On the Media

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

WNYC Studios

That time Brooke met Rosanne Cash

Rosanne's Cash's new album features 10 new songs, all written and co-written by Cash, that find her "speaking out and looking inward" (The Boston Globe) from a uniquely female perspective. It features contributions from Elvis Costello, Kris Kristofferson, Colin Meloy and Sam Phillips, plus three extra tracks that appear on the deluxe edition of the record. The album's title track was just named one of the Top 5 songs of 2018 by The New York Times.  She sat down with Brooke for an evening of talk and music at WNYC's very own theater, The Greene Space. 

Rosanne's Cash's new album features 10 new songs, all written and co-written by Cash, that find her "speaking out and looking inward" (The Boston Globe) from a uniquely female perspective. It features contributions from Elvis Costello, Kris Kristofferson, Colin Meloy and Sam Phillips, plus three extra tracks that appear on the deluxe edition of the record. The album's title track was just named one of the Top 5 songs of 2018 by The New York Times.  She sat down with Brooke for an evening of talk and music at WNYC's very own theater, The Greene Space. 

by WNYC Studios


Everything Is Fake

On Thursday, President Trump flew down to McAllen, Texas to push his pro-wall, anti-immigrant narrative. This week, On the Media examines how the community tells a more welcoming story about the border — and a dogged presidential fact-checker joins us to pick apart the Oval Office address. Plus, how some progressives used Russian election interference tactics against a right-wing senate campaign. Also, is everything online fake? 

1. Lorenzo Zazueta [@lorenzozazueta], immigration reporter for The Monitor in McAllen, Texas, on the theatrics of a political border visit. Listen.

2. Daniel Dale [@ddale8], Washington bureau chief for the Toronto Star, fact-checks President Trump's Oval Office address. Listen.

3. Scott Shane [@ScottShaneNYT], national security reporter for the New York Times, on the Russian interference social media tactics used by some progressives in the run-up to the 2017 Alabama special senate election. Listen.

4. Matt Osborne [@OsborneInk], progressive Alabama activist, on his own deceptive role in the political battle between Roy Moore and now–Senator Doug Jones. Listen.

5. Max Read [@max_read], writer and editor at New York Magazine, on the overwhelming fakeness of the internet. Listen.

On Thursday, President Trump flew down to McAllen, Texas to push his pro-wall, anti-immigrant narrative. This week, On the Media examines how the community tells a more welcoming story about the border — and a dogged presidential fact-checker joins us to pick apart the Oval Office address. Plus, how some progressives used Russian election interference tactics against a right-wing senate campaign. Also, is everything online fake? 

1. Lorenzo Zazueta [@lorenzozazueta], immigration reporter for The Monitor in McAllen, Texas, on the theatrics of a political border visit. Listen.

2. Daniel Dale [@ddale8], Washington bureau chief for the Toronto Star, fact-checks President Trump's Oval Office address. Listen.

3. Scott Shane [@ScottShaneNYT], national security reporter for the New York Times, on the Russian interference social media tactics used by some progressives in the run-up to the 2017 Alabama special senate election. Listen.

4. Matt Osborne [@OsborneInk], progressive Alabama activist, on his own deceptive role in the political battle between Roy Moore and now–Senator Doug Jones. Listen.

5. Max Read [@max_read], writer and editor at New York Magazine, on the overwhelming fakeness of the internet. Listen.

by WNYC Studios


10 Things That Scare Jeff VandeMeer

Is it too ordinary to be afraid of your cat dying?

Jeff VanderMeer is an author based in Tallahassee, Florida. This week he is the featured guest on the podcast "10 things that scare me: a tiny podcast about our biggest fears," produced by WNYC Studios.

We spoke to Jeff a year ago about the impending climate change disaster for a show we called Apocalypse, Now. His award-winning Southern Reach trilogy has been published in over 35 languages. 

Join the 10 Things That Scare Me conversation, and tell them your fears here. And follow 10 Things That Scare Me on InstagramTwitter and Facebook.

