conversation with the director of the new documentary The Other Side of Everything about the end of Yugoslavia.

1. Tom Nichols [@RadioFreeTom], professor of national security at the Naval War College, on separating the signal from the noise in stories about Trump's relations with RussiaListen.

2. Marcy Wheeler [@emptywheel], national security blogger, on her decision to out a source to the FBIListen.

3. Jonathan Landay [@JonathanLanday], national security correspondent at Reuters, on his reporting at the outset of the Iraq WarListen.

4. Mila Turajlić, director of "The Other Side of Everything," on her mother's dissent against the former Yugoslavian governmentListen.

Big Sky, Dark Money

Jul 11, 2018 14:14

Description:

With President Trump's nomination of federal judge Brett Kavanaugh, the Supreme Court will likely be locked up by the political right for a generation. This is in large part thanks to a historic decision made in 2010 by the court’s then-shakier conservative majority: the Citizens United ruling, which fundamentally reshaped the political landscape of the United States by unleashing floods of political spending, particularly in the form of untraceable "dark money." 

For the state of Montana, the post-Citizens United world has brought back old memories: over a century ago, copper kings like William A. Clark used their vast wealth to control the state and buy up political power. In 1912, the state responded by passing one of the first campaign finance laws in the nation, banning corporate political spending entirely. That law was struck down by the Supreme Court in 2012, but Montanans have continued to push back against corporate political spending using other means.

A new documentary, Dark Money, uses Montana as a microcosm to explain the reality of campaign finance in the United States today. Bob speaks with director Kimberly Reed about the documentary and why she's hopeful that, despite the unbalanced playing field, positive change is possible.

Blame It On The Alcohol

Jul 7, 2018 49:31

Description:

This week, we devote an entire hour to what one important scholar deemed “the cause of and solution to all of life’s problems.” From its earliest role as a source of nourishment to its depictions in ancient literature, we examine the roots of mankind’s everlasting drinking problems. Plus, how a bizarre 60 Minutes piece spread the idea that red wine has medicinal effects. Then, a look at how popular culture has incorrectly framed Alcoholics Anonymous as the best and only option for addiction recovery. And, a scientist cooks up a synthetic substitute for booze.

1. Iain Gately, author of Drink: A Cultural History of Alcohol, on the ancient origins of our core beliefs about booze. Listen.

2. Robert Taylor, assistant managing editor at Wine Spectator, on red wine's constantly changing reputation as a healthy substance. Listen.

3. Gabrielle Glaser [@GabrielleGlaser], author of Her Best-Kept Secret: Why Women Drink - And How They Can Regain Control, on the history and P.R. methods of Alcoholics Anonymous. Listen.

4. David Nutt [@ProfDavidNutt], psychologist at Imperial College London, on his new alcohol substitute, "alcosynth." Listen.

Songs:

When I Get Low I Get High by Ella Fitzgerald

Tomorrow Never Knows by Quartetto D/Archi Dell'Orchestra Sinfonica Di Milano

Il Casanova Di Federico Fellini by Solisti E Orchestre Del Cinema Italiano

Option with Variations by Kronos Quartet/composer Rhiannon Giddens

Polite Oppression

Jun 30, 2018 50:23

Description:

Following a string of landmark Supreme Court rulings and a surprise retirement, this week On the Media examines the conservative culture on the bench and wonders what we can expect from the court going forward. Plus, is civility really dead or only sleeping? And what is the view from small-town America?

1. Adam Serwer [@AdamSerwer], senior editor at The Atlantic, on the Supreme Court's decision to uphold the Trump administration's travel ban decision. Listen.

2. Teresa Bejan [@tmbejan], professor of political theory at the University of Oxford, on the historical origins of our "crisis of civility." Listen.

3. Keith Bybee, professor of judiciary studies at Syracuse University, on the oft-repeated deaths of American civility — and how notions of civility can be a tool of oppression. Listen.

4. Deborah Fallows, author and linguist, and James Fallows [@JamesFallows], national correspondent at The Atlantic, on the societies thriving outside the media lens. Listen.

A Guide To SCOTUS News

Jun 29, 2018 13:07

Description:

There’s a reason why Supreme Court reporters know to never to take a vacation in June.

The end of this season’s term brought us a head-spinning drumbeat of huge 5-4 decisions, from upholding the Muslim travel ban to dealing a huge blow to organized labor to siding with anti-abortion pregnancy centers. 

Understanding the Supreme Court is difficult for myriad reasons. So, with the expertise of seasoned SCOTUS reporters, in 2015 we put together a handy guide for the discerning news consumer to make sense of the court, its decisions, and its coverage. We're revisiting it this week. 

Add Caption Here (Breaking News Consumer's Handbook: SCOTUS Edition/WNYC)

 

Chaos Agents

Jun 23, 2018 50:06

Description:

Family separation, a re-framed immigration debate and Trump's misleading executive order: why news fatigue about the border isn’t an option. This week, we explore multiple sides of the asylum policy — including the view from Central America. Plus, a look back at US repatriation policy in the 1930's, and six decades of American culture wars. 

1. Dara Lind [@DLind] and Dahlia Lithwick [@Dahlialithwick] on how Trump's family separation policy attempts to re-frame the immigration debate, and why news fatigue isn't an option. Listen.

2. Carlos Dada [@CarlosDada] on the way the family separation and zero-tolerance asylum policy are changing the way Central Americans see the United States. Listen.

3. Francisco Balderrama on the mass expulsion of Mexican immigrants and their American-born children from the United States during the Great Depression. Listen.

4. Brian Lehrer [@BrianLehrer] on six decades of culture wars in the United States. Listen.

Songs:

Texas Polka by Bonnie Lou
Marjane’s Inspiration by David Bergeaud
The Invisibles by John Zorn
Maria Christina by Los Lobos
Blackbird by Brad Mehldau

The Rise and Fall of Elizabeth Holmes

Jun 19, 2018 19:08

Description:

In 2014, Fortune magazine ran a cover story featuring Elizabeth Holmes: a blonde woman wearing a black turtleneck, staring deadpan at the camera, with the headline “This CEO’s out for blood.”

A decade earlier, Holmes had founded Theranos, a company promising to “revolutionize” the blood testing industry, initially using a microfluidics approach -- moving from deep vein draws to a single drop of blood. It promised easier, cheaper, more accessible lab tests -- and a revolutionized healthcare experience.

But it turns out that those promises were just that. There was no revolutionary new way to test blood. This spring she settled a lawsuit with the securities and exchange commission (though admitting no wrongdoing) and last Friday, another nail in the coffin for Theranos in the form of federal charges of wire fraud which were filed against Holmes and the company's former president. 

The alleged fraud was uncovered by the dogged reporting of John Carreyrou, an investigative journalist at the Wall Street Journal and author of “Bad Blood: secrets and lies in a silicon valley startup”. 

 

Using My Religion

Jun 15, 2018 50:12

Description:

More than two thousand reporters went to Singapore to cover the summit between President Trump and Kim Jong-un. This week, we examine how so much coverage can lead to so little understanding. Plus, at long last, Justin Trudeau is subjected to media scrutiny in the US. And, the latest threat to American newspapers, the trouble with a new bill meant to battle anti-Semitism, and Jeff Session's fraught theology.

1. Noah Bierman [@Noahbierman], White House correspondent for the Los Angeles Times, on his experience reporting from Singapore. Listen.

2. Margaret Sullivan [@Sulliview], media columnist for the Washington Post, on American media falling for Trumpian stagecraft at the summit. Listen.

3. Jesse Brown [@JesseBrown], host of the CANADALAND podcast, on U.S. media's renewed interest in Justin Trudeau. Listen.

4. Erin Arvedlund [@erinarvedlund], reporter for the Philadelphia Inquirer, on the dangers of a tariff on Canadian newsprint. Listen.

5. Michael Lieberman [@ADLWashCounsel], Washington counsel for the Anti-Defamation League, and Kenneth Stern, executive director of the Justus & Karin Rosenberg Foundation, on the proposed Anti-Semitism Awareness Act; Brooke on Jeff Sessions biblical defense of the Trump administration's immigration policies. Listen.

Songs:

Puck by John Zorn (feat. Bill Frisell, Carol Emanuel & Kenny Wollesen)
Dinner Music for a Pack of Hungry by Raymond Scott
The Party's Over by Dick Hyman
Paperback Writer by Quartetto d'Archi Dell'Orchestra Sinfonica di Milano Guiseppe Verdi
Tilliboyo by Kronos Quartet

Seymour Hersh Looks Back (extended mix)

Jun 12, 2018 48:49

Description:

For decades, Seymour Hersh has been an icon of muckraking, investigative reporting: his work exposed such atrocities as the massacre of Vietnamese civilians in My Lai and the torture of Iraqis in Abu Ghraib. He also documented the US's development of chemical weapons in the 60s, CIA domestic spying in the 70s, wrote a highly critical piece on the raid that killed Osama bin Laden in 2015 and did a whole lot more. Hersh speaks with Brooke about his latest book, Reporter: A Memoir, which chronicles his half century of reporting and the various obstacles he's encountered along the way.

We spoke to Hersh in 2008 about his My Lai reporting. Listen here.

We spoke to Hersh in 2015 about his bin Laden reporting. Listen here.

This segment is from our June 8th, 2018 program, "Perps Walk."

Perps Walk

Jun 8, 2018 50:14

Description:

Justice for whom? President Trump’s controversial pardoning spree has benefited political allies and nonviolent drug offenders alike. This week, we look at whether the President’s unorthodox use of clemency might not be such a bad thing. Plus, why the Justice Department curbed prosecution of white collar crime, and Seymour Hersh revisits highlights from his storied investigative reporting career.

1. Mark Osler [@Oslerguy], Professor of Law at the University of St. Thomas, on why President Trump's unorthodox approach to clemency might not be such a bad thing. Listen.

2. Jesse Eisenger [@eisingerj], senior reporter at ProPublica, on why federal prosecutors have adopted such a lenient approach to white collar crime. Listen.

3. Seymour Hersh, investigative journalist, on some of the personal experiences and incredible stories that have defined his half-century-long reporting career. Listen.

 Music:

"Going Home for the First Time" by Alex Wurman

"Tymperturbably Blue" by Duke Ellington

"Let's Face the Music and Dance" by Duke Ellington

"Purple Haze" by Kronos Quartet

 

 

Hurricane Season

Jun 6, 2018 16:43

Description:

Puerto Rico was (briefly) back in the news this week when a Harvard study shed more light on many people died in the aftermath of Hurricane Maria. The study has a wide range of estimated deaths, but the mid-point is stunning: 4,645 people died as a result of the storm, the researchers found. 

Meanwhile, a judge on the island ruled that the Puerto Rican government has seven days to release death certificates and data related to the death toll of Hurricane Maria. The ruling was in response to a lawsuit filed by CNN and the Puerto Rican-based Center for Investigative Journalism, or CPI. Both organizations have been investigating the death toll following the storm and question the government’s official tally of 64. CPI's estimate is that 1,065 more people than usual died in the weeks after the storm. We take this opportunity to revisit our reporting from the island in the aftermath of that devastating storm.

Hurricane Maria's category-five winds and torrential rain stripped away much of the island's lush vegetation, leaving behind a strange and alien landscape. But more was exposed than barren tree branches. The storm also called attention to, and exacerbated, the island's high poverty rate. Further-flung regions, outside of metropolitan San Juan, found themselves in the spotlight. And longstanding questions of identity and relationship to the mainland U.S. were brought to the fore.

In the three months since Hurricane Maria, those who have remained on the island have faced a choice. They could face Puerto Rico as Maria left it—stripped away of vegetation, infrastructure, and assumptions—and rebuild the island and its society anew. Or they could become acostumbrados: accustomed to a frustrating new normal. 

Alana Casanova-Burgess looks at what the storms have exposed and at a path forward through a thicket of fear, adaptation, and hope, featuring:

Benjamin Torres Gotay [@TorresGotay], columnist for the newspaper El Nuevo Día Walter Ronald Gonzalez Gonzalez, director of Art, Culture and Tourism for the region of Utuado Yarimar Bonilla [@yarimarbonilla], anthropologist at Rutgers University Alfredo Corrasquillo [@alcarrpr], psychoanalyst and expert on leadership at the University of the Sacred Heart in San Juan Sandra Rodriguez Cotto [@srcsandra], host at WAPA Radio

The Worst Thing We've Ever Done

Jun 1, 2018 51:22

Description:

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.

Fact Checking #WhereAreTheChildren

May 30, 2018 15:39

Description:

We talk a lot about right wing news outlets picking up out-of-context facts and amplifying them in their outrage machine, so as to infuriate and validate their angry audiences. But this phenomenon is not solely the province of the political right, as we saw last week when two separate stories about immigration policy in the Trump era morphed into one outrage-inspiring tale.

Paige Austin is an immigration lawyer for the New York Civil Liberties Union. She explains to Bob how liberals came to believe that the Trump administration had torn nearly 1,500 children from their parents' arms, and then lost them — and how this conflation presents potential dangers for the very population that she hopes to defend. 

Technical Foul

May 25, 2018 50:08

Description:

Rudy Giuliani has been warning the press that the president may not testify in the Russia investigation, but Trump has signaled otherwise. This week, we untangle the White House’s mixed-up messaging on the Russia investigation. Plus, after reports that companies like Amazon and Google are seeking, or have received, massive contracts with the Pentagon, we take a look at the internet’s forgotten military origins. And, a new book re-imagines major moments in athletics history. 

1. Dahlia Lithwick [@Dahlialithwick], legal correspondent at Slate, on Giuliani's claim of a Mueller "perjury trap." Listen.

2. Kate Conger [@kateconger], senior reporter at Gizmodo, on partnerships between tech titans and the US militaryListen.

3. Yasha Levine [@yashalevine], investigative journalist, on the internet's forgotten military originsListen.

4. Mike Pesca [@pescami], host of Slate's The Gist, on his new book, Upon Further Review: The Greatest What-Ifs in Sports HistoryListen.

Glenn Beck Reverses His Reversal

May 24, 2018 19:27

Description:

In November 2016, Bob spoke to Blaze bloviator Glenn Beck to hear about how he was a changed man. More compassionate, a better listener and very opposed to Donald Trump. This weekend, Beck proudly donned a MAGA hat. Why the turnaround? According to Beck, it was in reaction to the media's reaction to something Trump said about immigrants.

So the old Beck is back. But to Bob, he'd been there all along. Enjoy.

Africatown

May 18, 2018 50:33

Description:

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's 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. 

Songs:

Traditional African Nigerian Music of the Yoruba Tribe
Death Have Mercy by Regina Carter
Sacred Oracle by John Zorn and Bill Frisell
Passing Time by John Renbourn
The Thompson Fields by Maria Schneider Jazz Orchestra

The Recording of America

May 16, 2018 9:02

Description:

Studs Terkel, born 106 years ago on this date, May 16, spent the majority of his life documenting the lives of others – very often everyday, working-class people he believed were “uncelebrated and unsung.” From coal miners and sharecroppers to gangsters and prostitutes, every American had a story to tell and Terkel wanted to hear it. After Terkel died in 2008, publisher Andre Schiffrin, who edited Terkel's writing for more than four decades, spoke with Bob about Terkel's singular gift for oral history.

This Is America

May 11, 2018 50:56

Description:

Today, more than 45 million Americans live in poverty. The problem has been addressed countless times since the nation’s founding, but it persists, and for the poorest among us, it gets worse. America has not been able to find its way to a sustainable solution, because most of its citizens see the problem of poverty from a distance, through a distorted lens. So in 2016, we presented "Busted: America's Poverty Myths," a series exploring how our understanding of poverty is shaped not by facts, but by private presumptions, media narratives, and the tales of the American Dream. This week we're revisiting part of that series. 

1. Matthew Desmond [@just_shelter], author of  on the myriad factors that perpetuate wealth inequality and Jack Frech [@FrechJack], former Athens County Ohio Welfare Director, on how the media's short attention span for covering inequality stymies our discourse around poverty. Listen.

2. Jill Lepore, historian and staff writer for the New Yorker, on the long history of America's beloved "rags to riches" narrative and Natasha Boyer, a Ohio woman whose eviction was initially prevented thanks to a generous surprise from strangers, on the reality of living in poverty and the limitations of "random acts of kindness." Listen.

3. Brooke considers the myth of meritocracy and how it obscures the reality: that one's economic success is more due to luck than motivation. Listen.

“Busted: America’s Poverty Myths” is produced by Meara Sharma and Eve Claxton, with special thanks to Nina Chaudry. This series is produced in collaboration with WNET in New York as part of “Chasing the Dream: Poverty and Opportunity in America.” Major funding for “Chasing the Dream” is provided by the JPB Foundation, with additional funding from the Ford Foundation.

An Extended Trip Through Wild Wild Country

May 8, 2018 33:47

Description:

Back in the early 1980s, thousands of followers of the Indian guru Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh descended upon a 64,000 acre piece of land in central Oregon to found their utopia. The Rajneeshees had millions of dollars at their disposal and an ideology based on meditation, raising consciousness and free love — one that Bhagwan’s young American and European followers found seemingly irresistible. And one that the local people in the adjacent town of Antelope, Oregon, population 40, saw as an evil threat.

Cult or utopian project? Menace or marvel? Brothers MacLain and Chapman Way, directors of the new Netflix documentary series Wild Wild Country, leave it to their viewers to decide, presenting the story in a way that illuminates how the conventions of documentary shape our perceptions. In this expanded version of the interview, Bob speaks with the Way brothers about the challenges they faced and choices they made in presenting wildly conflicting narratives about this truly bizarre chapter in Oregonian history.

Dark Twisted Fantasy

May 4, 2018 50:09

Description:

After last month’s terrorist attack in Toronto, the media attempted to make sense of the term “incel,” or involuntary celibate. We situate the subculture within the complex ecosystem of aggrieved men online. Plus, a conversation with the directors of the new Netflix documentary series "Wild Wild Country," about their experience revisiting a forgotten utopian project. And, a look at how the press has responded to repeated attacks from President Trump. 

1. Jay Rosen [@jayrosen_nyu], professor of journalism at New York University, on the media losing the battle for the freedom of the press. Listen.

