On the Media

The Peabody Award-winning On the Media podcast is your guide to examining how the media sausage is made. Host Brooke Gladstone examines threats to free speech and government transparency, cast a skeptical eye on media coverage of the week’s big stories an

WNYC Studios

Pigeon with A Mustache

By now, the new coronavirus variant has been detected in dozens of countries – including the U.S. On this week’s On the Media, hear what pigeons can tell us about how to react to the omicron variant. Plus, why we should know the names of the scientists in Botswana, South Africa, and Hong Kong who found the new strain. And what rights we do, and don't, have when it comes to when we die. 

1. Katherine J. Wu [@KatherineJWu], staff writer at The Atlantic covering science, on what we do (and mostly don't) know about the new omicron variant. Listen.

2. Jeremy Kamil [@macroliter], associate professor of microbiology and immunology at Louisiana State University Health Shreveport, on the scientists who found omicron, and why we should know their names. Listen.

3. Katie Engelhart [@katieengelhart], journalist and New America fellow, on the complicated right to die. Listen.

Music from this week's show:

Horizon 12.2 - Thomas Newman
Eye Surgery - Thomas Newman
Slow Pulse Conga  - William Pasley
Cello Song - Nick Drake
Berceuse in D Flat Major, Op. 57 (Chopin) - Ivan Moravec
Time After Time (Cyndi Lauper) - Miles Davis

By now, the new coronavirus variant has been detected in dozens of countries – including the U.S. On this week’s On the Media, hear what pigeons can tell us about how to react to the omicron variant. Plus, why we should know the names of the scientists in Botswana, South Africa, and Hong Kong who found the new strain. And what rights we do, and don't, have when it comes to when we die. 

1. Katherine J. Wu [@KatherineJWu], staff writer at The Atlantic covering science, on what we do (and mostly don't) know about the new omicron variant. Listen.

2. Jeremy Kamil [@macroliter], associate professor of microbiology and immunology at Louisiana State University Health Shreveport, on the scientists who found omicron, and why we should know their names. Listen.

3. Katie Engelhart [@katieengelhart], journalist and New America fellow, on the complicated right to die. Listen.

Music from this week's show:

Horizon 12.2 - Thomas NewmanEye Surgery - Thomas NewmanSlow Pulse Conga  - William PasleyCello Song - Nick DrakeBerceuse in D Flat Major, Op. 57 (Chopin) - Ivan MoravecTime After Time (Cyndi Lauper) - Miles Davis


A Different Hanukkah Story

This week is Hanukkah, Judaism’s eight-day festival of lights. With its emphasis on present-giving, dreidel games and sweet treats, the holiday seems to be oriented towards kids. Even the story of Hanukkah has had its edges shaved down over time. Ostensibly, the holiday is a celebration of a victory against an oppressive Greek regime in Palestine over two thousand years ago, the miracle of oil that lit Jerusalem's holy temple for 8 days and nights, and the perseverance of the Jewish faith against all odds.

According to Rabbi James Ponet, Emeritus Howard M. Holtzmann Jewish Chaplain at Yale University, the kid-friendly Hanukkah mythology has obscured the thorny historical details that offer deeper truths about what it means to be a Jew. In his 2005 Slate piece, "Hanukkah as Jewish Civil War," Ponet looked at the often-overlooked Jew-on-Jew violence that under-girds the Hanukkah story. He and Brooke discuss how this civil war lives on in Jewish views on Israel, and how the tension between assimilation and tradition came to define the Jewish people.

 

(this is a rebroadcast of a story we first ran in 2018)

This week is Hanukkah, Judaism’s eight-day festival of lights. With its emphasis on present-giving, dreidel games and sweet treats, the holiday seems to be oriented towards kids. Even the story of Hanukkah has had its edges shaved down over time. Ostensibly, the holiday is a celebration of a victory against an oppressive Greek regime in Palestine over two thousand years ago, the miracle of oil that lit Jerusalem's holy temple for 8 days and nights, and the perseverance of the Jewish faith against all odds.

According to Rabbi James Ponet, Emeritus Howard M. Holtzmann Jewish Chaplain at Yale University, the kid-friendly Hanukkah mythology has obscured the thorny historical details that offer deeper truths about what it means to be a Jew. In his 2005 Slate piece, "Hanukkah as Jewish Civil War," Ponet looked at the often-overlooked Jew-on-Jew violence that under-girds the Hanukkah story. He and Brooke discuss how this civil war lives on in Jewish views on Israel, and how the tension between assimilation and tradition came to define the Jewish people.

 

(this is a rebroadcast of a story we first ran in 2018)


How Cassette Tapes Changed the World

Cassette tapes mostly gather dust these days. But back in their heyday, they fundamentally changed how we communicate, in ways we’re still making sense of today. On this week’s On the Media, hear how the cassette tape fueled the Iranian revolution, helped pierce the Iron Curtain, and put human connection in the palm of our hands.

1. Simon Goodwin on his innovation to broadcast computer software over the radio back in 1983. Listen.

2. Computer programmer Fuxoft explains his role in 'Sneakernet,' which saw pirated material of all types smuggled into 1980s Czechoslovakia via cassette tape. Listen.

3. The role of cassette tapes in the Iranian Revolution. Listen.

This episode was reported, produced, scored and sound designed for Radiolab by Simon Adler with original music throughout by Simon. Top tier reporting and production assistance was provided by Eli Cohen.

Cassette tapes mostly gather dust these days. But back in their heyday, they fundamentally changed how we communicate, in ways we’re still making sense of today. On this week’s On the Media, hear how the cassette tape fueled the Iranian revolution, helped pierce the Iron Curtain, and put human connection in the palm of our hands.

1. Simon Goodwin on his innovation to broadcast computer software over the radio back in 1983. Listen.

2. Computer programmer Fuxoft explains his role in 'Sneakernet,' which saw pirated material of all types smuggled into 1980s Czechoslovakia via cassette tape. Listen.

3. The role of cassette tapes in the Iranian Revolution. Listen.

This episode was reported, produced, scored and sound designed for Radiolab by Simon Adler with original music throughout by Simon. Top tier reporting and production assistance was provided by Eli Cohen.


Chasing Dash

Last year at this time, 9 months into the pandemic, so many of us stayed separated from one another, missing out on all the gathering, yam-eating, relative-screaming, football-watching, insert-holiday-themed-cliche-here, of Thanksgiving. Not so this year. This year, vaxxed and tested and maybe even boosted, we gather once more. Like a bunch of gosh-darn superheroes. 

And so, for this very special Thanksgiving-edition podcast extra, we’re re-airing the story of another lovable, dysfunctional family full of superheroes: The Incredibles

Back in 2005, the Academy Award-winning animated Pixar film took the world by storm, with its campy 60s noir aesthetic, its nuanced portrayal of family gender roles, and its memorable cast of superheroes. And one of those superheroes, the gifted son named Dash, was played by a real-life kid, the former child actor Spencer Fox. The film would radically change Fox's life, for better and worse. Some 17 years later, Spencer speaks with OTM reporter Micah Loewinger about his complex relationship to the role and why he spent years refusing to watch its sequel.

This is segment originally aired as part of the April 23, 2021 program, Not Ready For That Conversation.

Last year at this time, 9 months into the pandemic, so many of us stayed separated from one another, missing out on all the gathering, yam-eating, relative-screaming, football-watching, insert-holiday-themed-cliche-here, of Thanksgiving. Not so this year. This year, vaxxed and tested and maybe even boosted, we gather once more. Like a bunch of gosh-darn superheroes. 

And so, for this very special Thanksgiving-edition podcast extra, we’re re-airing the story of another lovable, dysfunctional family full of superheroes: The Incredibles

Back in 2005, the Academy Award-winning animated Pixar film took the world by storm, with its campy 60s noir aesthetic, its nuanced portrayal of family gender roles, and its memorable cast of superheroes. And one of those superheroes, the gifted son named Dash, was played by a real-life kid, the former child actor Spencer Fox. The film would radically change Fox's life, for better and worse. Some 17 years later, Spencer speaks with OTM reporter Micah Loewinger about his complex relationship to the role and why he spent years refusing to watch its sequel.

This is segment originally aired as part of the April 23, 2021 program, Not Ready For That Conversation.


Bait the Nation

Politicians and pundits on the right are eager to pin rising rates of inflation on President Biden — but that misses the bigger picture. Plus, how scaremongering over 'critical race theory' is impacting elections, school boards and classrooms. And, how the stories we tell about our present shape what's possible for the future, from paid parental leave to immigration policy and beyond. 

1. John Cassidy [@JohnCassidy], staff writer at The New Yorker, on the real story behind the inflation numbers. Listen.

2. Adam Harris [@AdamHSays], staff writer at The Atlantic, on what the elections can and can't tell us about the impact of  'critical race theory' scaremongering, and why the debate over race has landed in schools. Listen.

3. Alan Jenkins [@Opportunity1], professor at Harvard Law School and co-founder of the Opportunity Agenda, on how powerful stories, effectively communicated, have shaped what's possible for the future. Listen.

Politicians and pundits on the right are eager to pin rising rates of inflation on President Biden — but that misses the bigger picture. Plus, how scaremongering over 'critical race theory' is impacting elections, school boards and classrooms. And, how the stories we tell about our present shape what's possible for the future, from paid parental leave to immigration policy and beyond. 

1. John Cassidy [@JohnCassidy], staff writer at The New Yorker, on the real story behind the inflation numbers. Listen.

2. Adam Harris [@AdamHSays], staff writer at The Atlantic, on what the elections can and can't tell us about the impact of  'critical race theory' scaremongering, and why the debate over race has landed in schools. Listen.

3. Alan Jenkins [@Opportunity1], professor at Harvard Law School and co-founder of the Opportunity Agenda, on how powerful stories, effectively communicated, have shaped what's possible for the future. Listen.


The Climate Summit Blues

The U.N. climate summit in Glasgow, Scotland concluded last weekend—the 26th “Conference of Parties.” After more than two decades of these promises, it’s worth wondering how much of this is all just hot air. According to the non-profit Climate Action Tracker, not a single country is on target to meet the COP21 pledge, also known as the Paris Climate Accords, and many aren’t even on target for their COP3 pledge, the Kyoto Protocol.

 

And yet, these summits are often still covered with breathless play-by-play analysis: all the juicy details about diplomatic attaches, late-night negotiation, and backroom deals. Which is not without value, but it’s worth asking: what are the stories being missed when all eyes are on the summit? To answer that, we called Nathaniel Rich, writer-at-large for the New York Times Magazine, who takes a markedly different approach.

The U.N. climate summit in Glasgow, Scotland concluded last weekend—the 26th “Conference of Parties.” After more than two decades of these promises, it’s worth wondering how much of this is all just hot air. According to the non-profit Climate Action Tracker, not a single country is on target to meet the COP21 pledge, also known as the Paris Climate Accords, and many aren’t even on target for their COP3 pledge, the Kyoto Protocol.

 

And yet, these summits are often still covered with breathless play-by-play analysis: all the juicy details about diplomatic attaches, late-night negotiation, and backroom deals. Which is not without value, but it’s worth asking: what are the stories being missed when all eyes are on the summit? To answer that, we called Nathaniel Rich, writer-at-large for the New York Times Magazine, who takes a markedly different approach.


Cha-ching!

Twenty months since the start of the pandemic, economic recovery has been uneven at best. This week, On the Media takes a look at one sector that’s been booming: cryptocurrency and, in particular, NFTs. Hear how a technology invented to give artists more control over their work has become a tool for speculators hoping to win big.

1. Anil Dash [@anildash], CEO of Glitch, helps explain the origin of NFTs. Listen.

2. OTM Correspondent Micah Loewinger [@MicahLoewinger] attends an NFT auction featuring Carlos Matos, one of crypto's most unlikely proponents. Listen.

3. Anil Dash [@anildash] on his ambivalence of what has come from his creation. Listen.

Music:

72 Degrees and Sunny by Thomas Newman
Eye Surgery by Thomas Newman
Horizon 12.2 by Thomas Newman
Okami by Nicola Cruz
Bitconnect Carlos Matos (What Is Love) by Psychol
Penguins by Michael Hurley
Solice by Scott Joplin
Carlos Matos (Take On Me) by Memeski
Bubblewrap by Thomas Newman
Vie En Rose by Toots Thielemans

Twenty months since the start of the pandemic, economic recovery has been uneven at best. This week, On the Media takes a look at one sector that’s been booming: cryptocurrency and, in particular, NFTs. Hear how a technology invented to give artists more control over their work has become a tool for speculators hoping to win big.

1. Anil Dash [@anildash], CEO of Glitch, helps explain the origin of NFTs. Listen.

2. OTM Correspondent Micah Loewinger [@MicahLoewinger] attends an NFT auction featuring Carlos Matos, one of crypto's most unlikely proponents. Listen.

3. Anil Dash [@anildash] on his ambivalence of what has come from his creation. Listen.

Music:72 Degrees and Sunny by Thomas NewmanEye Surgery by Thomas NewmanHorizon 12.2 by Thomas NewmanOkami by Nicola CruzBitconnect Carlos Matos (What Is Love) by PsycholPenguins by Michael HurleySolice by Scott JoplinCarlos Matos (Take On Me) by MemeskiBubblewrap by Thomas NewmanVie En Rose by Toots Thielemans


OTM presents The Experiment: Who Would Jesus Mock?

The satire site The Babylon Bee, a conservative Christian answer to The Onion, stirred controversy when some readers mistook its headlines for misinformation. In this episode of WNYC/The Atlantic's The Experiment, religion reporter Emma Green sits down with the editor-in-chief, Kyle Mann, to talk about where he draws the line between making a joke and doing harm, and to understand what humor can reveal about American politics.

Further reading: Who Would Jesus Mock?

 

The satire site The Babylon Bee, a conservative Christian answer to The Onion, stirred controversy when some readers mistook its headlines for misinformation. In this episode of WNYC/The Atlantic's The Experiment, religion reporter Emma Green sits down with the editor-in-chief, Kyle Mann, to talk about where he draws the line between making a joke and doing harm, and to understand what humor can reveal about American politics.

Further reading: “Who Would Jesus Mock?

 


The History of Tomorrow

For decades, Silicon Valley leaders have been borrowing ideas from science fiction — from the metaverse to the latest tech gadgets. On this week’s show, hear why they might need to start reading their source material more closely. Also, why the midterm election results tell us so little about what’s coming next in American politics. And a forgotten behemoth of American literature gets a closer look. 

1. Paul Waldman [@paulwaldman1], opinion columnist at the Washington Post and senior writer for  The American Prospect, on why off-year elections need historical context. Listen.

2. Jill Lepore, Harvard historian and New Yorker staff writer; Gene Seymour [@GeneSeymour], culture critic with work in Newsday, the Nation, the Baffler, and more; and Annalee Newitz [@Annaleen], science fiction author and science journalist, on the makings (and potential mishaps) of the metaverse. Listen.

3. Paul Auster, acclaimed novelist and author of Burning Boy: The Life and Work of Stephen Crane, on the 19th century writer's forgotten legacyListen.

Music in this week's show:

Whistle While You Work - Artie Shaw and his New Music
You’re Getting to be a Habit with Me - Guy Lombardo
Do Nothin’ Till You Hear from Me - Ben Webster
Boy Moves the Sun - Michael Andrews
A Ride with Polly Jean - Jenny Scheinman
Gerry O'Beirne’s album “The Bog Bodies and other Stories: Music for Guitar"

For decades, Silicon Valley leaders have been borrowing ideas from science fiction — from the metaverse to the latest tech gadgets. On this week’s show, hear why they might need to start reading their source material more closely. Also, why the midterm election results tell us so little about what’s coming next in American politics. And a forgotten behemoth of American literature gets a closer look. 

1. Paul Waldman [@paulwaldman1], opinion columnist at the Washington Post and senior writer for  The American Prospect, on why off-year elections need historical context. Listen.

2. Jill Lepore, Harvard historian and New Yorker staff writer; Gene Seymour [@GeneSeymour], culture critic with work in Newsday, the Nation, the Baffler, and more; and Annalee Newitz [@Annaleen], science fiction author and science journalist, on the makings (and potential mishaps) of the metaverse. Listen.

3. Paul Auster, acclaimed novelist and author of Burning Boy: The Life and Work of Stephen Crane, on the 19th century writer's forgotten legacy. Listen.

Music in this week's show:Whistle While You Work - Artie Shaw and his New MusicYou’re Getting to be a Habit with Me - Guy LombardoDo Nothin’ Till You Hear from Me - Ben WebsterBoy Moves the Sun - Michael AndrewsA Ride with Polly Jean - Jenny ScheinmanGerry O'Beirne’s album “The Bog Bodies and other Stories: Music for Guitar"


The Only Inevitability

700,000. That’s the latest COVID death count to dominate a headline in the United States. Over the last 19 months, we’ve seen a steady trickle of these morbid milestones in the news. They are one way to measure, and try to understand, the COVID-19 pandemic. In the world of journalism, death is a metric that’s important. It indicates significance, newsworthiness, and tragedy. But death is also an inevitable part of the human experience. This is a fact that journalist Katie Engelhart highlights in the title of her new book The Inevitable: Dispatches on the Right to Die. Brooke Gladstone spoke to Engelhart about the complicated ethics of physician-assisted deaths and the surprising parameters within which people can end their lives.

700,000. That’s the latest COVID death count to dominate a headline in the United States. Over the last 19 months, we’ve seen a steady trickle of these morbid milestones in the news. They are one way to measure, and try to understand, the COVID-19 pandemic. In the world of journalism, death is a metric that’s important. It indicates significance, newsworthiness, and tragedy. But death is also an inevitable part of the human experience. This is a fact that journalist Katie Engelhart highlights in the title of her new book The Inevitable: Dispatches on the Right to Die. Brooke Gladstone spoke to Engelhart about the complicated ethics of physician-assisted deaths and the surprising parameters within which people can end their lives.


A Rift In the Gun World

This week, On the Media takes a deep dive into the "No Compromise" gun rights movement. Its members see the NRA as too amenable to gun control measures. Follow reporters Lisa Hagen and Chris Haxel on their journey to understand how 3 brothers used a network of Facebook pages to grow their following with some startling results. 

Part 1: A World Where The NRA Is Soft On Guns. Listen.

Part 2: The Facebook Flock. Listen.

Part 3: A One-Man Propaganda Band. Listen.

No Compromise is hosted by Chris Haxel and Lisa Hagen, produced by Graham Smith and edited by Robert Little and is a production of NPR, KCUR, WABE, and WAMU. To listen to all 6 episodes (and you should!) go to NPR.org or wherever you get your podcasts. 

Music from this week's show:

Stormy Weather - Franck Pourcel

Washington’s March - Liberty Tree Wind Players

Country outro 

All other music written and performed by Humpmuscle

 

 

This week, On the Media takes a deep dive into the "No Compromise" gun rights movement. Its members see the NRA as too amenable to gun control measures. Follow reporters Lisa Hagen and Chris Haxel on their journey to understand how 3 brothers used a network of Facebook pages to grow their following with some startling results. 

Part 1: A World Where The NRA Is Soft On Guns. Listen.

Part 2: The Facebook Flock. Listen.

Part 3: A One-Man Propaganda Band. Listen.

No Compromise is hosted by Chris Haxel and Lisa Hagen, produced by Graham Smith and edited by Robert Little and is a production of NPR, KCUR, WABE, and WAMU. To listen to all 6 episodes (and you should!) go to NPR.org or wherever you get your podcasts. 

Music from this week's show:

Stormy Weather - Franck Pourcel

Washington’s March - Liberty Tree Wind Players

Country outro 

All other music written and performed by Humpmuscle

 

 


When The Mob Gets a Podcast

True crime is incredibly popular. Whether it's books, movies, television shows, or podcasts, stories that play to our deepest fears and most sensational imaginations command large audiences. The genre, when done poorly, can also aggravate our misconceptions and biases about crime. But true crime, at its best, offers something most of us can’t turn down, despite our better instinctsthe chance to understand a master criminal mind. 

That’s what writer Rachel Corbett stumbled upon while working on an upcoming book about criminal profiling. The former FBI agents she called up kept talking about a new kind of podcast that they were listening towhere the mobsters of a bygone era were speaking for themselves. This week Corbett, author of a recent article in The New Yorker called “Why the FBI Loves Mob Podcasts,” sits down with Brooke to talk about these new shows and who's listening.

 

True crime is incredibly popular. Whether it's books, movies, television shows, or podcasts, stories that play to our deepest fears and most sensational imaginations command large audiences. The genre, when done poorly, can also aggravate our misconceptions and biases about crime. But true crime, at its best, offers something most of us can’t turn down, despite our better instincts—the chance to understand a master criminal mind. 

That’s what writer Rachel Corbett stumbled upon while working on an upcoming book about criminal profiling. The former FBI agents she called up kept talking about a new kind of podcast that they were listening to—where the mobsters of a bygone era were speaking for themselves. This week Corbett, author of a recent article in The New Yorker called “Why the FBI Loves Mob Podcasts,” sits down with Brooke to talk about these new shows and who's listening.

 


Plot Twist

From boosters to breakthrough infections, pandemic vocabulary is still all over the news. On this week’s On the Media, why the terms we use to talk about the virus obscure as much as they reveal. And, why the history of medical progress is filled with so many twists and turns. Plus, why a preference for simple stories has made it so hard to keep track of the pandemic. 

1. Katherine J. Wu [@KatherineJWu], staff writer at The Atlantic, on the slippery definitions of our pandemic vocabulary. Listen.

2. Dr. Paul Offit [@DrPaulOffit], professor of pediatrics at the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania, on why medical progress always carries risk. Listen.

3. OTM correspondent Micah Loewinger [@MicahLoewinger] speaks with Soren Wheeler [@SorenWheeler] and Rachael Piltch-Loeb [@Rpiltchloeb] about why the narrative arc of the COVID-19 pandemic has been deeply unsatisfying. With some help from Kurt Vonnegut. Listen.

Music:

In the Bath - Randy Newman

Milestones - Bill Evans Trio

Paperback Writer - Quartetto d'Archi Dell'orchestra Sinfonica di Giuseppe Verdi

Quizas Quizas Quizas - Ramon Sole 

Misterioso - Kronos Quartet

Bewitched, Bothered and Bewildered - Brad Mehldau Trio

 

From boosters to breakthrough infections, pandemic vocabulary is still all over the news. On this week’s On the Media, why the terms we use to talk about the virus obscure as much as they reveal. And, why the history of medical progress is filled with so many twists and turns. Plus, why a preference for simple stories has made it so hard to keep track of the pandemic. 

1. Katherine J. Wu [@KatherineJWu], staff writer at The Atlantic, on the slippery definitions of our pandemic vocabulary. Listen.

2. Dr. Paul Offit [@DrPaulOffit], professor of pediatrics at the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania, on why medical progress always carries risk. Listen.

3. OTM correspondent Micah Loewinger [@MicahLoewinger] speaks with Soren Wheeler [@SorenWheeler] and Rachael Piltch-Loeb [@Rpiltchloeb] about why the narrative arc of the COVID-19 pandemic has been deeply unsatisfying. With some help from Kurt Vonnegut. Listen.

Music:

In the Bath - Randy Newman

Milestones - Bill Evans Trio

Paperback Writer - Quartetto d'Archi Dell'orchestra Sinfonica di Giuseppe Verdi

Quizas Quizas Quizas - Ramon Sole 

Misterioso - Kronos Quartet

Bewitched, Bothered and Bewildered - Brad Mehldau Trio

 


Colin Powell's Pivotal Moment That Wasn't

Colin Powell, former Secretary of State, Joint Chiefs chairman, and omnipresence in American foreign policy for the past 20 years, died on Monday from complications from COVID-19. He was 84-years-old and been sick for years with multiple myeloma, a rare blood cancer. 

Colin Powell was many things to many people. A symbol of the American dream. The public voice — for a time — of the Iraq War. A so-called “RINO,” or Republican-in-name-only. A good soldier. Though widely remembered as a barrier-breaking hero by folks across the aisle, in his death, as in life, there are those who are using Colin Powell as an opportunity for scoring political points. 

Looking back at the life of Colin Powell, it is worth recalling that he was once one of America's most popular public officials, polling favorably among 85 percent of Americans in a 2002 Gallup poll. But what Colin Powell is perhaps most remembered for is his 2003 presentation to the UN Security Council explaining the existence of weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. A little over a year later, Powell went on NBC's Meet the Press and essentially retracted his assertion, saying it "turned out that the sourcing was inaccurate and wrong and in some cases deliberately misleading." Brooke speaks with Fred Kaplan, a veteran reporter on foreign policy and national security, long-time writer of Slate’s "War Stories" column, and even longer-time husband of Brooke, about the life and legacy of Colin Powell.

Colin Powell, former Secretary of State, Joint Chiefs chairman, and omnipresence in American foreign policy for the past 20 years, died on Monday from complications from COVID-19. He was 84-years-old and been sick for years with multiple myeloma, a rare blood cancer. 

Colin Powell was many things to many people. A symbol of the American dream. The public voice — for a time — of the Iraq War. A so-called “RINO,” or Republican-in-name-only. A good soldier. Though widely remembered as a barrier-breaking hero by folks across the aisle, in his death, as in life, there are those who are using Colin Powell as an opportunity for scoring political points

Looking back at the life of Colin Powell, it is worth recalling that he was once one of America's most popular public officials, polling favorably among 85 percent of Americans in a 2002 Gallup poll. But what Colin Powell is perhaps most remembered for is his 2003 presentation to the UN Security Council explaining the existence of weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. A little over a year later, Powell went on NBC's Meet the Press and essentially retracted his assertion, saying it "turned out that the sourcing was inaccurate and wrong and in some cases deliberately misleading." Brooke speaks with Fred Kaplan, a veteran reporter on foreign policy and national security, long-time writer of Slate’s "War Stories" column, and even longer-time husband of Brooke, about the life and legacy of Colin Powell.


Against the Machine

Have you been wondering exactly what it means to Build Back Better? On this week’s On the Media, hear why political coverage seems to address everything about Joe Biden’s bill--except what’s in it. Plus, find out if social media really does turn nice people into trolls.

1. Andrew Prokop [@awprokop], Senior Politics Correspondent at Vox, on the gap between political coverage of the Build Back Better Act, and what the bill actually says. Listen.

2. Michael Bang Petersen [@M_B_Petersen], political science professor at Aarhus University, on the difference (or lack thereof) between on and offline behaviors, and how Facebook might not be affecting us in the ways we think. Listen.

3. Meghan O’Gieblyn, writer and author of God, Human, Animal, Machine, on the ever-deeper entwining of humanity and technology, and what it might mean for our future. Listen.  

Music from this week's show:

Passing Time - John Renbourn
Clap Hands - Tom Waits
Okami - Nicola Cruz
Carmen Fantasy - Anderson and Roe
Young at Heart - Brad Mehldau
For the Creator - Richard Souther

Have you been wondering exactly what it means to Build Back Better? On this week’s On the Media, hear why political coverage seems to address everything about Joe Biden’s bill--except what’s in it. Plus, find out if social media really does turn nice people into trolls.

1. Andrew Prokop [@awprokop], Senior Politics Correspondent at Vox, on the gap between political coverage of the Build Back Better Act, and what the bill actually says. Listen.

2. Michael Bang Petersen [@M_B_Petersen], political science professor at Aarhus University, on the difference (or lack thereof) between on and offline behaviors, and how Facebook might not be affecting us in the ways we think. Listen.

3. Meghan O’Gieblyn, writer and author of God, Human, Animal, Machine, on the ever-deeper entwining of humanity and technology, and what it might mean for our future. Listen.  

Music from this week's show:

Passing Time - John RenbournClap Hands - Tom WaitsOkami - Nicola CruzCarmen Fantasy - Anderson and RoeYoung at Heart - Brad MehldauFor the Creator - Richard Souther


Who Is The Bad Art Friend? Why Not Both?

To watch the rise of viral content is always an interesting exercise. From "Charlie bit my finger" to the "Lulz That Broke Wall Street," the internet is capable of elevating any story, meme, joke, or idea through the ranks of digital fame. This week, we unpack one story, and one question, that took twitter by storm: "Who is the Bad Art Friend?". 

The Robert Kolker piece from The New York Times Magazine proved digital catnip, but why? Brooke sits down with Michael Hobbes, journalist and host of the podcast Maintenance Phase, to discuss his review of the story, the Twitter storm, and why we're even talking about all this in the first place. 


The Big Reveal

From a six hour service outage to a senate whistleblower hearing, the PR disasters keep mounting for Facebook. On this week’s show, hear how the tech giant might be following a well-worn pattern of decline. And, the so-called "Pandora Papers" reveal dirty financial secrets, dwarfing the Panama Papers in the size, scope, and reach. Plus, how a new data leak shows links between law enforcement and far-right militia groups.

1. Makena Kelly [@kellymakena], policy reporter for The Verge, on the perils of focusing on politicians' flubs during tech regulation hearings. Listen.

2. Kevin Roose [@kevinroose], tech columnist for The New York Times, on the harbingers of Facebook's demise. Listen.

3. Gerard Ryle [@RyleGerard], director of the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists, on how the Pandora Papers unmask hidden owners of offshore companies. Plus, what the papers might mean for the future of cooperative journalism. Listen.