Is it too ordinary to be afraid of your cat dying?

Jeff VanderMeer is an author based in Tallahassee, Florida. This week he is the featured guest on the podcast "10 things that scare me: a tiny podcast about our biggest fears," produced by WNYC Studios.

We spoke to Jeff a year ago about the impending climate change disaster for a show we called Apocalypse, Now. His award-winning Southern Reach trilogy has been published in over 35 languages. 

Join the 10 Things That Scare Me conversation, and tell them your fears here. And follow 10 Things That Scare Me on InstagramTwitter and Facebook.

by WNYC Studios


Africatown

Just outside of Mobile, Alabama, sits the small community of Africatown, a town established by the last known slaves brought to America, illegally, in 1860. Decades after that last slave ship, The Clotilde, burned in the waters outside Mobile, Africatown residents are pushing back against the forces of industrial destruction and national amnesia. Local struggles over environmental justice, land ownership, and development could determine whether Africatown becomes an historical destination, a living monument to a lingering past — or whether shadows cast by highway overpasses and gasoline tanks will erase our country's hard-learned lessons. 

Brooke spoke with Deborah G. Plant, editor of a new book by Zora Neale Hurston's about a founder of Africatown, Joe Womack, environmental activist and Africatown resident, Vickii Howell, president and CEO of the MOVE Gulf Coast Community Development Corporation, Charles Torrey, research historian for the History Museum of Mobile, and others about the past, present, and future of Africatown, Alabama. 

**This episode was originally aired in May of 2018.**

Songs:

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

Just outside of Mobile, Alabama, sits the small community of Africatown, a town established by the last known slaves brought to America, illegally, in 1860. Decades after that last slave ship, The Clotilde, burned in the waters outside Mobile, Africatown residents are pushing back against the forces of industrial destruction and national amnesia. Local struggles over environmental justice, land ownership, and development could determine whether Africatown becomes an historical destination, a living monument to a lingering past — or whether shadows cast by highway overpasses and gasoline tanks will erase our country's hard-learned lessons. 

Brooke spoke with Deborah G. Plant, editor of a new book by Zora Neale Hurston's about a founder of Africatown, Joe Womack, environmental activist and Africatown resident, Vickii Howell, president and CEO of the MOVE Gulf Coast Community Development Corporation, Charles Torrey, research historian for the History Museum of Mobile, and others about the past, present, and future of Africatown, Alabama. 

**This episode was originally aired in May of 2018.**

Songs:

Traditional African Nigerian Music of the Yoruba TribeDeath Have Mercy by Regina CarterSacred Oracle by John Zorn and Bill FrisellPassing Time by John RenbournThe Thompson Fields by Maria Schneider Jazz Orchestra

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Remembering Joe Frank

Joe Frank -- the radio producer’s radio producer, the ultimate acquired taste -- died last January. He was 79. For over four decades Frank hosted late-night shows that could float between hilarious dreams and suspenseful nightmares, between fact and fiction. And though his shows were rarely mainstream hits, cultural figures like Ira Glass of This American Life and film director Alexander Payne consider Frank a major influence on their own work.

Brooke discussed Joe Frank's life, style and legacy with Jad Abumrad, co-host of WNYC's Radiolab, and Mark Oppenheimer, host of Tablet magazine's Unorthodox podcast, who wrote an article in Slate titled "Joe Frank Signs Off."

Joe Frank -- the radio producer’s radio producer, the ultimate acquired taste -- passed away a year ago this month. He was 79. For over four decades Frank hosted late-night shows that could float between hilarious dreams and suspenseful nightmares, between fact and fiction. And though his shows were rarely mainstream hits, cultural figures like Ira Glass of This American Life and film director Alexander Payne consider Frank a major influence on their own work.

Brooke discussed Joe Frank's life, style and legacy with Jad Abumrad, co-host of WNYC's Radiolab, and Mark Oppenheimer, host of Tablet magazine's Unorthodox podcast, who wrote an article in Slate titled "Joe Frank Signs Off."