2. Will Sommer [@willsommer], editor at The Hill and author of Right Richter, on the complex ecosystem of aggrieved men online. Listen.

3. Michael Kimmel [@MichaelS_Kimmel], professor of sociology and gender studies at Stony Brook University, on the roots of masculine frustration. Listen.

4. MacLain Way and Chapman Way, directors of the new Netflix documentary series "Wild Wild Country," on the brief and infamous story of the Rajneesh commune. Listen.

 

Mayday, May Day

May 2, 2018 24:33

Description:

International Workers' Day is celebrated with rallies and protests all over the world on May 1st, but it's not a big deal in the United States. In this podcast extra, Brooke speaks to Donna Haverty-Stacke of Hunter College, CUNY about the U.S. origin of May Day and how it has come to be forgotten. The first national turnout for worker's rights in the U.S. was on May 1, 1886 -- and contrary to what you've heard elsewhere, it wasn't the same thing as the Haymarket Affair. Haverty-Stacke is also author of America’s Forgotten Holiday: May Day and Nationalism, 1867–1960, and she explains that the fight over May 1st, or May Day, is also about the fight for American identity and what it means to be radical and patriotic at the same time. 

The OTM crew sings "Into The Streets May First," a never-before-professionally-recorded 1935 Aaron Copland anthem in honor of May Day:

 

Dog Whistle

Apr 27, 2018 58:58

Description:

This week, we explore the ways white Americans — in the voting booth, and on T.V. — deal with a changing society. A new study finds that many white voters supported Donald Trump out of a fear of losing their place in the world. "Roseanne" gets a reboot, and "The Simpsons" reacts poorly under pressure. Plus, a closer look at the company Trump kept and the deals he sought before his presidency, with the hosts of the WNYC podcast "Trump, Inc."

1. Thomas Frank [@thomasfrank_], author of Listen, Liberal, on the economic factors that could lead to a second term of Trump. Listen.

2. Diana Mutz, political science professor at the University of Pennsylvania, on the fears and anxieties that motivated Trump voters. Listen.

3. Willa Paskin [@willapaskin], T.V. critic at Slate, on the Roseanne reboot. Listen

4. Hari Kondabolu [@harikondabolu], comedian, on sloppy cultural representation in "The Simpsons." Listen

5. Ilya Marritz [@ilyamarritz] and Andrea Bernstein [@AndreaWNYC], reporters at WNYC, and Eric Umansky [@ericuman], deputy managing editor at ProPublica, on the company Trump kept and the business deals he sought before his presidency. Listen

Music:

Puck (feat. Bill Frisell, Carol Emanuel & Kenny Wollesen) by John Zorn

Baba O'Riley by The Who

Life on Mars? by Meridian String Quartet

Roseanne Theme Song by Dan Foliart and Howard Pearl

Apu's Theme from The Simpsons: Hit and Run by Marc Baril, Allan Levy, and Jeff Tymoschuk

Here It Comes by Modest Mouse

Cops or Criminals by Howard Shore

Introducing Nancy: a podcast about all things LGBTQ

Apr 24, 2018 24:30

Description:

This week we want to introduce you to some friends of ours at WNYC. Nancy is a podcast hosted by best friends Tobin Low and Kathy Tu and its about all things LGBTQ. 

This week’s episode has Kathy solving a mystery on behalf of our WNYC colleague Kai Wright. As a young, black, gay man living in Washington DC around 2000, Kai saw a film called Punks. It was a movie about gay life but it wasn’t just about white people and it wasn’t rooted in tragedy. It was a romantic comedy about men like him – something he’d never seen before. But when he tried to track down the film almost 20 years later, he couldn’t find it anywhere. This episode has Kathy on the case to track down the film, and find out how a piece of media can essentially disappear.

Want to see Punks? Claim tickets now for the one-night-only screening, featuring a Q&A with director Patrik-Ian Polk. You can also join Tobin and Kathy for a special pre-screening reception.

Special thanks to the ONE National Gay & Lesbian Archives at USC. Original music by Jeremy Bloom with additional music by Ultracat ("Little Happenings"). Theme by Alex Overington.

Support our work! Become a Nancy member today at Nancypodcast.org/donate.

Moving Beyond the Norm

Apr 20, 2018 50:13

Description:

Alex Jones built his Infowars brand on conspiratorial thinking and table-pounding rage. This week, we look at the three lawsuits testing whether Jones can sustain his business on lies alone. After the LGBT-rights advocate David Buckel committed suicide in Brooklyn's Prospect Park this past weekend, we review the difficult history of self-immolation and we zoom in on one such incident, in Texas in 2014. Plus, an LSD retrospective, featuring never-before-heard audio from author Ken Kesey's acid-fueled hijinks. 

1. Lyrissa Lidsky [@LidskyLidsky], professor at University of Missouri's School of Law, on the legal threats to Alex Jones' conspiratorial media business. Listen

2. Andrew Poe, professor of political science at Amherst College, on the history of self-immolation. Listen

3. Michael Hall [@mikehalltexas], executive editor at Texas Monthly, on the life and death of pastor Charles Moore. Listen

4. River Donaghey and Tom Wolfe, author of The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test, on the legacy of author and LSD evangelist Ken Kesey. Listen

Music:

Lost, Night by Bill Frisell

Coffee Cold by Galt MacDermot

Whispers of Heavenly Death by John Zorn

Unaccompanied Cello Suite No.4 in E-Flat Major by Yo-Yo Ma

Walking by Flashlight by Maria Schneider

Tomorrow Never Knows by Quartetto D'Archi Dell'Orchestra Sinfonica Di Milano

The One and Only, Carl Kasell

Apr 18, 2018 11:28

Description:

This week the venerable Carl Kasell, legendary newscaster and Wait, Wait Don’t Tell Me scorekeeper, died aged 84, from complications related to Alzheimer's. Brooke sat down with Carl back in 2014 on the occasion of his retirement to commemorate a distinguished, and deeply baritone, public radio career.

 

Who's In Charge Here?

Apr 13, 2018 50:08

Description:

After Mark Zuckerberg's two-day testimony before Congress, we consider whether a reckoning for the social media giant might finally be on the horizon. A new documentary looks at how the state of Montana has been fighting back against dark money ever since the Supreme Court's Citizens United decision, and a legal scholar explains the unlikely history of corporations' rights. Plus, a second look at two infamous, misunderstood crimes: the Pulse Nightclub shooting and the Steubenville rape case. 

1. Bob on Mark Zuckerberg's testimony this week, with anti-trust expert Matt Stoller [@matthewstoller]. Listen.

2. Kimberly Reed [@_kimreed], filmmaker, on her new documentary, Dark Money. Listen.

3. Adam Winkler [@adamwinkler], professor of law at UCLA, on the history of corporations' legal rightsListen.

4. Melissa Jeltsen [@quasimado], senior reporter at the Huffington Post, on the mistaken narratives that followed the Pulse Nightclub shooting. Listen.

5. Derek L. John [@DerekLJohn], radio producer and reporter, on what internet vigilantes got wrong about the Steubenville rape caseListen.

Trump Inc.: Trump, the Ex-Lobbyist and 'Chemically Castrated' Frogs

Apr 10, 2018 20:27

Description:

From our colleagues in the WNYC newsroom who produce Trump Inc.:

This week, we’re doing a couple of  things differently on Trump, Inc. Instead of focusing on President Trump’s businesses, we’re looking more broadly at business interests in the Trump administration. We’re also giving you, our listeners, homework.

Last month, ProPublica published the first comprehensive and searchable database of Trump’s 2,685 political appointees, along with their federal lobbying and financial records. It’s the result of a year spent filing Freedom of Information Act requests, collecting staffing lists and publishing financial disclosure reports.

We’ve found plenty in the documents. We know there are lots of lobbyists now working at agencies they once lobbied (including one involving an herbicide that could affect the sexual development of frogs). We know there are dozens of officials who’ve received ethics waivers from the White House. We know there are “special-government employees” who are working in the private sector and the government at the same time.

But there’s so much more to do. Remember, we have multiple documents for nearly 2,700 appointees. And we need your help. For example, you can help us unmask who is actually behind LLCs listed in officials’ financial disclosures. (A reader did that last year and turned us on to an interesting below-market condo sale the president made to his son, Eric Trump.)  

Here’s step-by-step-instructions on how you can dig in.

You can also contact us via Signal, WhatsApp or voicemail at 347-244-2134. Here’s more about how you can contact us securely.

You can always email us at tips@trumpincpodcast.org.

 

Paved With Good Intentions

Apr 6, 2018 50:15

Description:

With a caravan of activists making its way through Mexico, President Trump signed a proclamation to send troops to defend the border. This week we examine that caravan’s unintended consequences, as well as the unintended consequences of a bill, recently passed by Congress, to combat online sex trafficking. Sounds like a no-brainer, right? Maybe. Plus, we take a judicious look back at Martin Luther King Jr.'s legacy. 

1. Carrie Kahn [@ckahn], international correspondent for NPR, Alberto Xicotencatl [@BETTOXICO], director of Saltillo Migrant House, and Alex Mensing [@alex_mensing], organizer for Pueblo Sin Fronteras, on the stories and faulty narratives coming out of Mexico over the past week. Listen.

2. Carolyn Maloney [@RepMaloney], congresswoman from New York's 12th district, Elliot Harmon [@elliotharmon], from the Electronic Frontier Foundation, and Kate D'Adamo [@KateDAdamo], sex worker rights advocate, on the Fight Online Sex Trafficking Act, which currently awaits President Trump's signature. Listen. 

3. Mychal Denzel Smith [@mychalsmith], writer, on how Martin Luther King Jr.'s masculinity impacts young black Americans todayListen. 

Music: 

 

TV News Anchors Speaking From the Heart — Uh, TelePrompter

Apr 3, 2018 11:47

Description:

Did you see the video that was making the rounds this weekend? It features a seemingly endless parade of Sinclair Broadcast Group TV news anchors — those smiley folks so trusted by their local audiences — speaking from the heart.

OK, not from the heart, necessarily, but from the TelePrompter, all with the same script. The video was put together by Timothy Burke at Deadspin, and to date it’s been viewed over 7.5 million times. And it has put the spotlight back on Sinclair's political activism.

Its 2016 election coverage fawned over Trump and its ongoing White House coverage still does. Meanwhile, Sinclair is in negotiations with the FCC and the Department of Justice over its purchase of Tribune Media, a deal that would expand its reach to 72% of US households, and with it a vast platform — over public airwaves — for its conservative message.

Last summer Bob spoke to Felix Gillette, who profiled Sinclair for Bloomberg News, about the company's focus on profit above all. 

We, the Liberators

Mar 30, 2018 50:00

Description:

In March of 2003, U.S.–led coalition forces invaded Iraq, sparking a seemingly endless conflagration that claimed tens of thousands of lives and continues to shape events both international and domestic. Fifteen years later, what have we forgotten? What lessons can we carry forward? And what, if anything, of life in pre-invasion Iraq remains? 

1. Max Fischer [@Max_Fisher], editor and writer at the New York Times, on the ideologies that led the U.S. to invade Iraq in 2003Listen. 

2. Deb Amos [@deborahamos], international correspondent for NPR, and John Burnett [@radiobigtex], Southwest correspondent for NPR, on their experiences reporting on the early months of the Iraq WarListen.

3. Sinan Antoon [@sinanantoon], writer and New York University professor, on watching from afar as the Iraq War destroyed his home countryListen.

4. Corey Robin [@CoreyRobin], political science professor at Brooklyn College, on Americans' flawed historical memoriesListen.

Music:

Lost, Night by Bill Frisell

Berotim by John Zorn featuring Bill Frisell, Carol Emanuel, and Kenny Wollesen

Long-Ge by Kronos Quartet

Frail As A Breeze, Part 2 by Erik Friedlander

Whispers of Heavenly Death by John Zorn

Purple Haze by Kronos Quartet

Iraq's Accidental Journalists

Mar 28, 2018 18:19

Description:

Last week marked the fifteenth anniversary of the night of “Shock and Awe” exploding across the night sky over Baghdad, the opening salvo in an ongoing war.

It was a deadly conflict to cover and foreign reporters increasingly relied on Iraqis to take the risks on the ground. Back in 2006, Brooke spoke to three Iraqis who were pulled into journalism by a trick of fate and caught up in the wave of correspondents pouring in from the West. Then, we caught up with them years later. 

Big, If True

Mar 23, 2018 50:52

Description:

Cambridge Analytica claims that, with the help of 50 million Facebook users' data, it was able to target ads so specifically and so effectively that it helped swing the election for Donald Trump. The media have been more than happy to boost the claim, but many experts are skeptical. This week, a look at what exactly went on with Cambridge Analytica and whether we shouldn't be focusing more on Facebook. Plus, how social media works to undermine free will and what the future might hold for Facebook.

1. Antonio García Martínez, columnist at WIRED and former tech entrepreneur, on Cambridge Analytica's "psychographic" techniques. Listen.

2. Siva Vaidhyanathan, director of University of Virginia's Center for Media and Citizenship, on past regulatory efforts to reign in Facebook. Listen.

3. Franklin Foer, staff writer at The Atlantic, on what he sees as Facebook's war on free will. Listen.

4. Clay Shirky, author, educator and tech writer, on what real change for Facebook might look like and why he is still an optimist when it comes to the internet. Listen.

Music:

Tomorrow Never Knows by Quartetto D'Archi Dell'Orchestra Sinfonica Di Milano

Slow Pulse Conga by William Pasley

Passing Time by John Renbourn

Transparence (Instrumental) by Charlie Haden

Crowdsourcing Justice: The Truth Behind the Steubenville Rape

Mar 20, 2018 15:55

Description:

Five years ago, two high school football players in Steubenville, Ohio were found responsible in juvenile court for the rape of a 16-year-old girl.  For much of the national media, that was the end of  the story — but for those in Steubenville who lived through it, the truth never caught up to the lies that spread online and the vigilante terror that resulted. A new, three-part audio documentary from Audible examines the case and the danger of crowd-sourcing justice to online activists. Bob spoke to producer Derek John who, along with Anders Kelto, reported the series for Audible’s new podcast, “Gamebreaker.” 

The Past Is Never Dead

Mar 16, 2018 49:39

Description:

This week, we look at how selective coverage shapes our view of foreign borders, conflicts and historical figures — from Syria to Winston Churchill. Plus, a conversation with the editor-in-chief of National Geographic about their latest issue unpacking tricky issues of race, starting with the magazine's troubled past.

1. Thalia Beaty [@tkbeaty], reporter for Storyful, on the latest coverage of the war in Syria. 

2. Miranda Bogen [@mbogen], policy analyst at Upturn, on the perilous geopolitics of Google Maps

3. Susan Goldberg [@susanbgoldberg], editor-in-chief of National Geographic, on how the magazine is reckoning with racist coverage in its past. 

4. Madhusree Mukerjee [@Madhusree1984], author of Churchill's Secret War, on the ruthless legacy of Winston Churchill you didn't see in his latest Hollywood treatment. 

Songs:

Psalom by NYYD Quartet and Paul Hillier

Collected Songs Where Every Verse Is Filled With Grief by Kronos Quartet

Mazen Dha Nahar El Youm by Abdeslam Khaloufi

Her Averah by Norfolk & Western

Auf Einer Burg by Robert Schumann

Flugufrelsarinn by Kronos Quartet

Did Farhad "Unplug"?

Mar 13, 2018 12:13

Description:

Last week we spoke with New York Times tech columnist Farhad Manjoo after he published an article titled, “For two months, I got my news from print newspapers. Here’s what I learned.” He wrote that, earlier this year, "after the breaking-newsiest year in recent memory, I decided to travel back in time. I turned off my digital news notifications, unplugged from Twitter and other social networks, and subscribed to home delivery of three print newspapers.” It was a crash diet.  Lots of healthy analog, and just a little digital — podcasts, email newsletters — for dessert.

Farhad found the experience so uplifting and liberating that he was moved to evangelize. He told Bob during their conversation, which you can still listen to, "I boiled it down into three Michael Pollan-esque prescriptions: Get news, not too quick, avoid social."

The only problem was, according to analysis by Dan Mitchell in the Columbia Journalism Review and Joshua Benton of Harvard’s Nieman Lab, Farhad spent most of his 48-day diet sneaking into the fridge. In the time that he was supposedly “unplugged” from Twitter news, he had tweeted hundreds and hundreds of times. Not the crime of the century — but still, oops.

And so Farhad spoke with Bob once more, to explain his rather involved definition of the word "unplugged," and to admit that old habits die hard.

 

 

Like We Used To Do

Mar 9, 2018 45:41

Description:

In an age of constant breaking news, it can be hard to tell what matters and what’s just noise. This week, a look at what we’ve learned from recent coverage of the Russia investigation, and what we’ve missed everywhere else — particularly in West Virginia, where a recent teachers' strike made history. Plus, a dive into the complicated history of country music and why we so often get it wrong.

1. Marcy Wheeler [@emptywheel], independent investigative reporter, on decontextualized Mueller scooplets. Listen.

2. Farhad Manjoo [@fmanjoo], columnist at the New York Times, on his month of print-only news. Listen.

3. Sarah Jaffe [@sarahljaffe], journalist and co-host of the podcast Belabored, on the teachers' strike in West Virginia, and Elizabeth Catte [@elizabethcatte], historian and writer, on the news media's narratives regarding Appalachia. Listen.

4. J. Lester Feder [@jlfeder], world correspondent for Buzzfeed News, on the political history of country music. Listen.

5. Nadine Hubbs [@nadinehubbs], author of Rednecks, Queers and Country Music, on our assumptions about the working class. Listen.

Music:

"Tipico" by Miguel Zenon

"Susan (The Sage)" by The Chico Hamilton Quintet

"Death Have Mercy / Breakaway" by Regina Carter

"Dinner Music for a Pack" of Hungry Cannibals by Raymond Scott

"Okie from Muskogee" by Merle Haggard

"Fightin' Side of Me" by Merle Haggard

"The Pill" by Loretta Lynn

"Watching You" by Rodney Atkins

"Pictures from Life's Other Side" by Hank Williams, Sr.