4. OTM correspondent Micah Loewinger [@MicahLoewinger], on how he and Gothamist's George Joseph uncovered evidence that active police officers are connected to the Oath Keepers, a far-right militia group. Listen.

Music from this week's show:

Chicago Sunset  - Musselwhite
Tilliboyo - Kronos Quartet
Gormenghast  - John Zorn
String Quartet No. 5 II Movement 2 -Phillip Glass - Kronos Quartet

From a six hour service outage to a senate whistleblower hearing, the PR disasters keep mounting for Facebook. On this week’s show, hear how the tech giant might be following a well-worn pattern of decline. And, the so-called "Pandora Papers" reveal dirty financial secrets, dwarfing the Panama Papers in the size, scope, and reach. Plus, how a new data leak shows links between law enforcement and far-right militia groups.

1. Makena Kelly [@kellymakena], policy reporter for The Verge, on the perils of focusing on politicians' flubs during tech regulation hearings. Listen.

2. Kevin Roose [@kevinroose], tech columnist for The New York Times, on the harbingers of Facebook's demise. Listen.

3. Gerard Ryle [@RyleGerard], director of the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists, on how the Pandora Papers unmask hidden owners of offshore companies. Plus, what the papers might mean for the future of cooperative journalism. Listen.

4. OTM correspondent Micah Loewinger [@MicahLoewinger], on how he and Gothamist's George Joseph uncovered evidence that active police officers are connected to the Oath Keepers, a far-right militia group. Listen.

Music from this week's show:

Chicago Sunset  - MusselwhiteTilliboyo - Kronos QuartetGormenghast  - John ZornString Quartet No. 5 II Movement 2 -Phillip Glass - Kronos Quartet


It's Debt Ceiling Time Again!

While Democrats fight amongst themselves over getting their legislative agenda passed, Senate majority leader Chuck Schumer is locked in his own battle with minority leader Mitch McConnell over raising the country’s debt ceiling.

Democrats need ten Senate Republicans to join them in voting to raise the debt limit to avoid, as the Washington Post put it, “catapulting the country into an economic recession.” The Post also cited the potential for quote, “widespread financial havoc," while the New York Times noted widespread warnings of “global economic calamity” 

If all of this sounds familiar, that's because... it is. For years, the media have treated the perennial debt ceiling debate like hurricane season. Is disaster heading to our shores? When will calamity strike? What's the projected damage? Often lost in the coverage is why we have to keep reliving this crisis in the first place.

Zachary Karabell is host of the podcast “What Could Go Right” and president of River Twice Capital. He’s also the author of The Leading Indicators: A Short History of the Numbers That Rule Our World. Brooke spoke to him in 2017 about this very subject. 

While Democrats fight amongst themselves over getting their legislative agenda passed, Senate majority leader Chuck Schumer is locked in his own battle with minority leader Mitch McConnell over raising the country’s debt ceiling.

Democrats need ten Senate Republicans to join them in voting to raise the debt limit to avoid, as the Washington Post put it, “catapulting the country into an economic recession.” The Post also cited the potential for quote, “widespread financial havoc," while the New York Times noted widespread warnings of “global economic calamity” 

If all of this sounds familiar, that's because... it is. For years, the media have treated the perennial debt ceiling debate like hurricane season. Is disaster heading to our shores? When will calamity strike? What's the projected damage? Often lost in the coverage is why we have to keep reliving this crisis in the first place.

Zachary Karabell is host of the podcast “What Could Go Right” and president of River Twice Capital. He’s also the author of The Leading Indicators: A Short History of the Numbers That Rule Our World. Brooke spoke to him in 2017 about this very subject. 


Out of Sight

Facebook and Instagram are harming young users, according to leaked research discussed in a Senate hearing this week. On this week’s On the Media, hear why lawmakers are chasing the white whale that is tech accountability. Also, how do we cover the tightly guarded, and complicated, news that comes from Guantanamo Bay? And, as the documentary industry booms, its ethics standards lag far behind. 

1. Brandy Zadrozny [@BrandyZadrozny], NBC senior reporter, unpacks the evolving responsibilities of social media companies for our health. Listen.

2. Jess Bravin [@JessBravin], Supreme Court reporter for The Wall Street Journal, and Michel Paradis [@MDParadis], senior attorney for the Department of Defense, on the lasting difficulties of covering one of America's most notorious military prisons, Guantanamo Bay. Listen.

3. Muira McCammon [@muira_mccammon], doctoral candidate at the University of Pennsylvania's Annenberg School of Communications, on what the library at Guantamo Bay can tell us about the place and the media's coverage. Listen.

4. Patricia Aufderheide [@paufder], University Professor of Communication Studies in the School of Communication at American University, on the tension between production and ethics in the world of documentaries. Listen.

Music from this week's show:

Nino Rota - Juliet of Spirits
Nicola Cruz - Colibria
Kronos - Flugufrelsarinn
Vijay Iyer - Human Nature
Merkabah - John Zorn
Booker T and The MG's - Slim Jenkins Place

Alex Wurman - Going Home for the First Time

Facebook and Instagram are harming young users, according to leaked research discussed in a Senate hearing this week. On this week’s On the Media, hear why lawmakers are chasing the white whale that is tech accountability. Also, how do we cover the tightly guarded, and complicated, news that comes from Guantanamo Bay? And, as the documentary industry booms, its ethics standards lag far behind. 

1. Brandy Zadrozny [@BrandyZadrozny], NBC senior reporter, unpacks the evolving responsibilities of social media companies for our health. Listen.

2. Jess Bravin [@JessBravin], Supreme Court reporter for The Wall Street Journal, and Michel Paradis [@MDParadis], senior attorney for the Department of Defense, on the lasting difficulties of covering one of America's most notorious military prisons, Guantanamo Bay. Listen.

3. Muira McCammon [@muira_mccammon], doctoral candidate at the University of Pennsylvania's Annenberg School of Communications, on what the library at Guantamo Bay can tell us about the place and the media's coverage. Listen.

4. Patricia Aufderheide [@paufder], University Professor of Communication Studies in the School of Communication at American University, on the tension between production and ethics in the world of documentaries. Listen.

Music from this week's show:

Nino Rota - Juliet of SpiritsNicola Cruz - ColibriaKronos - FlugufrelsarinnVijay Iyer - Human NatureMerkabah - John ZornBooker T and The MG's - Slim Jenkins PlaceAlex Wurman - Going Home for the First Time


The Big Screen version of Boom and Bust

It was 13 years ago this month when news broke that the Wall Street investment firm Lehman Brothers collapsed, setting in motion the financial crisis that devastated the world’s economy.

For all the misery the financial meltdown caused, Americans have never balked at opportunities to relive the crisis through hundreds of films, books and even plays. But while greedy investment bankers have become a staple archetype of recent movies like The Wolf of Wall Street, The Big Short, and Margin Call, Hollywood hasn't always portrayed Wall Street with such cynicism. In 2018 Brooke spoke to Per Hansen, professor of business history at the Copenhagen Business School, about his study examining cinematic depictions of big business and financial institutions. Hansen sifted through 81 films to understand how America's volatile attitudes on capitalism have evolved through other periods of boom and bust. He and Brooke discussed how classics like Wall StreetIt's a Wonderful Life, and The Apartment have reflected and actively shaped the way we feel about money.

This segment is from our September 14th, 2018 episode, Doomed to Repeat.

It was 13 years ago this month when news broke that the Wall Street investment firm Lehman Brothers collapsed, setting in motion the financial crisis that devastated the world’s economy.

For all the misery the financial meltdown caused, Americans have never balked at opportunities to relive the crisis through hundreds of filmsbooks and even plays. But while greedy investment bankers have become a staple archetype of recent movies like The Wolf of Wall StreetThe Big Short, and Margin Call, Hollywood hasn't always portrayed Wall Street with such cynicism. In 2018 Brooke spoke to Per Hansen, professor of business history at the Copenhagen Business School, about his study examining cinematic depictions of big business and financial institutions. Hansen sifted through 81 films to understand how America's volatile attitudes on capitalism have evolved through other periods of boom and bust. He and Brooke discussed how classics like Wall StreetIt's a Wonderful Life, and The Apartment have reflected and actively shaped the way we feel about money.

This segment is from our September 14th, 2018 episode, Doomed to Repeat.


The Subversion Playbook

By now, we’re familiar with voter suppression tactics, from long voting lines to voter ID laws. On this week’s On the Media, hear how election subversion takes the anti-democratic playbook to the next level. Plus, how the Russian government is using bureaucracy to stifle elections — and the press. 

1. Dan Hirschhorn [@Inky_Dan], assistant managing editor at The Philadelphia Inquirer, on why his paper won't use the word "audit" to describe the wave of partisan "election reviews." Listen.

2. Rick Hasen, [@rickhasen], professor of law and political science at the University of California Irvine, on why election subversion is such a dangerous threat to our democracy. Listen.

3. Tanya Lokot [@tanyalokot]media scholar and associate professor at the Dublin City University School of Communications, on why Google and Apple caved to the Kremlin on fair election technology. Listen.

4. OTM producer Molly Schwartz [@mollyfication] on the lives and trials of Russian journalists under siege, featuring: Sonya Groysman [@sonyagro], Russian journalist and podcaster; Joshua Yaffa [@yaffaesqueMoscow correspondent for The New Yorker; Tikhon Dzyadko [@tikhondzyadko], editor-in-chief of TV Rain; and Alexey Kovalyov [@Alexey__Kovalev], investigations editor at the news outlet Meduza. Listen.

Music from this week's show:

Chicago Sunset - Charlie Musselwhite

Time is Late ft. Joakim Johans

Unnamed Track - Mark Henry Philips

Unnamed Track - Mark Henry Philips

Baba O'Rilеy - The Who

From Russia With Love - Huma-Huma

Дальше действовать будем мы (“We will continue to act”) - Kino 

 

By now, we’re familiar with voter suppression tactics, from long voting lines to voter ID laws. On this week’s On the Media, hear how election subversion takes the anti-democratic playbook to the next level. Plus, how the Russian government is using bureaucracy to stifle elections — and the press. 

1. Dan Hirschhorn [@Inky_Dan], assistant managing editor at The Philadelphia Inquirer, on why his paper won't use the word "audit" to describe the wave of partisan "election reviews." Listen.

2. Rick Hasen, [@rickhasen], professor of law and political science at the University of California Irvine, on why election subversion is such a dangerous threat to our democracy. Listen.

3. Tanya Lokot [@tanyalokot], media scholar and associate professor at the Dublin City University School of Communications, on why Google and Apple caved to the Kremlin on fair election technology. Listen.

4. OTM producer Molly Schwartz [@mollyfication] on the lives and trials of Russian journalists under siege, featuring: Sonya Groysman [@sonyagro], Russian journalist and podcaster; Joshua Yaffa [@yaffaesque] Moscow correspondent for The New Yorker; Tikhon Dzyadko [@tikhondzyadko], editor-in-chief of TV Rain; and Alexey Kovalyov [@Alexey__Kovalev], investigations editor at the news outlet Meduza. Listen.

Music from this week's show:

Chicago Sunset - Charlie Musselwhite

Time is Late ft. Joakim Johans

Unnamed Track - Mark Henry Philips

Unnamed Track - Mark Henry Philips

Baba O'Rilеy - The Who

From Russia With Love - Huma-Huma

Дальше действовать будем мы (“We will continue to act”) - Kino 

 


From Birtherism to Election Theft

In their new book "Peril," Bob Woodward and Robert Costa released a previously unpublished memo by a man named John Eastman, who served as an attorney advising President Trump during the 2020 election. That memo outlined an anti-democratic six-step plan for Vice President Pence to overturn the election results — stealing the election in favor of Trump — by refusing to tally votes from states with "multiple slates of electors," throwing the final decision to the House of Representatives. It was presented to Pence by Trump and Eastman in the Oval Office during the days leading up to January 6th, and offers a chilling look at the lengths to which Trump was prepared to go in order to maintain power. 

It also offers a new opportunity to examine the activities of John Eastman, who entered the spotlight in 2020 when he published an op-ed in Newsweek making the false claim that Kamala Harris was ineligible for the Vice Presidency. Back then, Brooke spoke with Slate’s Mark Joseph Stern, who described the origins of this birtherism falsehood and how Eastman and his organization, the Claremont Institute, used the media to spread it.

In their new book "Peril," Bob Woodward and Robert Costa released a previously unpublished memo by a man named John Eastman, who served as an attorney advising President Trump during the 2020 election. That memo outlined an anti-democratic six-step plan for Vice President Pence to overturn the election results — stealing the election in favor of Trump — by refusing to tally votes from states with "multiple slates of electors," throwing the final decision to the House of Representatives. It was presented to Pence by Trump and Eastman in the Oval Office during the days leading up to January 6th, and offers a chilling look at the lengths to which Trump was prepared to go in order to maintain power. 

It also offers a new opportunity to examine the activities of John Eastman, who entered the spotlight in 2020 when he published an op-ed in Newsweek making the false claim that Kamala Harris was ineligible for the Vice Presidency. Back then, Brooke spoke with Slate’s Mark Joseph Stern, who described the origins of this birtherism falsehood and how Eastman and his organization, the Claremont Institute, used the media to spread it.


Fire and Brimstone

Throughout the pandemic, religious rights advocates have protested some public health measures like bans on large gatherings. Now, some Americans are making the case for religious exemptions to President Biden's new workplace vaccine mandate. On this week’s On the Media, why religious protections are deliberately vague. Plus, hear how the current Supreme Court has been quietly bolstering the power of Christian interest groups. And, a look at climate coverage during storm season, and how the fossil fuel industry became so good at selling its own story.

1. Winnifred Sullivan [@WinniSullivan], Indiana University Bloomington professor of law and religious studies, explains why the constitution doesn't define "religion." Listen.

2. Linda Greenhouse, writer and clinical lecturer at Yale Law School, on the Supreme Court's recent rulings on religious liberties. Listen.

3. Mark Hertsgaard [@markhertsgaard], executive director of Covering Climate Now, on why the press should remind us of climate change's impact on so-called "natural disasters." Listen.

4. Amy Westervelt [@amywestervelt], climate writer and host of the podcast Drilled, on how fossil fuels companies advertised their way out of a public backlash. Listen.

Music from this week's show:

In the Hall of the Mountain King - Kevin MacLeod 

Smells like Teen Spirit - The Bad Plus 

Equinox - John Coltrane

Sacred Oracle - Bill Frisell

Roary’s Waltz - John Zorn

Cops or Criminals - The Departed Soundtrack

Throughout the pandemic, religious rights advocates have protested some public health measures like bans on large gatherings. Now, some Americans are making the case for religious exemptions to President Biden's new workplace vaccine mandate. On this week’s On the Media, why religious protections are deliberately vague. Plus, hear how the current Supreme Court has been quietly bolstering the power of Christian interest groups. And, a look at climate coverage during storm season, and how the fossil fuel industry became so good at selling its own story.

1. Winnifred Sullivan [@WinniSullivan], Indiana University Bloomington professor of law and religious studies, explains why the constitution doesn't define "religion." Listen.

2. Linda Greenhouse, writer and clinical lecturer at Yale Law School, on the Supreme Court's recent rulings on religious liberties. Listen.

3. Mark Hertsgaard [@markhertsgaard], executive director of Covering Climate Now, on why the press should remind us of climate change's impact on so-called "natural disasters." Listen.

4. Amy Westervelt [@amywestervelt], climate writer and host of the podcast Drilled, on how fossil fuels companies advertised their way out of a public backlash. Listen.

Music from this week's show:

In the Hall of the Mountain King - Kevin MacLeod 

Smells like Teen Spirit - The Bad Plus 

Equinox - John Coltrane

Sacred Oracle - Bill Frisell

Roary’s Waltz - John Zorn

Cops or Criminals - The Departed Soundtrack


The Trial of Elizabeth Holmes

In 2014, Fortune magazine ran a cover story featuring Elizabeth Holmes: a blonde woman wearing a black turtleneck, staring deadpan at the camera, with the headline, “This CEO is out for blood.” A decade earlier, Holmes had founded Theranos, a company promising to “revolutionize” the blood testing industry, initially using a microfluidics approach — moving from deep vein draws to a single drop of blood. It promised easier, cheaper, more accessible lab tests — and a revolutionized healthcare experience.

But it turns out that all those lofty promises were empty. There was no revolutionary new way to test blood. And now, years later, Holmes is being charged with 10 counts of wire fraud and two counts of conspiracy to commit wire fraud. Two weeks into the trial, we're re-airing a conversation from 2018 between Brooke and John Carreyrou, host of the narrative podcast Bad Blood: The Final Chapter and the investigative journalist who exposed Holmes's alleged fraud.

In 2014, Fortune magazine ran a cover story featuring Elizabeth Holmes: a blonde woman wearing a black turtleneck, staring deadpan at the camera, with the headline, “This CEO is out for blood.” A decade earlier, Holmes had founded Theranos, a company promising to “revolutionize” the blood testing industry, initially using a microfluidics approach — moving from deep vein draws to a single drop of blood. It promised easier, cheaper, more accessible lab tests — and a revolutionized healthcare experience.

But it turns out that all those lofty promises were empty. There was no revolutionary new way to test blood. And now, years later, Holmes is being charged with 10 counts of wire fraud and two counts of conspiracy to commit wire fraud. Two weeks into the trial, we're re-airing a conversation from 2018 between Brooke and John Carreyrou, host of the narrative podcast Bad Blood: The Final Chapter and the investigative journalist who exposed Holmes's alleged fraud.


Aftershocks

Twenty years after the Twin Towers came down, we’re still wrestling over how to make sense of what happened. On this week’s On the Media, how the conspiracies birthed in the aftermath of 9/11 set the stage for the paranoia to come. Plus, how Afghanistan’s thriving new media scene hopes to survive Taliban rule. And, how Ivermectin became politicized.

1. Tolo founder Saad Mohseni [@saadmohsenion the mounting threat to journalism in Afghanistan. Listen.

2. NYTimes television critic James Poniewozik [@poniewozikon the documentary styles used to remember 9/11. Listen.

3. OTM's Micah Loewinger [@MicahLoewinger] reports on the legacy of Loose Change. Listen.

4. Mother Jones senior editor Kiera Butler [@kieraevebutler] on how Ivermectin became so politicized. Listen.

 

Twenty years after the Twin Towers came down, we’re still wrestling over how to make sense of what happened. On this week’s On the Media, how the conspiracies birthed in the aftermath of 9/11 set the stage for the paranoia to come. Plus, how Afghanistan’s thriving new media scene hopes to survive Taliban rule. And, how Ivermectin became politicized.

1. Tolo founder Saad Mohseni [@saadmohseni] on the mounting threat to journalism in Afghanistan. Listen.

2. NYTimes television critic James Poniewozik [@poniewozik] on the documentary styles used to remember 9/11. Listen.

3. OTM's Micah Loewinger [@MicahLoewinger] reports on the legacy of Loose Change. Listen.

4. Mother Jones senior editor Kiera Butler [@kieraevebutler] on how Ivermectin became so politicized. Listen.

 


Hey Everyone, Meet Sacha Pfeiffer!

By way of introduction to the person who will be sitting in for Brooke for a few weeks, we are revisiting our interview about "Spotlight." The 2015 movie depicts the Boston Globe's Pulitzer Prize-winning investigation that uncovered the systemic sexual abuse and widespread cover up in the Catholic church. Brooke spoke with Walter Robinson, who headed the investigation and is played by Michael Keaton in the film, and Sacha Pfeiffer, who was one of the four reporters on the team and is played by Rachel McAdams and who is.....drumroll, going to guest-host OTM! You're in safe hands, listeners. 

By way of introduction to the person who will be sitting in for Brooke for a few weeks, we are revisiting our interview about "Spotlight." The 2015 movie depicts the Boston Globe's Pulitzer Prize-winning investigation that uncovered the systemic sexual abuse and widespread cover up in the Catholic church. Brooke spoke with Walter Robinson, who headed the investigation and is played by Michael Keaton in the film, and Sacha Pfeiffer, who was one of the four reporters on the team and is played by Rachel McAdams and who is.....drumroll, going to guest-host OTM! You're in safe hands, listeners. 


Organizing Chaos

A debate has been raging among the librarians of the world, and it's all about order. The Dewey Decimal System became our way of managing information long ago, but it may be time to reassess. Plus, how one man’s obsession with ordering the natural world took a very dark turn.

1. Lulu Miller [@lmillernpr], author of Why Fish Don't Exist and co-host of WNYC's Radiolab, charts the quest of taxonomist David Starr Jordan to categorize the world. Listen.

2. On the Media producer Molly Scwartz [@mollyfication] takes a deep dive into one imposition of human order so commonplace most of us never notice: the library. But the famed Dewey Decimal System is not an unbiased ordering machine. Featuring: Jess deCourcy Hinds [@HindsJess] librarian at the Bard High School, Early College library in Queens, New York, Wayne A. Wiegand a library historian and author of Irrepressible Reformer: A Biography of Melvil Dewey, Caroline Saccucci, the former Dewey Program Manager at the Library of Congress, Emily Drabinski [@edrabinskiinterim chief librarian of the Mina Rees Library at CUNY, and Dartmouth librarian Jill Baron [@jillebaron] from the documentary Change the SubjectListen.

Music from this week's show:

Nocturne For Piano in B flat minor- Frédéric Chopin 

Il Casanova di Federico Fellini

Tomorrow Never Knows - Quartetto D’archi dell Orchestra Sinfonica

Songs of War - US Army Old Guard Fife and Drum Corps

 The Dewey Decimal System - Jason Munday

A debate has been raging among the librarians of the world, and it's all about order. The Dewey Decimal System became our way of managing information long ago, but it may be time to reassess. Plus, how one man’s obsession with ordering the natural world took a very dark turn.

1. Lulu Miller [@lmillernpr], author of Why Fish Don't Exist and co-host of WNYC's Radiolab, charts the quest of taxonomist David Starr Jordan to categorize the world. Listen.

2. On the Media producer Molly Scwartz [@mollyfication] takes a deep dive into one imposition of human order so commonplace most of us never notice: the library. But the famed Dewey Decimal System is not an unbiased ordering machine. Featuring: Jess deCourcy Hinds [@HindsJess] librarian at the Bard High School, Early College library in Queens, New York, Wayne A. Wiegand a library historian and author of Irrepressible Reformer: A Biography of Melvil Dewey, Caroline Saccucci, the former Dewey Program Manager at the Library of Congress, Emily Drabinski [@edrabinski] interim chief librarian of the Mina Rees Library at CUNY, and Dartmouth librarian Jill Baron [@jillebaron] from the documentary Change the SubjectListen.

Music from this week's show:

Nocturne For Piano in B flat minor- Frédéric Chopin 

Il Casanova di Federico Fellini

Tomorrow Never Knows - Quartetto D’archi dell Orchestra Sinfonica

Songs of War - US Army Old Guard Fife and Drum Corps

 The Dewey Decimal System - Jason Munday


Biased Algorithms, Biased World

Algorithms are everywhere, making crucial decisions at almost every juncture of our lives. But, while we may believe in the objectivity of these mathematical models, they're made from and produce far more bias than we think. Mathematician and former Wall Street quant, Cathy O'Neil wants us to question our unexamined faith in predictive algorithms. Her book, Weapons of Math Destruction, calls out an urgent need to investigate these black box constructions that govern so much of our lives, from going to college and getting a job, to online advertising and criminal sentencing. She and Brooke discuss the science behind predictive algorithms and how they can go terribly wrong.

This segment originally aired on our November 22, 2019 program, The Disagreement is the Point.

Algorithms are everywhere, making crucial decisions at almost every juncture of our lives. But, while we may believe in the objectivity of these mathematical models, they're made from and produce far more bias than we think. Mathematician and former Wall Street quant, Cathy O'Neil wants us to question our unexamined faith in predictive algorithms. Her book, Weapons of Math Destruction, calls out an urgent need to investigate these black box constructions that govern so much of our lives, from going to college and getting a job, to online advertising and criminal sentencing. She and Brooke discuss the science behind predictive algorithms and how they can go terribly wrong.

This segment originally aired on our November 22, 2019 program, The Disagreement is the Point.


Constitutionally Speaking

“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 2021? We look 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

Music from this week's show:
Jeopardy: Think Music - Malcolm Hamilton
Fallen Leaves - Marcos Ciscar
Time is Late - Marcos Ciscar

 

“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 2021? We look 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

Music from this week's show: Jeopardy: Think Music - Malcolm HamiltonFallen Leaves - Marcos CiscarTime is Late - Marcos Ciscar

 


A New First Amendment

Nearly six decades ago, the Supreme Court made a decision in the case New York Times v. Sullivan that would forever alter the way journalists practiced journalism. Brooke spoke with Andrew Cohen, senior editor at The Marshall Project and fellow at the Brennan Center for Justice, about the decision's impact on the First Amendment.

Supreme Court audio courtesy of Oyez®, a multimedia judicial archive at IIT Chicago-Kent College of Law.

Nearly six decades ago, the Supreme Court made a decision in the case New York Times v. Sullivan that would forever alter the way journalists practiced journalism. Brooke spoke with Andrew Cohen, senior editor at The Marshall Project and fellow at the Brennan Center for Justice, about the decision's impact on the First Amendment.

Supreme Court audio courtesy of Oyez®, a multimedia judicial archive at IIT Chicago-Kent College of Law.


Maligned Women

Cries to free Britney Spears from her conservatorship this summer have prompted a reevaluation of how the pop star was covered by the press decades ago. This week, On the Media looks at how the maligned women of the 90s and 2000s help us understand our media — and ourselves. 

1. Joshua Rofé [@joshua_rofe], filmmaker, and Lorena Gallo (FKA Lorena Bobbitt) on the documentary "Lorena." Listen.

2. Sarah Marshall [@Remember_Sarah] and Michael Hobbes [@RottenInDenmark], hosts of the You're Wrong About podcast, on how coverage of maligned women in the 1990s fueled lasting and harmful myths. Listen.

Music:

Okami — Nicola Cruz
River Man — Brad Mehldaw Trio
Fellini’s Waltz — Nino Rota
La Vie En Rose — Toots Thielemans

 

Cries to free Britney Spears from her conservatorship this summer have prompted a reevaluation of how the pop star was covered by the press decades ago. This week, On the Media looks at how the maligned women of the 90s and 2000s help us understand our media — and ourselves. 

1. Joshua Rofé [@joshua_rofe], filmmaker, and Lorena Gallo (FKA Lorena Bobbitt) on the documentary "Lorena." Listen.

2. Sarah Marshall [@Remember_Sarah] and Michael Hobbes [@RottenInDenmark], hosts of the You're Wrong About podcast, on how coverage of maligned women in the 1990s fueled lasting and harmful myths. Listen.

Music:

Okami — Nicola CruzRiver Man — Brad Mehldaw TrioFellini’s Waltz — Nino RotaLa Vie En Rose — Toots Thielemans

 


How Radio Makes Female Voices Sound Shrill

"Shrill" popped back up in the national lexicon in the coverage of Hillary Clinton's 2016 presidential bid, and again, in a 2020 race filled with female candidates. "This spike in usage is hardly a revelation," writes University of Florida professor Tina Tallon, in a piece for The New Yorker. "Women who speak publicly and challenge authority have long been dismissed as 'shrill' or 'grating.'" But these slurs are not just the product of age-old misogynistic stereotypes. Biases against female voices were perniciously exacerbated by the broadcast technology that powers radio and audio recording technology. They're designed to thin higher frequency voices and enrich lower ones. In this interview from 2019, she and Brooke revisit the proliferation of radio in the 1920's and 1930's, when our ears were trained to prefer listening to men talk, and reflect on how societal gender standards have been shaped since.

"Shrill" popped back up in the national lexicon in the coverage of Hillary Clinton's 2016 presidential bid, and again, in a 2020 race filled with female candidates. "This spike in usage is hardly a revelation," writes University of Florida professor Tina Tallon, in a piece for The New Yorker. "Women who speak publicly and challenge authority have long been dismissed as 'shrill' or 'grating.'" But these slurs are not just the product of age-old misogynistic stereotypes. Biases against female voices were perniciously exacerbated by the broadcast technology that powers radio and audio recording technology. They're designed to thin higher frequency voices and enrich lower ones. In this interview from 2019, she and Brooke revisit the proliferation of radio in the 1920's and 1930's, when our ears were trained to prefer listening to men talk, and reflect on how societal gender standards have been shaped since.


A 40 Acre Promise

Last week, the federal government, in a limited way, extended the eviction moratorium in place since the start of the pandemic. It's a temporary solution to a long-looming crisis — a crisis we explored in our series "The Scarlet E: Unmasking America’s Eviction Crisis" back in 2019. In this excerpt from that series, we catalog the long line of thefts and schemes — most of which were perfectly legal at the time — that led to where we are today: a system, purpose-built, that extracts what it can, turning black and brown renters into debtors and evictees. 

Matthew Desmond [@just_shelter], founder of The Eviction Lab and our partner in this series, and Marty Wegbreit, director of litigation for the Central Virginia Legal Aid Society, point us toward the legal and historical developments that evolved into the present crisis. And WBEZ’s Natalie Moore [@natalieymoore], whose grandparents moved to Chicago during the Great Migration, shows us around a high-eviction area on Chicago’s South Side.