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10 Things That Scare Brooke

Merry Christmas, to those who celebrate! To those who don't (and, aw heck, to those who do too) we offer a very special end-of-year gift: fear. More specifically, Brooke's greatest fears, courtesy of our WNYC colleagues, 10 Things That Scare Me. Fear is a subject — and experience — near and dear to our beloved Brooke, so we can assure you that this is not a conversation to skip. 

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The Seen and the Unseen

Two weeks ago, a seven-year-old girl died in Customs and Border Patrol custody. This week, On the Media considers how coverage of her death has resembled previous immigration story cycles. Plus, we make an year-end review of cabinet officials shown the door as the result of investigative reporting — and we honor the 80 journalists killed around the globe this year. Also, we explore the subversive, revolutionary art of Hilma af Klint.

  1. Aura Bogado [@aurabogado], immigration reporter at Reveal, on the conditions migrants experience when they cross the border and the importance of hearing them in their own words. Listen.
  2. Columbia Journalism Review's Jon Allsop [@Jon_Allsop] on how reporters have cut through the noise of the Trump administration to uncover stories with impact. Listen.
  3. Brooke on this year's slain journalists and the risks they took in pursuit of their reporting. Listen.
  4. Tracey Bashkoff, curator at the Guggenheim Museum, walks Brooke through an exhibition of Hilma af Klint's work. Listen.
  5. Harvard University historian Ann Braude on the relationship between 19th century spiritualism and the women's rights movement. Listen.

Two weeks ago, a seven-year-old girl died in Customs and Border Patrol custody. This week, On the Media considers how coverage of her death has resembled previous immigration story cycles. Plus, we make an year-end review of cabinet officials shown the door as the result of investigative reporting — and we honor the 80 journalists killed around the globe this year. Also, we explore the subversive, revolutionary art of Hilma af Klint.

    Aura Bogado [@aurabogado], immigration reporter at Reveal, on the conditions migrants experience when they cross the border and the importance of hearing them in their own words. Listen. Columbia Journalism Review's Jon Allsop [@Jon_Allsop] on how reporters have cut through the noise of the Trump administration to uncover stories with impact. Listen. Brooke on this year's slain journalists and the risks they took in pursuit of their reporting. Listen. Tracey Bashkoff, curator at the Guggenheim Museum, walks Brooke through an exhibition of Hilma af Klint's work. Listen. Harvard University historian Ann Braude on the relationship between 19th century spiritualism and the women's rights movement. Listen.

by WNYC Studios


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

In 1971, federal investigators convened two grand juries to investigate, among other things, the publishing, by major newspapers, of thousands of pages of secret government documents reviewing the history from 1945 on, of the still ongoing war in Vietnam. 

The Pentagon Papers' consequences were vast — including that historic effort by the federal government to investigate — under the Espionage Act — staffers at the Washington Post, the New York Times, and the Boston Globe. As tends to be the case with sprawling grand jury cases, the investigators’ questions and methods remain a secret.

But Jill Lepore hopes to change that. On Monday of this week, Lepore — Harvard historian, New Yorker staff writer, and author of These Truths: A History of the United Statesasked a federal court to order the release of documents related to those grand juries. “Why and when was the investigation opened?” Lepore demands in court documents. “Why was it closed? To what lengths did the government go in conducting the investigation?” A half-century after Pentagon analyst Daniel Ellsberg’s mammoth revelations, questions still linger. 

Earlier this year, Brooke spoke with Les Gelb, one of the drafters of the original papers, about what journalists and historians previously failed to understand about the Pentagon Papers.

In 1971, federal investigators convened two grand juries to investigate, among other things, the publishing, by major newspapers, of thousands of pages of secret government documents reviewing the history from 1945 on, of the still ongoing war in Vietnam. 

The Pentagon Papers' consequences were vast — including that historic effort by the federal government to investigate — under the Espionage Act — staffers at the Washington Post, the New York Times, and the Boston Globe. As tends to be the case with sprawling grand jury cases, the investigators’ questions and methods remain a secret.