"Friends In Low Places" by Garth Brooks

"Redneck Woman" by Gretchen Wilson

"Take This Job and Shove It" by Johnny Paycheck

"F— Aneta Briant" by David Allan Coe

"Irma Jackson" by Merle Haggard

"They Don't Know" by Jason Aldean

"Wild Mountain Thyme" by Buddy Emmons

Everything You Love Will Burn

Mar 7, 2018 30:07

Description:

Last week, we put out a special show hosted by The Guardian US’s Lois Beckett, devoted to how reporters should approach the alt-right, and white supremacy, in America, called "Face the Racist Nation."

As a bonus, we're putting out a full interview with one of the voices in that show: Norwegian journalist Vegas Tenold, whose new book, “Everything You Love Will Burn” chronicles his time covering the far right, up close and personal, for close to a decade. Lois talks to Vegas about how he has seen the far right evolve, the mistakes he sees journalists making and his relationship with the co-founder of the racist Traditionalist Worker Party, Matthew Heimbach.

In addition to listening to the full show, make sure to go to our website to check out the special quizzes we made that delve further into the sticky issues in this hour.

Face the Racist Nation

Mar 2, 2018 49:38

Description:

For the past year, Lois Beckett [@loisbeckett], senior reporter at The Guardian US, has been showing up at white nationalist rallies, taking their pictures, writing down what they say. And she finds herself thinking: How did we get here? How did her beat as a political reporter come to include interviewing Nazis? And what are the consequences of giving these groups this much coverage?

In this week's program — the culmination of a months-long collaboration between On the Media and The Guardian US — we take a deep dive into what the news media often get wrong about white supremacists, and what those errors expose about the broader challenge of confronting racism in America.

1. Elle Reeve [@elspethreeve], correspondent for VICE News, Anna Merlan [@annamerlan], reporter for Gizmodo Media’s special projects desk, Vegas Tenold [@Vegastenold], journalist and author of Everything You Love Will Burn, and Al Letson [@Al_Letson], host of Reveal, from The Center for Investigative Reporting, on the pitfalls and perils of covering white supremacist groups. 

2. Felix Harcourt [@FelixHistory], professor of history at Austin College and author of "Ku Klux Kulture," on the history of the Ku Klux Klan in the press in the 1920s. 

3. Anna Merlan, Elle Reeve, Al Letson, Gary Younge [@garyyounge], editor-at-large for The Guardian, and Josh Harkinson [@joshharkinson], former senior writer at Mother Jones, on how individual identity impacts reporting on discriminatory movements. 

4. Ibram X. Kendi [@DrIbram], professor of history and international relations at American University and author of "Stamped from the Beginning: The Definitive History of Racist Ideas in America," on the enduring myths surrounding the perpetuation of racist ideas and whose interests these misconceptions serve.

Songs:

Lost, Night by Bill Frisell

Disfarmer Theme by Bill Frisell

I Am Not a Farmer by Bill Frisell

Gone Tomorrow by Lambchop

 

 

One crucial question during the Trump presidency has been whether racist rhetoric has influenced public policy. And so we put together a quiz! Is it just a germ of a garbage idea? Or is it wriggling its way into our laws? Click "Start" below to, you know, start. 

 

And if you're really hoping to lose faith in our historical figures, you're in luck — we made a second quiz! Who said it: An elder statesman? Or a reviled white supremacist? 

//

Follow The Money

Feb 28, 2018 24:31

Description:

The podcast Trump Inc. is a collaboration between WNYC Studios and ProPublica. A team of investigative reporters is examining whether and how the Trump family is profiting from the presidency, and they've organized the show around an "open investigation" so listeners and tipsters can contribute and follow along. We featured the first episode on our podcast feed a few weeks ago, and this week we're checking back with Episode 4. Ilya Marritz of WNYC and Eric Umansky of ProPublica speak with David Farenthold of The Washington Post about what he's been able to learn about President Trump's business dealings, and take calls from listeners with questions about possible profits and motives. 

Back to the Future

Feb 23, 2018 49:39

Description:

Since the Parkland school shooting, the student-led #NeverAgain movement has kept gun control in the headlines. This week, we look at how the movement began — and how pro-gun internet trolls have tried to undermine its message. Plus, how the world of Black Panther taps into a long history of black liberation struggles, and why Black History Month, in the Trump era, can feel both righteous and corporate, dignified and farcical. 

1. Emily Witt [@embot], writer and reporter at the New Yorker, on the genesis of the #NeverAgain movement

2. Jason Koebler [@jason_koebler], editor-in-chief at Motherboard, on the "crisis actor" conspiracy

3. Adam Fletcher [@bicyclingfish], co-founder of the Freechild Project, on the history of student-led movements. 

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

5. Nathan Connolly [@ndbconnolly], history professor at John Hopkins University, on the origins of "Black Panther"'s Wakanda

Songs:

The Glass House - End Title by David Bergeaud

The Stone by The Chieftains

Trance Dance by John Zorn

Smells Like Teen Spirit by The Bad Plus

Rescue Me by Fontella Bass

Mai Nozipo by Kronos Quartet

Rinse and Repeat

Feb 23, 2018 14:31

Description:

In the wake of the school shooting in Florida we are recycling two interviews that we recorded following two other mass shooting tragedies. The first is about a chapter in the NRA's history that not many people know about. We’ve become accustomed in the past 20 years to seeing the issue of guns in America broken down into two camps: gun control advocates — led by police chiefs and Sarah Brady — and the all-powerful National Rifle Association. In an interview that originally aired after Sandy Hook in 2012, Bob talks to Adam Winkler, author of Gunfight: The Battle Over the Right to Bear Arms In America, who says there was a time, relatively recently, in fact, when the NRA supported gun control legislation, and the staunchest defenders of so-called "gun rights" were on the radical left.

The second interview we thought deserved another airing is about the dearth of research into these events. Hours before the 2015 mass shooting in San Bernardino, California, a group of physicians petitioned Congress to end the so-called Dickey Amendment, a nearly twenty-year-old ban that effectively prevents the CDC from researching gun violence. Brooke spoke to Todd Zwillich, acting host of The Takeaway, about the history of the ban and its current political state.

Devil in the Details

Feb 16, 2018 49:20

Description:

This week, we dive headfirst into the uncomfortable and the untrue — on the international stage, in the White House, and in your local newspaper. How claims from Immigration and Customs Enforcement [ICE] press releases sometimes end up, almost verbatim, in local reporting on deportations; why a New York City immigration advocate's history muddies the waters around his advocacy; what Poland's new Holocaust law really means for the country; and how personal stakes can shape our understanding of the plight of the Rohingya in Myanmar. 

Featuring: 

1. Bob, on the Trump White House getting caught up in lies once again. 

2. Gaby Del Valle [@gabydvj], staff writer for The Outline, on how ICE press releases make their way into local news reporting

3. Errol Louis [@errollouis], host of Inside City Hall on NY1, on the press's coverage of immigration advocate Ravi Ragbir.

4. Geneviève Zubrzycki, sociology professor at the University of Michigan, on Poland's new law regarding the Holocaust. 

5. Hannah Beech [@hkbeech], Southeast Asia Bureau Chief for the New York Times, on her experience reporting on the Rohingya crisis in Myanmar. 

 

Songs:

The Street by Elmer Bernstein

Susan the Stage by Chico Hamilton

III. White Man Sleeps by Kronos Quartet

Totem Ancestor by Kronos Quartet

Slow Pulse Conga by William Pasley

The Glass House - Mitra's Sadness by David Bergeaud

The Safety Net Just Got a Little Less Safe

Feb 15, 2018 27:10

Description:

On Monday, Donald Trump released the second budget proposal of his presidency. There’s lots in it — more money for defense, veterans and border security and some tax changes too. But what really jumps out is the proposal to cut funding for federal assistance programs including a 20 percent cut to Section 8 housing, a 22 percent cut to Medicaid and a brutal 27 percent cut to SNAP (the benefit formerly known as food stamps). Bobby Kogan, who on Twitter identifies himself as “chief number cruncher for the Senate budget committee”, points out that SNAP benefits are already small at just $1.40 per meal, and that “cutting the program by a quarter is extremely cruel.”

The proposed cuts did trigger outrage from advocates for the poor, who have also noted that the social safety net has big holes and vulnerable people have been falling through them for years.

In the fall of 2016, Brooke reported a series we called “Busted: America’s Poverty Myths.” Over five episodes she explored the central myths of poverty as we see them: that the poor deserve to be poor, that you can pull yourself up by your bootstraps and (the one we are re-airing now), that the safety net can catch you. 

With the help of Linda Tirado, author of Hand to Mouth: Living in Bootstrap America, and Matthew Desmond, author of Evicted: Poverty and Profit in the American City, we consider how anti-poverty programs can actually keep people poor and offer little hope for a way out.

Also, Brooke meets Margaret Smith, a Columbus woman made homeless after a violent crime derailed the life she'd carefully built with her six children. And we visit an Athens County food pantry that provides not just meals to the community, but also school supplies, clothing, furniture, job training, home repairs, disaster relief... even burial plots. 

Blame It On The Alcohol

Feb 9, 2018 49:26

Description:

This week, we devote an entire hour to what one important scholar deemed “the cause of and solution to all of life’s problems.” From its earliest role as a source of nourishment to its depictions in ancient literature, we examine the roots of mankind’s everlasting drinking problems. Plus, how a bizarre 60 Minutes piece spread the idea that red wine has medicinal effects. Then, a look at how popular culture has incorrectly framed Alcoholics Anonymous as the best and only option for addiction recovery. And, a scientist cooks up a synthetic substitute for booze.

1. Iain Gately, author of Drink: A Cultural History of Alcohol, on the ancient origins of our core beliefs about booze. 

2. Robert Taylor, assistant managing editor at Wine Spectator, on red wine's constantly changing reputation as a healthy substance.

3. Gabrielle Glaser [@GabrielleGlaser], author of Her Best-Kept Secret: Why Women Drink - And How They Can Regain Control, on the history and P.R. methods of Alcoholics Anonymous.

4. David Nutt [@ProfDavidNutt], psychologist at Imperial College London, on his new alcohol substitute, "alcosynth."

Songs:

When I Get Low I Get High by Ella Fitzgerald

Tomorrow Never Knows by Quartetto D/Archi Dell'Orchestra Sinfonica Di Milano

Il Casanova Di Federico Fellini by Solisti E Orchestre Del Cinema Italiano

Option with Variations by Kronos Quartet/composer Rhiannon Giddens

Trump Inc.

Feb 7, 2018 26:13

Description:

Back in January last year,  Donald Trump, newly elected, not yet sworn in, tried to quell concerns about his many conflicts of interest by declaring he would turn over the day-to-day running of his company to his sons. Did he follow through on that?  Has he leveraged the presidency to enrich himself? Who are his partners? Who does he take money from? Trump has rejected the advice of ethics experts to divest himself from his enterprises. He’s also refused to release details about his finances (including, of course, his tax records).

Our colleagues in the WNYC newsroom.  Ilya Marritz and Andrea Bernstein together with Pro Publica’s Eric Umansky, experienced investigative journalists all, were researching these questions when they slammed into a wall: The documents with the answers were not available.

Their solution? A new weekly podcast of course, called: Trump Inc. They’re calling it an “open investigation” because they’ll be laying out what they know and what they don’t. And they’re inviting everyone — fellow reports, experts, tipsters and listeners — to join them in the quest for answers.

Check out the website...and listen to the podcast.

This Is Not A Test

Feb 2, 2018 51:06

Description:

It was yet another week of will-he-won't-he: Will President Donald Trump authorize the release of the House Intelligence Committee's "memo," in spite of senior FBI and Justice Dept. officials' warnings not to do so? (Spoiler alert: He did.) Will he continue to edge the U.S. closer to a devastating military encounter with North Korea — as he did for the first year of his presidency, and as he did during his State of the Union address earlier this week? And if the United States finds itself engaged in the unimaginable — nuclear conflict — what lessons will we learn from those who have already tried to imagine just that? 

1. Steven Aftergood [@saftergood], transparency advocate, on the House Intelligence Committee's notorious "memo."

2. Lawrence Krauss [@LKrauss1], theoretical physicist and chair of the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists’ Board of Sponsors, on the Doomsday Clock's latest move toward midnight. 

3. Marsha Gordon [@MarshaGGordon], film studies professor at North Carolina State University, on the 1983 film "The Day After," which imagines a massive nuclear strike in the Midwestern U.S.

4. Anne Washburn, playwright, on "Mr. Burns: A Post-Electric Play," in which she imagines American cultural life after a devastating nuclear event. 

Songs:

Liquid Spear Waltz by Michael Andrews

White Man Sleeps by Kronos Quartet

String Quartet No. 5 by Kronos Quartet

The Glass House - Marjane's Inspiration by David Bergeaud

German Lullaby by The Kiboomers

Gitmo Is Back in Business

Feb 1, 2018 16:38

Description:

In his State of the Union speech this week the president announced - to rapturous applause from congressional Republicans, that he had just signed an order to keep open the detention facilities in Guantanamo Bay. When Mohamedou Ould Slahi was released from the prison in 2016, after 14 years behind bars, he was finally able to read Guantanamo Diary, the bestselling book he had written while imprisoned. And for the first time, he saw the thousands of black bars the FBI had placed over much of his account of capture, torture, and interrogation. Late last year, Slahi and his original editor, writer and activist Larry Siems, set to work unredacting his work. Bob spoke to Siems last fall about their efforts to finally release the full Guantanamo Diary. He also spoke to Slahi via Skype from his home in Mauritania to discuss his book, his experience behind bars and what he wants people to learn about the American political and justice systems.

Rallying Cry

Jan 26, 2018 60:35

Description:

A year into the Trump Administration, thousands continue to take to the streets but has the press lost interest? This week we look at the nature of protest in an era of never-ending distraction. We also take a deep dive into the world of right-wing conspiracies, as well as meme culture as a whole. Plus, we remember Ursula Le Guin, the monumental science fiction author who passed away earlier this week. 

1. Will Sommer [@willsommer], author of of the Right Richter newsletter and editor at The Hill, on the latest right-wing conspiracies. 

2. Amanda Hess [@amandahess], internet critic at the New York Times, on the dynamics and politics of meme culture.

3. Zeynep Tufekci [@zeynep], professor at the University of North Carolina, on coverage of protest movements like the Women's March.

4. David S. Meyer [@davidsmeyer1], sociology professor at the University of California at Irvine, on tropes and faults to look out for in coverage of protests. 

5. Julie Phillips [@jcfphillips], biographer and critic, on the life and writings of author Ursula K. Le Guin. 

Songs:

Fallen Leaves by Marcos Ciscar

Berotim by John Zorn

Uluwati by John Zorn

Tilliboyo by Kronos Quartet

Love Theme from Spartacus by Yusef Lateef

Unsettled: A Story from the Global Refugee Crisis

Jan 24, 2018 33:16

Description:

Over these last few months, WNYC reporter Matt Katz has been reporting the story of a congolese man named Andre and his wife, Lisette. They were living in a Malawi refugee camp, but then Andre was given the chance to be resettled in Elizabeth New Jersey. And he had to leave Lisette behind.

When Matt started researching this story he was struck by the fact that in the last 3 years the largest number of refugees to the US were not from Syria or any of the other majority Muslim countries named in Trump’s “extreme vetting” list but from the Democratic Republic of Congo.

President Trump came into office promising a wholesale remaking of U.S. immigration policy - there was the travel ban and, of course, the border wall. But what's gotten less attention is the dramatic shift in refugee policy, like slashing the number of refugees allowed into the country and changing security procedures.

Luckily for Andre, he made it to New Jersey right before things started to change. 

Click here to see photos of Andre and Lisette and learn more about their story. 

 

 

The End Is the Beginning

Jan 19, 2018

Description:

Recent accusations of sexual misconduct have led some to claim that the #MeToo movement has gone too far. We break down the arguments and look back at a 1994 conversation about feminism to explore where the movement might be headed next. Plus, a change to Facebook's News Feed algorithm has those in the media worried: a newspaper editor voices her frustration over what it means for the spread of information and a Serbian reporter discusses how the social network is marginalizing journalism in his country. Then, radio giant Joe Frank died this week. How his bizarre style influenced important voices you know today, including Radiolab's Jad Abumrad.

1. Caroline Framke [@carolineframke] of Vox examines the various arguments and conversations taking place around a report of sexually inappropriate behavior by the comedian Aziz Ansari.

2. Rebecca Walker [@rebeccawalker] talks to Brooke about how Third Wave Feminism intersects with the #MeToo movement, and reflects on the conversations about consent and pleasure taking place in the early 1990s when she coined the phrase 'Third Wave.'

3. Audrey Cooper [@audreycoopersf], Editor-in-Chief of The San Francisco Chronicle, voices her frustration over Facebook's algorithmic decisions and what they mean for media outlets. Stevan Dojčinović [@StevanOCCRP], Editor-in-Chief of the Serbian website KRIK [], an independent nonprofit news organization in Belgrade, talks to Bob about how Facebook's decision to move Serbian news into a separate feed called Explore has marginalized independent journalism there.

4. Jad Abumrad [@JadAbumrad] of Radiolab [@Radiolab] reflects on how Joe Frank's late-night shows influenced his work. Then, Mark Oppenheimer, host of Tablet's Unorthodox podcast, discusses his recent interview with Frank and his piece for Slate [@Slate].

A Journalist of Consequence

Jan 18, 2018

Description:

During his career as a national security reporter for The New York Times, James Risen reported several major scoops about the CIA. Risen exposed the Bush administration's phone surveillance program and misrepresentations of weapons of mass destruction in the Iraq War. He also published big revelations about botched national security operations in The State of War: The Secret History of the CIA and the Bush Administration

Risen recently reflected on his career for The Intercept. He talks to Bob about how difficult it was to get important stories into the Times in the lead up to the Iraq War, and why his editors sat on an important piece about warrantless wiretapping for 13 months -- and what it all says about the relationship between the press and the government. 