 

Last week, the federal government, in a limited way, extended the eviction moratorium in place since the start of the pandemic. It's a temporary solution to a long-looming crisis — a crisis we explored in our series "The Scarlet E: Unmasking America’s Eviction Crisis" back in 2019. In this excerpt from that series, we catalog the long line of thefts and schemes — most of which were perfectly legal at the time — that led to where we are today: a system, purpose-built, that extracts what it can, turning black and brown renters into debtors and evictees. 

Matthew Desmond [@just_shelter], founder of The Eviction Lab and our partner in this series, and Marty Wegbreit, director of litigation for the Central Virginia Legal Aid Society, point us toward the legal and historical developments that evolved into the present crisis. And WBEZ’s Natalie Moore [@natalieymoore], whose grandparents moved to Chicago during the Great Migration, shows us around a high-eviction area on Chicago’s South Side.

 


I'm Brooke Gladstone and I Am a Trekker

In September 1966, Gene Roddenberry dispatched the crew of the Starship Enterprise on its maiden voyage through space and time and into the American living room. In a vintage OTM piece, Brooke explores the various television incarnations of the franchise and the infinitely powerful engine behind it all: the fan.

In September 1966, Gene Roddenberry dispatched the crew of the Starship Enterprise on its maiden voyage through space and time and into the American living room. In a vintage OTM piece, Brooke explores the various television incarnations of the franchise and the infinitely powerful engine behind it all: the fan.


Bad Idea Machine

With Delta Variant cases surging, public health officials are pleading with Americans to get vaccinated ASAP. This week, we examine at how some journalists are turning anti-vaxxer deaths into COVID-19 fables. Plus, we hear from the reporter who tracked down Jeffrey Epstein’s victims.

1. Rebecca Onion [@rebeccaonion], historian and staff writer at Slate, on her latest article "The Fable of the Sick Anti-Vaxxer," and how stories of remorse may only appeal to the vaccinated. Plus, NBC senior reporter and OTM guest host Brandy Zadrozny [@BrandyZadrozny] traces the roots of anti-vaxx propaganda, from the 1980s to today. Listen.

2. Lois Beckett [@loisbeckett], senior reporter at the Guardian, on how a viral anti-trans Instagram video led to a street brawl, and Julia Serano [@JuliaSerano], author of "Whipping Girl, A Transsexual Woman on Sexism and the Scapegoating of Femininity," on where the anti-trans movement gets its playbook. Listen.

3. Julie K. Brown [@jkbjournalist], investigative reporter at the Miami Herald, on her new book, "Perversion of Justice: The Jeffrey Epstein Story," detailing what she saw missing in the decade of Epstein coverage before her own investigative series at the Herald which brought his victims' voices on the record for the first time. Listen.

With Delta Variant cases surging, public health officials are pleading with Americans to get vaccinated ASAP. This week, we examine at how some journalists are turning anti-vaxxer deaths into COVID-19 fables. Plus, we hear from the reporter who tracked down Jeffrey Epstein’s victims.

1. Rebecca Onion [@rebeccaonion], historian and staff writer at Slate, on her latest article "The Fable of the Sick Anti-Vaxxer," and how stories of remorse may only appeal to the vaccinated. Plus, NBC senior reporter and OTM guest host Brandy Zadrozny [@BrandyZadrozny] traces the roots of anti-vaxx propaganda, from the 1980s to today. Listen.

2. Lois Beckett [@loisbeckett], senior reporter at the Guardian, on how a viral anti-trans Instagram video led to a street brawl, and Julia Serano [@JuliaSerano], author of "Whipping Girl, A Transsexual Woman on Sexism and the Scapegoating of Femininity," on where the anti-trans movement gets its playbook. Listen.

3. Julie K. Brown [@jkbjournalist], investigative reporter at the Miami Herald, on her new book, "Perversion of Justice: The Jeffrey Epstein Story," detailing what she saw missing in the decade of Epstein coverage before her own investigative series at the Herald which brought his victims' voices on the record for the first time. Listen.


"Haiti Needs a New Narrative"

In the wake of the assassination of Haiti’s President Jovenel Moïse on July 7th, international media rushed to cover Haiti’s latest political crisispainting a familiar picture of a nation in turmoil, Haitians in need, and an international community offering rescue.

In this week's podcast extra, Nathalie Cerin, co-founder and lead editor of the online Haitian media project Woy Magazine, argues that news consumers just tuning in after the assassination after may miss the bigger picture. Haiti is a country with strong grassroots, pro-democracy movements. But it simultaneously remains plagued by a past (and present) of United States and United Nations' invasion, occupation, and election meddling. 

To understand the whole story, guest host Brandy Zadrozny talks to Gina Athena Ulysse, Professor of Feminist Studies at UC Santa Cruz and author of Why Haiti Needs New Narratives, about how the international media too often spreads dehumanizing narratives of perpetual chaos — setting the stage for intervention — and then looks away.

In the wake of the assassination of Haiti’s President Jovenel Moïse on July 7th, international media rushed to cover Haiti’s latest political crisis—painting a familiar picture of a nation in turmoil, Haitians in need, and an international community offering rescue.

In this week's podcast extra, Nathalie Cerin, co-founder and lead editor of the online Haitian media project Woy Magazine, argues that news consumers just tuning in after the assassination after may miss the bigger picture. Haiti is a country with strong grassroots, pro-democracy movements. But it simultaneously remains plagued by a past (and present) of United States and United Nations' invasion, occupation, and election meddling. 

To understand the whole story, guest host Brandy Zadrozny talks to Gina Athena Ulysse, Professor of Feminist Studies at UC Santa Cruz and author of Why Haiti Needs New Narratives, about how the international media too often spreads dehumanizing narratives of perpetual chaos — setting the stage for intervention — and then looks away.


Undercover and Over-Exposed

This week, we consider whether information should ever be off-limits to journalists. It’s a thorny ethical question raised by FBI informants, hacked sources and shockingly intimate personal data. Plus, why a conservative Catholic publication’s outing of a gay priest has garnered criticism from all sides. 

1. Ken Bensinger [@kenbensinger], investigative reporter for Buzzfeed News, on what new evidence surrounding the plot to kidnap Michigan governor Gretchen Whitmer says about the how the government defines, and attacks, domestic terrorism. Listen.

2. OTM reporter Micah Loewinger [@MicahLoewinger] and guest host Brandy Zadrozny [@BrandyZadrozny] examine whether or not it's possible to ethically use information from data breaches. Featuring: Kevin Collier [@kevincollier], cybersecurity and privacy reporter for NBC News, Kim Zetter [@KimZetter], a journalist covering cybersecurity  and the author of Countdown to Zero Day: Stuxnet and the Launch of the World's First Digital Weapon, and Lorax Horne [@bbhorne], writer with Distributed Denial of Secrets. Listen.

3. Sara Morrison [@SaraMorrison], data and privacy reporter at Recode at Vox, discusses the dangers information for sale after a Catholic priest was outed by a newsletter that obtained his location data from an app. Listen. 

4. Mike O’Loughlin [@MikeOLoughlin], national correspondent at Catholic media organization America, reflects on how new methods are stoking old fights in the Catholic Church. Listen.

Music:

Invitation To A Suicide by John Zorn
Non, Je Ne Regrette Rien by François Plaf, Blue Radio Orchestra
How Strange by Nicola Cruz
Natural Light by Bill Frisell

Slow Pulse Conga by William Pasley
Wallpaper by Woo

This week, we consider whether information should ever be off-limits to journalists. It’s a thorny ethical question raised by FBI informants, hacked sources and shockingly intimate personal data. Plus, why a conservative Catholic publication’s outing of a gay priest has garnered criticism from all sides. 

1. Ken Bensinger [@kenbensinger], investigative reporter for Buzzfeed News, on what new evidence surrounding the plot to kidnap Michigan governor Gretchen Whitmer says about the how the government defines, and attacks, domestic terrorism. Listen.

2. OTM reporter Micah Loewinger [@MicahLoewinger] and guest host Brandy Zadrozny [@BrandyZadrozny] examine whether or not it's possible to ethically use information from data breaches. Featuring: Kevin Collier [@kevincollier], cybersecurity and privacy reporter for NBC News, Kim Zetter [@KimZetter], a journalist covering cybersecurity  and the author of Countdown to Zero Day: Stuxnet and the Launch of the World's First Digital Weapon, and Lorax Horne [@bbhorne], writer with Distributed Denial of Secrets. Listen.

3. Sara Morrison [@SaraMorrison], data and privacy reporter at Recode at Vox, discusses the dangers information for sale after a Catholic priest was outed by a newsletter that obtained his location data from an app. Listen. 

4. Mike O’Loughlin [@MikeOLoughlin], national correspondent at Catholic media organization America, reflects on how new methods are stoking old fights in the Catholic Church. Listen.

Music:

Invitation To A Suicide by John ZornNon, Je Ne Regrette Rien by François Plaf, Blue Radio OrchestraHow Strange by Nicola CruzNatural Light by Bill FrisellSlow Pulse Conga by William PasleyWallpaper by Woo


Occupational Hazards

A look at how journalism selectively judges objectivity and bias… Which produces better reporting: proximity to the community you cover? Or distance? Who gets to decide? 

1. Joel Simon [@Joelcpj], outgoing executive director of the The Committee to Protect Journalists, on why it's a dangerous time to be a journalist. Listen. 

2. Bruce Shapiro [@dartcenter], executive director of the Dart Center for Journalism and Trauma at Columbia Journalism School, on why trauma shouldn't disqualify reporters from reporting on topics into which they have insight. Listen. 

3. Ernest Owens [@mrernestowens], Philadelphia Association of Black Journalists president, about the double-standards facing journalists who have identities or lived experiences that are different from editors who still determine what constitutes "objectivity." Listen. 

4. Steve Friess [@stevefriess], editor at Hour Detroit and contributor for Newsweek, looks back at how he covered gay marriage when his own marriage hung in the balance. Listen. 

5. Lewis Raven Wallace [@lewispants], author of The View from Somewhere, on why what we call "neutrality" so often reflects the ideological assumptions of the status quo. Listen.

Music from this week's show:

Frail As a Breeze — Erik Friedlander
Night Thoughts — John Zorn

Fallen Leaves — Marcos Ciscar
Middlesex Times — Michael Andrews

Bubble Wrap — Thomas Newman 
Transparence — Charlie Haden & Gonzalo Rubalcaba
Carmen Fantasy — Anderson + Row
Tribute to America — The O’Neill Brothers

 

A look at how journalism selectively judges objectivity and bias… Which produces better reporting: proximity to the community you cover? Or distance? Who gets to decide? 

1. Joel Simon [@Joelcpj], outgoing executive director of the The Committee to Protect Journalists, on why it's a dangerous time to be a journalist. Listen. 

2. Bruce Shapiro [@dartcenter], executive director of the Dart Center for Journalism and Trauma at Columbia Journalism School, on why trauma shouldn't disqualify reporters from reporting on topics into which they have insight. Listen. 

3. Ernest Owens [@mrernestowens], Philadelphia Association of Black Journalists president, about the double-standards facing journalists who have identities or lived experiences that are different from editors who still determine what constitutes "objectivity." Listen. 

4. Steve Friess [@stevefriess], editor at Hour Detroit and contributor for Newsweek, looks back at how he covered gay marriage when his own marriage hung in the balance. Listen. 

5. Lewis Raven Wallace [@lewispants], author of The View from Somewhere, on why what we call "neutrality" so often reflects the ideological assumptions of the status quo. Listen.

Music from this week's show:

Frail As a Breeze — Erik FriedlanderNight Thoughts — John ZornFallen Leaves — Marcos CiscarMiddlesex Times — Michael AndrewsBubble Wrap — Thomas Newman Transparence — Charlie Haden & Gonzalo RubalcabaCarmen Fantasy — Anderson + RowTribute to America — The O’Neill Brothers

 


How a Nightclub Fire Brought Down a Government

In 2015, a tragedy gripped Romanian consciousness when a fire at a popular club in the country's capital killed 27 people, injured nearly 200 more, and sparked national protests about corruption. In the weeks following the fire, 37 of those injured died in hospitals — a statistic that authorities and doctors claimed was simply a result of their injuries. 

But the victims' families and a small team of reporters at the Romanian daily paper the Sports Gazette had their doubts — doubts that were confirmed when the Gazette learned that a national supplier of medical disinfectants was diluting their products, nearly ten times over, to reap profits and pad the pockets of its CEO. The burn victims of the fire hadn't died from injuries; they died from preventable bacterial infections, a consequence of malpractice that stemmed from doctors, hospital managers and the highest officials in government. 

In 2019, filmmaker Alexander Nanau wrote, produced and directed the film Collective, chronicling this saga. Last year, the film was released in the US, and in early 2021 it received two Academy Award nominations. In this podcast extra, recorded in March, Nanau speaks with Brooke about why he decided to follow the story, how the pieces fell into place, and how this single story changed Romania's relationship with the press — possibly for good. 

Watch Collective here

In 2015, a tragedy gripped Romanian consciousness when a fire at a popular club in the country's capital killed 27 people, injured nearly 200 more, and sparked national protests about corruption. In the weeks following the fire, 37 of those injured died in hospitals — a statistic that authorities and doctors claimed was simply a result of their injuries. 

But the victims' families and a small team of reporters at the Romanian daily paper the Sports Gazette had their doubts — doubts that were confirmed when the Gazette learned that a national supplier of medical disinfectants was diluting their products, nearly ten times over, to reap profits and pad the pockets of its CEO. The burn victims of the fire hadn't died from injuries; they died from preventable bacterial infections, a consequence of malpractice that stemmed from doctors, hospital managers and the highest officials in government. 

In 2019, filmmaker Alexander Nanau wrote, produced and directed the film Collective, chronicling this saga. Last year, the film was released in the US, and in early 2021 it received two Academy Award nominations. In this podcast extra, recorded in March, Nanau speaks with Brooke about why he decided to follow the story, how the pieces fell into place, and how this single story changed Romania's relationship with the press — possibly for good. 

Watch Collective here


As You Like It

As numbers of the vaccinated rise, theaters around the country are once again opening. In celebration, this week’s show is all about Shakespeare, including how the quintessentially English Bard became an American icon, and what a production in Kabul, Afghanistan meant to the community that produced it.

1. James Shapiro, Professor of English and Comparative Literature at Columbia University, explains how Shakespeare was absorbed into American culture and identity. Listen.

2. Qais Akbar Omar, author of A Fort of Nine Towers, on how a production of Shakespeare resonated in Kabul, Afghanistan. Listen.

Music:

The Dancing Master: Maiden Lane (John Playford) - The Broadside Band & Jeremy Barlow
John’s Book of Alleged Dances (John Adams) - Kronos Quartet
Fife Feature: Lowland’s Away (Roy Watrous) - Gregory S. Balvanz & The US Army Fife and Drum Corps
Ballad No. 2 in F, Op. 38 (Chopin) - Ivan Moravec
Little Rose is Gone/Billy in the Lowground - Jim TaylorCollection
Frail As a Breeze - Erik Friedlander
The De Lesseps' Dance - Shakespeare in Love Soundtrack
Kiss Me Kate Overture - Kiss Me Kate Soundtrack
Brush Up Your Shakespeare - Kiss Me Kate Soundtrack
Love & the Rehearsal - Shakespeare in Love Soundtrack
Harpsichord - Four Tet
Timber Town - Derek and Brandon Fiechter

As numbers of the vaccinated rise, theaters around the country are once again opening. In celebration, this week’s show is all about Shakespeare, including how the quintessentially English Bard became an American icon, and what a production in Kabul, Afghanistan meant to the community that produced it.

1. James Shapiro, Professor of English and Comparative Literature at Columbia University, explains how Shakespeare was absorbed into American culture and identity. Listen.

2. Qais Akbar Omar, author of A Fort of Nine Towers, on how a production of Shakespeare resonated in Kabul, Afghanistan. Listen.

Music:

The Dancing Master: Maiden Lane (John Playford) - The Broadside Band & Jeremy BarlowJohn’s Book of Alleged Dances (John Adams) - Kronos QuartetFife Feature: Lowland’s Away (Roy Watrous) - Gregory S. Balvanz & The US Army Fife and Drum CorpsBallad No. 2 in F, Op. 38 (Chopin) - Ivan MoravecLittle Rose is Gone/Billy in the Lowground - Jim TaylorCollectionFrail As a Breeze - Erik FriedlanderThe De Lesseps' Dance - Shakespeare in Love SoundtrackKiss Me Kate Overture - Kiss Me Kate SoundtrackBrush Up Your Shakespeare - Kiss Me Kate SoundtrackLove & the Rehearsal - Shakespeare in Love SoundtrackHarpsichord - Four TetTimber Town - Derek and Brandon Fiechter


Painting for the Future and Talking to the Dead

Hilma af Klint was a Swedish painter born in 1862 who painted big, bold canvases suffused with rich, strange colors denoting masculine and feminine, the gush of life and the serenity of cosmic order. She found inspiration in unorthodox places, including the spirit realm. And she had a vision: that her work would one day be displayed in a spiral temple.

For decades after her death, her work was hidden away — at first by her request, and then because it couldn't find an audience. Now that it's on display in a building like the one she imagined, her work is a sensation that has invited a radical re-imagining of the history of abstract art. In 2019, Brooke walked through the exhibit with senior curator Tracey Bashkoff, who brought af Klint's work to the Guggenheim after discovering it in a catalogue.

Next, Brooke explores Spiritualism — a movement that shaped af Klint's life and work. Broadly defined as a religious movement based on the idea that the living can communicate with spirits dwelling in the afterlife — that we can talk to the dead — Spiritualism grew quickly. After all, the telegraph was allowing people to communicate across time and space; why not spiritual realms?

At the time, the ideal spirit medium was thought to be an adolescent girl, unencumbered by education and thoughts of her own. But a curious thing happened as women started speaking as spirit mediums: they became accustomed to speaking in public, and others became accustomed to hearing them. And on top of that, the spirits had some radically progressive ideas about individual self-sovereignty, abolition and women's rights. Brooke speaks with Ann Braudedirector of the Women's Studies in Religion Program at Harvard Divinity School and author of Radical Spirits: Spiritualism and Women's Rights in Nineteenth-Century America, about this curious moment in American history, and how it helped bring women — and reformist ideas — into the public sphere.

Hilma af Klint was a Swedish painter born in 1862 who painted big, bold canvases suffused with rich, strange colors denoting masculine and feminine, the gush of life and the serenity of cosmic order. She found inspiration in unorthodox places, including the spirit realm. And she had a vision: that her work would one day be displayed in a spiral temple.

For decades after her death, her work was hidden away — at first by her request, and then because it couldn't find an audience. Now that it's on display in a building like the one she imagined, her work is a sensation that has invited a radical re-imagining of the history of abstract art. In 2019, Brooke walked through the exhibit with senior curator Tracey Bashkoff, who brought af Klint's work to the Guggenheim after discovering it in a catalogue.

Next, Brooke explores Spiritualism — a movement that shaped af Klint's life and work. Broadly defined as a religious movement based on the idea that the living can communicate with spirits dwelling in the afterlife — that we can talk to the dead — Spiritualism grew quickly. After all, the telegraph was allowing people to communicate across time and space; why not spiritual realms?

At the time, the ideal spirit medium was thought to be an adolescent girl, unencumbered by education and thoughts of her own. But a curious thing happened as women started speaking as spirit mediums: they became accustomed to speaking in public, and others became accustomed to hearing them. And on top of that, the spirits had some radically progressive ideas about individual self-sovereignty, abolition and women's rights. Brooke speaks with Ann Braude, director of the Women's Studies in Religion Program at Harvard Divinity School and author of Radical Spirits: Spiritualism and Women's Rights in Nineteenth-Century America, about this curious moment in American history, and how it helped bring women — and reformist ideas — into the public sphere.


Blame It On the Booze

Nearly a quarter of American adults reported drinking more at home to cope with their pandemic blues. This week, we take a deep dive into the ancient history of booze, how Americans normalized drinking alone, and how the media shaped the shifting reputation of red wine. Plus, can scientists cook up a synthetic alcohol with all its perks, and none of its dangers?

1. Kate Julian [@katejulian], senior editor at the Atlantic, on America's long and fraught history with solitary drinking. Listen.

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

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

4. David Nutt [@ProfDavidNutt], psychologist at Imperial College London, on his alcohol substitute, once called "alcosynth," now rebranded as "alcarelle." Listen.

Music:

When I Get Low I Get High - Ella Fitzgerald
Tomorrow Never Knows - Quartetto D/Archi Dell'Orchestra Sinfonica Di Milano
Il Casanova Di Federico Fellini - Solisti E Orchestre Del Cinema Italiano
Option with Variations - Kronos Quartet/composer Rhiannon Giddens

Nearly a quarter of American adults reported drinking more at home to cope with their pandemic blues. This week, we take a deep dive into the ancient history of booze, how Americans normalized drinking alone, and how the media shaped the shifting reputation of red wine. Plus, can scientists cook up a synthetic alcohol with all its perks, and none of its dangers?

1. Kate Julian [@katejulian], senior editor at the Atlantic, on America's long and fraught history with solitary drinking. Listen.

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

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

4. David Nutt [@ProfDavidNutt], psychologist at Imperial College London, on his alcohol substitute, once called "alcosynth," now rebranded as "alcarelle." Listen.

Music:

When I Get Low I Get High - Ella Fitzgerald Tomorrow Never Knows - Quartetto D/Archi Dell'Orchestra Sinfonica Di Milano Il Casanova Di Federico Fellini - Solisti E Orchestre Del Cinema Italiano Option with Variations - Kronos Quartet/composer Rhiannon Giddens


Aaron Copland's Sound of America

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. This independence day (or near enough!), we revisit Sara Fishko's 2017 piece on the story of Aaron Copland.

 

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. This independence day (or near enough!), we revisit Sara Fishko's 2017 piece on the story of Aaron Copland.

 


The Road to Insurrection

This week marks six months since January 6th, the day a pro-Trump mob stormed the US Capitol. Over 500 rioters have since been arrested, but the legal consequences of what they did are only just beginning to roll in. In this hour, we revisit reporting by OTM's Micah Loewinger surrounding the organizing tactics, media narratives, and evolution of far-right militias. 

1. OTM reporter Micah Loewinger [@MicahLoewinger] on the efforts to shape the media narrative among gun rights activists at Virginia's Lobby Day. Listen.

2. OTM reporter Micah Loewinger [@MicahLoewinger] and Militia Watch founder Hampton Stall [@HamptonStall] investigate how a walkie-talkie app called Zello is enabling armed white supremacist groups to gather and recruit. Featuring: Joan Donovan [@BostonJoanResearch Director of the Shorenstein Center at Harvard University, and Megan Squire [@MeganSquire0] Professor of Computer Science at Elon University. Listen.

3. OTM reporter Micah Loewinger [@MicahLoewinger] on Zello's role in the January 6th insurrection, and what the app is finally doing about its militia members. Featuring: Marcy Wheeler [@emptywheel] national security reporter for Emptywheel, and Cynthia Miller-Idriss [@milleridriss] Director of Polarization and Extremism Research and Innovation Lab at American University. Listen.

Music:

Tick Of The Clock by Chromatics
Cyclic Bit by Raymond Scott
Genocide by Link Wray

Procession Of The Grand Moghul by Korla Pandit 
Gormenghast by John Zorn

This week marks six months since January 6th, the day a pro-Trump mob stormed the US Capitol. Over 500 rioters have since been arrested, but the legal consequences of what they did are only just beginning to roll in. In this hour, we revisit reporting by OTM's Micah Loewinger surrounding the organizing tactics, media narratives, and evolution of far-right militias. 

1. OTM reporter Micah Loewinger [@MicahLoewinger] on the efforts to shape the media narrative among gun rights activists at Virginia's Lobby Day. Listen.

2. OTM reporter Micah Loewinger [@MicahLoewinger] and Militia Watch founder Hampton Stall [@HamptonStall] investigate how a walkie-talkie app called Zello is enabling armed white supremacist groups to gather and recruit. Featuring: Joan Donovan [@BostonJoan] Research Director of the Shorenstein Center at Harvard University, and Megan Squire [@MeganSquire0] Professor of Computer Science at Elon University. Listen.

3. OTM reporter Micah Loewinger [@MicahLoewinger] on Zello's role in the January 6th insurrection, and what the app is finally doing about its militia members. Featuring: Marcy Wheeler [@emptywheel] national security reporter for Emptywheel, and Cynthia Miller-Idriss [@milleridriss] Director of Polarization and Extremism Research and Innovation Lab at American University. Listen.

Music:

Tick Of The Clock by ChromaticsCyclic Bit by Raymond ScottGenocide by Link WrayProcession Of The Grand Moghul by Korla Pandit Gormenghast by John Zorn


Is 'The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down' a Neo-Confederate Anthem?

It's been noted that Trump’s Big Lie and the violence it produced is reminiscent of the Lost Cause of the Confederacy — a potent narrative of grievance after the Civil War recasting the South’s stand as heroic and patriotic. Undergirded by racism, the Lost Cause apologia would stymie Reconstruction, justify decades of lynching and throughout the South, and prove as impossible to uproot as Kudzu.

When it comes to art identified with the Lost Cause of the Confederacy, “The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down” by The Band may be pop culture’s most celebrated, and misunderstood, contribution. Despite its charged subject matter, the song is rock-and-roll canon, listed as one of the best of all time by Time Magazine and Rolling Stone.

On paper, its lyrics read as if lifted from the Lost Cause playbook: a nostalgic retelling of the end of the Civil War history seen through the eyes of a downtrodden Southern farmer, laden with grief but not a trace of white supremacy. But the song is not what it seems, or what it seemed when it was first loosed upon the world. The Band’s lead guitarist Robbie Robertson, a Canadian, hadn’t logged much time in the South when he penned “The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down” in 1969. But in the ensuing decades, some have claimed it as a Neo-Confederate anthem. This uncomfortable fact led Early James, a songwriter from Alabama, to alter the lyrics when he performed the song at an annual The Band tribute concert last summer. Inspired by last summer's racial reckoning, James sang about toppling Confederate monuments. 

According to Jack Hamilton, Slate pop critic and author of Just Around Midnight: Rock and Roll and the Racial Imagination, the meaning behind the song is both more and less complex than many fans know.

It's been noted that Trump’s Big Lie and the violence it produced is reminiscent of the Lost Cause of the Confederacy — a potent narrative of grievance after the Civil War recasting the South’s stand as heroic and patriotic. Undergirded by racism, the Lost Cause apologia would stymie Reconstruction, justify decades of lynching and throughout the South, and prove as impossible to uproot as Kudzu.

When it comes to art identified with the Lost Cause of the Confederacy, “The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down” by The Band may be pop culture’s most celebrated, and misunderstood, contribution. Despite its charged subject matter, the song is rock-and-roll canon, listed as one of the best of all time by Time Magazine and Rolling Stone.

On paper, its lyrics read as if lifted from the Lost Cause playbook: a nostalgic retelling of the end of the Civil War history seen through the eyes of a downtrodden Southern farmer, laden with grief but not a trace of white supremacy. But the song is not what it seems, or what it seemed when it was first loosed upon the world. The Band’s lead guitarist Robbie Robertson, a Canadian, hadn’t logged much time in the South when he penned “The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down” in 1969. But in the ensuing decades, some have claimed it as a Neo-Confederate anthem. This uncomfortable fact led Early James, a songwriter from Alabama, to alter the lyrics when he performed the song at an annual The Band tribute concert last summer. Inspired by last summer's racial reckoning, James sang about toppling Confederate monuments. 

According to Jack Hamilton, Slate pop critic and author of Just Around Midnight: Rock and Roll and the Racial Imagination, the meaning behind the song is both more and less complex than many fans know.


"We Are Putting Out A Damn Paper"

June 28th marks the anniversary of a mass shooting that took place inside a newsroom in Annapolis, Maryland, killing five journalists. On this week's On the Media, an intimate portrait of the staff of the Capital Gazette in the immediate aftermath of the death of their colleagues — and then over the next several years as they contend with a corporate takeover, buyouts, and the loss of their newsroom. Reported by Chris Benderev of NPR's Embedded.

Part 1: The Attack. Listen.

Part 2: The Aftermath. Listen.

Part 3: The Layoffs. Listen.

Music in this week's show:

Time Is Late — Marcos Ciscar feat. Joakim Johansson

We Insist — Zoë Keating

June 28th marks the anniversary of a mass shooting that took place inside a newsroom in Annapolis, Maryland, killing five journalists. On this week's On the Media, an intimate portrait of the staff of the Capital Gazette in the immediate aftermath of the death of their colleagues — and then over the next several years as they contend with a corporate takeover, buyouts, and the loss of their newsroom. Reported by Chris Benderev of NPR's Embedded.

Part 1: The Attack. Listen.

Part 2: The Aftermath. Listen.

Part 3: The Layoffs. Listen.

Music in this week's show:

Time Is Late — Marcos Ciscar feat. Joakim Johansson

We Insist — Zoë Keating


A New Model for Local Journalism?

In the 1800s, New Bedford, Massachusetts was the world’s “center of whaling.” More than half of the world’s whaling ships in the 1840s came from New Bedford. The small city was so emblematic of a New England whaling town that it served as the setting for Herman Melville’s novel Moby Dick. According to the New York Times, it was then the richest city per capita on the continent.  Now, more than a fifth of its approximately 95,000 citizens live in poverty. 