But Jill Lepore hopes to change that. On Monday of this week, Lepore — Harvard historian, New Yorker staff writer, and author of These Truths: A History of the United Statesasked a federal court to order the release of documents related to those grand juries. “Why and when was the investigation opened?” Lepore demands in court documents. “Why was it closed? To what lengths did the government go in conducting the investigation?” A half-century after Pentagon analyst Daniel Ellsberg’s mammoth revelations, questions still linger. 

Earlier this year, Brooke spoke with Les Gelb, one of the drafters of the original papers, about what journalists and historians previously failed to understand about the Pentagon Papers.

by WNYC Studios


Plague of Suspicion

It’s been 100 years since one of the deadliest diseases... well, ever. The 1918-1919 flu pandemic (usually and mistakenly called the “Spanish Flu”) infected roughly a third of the world’s population and killed somewhere on the order of 50-100 million people, leaving no corner of the world untouched. It came just as the world was beginning its recovery from the other global catastrophe of the time — the First World War. The pandemic is sometimes referred to as the “Forgotten Plague” because the extent of the devastation wasn’t realized at the time, and it’s been missing from most history books since.  

This week on On the Media, we look back at what happened and ask: could it, would it happen again?

This hour of On the Media is part of “Germ City” a series produced by the WNYC newsroom in collaboration with the Museum of the City of New York and the New York Academy of Medicine.

  1. Laurie Garrett [@Laurie_Garrett], author and infectious disease expert, and Nancy Tomes, historian at Stony Brook University, on the 1918 flu pandemic. Listen.
  2. Dr Harvey V. Fineberg, president of the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation, on the 1976 swine flu fiasco. Listen.
  3. Matthew Gertz [@MattGertz], senior fellow at Media Matters, on the media’s coverage of the 2014 Ebola outbreak. Listen.
  4. Dr Amesh Adalja [@AmeshAA], Senior Scholar at the John Hopkins Center for Health Security and Dr Hoe Nam Leong, an infectious disease specialist at Mount Elizabeth Novena Hospital in Singapore, on airplanes and infectious disease. Listen. 
  5. Professor Dominique Brossard [@brossardd], Chair of the Department of Life Sciences Communication at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, on how media covers pandemics. Listen.

It’s been 100 years since one of the deadliest diseases... well, ever. The 1918-1919 flu pandemic (usually and mistakenly called the “Spanish Flu”) infected roughly a third of the world’s population and killed somewhere on the order of 50-100 million people, leaving no corner of the world untouched. It came just as the world was beginning its recovery from the other global catastrophe of the time — the First World War. The pandemic is sometimes referred to as the “Forgotten Plague” because the extent of the devastation wasn’t realized at the time, and it’s been missing from most history books since.  

This week on On the Media, we look back at what happened and ask: could it, would it happen again?

This hour of On the Media is part of “Germ City” a series produced by the WNYC newsroom in collaboration with the Museum of the City of New York and the New York Academy of Medicine.

    Laurie Garrett [@Laurie_Garrett], author and infectious disease expert, and Nancy Tomes, historian at Stony Brook University, on the 1918 flu pandemic. Listen. Dr Harvey V. Fineberg, president of the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation, on the 1976 swine flu fiasco. Listen. Matthew Gertz [@MattGertz], senior fellow at Media Matters, on the media’s coverage of the 2014 Ebola outbreak. Listen. Dr Amesh Adalja [@AmeshAA], Senior Scholar at the John Hopkins Center for Health Security and Dr Hoe Nam Leong, an infectious disease specialist at Mount Elizabeth Novena Hospital in Singapore, on airplanes and infectious disease. Listen.  Professor Dominique Brossard [@brossardd], Chair of the Department of Life Sciences Communication at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, on how media covers pandemics. Listen.

by WNYC Studios


Three Years for Michael Cohen

Michael Cohen, President Trump’s former lawyer, was sentenced Wednesday to three years in prison for financial crimes and for lying to Congress. In rendering the sentence,  Judge William H. Pauley said Cohen’s crimes — among them, tax evasion and campaign finance violations — were “motivated by personal greed and ambition.”