Outrage Machine

Jan 12, 2018 49:54

Description:

The book that took D.C. by storm; evaluating our first year under President Trump; the story of the Pentagon Papers, from someone who helped write them; and the latest scholarly research on "fake news" — that is, using the original, vintage meaning of the term. Plus, a live report from the Fake News Awards. 

1. Michael Wolff [@MichaelWolffNYC], columnist and author, on his latest book Fire & Fury and the dysfunctional Trump White House from whence it came. 

2. Masha Gessen [@mashagessen], journalist and The New Yorker contributor, on her rules for surviving autocracies, one year into the Trump presidency. 

3. Les Gelb, former columnist and former Defense Department official, on his experience leading the team that wrote the Pentagon Papers, subject of the new Hollywood drama, "The Post." 

4. Brendan Nyhan [@BrendanNyhan], professor of government at Dartmouth College, on his latest research on fake news consumption in 2016

5. Bob Garfield [@Bobosphere], OTM's glamour correspondent, reports live from the red carpet at the 2017 Fake News Awards and, folks, the stars are as stunning as the stories are shoddy. 

What 'The Post' Missed

Jan 11, 2018 29:05

Description:

Leslie Gelb, the man who supervised the team that compiled the Pentagon Papers, wasn't a character in the new Hollywood drama, "The Post." He is rarely called for comment in documentaries and films about the Pentagon Papers leak. Back in 1971, Gelb was against the publication of the Papers by both the New York Times and the Washington Post, but he came to see that they demonstrated the major flaws of the Vietnam War effort. In this podcast extra, Brooke talks to Gelb about what the Pentagon Papers were trying to achieve in the first place, how they're understood by the public, and what stories "The Post" missed in its interpretation. 

"Shmashmortion"

Jan 5, 2018 51:15

Description:

The surprising political history of abortion in America; how the language of the abortion debate impacts us all; state lawmakers are tightening the rules around how doctors communicate with their patients about abortion; and more.

1. Jill Lepore, staff writer at the New Yorker and professor of American history at Harvard, on how the American debate about abortion became so politicized.

2. Sherri Chessen, former star of the 1960s hit children's show Romper Room, on the story of her own abortion and the media firestorm that surrounded it.

3. WNYC's Mary Harris [@marysdesk] with Utah-based OB-GYN Dr. Leah Torres [@LeahNTorres] and others on the state rules that determine what medical professionals can and can't say to patients seeking abortions.

4. Sociologist Dorothy Roberts [@DorothyERoberts] on how the term "pro-choice" has limited the abortion rights movement and created problems for those looking to advance women's health.

The Man Behind Black Mirror

Jan 4, 2018 16:02

Description:

When the British TV show Black Mirror first arrived in the US in late 2014, it was applauded for imagining dystopian, technology-centric scenarios that did not seem terribly far off. Now, as the show launches its fourth season, real life seems to be working hard to surpass the strangeness, and sense of dread, that the show continues to inspire.

In January of 2015, Brooke spoke with the creator of Black Mirror, Charlie Brooker, about how the show came about and what it seeks to show us about our technological future...and present.

Songs:

"Auld Lang Syne"

"15 Million Merits" by Stephen McKeon

"Bing Abi" by Stephen McKeon

 

The Feelings Show

Dec 29, 2017 50:47

Description:

Father Time — his 2017 sash bloodied and muddied, no doubt — will soon hand off the baton to Baby New Year and, like the reluctant old fellow reaching the end of his tenure, we have some feelings about it. It's been a weird one, and we're obviously not holding our breaths hoping for a respite in the next calendar year. So in anticipation of emotions of all kinds, we present The Feelings Show: three interviews from that past that helped us deal with, you know —  things.

1. Rebecca Solnit, writer and historian, on her impatience with despair and her insistence that the future is unknowable — and therefore full of potential.

2. Robert Wright [@robertwrighter], writer and theologian, on how adopting basic mindfulness techniques could improve our lives and help us avoid outrage fatigue.

3. Jad Abumrad [@JadAbumrad], host of WNYC's Radiolab, and Eugene Thacker, professor of media studies at The New School, on nihilism's powerful grip on our culture.

Fire With Fire

Dec 22, 2017 49:41

Description:

When it comes to fighting fire with fire, common knowledge would have us leave the pyrotechnics to the trained professionals. This week, though, we take a look at those taking matters into their own hands, no matter the heat. With far-right internet trolls publishing the phone numbers and addresses of their "antifa" enemies, leftists are weighing the merits of returning the favor. CNN gets caught up in the frenetic energy of the Twitter presidency and the Russia investigations — and completely misfires. Plus, how Detroit's "chief storyteller" plans to counter incomplete narratives with more genuine — and government-funded — stories of his own. 

1. Brooke on Fox News's and congressional Republicans' recent attacks on the FBI and special counsel Robert Mueller. 

2. Glenn Greenwald [@ggreenwald], editor at The Intercept, on CNN's mistaken reporting on Wikileaks and Donald Trump, Jr. last week, and the media's seeming frenzy to get the goods on President Trump.

3. Bob examines the ethics of doxxing with Decca Muldowney [@deccamuldowney], reporter at ProPublica, Elie Mystal [@ElieNYC], legal editor for WNYC's More Perfect, and Jessica Nocero, non-profit healthcare administrator and antifa militant.

4. Aaron Foley [@aaronkfoley], Detroit's Chief Storyteller, on his new responsibility to transform his city's narrative. 

5. Sara Fishko [@FishkoFiles], host of WNYC's Fishko Files, looks back on a time in film history when lies and misdirection were a forgivable delight. 

Don't Expect Filing Your Taxes to Get Any Easier

Dec 21, 2017 16:48

Description:

In selling their new tax bill to the public, Republicans have leaned heavily on the theme of simplification. According to them, one of the primary benefits of overhauling our mammoth tax code is that it would make the dreaded filing process easier for Americans. But in reality the new tax bill does little to address the confusion that plagues the tax filing process...or the tax preparation companies like H&R Block that make millions off of that confusion. Last April, Brooke spoke with ProPublica's Senior Reporting Fellow Jessica Huseman about the role the tax preparation lobby has played in keeping our code so complicated and why it doesn't have to be that way. With the passage of the Republican tax bill, we're re-airing that interview.

After the Storm

Dec 15, 2017 50:37

Description:

Three months after Hurricane Maria, Puerto Rico's recovery story is far from over and far from simple. For some, it's a story of resilience. Others, resignation. For all, it is a story of frustration. Where some adapt, or become acostumbrados, and others demand political solutions. Where tragedy and privation is relieved not just by clean tap water or dependable electricity, but by jokes, music and defiance. This week, we look at the on-the-ground reality of Puerto Rico's recovery and explore all that has been exposed by the storm and its aftermath.

1. Sandra Rodriguez Cotto [@srcsandra], host at WAPA Radio, on community radio's role in supporting Puerto Rico's recovery. Omaya Sosa Pascual [@omayasosa], investigative journalist and co-founder of the Center for Investigative Journalism, on Maria's death count and understanding who is really in charge of Puerto Rico. 

2. OTM producer Alana Casanova-Burgess [@alanallama] speaks with Benjamin Torres Gotay [@TorresGotay], columnist for the newspaper El Nuevo Día; Walter Ronald Gonzalez Gonzalez, director of Art, Culture, and Tourism for the region of Utuado; Yarimar Bonilla [@yarimarbonilla], anthropologist at Rutgers University; psychoanalyst Alfredo Carrasquillo [@alcarrpr]; and Sandra Rodriguez Cotto [@srcsandra], host at WAPA Radio, about what was exposed by the storm.

3. Lucienne Hernandez [@lucibreve], performer with the Teatro Breve comedy group in San Juan, on processing the disaster through humor. 

4. Alana considers what might come next for the island and on the fact that Puerto Rico's problems, before and after Hurricane Maria, are America's problems writ large: inequality, addiction, and the growing dangers of climate change. 

Support our work with your donation today at OntheMedia.org/donate.

Is It Okay For Kayla Moore to Say "Jew"?

Dec 14, 2017 19:27

Description:

Roy Moore just lost the election in Alabama, but not before his wife Kayla Moore caused an uproar at his final campaign rally. Defending her husband against "fake news" and accusations of antisemitism, Kayla Moore announced: "Our attorney is a Jew."

Mark Oppenheimer, host of the podcast Unorthodox, has argued that we should start using the word "Jew" rather than "Jewish." Brooke spoke with him earlier this year about the history of the term, its use as a racial slur, and how it could be re-purposed. After the Kayla Moore debacle, Brooke reconnected with Oppenheimer to talk about the possible limits of his argument, whether the Moores really have Jewish friends, and how to spell "Hanukkah."

Power Trip

Dec 8, 2017 49:41

Description:

From Capitol Hill to the workplace to the darkest corners of the internet, it can feel like our world is increasingly being manipulated by threats and intimidation. This week we look at the role of bullies in our lives and how we should and shouldn’t respond. Plus, as the GOP tax bill moves through Congress, a look back at the historical struggle over taxation in America. And finally, the story of an MSNBC contributor fired and rehired within the past two weeks and the far-right troll who was responsible. 

1. Brooke on WNYC's own revelations of sexual misconduct and bullying and Dahlia Lithwick [@Dahlialithwick], writer for Slate and host of the Amicus podcast, on the potential danger for Democrats when they take the "moral high ground" on sexual misconduct. 

2. Molly Michelmore [@MollyMichelmore], historian at Washington & Lee University, on the history and evolution of political rhetoric surrounding American tax policy. 

3. Sam Seder [@SamSeder], MSNBC contributor and host of the Majority Report podcast, on his temporary firing from the network, and Mike Cernovich, "mens-rights" activist and far-right conspiracy theorist, on his reasons for trolling MSNBC—that is, until he hung up on us. 

4. Emily Bazelon [@emilybazelon], staff writer for the New York Times Magazine, on what schoolyard dynamics can teach us about adult bullies and how to confront them. 

A Reckoning in Our Own House

Dec 6, 2017 36:06

Description:

Update: On Wednesday, following the release of this pod extra, New York Public Radio announced that Jonathan Schwartz and Leonard Lopate had been placed on indefinite leave as the station investigates "accusations of inappropriate conduct" filed against the two long-time hosts.

This weekend, New York Magazine published investigative reporter Suki Kim's personal experiences and reporting on sexual harassment by John Hockenberry, former host of the WNYC program, "The Takeaway." The article alleges that over the past decade, Hockenberry sexually harassed interns, producers, and a guest on "The Takeaway." It also details a culture of bullying; in particular Hockenberry's behavior towards three female co-hosts, none of whom remained on the show. 

In August 2017, John Hockenberry retired from WNYC as a highly regarded, award-winning broadcast and radio journalist. Most staff members at WNYC were unaware of his alleged behavior until we read Suki Kim's article. 

This podcast is a tick-tock of a station reckoning with its own sexual harassment allegations; the on-air conversations between hosts, reporters, listeners and WNYC management.

 

Flim-Flam Nation

Dec 1, 2017 49:51

Description:

It was yet another week of outrageous and consequential stories piling on top of one another at a head-spinning pace. A failed attempt to discredit the Washington Post. A bombshell plea from a former Trump official. A secret button. Poison in the Hague. A computer glitch that could ruin Christmas. And the FCC's upcoming vote on "net neutrality," a bureaucratic thicket with potentially catastrophic consequences. All of this, plus radical transparency in journalism, bots bringing down public comment and the history of America's love of hoaxes. 

1. Brooke leads us through a week that was, as she says, a "ceaseless and accelerating volume of crazy"—coming both from the news at large and the Oval Office. 

2. Margaret Sullivan [@Sulliview], columnist for the Washington Post, on how her colleagues' adroit response to the failed Project Veritas "sting" could help rehabilitate the public's faith in news organizations. 

3. Tom Wheeler [@tewheels], former Chairman of the FCC, and Nick Gillespie [@nickgillespie], Editor-in-Chief of Reason.com, debate the FCC's upcoming vote on whether to repeal Obama-era regulations for internet service providers known as net neutrality.

4. Issie Lapowsky [@issielapowsky], Senior Writer for Wired, on how networks of bots and bad actors have thrown the federal government's public comment process into jeopardy.

5. Kevin Young [@Deardarkness], director of the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture and author of Bunk, on American hoaxes have long played on deep divisions in our society.

 

About that Nazi Next Door

Nov 28, 2017 11:17

Description:

The New York Times' profile of Tony Hovater, a white nationalist and Nazi sympathizer, set Twitter on fire last weekend — and not in a good way. Bob speaks with Charlie Warzel, senior technology writer at Buzzfeed, about what the story got wrong.  As Warzel wrote earlier this week, in a piece titled "The New York Times Can't Figure Out Where Nazis Come From in 2017. Pepe Has an Answer": 

"Save for a passing mention of 4chan and some description of Hovater's more contentious Facebook posts, the Times piece does little to describe the online ecosystem that has helped white nationalists, neo-Nazis, and the alt-right organize, amplify its message, and thrive in recent years. And, simply put, any attempt to answer what exactly led Hovater to "gravitate toward the furthest extremes of American political discourse" is incomplete without it."

Apocalypse, Now

Nov 24, 2017 49:57

Description:

Science fiction has always been an outlet for our greatest anxieties. This week, we delve into how the genre is exploring the reality of climate change. Plus: new words to describe the indescribable.

1. Jeff VanderMeer [@jeffvandermeer], author of the Southern Reach Trilogy and Borne, on writing about the relationships between people and nature.

2. Claire Vaye Watkins [@clairevaye] talks about Gold Fame Citrus, her work of speculative fiction in which an enormous sand dune threatens to engulf the southwest. 

3. Kim Stanley Robinson discusses his latest work, New York 2140. The seas have risen 50 feet and lower Manhattan is submerged. And yet, there's hope.

4. British writer Robert Macfarlane [@RobGMacfarlane] on new language for our changing world. 

Throughout the show: listeners offer their own new vocabulary for the Anthropocene era. Many thanks to everyone who left us voice memos!   

 

Brooke Gets Mindful

Nov 22, 2017 27:21

Description:

If you find yourself fuming at the Thanksgiving table this week when the conversation turns political, rather than losing your cool in front of your friends and family, consider pausing and taking a deep breath. According to Robert Wright, author of Why Buddhism is True: The Science and Philosophy of Meditation and Enlightenment, so much of the tribalism and animosity that fuels our political moment could be mitigated if more Americans adopted mindfulness techniques. In this podcast extra, Brooke speaks with Wright about how living a mindful life can make us savvier, saner news consumers and help us avoid outrage fatigue.

The Reckoning

Nov 17, 2017 50:03

Description:

As allegations of sexual misconduct continue to dominate the news, a look at how we are dealing with high-profile offenders and who is being ignored. Plus, a critical reexamination of Bill Clinton's reputation, the difficulty of processing good art made by bad people, and how to brace ourselves for the potential backlash.

1. Rebecca Traister [@rtraister], writer-at-large for New York Magazine, on how sexual harassment stories at the national level resonate with our own familiar relationships to power and gender. 

2. Michelle Goldberg [@michelleinbklyn], columnist for The New York Times, on the claims of sexual misconduct made against Bill Clinton. 

3. Sarah Smarsh [@Sarah_Smarsh], writer and reporter, on the sexual harassment accusations that won't make the news, especially those of the working poor. 

4. Lily Loofbourow [@Millicentsomer], culture critic for The Week, on preparing for a public backlash against the post-Weinstein moment. 

5. Kathryn VanArendonk [@kvanaren], TV critic for Vulture, on how to parse the fraught relationship between artists and their art, particularly when those artists are accused of violence or abuse. 

Rebecca Traister Says 'the Anger Window' Is Open

Nov 15, 2017 31:52

Description:

New York Magazine writer Rebecca Traister says that every new revelation about sexual harassment confirms what women have always known. In her most recent article she asks "as stories about abuse, assault, and complicity come flooding out, how do we think about the culprits in our lives? Including, sometimes, ourselves."

Brooke spoke with Rebecca on Tuesday; it was a long and impassioned interview, a shorter version of which will be in this week's show (a full hour about the "#metoo" moment), but in the meantime, here is a *lightly* edited version of their conversation. 

The Ecstasy of Gold

Nov 10, 2017 49:53

Description:

Another massive data leak has cast scrutiny on the world of the ultra-wealthy, but some doubt whether much will change. A look inside the Paradise Papers and at the secretive industry of "wealth management" that makes sure the wealthy remain rich and hidden. Also, in the wake of the shuttering of Gothamist and DNAinfo, how journalism is contending with its "billionaire problem," and a look at the recent standoff between Disney and journalists. Finally, the story of how a Syrian man's journey to the West found him experiencing America's Wild West in Sweden.

1. Marina Walker Guevara [@MarinaWalkerG], Deputy Director at The International Consortium of Investigative Journalists, on how the group reported the Paradise Papers.

2. Brooke Harrington, author of Capital without Borders, on the secretive industry of "wealth management" and the real threat of offshore wealth.

3. Julia Wick [@sherlyholmes], former editor-in-chief of LAist, on the perilous position in which many small news sites find themselves due to billionaire influence.

4. Bob [@bobosphere] on the recent showdown between Disney, the LA Times and a collection of film journalists.

5. Micah Loewinger [@MicahLoewinger], OTM producer, on how a Wild West theme park in Sweden became a haven for refugees, and what it tells us about America's own Wild West fixation.

12 Months Later: Brooke and Bob on Covering Trump

Nov 9, 2017 21:16

Description:

It's now a year since Election Day 2016, and a year since we gathered in our office the day after Election Day to figure out what exactly had happened. The mood was tense, and our Executive Producer Katya Rogers seized the opportunity to offer listeners some ultra transparency, documenting a moment when Brooke and Bob were at their most doubting. The result: a raw podcast extra, in which the hosts argued about what had gone down and how the show should cover the Trump administration.

Flash forward to this summer, when Bob and Brooke re-listened to their November conversation and then turned on the mics to reflect on their thoughts and speculations from eight months earlier.

Both conversations are collected here for this weeks podcast extra.