But this exceptional historic town is representative of a phenomenon happening in small towns across the United States. It’s local daily newspaper, The Standard-Times, has been bought by Gannett, a hedge fund-backed news conglomerate and stripped down to barebones. It’s become what’s known as a “ghost newspaper," called such for its trimmed down staff and scant original reporting. The mayor of New Bedford was quoted in the New York Times saying: “It used to be that I couldn’t sneeze without having to explain myself. Now, I have to beg people to show up at my press conferences. Please, ask me questions!” 

A year and a half ago, a small group of concerned community members gathered to try to address this dearth of local journalism. The result? A new, non-profit news outlet called The New Bedford Light. Brooke talks to Barbara Roessner, the founding editor of The New Bedford Light, about the challenges facing the fledgling outlet and the benefits that local journalism brings to the civic health of a community. 


Behind Closed Doors

New reports show that the Trump Department of Justice spied on reporters. But that’s just a small part of a much longer story, going back decades. This week, we examine when and why the government surveils journalists. And, following their first meeting this week, is there a headline beyond “Putin and Biden talked to each other?” Plus, on the 50th anniversary of the Pentagon Papers, how the story’s biggest lessons were lost to time. 

1. Alexey Kovalev [@Alexey__Kovalev], investigative editor at Meduza, on what Russian and American media got right and wrong about Putin and Biden's first meeting. Listen.

2. Matt Apuzzo [@mattapuzzo], New York Times reporter, on how the government seizes journalists’ records and chills speech under guise of protecting national security. Listen.

3. Kurt Andersen [@KBAndersen], host of Nixon At Warsays Watergate might have been Nixon's downfall, but the Vietnam War was his real undoing. Listen.

4. The late Les Gelb, the man who supervised the team that compiled the Pentagon Papers, explains how the media misinterpreted the documents. Listen.

Music:

Tymperturbably Blue by Duke Ellington
Fergus River Roundelay by Gerry O’Beirne
Whispers of a Heavenly Death by John Zorn
Trance Dance by John Zorn
Middlesex Times by Michael Andrews
Tribute to America (Medley) by The O’Neill Brothers Group

New reports show that the Trump Department of Justice spied on reporters. But that’s just a small part of a much longer story, going back decades. This week, we examine when and why the government surveils journalists. And, following their first meeting this week, is there a headline beyond “Putin and Biden talked to each other?” Plus, on the 50th anniversary of the Pentagon Papers, how the story’s biggest lessons were lost to time. 

1. Alexey Kovalev [@Alexey__Kovalev], investigative editor at Meduza, on what Russian and American media got right and wrong about Putin and Biden's first meeting. Listen.

2. Matt Apuzzo [@mattapuzzo], New York Times reporter, on how the government seizes journalists’ records and chills speech under guise of protecting national security. Listen.

3. Kurt Andersen [@KBAndersen], host of Nixon At Warsays Watergate might have been Nixon's downfall, but the Vietnam War was his real undoing. Listen.

4. The late Les Gelb, the man who supervised the team that compiled the Pentagon Papers, explains how the media misinterpreted the documents. Listen.

Music:

Tymperturbably Blue by Duke EllingtonFergus River Roundelay by Gerry O’BeirneWhispers of a Heavenly Death by John ZornTrance Dance by John ZornMiddlesex Times by Michael AndrewsTribute to America (Medley) by The O’Neill Brothers Group


From Public Shaming To Cancel Culture

Over the last couple of weeks we’ve taken on some of the battles in the ongoing culture war. The granddaddy of them all is cancel culture. Michael Hobbes, co-host of the podcast You’re Wrong About, told us that there isn’t a situation that has been labeled a cancellation that couldn’t benefit from a more accurate word to describe what had happened. So and so was fired...such and such was met with disagreement on twitter. Cancel need not apply.

He also explained on his own podcast with Sarah Marshall that there were a few pivotal events along the way that led to the term cancel culture becoming the moral panic that it is today. One of them was the 2015 release of Jon Ronson’s book “So You’ve Been Publicly Shamed.” A series of case studies of people who were canceled before we started using that word. 

 

Over the last couple of weeks we’ve taken on some of the battles in the ongoing culture war. The granddaddy of them all is cancel culture. Michael Hobbes, co-host of the podcast You’re Wrong About, told us that there isn’t a situation that has been labeled a cancellation that couldn’t benefit from a more accurate word to describe what had happened. So and so was fired...such and such was met with disagreement on twitter. Cancel need not apply.

He also explained on his own podcast with Sarah Marshall that there were a few pivotal events along the way that led to the term cancel culture becoming the moral panic that it is today. One of them was the 2015 release of Jon Ronson’s book “So You’ve Been Publicly Shamed.” A series of case studies of people who were canceled before we started using that word. 

 


Little Fires Everywhere

Trump may be out of office, but the GOP's campaign to limit voting rights, free speech, and reproductive rights is still in full-swing. On this week’s On the Media, where do you focus your attention when there are little fires everywhere? Plus, a look at a chilling new look for America: the "authoritarian mullet" — culture war in the front, the destruction of democracy in the back. And, how critical race theory became a right-wing bogeyman. 

1. Jay Rosen [@jayrosen_nyu], professor of journalism at New York University and media critic for PressThink, on why journalists should still be in "emergency mode." Listen.

2. Jake Grumbach [@JakeMGrumbach], assistant professor of political science at the University of Washington, on how Republican state lawmakers reduce "democratic performance" when they take power. Listen.

3. Ryan P. Delaney [@rpatrickdelaney], education reporter for St. Louis Public Radio, on a Missouri school district's debate over Critical Race Theory, and Adam Harris [@AdamHSays], staff writer at The Atlantic, on how conservatives constructed the critical race theory boogeyman. Listen.

Music:

Little Motel - Modest Mouse 

Auld Lang Syne  - Salsa Celtica 

L’Illusionista - Nino Rota  

Paperback Writer - Quartetto d'Archi Dell'orchestra Sinfonica di Milano Guiseppe Verdi

Milestones - Bill Evans Trio

Going Home - Hank Jones & Charlie Haden  (post at 2:24 or 3:07)

Quizás, Quizás, Quizás - Ramón Solé (back time this)

In the Bath - Randy Newman

Trump may be out of office, but the GOP's campaign to limit voting rights, free speech, and reproductive rights is still in full-swing. On this week’s On the Media, where do you focus your attention when there are little fires everywhere? Plus, a look at a chilling new look for America: the "authoritarian mullet" — culture war in the front, the destruction of democracy in the back. And, how critical race theory became a right-wing bogeyman. 

1. Jay Rosen [@jayrosen_nyu], professor of journalism at New York University and media critic for PressThink, on why journalists should still be in "emergency mode." Listen.

2. Jake Grumbach [@JakeMGrumbach], assistant professor of political science at the University of Washington, on how Republican state lawmakers reduce "democratic performance" when they take power. Listen.

3. Ryan P. Delaney [@rpatrickdelaney], education reporter for St. Louis Public Radio, on a Missouri school district's debate over Critical Race Theory, and Adam Harris [@AdamHSays], staff writer at The Atlantic, on how conservatives constructed the critical race theory boogeyman. Listen.

Music:

Little Motel - Modest Mouse 

Auld Lang Syne  - Salsa Celtica 

L’Illusionista - Nino Rota  

Paperback Writer - Quartetto d'Archi Dell'orchestra Sinfonica di Milano Guiseppe Verdi

Milestones - Bill Evans Trio

Going Home - Hank Jones & Charlie Haden  (post at 2:24 or 3:07)

Quizás, Quizás, Quizás - Ramón Solé (back time this)

In the Bath - Randy Newman


One of the Most Influential Black Journalists You Probably Never Heard Of

Record numbers of journalists formed unions over the last few years, surpassing data even from the surges of labor organizing in the 1930s. And the pandemic didn't slow the trend. Just this week journalists at the Atlantic announced that they were forming a union affiliated with the News Guild.

But even with all the recent coverage, it's unlikely that you've heard of the very first person to lead a journalism unionization effort. Marvel Cooke was a crusading Black journalist who organized one of the first chapters of the Newspaper Guild...and she reported on labor and race until she was pushed out of journalism by redbaiting.  

Lewis Raven Wallace is the creator of The View from Somewhere, a podcast about journalism with a purpose, and author of the book The View from Somewhere: Undoing the Myth of Journalistic Objectivity

For years he’s been researching journalists in U.S. history whose stories haven’t been thoroughly told — because they were marginalized by a structure that didn’t see them as “real” “objective” reporters. And that’s what happened to Marvel Cooke...

Record numbers of journalists formed unions over the last few years, surpassing data even from the surges of labor organizing in the 1930s. And the pandemic didn't slow the trend. Just this week journalists at the Atlantic announced that they were forming a union affiliated with the News Guild.

But even with all the recent coverage, it's unlikely that you've heard of the very first person to lead a journalism unionization effort. Marvel Cooke was a crusading Black journalist who organized one of the first chapters of the Newspaper Guild...and she reported on labor and race until she was pushed out of journalism by redbaiting.  

Lewis Raven Wallace is the creator of The View from Somewhere, a podcast about journalism with a purpose, and author of the book The View from Somewhere: Undoing the Myth of Journalistic Objectivity

For years he’s been researching journalists in U.S. history whose stories haven’t been thoroughly told — because they were marginalized by a structure that didn’t see them as “real” “objective” reporters. And that’s what happened to Marvel Cooke...


Shamed and Confused

After a young Associated Press journalist lost her job last month following online attacks, On the Media considers how bad faith campaigns against the media have become an effective weapon for the far right. Plus, should we cancel the word “cancel”? One journalist argues, yes, and one academic says, no. Plus, the origins of "cancelled" in Black culture. 

1. OTM reporter Micah Loewinger [@MicahLoewinger] on the A.P.'s firing of Emily Wilder, and how newsrooms can learn to respond to right-wing smears without firing valued journalists. Listen

2. Michael Hobbes [@RottenInDenmark], co-host of You're Wrong About, on the anecdotes that fuel "political correctness" and "cancel culture" panics. Listen

3. Erec Smith [@Rhetors_of_York], associate professor of rhetoric and composition at the York College of Pennsylvania, on his experience being "cancelled" within an academic context. Listen

4. Clyde McGrady [@CAMcGrady], features writer for The Washington Post, on the derivation and misappropriation of the word "cancelled." Listen

 

Music from this week's show:

Main Title, Ragtime - Randy Newman
What’s that Sound?  - Thomas Newman
Middlesex Times - Michael Andrews
Bubble Wrap - Thomas Newman
Blues: La Dolce Vita dei Nobili - Nino Rota
Bubble Wrap - Thomas Newman
You Sexy Thing - Hot Chocolate

After a young Associated Press journalist lost her job last month following online attacks, On the Media considers how bad faith campaigns against the media have become an effective weapon for the far right. Plus, should we cancel the word “cancel”? One journalist argues, yes, and one academic says, no. Plus, the origins of "cancelled" in Black culture. 

1. OTM reporter Micah Loewinger [@MicahLoewinger] on the A.P.'s firing of Emily Wilder, and how newsrooms can learn to respond to right-wing smears without firing valued journalists. Listen

2. Michael Hobbes [@RottenInDenmark], co-host of You're Wrong About, on the anecdotes that fuel "political correctness" and "cancel culture" panics. Listen

3. Erec Smith [@Rhetors_of_York], associate professor of rhetoric and composition at the York College of Pennsylvania, on his experience being "cancelled" within an academic context. Listen

4. Clyde McGrady [@CAMcGrady], features writer for The Washington Post, on the derivation and misappropriation of the word "cancelled." Listen

 

Music from this week's show:

Main Title, Ragtime - Randy Newman What’s that Sound?  - Thomas Newman Middlesex Times - Michael AndrewsBubble Wrap - Thomas NewmanBlues: La Dolce Vita dei Nobili - Nino RotaBubble Wrap - Thomas NewmanYou Sexy Thing - Hot Chocolate


OTM Presents: "Blindspot: Tulsa Burning"

On May 31, 1921, Tulsa, Oklahoma’s Greenwood District was a thriving Black residential and business community — a city within a city. By June 1, a white mob, with the support of law enforcement, had reduced it to ashes. And yet the truth about the attack remained a secret to many for nearly a century.

Chief Egunwale Amusan grew up in Tulsa — his grandfather survived the attack — and he’s dedicated his life to sharing the hidden history of what many called “Black Wall Street.” But Dr. Tiffany Crutcher, also a descendant of a survivor, didn’t learn about her family history or the massacre until she was an adult. Together, they’re trying to correct the historical record.  As Greenwood struggles with the effects of white supremacy 100 years later, people there are asking: in this pivotal moment in American history, is it possible to break the cycle of white impunity and Black oppression? Our WNYC colleague KalaLea tells the story. 

This podcast contains descriptions of graphic violence and racially offensive language. This is the first episode of Blindspot: Tulsa Burning, a new series from WNYC Studios and The HISTORY Channel. 

On May 31, 1921, Tulsa, Oklahoma’s Greenwood District was a thriving Black residential and business community — a city within a city. By June 1, a white mob, with the support of law enforcement, had reduced it to ashes. And yet the truth about the attack remained a secret to many for nearly a century.

Chief Egunwale Amusan grew up in Tulsa — his grandfather survived the attack — and he’s dedicated his life to sharing the hidden history of what many called “Black Wall Street.” But Dr. Tiffany Crutcher, also a descendant of a survivor, didn’t learn about her family history or the massacre until she was an adult. Together, they’re trying to correct the historical record.  As Greenwood struggles with the effects of white supremacy 100 years later, people there are asking: in this pivotal moment in American history, is it possible to break the cycle of white impunity and Black oppression? Our WNYC colleague KalaLea tells the story. 

This podcast contains descriptions of graphic violence and racially offensive language. This is the first episode of Blindspot: Tulsa Burning, a new series from WNYC Studios and The HISTORY Channel. 


Not a Perfect Science

COVID-19 deaths in the U.S. are falling and the number of the vaccinated continue to rise, but the pandemic’s harm to our mental health is still beyond measure. This week, On the Media explores how society is describing its pandemic state of mind. Plus, a look at the high-stakes fight to drag science out from behind paywalls.

1. Roxanne Khamsi [@rkhamsi] speaks with Science Magazine staff writer Meredith Wadman [@meredithwadman] on the Global Initiative On Sharing All Influenza Data, known as GISAID. Listen.

2. Roxanne Khamsi [@rkhamsi] speaks with Bloomberg's Justin Fox [@foxjust] and Josh Sommer [@sommerjo] about the movement to make science journals open access. Listen.

3. Roxanne Khamsi [@rkhamsi] speaks with The Cut's Molly Fischer [@mollyhfischer] about the rise of therapy apps. Listen.

4. OTM producer Eloise Blondiau [@eloiseblondiau] with Jerry Useem, Adam Grant [@AdamMGrant], Dr. Laurence Kirmayer, Anne Harrington and Dr. Monnica Williams [@DrMonnica] on naming and soothing our pandemic mental health woes. Listen.

Music from this week's show:

John Zorn — Prelude 4: Diatesseron
Jack Body/Kronos Quartet — Long-Ge
Unknown — Solo Cello Suite No. 1
John Zorn — Night Thoughts
Marcos Ciscar — Time Is Late
Kronos Quartet — Misteriosos
Franck Pourcel — Story Weather

 

COVID-19 deaths in the U.S. are falling and the number of the vaccinated continue to rise, but the pandemic’s harm to our mental health is still beyond measure. This week, On the Media explores how society is describing its pandemic state of mind. Plus, a look at the high-stakes fight to drag science out from behind paywalls.

1. Roxanne Khamsi [@rkhamsi] speaks with Science Magazine staff writer Meredith Wadman [@meredithwadman] on the Global Initiative On Sharing All Influenza Data, known as GISAID. Listen.

2. Roxanne Khamsi [@rkhamsi] speaks with Bloomberg's Justin Fox [@foxjust] and Josh Sommer [@sommerjo] about the movement to make science journals open access. Listen.

3. Roxanne Khamsi [@rkhamsi] speaks with The Cut's Molly Fischer [@mollyhfischer] about the rise of therapy apps. Listen.

4. OTM producer Eloise Blondiau [@eloiseblondiau] with Jerry Useem, Adam Grant [@AdamMGrant], Dr. Laurence Kirmayer, Anne Harrington and Dr. Monnica Williams [@DrMonnica] on naming and soothing our pandemic mental health woes. Listen.

Music from this week's show:

John Zorn — Prelude 4: DiatesseronJack Body/Kronos Quartet — Long-GeUnknown — Solo Cello Suite No. 1John Zorn — Night ThoughtsMarcos Ciscar — Time Is LateKronos Quartet — MisteriososFranck Pourcel — Story Weather

 


I Would Prefer Not To

We live in a time of sensory overload and overwhelm. A global pandemic, an ongoing climate catastrophe, and online discourse run amok. And a sense that we are powerless to do anything about any of it. In response, artist and writer Jenny Odell has a curious prescription: do nothing. In her 2019 book How to Do Nothing: Resisting the Attention Economy, Odell advocates for occupying a space of "critical refusal": rejecting the terms of engagement as they're handed down to us and removing ourselves from the clamor and undue influence of public opinion. With lessons from ecology, art, history and beyond, Odell tells Brooke about her own journey toward more context and contemplation, and offers listeners an alternative way to think and be in relation to an overstimulating world.

This segment is from our July 12th, 2019 program, Uncomfortably Numb.

We live in a time of sensory overload and overwhelm. A global pandemic, an ongoing climate catastrophe, and online discourse run amok. And a sense that we are powerless to do anything about any of it. In response, artist and writer Jenny Odell has a curious prescription: do nothing. In her 2019 book How to Do Nothing: Resisting the Attention Economy, Odell advocates for occupying a space of "critical refusal": rejecting the terms of engagement as they're handed down to us and removing ourselves from the clamor and undue influence of public opinion. With lessons from ecology, art, history and beyond, Odell tells Brooke about her own journey toward more context and contemplation, and offers listeners an alternative way to think and be in relation to an overstimulating world.

This segment is from our July 12th, 2019 program, Uncomfortably Numb.


How It Started, How It's Going

A year and a half into the pandemic, we still don’t know how it began. This week, a look at how investigating COVID-19’s origins became a political and scientific minefield. Plus, how a mistake of microns caused so much confusion about how COVID spreads. And, making sense of the "metaverse."

1. Alina Chan [@Ayjchan], postdoctoral researcher at the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard, on the lack of investigation into COVID's origins. Listen.

2. Megan Molteni [@MeganMolteni], science writer at Stat News, on the 60-year-old mix-up that helped COVID-10 kill. Listen.

3. Gene Park [@GenePark], gaming reporter for The Washington Post, on what the "metaverse" really means. Listen.

4. Margaret Atwood [@MargaretAtwood], novelist, on submitting a manuscript to a library of the future. Listen.

Music from this week's show:

Sacred Oracle - John Zorn
Eye Surgery - Thomas Newman   
The Old House  - Marcos Ciscar 
Tomorrow Never Knows -  Quartetto d’ Archi Dell'orchestra Sinfonica di Milano Giuseppe Verdi 
72 Degrees and Sunny - Thomas Newman
Viderunt Omnes - Kronos Quartet
Once in a Lifetime - Talking Heads

A year and a half into the pandemic, we still don’t know how it began. This week, a look at how investigating COVID-19’s origins became a political and scientific minefield. Plus, how a mistake of microns caused so much confusion about how COVID spreads. And, making sense of the "metaverse."

1. Alina Chan [@Ayjchan], postdoctoral researcher at the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard, on the lack of investigation into COVID's origins. Listen.

2. Megan Molteni [@MeganMolteni], science writer at Stat News, on the 60-year-old mix-up that helped COVID-10 kill. Listen.

3. Gene Park [@GenePark], gaming reporter for The Washington Post, on what the "metaverse" really means. Listen.

4. Margaret Atwood [@MargaretAtwood], novelist, on submitting a manuscript to a library of the future. Listen.

Music from this week's show:

Sacred Oracle - John ZornEye Surgery - Thomas Newman   The Old House  - Marcos Ciscar Tomorrow Never Knows -  Quartetto d’ Archi Dell'orchestra Sinfonica di Milano Giuseppe Verdi 72 Degrees and Sunny - Thomas NewmanViderunt Omnes - Kronos QuartetOnce in a Lifetime - Talking Heads


The Ghosts of the Rust Belt

The old US Steel building in Pittsburgh, PA is a black monolith, symbol and fortress of industrial power, soaring above the confluence of three mighty rivers. But its vista has changed. Gone is the golden, sulfurous haze. Gone are the belching smokestacks, blazing furnaces and slag-lined river valleys snaking along Appalachian foothills. The industry that sustained a region, girded the world’s infrastructure and underwrote a now-vanished way of life has long since crossed oceans. Steel City is now Healthcare City, representing almost 1 in 4 jobs in the region. Some 92,000 of them work for just one employer, the sprawling, omnivorous University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, whose logo now adorns the black-skyscraper sentinel of the Three Rivers.

But this is not just a case of a clean economy displacing a filthy one. To Gabriel Winant, author of The Next Shift: The Fall of Industry and the Rise of Health Care in Rust Belt America, the story of economic transformation in the Rust Belt is the story of disparity — of wealth, income and political power — that didn't vanish when the smokestacks came down. 

In this special hour, Winant tells Bob the real story behind the economic transformation that took place in the rust belt, and what it tells us about our economy, and our future, more broadly.

Music from this week's show:

Flugufrelsarinn — Kronos Quartet
Steel Mill Blues — Joe Glazer
Liquid Spear Waltz — Michael Andrews
Sacred Oracle — John Zorn (feat. Bill Frisell, Carol Emanuel & Kenny Wollesen)
Human Nature — Vijay Iyer
Pittsburgh—Joe Glazer

 

The old US Steel building in Pittsburgh, PA is a black monolith, symbol and fortress of industrial power, soaring above the confluence of three mighty rivers. But its vista has changed. Gone is the golden, sulfurous haze. Gone are the belching smokestacks, blazing furnaces and slag-lined river valleys snaking along Appalachian foothills. The industry that sustained a region, girded the world’s infrastructure and underwrote a now-vanished way of life has long since crossed oceans. Steel City is now Healthcare City, representing almost 1 in 4 jobs in the region. Some 92,000 of them work for just one employer, the sprawling, omnivorous University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, whose logo now adorns the black-skyscraper sentinel of the Three Rivers.

But this is not just a case of a clean economy displacing a filthy one. To Gabriel Winant, author of The Next Shift: The Fall of Industry and the Rise of Health Care in Rust Belt America, the story of economic transformation in the Rust Belt is the story of disparity — of wealth, income and political power — that didn't vanish when the smokestacks came down. 

In this special hour, Winant tells Bob the real story behind the economic transformation that took place in the rust belt, and what it tells us about our economy, and our future, more broadly.

Music from this week's show:

Flugufrelsarinn — Kronos QuartetSteel Mill Blues — Joe GlazerLiquid Spear Waltz — Michael AndrewsSacred Oracle — John Zorn (feat. Bill Frisell, Carol Emanuel & Kenny Wollesen)Human Nature — Vijay IyerPittsburgh—Joe Glazer

 


The Price of a Free Market

Last Friday, the Department of Labor released its monthly jobs report, and the numbers were...disappointing. Expectations had rested around adding approximately a million jobs, and April yielded a meager 266,000. In a rare moment of genuine surprise in Washington, some economists said they didn’t know the exact cause of the drop. But for weeks prior to the report, the press had offered stories across the country with a simple explanation: there are jobs, but no one wants them. The great labor shortage. And as anecdotes of fast food chains begging for workers and local restaurants limiting hours poured in, so did theories of an alleged culprit keeping potential employees away: covid-era unemployment benefits were depressing America’s work ethic. Bob spoke with Heidi Shierholzdirector of policy at the Economic Policy Institute, and former chief economist for the Department of Labor during the Obama administration, to find out what the numbers can really tell us, and what they can't.

Last Friday, the Department of Labor released its monthly jobs report, and the numbers were...disappointing. Expectations had rested around adding approximately a million jobs, and April yielded a meager 266,000. In a rare moment of genuine surprise in Washington, some economists said they didn’t know the exact cause of the drop. But for weeks prior to the report, the press had offered stories across the country with a simple explanation: there are jobs, but no one wants them. The great labor shortage. And as anecdotes of fast food chains begging for workers and local restaurants limiting hours poured in, so did theories of an alleged culprit keeping potential employees away: covid-era unemployment benefits were depressing America’s work ethic. Bob spoke with Heidi Shierholz, director of policy at the Economic Policy Institute, and former chief economist for the Department of Labor during the Obama administration, to find out what the numbers can really tell us, and what they can't.


Trans* Formations

There’s a long history of campaigns to “save the children,” whether they need saving or not. This week, On the Media looks at the latest: an effort to block access to medical care for trans kids. Plus, how years of Hollywood representation — from The Crying Game to Transparent — have shaped the public’s ideas about trans people.

1. Katelyn Burns [@transscribe], freelance journalist and co-host of the "Cancel Me, Daddy!" podcast, on the the politics and propaganda behind the recent wave of anti-trans legislation, and Jack Turban [@jack_turban], fellow in child and adolescent psychiatry at Stanford University School of Medicine, on what the science tells us about gender affirming care in adolescence. Listen.

2. Jules Gill-Petersen [@gp_jls], professor of english and gender, sexuality, and women's studies at the University of Pittsburgh and author of Histories of the Transgender Child, on the long history of trans children. Listen. 

3. Imara Jones [@imarajones], creator of TransLash media and host of the TransLash podcast, on how trans visibility paves the way toward trans liberation. Listen.

4. Sam Feder [@SamFederFilm], director of the Netflix documentary “Disclosure," on how Hollywood representations of trans lives have shaped the public understanding of who trans people are. Listen.

 

Music:

Prelude 7: Sign and Sigil - John Zorn

Totem Ancestor - John Cage

Blackbird - Brad Mehldau

Harpsichord - Four Tet

Peace Piece - Bill Evans - Kronos Quartet

Black Is the Color / Theme from "Spartacus" - Fred Hersch

After the Fact - John Scofield

There’s a long history of campaigns to “save the children,” whether they need saving or not. This week, On the Media looks at the latest: an effort to block access to medical care for trans kids. Plus, how years of Hollywood representation — from The Crying Game to Transparent — have shaped the public’s ideas about trans people.

1. Katelyn Burns [@transscribe], freelance journalist and co-host of the "Cancel Me, Daddy!" podcast, on the the politics and propaganda behind the recent wave of anti-trans legislation, and Jack Turban [@jack_turban], fellow in child and adolescent psychiatry at Stanford University School of Medicine, on what the science tells us about gender affirming care in adolescence. Listen.

2. Jules Gill-Petersen [@gp_jls], professor of english and gender, sexuality, and women's studies at the University of Pittsburgh and author of Histories of the Transgender Child, on the long history of trans children. Listen. 

3. Imara Jones [@imarajones], creator of TransLash media and host of the TransLash podcast, on how trans visibility paves the way toward trans liberation. Listen.

4. Sam Feder [@SamFederFilm], director of the Netflix documentary “Disclosure," on how Hollywood representations of trans lives have shaped the public understanding of who trans people are. Listen.

 

Music:

Prelude 7: Sign and Sigil - John Zorn

Totem Ancestor - John Cage

Blackbird - Brad Mehldau

Harpsichord - Four Tet

Peace Piece - Bill Evans - Kronos Quartet

Black Is the Color / Theme from "Spartacus" - Fred Hersch

After the Fact - John Scofield


Still Processing the MOVE Bombing, 36 Years Later

Last Friday, remains of at least one victim of the infamous 1985 MOVE bombing were turned over to a Philadelphia funeral home, capping more than a week of confusion and re-opened wounds. MOVE members claim the remains were those of 14-year-old Tree Africa and 12-year-old Delisha Africa, among the five children and six adults killed 36 years ago this month after an anti-government, pro-environment, Black liberation group called MOVE defied arrest warrants and barricaded themselves in a West Philadelphia rowhouse. On May 13, 1985, C-4 explosives dropped on that home by Philadelphia police led to a fire that destroyed 61 homes in a predominantly Black neighborhood. Though consciousness of the bombing seems to have grown in recent years, when native Philadelphian and NPR correspondent Gene Demby reported on the 30th anniversary of the bombing back in 2015, he got a reaction he wasn't expecting: much of his audience hadn't heard of it before. 

Last Friday, remains of at least one victim of the infamous 1985 MOVE bombing were turned over to a Philadelphia funeral home, capping more than a week of confusion and re-opened wounds. MOVE members claim the remains were those of 14-year-old Tree Africa and 12-year-old Delisha Africa, among the five children and six adults killed 36 years ago this month after an anti-government, pro-environment, Black liberation group called MOVE defied arrest warrants and barricaded themselves in a West Philadelphia rowhouse. On May 13, 1985, C-4 explosives dropped on that home by Philadelphia police led to a fire that destroyed 61 homes in a predominantly Black neighborhood. Though consciousness of the bombing seems to have grown in recent years, when native Philadelphian and NPR correspondent Gene Demby reported on the 30th anniversary of the bombing back in 2015, he got a reaction he wasn't expecting: much of his audience hadn't heard of it before. 


War of the Words

This week we take a close look at how the words we choose can unknowingly condemn people caught up in the criminal justice system. Plus, the costs and complications of working as a journalist while incarcerated. And, the overlooked, self-trained women journalists of the Vietnam War.