The case has implications for Trump himself; Judge Pauley noted at the sentencing that Cohen's campaign finance crimes were designed to affect the outcome of the election. But court filings from this case and from the separate case against Paul Manafort offer many, many threads to follow. In this podcast extra, we turn to our colleagues at the Trump Inc. podcast, an open investigation from a team of ProPublica and WNYC journalists. This week, they unpacked what can be learned from the sentencing memos and what remains a mystery. Also, they just won a prestigious Dupont award! 

Michael Cohen, President Trump’s former lawyer, was sentenced Wednesday to three years in prison for financial crimes and for lying to Congress. In rendering the sentence,  Judge William H. Pauley said Cohen’s crimes — among them, tax evasion and campaign finance violations — were “motivated by personal greed and ambition.”

The case has implications for Trump himself; Judge Pauley noted at the sentencing that Cohen's campaign finance crimes were designed to affect the outcome of the election. But court filings from this case and from the separate case against Paul Manafort offer many, many threads to follow. In this podcast extra, we turn to our colleagues at the Trump Inc. podcast, an open investigation from a team of ProPublica and WNYC journalists. This week, they unpacked what can be learned from the sentencing memos and what remains a mystery. Also, they just won a prestigious Dupont award! 

by WNYC Studios


How Quickly We Forget

The death of George H.W. Bush brought us a week’s worth of ceremony, eulogy and wall-to-wall coverage. This week, a look at the choices journalists made when they set out to memorialize the president. And, immigration stories in our media focus on the U.S.–Mexico border — but what about immigration elsewhere in Latin America? Is there a journalistic solution to the scale of global immigration? Plus, a baseball metaphor and a bit of forgotten Hanukkah history.

1. Anne Helen Petersen [@annehelen], senior culture writer at Buzzfeed, and David Greenberg [@republicofspin], historian at Rutgers University, on the history — and pitfalls — of presidential eulogies. Listen.

2. Bob on the speculation surrounding Robert Mueller's investigation. Listen.

3. Diego Salazar [@disalch], journalist, on the immigration crisis within Latin America.  Listen.

4. Masha Gessen [@mashagessen], staff writer at The New Yorker, on her modest proposal for immigration coverage. Listen.

5. Rabbi James Ponet, Jewish chaplain emeritus at Yale University, on the historical origins of Hanukkah. Listen.

Songs: 

Ototoa by Malphino
Fallen Leaves by Marcos Ciscar
Wallpaper by Woo
String Quartet, No. 2 by Kronos Quartet
Viderunt Omnes by Kronos Quartet

The death of George H.W. Bush brought us a week’s worth of ceremony, eulogy and wall-to-wall coverage. This week, a look at the choices journalists made when they set out to memorialize the president. And, immigration stories in our media focus on the U.S.–Mexico border — but what about immigration elsewhere in Latin America? Is there a journalistic solution to the scale of global immigration? Plus, a baseball metaphor and a bit of forgotten Hanukkah history.

1. Anne Helen Petersen [@annehelen], senior culture writer at Buzzfeed, and David Greenberg [@republicofspin], historian at Rutgers University, on the history — and pitfalls — of presidential eulogies. Listen.

2. Bob on the speculation surrounding Robert Mueller's investigation. Listen.

3. Diego Salazar [@disalch], journalist, on the immigration crisis within Latin America.  Listen.

4. Masha Gessen [@mashagessen], staff writer at The New Yorker, on her modest proposal for immigration coverage. Listen.

5. Rabbi James Ponet, Jewish chaplain emeritus at Yale University, on the historical origins of Hanukkah. Listen.

Songs: 

Ototoa by MalphinoFallen Leaves by Marcos CiscarWallpaper by WooString Quartet, No. 2 by Kronos QuartetViderunt Omnes by Kronos Quartet

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The Centuries-Old Practice of "Slaying Lewks"

Satisfaction at the political enemy’s hypocrisy can be so rich that partisan critics strain — sometimes absurdly — to locate it. Such is the case with Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, newly elected member of Congress from New York and avowed democratic socialist.  How to prove she is a phony? Why, her clothes, of course. It’s an absurd attempt at gotcha, but not an uncommon one. Bob spoke with Einav Rabinovitch-Fox, historian at Case Western Reserve University, about the long history of media obsession with the clothing of outspoken women — in particular, the thousands of garment workers who went on strike in 1909.