Off the Radar

Nov 3, 2017 50:23

Description:

Following the announcement of the first indictments in Robert Mueller's special investigation, the media were scrambling to put together the pieces...or else ignoring the news completely. How to make sense of the details, and the silences, in Mueller's first public release and in some of the media's apparent apathy. Also, how the NPR newsroom responded when one of its own was brought down for sexual harassment. And a former Guantanamo Bay prisoner talks about unredacting the bestseller he wrote behind bars and what he's learned about America's opaque military and justice systems.

1. Bob looks at how Rupert Murdoch's media empire spins all things Trump. And Sarah Ellison [@sarahlellison], special correspondent for Vanity Fair, helps to explain the mogul's long game.

2. Marcy Wheeler [@emptywheel], independent investigative journalist, breaks down what we know from the first Mueller indictments, what we can surmise and what the media need to be careful of.

3. David Folkenflik [@davidfolkenflik], NPR's media correspondent, about how the network handled the accusations against, and eventual resignation of, NPR's head of news, Michael Oreskes.

4. Larry Siems [@LarrySiems], editor of Guantanamo Diary, about his experience helping the newly freed Mohamedou Ould Slahi create an unredacted version of his bestseller.

5. Mohamedou Ould Slahi, author of Guantanamo Diary, about the unredacting process and what he took away from his nightmarish experience behind bars.

Monumental Questions

Nov 1, 2017 26:15

Description:

Speaking this week on Fox News, White House Chief of Staff John Kelly warned against the removal of Confederate monuments on the grounds that it would erase important history. But the statues in question have never been about preserving a neutral version of history but rather about perpetuating a series of narratives and myths about slavery and the Civil War. Earlier this year we spoke to Malcolm Suber, historian and co-founder of the group Take 'Em Down NOLA, about the significance of removing monuments to white supremacy. And we spoke to Bryan Stevenson, director of the Equal Justice Initiative, about his work documenting the thousands of lynchings that took place in the South from 1877 to 1950, and the significance of remember and reckoning with the realities of our shameful past.

Chokehold

Oct 27, 2017 50:06

Description:

Since the news about Harvey Weinstein’s sexual predations, allegations have surfaced against other powerful men. We look back at the early days in the fight against sexual harassment with the woman who coined the term. Plus: journalist Matt Taibbi examines the life, death and legacy of Eric Garner; and the release of new JFK files brings the mother of all conspiracy theories back into the spotlight. 

1. Lin Farley, author of The Sexual Shakedown: The Sexual Harassment of Women On the Job, talks about the term she coined in the mid-70s: 'sexual harassment'. 

2. Matt Taibbi [@mtaibbi], journalist and author of I Can't Breathe: A Killing on Bay Street, discusses his exploration of Eric Garner's life and death in the media.

3. Ron Rosenbaum [@RonRosenbaum1] talks about his long-time interest in the JFK assassination and how the conspiracy theories changed "the landscape of the American mind." 

4. Sara Fishko [@FishkoFiles] reports on how TV anchors used the new medium to cover the JFK assassination, the president's funeral, and the attack on Lee Harvey Oswald in real time.

Scary Clowns

Oct 26, 2017 13:09

Description:

The days are getting shorter, the leaves are changing and Halloween is on its way. And with these annual rites comes another yearly tradition: the coming of the clowns. Last year at this time, to believe the reporting, the country was overrun with so-called “evil clowns,” terrorizing communities across the United States. At the time, Bob spoke with Benjamin Radford, author of Bad Clowns and a research fellow with the Committee for Skeptical Inquiry about our historic and cultural relationship with clown sightings. With clowns again making their resurgence, we’re sharing that interview as this week's podcast extra.

 

 

Under the Influence

Oct 20, 2017 50:23

Description:

As the opioid crisis in America rages, the government struggles to react. A look at how a 2016 bill weakened the Drug Enforcement Agency and why nobody noticed. Also, how painkillers took off in America, thanks to industry-sponsored junk science; the power of addict death notices to spread understanding about the depths of the crisis; and inside a new report exposing the exploitation faced by many senior citizens.

1. Lenny Bernstein [@LennyMBernstein], health and medicine reporter for The Washington Post, on a new report exposing how the drug industry helped push through a 2016 bill that undercut the DEA's ability to fight against opioid abuse.

2. Barry Meier [@BarryMeier], New York Times reporter and author of "Pain Killer: A 'Wonder' Drug's Trail of Addiction and Death," on how pharmaceutical companies like Purdue pushed painkillers as "wonder" drugs, based on junk science.

3. Anna Clark [@annaleighclark], Detroit-based journalist, on how obituaries and death notices for addicts are providing some of the most valuable insight into the epidemic and helping to reduce stigma.

4. Rachel Aviv [@rachelaviv], staff writer for The New Yorker, on how she reported her recent story on the way a system of guardianship is leaving many elderly people exploited. 

Raqqa Liberated

Oct 19, 2017 22:29

Description:

News came this week that the US backed Syrian Democratic Forces had finally liberated the city of Raqqa from the grip of ISIS. For the past three years the people trapped inside the oppressive ISIS regime suffered daily. Yet, reports of torture and assassination in the terrorized city did not come from traditional outlets. Rather, Raqqa is Being Slaughtered Silently, a band of citizen journalists led by Abdel Aziz al-Hamza, risked their lives to report the egregious conditions in a place that was notoriously difficult to enter or escape. Matthew Heineman followed this group in his new documentary, City of Ghosts. Bob speaks with Heineman and al-Hamza about their experiences in Raqqa and how these journalists found inspiration to continue their work.

Also, Iraq’s nine-month operation to push ISIS out of Mosul yielded bittersweet news this summer: the liberation of a starved and terrorized city. Over the previous three years, ISIS sought to completely isolate the people of Mosul by shutting off access to the internet and outside media. Radio Al-Ghad, a community radio station, defied the media blackout and risked death to give a voice to the civilian population. Brooke speaks to Al-Ghad’s founder Mohammed Al-Musali about how his heroic team managed to shine a light into Mosul, win over ISIS supporters, and save countless lives.

Losing Power

Oct 13, 2017 50:23

Description:

The President is once again threatening the press, but it's unclear whether he will be able to follow through. A look at which threats to the First Amendment we should be taking seriously. Also, looking beyond the "adults in the room" trope; reporting on the worsening situation in Puerto Rico; the role of gossip and whisper networks in protecting women; and the story of one of the original godfathers of gossip.

1. David Snyder, executive director of the First Amendment Coalition, on threats to the First Amendment under the Trump Administration.

2. James Mann, author of "Rise of the Vulcans: The History of Bush's War Cabinet," on why we should be wary of the military personnel who are increasingly in charge of our government.

3. David Begnaud, CBS news correspondent, on the work of covering Puerto Rico and the deteriorating situation on the ground.

4. Anne Helen Petersen, Buzzfeed senior culture writer, on the history of gossip and its essential role in the saga of Harvey Weinstein.

5. Neal Gabler, author of "Winchell: Gossip, Power and the Culture of Celebrity" on the story of Walter Winchell, one of the godfathers of gossip journalism.

Puerto Rico's Never-ending Emergency

Oct 11, 2017 13:00

Description:

David Begnaud of CBS was in Puerto Rico before Hurricane Maria hit on September 20. Then, he and his team reported for two weeks straight, posting videos on Twitter and sending dispatches to the network. He tracked the logjam of aid stuck in ports, the snaking lines for water, the utter chaos at the San Juan airport. In response, Puerto Ricans of the diaspora have begun nominating him for honorary status as one of their own. After a short break, he's back on the island and still reporting. Begnaud speaks to Bob about how a recent rainstorm has made conditions even worse than they were before he left, and how he is serving as a conduit between Puerto Rican officials and FEMA.  

More Human Than Human

Oct 6, 2017 50:05

Description:

The news has been awash in reports of the rising death tolls for the Las Vegas shooting and the ongoing devastation in Puerto Rico. This week, why the media's emphasis on the numbers distorts our understanding of tragedies. Also, a case for using the word "terrorism" more cautiously; what we get wrong when we make assumptions about country music; and a look what it means to be human in the context of Blade Runner.

1. Bob ruminates on the media's knee-jerk attempts to quantify a crisis. And Omaya Sosa Pascual, a journalist with the Center for Investigative Journalism in Puerto Rico, discusses the scale of devastation on the island.

2. New Yorker columnist Masha Gessen explains why the media should apply the term "terrorism" with care.

3. Buzzfeed News's world correspondent J. Lester Feder on how country music went conservative. 

4. Historian Nadine Hubbs examines generic assumptions about country music, and how they betray an underlying discomfort with the working class in America.

5. Historian Alison Landsberg speaks with Brooke about Blade Runner and human memory.

After Vegas

Oct 3, 2017 8:16

Description:

On Sunday night, a gunman opened fire on an outdoor music festival in Las Vegas, NV. Since then, reports of deaths and injuries have been mounting, making for what's being called "the deadliest mass shooting" in modern American history. Amid the tragedy, we're seeing a spate of familiar media tropes: from offers of "thoughts and prayers" and tussles over the appropriate time to talk about gun control to mis-identification of perpetrators and publication of unconfirmed reports. Brooke recalls some points from On the Media's Breaking News Consumer's Handbook: Active Shooter Edition to remind us that, while this latest tragedy might feel unique, the media is recycling a playbook that we've seen all-too-many times before.

Insult to Injury

Sep 29, 2017 49:58

Description:

As Puerto Rico rations resources and seeks help from the US government, the mainland media has mostly been preoccupied with Donald Trump's provocations towards the NFL. This week, what's actually happening on the island (and with the NFL). Also, a look at the radical history of the Star-Spangled Banner; how the Catalan independence referendum is being suppressed by the Spanish government; decoding the FBI's new crime statistics; and a look back at Hugh Hefner's impact on American culture.

1. Puerto Rican columnist Sandra Rodriguez Cotto [@SRCSandra] talks about how the local press are handling the wreckage following Hurricane Maria.

2. Brooke examines this week's NFL news frenzy.

3. University of Maryland assistant professor of musicology Will Robin [@seatedovation] reveals the national anthem's long history of musical defiance and radicalism. 

4. Thomas Abt [@Abt_Thomas], a senior fellow at the Harvard Kennedy School and Harvard Law School and a former deputy secretary for public safety for New York State, talks about the politicization of violent crime data. 

5. Vicent Partal [@vpartal], founder and editor of VilaWeb, a Catalan news outlet based in Barcelona, explains the modern Catalan separatist movement and the Spanish government's efforts to suppress this weekend's referendum.  

6. A look back on Hugh Hefner's legacy through two interviews with and about him.

 

 

 

Among Many Victims in Mexico, There Was One Who Never Existed

Sep 29, 2017 10:20

Description:

In Central Mexico, rescuers continue to sift through piles of rubble left by last week's 7.1 magnitude earthquake. Hundreds of volunteers have joined the rescue effort. One of the most widely reported stories from the earthquake reveals how the people in Mexico are coping with the earthquake. In the first couple days after it struck, media in Mexico and around the world focused on the story of a 12-year-old girl. She was trapped in the rubble of school building, communicating with rescuers, wiggling her fingers, and asking rescuers for water. She said her name was Frida Sofia, and she didn't exist at all. 

Brooke talks with Rodrigo Cervantes, the Mexico City bureau chief for KJZZ, about his reporting from rescue sites in the city, the mystery of Frida Sofia, and what the confusion reveals about distrust in media and the government.

 

OTM live at the Texas Tribune Festival: The Politicians

Sep 28, 2017 26:47

Description:

When Brooke was at the Texas Tribune festival in Austin last week, she moderated two sessions, one with reporters and one with couple of US Representatives from Texas. Democrat Beto O’Rourke of El Paso, and Republican Will Hurd of Helotes. The two - who didn’t much know each other a year ago -  made headlines in their state when, stranded by a snowstorm, they found themselves sharing a rented Chevy Impala for the sixteen-hundred mile drive from San Antonio to Washington. Brooke asked them roughly the same question she asked the reporters; how do the constant attacks by the President on journalism, on facts, influence how you do your job and how you deal with the press? Does it affect your point of view? 

**Correction: At one point, Representative Will Hurd refers to a recent missile launch by Iran as an example real news that is worth reporting. In fact, it was the opposite.**

 

OTM live at the Texas Tribune Festival: The Journalists

Sep 28, 2017 25:30

Description:

Last week Brooke was at the Texas Tribune Festival, an annual event that gathers hundred of speakers and thousands of citizens to discuss big issues of the day, ranging from education to climate change to politics. She moderated a couple of sessions: One with two great journalists from two very different places with two very different briefs. One of those journalists was Amy Chozick, a national political reporter for the New York Times, the other was Evan Smith, the  co-founder and CEO of the Texas Tribune.

The question at issue turned on President Trumps continuous attacks on the press, and on truth, basic facts.

Does it affect the way they practice journalism? And if so, how? 

 

Trust Issues

Sep 22, 2017 52:47

Description:

Facebook is under fire for allowing Russian propagandists to buy ads during the 2016 election. This week, how we do and don't hold tech giants accountable.

1. Max Seddon [@maxseddon], Moscow correspondent for The Financial Times, on the push by the US government to register RT and Sputnik under the Foreign Agents Relations Act and why the effort to "do something" about Russian propaganda is misguided.

2. Julia Angwin [@juliaangwin], investigative journalist for ProPublica, on their new crowdsourcing project that aims to monitor otherwise inscrutable Facebook political advertisements.

3. Matt Stoller [@matthewstoller], Fellow at the Open Markets Institute, on understanding Silicon Valley's behavior through the lens of monopoly and why he believes Americans can, and must, demand more.

4. Utsav Sanduja [@u], Chief Operating Officer of the alt-right-favored social media network Gab, on their antitrust lawsuit against Google and why they see a need for a pro-free speech social media platform.

5. Paul Ford [@ftrain], tech author and commentator, on the difficult ethical questions that surround massive tech platforms.

What Lies Ahead For Puerto Rico

Sep 22, 2017 15:18

Description:

Following Hurricane Maria’s landfall on Wednesday morning, we have only scarce images and reports from which to comprehend the scale of devastation in Puerto Rico right now. Perhaps due to disaster fatigue, perhaps due to the territory’s second-class status, the media coverage has been perfunctory.

While the coverage to date has focused on the flooding and widespread power outages on the ravaged island, Rutgers professor Yarimar Bonilla says there's an important context to the problems with the electric grid. She and Bob discuss how the damage from Maria is related to the debt crisis, and how it may provide an excuse to justify another wave of privatization on the island.

"Free Speech Week" Puts Berkeley Back in the Crosshairs

Sep 20, 2017 25:12

Description:

Alt-right provocateur Milo Yiannopoulos recently released a list of speakers for his upcoming "Free Speech Week" at University of California Berkeley, a four-day event featuring Steve Bannon, Ann Coulter, and a host of other conservative voices. Yet, according to Berkeley officials, the Berkeley Patriot, the on-campus student publication that invited Yiannopoulos in the first place, has flubbed basic logistical planning and put "Free Speech Week" in jeopardy.

And if it falls apart, says historian Angus Johnston, then it will look like Berkeley had planned to censor the event all along. He and Brooke speak about why news consumers should focus less on the issue of campus free speech and more on Yiannopoulos’s PR strategy.

Look What You Made Me Do

Sep 15, 2017 49:34

Description:

A week after President Trump cut a surprise deal with Democrats, and 100 years after it was created, is the debt ceiling still serving its intended purpose? Plus, inside the alt-right idolization of Taylor Swift and medieval history and how some are trying to fight back. Finally, a new book argues that we may need less technology, even--or especially--if it means we become more bored.

1. Zachary Karabell, author of "The Leading Indicators: A Short History of the Numbers that Rule Our World," discusses the debt ceiling's history and frequent use as political football.

2. Mitchell Sunderland, Senior Staff Writer at Vice, on Taylor Swift's fascist following

2. Historian David M. Perry on how medieval historians should respond to white supremacist affection for their field.

4. Manoush Zomorodi, host of the WNYC's Note to Self, on her new book, "Bored and Brilliant," and the dire need to disengage from technology.

The Counter-Jihad Movement & the Making of a President

Sep 13, 2017 32:41

Description:

President George W. Bush, speaking at a mosque on Sept. 17, 2001: "The face of terror is not the true faith of Islam. That’s not what Islam is all about. Islam is peace."

Donald Trump, campaigning for president on March 9, 2016: "I think Islam hates us."

David Yerushalmi was living in an Israeli settlement near Jerusalem speaking on the phone with his father when the planes hit the towers on Sept. 11, 2001. "We got it wrong," Yerushalmi remembers telling his father. Before Sept. 11th, Yerushalmi thought terrorism was about nationalism, a fight over land. Afterward, he decided terrorism committed by Muslim extremists was driven by Islam itself -- and underpinned by Islamic Shariah law.  

Pamela Geller and David Yerulshami (Pamela Geller)

So he packed up his family and moved to New York to become part of a fledgling community of conservatives who would come to be known as counter-jihadists. They had an uphill battle to fight: In the aftermath of Sept. 11, President Bush and most Americans, according to polls, did not equate Islam with terrorism. 

But 16 years later, even though there hasn't been another large-scale terrorist attack on American soil committed by a Muslim, America's perspective on Islam has changed -- evidenced most notably by the election of a president who believes the religion itself hates the country.

Yerushalmi is a big reason for this change of heart. He's a behind-the-scenes leader of the counter-jihad movement, filing lawsuits pushing back against the encroachment of Islam in the public sphere and crafting a series of anti-Sharia laws that Muslims and civil rights groups decry as Islamophobic.

"Do I think that the United States is weak enough to collapse either from a kinetic Jihad, meaning war, or even a civilizational Jihad that the Muslim Brotherhood talks about? No. At least not in my lifetime. But do I think it's an existential threat that allows for sleeper cells and the Internet-grown Jihadist that we see day in and day out wreaking so much havoc here and in Europe? Yes. Do I see it as a threat to our freedoms and liberties incrementally through their so-called civilizational Jihad where they use our laws and our freedoms to undermine our laws and our freedoms? Absolutely."

WNYC reporter Matt Katz speaks to Yerulshami about what he thinks is the creeping threat of Sharia law for the podcast "The United States of Anxiety" produced by New York Public Radio. 