1. Brooke tracks the evolution of language in the early days of Biden's presidency. Listen.

2. Akiba Solomon [@akibasolomon], senior editor at The Marshall Project, explains how terms like "inmate" and "offender" can distract, dehumanize, and mislead, and why "people-first" language is more appropriate for journalists. Listen.

3. John J. Lennon [@johnjlennon1], contributing writer at The Marshall Project and contributing editor Esquire, tells us what it's like to read and report the news while inside prison. Listen.

4. Elizabeth Becker, author of You Don't Belong Here, on how women journalists covered the Vietnam War in groundbreaking ways, and yet were forgotten by history. Listen.

Music from this week's show:

Tilliboyo (“Sunset”) — Kronos Quartet
Bewitched, Bothered and Bewildered — Brad Mehldau  
The Butterfly — The Bothy Band
Clonycavan Man — Gerry O’Beirne
John’s Book Of Alleged Dances  — Kronos Quartet
Carmen Fantasy —  Anderson & Row

This week we take a close look at how the words we choose can unknowingly condemn people caught up in the criminal justice system. Plus, the costs and complications of working as a journalist while incarcerated. And, the overlooked, self-trained women journalists of the Vietnam War.

1. Brooke tracks the evolution of language in the early days of Biden's presidency. Listen.

2. Akiba Solomon [@akibasolomon], senior editor at The Marshall Project, explains how terms like "inmate" and "offender" can distract, dehumanize, and mislead, and why "people-first" language is more appropriate for journalists. Listen.

3. John J. Lennon [@johnjlennon1], contributing writer at The Marshall Project and contributing editor Esquire, tells us what it's like to read and report the news while inside prison. Listen.

4. Elizabeth Becker, author of You Don't Belong Here, on how women journalists covered the Vietnam War in groundbreaking ways, and yet were forgotten by history. Listen.

Music from this week's show:

Tilliboyo (“Sunset”) — Kronos QuartetBewitched, Bothered and Bewildered — Brad Mehldau   The Butterfly — The Bothy BandClonycavan Man — Gerry O’BeirneJohn’s Book Of Alleged Dances  — Kronos QuartetCarmen Fantasy —  Anderson & Row


It's Gonna Be May Day

International Workers' Day is celebrated with rallies and protests all over the world on May 1, but it's not a big deal in the United States. Back in 2018 , Brooke spoke with Donna Haverty-Stacke of Hunter College, CUNY about the American origin of May Day — and about how it has come to be forgotten. The first national turnout for worker's rights in the U.S. was on May 1, 1886; contrary to what you may have 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 1, 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 (in 2018) sings "Into The Streets May First," a never-before-professionally-recorded 1935 Aaron Copland anthem:

  

International Workers' Day is celebrated with rallies and protests all over the world on May 1, but it's not a big deal in the United States. Back in 2018 , Brooke spoke with Donna Haverty-Stacke of Hunter College, CUNY about the American origin of May Day — and about how it has come to be forgotten. The first national turnout for worker's rights in the U.S. was on May 1, 1886; contrary to what you may have 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 1, 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 (in 2018) sings "Into The Streets May First," a never-before-professionally-recorded 1935 Aaron Copland anthem:

  


Not Ready For That Conversation

A jury has found Derek Chauvin guilty in the case that sparked a historic wave of protests last summer. This week we examine how fears over those protests are being channeled into restrictive new legislation across the country. And, what it’s like to drive the Mars rover from your childhood bedroom. Plus, a former child actor grapples with how his character defined him.

1. Tami Abdollah [@latams], national correspondent for USA Today, on how Republican-controlled legislatures across the country have been introducing bills to criminalize protests — or as they put it, to stop the rioting. Listen.

2. Brendan Chamberlain-Simon, a robotics technologist at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, explains what it's like to live on Mars Time, and the questions that led him to space. Avi Loeb, Frank B. Baird, Jr., Professor of Science at Harvard University, makes a compelling case for intelligent life beyond Earth. Listen.

3. OTM Reporter Micah Loewinger [@micahloewinger] presents the case of Spencer Fox, the former child actor who played Dash in the first Incredibles film, but not the second. Listen.

Music from this week's show:

Equinox - John Coltrane
Night Thoughts - John Zorn
72 Degrees and Sunny - Thomas Newman
Horizon 12.2 - Thomas Newman
Eye Surgery - Thomas Newman
The Glory Days - Michael Giacchino

A jury has found Derek Chauvin guilty in the case that sparked a historic wave of protests last summer. This week we examine how fears over those protests are being channeled into restrictive new legislation across the country. And, what it’s like to drive the Mars rover from your childhood bedroom. Plus, a former child actor grapples with how his character defined him.

1. Tami Abdollah [@latams], national correspondent for USA Today, on how Republican-controlled legislatures across the country have been introducing bills to criminalize protests — or as they put it, to stop the rioting. Listen.

2. Brendan Chamberlain-Simon, a robotics technologist at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, explains what it's like to live on Mars Time, and the questions that led him to space. Avi Loeb, Frank B. Baird, Jr., Professor of Science at Harvard University, makes a compelling case for intelligent life beyond Earth. Listen.

3. OTM Reporter Micah Loewinger [@micahloewinger] presents the case of Spencer Fox, the former child actor who played Dash in the first Incredibles film, but not the second. Listen.

Music from this week's show:

Equinox - John ColtraneNight Thoughts - John Zorn72 Degrees and Sunny - Thomas NewmanHorizon 12.2 - Thomas NewmanEye Surgery - Thomas NewmanThe Glory Days - Michael Giacchino


A Little-Known Statute Compels Medical Research Transparency. Compliance Is Pretty Shabby.

Evidence-based medicine requires just that: evidence. Access to the collective pool of knowledge produced by clinical trials is what allows researchers to safely and effectively design future studies. It's what allows doctors to make the most informed decisions for their patients.

Since 2007, researchers have been required by law to publish the findings of any clinical trial with human subjects within a year of the trial's conclusion. Over a decade later, even the country's most well-renown research institutions sport poor reporting records. This week, Bob spoke with Charles Piller, an investigative journalist at Science Magazine who's been documenting this dismal state of affairs since 2015. He recently published an op-ed in the New York Times urging President Biden to make good on his 2016 "promise" to start withholding funds to force compliance. 


You Better Work!

From the Johnson & Johnson pause to talk of “break-through cases” among the already-vaccinated, we’re facing an onslaught of dispiriting and confusing vaccine news. On this week’s On The Media, a guide to separating the facts from the noise. Plus, why pro-labor journalists got the story of an Amazon warehouse union drive so wrong. And, how media coverage of labor movements has morphed over the past century.

1. Nsikan Akpan [@MoNscience], health and science editor at WNYC, and Kai Kupferschmidt [@kakape], contributing correspondent at Science Magazine, on how best to consume the non-stop vaccine news. Listen.

2. Jane McAlevey [@rsgexp], labor organizer and senior policy fellow at the University of California at Berkeley’s Labor Center, on how the mood in Bessemer, Alabama turned from optimism to defeat. Listen.

3. Chris Martin [@chrismartin100], professor of digital journalism at the University of Northern Iowa, on the historical devolution of the labor beat. Listen.

Music from this week's show:

Fallen Leaves  - Marcos Ciscar 

Let’s Face The Music & Dance - Harry Roy & His Orchestra

From the Johnson & Johnson pause to talk of “break-through cases” among the already-vaccinated, we’re facing an onslaught of dispiriting and confusing vaccine news. On this week’s On The Media, a guide to separating the facts from the noise. Plus, why pro-labor journalists got the story of an Amazon warehouse union drive so wrong. And, how media coverage of labor movements has morphed over the past century.

1. Nsikan Akpan [@MoNscience], health and science editor at WNYC, and Kai Kupferschmidt [@kakape], contributing correspondent at Science Magazine, on how best to consume the non-stop vaccine news. Listen.

2. Jane McAlevey [@rsgexp], labor organizer and senior policy fellow at the University of California at Berkeley’s Labor Center, on how the mood in Bessemer, Alabama turned from optimism to defeat. Listen.

3. Chris Martin [@chrismartin100], professor of digital journalism at the University of Northern Iowa, on the historical devolution of the labor beat. Listen.

Music from this week's show:

Fallen Leaves  - Marcos Ciscar 

Let’s Face The Music & Dance - Harry Roy & His Orchestra


On the Inside Looking Out

The past year most of us were awash in a news cycle driven by the pandemic. Daily we grappled with infection data, vaccine updates, social restrictions, and public officials trying to balance fatigue, facts, and safety. But there are some in the country cut off from the deluge, offered instead, merely a trickle.

Obviously the American prison system wasn’t built with a pandemic in mind — with inadequate spacing for quarantine, cleaning supplies, and access to healthcare, but the pandemic has focused a brighter light on decades-old issues surrounding incarceration. Including access to information about news and policies that could be matters of life and death. John J. Lennon has been especially concerned, he’s written about prison life under Covid in the New York Times Magazine and he’s contributing writer for the Marshall Project, contributing editor at Esquire, and an adviser to the Prison Journalism Project. He’s also serving an aggregate sentence of 28 years to life at Sullivan Correctional Facility in New York. That accounts for the quality of the phone line when he spoke to Brooke this week.



 

The past year most of us were awash in a news cycle driven by the pandemic. Daily we grappled with infection data, vaccine updates, social restrictions, and public officials trying to balance fatigue, facts, and safety. But there are some in the country cut off from the deluge, offered instead, merely a trickle.

Obviously the American prison system wasn’t built with a pandemic in mind — with inadequate spacing for quarantine, cleaning supplies, and access to healthcare, but the pandemic has focused a brighter light on decades-old issues surrounding incarceration. Including access to information about news and policies that could be matters of life and death. John J. Lennon has been especially concerned, he’s written about prison life under Covid in the New York Times Magazine and he’s contributing writer for the Marshall Project, contributing editor at Esquire, and an adviser to the Prison Journalism Project. He’s also serving an aggregate sentence of 28 years to life at Sullivan Correctional Facility in New York. That accounts for the quality of the phone line when he spoke to Brooke this week.

 


Broken Promise

With Congress set to consider bills next week that could set the future of Puerto Rican self-determination, we consider how a 70-year-old promise to decolonize the island keeps getting broken. Plus, how Puerto Ricans notched a hugely symbolic victory over the U.S. — during the 2004 Olympics.

1. Yarimar Bonilla [@yarimarbonilla], political anthropologist at Hunter College, examines the afterlife of Puerto Rico's political experiment. Listen.

2. Julio Ricardo Varela [@julito77], co-host of In the Thick and editorial director at Futuro Media, on what the showdown between the Puerto Rican and U.S. Olympic basketball teams in 2004 meant to him then and now. Listen.

Music:

We Insist by Zoe Keating
YUMAVISION by ÌFÉ
Malphino by Ototoa

La Brega is a podcast series hosted by OTM producer/reporter Alana Casanova-Burgess. The series uses narrative storytelling and investigative journalism to reflect and reveal how la brega has defined so many aspects of life in Puerto Rico, and is available in English and Spanish. 

With Congress set to consider bills next week that could set the future of Puerto Rican self-determination, we consider how a 70-year-old promise to decolonize the island keeps getting broken. Plus, how Puerto Ricans notched a hugely symbolic victory over the U.S. — during the 2004 Olympics.

1. Yarimar Bonilla [@yarimarbonilla], political anthropologist at Hunter College, examines the afterlife of Puerto Rico's political experiment. Listen.

2. Julio Ricardo Varela [@julito77], co-host of In the Thick and editorial director at Futuro Media, on what the showdown between the Puerto Rican and U.S. Olympic basketball teams in 2004 meant to him then and now. Listen.

Music:

We Insist by Zoe KeatingYUMAVISION by ÌFÉMalphino by Ototoa

La Brega is a podcast series hosted by OTM producer/reporter Alana Casanova-Burgess. The series uses narrative storytelling and investigative journalism to reflect and reveal how la brega has defined so many aspects of life in Puerto Rico, and is available in English and Spanish


SLAPP Un-Happy

For over four years, Reveal, an award-winning program from the Center for Investigative Reporting, was embroiled in a multimillion-dollar libel suit. Planet Aid, a non-profit known for clothing collection, had sued the podcast over an intensive two-year investigation that "tied the charity to an alleged cult and raised significant questions about whether the funds from the U.S. and other governments actually were reaching the people they were intended to help." Two weeks ago, a judge in California dismissed the case. Here's the judge's full ruling.

Despite being a fairly straightforward SLAPP casethe case required dozens of reporter hours that took away from crucial reporting work—the newsroom only managed to stay afloat long enough to fight the suit because of generous pro-bono support. This week, Bob spoke to Victoria Baranetsky, general counsel at Reveal, about what small newsrooms stand to lose in court battles with wealthy public figures and organizations.

EDITOR'S NOTE: After publication, we were contacted by a PR firm representing Planet Aid. They took issue with our characterization of Reveal’s reporting on “abuse of US Foreign Aid by the charity and its subcontractors.” Although the Reveal series reported on Planet Aid’s use of grant money, following a two-year investigation, and the judge dismissed Planet Aid’s lawsuit with prejudice under California’s anti-SLAPP statute, we acknowledge, at the request of Planet Aid, that the judge also held in the recent ruling (full decision available above) that Planet Aid had demonstrated that a number of specific factual assertions made by the Center of Investigative Reporting presented triable issues of fact. While Planet Aid failed to respond to Reveal's repeated requests for comment prior to publication, Planet Aid reached out to the Center of Investigative Reporting prior to filing its lawsuit asking for a retraction and correction.

 

 

 

For over four years, Reveal, an award-winning program from the Center for Investigative Reporting, was embroiled in a multimillion-dollar libel suit. Planet Aid, a non-profit known for clothing collection, had sued the podcast over an intensive two-year investigation that "tied the charity to an alleged cult and raised significant questions about whether the funds from the U.S. and other governments actually were reaching the people they were intended to help." Two weeks ago, a judge in California dismissed the case. Here's the judge's full ruling.

Despite being a fairly straightforward SLAPP case—the case required dozens of reporter hours that took away from crucial reporting work—the newsroom only managed to stay afloat long enough to fight the suit because of generous pro-bono support. This week, Bob spoke to Victoria Baranetsky, general counsel at Reveal, about what small newsrooms stand to lose in court battles with wealthy public figures and organizations.

EDITOR'S NOTE: After publication, we were contacted by a PR firm representing Planet Aid. They took issue with our characterization of Reveal’s reporting on “abuse of US Foreign Aid by the charity and its subcontractors.” Although the Reveal series reported on Planet Aid’s use of grant money, following a two-year investigation, and the judge dismissed Planet Aid’s lawsuit with prejudice under California’s anti-SLAPP statute, we acknowledge, at the request of Planet Aid, that the judge also held in the recent ruling (full decision available above) that Planet Aid had demonstrated that a number of specific factual assertions made by the Center of Investigative Reporting presented triable issues of fact. While Planet Aid failed to respond to Reveal's repeated requests for comment prior to publication, Planet Aid reached out to the Center of Investigative Reporting prior to filing its lawsuit asking for a retraction and correction.

 

 

 


The End Of The Promises

La Brega is a seven-part podcast series hosted by OTM producer/reporter Alana Casanova-Burgess. The series uses narrative storytelling and investigative journalism to reflect and reveal how la brega has defined so many aspects of life in Puerto Rico, and is available in English and Spanish. This is episode seven.

Puerto Rico’s relationship with the United States has long been a subject of intense debate. In 1952, Puerto Rico adopted a new status that was meant to decolonize the island. In English, we call it a “Commonwealth.” In Spanish, it’s called “Estado Libre Asociado”, or ELA. Puerto Ricans were promised for decades that this unique status meant they had a special kind of sovereignty while maintaining ties to the US. Now, a series of recent crises on the island have led many to question that promise, and to use the word “colony” more and more. In this episode, political anthropologist and El Nuevo Día columnist Yarimar Bonilla looks for those who  still believe in the ELA, and asks what happens when a political project dies.

You can get more resources for related issues at the Puerto Rico Syllabus website

La Brega is a seven-part podcast series hosted by OTM producer/reporter Alana Casanova-Burgess. The series uses narrative storytelling and investigative journalism to reflect and reveal how la brega has defined so many aspects of life in Puerto Rico, and is available in English and Spanish. This is episode seven.

Puerto Rico’s relationship with the United States has long been a subject of intense debate. In 1952, Puerto Rico adopted a new status that was meant to decolonize the island. In English, we call it a “Commonwealth.” In Spanish, it’s called “Estado Libre Asociado”, or ELA. Puerto Ricans were promised for decades that this unique status meant they had a special kind of sovereignty while maintaining ties to the US. Now, a series of recent crises on the island have led many to question that promise, and to use the word “colony” more and more. In this episode, political anthropologist and El Nuevo Día columnist Yarimar Bonilla looks for those who  still believe in the ELA, and asks what happens when a political project dies.

You can get more resources for related issues at the Puerto Rico Syllabus website


The View From Everywhere

The trial of the former police officer charged in the death of George Floyd has been broadcasting live all this week. This week, we examine what effect the cameras in the court can have on the verdict and on us, watching from home. Plus, how striving for the appearance of journalistic “objectivity” can make newsrooms less diverse, and how trauma informs journalism.

1. Steven Zeitchik [@ZeitchikWaPo], entertainment business reporter at the Washington Post, explains how Court TV became the world’s window into the Derek Chauvin trial. Listen.

2. Ishena Robinson [@ishenarobinson], staff writer at The Root, about the mounting toll of watching Black people lose their lives on camera. Listen.

3. Bruce Shapiro [@dartcenter], executive director of the Dart Center for Journalism and Trauma at Columbia Journalism School, on why trauma shouldn't disqualify reporters from reporting on topics into which they have insight. Listen.

4. Ernest Owens [@mrernestowens], Philadelphia Association of Black Journalists president, about the double-standards facing journalists who have identities or lived experiences that are different from editors who still determine what constitutes "objectivity." Listen.

5. Steve Friess [@stevefriess], editor at Hour Detroit and contributor for Newsweek, looks back at how he covered gay marriage when his own marriage hung in the balance. Listen.

6. Lewis Raven Wallace [@lewispants], author of The View from Somewhere, on why what we call "neutrality" so often reflects the ideological assumptions of the status quo. Listen.

Music from this week's show:

Frail As a Breeze — Erik Friedlander
The Artifact and the Living — Michael Andrews
Night Thoughts — John Zorn

Fallen Leaves — Marcos Ciscar
Middlesex Times — Michael Andrews

Bubble Wrap — Thomas Newman
Carmen Fantasy — Anderson + Row
Tribute to America — The O’Neill Brothers

The trial of the former police officer charged in the death of George Floyd has been broadcasting live all this week. This week, we examine what effect the cameras in the court can have on the verdict and on us, watching from home. Plus, how striving for the appearance of journalistic “objectivity” can make newsrooms less diverse, and how trauma informs journalism.

1. Steven Zeitchik [@ZeitchikWaPo], entertainment business reporter at the Washington Post, explains how Court TV became the world’s window into the Derek Chauvin trial. Listen.

2. Ishena Robinson [@ishenarobinson], staff writer at The Root, about the mounting toll of watching Black people lose their lives on camera. Listen.

3. Bruce Shapiro [@dartcenter], executive director of the Dart Center for Journalism and Trauma at Columbia Journalism School, on why trauma shouldn't disqualify reporters from reporting on topics into which they have insight. Listen.

4. Ernest Owens [@mrernestowens], Philadelphia Association of Black Journalists president, about the double-standards facing journalists who have identities or lived experiences that are different from editors who still determine what constitutes "objectivity." Listen.

5. Steve Friess [@stevefriess], editor at Hour Detroit and contributor for Newsweek, looks back at how he covered gay marriage when his own marriage hung in the balance. Listen.

6. Lewis Raven Wallace [@lewispants], author of The View from Somewhere, on why what we call "neutrality" so often reflects the ideological assumptions of the status quo. Listen.

Music from this week's show:

Frail As a Breeze — Erik Friedlander The Artifact and the Living — Michael AndrewsNight Thoughts — John ZornFallen Leaves — Marcos CiscarMiddlesex Times — Michael Andrews Bubble Wrap — Thomas Newman Carmen Fantasy — Anderson + RowTribute to America — The O’Neill Brothers


"You Don't Belong Here"

Before the Vietnam War there was a law that banned women from reporting on the frontlines of any war for the U.S. When President Johnson refused to officially declare a state of war in Vietnam, an opening appeared: no war, no ban. A handful of pioneering women bought one-way tickets into the battlefield. They had no editors, no health insurance and little or no formal training. This week, Brooke spoke about this time to reporter Elizabeth Becker, formerly a Washington Post war correspondent in Cambodia, NPR's foreign editor and then national security correspondent for the New York Times. Becker is the author of a new book: You Don't Belong Here: How Three Women Rewrote the Story of War.


The Bankruptcy Letters

La Brega is a seven-part podcast series hosted by OTM producer/reporter Alana Casanova-Burgess. The series uses narrative storytelling and investigative journalism to reflect and reveal how la brega has defined so many aspects of life in Puerto Rico, and is available in English and Spanish. This is episode six.

Luis J. Valentín Ortiz from the Centro de Periodismo Investigativo tells a hidden story  from Puerto Rico’s debt crisis, that of the micro-creditors — thousands of low-income retirees and former public employees with claims that the government may never pay, ranging from hundreds to thousands of dollars. As a federal judge prepares to make a decision on whether they’ll get paid, this episode asks: how can the government settle its many debts — not just monetary — with its citizens? 

You can read more about micro-creditors in this piece from CPI.

We also recommend this Radio Ambulante episode, produced by Luis Trelles, for more context about the debt crisis. 

La Brega is a seven-part podcast series hosted by OTM producer/reporter Alana Casanova-Burgess. The series uses narrative storytelling and investigative journalism to reflect and reveal how la brega has defined so many aspects of life in Puerto Rico, and is available in English and Spanish. This is episode six.

Luis J. Valentín Ortiz from the Centro de Periodismo Investigativo tells a hidden story  from Puerto Rico’s debt crisis, that of the micro-creditors — thousands of low-income retirees and former public employees with claims that the government may never pay, ranging from hundreds to thousands of dollars. As a federal judge prepares to make a decision on whether they’ll get paid, this episode asks: how can the government settle its many debts — not just monetary — with its citizens? 

You can read more about micro-creditors in this piece from CPI.

We also recommend this Radio Ambulante episode, produced by Luis Trelles, for more context about the debt crisis. 


How to Lose Friends and Influence People

A so-called surge of migrants at the southern border has caught the attention of immigration reform advocates, conservative trolls, and TV news crews, but alarming headlines may not tell the full story. Plus, a #MeToo reckoning on YouTube has caused a new media empire to crumble. Then, a look at the controversy surrounding the newsletter site Substack, home to "sustainable journalism" and culture war punditry. And, the internet's most innovative observer on the cultivation of her misunderstood beat.

1. Tom K. Wong [@TomWongPhD], founding director of the U.S. Immigration Policy Center, on misleading coverage about the southern border. Listen.

2. Kat Tenbarge [@kattenbarge], digital culture reporter at Insider, and Taylor Lorenz [@TaylorLorenz], tech reporter for The New York Times, on the exploitation behind YouTube's viral prank culture. Listen.

3. Peter Kakfa [@pkafka], senior correspondent at Recode, and Taylor Lorenz [@TaylorLorenz], tech reporter for The New York Times, on the promises and controversies at the heart of Substack. Listen.

4. Taylor Lorenz [@TaylorLorenz], tech reporter for The New York Times, on how she keeps her finger on the internet's pulse. Listen.

 

Music from this week's show:
Whispers of a heavenly death — John Zorn
The Desert and Two Grey Hills — Gerry O’Beirne
Investigations — Kevin MacLeod
Il Casanova de Frederico Fellini — Nino Rota
String Quartet No. 5 - Philip Glass — Kronos Quartet
What’s that Sound — Michael Andrews
Trance Dance — John Zorn

 

A so-called surge of migrants at the southern border has caught the attention of immigration reform advocates, conservative trolls, and TV news crews, but alarming headlines may not tell the full story. Plus, a #MeToo reckoning on YouTube has caused a new media empire to crumble. Then, a look at the controversy surrounding the newsletter site Substack, home to "sustainable journalism" and culture war punditry. And, the internet's most innovative observer on the cultivation of her misunderstood beat.

1. Tom K. Wong [@TomWongPhD], founding director of the U.S. Immigration Policy Center, on misleading coverage about the southern border. Listen.

2. Kat Tenbarge [@kattenbarge], digital culture reporter at Insider, and Taylor Lorenz [@TaylorLorenz], tech reporter for The New York Times, on the exploitation behind YouTube's viral prank culture. Listen.

3. Peter Kakfa [@pkafka], senior correspondent at Recode, and Taylor Lorenz [@TaylorLorenz], tech reporter for The New York Times, on the promises and controversies at the heart of Substack. Listen.

4. Taylor Lorenz [@TaylorLorenz], tech reporter for The New York Times, on how she keeps her finger on the internet's pulse. Listen.

 

Music from this week's show:Whispers of a heavenly death — John ZornThe Desert and Two Grey Hills — Gerry O’BeirneInvestigations — Kevin MacLeodIl Casanova de Frederico Fellini — Nino RotaString Quartet No. 5 - Philip Glass — Kronos QuartetWhat’s that Sound — Michael AndrewsTrance Dance — John Zorn

 


Corruption At the Highest Levels, Exposed

In 2015, a tragedy gripped Romanian consciousness when a fire at a popular club in the country's capital killed 27 people, injured nearly 200 more, and sparked national protests about corruption. In the weeks following the fire, 37 of those injured died in hospitals — a statistic that authorities and doctors claimed was simply a result of their injuries. 

But the victims' families and a small team of reporters at the Romanian daily paper the Sports Gazette had their doubts — doubts that were confirmed when the Gazette learned that a national supplier of medical disinfectants was diluting their products, nearly ten times over, to reap profits and pad the pockets of its CEO. The burn victims of the fire hadn't died from injuries; they died from preventable bacterial infections, a consequence of malpractice that stemmed from doctors, hospital managers and the highest officials in government. 

In 2019, filmmaker Alexander Nanau wrote, produced and directed the film Collective, chronicling this saga. Last year, the film was released in the US, and, this month, it received two Academy Award nominations. In this podcast extra, Nanau speaks with Brooke about why he decided to follow the story, how the pieces fell into place, and how this single story changed Romania's relationship with the press — possibly for good. 

Watch Collective here


Basketball Warriors

La Brega is a seven-part podcast series hosted by OTM producer/reporter Alana Casanova-Burgess. The series uses narrative storytelling and investigative journalism to reflect and reveal how la brega has defined so many aspects of life in Puerto Rico, and is available in English and Spanish. This is episode five.

In this episode: David and Goliath play basketball in Athens. 

Despite being a U.S. colony, Puerto Rico competes in sports as its own country on the world stage. Since the 70s, Puerto Rico’s national basketball team has been a pride of the island, taking home trophy after trophy. But in the 2004 at the Athens Olympics, the team was up against the odds, with an opening game against a U.S. Dream Team stacked with players like Lebron James and Allen Iverson. Futuro Media’s Julio Ricardo Varela tells the story of a basketball game that Puerto Ricans will never forget, and why he thinks now, more than ever, is a crucial moment to remember it. 

The documentary "Nuyorican Basquet" is here.

If you want to see the famous photo of Carlos Arroyo, click here.  

To read more about sovereignty and sports, we recommend The Sovereign Colony: Olympic Sport, National Identity, and International Politics in Puerto Rico, by Antonio Sotomayor. 

La Brega is a seven-part podcast series hosted by OTM producer/reporter Alana Casanova-Burgess. The series uses narrative storytelling and investigative journalism to reflect and reveal how la brega has defined so many aspects of life in Puerto Rico, and is available in English and Spanish. This is episode five.

In this episode: David and Goliath play basketball in Athens. 

Despite being a U.S. colony, Puerto Rico competes in sports as its own country on the world stage. Since the 70s, Puerto Rico’s national basketball team has been a pride of the island, taking home trophy after trophy. But in the 2004 at the Athens Olympics, the team was up against the odds, with an opening game against a U.S. Dream Team stacked with players like Lebron James and Allen Iverson. Futuro Media’s Julio Ricardo Varela tells the story of a basketball game that Puerto Ricans will never forget, and why he thinks now, more than ever, is a crucial moment to remember it. 

The documentary "Nuyorican Basquet" is here.

If you want to see the famous photo of Carlos Arroyo, click here.  

To read more about sovereignty and sports, we recommend The Sovereign Colony: Olympic Sport, National Identity, and International Politics in Puerto Rico, by Antonio Sotomayor. 


Pain, Power, Poets

Police statements about the Atlanta shooter’s motives defined early media reports and earned swift derision. This week, we examine how bad habits in the press undermined coverage of the tragedy. Plus, how we equate presidential power with presidential willpower. And a behind-the-scenes look at a new radio play that interweaves Shakespeare’s English with its Spanish translation.

1. Erika Lee [@prof_erikalee] Regents Professor of History and Asian American Studies at the University of Minnesota, on how Asian women have been targets of exclusion in the U.S ever since they first arrived in the United States. And Jason Oliver Chang [@chinotronic], Associate Professor of History and Asian/Asian American Studies at the University of Connecticut, explains how the model minority myth has cloaked patterns of brutality against Asian-Americans in the U.S. long before Tuesday's tragedy. Listen.