Satisfaction at the political enemy’s hypocrisy can be so rich that partisan critics strain — sometimes absurdly — to locate it. Such is the case with Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, newly elected member of Congress from New York and avowed democratic socialist.  How to prove she is a phony? Why, her clothes, of course. It’s an absurd attempt at gotcha, but not an uncommon one. Bob spoke with Einav Rabinovitch-Fox, historian at Case Western Reserve University, about the long history of media obsession with the clothing of outspoken women — in particular, the thousands of garment workers who went on strike in 1909.

by WNYC Studios


Laugh Until You Cry

The White House tried to bury a devastating climate assessment on Black Friday; this week, On the Media documents how TV talk shows gave climate change deniers a platform to spin the report for their own ends. We look back on Fox News' coming-of-age under Roger Ailes and we consider what comes next for the company amidst pressure, transition and unprecedented proximity to power. Plus, a pro-migration video goes viral in Honduras for all the wrong reasons.

1. Lisa Hymas [@lisahymas], director of the climate and energy program at Media Matters for America, on climate denialism in environmental coverage. Listen.

2. Alexis Bloom, director of Divide and Conquer: The Story of Roger Ailes [@rogerailesfilm], on Ailes' role as newsman and political kingmaker. Listen.

3. Sarah Ellison [@Sarahlellison], staff writer at the Washington Post, on what comes next for "New Fox." Listen.

4. Alana Casanova-Burgess [@AlanaLlama], producer for On the Media, on how a pro-migration satire got out of its creators' hands. Listen.

Songs:

Ototoa by Malphino
Fallen Leaves by Marcos Ciscar
String Quartet No. 2 (Company) by Kronos Quartet
Viderunt Omnes by Kronos Quartet

The White House tried to bury a devastating climate assessment on Black Friday; this week, On the Media documents how TV talk shows gave climate change deniers a platform to spin the report for their own ends. We look back on Fox News' coming-of-age under Roger Ailes and we consider what comes next for the company amidst pressure, transition and unprecedented proximity to power. Plus, a pro-migration video goes viral in Honduras for all the wrong reasons.

1. Lisa Hymas [@lisahymas], director of the climate and energy program at Media Matters for America, on climate denialism in environmental coverage. Listen.

2. Alexis Bloom, director of Divide and Conquer: The Story of Roger Ailes [@rogerailesfilm], on Ailes' role as newsman and political kingmaker. Listen.

3. Sarah Ellison [@Sarahlellison], staff writer at the Washington Post, on what comes next for "New Fox." Listen.

4. Alana Casanova-Burgess [@AlanaLlama], producer for On the Media, on how a pro-migration satire got out of its creators' hands. Listen.

Songs:

Ototoa by MalphinoFallen Leaves by Marcos CiscarString Quartet No. 2 (Company) by Kronos QuartetViderunt Omnes by Kronos Quartet

by WNYC Studios


The Long History of Ignoring Climate Scientists

A government climate change report was released last week and summarily dismissed...by the government. It was a worrying development, to be sure — but it was also only the latest chapter in the long history of scientists' unheeded warnings. Back in 1988, Andrew Revkin started covering global warming, beginning with a cover piece for Discover Magazine (and later for The New York Times). Last summer, he spoke with Brooke about the lessons he's learned in thirty years of coverage — and what they mean for how humankind might be able to navigate a much warmer future. 

Revkin's piece on thirty years of climate change reporting was in the July issue of National Geographic. He is also the co-author of Weather: An Illustrated History: From Cloud Atlases to Climate Change. He is now Strategic Adviser for Environmental and Science Journalism at the National Geographic Society.