 

Duck and Cover

Sep 8, 2017 50:13

Description:

The Trump administration has announced the end of the DACA program. We examine the rhetoric used to justify the decision. Plus: the Southern Poverty Law Center faces questions from across the political spectrum about its messaging and fundraising; and the surprising history of FEMA's Cold War origins and what it means for emergency response today. 

1. Mark Joseph Stern [@mjs_DC] of Slate dissects the rhetoric used by the Trump administration to justify ending the DACA program. 

2. Peter Beinart [@PeterBeinart] of The Atlantic on how Democrats frame immigration and what gets ignored in the discussion. 

3. The Southern Poverty Law Center has faced criticism from the left and the right. Ben Schreckinger [@SchreckReports] of Politico breaks down concerns surrounding the group's messaging and fundraising. Then, SPLC President Richard Cohen [@splcenter] responds to the criticism and rebuts recent, dubious accusations from right-leaning media outlets. 

4. Garrett Graff [@vermontgmg] wrote about "The Secret History of FEMA" for Wired this week. He explains FEMA's origins as a Cold War civil defense agency and how its mission has evolved.

Unnatural Disaster

Sep 1, 2017 50:15

Description:

Hurricane Harvey makes landfall, bringing with it a familiar set of reporting tropes. We unpack the language of storm reporting and why it falls short, and why these disasters expose a society's priorities. Plus: why there's no such thing as a "natural" disaster; and a conservative commentator on what would really bring a "breaking point" to Trump's relationship with Republicans. 

1. Neena Satija of The Texas Tribune and Reveal discusses last year's investigative report, "Boomtown, Flood Town," about Houston's risk for flooding. 

2. The American Storm Edition of the Breaking News Consumer's Handbook, with: Robert Holmes, national flood hazard specialist and coordinator for the U.S.G.S.; risk communication consultant Gina Eosco; and disaster historian Scott Knowles

3. One of the most widely misreported stories of Hurricane Katrina involved deaths at St. Rita's nursing home in a New Orleans suburb. James Cobb, their lawyer, talked to Brooke about media scapegoating in disasters. 

4. Noah Rothman of Commentary Magazine on why the Republican party isn't distancing itself more from President Trump. 

 

Bob's Docs Finale: Conflicting Narratives

Aug 31, 2017 11:18

Description:

For the month of August, we’ve been running a series of interviews Bob has done with documentary filmmakers. We’ve been calling it “Bob’s Docs," and each we’ve week we’ve gone through some of the themes of documentary filmmaking — from the personal journey to the gift of extraordinary access. We have one more bonus episode of “Bob’s Docs," and this one is about what happens when documentaries dig into conflicting narratives.

In 1977, a former beauty queen with a 168 IQ named Joyce McKinney became British tabloid fodder when she supposedly kidnapped her Mormon boyfriend at gunpoint and, for four days, kept him as her sex slave. Documentary filmmaker Errol Morris' 2011 documentary Tabloid looked into the claims and the tabloid coverage. Brooke spoke with Morris six years ago about what he learned about sensational reporting and the trouble of getting to the bottom of a he-said, she-said.

This American War on Drugs

Aug 25, 2017 50:23

Description:

Attorney General Jeff Sessions has signaled that he'd like to revamp the war on drugs. We take a look at the history of the battle, and how sensational media depictions of crack, heroin, and meth have helped fuel it. Plus: our Breaking News Consumer’s Handbook: Drugs Edition. Then, a look at how America’s first drug czar used racist propaganda to outlaw marijuana. And why the debate between treatment and law enforcement is blurrier than you might think.

1. Our Breaking News Consumer's Handbook: Drugs Edition: a critical look at what the press gets wrong about drugs and drug addiction, featuring Dr. Debbie Dowell of the Centers for Disease Control and PreventionDr. Carl Hart of Columbia University, and author Maia Szalavitz.

2. Historian Alexandra Chasin and author Johann Hari tell the story of Harry Anslinger, the man who set our seeming eternal drug war in motion, and his ruthless pursuit of jazz singer Billie Holiday.

3. University of California Santa Cruz's Dr. Craig Reinarman examines how American presidents encouraged and harnessed hysteria around drugs for political gain.

4. Journalist Sam Quinones argues for the importance of aggressive policing in the effort to end America's opioid crisis.

Bob's Docs Episode Four: It's Personal

Aug 23, 2017 29:39

Description:

For the month of August we've been running a series of interviews Bob has done over the years with documentary filmmakers. In the OTM office, the producers have been referring to the collection as "Bob's Docs." Over the past few weeks, we've gone through some of the themes of documentary film-making, from prurience to access to manipulation. This week we conclude with the personal journey. 

This episode features two interviews, and the first is actually a guest spot from Brooke Gladstone. Last year, Brooke spoke with James Solomon about his documentary, "The Witness", about the story of Kitty Genovese -- a young woman who was famously murdered on a New York City street in 1964. Her murder came to symbolize urban apathy and the "bystander effect". Solomon documents Kitty's brother Bill Genovese's lengthy pursuit to discover the truth behind her life and murder. 

Then, Bob speaks with filmmaker Ken Dornstein about his three-part series on PBS's Frontline called "My Brother's Bomber" about his investigation into the 1988 Lockerbie airplane bombing. Dornstein's brother died in the attack, and Dornstein spent years trying to locate other figures who were suspects. 

 

Gutted

Aug 18, 2017 50:26

Description:

In the 1960s, pollution was a visible, visceral problem, and public pressure led a Republican president to create the Environmental Protection Agency. Now, the GOP wants to slash the agency's budget and roll back "burdensome" environmental regulations. The story of how the environment went from bipartisan issue to political battleground.

Also, journalists and politicians have long avoided drawing a straight line between natural disasters and climate change. How that's changing, thanks to new "extreme weather attribution" science. And, the myth of the Great Pacific Garbage Patch, a useful — yet misleading — container for our collective anxieties about the planet. 

1. Sinclair Broadcasting is poised to expand to more households. Felix Gillette of Bloomberg discusses the company's frugal — and right-wing — approach to local news.

2. Richard Andrews, Professor Emeritus of Environmental Policy at UNC Chapel Hill, and William Ruckelshaus, former EPA administrator, help us understand the history of the EPA and how the environment became a political battleground.

3. Heidi Cullen, chief scientist at Climate Central, explains how climate attribution science can help us better describe global warming’s role in extreme weather events.

4. Slate columnist Dan Engber explores how the idea of a great garbage patch in the Pacific has helped us make sense of a changing climate that can be hard to visualize.

Bob's Docs Episode Three: Prurience

Aug 16, 2017 15:09

Description:

For the month of August we’ll be running a series of interviews Bob has done over the years with documentary filmmakers. In the OTM office, the producers have been referring to the collection as “Bob’s docs.” Over the next few weeks we’ll go through some themes of documentary film-making, from prurience to access to the personal journey. This week's theme is prurience. 

This episode features Bob's interview about the documentary "Weiner", about the disgraced former Congressman Anthony Weiner's attempt at redemption with an attempt at running for mayor of New York City. Weiner had agreed to let a pair of documentary filmmakers record his campaign (and his entire life) in the hopes that they would capture his triumph. Instead, the cameras were rolling as he faced yet another slew of sexting allegations. Elyse Steinberg is a writer and documentary film director. Josh Kriegman is a director and former political political consultant. Together, they produced and directed "Weiner". 

Since this interview, Weiner has pled guilty to a felony obscenity charge for sending pictures and messages to a 15-year-old girl. His sentencing hearing is scheduled for September. 

You've Been Warned

Aug 11, 2017 50:16

Description:

After a week of fury and fire, On the Media takes a chill pill. We look at chilling warnings and opaque impediments, from reporters working with whistleblowers or trying to cover immigration courts, to media organizations reckoning with their future in the post-Gawker era. 

1. Dana Gold of the Government Accountability Project speaks with us about the incomplete patchwork of legal protections for journalists in light of the government’s newfound zeal for cracking down on “leakers.”

2. Immigration reporter Julia Preston of the Marshall Project discusses the challenges journalists face covering immigration courts. Then, Judge Dana Leigh Marks, President of the National Association of Immigration Judges, describes the unique challenges facing judges in the immigration court system. 

3. InSight Crime’s Steven Dudley debunks some of the myths around the notorious MS-13 and explains why it’s not all that the Trump administration describes.

4. Brian Knappenberger, producer and director of Nobody Speak: The Trials of the Free Press, gives us a behind-the-scenes look at his film, and describes the role of big money and morality in commanding the free press.

Bob's Docs Episode Two: Access

Aug 9, 2017 25:03

Description:

For the month of August we’ll be running a series of interviews Bob has done over the years with documentary filmmakers. In the OTM office, the producers have been referring to the collection as “Bob’s docs.” Over the next few weeks we’ll go through some themes of documentary film-making, from prurience to access to the personal journey. This episode is about the gift of access. 

This episode features Bob's interview with the filmmaker Dan Reed about his 2003 documentary "Terror in Moscow", about the 2002 attack by Chechen terrorists on a Moscow Theater. Reed had access to remarkable footage filmed by the terrorists themselves and used it to present an extraordinary view of the crisis. 

Then, Bob revisits his interview with Matthew Heineman about his documentary "Cartel Land" in 2015. Heineman's relationship with his subjects allowed him to capture moments of violence, corruption, and even adultery -- all recorded with the subjects' full participation. 

"Shmashmortion"

Aug 4, 2017 51:22

Description:

The surprising political history of abortion in America; how the language of the abortion debate impacts us all; state lawmakers are tightening the rules around how doctors communicate with their patients about abortion; and more.

Support On the Media by becoming a member today at OntheMedia.org/donate.    

Bob's Docs Episode One: Manipulation

Aug 2, 2017 21:47

Description:

For the month of August we’ll be running a series of interviews Bob has done over the years with documentary filmmakers. In the OTM office, the producers have been referring to the collection as “Bob’s Docs.” Over the next few weeks we’ll go through some tropes of documentary film-making, from prurience to access to the personal journey. Episode one is about the deadly sin of manipulation.

Documentaries are supposed to represent the truth. But who decides what the truth is exactly? Patricia Aufderheide, professor and documentarian, who looked into some suspicious instances of manipulation in wildlife docs, explained her effort to interview documentary film-makers anonymously about their ethical lapses.

This episode also features an interview about the timeline manipulating HBO series, "The Jinx," directed by Andrew Jarecki. Bob spoke with documentary film-maker Joe Berlinger, co-creator of the "Paradise Lost" trilogy, about modern film-making, the responsibility of the artist, and different interpretations of "truth."

Essential Coverage

Jul 28, 2017 50:26

Description:

The battle over Republican Senators' most recent attempt at repealing and replacing the Affordable Care Act dominated the media this week, and seemingly at all hours of the day. We take a look at a few players in the saga, from the putative maverick who brought the process to a halt with a quick thumbs-down, to a reporter trying to follow a process somewhat devoid of transparency, to the war of words that could determine the future of the American health care system. Plus, a retrospective view on the media's role in Charlie Gard's life. 

1. The Atlantic's James Fallows explores Senator John McCain's long history in the media spotlight — a story of dualities, cozy jokes, and the occasional, genuine maverick choice. 

2. Kaiser Health News's Julie Rovner describes the opaque and convoluted experience of covering the GOP process to repeal and replace Obamacare. 

3. The Daily Beast's Sam Stein examines the new anti-Obamacare propaganda coming from within the Trump Administration. 

4. Florida State University's Jill Quadagno leads us through the hundred-year messaging war over universal healthcare in the U.S., including a recent rise in public support for a single-payer system. 

5. The Times of London's Melanie Phillips discusses the role the American right-wing media played in the media storm surrounding Charlie Gard's tragic, short life. 

Support On the Media by becoming a member today at OntheMedia.org/donate.    

Armchair diagnosing do's and don'ts

Jul 27, 2017 22:34

Description:

In March, the American Psychoanalytic Association emailed its 3500 members giving them the go ahead to bring their professional judgement to bear in commenting publicly about the president’s words and deeds.

But Tuesday, the much larger American Psychiatric Association was obliged to reiterate its so-called Goldwater Rule, it’s ethics policy forbidding members to diagnose or speculate on anyone who they haven’t examined. The rule sprang from a Fact Magazine article claiming that 1189 psychiatrists found hawkish 1964 presidential candidate Barry Goldwater psychologically unfit to be president.

Last summer Bob spoke to Paul Appelbaum, a professor of Psychiatry, Medicine and Law at Columbia University, who explained that he is a strong proponent of mental health experts staying out of the pundit business.

And to Bill Doherty, a therapist and Psychology professor at the University of Minnesota, who believes the integrity of the profession depends precisely on speaking out. He’s the creator of the online manifesto, Citizen Therapists Against Trumpism, which garnered thousands of signatures from mental health specialists.

 

Doubt It

Jul 21, 2017 50:24

Description:

There’s new research about how people process information, errors, and corrections. A look at what those findings tell us about the efficacy of journalism. Plus, how unethical research practices and liberal bias have created a cloud of doubt in the world of social science research. And, eight months after the election, Brooke and Bob reflect on OTM’s coverage of the Trump administration.

1. Dartmouth College's Brendan Nyhan on new research that challenges the "backfire effect," the theory that make people double-down on their false ideas.

2. University of Toronto's Uli Schimmack on the replication crisis throughout the field of psychology, and the effort to promote more ethical research practices.

3. New York University's Jay Van Bavel on how social psychology is trying to face the possibility of a liberal slant, both in research subjects and in the system itself.

4. Brooke and Bob revisit their post-Election Day confrontation, and discuss how best to cover Trump going forward.

Support On the Media by becoming a member today at OntheMedia.org/donate.    

Not Repealed, Not Replaced

Jul 20, 2017 13:19

Description:

After the Republican Party’s seven-year attempt to dismantle the Affordable Care Act kicked the bucket this week, Donald Trump declared that he would “let Obamacare fail.” He has plenty of options for moving that failure along and his actions inevitably would hit poor people the hardest, a fact that does not surprise Jack Frech who spent 30 years serving the poor in Appalachian Ohio. Frech was saddened but not surprised by the proposals put forward by house and Senate Republicans. He says such ideas are both perennial and bipartisan. For example the Clinton administration bundled what was once federal welfare assistance into block grants to states where the money often is misdirected or hoarded by the states, even as its shriveled by inflation. For context in the ensuing healthcare battles we are replaying a conversation Brooke had with Jack just after the house bill was passed.

 

Three-Dimensional Chess

Jul 14, 2017 50:24

Description:

The press are calling Don Jr.’s meeting with a Russian lawyer a “smoking gun.” Why Trump supporters see it otherwise. Plus, the White House’s plan to cement the voter fraud narrative in service of future voter suppression. And, an Iraqi radio broadcaster puts his life on the line fighting ISIS propaganda in Mosul and a group of Syrian citizen journalists push back on the narratives about Raqqa.

 

1. Buzzfeed's Charlie Warzel on how the right-wing media is spinning the Don Jr. emails — and how it reveals something deeper about the pro-Trump media ecosystem.

2. Russian journalist Alexey Kovalev on what the American media get wrong in its reporting on Vladimir Putin.

3. ProPublica's Jessica Huseman on the mistaken reporting on the backlash to the "election integrity" commission's attempt to gather data about voters from the states.

4. City of Ghosts director Matthew Heineman describes the efforts of Raqqa is Being Slaughtered Silently, a band of citizen journalists led by Abdel Aziz al-Hamza who risk their lives to report on conditions in Raqqa, Syria.

5. Radio Al-Ghad's Mohammad Al-Musali describes how his pirate radio station defied the media blackout in Mosul under ISIS rule in order to shine a light onto the city.

Support On the Media by becoming a member today at OntheMedia.org/donate.    

In Which Brooke Explains OTM's Secret Sauce To Jesse Thorn

Jul 12, 2017 46:55

Description:

Bullseye host Jesse Thorn has just launched a new podcast called The Turnaround. It’s a series of longform interviews with interviewers about interviewing, with people ranging from Ira Glass to Larry King to Marc Maron and this week, with Brooke. Jesse really wanted to get into how On The Media is made, and why it sounds the way it does.

Apocalypse, Now

Jul 7, 2017 51:12

Description:

Science fiction has always been an outlet for our greatest anxieties. This week, we delve into how the genre is exploring the reality of climate change. Plus: new words to describe the indescribable.

1. Jeff VanderMeer @jeffvandermeer, author of the Southern Reach Trilogy and Borne, on writing about the relationships between people and nature.

2. Claire Vaye Watkins @clairevaye talks about Gold Fame Citrus, her work of speculative fiction in which an enormous sand dune threatens to engulf the southwest. 

3. Kim Stanley Robinson discusses his latest work, New York 2140. The seas have risen 50 feet and lower Manhattan is submerged. And yet, there's hope.

4. British writer Robert Macfarlane @RobGMacfarlane on new language for our changing world. **The recording of huia imitation heard in this segment was performed in 1949 by Henare Hāmana and narrated by Robert A. L. Batley at Radio Station 2YA in Aotearoa New Zealand. Julianne Lutz Warren, a fellow at the Center for Humans and Nature, has written about it in "Hopes Echo" available here. Her work was also described by Macfarlane in his piece "Generation Anthropocene.” 

Throughout the show: listeners offer their own new vocabulary for the Anthropocene era. Many thanks to everyone who left us voice memos!

Support On the Media by becoming a member today at OntheMedia.org/donate.    

 

It's the End of the World and We Know It

Jul 5, 2017 13:43

Description:

In our upcoming episode we’ll examine how science fiction has taken on the challenge of imagining life after global warming. There’s drought, flood, grievous loss and even some optimism. So with that in mind, we thought we’d whet your appetite for annihilation by replaying this interview Brooke did with author Ben Winters a few years back. In his trilogy “The Last Policeman” it isn’t the slow creep of  melting glaciers and devastating drought that heralds the end of the world, it’s an asteroid.

All the action takes place in the 6 final months before the the date of impact which spurs responses ranging from frolicking on beaches to suicide to murder. But the central character in Winter’s trilogy is a policeman who just wants to do his job.