2. Brendan Nyhan, [@brendannyhan] professor of government at Dartmouth College, on his "Green Lantern theory of the presidency," the limits on executive power, and the history of presidents who thought they could expand it. Listen.

3. Saheem Ali, director of Romeo y Julieta from New York’s Public Theater and WNYC Studios, on the aim to both entertain and show that language need not divide us. Listen.

Music from this week's show:
The Glass House — David Bergeaud
Misterioso (Thelonoius Monk) — Kronos Quartet
Someday My Prince Will Come — Fred Hersch
Uluwati — John Zorn

 

Police statements about the Atlanta shooter’s motives defined early media reports and earned swift derision. This week, we examine how bad habits in the press undermined coverage of the tragedy. Plus, how we equate presidential power with presidential willpower. And a behind-the-scenes look at a new radio play that interweaves Shakespeare’s English with its Spanish translation.

1. Erika Lee [@prof_erikalee] Regents Professor of History and Asian American Studies at the University of Minnesota, on how Asian women have been targets of exclusion in the U.S ever since they first arrived in the United States. And Jason Oliver Chang [@chinotronic], Associate Professor of History and Asian/Asian American Studies at the University of Connecticut, explains how the model minority myth has cloaked patterns of brutality against Asian-Americans in the U.S. long before Tuesday's tragedy. Listen.

2. Brendan Nyhan, [@brendannyhan] professor of government at Dartmouth College, on his "Green Lantern theory of the presidency," the limits on executive power, and the history of presidents who thought they could expand it. Listen.

3. Saheem Ali, director of Romeo y Julieta from New York’s Public Theater and WNYC Studios, on the aim to both entertain and show that language need not divide us. Listen.

Music from this week's show:The Glass House — David BergeaudMisterioso (Thelonoius Monk) — Kronos QuartetSomeday My Prince Will Come — Fred HerschUluwati — John Zorn

 


The Summer Camp That Inspired A Disability Rights Movement

The movement surrounding the passage of the Americans with Disabilities Act introduced some ubiquitous elements of our public infrastructure, but many of the activists who were key players in lobbying for the law's passage met in an unlikely way: as campers at Camp Jened, or lovingly, "Crip Camp," a place of liberation for disabled kids and teenagers.

A Netflix documentary called Crip Camp, nominated for an Oscar on Monday, explores the history of the movement and its leaders, including Judy Heumann, a Jened camper turned lifelong disability rights activist. She served as Special Advisor for International Disability Rights for the Obama administration and wrote the book Being Heumann: An Unrepentant Memoir of a Disability Rights Activist. In July, on the anniversary of the ADA, Judy and Brooke discussed how the egalitarian values of Camp Jened helped inspire the ADA, and how social and political change takes shape.

This segment originally aired in our July 24th, 2020 program, If You Build It....

The movement surrounding the passage of the Americans with Disabilities Act introduced some ubiquitous elements of our public infrastructure, but many of the activists who were key players in lobbying for the law's passage met in an unlikely way: as campers at Camp Jened, or lovingly, "Crip Camp," a place of liberation for disabled kids and teenagers.

A Netflix documentary called Crip Camp, nominated for an Oscar on Monday, explores the history of the movement and its leaders, including Judy Heumann, a Jened camper turned lifelong disability rights activist. She served as Special Advisor for International Disability Rights for the Obama administration and wrote the book Being Heumann: An Unrepentant Memoir of a Disability Rights Activist. In July, on the anniversary of the ADA, Judy and Brooke discussed how the egalitarian values of Camp Jened helped inspire the ADA, and how social and political change takes shape.

This segment originally aired in our July 24th, 2020 program, If You Build It....


Vieques and the Promise To Build Back Better

La Brega is a seven-part podcast series hosted by OTM producer/reporter Alana Casanova-Burgess. The series uses narrative storytelling and investigative journalism to reflect and reveal how la brega has defined so many aspects of life in Puerto Rico, and is available in English and Spanish. This is episode four.

Weeks after Hurricane Maria, the Government of Puerto Rico accepted an emphatic suggestion from officials of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), put it in writing as if it were its own decision, and celebrated it would be used to rebuild in a “resilient” way. On the island of Vieques — which has a very high rate of cancer — they were supposed to rebuild its only hospital, destroyed by the hurricane in 2017. Now, a young girl has died from lack of care, and a neglected community fights for their basic human right: access to quality medical services. Reporter Cristina del Mar Quiles from El Centro de Periodismo Investigativo explains how federal red tape has hindered hurricane recovery.

A guide to understanding the bureaucracy around "recovery" in Puerto Rico, including Section 428, is here

You can read more about the lawsuit brought by the family of Jaideliz Moreno Ventura against the government of Puerto Rico here.

La Brega is a seven-part podcast series hosted by OTM producer/reporter Alana Casanova-Burgess. The series uses narrative storytelling and investigative journalism to reflect and reveal how la brega has defined so many aspects of life in Puerto Rico, and is available in English and Spanish. This is episode four.

Weeks after Hurricane Maria, the Government of Puerto Rico accepted an emphatic suggestion from officials of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), put it in writing as if it were its own decision, and celebrated it would be used to rebuild in a “resilient” way. On the island of Vieques — which has a very high rate of cancer — they were supposed to rebuild its only hospital, destroyed by the hurricane in 2017. Now, a young girl has died from lack of care, and a neglected community fights for their basic human right: access to quality medical services. Reporter Cristina del Mar Quiles from El Centro de Periodismo Investigativo explains how federal red tape has hindered hurricane recovery.

A guide to understanding the bureaucracy around "recovery" in Puerto Rico, including Section 428, is here

You can read more about the lawsuit brought by the family of Jaideliz Moreno Ventura against the government of Puerto Rico here.


Home Green Home

As Biden-era climate policy begins to take shape, many corporations assure the public that they’re all-in on going green. This week, On The Media considers whether pledges from energy utilities, plastics manufacturers, natural gas providers, and fake meat wunderkinds are all they’re cracked up to be.

1. Alicia Kennedy [@aliciakennedy], food, drink, and climate writer, on the overly-ambitious promises of alt-meat. Listen.

2. Leah Stokes [@leahstokes], energy policy expert at the University of California, Santa Barbara, on “The Dirty Truth About Climate Pledges,” specifically from energy companies. Listen. 

3. Rebecca Leber [@rebleber], reporter at Mother Jones, on empty promises of "clean natural gas" for the home. Listen.

4. Laura Sullivan [@LauraSullivaNPR], NPR investigative correspondent, explains why plastic recycling rarely works. Listen.

Songs:
In The Bath by Randy Newman
Harpsichord by Four Tet
Crow Of Homer by Gerry O’Beirne
Accentuate The Positive by Syd Dale Double Dozen & Alex Gould
Young At Heart by Brad Mehldau

As Biden-era climate policy begins to take shape, many corporations assure the public that they’re all-in on going green. This week, On The Media considers whether pledges from energy utilities, plastics manufacturers, natural gas providers, and fake meat wunderkinds are all they’re cracked up to be.

1. Alicia Kennedy [@aliciakennedy], food, drink, and climate writer, on the overly-ambitious promises of alt-meat. Listen.

2. Leah Stokes [@leahstokes], energy policy expert at the University of California, Santa Barbara, on “The Dirty Truth About Climate Pledges,” specifically from energy companies. Listen

3. Rebecca Leber [@rebleber], reporter at Mother Jones, on empty promises of "clean natural gas" for the home. Listen.

4. Laura Sullivan [@LauraSullivaNPR], NPR investigative correspondent, explains why plastic recycling rarely works. Listen.

Songs:In The Bath by Randy NewmanHarpsichord by Four TetCrow Of Homer by Gerry O’BeirneAccentuate The Positive by Syd Dale Double Dozen & Alex GouldYoung At Heart by Brad Mehldau


To Name, or Not to Name

It's been a staple of local, nightly news for decades: while an anchor recites a vivid crime report, sometimes embellished with security footage or street interviews, a name and mugshot flash across the screen. Then, in the paper the next day, a column full of all the details a reporter could obtain on the alleged culprit appears. Beyond our own hometowns, national news often gives us the names of criminals before they give us anything else—sometimes that's all they've got. But is that right? 

This week, Bob spoke with Romayne Smith Fullerton, a journalism professor at the University of Western Ontario, and Maggie Jones Patterson, a journalism professor at Duquesne University, to talk about their book Murder in Our Midst: Comparing Crime Coverage Ethics in an Age of Globalized News.” Fullerton and Patterson spent a decade studying how ten different countries publicize criminals and crime. And what they found was a world of journalists unaware that everyone does it differently. 

It's been a staple of local, nightly news for decades: while an anchor recites a vivid crime report, sometimes embellished with security footage or street interviews, a name and mugshot flash across the screen. Then, in the paper the next day, a column full of all the details a reporter could obtain on the alleged culprit appears. Beyond our own hometowns, national news often gives us the names of criminals before they give us anything else—sometimes that's all they've got. But is that right? 

This week, Bob spoke with Romayne Smith Fullerton, a journalism professor at the University of Western Ontario, and Maggie Jones Patterson, a journalism professor at Duquesne University, to talk about their book “Murder in Our Midst: Comparing Crime Coverage Ethics in an Age of Globalized News.” Fullerton and Patterson spent a decade studying how ten different countries publicize criminals and crime. And what they found was a world of journalists unaware that everyone does it differently. 


Encyclopedia of Betrayal

La Brega is a seven-part podcast series hosted by OTM producer/reporter Alana Casanova-Burgess. The series uses narrative storytelling and investigative journalism to reflect and reveal how la brega has defined so many aspects of life in Puerto Rico, and is available in English and Spanish. This is episode three.

Photographer Chris Gregory-Rivera examines the legacy of the surveillance files known in Puerto Rico as las carpetas — produced from a decades-long secret government program aimed at fracturing the pro-independence movement. Gregory-Rivera looks at las carpetas through the story of one activist family, the traitor they believed was close to them, and the betrayal that holds more mystery than they realize.

Chris' photographs and photos the police took as part of their surveillance are here.

If you're in the New York area, you can see his show at the Abrons Art Center until March 14, 2021. 

The documentary "Las Carpetas" is here. 

La Brega is a seven-part podcast series hosted by OTM producer/reporter Alana Casanova-Burgess. The series uses narrative storytelling and investigative journalism to reflect and reveal how la brega has defined so many aspects of life in Puerto Rico, and is available in English and Spanish. This is episode three.

Photographer Chris Gregory-Rivera examines the legacy of the surveillance files known in Puerto Rico as las carpetas — produced from a decades-long secret government program aimed at fracturing the pro-independence movement. Gregory-Rivera looks at las carpetas through the story of one activist family, the traitor they believed was close to them, and the betrayal that holds more mystery than they realize.

Chris' photographs and photos the police took as part of their surveillance are here.

If you're in the New York area, you can see his show at the Abrons Art Center until March 14, 2021. 

The documentary "Las Carpetas" is here. 


Are We There Yet? Are We There Yet?

The Johnson and Johnson vaccine was approved this week, expanding the nation’s supply and moving us closer to the end of the pandemic. On this week’s On the Media, why unvaccinated people should resist the urge to comparison shop. And, how will we know when, if ever, the pandemic is over? Plus, how New York Governor Andrew Cuomo’s TV persona has helped him skate past previous scandals in the past — and why it’s not working as well this time.

1. Rachael Piltch-Loeb, preparedness fellow at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health and associate research scientist at the NYU School of Global Public Health, on when the pandemic will be over, and what people can safely do now. Listen.

2. Helen Branswell [@HelenBranswell], senior writer about infectious diseases at STAT, on why people should resist the impulse to "vaccine shop" for a seemingly superior vaccine. Listen.

3. Derek Thompson [@DKThomp], staff writer at The Atlantic, on overcoming vaccine hesitancy. Listen.

4. Alex Pareene [@pareene], staff writer at The New Republic, on how the recent reporting about New York Governor Andrew Cuomo has allowed television news consumers to see what close readers of newspaper coverage of the governor have been seeing for some time. Listen.

 

Music:

Prelude 7: Sign and Sigil - John Zorn

Tilliboyo (Sunset) - Kronos Quartet

Ain’t Misbehavin’ - Hank Jones

Tomorrow Never Knows  - Quartetto d'Archi Dell’Orchestra Sinfonica di Milano Giuseppe Verdi

The Johnson and Johnson vaccine was approved this week, expanding the nation’s supply and moving us closer to the end of the pandemic. On this week’s On the Media, why unvaccinated people should resist the urge to comparison shop. And, how will we know when, if ever, the pandemic is over? Plus, how New York Governor Andrew Cuomo’s TV persona has helped him skate past previous scandals in the past — and why it’s not working as well this time.

1. Rachael Piltch-Loeb, preparedness fellow at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health and associate research scientist at the NYU School of Global Public Health, on when the pandemic will be over, and what people can safely do now. Listen.

2. Helen Branswell [@HelenBranswell], senior writer about infectious diseases at STAT, on why people should resist the impulse to "vaccine shop" for a seemingly superior vaccine. Listen.

3. Derek Thompson [@DKThomp], staff writer at The Atlantic, on overcoming vaccine hesitancy. Listen.

4. Alex Pareene [@pareene], staff writer at The New Republic, on how the recent reporting about New York Governor Andrew Cuomo has allowed television news consumers to see what close readers of newspaper coverage of the governor have been seeing for some time. Listen.

 

Music:

Prelude 7: Sign and Sigil - John Zorn

Tilliboyo (Sunset) - Kronos Quartet

Ain’t Misbehavin’ - Hank Jones

Tomorrow Never Knows  - Quartetto d'Archi Dell’Orchestra Sinfonica di Milano Giuseppe Verdi


The Decline of Cuomo, the TV Personality

During the pandemic, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo transformed into a fully fledged TV star — propelled by his daily coronavirus briefings, which reassured an anxious, leaderless public. Comedians fawned over him. New fans declared their adoration in TikTok videos, memes, and... song. And the chummy treatment of the governor of course extended to news networks like CNN, where his brother asked him the tough questions.

But in the past few weeks, Cuomo’s television persona as the deeply principled, self-aware fatherly truth-talker has faltered. A report from the state attorney general and a court order found the official count of deaths of nursing home residents was nearly double the figure first reported by Cuomo’s administration. Plus, so far three women have accused the governor of sexual harassment, including two former aides. But for close readers of reporting on the governor in print media, this fall from grace is less surprising.

This week, Alex Pareene, staff writer at The New Republic, talks to Brooke about the collision of Cuomo’s “newspaper” and “television” personas in this moment.


OTM Presents: La Brega

This week, OTM presents stories from a new series hosted by our own Alana Casanova-Burgess, called "La Brega." Hear what that term means, how it's used, and what it represents. Also, how one of the most famous homebuilding teams in American history tried to export American suburbanism to Puerto Rico... as a bulwark against Cuban communism. 

1. Alana [@AlanaLlama] explores the full meaning(s) of la brega, which has different translations depending on who you ask. According to scholar and professor emeritus at Princeton, Arcadio Diaz Quiñonez, the closest English word is " to grapple." Alana also speaks to Cheo Santiago [@adoptaunhoyo], creator of "Adopta Un Hoyo" (Adopt a Pothole), which encourages people to paint around and photograph potholes to alert other drivers. Because the roads are rarely fixed properly, the challenges of potholes and what people do to get around them is a metaphorical and literal brega in Puerto Rico. Listen.

2. Next, Alana turns to the boom and bust of Levittown, a suburb that was founded on the idea of bringing the American middle-class lifestyle to Puerto Rico during a time of great change on the island. Alana (herself the granddaughter of an early Levittown resident) explores what the presence of a Levittown in Puerto Rico tells us about the promises of the American Dream in Puerto Rico. Listen.

Created by a team of Puerto Rican journalists, producers, musicians, and artists from the island and diaspora, "La Brega" uses narrative storytelling and investigative journalism to reflect and reveal how la brega has defined so many aspects of life in Puerto Rico. All episodes are out now, and available in English and Spanish. 

Listen to the full series: Apple Podcasts | Spotify | Stitcher | Google Podcasts

Music in this series comes from Balún and ÌFÉ

This week, OTM presents stories from a new series hosted by our own Alana Casanova-Burgess, called "La Brega." Hear what that term means, how it's used, and what it represents. Also, how one of the most famous homebuilding teams in American history tried to export American suburbanism to Puerto Rico... as a bulwark against Cuban communism. 

1. Alana [@AlanaLlama] explores the full meaning(s) of la brega, which has different translations depending on who you ask. According to scholar and professor emeritus at Princeton, Arcadio Diaz Quiñonez, the closest English word is " to grapple." Alana also speaks to Cheo Santiago [@adoptaunhoyo], creator of "Adopta Un Hoyo" (Adopt a Pothole), which encourages people to paint around and photograph potholes to alert other drivers. Because the roads are rarely fixed properly, the challenges of potholes and what people do to get around them is a metaphorical and literal brega in Puerto Rico. Listen.

2. Next, Alana turns to the boom and bust of Levittown, a suburb that was founded on the idea of bringing the American middle-class lifestyle to Puerto Rico during a time of great change on the island. Alana (herself the granddaughter of an early Levittown resident) explores what the presence of a Levittown in Puerto Rico tells us about the promises of the American Dream in Puerto Rico. Listen.

Created by a team of Puerto Rican journalists, producers, musicians, and artists from the island and diaspora, "La Brega" uses narrative storytelling and investigative journalism to reflect and reveal how la brega has defined so many aspects of life in Puerto Rico. All episodes are out now, and available in English and Spanish. 

Listen to the full series: Apple Podcasts | Spotify | Stitcher | Google Podcasts

Music in this series comes from Balún and ÌFÉ


Beware Trump Investigation Big-Talk

With the news this week that the Supreme Court gave the go-ahead for Manhattan District Attorney Cy Vance to obtain key financial documents relating to Donald Trump, some news consumers may find themselves wrapped up in the delectable prospect of seeing a rule-breaking, tax-dodging, Constitution-shedding president on trial. They have been encouraged by commentators who claim that every little investigatory development is "very, very bad for Trump"; that the prosecution of Donald Trump "could go to trial sooner than you think"; and that Trump's post-election behavior "basically guarantees" criminal charges. 

Writer, lawyer, and former federal prosecutor Ankush Khardori has his critiques of this genre of punditry — in August he described some of it as "insane" in the Wall Street Journal — but he has also published his own theory for prosecuting the president. In this interview, originally recorded in December, he and Brooke discuss what he sees as the "structural flaws" in most discussions of post-presidential prosecution.

This interview originally aired as part of our December 11th, 2020 program, Last Wish.

 

With the news this week that the Supreme Court gave the go-ahead for Manhattan District Attorney Cy Vance to obtain key financial documents relating to Donald Trump, some news consumers may find themselves wrapped up in the delectable prospect of seeing a rule-breaking, tax-dodging, Constitution-shedding president on trial. They have been encouraged by commentators who claim that every little investigatory development is "very, very bad for Trump"; that the prosecution of Donald Trump "could go to trial sooner than you think"; and that Trump's post-election behavior "basically guarantees" criminal charges. 

Writer, lawyer, and former federal prosecutor Ankush Khardori has his critiques of this genre of punditry — in August he described some of it as "insane" in the Wall Street Journal — but he has also published his own theory for prosecuting the president. In this interview, originally recorded in December, he and Brooke discuss what he sees as the "structural flaws" in most discussions of post-presidential prosecution.

This interview originally aired as part of our December 11th, 2020 program, Last Wish.

 


No Silver Bullets

In a reversal of the past four years, President Biden has vowed to take on the violent threat posed by the far-right. But how? On this week’s On the Media, a look at the techniques and tactics used to undermine extremism, here and abroad.

1. Brad Galloway [@bjgalloway1717], a former neo-Nazi and now case manager with Life After Hate and ExitUSA and coordinator at the Center on Hate, Bias and Extremism at Ontario Tech University, on how he and his colleagues work to get far-right extremists to accept responsibility for their choices and move beyond hate. Listen.

2. Kurt Braddock [@KurtBraddock], professor of communications at American University, and the author of Weaponized Words: The Strategic Role of Persuasion in Violent Radicalization and Counter-Radicalization, on messaging campaigns designed to neutralize rightwing propaganda, conspiracy theories, and calls to action. Listen.

3. Ross Frenett [@rossfrenett], co-founder of Moonshot CVE, on redirecting people away from extremist search results online. Listen.

4. Stig Jarle Hansen [@stigjarlehansen], co-editor of the Routledge Handbook for Deradicalisation and Disengagement on the long, checkered history of global de-radicalization efforts, and Michael German [@rethinkintel], fellow with the Brennan Center for Justice’s Liberty & National Security Program, and author of Disrupt, Discredit, and Divide: How the New FBI Damages Democracyon how the term "radical" has always swayed in the wind of power and the perils of the "de-radicalization" framing. Listen.

Music:

Schubert — Piano Trio No. 2 in E-Flat Major, Op. 100
Khaled Mouzanar — Cockroachman
Marcos Ciscar — The Old House
Tom Waits  Way Down in the Hole
Chopin — Berceuse In D Flat Major, Op. 57
 

In a reversal of the past four years, President Biden has vowed to take on the violent threat posed by the far-right. But how? On this week’s On the Media, a look at the techniques and tactics used to undermine extremism, here and abroad.

1. Brad Galloway [@bjgalloway1717], a former neo-Nazi and now case manager with Life After Hate and ExitUSA and coordinator at the Center on Hate, Bias and Extremism at Ontario Tech University, on how he and his colleagues work to get far-right extremists to accept responsibility for their choices and move beyond hate. Listen.

2. Kurt Braddock [@KurtBraddock], professor of communications at American University, and the author of Weaponized Words: The Strategic Role of Persuasion in Violent Radicalization and Counter-Radicalization, on messaging campaigns designed to neutralize rightwing propaganda, conspiracy theories, and calls to action. Listen.

3. Ross Frenett [@rossfrenett], co-founder of Moonshot CVE, on redirecting people away from extremist search results online. Listen.

4. Stig Jarle Hansen [@stigjarlehansen], co-editor of the Routledge Handbook for Deradicalisation and Disengagement on the long, checkered history of global de-radicalization efforts, and Michael German [@rethinkintel], fellow with the Brennan Center for Justice’s Liberty & National Security Program, and author of Disrupt, Discredit, and Divide: How the New FBI Damages Democracyon how the term "radical" has always swayed in the wind of power and the perils of the "de-radicalization" framing. Listen.

Music:

Schubert — Piano Trio No. 2 in E-Flat Major, Op. 100 Khaled Mouzanar — Cockroachman Marcos Ciscar — The Old House Tom Waits — Way Down in the Hole Chopin — Berceuse In D Flat Major, Op. 57  


How Rush Limbaugh Paved The Way For Trump REBROADCAST

What more can we say: El Rushbo is dead.

He died Wednesday after a months-long bout of lung cancer, and following decades of racist invective, misogynistic bombast, and other assorted controversy. He had become the most listened-to voice on talk radio, wielding a towering, destructive influence on the American body politic. He was 70. 

Early last year, President Donald Trump awarded Limbaugh the Presidential Medal of Freedom, inducting him into a gilded class of American history alongside Norman Rockwell, Maya Angelou, Thurgood Marshall, and Martin Luther King, Jr. We spoke then with Matt Gertz, a senior fellow at Media Matters for America, who explained how the award could be seen as the culmination of the GOP's transformation, precipitated by Limbaugh and solidified by Trump. 

What more can we say: El Rushbo is dead.

He died Wednesday after a months-long bout of lung cancer, and following decades of racist invective, misogynistic bombast, and other assorted controversy. He had become the most listened-to voice on talk radio, wielding a towering, destructive influence on the American body politic. He was 70. 

Early last year, President Donald Trump awarded Limbaugh the Presidential Medal of Freedom, inducting him into a gilded class of American history alongside Norman Rockwell, Maya Angelou, Thurgood Marshall, and Martin Luther King, Jr. We spoke then with Matt Gertz, a senior fellow at Media Matters for America, who explained how the award could be seen as the culmination of the GOP's transformation, precipitated by Limbaugh and solidified by Trump. 


Toxic

It’s been a week of legal battles, from Donald Trump’s second impeachment to Britney Spears’s fight for control over her finances and her career. On this week's On the Media, a look at the new documentary that’s put the pop star back in the spotlight. Plus, how revisiting stories of maligned women from the 90s can help us understand our media — and ourselves. 

1. Brooke considers the developments this week in the impeachment trial, and also its wild distortion in some corners of the media. Listen.

2. Samantha Stark [@starksamantha], director of the New York Times documentary “Framing Britney Spears,” on the #FreeBritney movement and the #WeAreSorryBritney reckoning. Listen.

3. Sarah Marshall [@Remember_Sarah] and Michael Hobbes [@RottenInDenmark], hosts of the You're Wrong About podcast, on how coverage of maligned women in the 1990s fueled lasting and harmful myths. Listen.

Music from this week's show:
Equinox — John Coltrane
Invitation to a Suicide — John Zorn
Baby One More Time — Britney Spears
Cello Song — Nick Drake
Fellini’s Waltz — Nino Rota
La Vie En Rose — Toots Thielemans

It’s been a week of legal battles, from Donald Trump’s second impeachment to Britney Spears’s fight for control over her finances and her career. On this week's On the Media, a look at the new documentary that’s put the pop star back in the spotlight. Plus, how revisiting stories of maligned women from the 90s can help us understand our media — and ourselves. 

1. Brooke considers the developments this week in the impeachment trial, and also its wild distortion in some corners of the media. Listen.

2. Samantha Stark [@starksamantha], director of the New York Times documentary “Framing Britney Spears,” on the #FreeBritney movement and the #WeAreSorryBritney reckoning. Listen.

3. Sarah Marshall [@Remember_Sarah] and Michael Hobbes [@RottenInDenmark], hosts of the You're Wrong About podcast, on how coverage of maligned women in the 1990s fueled lasting and harmful myths. Listen.

Music from this week's show:Equinox — John ColtraneInvitation to a Suicide — John Zorn Baby One More Time — Britney Spears Cello Song — Nick Drake Fellini’s Waltz — Nino RotaLa Vie En Rose — Toots Thielemans


Its Tax Time!

Few clichés are as well-worn, and grounded in reality, as the dread many Americans feel towards doing their taxes and the loathing they have for the IRS. But as much as the process is despised, relatively little is known about how it could be improved. Pro Publica's Jessica Huseman said that's largely because tax prep companies keep it that way. Brooke spoke to Huseman in 2017 about what an improved system might look like and how tax prep companies work to thwart any such changes.

One of the primary roadblocks to change, said Huseman, is an organization called the Free File Alliance, a public-private partnership whereby private tax companies agree to provide a free service for most Americans in exchange for the IRS not offering any such service itself. Brooke spoke with Tim Hugo, Executive Director of the Free File Alliance, about whether it is really the best way to help American taxpayers.

Few clichés are as well-worn, and grounded in reality, as the dread many Americans feel towards doing their taxes and the loathing they have for the IRS. But as much as the process is despised, relatively little is known about how it could be improved. Pro Publica's Jessica Huseman said that's largely because tax prep companies keep it that way. Brooke spoke to Huseman in 2017 about what an improved system might look like and how tax prep companies work to thwart any such changes.

One of the primary roadblocks to change, said Huseman, is an organization called the Free File Alliance, a public-private partnership whereby private tax companies agree to provide a free service for most Americans in exchange for the IRS not offering any such service itself. Brooke spoke with Tim Hugo, Executive Director of the Free File Alliance, about whether it is really the best way to help American taxpayers.


Slaying the Fox Monster

Fox News has been stoking rage on the right for decades. As the former president faces an impeachment trial for his role in the invasion of the Capitol, some are asking whether Fox News also bears responsibility for the violence. On this week’s On the Media, a look at the arguments for and against the de-platforming of Fox News.

1. Bob [@bobosphere] talks to Angelo Carusone [@GoAngelo], Nandini Jammi [@nandoodles], Jason Hirschhorn [@JasonHirschhorn] and Steven Barnett [@stevenjbarnett] about the ethics and efficacy of the "deplatform Fox" movement. Listen.

2. Rod Smolla, dean and professor of law at the Delaware Law School of Widener University, on the free speech protections afforded by a classic first amendment case, Brandenburg v. Ohio. Listen.

3. Nicole Hemmer [@pastpunditry], Columbia University research scholar, on why the Fairness Doctrine won't fix Fox News. Listen.

 

Music:

Mysterioso - Kronos Quartet

Oboe Mambo - Machito & His Afro-Cuban Orchestra

Stormy Weather - Franck Pourcel

Night Thoughts - John Zorn

Fox News has been stoking rage on the right for decades. As the former president faces an impeachment trial for his role in the invasion of the Capitol, some are asking whether Fox News also bears responsibility for the violence. On this week’s On the Media, a look at the arguments for and against the de-platforming of Fox News.

1. Bob [@bobosphere] talks to Angelo Carusone [@GoAngelo], Nandini Jammi [@nandoodles], Jason Hirschhorn [@JasonHirschhorn] and Steven Barnett [@stevenjbarnett] about the ethics and efficacy of the "deplatform Fox" movement. Listen.

2. Rod Smolla, dean and professor of law at the Delaware Law School of Widener University, on the free speech protections afforded by a classic first amendment case, Brandenburg v. Ohio. Listen.

3. Nicole Hemmer [@pastpunditry], Columbia University research scholar, on why the Fairness Doctrine won't fix Fox News. Listen.

 

Music:

Mysterioso - Kronos Quartet

Oboe Mambo - Machito & His Afro-Cuban Orchestra

Stormy Weather - Franck Pourcel

Night Thoughts - John Zorn


OTM Presents - The Experiment: The Loophole

This week, OTM presents the first episode of a new weekly show hosted by our WNYC colleague Julia Longoria: The Experiment.

When Mike Belderrain hunted down the biggest elk of his life, he didn’t know he’d stumbled into a “zone of death,” the remote home of a legal glitch that could short-circuit the Constitution—a place where, technically, you could get away with murder.

At a time when we’re surrounded by preventable deaths, The Experiment documents one journey to avert disaster.

• Mike Belderrain is a hunter and former outfitter in Montana.
• C. J. Box is the author of more than 20 novels, including Free Fire, a thriller set in Yellowstone National Park. 
• Brian Kalt teaches law at Michigan State University. He wrote a 2005 research paper titled “The Perfect Crime.
• Ed Yong is a staff writer for The Atlantic.

Here's the link to the episode at The Atlantic

Be part of The Experiment. Use the hashtag #TheExperimentPodcast or write to us at theexperiment@theatlantic.comListen and subscribe: Apple Podcasts | Spotify | Stitcher | Google Podcasts


This episode was produced by Julia Longoria and Alvin Melathe, with editing by Katherine Wells and sound design by David Herman.

This week, OTM presents the first episode of a new weekly show hosted by our WNYC colleague Julia Longoria: The Experiment.

When Mike Belderrain hunted down the biggest elk of his life, he didn’t know he’d stumbled into a “zone of death,” the remote home of a legal glitch that could short-circuit the Constitution—a place where, technically, you could get away with murder.

At a time when we’re surrounded by preventable deaths, The Experiment documents one journey to avert disaster.

• Mike Belderrain is a hunter and former outfitter in Montana.• C. J. Box is the author of more than 20 novels, including Free Fire, a thriller set in Yellowstone National Park. • Brian Kalt teaches law at Michigan State University. He wrote a 2005 research paper titled “The Perfect Crime.• Ed Yong is a staff writer for The Atlantic.

Here's the link to the episode at The Atlantic

Be part of The Experiment. Use the hashtag #TheExperimentPodcast or write to us at theexperiment@theatlantic.com. Listen and subscribe: Apple Podcasts | Spotify | Stitcher | Google Podcasts

This episode was produced by Julia Longoria and Alvin Melathe, with editing by Katherine Wells and sound design by David Herman.


Billion Dollar Idea

On this week’s show, we look at what happens when scientists try to save the public...from itself. Plus, why vaccine distribution might be slowed down by intellectual property rights. And how, memers and righteous redditors used GameStop to upend Wall Street. 

1. Zeynep Tufecki [@zeynep], associate professor at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, explains why public health officials send mixed messages on everything from masks to variants. Listen.

2. Dean Baker [@DeanBaker13], senior economist at the Center for Economic and Policy Research, on why intellectual property may be getting in the way of vaccine distribution. Listen.

3. James Surowiecki [@JamesSurowiecki], unpacks what GameStop's wild week reveals about Wall Street, the economy, and memes. Listen.

Music:

Liquid Spear Waltz by Michael Andrews
Life on Mars (David Bowie) by Meridian String Quartet
The Artifact and Living by Michael Andrews
Shoot the Piano Player  by Georges Delerue
Uluwati by John Zorn

 

On this week’s show, we look at what happens when scientists try to save the public...from itself. Plus, why vaccine distribution might be slowed down by intellectual property rights. And how, memers and righteous redditors used GameStop to upend Wall Street. 

1. Zeynep Tufecki [@zeynep], associate professor at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, explains why public health officials send mixed messages on everything from masks to variants. Listen.

2. Dean Baker [@DeanBaker13], senior economist at the Center for Economic and Policy Research, on why intellectual property may be getting in the way of vaccine distribution. Listen.

3. James Surowiecki [@JamesSurowiecki], unpacks what GameStop's wild week reveals about Wall Street, the economy, and memes. Listen.

Music:

Liquid Spear Waltz by Michael AndrewsLife on Mars (David Bowie) by Meridian String QuartetThe Artifact and Living by Michael AndrewsShoot the Piano Player  by Georges DelerueUluwati by John Zorn

 


Did Lulz Break Wall Street?

GameStop is a corporation that sells digital cartridges containing video games, and also video game consoles and other fun widgets, from brick-and-mortar stores to flesh-and-blood consumers. It is a thing of the natural world, and so must abide by its fundamental, physical laws.

GamesStop’s stock, on the other hand... well, for most of last year, the company was “worth” a pretty dismal 250 million dollars. But you may have heard that lately GameStop stock has soared upward into the exosphere, ballooning the company’s “worth” to somewhere in the ballpark of 20 billion dollars. That is, last we checked. 

How this happened — how the very laws of gravity seemed to break this week on Wall Street — is best explained not by corporate actions or the current milieu of the actual American economy, but rather, as writer James Surowiecki explained this week in Marker, as a meme. In this podcast extra, Surowiecki explains how the on-going short squeeze originated on forums like r/WallStreetBets, and how it reminds us of the internet's ability to meme itself into reality.  

CORRECTION: As Brooke said, she paid so little attention to her investment in GameStop that she misremembered the exact size of her holdings. She owned 42 shares of GameStop, not 65, and sold them for a total of $4,200, not $6,500. She deeply regrets the error. 

GameStop is a corporation that sells digital cartridges containing video games, and also video game consoles and other fun widgets, from brick-and-mortar stores to flesh-and-blood consumers. It is a thing of the natural world, and so must abide by its fundamental, physical laws.

GamesStop’s stock, on the other hand... well, for most of last year, the company was “worth” a pretty dismal 250 million dollars. But you may have heard that lately GameStop stock has soared upward into the exosphere, ballooning the company’s “worth” to somewhere in the ballpark of 20 billion dollars. That is, last we checked. 

How this happened — how the very laws of gravity seemed to break this week on Wall Street — is best explained not by corporate actions or the current milieu of the actual American economy, but rather, as writer James Surowiecki explained this week in Marker, as a meme. In this podcast extra, Surowiecki explains how the on-going short squeeze originated on forums like r/WallStreetBets, and how it reminds us of the internet's ability to meme itself into reality.  

CORRECTION: As Brooke said, she paid so little attention to her investment in GameStop that she misremembered the exact size of her holdings. She owned 42 shares of GameStop, not 65, and sold them for a total of $4,200, not $6,500. She deeply regrets the error. 


Well, That Was Some Weird Sh*t

On this week’s show, we take a deep breath. Plus, journalists reflect on the deep damage done to our information ecosystem and how we can begin to repair it. And, Brooke and Bob take a journey through 20 years of OTM.

1. Brooke and Bob on the (short-lived) reprieve following the 45th president's departure, and McKay Coppins [@mckaycoppins], staff writer at The Atlantic, on how the environment for "elite" journalists has changed in the past four years. Listen.

2. Yamiche Alcindor [@Yamiche], White House correspondent for the PBS NewsHour, Jay Rosen [@jayrosen_nyu], media critic and journalism professor at New York University, and Karen Attiah [@KarenAttiah], global opinions editor at the Washington Post, on what they've learned as journalists from the Trump era, and what comes next. Listen.

3. Bob and Brooke reflect on more than a thousand shows together, and twenty years of On the Media. Listen.

Music from the show:
Misterioso — Kronos Quartet 
Passing Time — John Renbourn 
Newsreel — Randy Newman
A Ride with Polly Jean — Jenny Scheinman
You're Getting to be a Habit with Me — Bing Crosby & Guy Lombardo and His Royal Canadians

 

On this week’s show, we take a deep breath. Plus, journalists reflect on the deep damage done to our information ecosystem and how we can begin to repair it. And, Brooke and Bob take a journey through 20 years of OTM.

1. Brooke and Bob on the (short-lived) reprieve following the 45th president's departure, and McKay Coppins [@mckaycoppins], staff writer at The Atlantic, on how the environment for "elite" journalists has changed in the past four years. Listen.

2. Yamiche Alcindor [@Yamiche], White House correspondent for the PBS NewsHour, Jay Rosen [@jayrosen_nyu], media critic and journalism professor at New York University, and Karen Attiah [@KarenAttiah], global opinions editor at the Washington Post, on what they've learned as journalists from the Trump era, and what comes next. Listen.

3. Bob and Brooke reflect on more than a thousand shows together, and twenty years of On the Media. Listen.

Music from the show:Misterioso — Kronos Quartet Passing Time — John Renbourn Newsreel — Randy NewmanA Ride with Polly Jean — Jenny ScheinmanYou're Getting to be a Habit with Me — Bing Crosby & Guy Lombardo and His Royal Canadians

 


The Trump Inc. Podcast Made a Time Capsule

This story was co-published with ProPublica.

A birth certificate, a bar receipt, a newspaper ad, a board game, a Ziploc bag of shredded paper, a pair of museum tickets, some checks, and a USB drive. The series finale of Trump, Inc.

This episode was reported by Andrea Bernstein, Meg Cramer, Anjali Kamat, Ilya Marritz, Katherine Sullivan, Eric Umansky, and Heather Vogell. We assembled our time capsule at Donald J. Trump State Park; it will be stored until 2031 with WNYC's archives department.


This is the last episode of Trump, Inc. But it's not the end of our reporting: subscribe to our newsletter for updates on what we're doing next. Show your support with a donation to New York Public Radio.

This story was co-published with ProPublica.

A birth certificate, a bar receipt, a newspaper ad, a board game, a Ziploc bag of shredded paper, a pair of museum tickets, some checks, and a USB drive. The series finale of Trump, Inc.

This episode was reported by Andrea Bernstein, Meg Cramer, Anjali Kamat, Ilya Marritz, Katherine Sullivan, Eric Umansky, and Heather Vogell. We assembled our time capsule at Donald J. Trump State Park; it will be stored until 2031 with WNYC's archives department.

This is the last episode of Trump, Inc. But it's not the end of our reporting: subscribe to our newsletter for updates on what we're doing next. Show your support with a donation to New York Public Radio.


You Missed a Spot

Evidence shows that insurrectionists used the walkie-talkie app Zello to help organize the riot at the capitol. On this week’s On the Media, a look at how the platform has resisted oversight, despite warnings that it was enabling right-wing extremism. Plus, how to sniff out the real corporate boycotts from the PR facades. And, how to build social media that doesn't exploit users for profit. 

1. OTM reporter Micah Loewinger [@MicahLoewinger] on Zello's role in last week's insurrection, and what the app is finally doing about its militia members. Listen.

2. Casey Newton [@CaseyNewton], writer for Platformeron why this wave of social media scrubbing might not be such a bad thing. Listen.

3. Siva Vaidhyanathan [@sivavaid], professor of media studies at the University of Virginia, and Americus Reed II [@amreed2], professor of marketing at the Wharton School of Business, on the true costs of corporate boycotts. Listen.

4. Eli Pariser [@elipariser], co-director of Civic Signals, on how to build digital spaces that do not monetize our social activity or spy on us for profit. Listen.

Music from the show:
Fallen Leaves — Marcos Ciscar
The Hammer of Loss — John Zorn — A Vision in Blakelight
Hard Times — Nashville Sessions — Songs of the Civil War
What’s that Sound? — Michael Andrews
In the Bath — Randy Newman
Boy Moves the Sun — Michael Andrews
Ain’t Misbehavin’ — Hank Jones

Evidence shows that insurrectionists used the walkie-talkie app Zello to help organize the riot at the capitol. On this week’s On the Media, a look at how the platform has resisted oversight, despite warnings that it was enabling right-wing extremism. Plus, how to sniff out the real corporate boycotts from the PR facades. And, how to build social media that doesn't exploit users for profit. 

1. OTM reporter Micah Loewinger [@MicahLoewinger] on Zello's role in last week's insurrection, and what the app is finally doing about its militia members. Listen.

2. Casey Newton [@CaseyNewton], writer for Platformer, on why this wave of social media scrubbing might not be such a bad thing. Listen.

3. Siva Vaidhyanathan [@sivavaid], professor of media studies at the University of Virginia, and Americus Reed II [@amreed2], professor of marketing at the Wharton School of Business, on the true costs of corporate boycotts. Listen.

4. Eli Pariser [@elipariser], co-director of Civic Signals, on how to build digital spaces that do not monetize our social activity or spy on us for profit. Listen.

Music from the show:Fallen Leaves — Marcos Ciscar The Hammer of Loss — John Zorn — A Vision in Blakelight Hard Times — Nashville Sessions — Songs of the Civil WarWhat’s that Sound? — Michael AndrewsIn the Bath — Randy NewmanBoy Moves the Sun — Michael AndrewsAin’t Misbehavin’ — Hank Jones


How the School Transmission Conversation Became So Muddled

Over the past 10 months, debates have raged over how to keep the coronavirus in check. What to open? What to close? Where does the virus spread, and where are we relatively safe? Through it all, one kind of space in particular has been the subject of vigorous debate — and, starting a few months into the virus, a kind of unexpected conventional wisdom emerged: that schools were relatively safe. In the midst of the darkness, it brought some welcome light: kids are safe! They can go to school! While other institutions closed, countries around the world — particularly in Europe and the UK — kept their schools open.

And yet, in response to rising rates and a new, more contagious variant, many of those same countries have since closed their school doors. It turns out that, if you believe the epidemiologists, schools do, in fact, bring risk of transmission. How could we ever have thought otherwise? Rachel Cohen has been covering the debates around school closings and openings, most recently at The Intercept. In this week's podcast extra, she tells Brooke about how the school transmission narrative has evolved since the beginning of the pandemic, and how our understanding of the issue came to be so muddled.

Over the past 10 months, debates have raged over how to keep the coronavirus in check. What to open? What to close? Where does the virus spread, and where are we relatively safe? Through it all, one kind of space in particular has been the subject of vigorous debate — and, starting a few months into the virus, a kind of unexpected conventional wisdom emerged: that schools were relatively safe. In the midst of the darkness, it brought some welcome light: kids are safe! They can go to school! While other institutions closed, countries around the world — particularly in Europe and the UK — kept their schools open.

And yet, in response to rising rates and a new, more contagious variant, many of those same countries have since closed their school doors. It turns out that, if you believe the epidemiologists, schools do, in fact, bring risk of transmission. How could we ever have thought otherwise? Rachel Cohen has been covering the debates around school closings and openings, most recently at The Intercept. In this week's podcast extra, she tells Brooke about how the school transmission narrative has evolved since the beginning of the pandemic, and how our understanding of the issue came to be so muddled.


Breaking the Myth

On this week’s On The Media, journalists struggle to find the words to describe what happened at the capitol on Wednesday. Was it a riot? A mob? An insurrection? Plus, why supporters of the president’s baseless election fraud theories keep invoking the “lost cause” myth of the confederacy. And, taking a second look at "The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down."

1. Brooke [@OTMBrooke] and Bob [@bobosphere] on the events at the Capitol on Wednesday. Listen.

2. Caroline Janney [@CarrieJanney], historian of the Civil War at University of Virginia, on the evolution of the post-Civil War Lost Cause mythology. Listen.

3. Kimberlé Williams Crenshaw [@sandylocks], professor of law at UCLA and Columbia Law School, on how post-Civil War appeasement allowed for the perpetuation of white supremacy in the United States. Listen.

4. Jack Hamilton [@jack_hamilton], associate professor of American studies and media studies at the University of Virginia, on the mixed and missed messages in the rock anthem "The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down" by The Band. Listen.

Music from this week's show:
Invitation to a Suicide — John Zorn
Sneaky Adventure — Kevin MacLeod

Glass House/Curtains — David Bergeaud
The Last Bird — Zoe Keating
Lost, Night — Bill Frisell
Using the Apostate Tyrant as His Tool — Kronos Quartet
The Night They Drove Ol' Dixie Down — The Band
The Night They Drove Ol' Dixie Down — Richie Havens

On this week’s On The Media, journalists struggle to find the words to describe what happened at the capitol on Wednesday. Was it a riot? A mob? An insurrection? Plus, why supporters of the president’s baseless election fraud theories keep invoking the “lost cause” myth of the confederacy. And, taking a second look at "The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down."

1. Brooke [@OTMBrooke] and Bob [@bobosphere] on the events at the Capitol on Wednesday. Listen.

2. Caroline Janney [@CarrieJanney], historian of the Civil War at University of Virginia, on the evolution of the post-Civil War Lost Cause mythology. Listen.

3. Kimberlé Williams Crenshaw [@sandylocks], professor of law at UCLA and Columbia Law School, on how post-Civil War appeasement allowed for the perpetuation of white supremacy in the United States. Listen.

4. Jack Hamilton [@jack_hamilton], associate professor of American studies and media studies at the University of Virginia, on the mixed and missed messages in the rock anthem "The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down" by The Band. Listen.

Music from this week's show:Invitation to a Suicide — John ZornSneaky Adventure — Kevin MacLeodGlass House/Curtains — David BergeaudThe Last Bird — Zoe KeatingLost, Night — Bill FrisellUsing the Apostate Tyrant as His Tool — Kronos QuartetThe Night They Drove Ol' Dixie Down — The BandThe Night They Drove Ol' Dixie Down — Richie Havens


The World, Remade

With vaccinations underway, we’re edging closer and closer to the end of the pandemic. This week, On The Media looks at how the pandemic has shaped what’s possible for the future — from the built environment to the way we work to the way we learn. 

1. Sam Kling [@SamKling2], American Council of Learned Societies public fellow, on whether cities like New York were bound to become hubs for disease. Listen.

2.  Vanessa Chang [@vxchang], lecturer at California College of the Arts, explains how pandemics of the past have been instrumental in shaping architecture; Mik Scarlet [@MikScarlet] delineates the social model of disability; and Sara Hendren [@ablerism], author of What Can A Body Do?: How We Meet the Built World, describes how the wisdom of people with disabilities can inform the redesign our post-pandemic world. Listen.

3. OTM reporter Micah Loewinger [@micahloewinger] tells the story of how distance learning saved his friend's life. Listen.

 

With vaccinations underway, we’re edging closer and closer to the end of the pandemic. This week, On The Media looks at how the pandemic has shaped what’s possible for the future — from the built environment to the way we work to the way we learn. 

1. Sam Kling [@SamKling2], American Council of Learned Societies public fellow, on whether cities like New York were bound to become hubs for disease. Listen.

2.  Vanessa Chang [@vxchang], lecturer at California College of the Arts, explains how pandemics of the past have been instrumental in shaping architecture; Mik Scarlet [@MikScarlet] delineates the social model of disability; and Sara Hendren [@ablerism], author of What Can A Body Do?: How We Meet the Built World, describes how the wisdom of people with disabilities can inform the redesign our post-pandemic world. Listen.

3. OTM reporter Micah Loewinger [@micahloewinger] tells the story of how distance learning saved his friend's life. Listen.

 


A Brief History of Timekeeping

We spend our lives bound to a clock and calendar that tell us what to do and what to expect. But now, millions of Americans are newly jobless, untethered from structure and predictability. Hundreds of of thousands fight a virus that could cut their time on earth dramatically short. And all of us wait out a life-stoppage of unknown duration. And so, we may find ourselves outside of time. Passing it, but no longer marking it. Anthony F. Aveni, professor emeritus of astronomy, anthropology, and Native American studies at Colgate University, says that to understand our current time consciousness, we have to return to a land before time — or at least, time as we know it. Aveni and Bob talk about the history of timekeeping, and how we might find our orientation during this collective time-out.

This is a segment from our April 24th, 2020 program, On Matters of Time and Space.

We spend our lives bound to a clock and calendar that tell us what to do and what to expect. But now, millions of Americans are newly jobless, untethered from structure and predictability. Hundreds of of thousands fight a virus that could cut their time on earth dramatically short. And all of us wait out a life-stoppage of unknown duration. And so, we may find ourselves outside of time. Passing it, but no longer marking it. Anthony F. Aveni, professor emeritus of astronomy, anthropology, and Native American studies at Colgate University, says that to understand our current time consciousness, we have to return to a land before time — or at least, time as we know it. Aveni and Bob talk about the history of timekeeping, and how we might find our orientation during this collective time-out.

This is a segment from our April 24th, 2020 program, On Matters of Time and Space.


What Just Happened?!

The new year approaches, marking an end to a truly unexpected trip around the sun. This week, On the Media reflects on our 2020 coverage, from the pandemic to the global uprising to the rise of the anti-majoritarian right. 

With excerpts from:

  1. The Virality of Virality, January 31, 2020
  2. Epidemic Voyeurs No More, February 28, 2020
  3. Infectious Diseases Show Societies Who They Really Are, March 6, 2020
  4. Why The Toilet Paper Shortage Makes More Sense Than You Think, April 10, 2020
  5. Is The Pandemic Making Us Numb To One Another's Pain?, December 11, 2020
  6. Is This 'Unrest' or an 'Uprising'?, June 5, 2020
  7. Why Activists Are Demanding That Cities "Defund the Police", June 12, 2020
  8. Movements, Sanitized In Hindsight, June 19, 2020
  9. Imprecision 2020, November 5, 2020
  10. They Prepared for War With Antifa. Antifa Never Came., June 12, 2020
  11. With #SaveTheChildren Rallies, QAnon Sneaks Into The Offline World, August 26, 2020
  12. The Ancient Heresy That Helps Us Understand QAnon, November 20, 2020
  13. The Right's Long History of Ignoring the Will of the People, November 6, 2020
  14. Against Democracy, October 9, 2020

The new year approaches, marking an end to a truly unexpected trip around the sun. This week, On the Media reflects on our 2020 coverage, from the pandemic to the global uprising to the rise of the anti-majoritarian right. 

With excerpts from:

    The Virality of Virality, January 31, 2020 Epidemic Voyeurs No More, February 28, 2020 Infectious Diseases Show Societies Who They Really Are, March 6, 2020 Why The Toilet Paper Shortage Makes More Sense Than You Think, April 10, 2020 Is The Pandemic Making Us Numb To One Another's Pain?, December 11, 2020 Is This 'Unrest' or an 'Uprising'?, June 5, 2020 Why Activists Are Demanding That Cities "Defund the Police", June 12, 2020 Movements, Sanitized In Hindsight, June 19, 2020 Imprecision 2020, November 5, 2020 They Prepared for War With Antifa. Antifa Never Came., June 12, 2020 With #SaveTheChildren Rallies, QAnon Sneaks Into The Offline World, August 26, 2020 The Ancient Heresy That Helps Us Understand QAnon, November 20, 2020 The Right's Long History of Ignoring the Will of the People, November 6, 2020 Against Democracy, October 9, 2020


Unlearning White Jesus

In a time where monuments are being toppled, institutions and icons reconsidered, we turn to a portrait encountered by every American: "White Jesus." You know, that guy with sandy blond hair and upcast blue eyes. For On the Media, Eloise Blondiau traces the history of how the historically inaccurate image became canon, and why it matters.

In this segment, Eloise talks to Mbiyu Chui, pastor at the Shrine of the Black Madonna in Detroit, about unlearning Jesus's whiteness. She also hears from Edward Blum, author of The Color of Christ: The Son of God and the Saga of Race in America, about how the image came dominate in the U.S., and psychologist Simon Howard on how White Jesus has infiltrated our subconsciouses. Lastly, Eloise speaks to Rev. Kelly Brown Douglaswomanist theologian and Dean of the Episcopal Divinity School at Union Theological Seminary, about the theology of the Black Christ.

This is a segment from our October 1st, 2020 program, God Bless.

In a time where monuments are being toppled, institutions and icons reconsidered, we turn to a portrait encountered by every American: "White Jesus." You know, that guy with sandy blond hair and upcast blue eyes. For On the Media, Eloise Blondiau traces the history of how the historically inaccurate image became canon, and why it matters.

In this segment, Eloise talks to Mbiyu Chui, pastor at the Shrine of the Black Madonna in Detroit, about unlearning Jesus's whiteness. She also hears from Edward Blum, author of The Color of Christ: The Son of God and the Saga of Race in America, about how the image came dominate in the U.S., and psychologist Simon Howard on how White Jesus has infiltrated our subconsciouses. Lastly, Eloise speaks to Rev. Kelly Brown Douglas, womanist theologian and Dean of the Episcopal Divinity School at Union Theological Seminary, about the theology of the Black Christ.

This is a segment from our October 1st, 2020 program, God Bless.


Who Owns the Future?

Facebook has already been accused of spreading lies and polarizing society. Now, the federal government says it illegally crushed competition. On this week’s On the Media, how to roll back a global power that has transformed our economy and warped our democracy. 

1. Dina Srinivasan [@DinaSrinivasan], author of the 2019 paper, “The Antitrust Case Against Facebook,” on digital-age interpretations of the Sherman Antitrust Act. Listen.

2. Carole Cadwalladr [@carolecadwalla], journalist for The Guardian and The Observer, on the harms of Facebook unaddressed by both antitrust law and the company's own attempts at self-regulation. Listen

3. Shoshana Zuboff [@shoshanazuboff], professor emeritus at Harvard Business School and author of The Age of Surveillance Capitalism, on the data extraction and human futures markets that comprise much of our economy. Listen

 

Music:

Joeira by Kurup

Capernaum by Khaled Mouzanar

Okami by Nicola Cruz

Peer Gynt Suite No. 1 by Edvard Grieg

Facebook has already been accused of spreading lies and polarizing society. Now, the federal government says it illegally crushed competition. On this week’s On the Media, how to roll back a global power that has transformed our economy and warped our democracy. 

1. Dina Srinivasan [@DinaSrinivasan], author of the 2019 paper, “The Antitrust Case Against Facebook,” on digital-age interpretations of the Sherman Antitrust Act. Listen.

2. Carole Cadwalladr [@carolecadwalla], journalist for The Guardian and The Observer, on the harms of Facebook unaddressed by both antitrust law and the company's own attempts at self-regulation. Listen

3. Shoshana Zuboff [@shoshanazuboff], professor emeritus at Harvard Business School and author of The Age of Surveillance Capitalism, on the data extraction and human futures markets that comprise much of our economy. Listen

 

Music:

Joeira by Kurup

Capernaum by Khaled Mouzanar

Okami by Nicola Cruz

Peer Gynt Suite No. 1 by Edvard Grieg


Investigating the Toll of 2-Day Shipping

 Last year, the investigative podcast Reveal documented an extraordinary number of workplace injuries at Amazon warehouses around the country. It was a huge national story, bigger now because of the soaring reliance of Amazon amid pandemic conditions and with it Amazon's growing impact on the labor market. But the national story was essentially compilation of a hundred-some local stories. If broken out and reported locally, communities can be informed of the collateral damage attendant to new jobs dangled by a commercial colossus. So Reveal -- a product of the Center for Investigative Reporting -- built the “Behind the Smiles Network” enlisting local news organizations to investigate their own Amazon facilities with the help of date supplied to them by Reveal. In this podcast extra, Bob talks with Byard Duncan, Reveal's engagement and collaborations reporter and the liaison between his team's national reporters and the local reporting network.

 Last year, the investigative podcast Reveal documented an extraordinary number of workplace injuries at Amazon warehouses around the country. It was a huge national story, bigger now because of the soaring reliance of Amazon amid pandemic conditions and with it Amazon's growing impact on the labor market. But the national story was essentially compilation of a hundred-some local stories. If broken out and reported locally, communities can be informed of the collateral damage attendant to new jobs dangled by a commercial colossus. So Reveal -- a product of the Center for Investigative Reporting -- built the “Behind the Smiles Network” enlisting local news organizations to investigate their own Amazon facilities with the help of date supplied to them by Reveal. In this podcast extra, Bob talks with Byard Duncan, Reveal's engagement and collaborations reporter and the liaison between his team's national reporters and the local reporting network.


Last Wish

Scientists and policymakers are hopeful about a slate of vaccines, but it may be a long time before everyone has access. This week, On the Media explores the ethical questions around vaccine distribution. Plus, how some pundits are inflating the odds of Donald Trump facing criminal charges. And, how death rituals can help us face our mounting grief.

1. Ankush Khardori, writer and former federal prosecutor, explains why we need to stop speculating about a post-presidency downfall for Trump. Listen.

2. Jordan Kisner [@jordan_kisner], author of "What the Chaos in Hospitals Is Doing to Doctors" for The Atlantic, on the burden of moral decision-making in the pandemic, and how it relates to the vaccine rollout. Listen.

3. Micah Loewinger [@MicahLoewinger], OTM reporter/producer, talks to Brooke about how an article in the Washington Post shook him out of pandemic-induced numbness. Listen.

4. Amy Cunningham [@BrooklynFuneral], death educator and funeral director, on how to repair our relationship with death amid the pandemic. Listen.

Music:

Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy/Tchaikovsky — Kevin Mcleod
Anything for Love — Daniel Birch
Quizas Quizas Quizas — Ramon Sole
Cellar Door — Michael Andrews
What’s that Sound — Michael Andrews
Boy Moves the Sun — Michael Andrews
The Beatitudes — Kronos Quartet

Scientists and policymakers are hopeful about a slate of vaccines, but it may be a long time before everyone has access. This week, On the Media explores the ethical questions around vaccine distribution. Plus, how some pundits are inflating the odds of Donald Trump facing criminal charges. And, how death rituals can help us face our mounting grief.