 

What Ails America

Jun 30, 2017 50:07

Description:

Our northern neighbor is celebrating its 150th birthday this weekend, yet many Canadians don’t care. Why Canada’s lack of patriotism might be a good thing. Also, how families of black people killed by police often have to grieve under the media spotlight. And the tale of a composer's search for the sound of America. 

1. Canadian writer Stephen Marche @StephenMarche on the differences between Canadian and American views on diversity and culture.

2. Writer Mychal Denzel Smith @mychalsmith on the "obligation for black families to mourn in public."

3. WNYC's Sara Fishko on composer Aaron Copland's quest to capture American identity in music. 

Support On the Media by becoming a member today at OntheMedia.org/donate.    

"The American people elected a fighter"

Jun 30, 2017 10:27

Description:

Bob's take on this week's back and forth between the President and the press who cover him. 

Newton Minow Still Cares About the Media

Jun 29, 2017 34:25

Description:

This week, at the annual conference of the National Association for Media Literacy Education, Bob sat down with former FCC chairman Newton Minow to survey the "vast wasteland" of television. They discuss the Kennedy administration, the changing landscape of TV, and... Gilligan's Island.

Stand And Be Counted

Jun 23, 2017 50:26

Description:

Following the Republican victory in Georgia this week, a look at how gerrymandering makes some political outcomes inevitable—and why the media aren't talking about it. Also, the US Census is on the rocks, and the repercussions could be severe. Plus, how Mexico's most prominent journalists and activists have been targeted by sophisticated government spyware.

1. FairVote's David Daley (@davedaley3) on the vast influence of gerrymandering on American politics. 

2. Former Census director Kenneth Prewitt on recent shakeups at the Bureau and the implications of a crippled Census.

3. Sociologist Cristina Mora (@GCristinaMora) on how Univision helped create a new Census category for the 1980 survey: "Hispanic."

4. Citizen Lab senior researcher John Scott-Railton (@jsrailton) on the use of spyware against Mexican activists and reporters, and Mexican journalist Salvador Camarena (@SalCamarena) on being targeted firsthand.

Support On the Media by becoming a member today at OntheMedia.org/donate.    

The Slants Win the Day!

Jun 21, 2017 8:19

Description:

On Monday, the Supreme Court ruled that a law denying federal trademark protection to names deemed disparaging is unconstitutional. Justice Samuel Alito wrote in the unanimous decision that “it offends a bedrock First Amendment principle: speech may not be banned on the ground that it expresses ideas that offend.”

The suit was brought by the Portland dance-rock band The Slants, a group of Asian-American musicians who have taken their name from an ethnic slur and worn it with pride. The musicians sued because when they tried to register trademark for their name, the US Patent and Trademark Office said, “The Slants? No no no no no no."

Bob spoke to the founder of The Slants, Simon Tam, exactly 2 years ago, when the band had just lost its appeal at the Federal Circuit Court.

Sterner Stuff

Jun 16, 2017 58:54

Description:

After the politically charged shooting at a Virginia baseball field this week, a look at how politicians and the press blamed everyone from Democrats to William Shakespeare. Plus, trying to get behind the secret deliberation over the Republican healthcare bill with Senator Ron Wyden, and Puerto Rico's search for new words and symbols to define itself.

1. Following the shooting in Virginia, Bob offers a Breaking News Consumer's Handbook: Political Violence Edition.

2. The Guardian's Lois Beckett on what critics of The Public Theater's production of "Julius Caesar" get wrong and why theater is so essential in our current political moment.

3. Senator Ron Wyden on attempts by Republicans to form healthcare policy in secret.

4. Bob on the Trump administration's adherence to talking points regarding ongoing investigations.

5. Slate's Dahlia Lithwick on how the courts are contending with Trump's tweets.

6. On the Media producer Alana Casanova-Burgess on Puerto Rico's attempt to clarify its identity through new words and symbols.

Support On the Media by becoming a member today at OntheMedia.org/donate.    

No One Is Above the Law

Jun 14, 2017 20:32

Description:

This week Attorneys General from DC and Maryland alleged in a lawsuit that payments by foreign governments to President Trump's businesses violate anti-corruption clauses in the Constitution. With a president who is also a real estate tycoon, reality TV star, and personal brand -- and who actively receives revenue via each of these personae -- the possibilities seem endless for political corruption, particularly in light of the Emoluments Clause of the Constitution, which forbids the receiving of gifts, titles, and emoluments from foreign countries without Congress's consent.

The problem, according to law professor Jed Shugerman, is that without access to Donald Trump's tax documents, it's impossible to know the full extent of his financial dealings -- and thus difficult to move forward on any potential corruption charges. Bob talks with Shugerman about a legal strategy that could bring Trump's entanglements into the light.

But Trump's taxes are only necessary if we define "corruption" as the explicit exchange of payments for favor, or "quid pro quo." This definition, which the Supreme Court used in the controversial Citizens United ruling and which countless politicians have leaned on ever since, argues that unless you can demonstrate explicit exchange, you can't prove, or prosecute, corruption.

But according to Zephyr Teachout, author of Corruption in America, this was never what America's founders envisioned when they set out to fight corruption. Brooke talks with Teachout about the overwhelming passion for anti-corruption present at the founding of the nation, the "bright line" rules it inspired, and how we have drifted so far from our original understanding of the concept.

Support On the Media as a Sustaining Member today! Sign up to give just $7 send you Brooke's new book "The Trouble with Reality". Donate now

Enough With Reality

Jun 9, 2017 49:48

Description:

The Trump administration has been threatening to crack down on leakers for months, and this week, it did. We examine how a news outlet inadvertently helped the government arrest a 25-year-old NSA contractor. Also, the story of how the AP made deals with Nazi Germany for journalistic access. And, a deep look at the dystopian potential of augmented reality. 

1. Security expert Barton Gellman on how The Intercept may have led the NSA to its source and what leakers need to do to be as safe as possible.

2. Journalist Matti Friedman on what a recent report detailing the Associated Press's compromises with Nazi Germany can teach us about reporting today; and the Associated Press's John Daniszewski on whether the AP's Nazi cooperation wasn't justified.

3. Janet Murray, Ken Perlin, Ryan Pamplin, Robin Alter, John Werner, Keith Boesky and Bob on the future of augmented reality, for better or worse.

Support On the Media by becoming a member today at OntheMedia.org/donate.    

Doug Stamper Is A Very Bad Man

Jun 7, 2017 33:31

Description:

Help us meet the OTM listener challenge by becoming a member today! Sign up to donate just $7 a month and you'll unlock $25,000 from the Tow Foundation to support On the Media. Donate now

A couple of years back Brooke did On House of Cards, a recap show of season 3 of House of Cards. We invited political scientists, journalists, old white house hands and actors from the show to join her to talk about each episode. If you haven’t listened, it definitely holds up (if we say so ourselves).

On the occasion of the release last week of season five of House of Cards, we thought we’d throwback to the episode where Brooke sat down with Michael Kelly who plays Frank Underwood’s lethally dedicated chief of staff, Doug Stamper.

Mind the Gap

Jun 2, 2017 50:26

Description:

A recent anti-Muslim hate crime in Portland has sparked a debate about free speech. Plus: conspiracy theories that appeal to liberals; the media's obsession with the Trump-Russia story; and what drives hyper-partisan clickbait. 

1. Corey Pein @coreypein, reporter for Willamette Week in Portland, on the recent hate crime in that city and what the national media are missing. 

2. Jonathan Martin @jmartNYT, correspondent for the New York Times, discusses the disconnect between national priorities (the Russia investigation) and local ones (healthcare, environment, etc.)

3. Thomas Patterson @tompharvard of Harvard's Shorenstein Center discusses a recent report dissecting the coverage trends of Trump's first 100 days (it's mostly negative). 

4. Craig Silverman @craigsilverman, media editor for Buzzfeed, digs into the world of hyperpartisan news sites and the outrage that drives them. 

5. Zack Beauchamp @zackbeauchamp of Vox on the left-wing conspiracy sites that peddle misinformation about the Trump-Russia story.

Support On the Media by becoming a member today at OntheMedia.org/donate.    

The United States of Anxiety: America's Allergy to Intellectualism

May 31, 2017 25:45

Description:

Help us meet the OTM listener challenge by becoming a member today! Sign up to donate just $7 a month and you'll unlock $25,000 from the Tow Foundation to support On the Media. Donate now

During the last election, when asked his opinion about experts and intellectuals, Trump supporter Fiore Napolitano voiced a fairly common sentiment from his cohort, "I've got more brains in my little thumb." That led the United States of Anxiety team to wonder whether hostility to intellect is an underestimated feature of American politics.

Where does this wariness spring from, and what role did it play in the rise of Donald Trump — who was opposed by just about every intellectual associated with either party but whose supporters simply did not care about that issue?

Reporter Jim O'Grady talks to the learned and those who loathe them, including writers and commentators, a neuroscientist, and a gun shop owner in a red-voting part of upstate New York. He quotes a fiery pamphlet penned by a yeoman farmer from the Revolutionary Era, and delves into the 1963 book that describes and frames this issue better and more enduringly than any other.

 

Focus

May 26, 2017 50:10

Description:

In the wake of the Manchester attack, tech companies are again under pressure to fight extremism online. A look at whether they’re really doing all that they can. Also, can reporters inform the public about terrorist attacks without supplying the very notoriety the killers crave? Plus: how the South is grappling with taking down monuments to the Confederacy -- and what to put in their place.

Support On the Media by becoming a member today at OntheMedia.org/donate.    

Drawing New Lines

May 24, 2017 8:17

Description:

This week, the Supreme Court struck down two congressional districts in North Carolina, deciding that the majority-black districts were created to diminish the voting strength of African American democrats in the state. It's an opinion that opens the door for more challenges to gerrymandering at a time when civil rights advocates are looking for legal avenues to fight the redistricting system and when Republicans control most state legislatures. 

We're taking the opportunity to revisit a conversation we had in October with David Daley, author of the book, Ratf**ked: The True Story Behind the Secret Plan to Steal America's Democracy. He spoke with Bob about the history of gerrymandering and how Republican strategists have taken the practice to new levels in the last decade.

Curtains!

May 19, 2017 50:18

Description:

The Trump-Comey story is largely missing from the far right-wing media. A look at how pro-Trump outlets choose to cover, or ignore, unfavorable news. Plus: the Montana special election has been described as a "referendum" on Trump... but the truth is actually more interesting. And we hear from a reporter who is training citizen journalists in Syria to cover life, not just war. 

Support On the Media by becoming a member today at OntheMedia.org/donate.    

The Trouble With Reality

May 17, 2017 29:36

Description:

We're living in an era of smoke and mirrors as never before. Do you find yourself wondering how we reached this pass, where basic facts have no impact and fundamental norms are violated at will? Or, at the very least, would you like to follow Brooke down a rabbit hole as she searches for an explanation? Because after the election, in what amounted to a two-week fever dream, she wrote "The Trouble with Reality: A Rumination on Moral Panic in Our Time," and came to a kind of answer. As this week's podcast extra, we have for you a conversation Brooke had about her book with our colleague, WNYC morning show host Brian Lehrer.

Shiny Objects

May 12, 2017 49:57

Description:

With an administration that seems to break new traditions every day, we look at the rapid-fire changes to the White House story about Comey's firing. What they mean for communications between the President and the public. Plus, some worry that the media are too reliant on old tricks to keep up. How is the press adapting? And, why local TV news may soon take on a more conservative agenda.

Support On the Media by becoming a member today at OntheMedia.org/donate.    

The United States of Anxiety is Back!

May 10, 2017 34:23

Description:

Our colleagues in the WNYC news department are back with season 2 of The United States of Anxiety. We liked the first episode so much we're bringing it to you as this week's podcast extra. Here's how they describe the new series:

"If you want to control the debate over how to build say, a health care system, you first have to capture our political culture -- our values, norms, shared assumptions, what we feel and believe about ourselves. 

And the battle to capture America’s political culture has a long history. On race and gender, science and religion, matters of sex and media and war and peace — all of it — there's a backstory, and characters like Donald Trump. Somebody who went all in to change what Americans feel and believe about a given issue. 

The United States of Anxiety: Culture Wars introduces listeners to people who have been battling to shape America’s political culture for decades. We profile culture warriors, past and present, who have shaped debates over race, religion, science, sexuality, gender and more. We connect those debates to real people, with real stakes in the outcome. We’re filling in the blanks--hopefully answering questions you didn’t even know you had--and we’re asking, what are you willing to fight for? Because if you want to control American politics, you’ve first got to capture American culture." 

The United States of Anxiety is hosted by Kai Wright and produced by WNYC Studios

 

Rewriting the Right

May 5, 2017 49:57

Description:

The passage of the Obamacare repeal bill this week—hailed as a triumph of conservative ideology—didn’t come out of nowhere. We examine the decades-long, carefully orchestrated right-wing campaign to influence academia and politics. Plus: what's going on with the Heritage Foundation and other conservative think tanks in the Trump era, how a climate change skeptic became an advocate, and what the media miss about health care. 

Support On the Media by becoming a member today at OntheMedia.org/donate.    

Climate of Poor Rhetoric

May 4, 2017 9:42

Description:

The New York Times' new conservative columnist, Bret Stephens, immediately stirred up controversy when he used his inaugural column to criticize liberals for being too "certain" about climate change. But while many piled on Stephens for seemingly undermining the seriousness of climate change, the New Republic's Brian Beutler wrote that it wasn't Stephens' opinions that we should be worried about. Bob talks to Beutler about the failure of Stephens' rhetoric and why we should ask for more from our columnists and the papers that hire them.

In Other Words

Apr 28, 2017 49:58

Description:

Trump has backed off his signature campaign promise to build a border wall right away. We look at the symbolism of a barrier on the southern border, and how it obscures the truth about immigration. Also, how our president has long managed to succeed without actually succeeding, the challenges of tracking hate crimes without good data, and an attempt to reclaim the word "Jew." 

Support On the Media by becoming a member today at OntheMedia.org/donate.    

The Art of Winning a Pulitzer

Apr 27, 2017 13:51

Description:

Northwestern Iowa’s Storm Lake Times is a twice-weekly county newspaper with a circulation of 3,330. It has a staff of about 10, including the recipes editor. Its top advertiser is "Builders Sharpening and Service." And it just...won the Pulitzer Prize for editorial writing, taking on three sets of county commissioners and Big Agriculture in one fell swoop. Bob speaks with Art Cullen, editor and co-owner of the paper, about the editorials that won him the award -- and what it's like to argue for progressive aims in a bastion of conservatism.

"We'll Do It Live!"

Apr 21, 2017 50:56

Description:

Bill O'Reilly was the bombastic, blustery face of Fox News. Now that he's out, what happens to the identity and future of the channel? Plus, how to read the scary headlines about US-North Korea relations; why erratic foreign policy can be effective foreign policy; how China sees Trump; and what role do referendums really have in shaping our democracy? 

Support On the Media by becoming a member today at OntheMedia.org/donate.    

Closing the Blinds

Apr 21, 2017 15:34

Description:

Breaking from an open government initiative started by President Obama, the White House announced last Friday that visitor logs will no longer be published due to "national security concerns." It's the latest move in a plethora of actions the White House has taken to make historically public data, private.

Bob speaks to Alex Howard, Deputy Director of the Sunlight Foundation, a non-profit advocate of open government, about the newly privatized logs, covert meetings at Mar-a-Lago, and secret ethics waivers that are allowing former lobbyists to shape policy from within the administration.

This American War on Drugs

Apr 14, 2017 49:51

Description:

Attorney General Jeff Sessions has signaled that he'd like to revamp the War on Drugs. We take a look at the history of the battle, and how sensational media depictions of crack, heroin, and meth have helped fuel it. Plus: our Breaking News Consumer’s Handbook: Drugs Edition. Then, a look at how America’s first drug czar used racist propaganda to outlaw marijuana. And why the debate between treatment and law enforcement is blurrier than you might think.

1. Our Breaking News Consumer's Handbook: Drugs Edition: a critical look at what the press gets wrong about drugs and drug addiction, featuring Dr. Debbie Dowell of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Dr. Carl Hart of Columbia University, and author Maia Szalavitz.

2. Historian Alexandra Chasin and author Johann Hari tell the story of Harry Anslinger, the man who set our seeming eternal drug war in motion, and his ruthless pursuit of jazz singer Billie Holiday.

3. University of California Santa Cruz's Dr. Craig Reinarman examines how American presidents encouraged and harnessed hysteria around drugs for political gain.

4. Journalist Sam Quinones argues for the importance of aggressive policing in the effort to end America's opioid crisis.

How the Press Gets Seduced By War

Apr 13, 2017 16:27

Description:

Last week, President Trump ordered the firing of 59 Tomahawk cruise missiles on Syria in retaliation against the chemical attack allegedly committed by Syrian President Bashar al-Assad against his own people. The coverage of the strikes appeared to present a stark choice between good and evil, rather than a Gordian knot of geopolitics, regional politics, domestic politics, and the proliferation of terror. But is it really that easy?

Bob speaks with Stephen Kinzer, Senior Fellow at the Watson Institute for International and Public Affairs at Brown University and a columnist at the Boston Globe, who argues that the public is being presented with a deceptively simple version of reality because the media aren't asking the right questions.

Out With The Old...

Apr 7, 2017 50:18

Description:

Neil Gorsuch is the newest Supreme Court Justice and all it took was the destruction of a Senate tradition. A look at the colorful history of filibustering. Also, how tax season could potentially be more pleasant and why tax companies don't want it to be. And, how human impact on the planet has sparked a debate about what to name our current geological era.

Support On the Media by becoming a member today at OntheMedia.org/donate.    

The (Nonexistent) Good Old Days

Apr 5, 2017 27:28

Description:

In the midst of several days of his Supreme Court confirmation hearings last week, Judge Neil Gorsuch took a moment to wax nostalgic for the days when the process took only 90 minutes and a nominee could relax, even smoke cigarettes, throughout the process. Later, one of Gorsuch's interrogators, Vermont Senator Patrick Leahy, did some reminiscing of his own, pointedly recalling a time when nominees offered up useful answers to questions and engaged in sincere discussion. Ah, the good old days.