1. Ankush Khardori, writer and former federal prosecutor, explains why we need to stop speculating about a post-presidency downfall for Trump. Listen.

2. Jordan Kisner [@jordan_kisner], author of "What the Chaos in Hospitals Is Doing to Doctors" for The Atlantic, on the burden of moral decision-making in the pandemic, and how it relates to the vaccine rollout. Listen.

3. Micah Loewinger [@MicahLoewinger], OTM reporter/producer, talks to Brooke about how an article in the Washington Post shook him out of pandemic-induced numbness. Listen.

4. Amy Cunningham [@BrooklynFuneral], death educator and funeral director, on how to repair our relationship with death amid the pandemic. Listen.

Music:

Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy/Tchaikovsky — Kevin Mcleod Anything for Love — Daniel Birch Quizas Quizas Quizas — Ramon Sole Cellar Door — Michael Andrews What’s that Sound — Michael Andrews Boy Moves the Sun — Michael AndrewsThe Beatitudes — Kronos Quartet


Shifting Baselines

David Roberts wrote for Vox.com in July, about the mental phenomenon of “shifting baselines,” in which we calibrate our expectations to the world we were born into, irrespective of what came before. And in so doing, he wrote, we unintentionally discount the severity of threats to our well-being. The term first came into fashion in 1995, when fisheries scientist Daniel Pauly observed that each generation of fisheries scientists accepts as a baseline the number of fish and the species composition at the beginning of their careers and uses that baseline to evaluate changes. Roberts spoke with Bob in the summer, about the social science of shifting baselines, generational amnesia and the psychological immune system — and what it all means for how we communicate about climate change.

This is a segment from our July 17th program, “This Is Fine”.

David Roberts wrote for Vox.com in July, about the mental phenomenon of “shifting baselines,” in which we calibrate our expectations to the world we were born into, irrespective of what came before. And in so doing, he wrote, we unintentionally discount the severity of threats to our well-being. The term first came into fashion in 1995, when fisheries scientist Daniel Pauly observed that each generation of fisheries scientists accepts as a baseline the number of fish and the species composition at the beginning of their careers and uses that baseline to evaluate changes. Roberts spoke with Bob in the summer, about the social science of shifting baselines, generational amnesia and the psychological immune system — and what it all means for how we communicate about climate change.

This is a segment from our July 17th program, “This Is Fine”.


A Dose Of Reality

With the pandemic’s second wave in full-swing, two vaccine makers are seeking emergency use authorization from the FDA. This week, On The Media explores how to convince enough Americans to take a coronavirus vaccine so that the country can reach herd immunity. First we look to past vaccine rollouts for lessons, and then to how to identify and reach current skeptics. Plus, how a new voting conspiracy is taking hold on the right. 

1. Michael Kinch [@MichaelKinch], author of Between Hope and Fear: A History of Vaccines and Human Immunity, on lessons from vaccines past; and Matt Motta [@Matt_Motta], assistant professor of political science at Oklahoma State University, explains how to reach vaccine skeptics. Listen.

2. The Rev. Paul Abernathy on his work addressing vaccine skepticism in Black communities, starting by earning trust and recruiting vaccine trial volunteers in predominantly Black neighborhoods in Pittsburgh. Listen.

3. Brandy Zadrozny [@BrandyZadrozny], investigative reporter for NBC News, tells Bob about how science quackery transformed into a booming anti-vax industry. Listen.

4. In an essay, Bob explores the baseless Dominion Voting Systems conspiracy, and looks at the bizarre characters who have been embraced by an increasingly desperate right-wing media. Listen.

With the pandemic’s second wave in full-swing, two vaccine makers are seeking emergency use authorization from the FDA. This week, On The Media explores how to convince enough Americans to take a coronavirus vaccine so that the country can reach herd immunity. First we look to past vaccine rollouts for lessons, and then to how to identify and reach current skeptics. Plus, how a new voting conspiracy is taking hold on the right. 

1. Michael Kinch [@MichaelKinch], author of Between Hope and Fear: A History of Vaccines and Human Immunity, on lessons from vaccines past; and Matt Motta [@Matt_Motta], assistant professor of political science at Oklahoma State University, explains how to reach vaccine skeptics. Listen.

2. The Rev. Paul Abernathy on his work addressing vaccine skepticism in Black communities, starting by earning trust and recruiting vaccine trial volunteers in predominantly Black neighborhoods in Pittsburgh. Listen.

3. Brandy Zadrozny [@BrandyZadrozny], investigative reporter for NBC News, tells Bob about how science quackery transformed into a booming anti-vax industry. Listen.

4. In an essay, Bob explores the baseless Dominion Voting Systems conspiracy, and looks at the bizarre characters who have been embraced by an increasingly desperate right-wing media. Listen.


"Defund the Police" revisited

On Wednesday morning, former president Barack Obama appeared on “Snap Original Good Luck America,” which is an interview program on Snapchat — and thus a proper setting to chasten the young. He warned young activists, "I guess you can use a snappy slogan like 'defund the police,' but you know you've lost a big audience the minute you say it, which makes it a lot less likely that you're actually going to get the changes you want done." 

When the idea — not slogan — first became audible to the mainstream this summer, some politicians immediately sought to water it down, reinterpreting abolition as just another go at reform. Proponents, though, say that they mean exactly what they say. They also emphasize that the demand to remove money from police departments and redistribute it to improve the social conditions that drive criminality isn't new. In June, Bob spoke with Amna Akbar, law professor at The Ohio State University, about where the demand comes from, and what "abolition" really means.

This interview originally aired as part of our June 12, 2020 program, It’s Going Down.

On Wednesday morning, former president Barack Obama appeared on “Snap Original Good Luck America,” which is an interview program on Snapchat — and thus a proper setting to chasten the young. He warned young activists, "I guess you can use a snappy slogan like 'defund the police,' but you know you've lost a big audience the minute you say it, which makes it a lot less likely that you're actually going to get the changes you want done." 

When the idea — not slogan — first became audible to the mainstream this summer, some politicians immediately sought to water it down, reinterpreting abolition as just another go at reform. Proponents, though, say that they mean exactly what they say. They also emphasize that the demand to remove money from police departments and redistribute it to improve the social conditions that drive criminality isn't new. In June, Bob spoke with Amna Akbar, law professor at The Ohio State University, about where the demand comes from, and what "abolition" really means.

This interview originally aired as part of our June 12, 2020 program, It’s Going Down.


No Ado About Much

With the an apparent second wave of COVID-19 in full force, the media are sounding the alarm on a deadly virus growing out of control. But during the Spanish Flu 100 years ago, the media downplayed the pandemic. On this week's show, a look at how the Spanish Flu vanished from our collective memory. Then, how Shakespeare, a British icon, became an American hero. 

1. John Barry [@johnmbarry], author of The Great Influenza, on how America forgot about the pandemic of 1918. Listen.

2. James Shapiro, author of Shakespeare in a Divided America, on what the Brit's plays teach us about life in the USListen.

Music:
Berceuse in D Flat Major, Op. 57 Chopin - Ivan Moravec
Crows of Homer - Gerry O'Beirne
The Dancing Master: Maiden Lane (John Playford) - The Broadside Band & Jeremy Barlow
John’s Book of Alleged Dances (John Adams) - Kronos Quartet
Fife Feature: Lowland’s Away (Roy Watrous) - Gregory S. Balvanz & The US Army Fife and Drum Corps    
Ballad No. 2 in F, Op. 38 (Chopin) - Ivan Moravec
Little Rose is Gone/Billy in the Lowground - Jim TaylorCollection
Frail As a Breeze - Erik Friedlander
The De Lesseps' Dance - Shakespeare in Love Soundtrack
Kiss Me Kate Overture - Kiss Me Kate Soundtrack
Brush Up Your Shakespeare - Kiss Me Kate Soundtrack
Love & the Rehearsal - Shakespeare in Love Soundtrack
Harpsichord - Four Tet

With the an apparent second wave of COVID-19 in full force, the media are sounding the alarm on a deadly virus growing out of control. But during the Spanish Flu 100 years ago, the media downplayed the pandemic. On this week's show, a look at how the Spanish Flu vanished from our collective memory. Then, how Shakespeare, a British icon, became an American hero. 

1. John Barry [@johnmbarry], author of The Great Influenza, on how America forgot about the pandemic of 1918. Listen.

2. James Shapiro, author of Shakespeare in a Divided America, on what the Brit's plays teach us about life in the US. Listen.

Music:Berceuse in D Flat Major, Op. 57 Chopin - Ivan MoravecCrows of Homer - Gerry O'BeirneThe Dancing Master: Maiden Lane (John Playford) - The Broadside Band & Jeremy Barlow John’s Book of Alleged Dances (John Adams) - Kronos QuartetFife Feature: Lowland’s Away (Roy Watrous) - Gregory S. Balvanz & The US Army Fife and Drum Corps    Ballad No. 2 in F, Op. 38 (Chopin) - Ivan MoravecLittle Rose is Gone/Billy in the Lowground - Jim TaylorCollection Frail As a Breeze - Erik FriedlanderThe De Lesseps' Dance - Shakespeare in Love SoundtrackKiss Me Kate Overture - Kiss Me Kate Soundtrack Brush Up Your Shakespeare - Kiss Me Kate SoundtrackLove & the Rehearsal - Shakespeare in Love SoundtrackHarpsichord - Four Tet


Epidemics Show Societies Who They Really Are

Communicable disease has haunted humanity for all of history. As such, the responses to coronavirus in our midst have a grimly timeless quality. In fact, to one scholar, epidemics are a great lens for peering into the values, temperament, infrastructures and moral structures of the societies they attack. Frank M. Snowden is a professor emeritus of the history of medicine at Yale and author of Epidemics and Society: From the Black Death to the Present. An epidemic, he writes, “holds a mirror” to the civilization in which it occurs. In this podcast extra, he speaks to Bob about what we can learn about ourselves from the infectious diseases we've faced, from the bubonic plague in the 14th century to the Ebola outbreak in 2014 to COVID-19 today.

This interview originally aired as a segment in our March 6, 2020 program, Our Bodies, Ourselves.

Communicable disease has haunted humanity for all of history. As such, the responses to coronavirus in our midst have a grimly timeless quality. In fact, to one scholar, epidemics are a great lens for peering into the values, temperament, infrastructures and moral structures of the societies they attack. Frank M. Snowden is a professor emeritus of the history of medicine at Yale and author of Epidemics and Society: From the Black Death to the Present. An epidemic, he writes, “holds a mirror” to the civilization in which it occurs. In this podcast extra, he speaks to Bob about what we can learn about ourselves from the infectious diseases we've faced, from the bubonic plague in the 14th century to the Ebola outbreak in 2014 to COVID-19 today.

This interview originally aired as a segment in our March 6, 2020 program, Our Bodies, Ourselves.


EXTENDED VERSION The Ancient Heresy That Helps Us Understand QAnon

EXTENDED VERSION (includes content we had to leave on the cutting room floor to make the interview fit into the broadcast)

It’s been two weeks since Trump lost the election to Biden. But he and his followers are still claiming victory. Jeff Sharlet, who has been covering the election for Vanity Fair, credits two Christian-adjacent ideas for these claims. The first is the so-called “prosperity gospel”: the notion that, among other things, positive thinking can manifest positive consequences. Even electoral victory in the face of electoral loss. But the problem with prosperity gospel, like day-and-date rapture prophecies, is that when its bets don’t pay off, it’s glaringly obvious.

As prosperity thinking loses its edge for Trump, another strain of fringe Christianity — dating back nearly two millennia — is flourishing. Jeff Sharlet says an ancient heresy, Gnosticism, can help us understand the unifying force of pseudo-intellectualism on the right. Sharlet explains how a gnostic emphasis on "hidden" truths has animated QAnon conspiracies and Trump’s base.

This is the extended version of a segment from our November 20th, 2020 program, Believe It Or Not.

EXTENDED VERSION (includes content we had to leave on the cutting room floor to make the interview fit into the broadcast)

It’s been two weeks since Trump lost the election to Biden. But he and his followers are still claiming victory. Jeff Sharlet, who has been covering the election for Vanity Fair, credits two Christian-adjacent ideas for these claims. The first is the so-called “prosperity gospel”: the notion that, among other things, positive thinking can manifest positive consequences. Even electoral victory in the face of electoral loss. But the problem with prosperity gospel, like day-and-date rapture prophecies, is that when its bets don’t pay off, it’s glaringly obvious.

As prosperity thinking loses its edge for Trump, another strain of fringe Christianity — dating back nearly two millennia — is flourishing. Jeff Sharlet says an ancient heresy, Gnosticism, can help us understand the unifying force of pseudo-intellectualism on the right. Sharlet explains how a gnostic emphasis on "hidden" truths has animated QAnon conspiracies and Trump’s base.

This is the extended version of a segment from our November 20th, 2020 program, Believe It Or Not.


Believe It Or Not

As the pandemic spreads, officials are imposing new public health policies. On this week’s On the Media, why so many of the new rules contradict what science tells us about the virus. Plus, what a fringe early Christian movement can tell us about QAnon. And, a former White House photographer reflects on covering presidents in the pre-Trump era. 

1. Roxanne Khamsi [@rkhamsi], science journalist, on how political leaders have failed to consistently explain the science behind their policies. Listen.

2. Jeff Sharlet [@jeffsharlet], professor of English at Dartmouth College and author of This Brilliant Darkness: A Book of Strangers, explains how an ancient heresy serves as a blueprint for right wing conspiracies. Listen.

3. Pete Souza [@petesouza] examines the role of the chief White House photographer. Listen.

Music from this week's show:

Chopin — Nocturne for piano in B flat minor
Gotan Project — Vuelvo al Sur
Hans Zimmer/The Da Vinci Code soundtrack — There Has To Be Mysteries
Michael W. Smith — Agnus Dei
Sentimental journey (instrumental)

As the pandemic spreads, officials are imposing new public health policies. On this week’s On the Media, why so many of the new rules contradict what science tells us about the virus. Plus, what a fringe early Christian movement can tell us about QAnon. And, a former White House photographer reflects on covering presidents in the pre-Trump era. 

1. Roxanne Khamsi [@rkhamsi], science journalist, on how political leaders have failed to consistently explain the science behind their policies. Listen.

2. Jeff Sharlet [@jeffsharlet], professor of English at Dartmouth College and author of This Brilliant Darkness: A Book of Strangers, explains how an ancient heresy serves as a blueprint for right wing conspiracies. Listen.

3. Pete Souza [@petesouza] examines the role of the chief White House photographer. Listen.

Music from this week's show:

Chopin — Nocturne for piano in B flat minorGotan Project — Vuelvo al SurHans Zimmer/The Da Vinci Code soundtrack — There Has To Be MysteriesMichael W. Smith — Agnus DeiSentimental journey (instrumental)


Rewatching "Contagion" in a Pandemic

Back in February we spoke to Pulitzer Prize–winning science writer Laurie Garrett, author of The Coming Plague, in an episode we called "Black Swans". The coronavirus had yet to make landfall in the US but the anxiety was building. After the segment aired, New York Times critic Wesley Morris told us that after he heard the part where Garrett described her role as a consultant on the movie, "Contagion" he felt compelled to rewatch the 2011 thriller. In the film, competency — specifically, within federal government agencies — is the solution to a destructive crisis. This is comforting to watch, like a sort of public health "West Wing." It is also unnerving, and heavy, to watch the thrilling procedural un-spool as people, on- and off-screen, die. Brooke spoke to Morris in March about how for him, it was the pandemic film that most perfectly fit with the current moment — down to Kate Winslet, playing a dogged pathogenic detective, reminding her colleague to stop touching his face. 

 

Back in February we spoke to Pulitzer Prize–winning science writer Laurie Garrett, author of The Coming Plague, in an episode we called "Black Swans". The coronavirus had yet to make landfall in the US but the anxiety was building. After the segment aired, New York Times critic Wesley Morris told us that after he heard the part where Garrett described her role as a consultant on the movie, "Contagion" he felt compelled to rewatch the 2011 thriller. In the film, competency — specifically, within federal government agencies — is the solution to a destructive crisis. This is comforting to watch, like a sort of public health "West Wing." It is also unnerving, and heavy, to watch the thrilling procedural un-spool as people, on- and off-screen, die. Brooke spoke to Morris in March about how for him, it was the pandemic film that most perfectly fit with the current moment — down to Kate Winslet, playing a dogged pathogenic detective, reminding her colleague to stop touching his face. 

 


Another World Entirely

With President Trump refusing to accept the results of the election, analysts are asking if he’s trying to wage a coup. On this week’s On the Media, why so many Republicans support the president’s claims, despite the evidence. Don’t miss On the Media, from WNYC Studios.

1. Bob on the latest Trumpian Big Lie, concerning the very foundation of democracy. Listen.

2. Casey Newton [@CaseyNewton], author of the Platformer newsletter, on the surging post-election popularity of the social media platforms Parler and MeWe. Listen.

3. Matthew Sheffield [@mattsheffield], former conservative journalist and host of the Theory Of Change podcast, on why he hopes to "free people" from the very media ecosystem he helped build. Listen.

4. Samanth Subramanian [@Samanth_S], journalist, on the Trump administration's assault on public data. Listen.

 

Music:

Hidden Agenda  - Kevin MacLeod
Slow Pulse Conga - William Pasley
Accentuate the Positive - Syd Dale Double Dozen and Alec Gould
Blues: La dolce vita dei Nobili - Nino Rota

 

With President Trump refusing to accept the results of the election, analysts are asking if he’s trying to wage a coup. On this week’s On the Media, why so many Republicans support the president’s claims, despite the evidence. Don’t miss On the Media, from WNYC Studios.

1. Bob on the latest Trumpian Big Lie, concerning the very foundation of democracy. Listen.

2. Casey Newton [@CaseyNewton], author of the Platformer newsletter, on the surging post-election popularity of the social media platforms Parler and MeWe. Listen.

3. Matthew Sheffield [@mattsheffield], former conservative journalist and host of the Theory Of Change podcast, on why he hopes to "free people" from the very media ecosystem he helped build. Listen.

4. Samanth Subramanian [@Samanth_S], journalist, on the Trump administration's assault on public data. Listen.

 

Music:

Hidden Agenda  - Kevin MacLeodSlow Pulse Conga - William PasleyAccentuate the Positive - Syd Dale Double Dozen and Alec GouldBlues: La dolce vita dei Nobili - Nino Rota

 


The Pfizer Vaccine Isn't a Home Run Yet

Pfizer announced Monday that its coronavirus vaccine demonstrated more than 90% effectiveness and no serious bad reactions in trial results — an outcome that should enable the company to obtain an emergency authorization soon. Between the vaccine and the unveiling, also on Monday, of a Biden-led coronavirus task force, it seemed like the rare pandemic-era day in which the good news could compete with the tragic. But Pulitzer Prize–winning science writer Laurie Garrett wrote this week in Foreign Policy that even if this vaccine works as advertised, there are still plenty of reasons to worry about much good it can do. In this podcast extra, Garrett tells Brooke about what she views as caveats to the potential breakthrough. 

CORRECTION: This podcast contains an error concerning the timing of testing after the second dose of Pfizer's coronavirus vaccine candidate. According to a protocol released by Pfizer, Phase 3 study participants were tested for coronavirus "at least 7 days after receipt of the second dose," [emphasis added]. In this interview, Garrett says, "7 days after [the second dose], [participants] got a COVID test. The results presented are what was found at that seven-day point." Rather, the results announced by Pfizer earlier this month were based on testing conducted at least one week after the second dose. 

We reached out to Garrett for additional comment, and she added this: "All [Pfizer's] protocol required was a single test at the 7 day point. Eventually, Pfizer has extended that to 14 days. Since we don’t have any breakdown on numbers in the only published info — press release — we don’t know what % of the vax recipients were tested at 7 days, 8 days, 12 days…..no idea. So all we CAN say is that they all got a minimum of response time before testing. It’s a glass half full, half empty issue."

Pfizer announced Monday that its coronavirus vaccine demonstrated more than 90% effectiveness and no serious bad reactions in trial results — an outcome that should enable the company to obtain an emergency authorization soon. Between the vaccine and the unveiling, also on Monday, of a Biden-led coronavirus task force, it seemed like the rare pandemic-era day in which the good news could compete with the tragic. But Pulitzer Prize–winning science writer Laurie Garrett wrote this week in Foreign Policy that even if this vaccine works as advertised, there are still plenty of reasons to worry about much good it can do. In this podcast extra, Garrett tells Brooke about what she views as caveats to the potential breakthrough. 

CORRECTION: This podcast contains an error concerning the timing of testing after the second dose of Pfizer's coronavirus vaccine candidate. According to a protocol released by Pfizer, Phase 3 study participants were tested for coronavirus "at least 7 days after receipt of the second dose," [emphasis added]. In this interview, Garrett says, "7 days after [the second dose], [participants] got a COVID test. The results presented are what was found at that seven-day point." Rather, the results announced by Pfizer earlier this month were based on testing conducted at least one week after the second dose. 

We reached out to Garrett for additional comment, and she added this: "All [Pfizer's] protocol required was a single test at the 7 day point. Eventually, Pfizer has extended that to 14 days. Since we don’t have any breakdown on numbers in the only published info — press release — we don’t know what % of the vax recipients were tested at 7 days, 8 days, 12 days…..no idea. So all we CAN say is that they all got a minimum of response time before testing. It’s a glass half full, half empty issue."


This Is Us

With Joe Biden approaching victory, Donald Trump and his political allies flooded the internet with conspiracy theories. This week, On the Media examines the misinformation fueling right-wing demonstrations across the country. Plus, why pollsters seemed to get the election wrong — again. And, how the history of the American right presaged the Republican Party's anti-majoritarian turn. 

1. John Mark Hansen, professor of political science at the University of Chicago, explains what exactly it would take to steal a presidential election. Listen.

2. Zeynep Tufecki [@zeynep], associate professor at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, argues in favor of doing away with election forecasting models. Listen.

3. Rick Perlstein [@rickperlstein], author of Reaganland: America's Right Turn 1976-1980, on the history of anti-majoritarian politics on the American right. Listen.

Music from this week's show:

White Man Sleeps — Kronos Quartet
L’Illusionista — Nino Rota
German Lullaby — The Kiboomers
Frail as a Breeze, Part 2 — Erik Friedlander
Wouldn’t It Be Loverly — Fred Hersh

With Joe Biden approaching victory, Donald Trump and his political allies flooded the internet with conspiracy theories. This week, On the Media examines the misinformation fueling right-wing demonstrations across the country. Plus, why pollsters seemed to get the election wrong — again. And, how the history of the American right presaged the Republican Party's anti-majoritarian turn. 

1. John Mark Hansen, professor of political science at the University of Chicago, explains what exactly it would take to steal a presidential election. Listen.

2. Zeynep Tufecki [@zeynep], associate professor at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, argues in favor of doing away with election forecasting models. Listen.

3. Rick Perlstein [@rickperlstein], author of Reaganland: America's Right Turn 1976-1980, on the history of anti-majoritarian politics on the American right. Listen.

Music from this week's show:

White Man Sleeps — Kronos QuartetL’Illusionista — Nino RotaGerman Lullaby — The KiboomersFrail as a Breeze, Part 2 — Erik FriedlanderWouldn’t It Be Loverly — Fred Hersh


Imprecision 2020

For election night 2020, while cable news had white boards and talking heads, the OTM crew hosted comedians, singers and friends for some great conversation with occasional updates on what was happening in the presidential race. In this podcast extra we highlight one of those conversations.

Mychal Denzel Smith is a writer and fellow at Type Media Center. Brooke spoke to him about his most recent book titled Stakes Is High: After The American Dream which focuses on the perils, for the individual, and the nation of embracing the American myth, better known as the American Dream, the idea that everything is possible for those who work hard. And she asked him what kind of changes the outcome of this election might herald.

To round out the broadcast, Bob and Brooke answered some audience questions...and revisited some of the issues in the conversation they had the day after the 2016 election, Now What? 

For election night 2020, while cable news had white boards and talking heads, the OTM crew hosted comedians, singers and friends for some great conversation with occasional updates on what was happening in the presidential race. In this podcast extra we highlight one of those conversations.

Mychal Denzel Smith is a writer and fellow at Type Media Center. Brooke spoke to him about his most recent book titled Stakes Is High: After The American Dream which focuses on the perils, for the individual, and the nation of embracing the American myth, better known as the American Dream, the idea that everything is possible for those who work hard. And she asked him what kind of changes the outcome of this election might herald.

To round out the broadcast, Bob and Brooke answered some audience questions...and revisited some of the issues in the conversation they had the day after the 2016 election, Now What? 


Chaos Reigns

The past few decades have been a time of deep partisan animosity. On this week’s On The Media, how we might move beyond the current polarization. Plus, how one man’s obsession with organizing the natural world led him down a dark path. 

1. Lilliana Mason [@lilymasonphd], political psychologist at the University of Maryland, on why our political landscape became so polarized, and where we might go from here. Listen.

2. Lulu Miller [@lmillernpr], author of Why Fish Don't Exist and co-host of WNYC's Radiolab, charts the quest of taxonomist David Starr Jordan to categorize the world. Listen.

 

Music:

Songs of War - US Army Old Guard Fife and Drum Corps

John’s Book of Alleged Dances - Kronos Quartet

Nocturne for Piano in B flat minor - Chopin

Il Casanova di Federico Fellini

Death Have Mercy/Breakaway - Regina Carter


The Amazing Randi (just don't call him a magician)

Famed conjurer, illusionist -- and even more famously exposer of supernatural fraud --  James Randi died last week at his Florida home at the age of 92. Co-founder of the Committee for Skeptical Inquiry the Amazing Randi tirelessly exposed the deceit behind (as his New York Times obituary summarized): "spoon bending, mind reading, fortunetelling, ghost whispering, water dowsing, faith healing, U.F.O.-spotting and sundry varieties of bamboozlement, bunco, chicanery, flimflam, flummery, humbuggery, mountebankery, pettifoggery and out-and-out quacksalvery."

He’s lauded as a great “debunker,” but he didn’t like that descriptor, preferring “investigator.” And if you didn’t wish to be corrected, it was also wise not to call him a magician. Because “magic” isn’t really magic, is it? 

For The Genius Dialogues (Bob's Audible.com podcast series of interviews with MacArthur Genius Grant laureates) Bob visited the then 87-year-old Randi in Plantation, Florida. Here is that conversation. 

Famed conjurer, illusionist -- and even more famously exposer of supernatural fraud --  James Randi died last week at his Florida home at the age of 92. Co-founder of the Committee for Skeptical Inquiry the Amazing Randi tirelessly exposed the deceit behind (as his New York Times obituary summarized): "spoon bending, mind reading, fortunetelling, ghost whispering, water dowsing, faith healing, U.F.O.-spotting and sundry varieties of bamboozlement, bunco, chicanery, flimflam, flummery, humbuggery, mountebankery, pettifoggery and out-and-out quacksalvery."

He’s lauded as a great “debunker,” but he didn’t like that descriptor, preferring “investigator.” And if you didn’t wish to be corrected, it was also wise not to call him a magician. Because “magic” isn’t really magic, is it? 

For The Genius Dialogues (Bob's Audible.com podcast series of interviews with MacArthur Genius Grant laureates) Bob visited the then 87-year-old Randi in Plantation, Florida. Here is that conversation. 


The Games We Play

With the election underway, both camps are pushing their “get out the vote” messages. This week, On the Media looks at the origins of the modern presidential campaign, and how livestream technology is transforming the look and feel of voter outreach. Plus, how a mysterious network of fake news sites duped real journalists into creating propaganda. And, the empty, recurring trope of Republicans "distancing" themselves from Trump.

1. Makena Kelly [@kellymakena] explains the rising role of fandom in politics, and how Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez's event on Twitch this week was a landmark in online organizing. Listen.

2. Greg Mitchell [@GregMitch] and Jill Lepore on how modern methods of seeding lies and hysteria into a campaign can be traced back to a single race in 1934. Listen.

3. Priyanjana Bengani [@acookiecrumbles] on the emergence of "pink slime" news outlets, which take legitimate journalism and use it as a cover for more nefarious goals at home and abroad. Also featuring Pat Morris and Laura Walters [@walterslaura]. Listen.

4. Bob [@Bobosphere] explains why outlets need to stop saying Republicans like Ben Sasse are "breaking" with Trump. Listen.

With the election underway, both camps are pushing their “get out the vote” messages. This week, On the Media looks at the origins of the modern presidential campaign, and how livestream technology is transforming the look and feel of voter outreach. Plus, how a mysterious network of fake news sites duped real journalists into creating propaganda. And, the empty, recurring trope of Republicans "distancing" themselves from Trump.

1. Makena Kelly [@kellymakena] explains the rising role of fandom in politics, and how Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez's event on Twitch this week was a landmark in online organizing. Listen.

2. Greg Mitchell [@GregMitch] and Jill Lepore on how modern methods of seeding lies and hysteria into a campaign can be traced back to a single race in 1934. Listen.

3. Priyanjana Bengani [@acookiecrumbles] on the emergence of "pink slime" news outlets, which take legitimate journalism and use it as a cover for more nefarious goals at home and abroad. Also featuring Pat Morris and Laura Walters [@walterslaura]. Listen.

4. Bob [@Bobosphere] explains why outlets need to stop saying Republicans like Ben Sasse are "breaking" with Trump. Listen.