But was it ever thus? Slate's Dahlia Lithwick took up the question on the most recent episode of her Amicus podcast, speaking with Supreme Court scholar Lori Ringhand about the actual history of Supreme Court confirmation hearings. We loved it and we think you will too. 

You can find more episodes of Slate's Amicus on iTunes or wherever else you get your podcasts. You can find more of Dahlia's writing here, and follow her on Twitter here

It's Just Business

Mar 31, 2017 50:09

Description:

When President Trump signed an order dismantling environmental protections, the photo-op included coal miners. We consider the symbolism and reality of coal country, and what the stereotypes miss. Plus, Congress revoked a rule banning ISPs from selling your browsing; what's really at stake? And, a look at the shift in the True Crime genre, from proving guilt to proving innocence. 

Support On the Media by becoming a member today at OntheMedia.org/donate.

We'll Always Have Paris

Mar 29, 2017 13:34

Description:

Donald Trump made many, many pronouncements on the campaign trail, one of them was that he would "cancel the Paris climate agreement". 

While he can’t cancel the Paris agreement, he can and has walked away from it with an executive order this week substantially erasing President Obama’s climate legacy and signaling to the world that the US is not going to meet its carbon emission goals set in Paris.

So what exactly was agreed upon in Paris? 

To find clarity among the conflicting commentary Brooke spoke in 2015 with Andrew Revkin who writes the Dot Earth blog for the New York Times, and Jonathan Katz who covered the talks in Paris for the New Republic.

Highly Irregular

Mar 24, 2017 49:30

Description:

An expensive TV ad campaign has been selling Supreme Court nominee Neil Gorsuch to the American people. We speak with the group behind the effort. Plus, Trump's accusations of wiretapping may be false, but they remind us that someone is always listening. And, decoding North Korea panic; and why the diplomatic press corps helps actual diplomacy.

Support On the Media by becoming a member today at OntheMedia.org/donate.    

Better Know a Justice

Mar 23, 2017 23:23

Description:

At his confirmation hearing this week, supreme court nominee Neil Gorsuch - according to the New York Times - cast himself as "a humble Westerner, reared on fly-fishing.”  

And yet, for all the care put into his biography, Judge Gorsuch also seemed to say… nevermind. He rules on the law, not on people.

It’s a needle that’s been tricky for judicial nominees to thread: they want to seem human, but not too human. In this podcast extra, taken from a show we aired last year, Brooke and Thane Rosenbaum, Director of the Forum on Law, Culture and Society at NYU, examine some art and culture about the Supreme Court, and consider just how human we want our justices to be.

Doesn't Add Up

Mar 17, 2017 49:42

Description:

The President’s proposed budget seems to prioritize national security over pretty much everything else. We examine how the lowest-income Americans could be affected, and what's missing from the media debate. Also, how the White House might be manipulating data to forecast unrealistic economic growth, and why the Congressional Budget Office is so central to the American legislative process. Plus, how Wikileaks played the media with the recent CIA data dump. 

Support On the Media by becoming a member today at OntheMedia.org/donate.    

This Is Not a Safe Space

Mar 14, 2017 23:27

Description:

Earlier this month libertarian political scientist Charles Murray and author of the book “the Bell Curve,” derided by many as a racist take on the relationship between genetics and intelligence, was invited to speak at Middlebury College in Vermont. Murray only made it a couple of words into his talk when more than half of those crowding the hall stood up, turned their backs on him and proceeded to read a long prepared remark, en masse. When Murray and the liberal professor who was to interview him after his talk were walking to the car, the crowds jostled him, and injured her. Thus, with violence, liberal students curtailed the free speech rights of a visitor.

We dove into the issue of political correctness on campus last September after noticing a letter sent to incoming freshmen at the University of Chicago that said, quote, “We do not support so-called ‘trigger warnings,’ The university's position, the letter insisted, was based on the administration's "commitment to academic freedom" and their dedication to "fostering the free exchange of ideas" and "diversity of opinion and background." we spoke to former Uchicago student, Cameron Okeke, professor of philosophy at Cornell University Kate Manne, and Geoffrey Stone, professor of Law at the University of Chicago,

Seeing Is Believing

Mar 10, 2017 50:01

Description:

In the 1960s, pollution was a visible, visceral problem, and public pressure led a Republican president to create the Environmental Protection Agency. Now, the GOP wants to slash the agency's budget and roll back "burdensome" environmental regulations. The story of how the environment went from bipartisan issue to political battleground.

Also, journalists and politicians have long avoided drawing a straight line between natural disasters and climate change. How that's changing, thanks to new "extreme weather attribution" science. And, the myth of the Great Pacific Garbage Patch, a useful—yet misleading—container for our collective anxieties about the planet. 

Plus, President Trump’s new ban on travelers from Muslim-majority countries was released with little fanfare—intentionally. What the optics tell us, and what the law tells us. 

Support On the Media by becoming a member today at OntheMedia.org/donate.

When the Press Sues Over "Fake News"

Mar 8, 2017 9:56

Description:

“Fake news.” What began as a description of utterly false articles, fabricated for political advantage or profit, was immediately co-opted by Donald Trump to attack any story or opinion piece in the mainstream media that has the temerity to correct him. Back in November, famed First Amendment attorney Floyd Abrams said that in the age of Trump the press should consider a form of defense it has long avoided: suing its opponents for libel.

The Grand Junction Daily Sentinel, a small paper in Colorado, may act on that advice. Accused by a Colorado state senator of publishing fake news, Jay Seaton, the paper's publisher, has threatened to retaliate with a libel suit, the very legal weapon that news organizations have historically fended off. Bob speaks with Seaton about this new strategy and how it could backfire on the rest of the media.

Follow the Money

Mar 3, 2017 49:40

Description:

As the Trump-Russia saga continues to unfold, how the Obama administration spent its final days scrambling to preserve evidence of Russian interference in the election. Also, the old Soviet-era art of "kremlinology" is back -- but does it really help us understand what Putin is thinking? Plus, a potential key to unveiling Trump’s tax returns, how our understanding of corruption has strayed from the vision of the founders, and more.

Support On the Media by becoming a member today at OntheMedia.org/donate.    

 

 

 

This Gene Was Edited By Brooke

Mar 2, 2017 25:13

Description:

CRISPR is a new technology that enables scientists to quickly alter the genetic makeup of the entire population of a species. It's so powerful that just one genetically-modified mosquito could eradicate malaria. It's so easy to do that a grad student could (accidentally) enact these global ecological changes from their kitchen. It's also under-regulated. Under science's current culture of secrecy, ensuring that scientists are taking necessary precautions with gene-drive research is next to impossible, says CRISPR innovator Kevin Esvelt. Writing in Nature last summer, Esvelt urged the scientific community to open all experiments to public scrutiny, beginning with the revolutionary and potentially world-changing gene-editing research he helped advance.

Also in the podcast, the idea of human cloning captivates and terrifies. Depictions of human clones in science fiction reflect some of our deepest fears about what it means to be human. But not everyone shares those anxieties. For example, the creators of the hit BBC series Orphan Black have developed a show which decidedly diverges from the canon of popular culture clone portrayals. Brooke talks with bioethicist Gregory Pence, author of What We Talk About When We Talk About Clone Club, about how Orphan Black reflects and challenges dominant ideas in the debate on human cloning.

 

Smoke & Handcuffs

Feb 24, 2017 49:40

Description:

With a president who would rather watch TV than receive intelligence briefings, CNN’s Brian Stelter helps unpack the symbiotic relationship between Fox News and the White House. Plus, whether Trump’s new guidelines for mass deportation of undocumented immigrants are more PR than sound policy, how the term “sanctuary cities” may oversell how much safety is actually provided, and the Supreme Court sheds light on violence at the US border. Also, a former FEC Commissioner explains why the Commission has ceased to function as intended.

Support On the Media by becoming a member today at OntheMedia.org/donate.    

Leak State

Feb 17, 2017 49:46

Description:

Republicans decry the leakers; Democrats applaud them...oh, how the tables have turned. How to make sense of the Flynn affair and revelations about the Trump team's communications with Russia. Plus, the steady stream of information from within the government has the media debating the power of the so-called “Deep State” -- invisible officials pulling the strings. Also, deploying the word "treason" with care, what Slobodan Milošević teaches us about Donald Trump, and what Hugo Chávez does not. 

Support On the Media by becoming a member today at OntheMedia.org/donate.    

Out Like Flynn

Feb 15, 2017 8:24

Description:

In response to scandals large and small, first the Trump campaign and now the Trump White House has relied on the fact that each successive lie or outrage will be washed over by the next and the next. And its worked. Until now. Bob ponders whether this week's resignation of General Flynn from his position as National Security Adviser has thrown the White House media machine (momentarily) off its axis. 

See You In Court

Feb 10, 2017 55:54

Description:

With the president and the judiciary at odds over the travel ban, the term "constitutional crisis" is ubiquitous. Why it should be deployed carefully. Plus, protests are sweeping the nation – but so are efforts to crack down on free speech. How lawmakers are trying to curtail the rights of demonstrators, and how cities can push back. Also, the surprising history of the “anti-fascist” movement, a guide for making sense of protest coverage, and more. 

Support On the Media by becoming a member today at OntheMedia.org/donate.    

What We Know About the Border

Feb 9, 2017 48:24

Description:

The Trump administration's so-called "Muslim ban" has created chaos and confusion at airports around the country, but horror stories at the border go back much further than this year. In 2014, we devoted an hour to trying to shred the veil of secrecy obscuring Customs and Border Protection, the huge police force tasked with guarding our borders. We discovered a lack of basic rights and accountability, along with countless stories of dehumanizing detentions and intrusions that thrive within a massive legal grey area.

 

The Ties That Bind

Feb 3, 2017 49:33

Description:

From incendiary phone calls with world leaders to a sloppy military operation in Yemen, a look at what we've learned so far from "the leakiest White House in a very long time." Also, in a week when one journalist was fired for declaring that "objectivity is dead," we examine whether traditional standards of journalistic neutrality need to be re-imagined for a new era. And how the utopian promise of the Internet was overtaken by algorithms and monopolies that threaten to erode our democracy.

Support On the Media by becoming a member today at OntheMedia.org/donate.    

#PresidentBannon

Feb 1, 2017 13:14

Description:

WH chief strategist Steve Bannon is credited with influencing the president's every move, from speeches to executive orders. This week it was announced that he will take the place of the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff on the National Security Council principals committee so we thought it was a good time to revisit an interview Brooke did with Joshua Green who profiled Bannon for Bloomberg News.

New Reality

Jan 27, 2017 49:46

Description:

The first week of the Trump administration was a frenzy of executive actions, falsehoods, and attacks on the media. Bob goes to the White House to talk with the press corps about how they're handling a moving target. Plus, how Trump's first executive action on abortion is a symbolic continuation of the decades-long war over reproductive rights. And, the swift rise and fall of the term "fake news." 

Support On the Media by becoming a member today at OntheMedia.org/donate.

Week One

Jan 25, 2017 16:04

Description:

White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer and his boss have had a rough first few days in their new jobs. Historian Martha Joynt Kumar explains that the relationship between the press secretary and the press has always been a tricky one.

Future Tense

Jan 20, 2017 49:46

Description:

President Trump may be the most vocal with his disdain, but he's hardly the first president to have a rocky relationship with the press. Plus, why the White House press corps is so frustrating for everyone involved, and whether Trump's open animosity could actually be a blessing in disguise for the media. And, how the Obama administration’s last-minute expansion of surveillance powers might function in new hands.

Support On the Media by becoming a member today at OntheMedia.org/donate.

"Busted" #5: Breaking News Consumer's Handbook: Poverty in America Edition

Jan 17, 2017 22:57

Description:

When reporting on poverty, the media fall into familiar traps and pundits make prescriptions that disregard the facts. So, in the fifth and final installment of our series, "Busted: America's Poverty Myths," we present a Breaking News Consumer's Handbook: Poverty in America Edition. It'll equip you with the tools to spot shoddy reporting and the knowledge to identify coverage with insight.

With help from Jack Frech, former Athens County welfare director; Kathryn Edin, co-author of $2.00 A Day: Living on Almost Nothing in AmericaGreg Kaufmann, editor of TalkPoverty.orgMatthew Desmond, author of Evicted: Poverty and Profit in the American City; and Linda Tirado, author of Hand To Mouth: Living in Bootstrap America

"Busted" #4: When the Safety Net Doesn't Catch You

Jan 17, 2017 26:44

Description:

UPDATE: OTM has received numerous inquiries from listeners who want to help Margaret Smith. If you’d like to donate, she has set up a PayPal account here. Please note that neither OTM nor WNYC is affiliated with this account. We do not control the money nor do we monitor how it is spent. Donations are considered a gift to Smith, and are not tax-deductible.

***

In the fourth installment of our series "Busted: America's Poverty Myths," we examine the strengths and shortcomings of our nation's safety net. Government assistance does help lift millions out of poverty each year -- indeed, without it, poverty would be twice as high -- but those in the most dire circumstances often slip through the cracks.

With the help of Linda Tirado, author of Hand to Mouth: Living in Bootstrap America, and Matthew Desmond, author of Evicted: Poverty and Profit in the American City, we consider how anti-poverty programs can actually keep people poor and offer little hope for a way out.

Also, Brooke meets Margaret Smith, a Columbus woman made homeless after a violent crime derailed the life she'd carefully built with her six children. And we visit an Athens County food pantry that provides not just meals to the community, but also school supplies, clothing, furniture, job training, home repairs, disaster relief...even burial plots. 

Songs:

Invitation to a Suicide by John Zorn
Equinox by John Coltrane
Passing Time by John Renbourn
Peace Piece by Kronos Quartet

"Busted" #3: Rags to Riches

Jan 17, 2017 32:26

Description:

In the third installment of our series, "Busted: America's Poverty Myths," we take on one of our country's most fundamental notions: that America is a land of equal opportunity and upward mobility for all. And we ask why, in spite of a wealth of evidence to the contrary, does this idea persist?

With the help of historian Jill Lepore, Brooke traces the history of the "rags to riches" narrative, beginning with Benjamin Franklin, whose 18th century paper manufacturing business literally turned rags into riches. We hear from Natasha Boyer, a young Ohio woman who was saved from eviction by a generous surprise from strangers... only for the miracle to prove fleeting. And we consider the efficacy of "random acts of kindness" and the fateful role of luck -- where you're born, and to whom -- in determining success.

Songs:
"Rags To Riches" by Tony Bennett
"Adagio K. 617a For Glass Armonica" by Christa and Gerald Schönfeldinger
"Shine (Reprise)" by Roger Anderson & Lee Goldsmith
"Rondoletto" by Margaret Lion
"Avocet" by Bert Jansch
"This Old House" by Marcos Ciscar
"Melancolia" by Marcos Ciscar

"Busted" #2: Who Deserves To Be Poor?

Jan 17, 2017 40:43

Description:

UPDATE: Since this series began, OTM has received numerous inquiries from listeners who want to help Carla Scott. If you’d like to donate, she has set up a PayPal account here. Please note that neither OTM nor WNYC is affiliated with this account. We do not control the money nor do we monitor how it is spent. Donations are considered a gift to Scott, and are not tax-deductible.

***

In the second installment of our series on poverty myths, we trace the history of welfare in America, from aid to widows after the Civil War to Lyndon Johnson's War on Poverty to Bill Clinton's pledge to "end welfare as we know it." With the help of Kathy Edin, co-author of $2.00 a Day: Living on Almost Nothing in America, we consider how the notion of government assistance sapping people of initiative has long shaped policy...and permitted many in poverty to fall through the cracks.

And Brooke meets Carla Scott, a young woman in Cleveland forced to sell her plasma for bus fare after a series of events derailed her life, as well as Carla's nonagenarian grandmother, Grace, a hard-line believer in "personal responsibility." 

Carla and her grandmother Grace on Grace's porch in Cleveland. (Brooke Gladstone/WNYC) Grandmother Grace with a photo of herself from earlier days. (Brooke Gladstone/WNYC)

 Songs:

Marjane's Inspiration by David Bergeaud
Slow Pulse Conga by William Pasley
Chicago Sunset by Charlie Musselwhite
Carmen Fantasy by Anderson & Roe
Fondu 5 by Ballet Dance Jazz J. Company
John's Book of Alleged Dances by Kronos Quartet
The Thompson Fields by Maria Schneider Orchestra
Stolen Moments by Ahmad Jamal

“Busted: America’s Poverty Myths” is produced by Meara Sharma and Eve Claxton, with special thanks to Nina Chaudry. This series is produced in collaboration with WNET in New York as part of “Chasing the Dream: Poverty and Opportunity in America.” Major funding for “Chasing the Dream” is provided by the JPB Foundation, with additional funding from the Ford Foundation.  

"Busted" #1: The Poverty Tour

Jan 17, 2017 23:58

Description:

Today, more than 45 million Americans live in poverty. The problem has been addressed countless times since the nation’s founding, but it persists, and for the poorest among us, it gets worse. America has not been able to find its way to a sustainable solution, because most of its citizens see the problem of poverty from a distance, through a distorted lens. So we present "Busted: America's Poverty Myths," a series exploring how our understanding of poverty is shaped not by facts, but by private presumptions, media narratives, and the tales of the American Dream. 

Brooke traveled to Ohio, a state that reflects the varied nature of poverty, to talk directly with people who are poor and understand how they got that way, and why, under current policies, they are likely to stay that way. You'll hear from them over the next several weeks. But first, we examine how the story of poverty gets told -- and whether media attention makes any difference -- with the help of Jack Frech, a longtime Athens County welfare director who has been leading reporters on "poverty tours" of Appalachia for decades. 

“Busted: America’s Poverty Myths” is produced by Meara Sharma and Eve Claxton, with special thanks to Nina Chaudry. This series is produced in collaboration with WNET in New York as part of “Chasing the Dream: Poverty and Opportunity in America.” Major funding for “Chasing the Dream” is provided by the JPB Foundation, with additional funding from the Ford Foundation.

Songs:

 "Ec-Stacy" by Jess Stacy

"Gavotte in A Minor" by Matthew Camidge, arr. by Andy Boden

"Youkali Tango-Habanera" by Kurt Weill; performed by the Armadillo String Quartet