A government climate change report was released last week and summarily dismissed...by the government. It was a worrying development, to be sure — but it was also only the latest chapter in the long history of scientists' unheeded warnings. Back in 1988, Andrew Revkin started covering global warming, beginning with a cover piece for Discover Magazine (and later for The New York Times). Last summer, he spoke with Brooke about the lessons he's learned in thirty years of coverage — and what they mean for how humankind might be able to navigate a much warmer future. 

Revkin's piece on thirty years of climate change reporting was in the July issue of National Geographic. He is also the co-author of Weather: An Illustrated History: From Cloud Atlases to Climate Change. He is now Strategic Adviser for Environmental and Science Journalism at the National Geographic Society.

by WNYC Studios


The Civil War, One Day at a Time

On the 155th anniversary of The Gettysburg Address, we bring you a conversation with Professor Adam Goodheart. He ran The New York Times blog, Disunion, which covers the American Civil War as if it were a real-time event unfolding today. Goodheart's used Civil War Era journalism as one of his primary sources and says that sharing updates about the war gives his readers a sense of immediacy that a traditional history book can't provide. He spoke to Brooke in 2010, also on November 19th, the anniversary of The Gettysburg Address. 

On the 155th anniversary of The Gettysburg Address, we bring you a conversation with Professor Adam Goodheart. He ran The New York Times blog, Disunion, which covers the American Civil War as if it were a real-time event unfolding today. Goodheart's used Civil War Era journalism as one of his primary sources and says that sharing updates about the war gives his readers a sense of immediacy that a traditional history book can't provide. He spoke to Brooke in 2010, also on November 19th, the anniversary of The Gettysburg Address. 

by WNYC Studios


Do Not Pass Go

Over a week after the midterms, there's uncertainty in key races in Florida and Georgia. We examine the pervasive conspiracy theories around vote counting. Plus, Amazon has concluded their infamous HQ2 search. At the time, it seemed like a reality show contest. What did it cost the participants? Also, how Amazon fits into a history of anti-trust attitudes in the U.S. And, a look back at a time when capitalism squared off against Jim Crow — and won. 

1. Will Sommer [@willsommerdigs into the conspiratorial buzz around the Florida recounts and how right-wing media is fueling doubt. Listen.

2. David Dayen [@ddayen] talks about Amazon's HQ2 sweepstakes and what the contest may have cost participants and the public. Listen.

3. Stacy Mitchell [@stacyfmitchell] goes through the history of anti-trust regulation and where Amazon fits in as a monopoly. Listen.

4. Sears once disrupted the power structure of Jim Crow with a mail-order catalog. Louis Hyman [@louishyman] tells the story of how American consumerism squared off against racism. Listen.

Songs:

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

Over a week after the midterms, there's uncertainty in key races in Florida and Georgia. We examine the pervasive conspiracy theories around vote counting. Plus, Amazon has concluded their infamous HQ2 search. At the time, it seemed like a reality show contest. What did it cost the participants? Also, how Amazon fits into a history of anti-trust attitudes in the U.S. And, a look back at a time when capitalism squared off against Jim Crow — and won. 

1. Will Sommer [@willsommer] digs into the conspiratorial buzz around the Florida recounts and how right-wing media is fueling doubt. Listen.

2. David Dayen [@ddayen] talks about Amazon's HQ2 sweepstakes and what the contest may have cost participants and the public. Listen.

3. Stacy Mitchell [@stacyfmitchell] goes through the history of anti-trust regulation and where Amazon fits in as a monopoly. Listen.

4. Sears once disrupted the power structure of Jim Crow with a mail-order catalog. Louis Hyman [@louishyman] tells the story of how American consumerism squared off against racism. Listen.

Songs:

The Pink Panther Theme by Henry Mancini & His OrchestraThrough the Street by David BergeaudWith Plenty Of Money And You by Hal KempDon't Dream It's Over by The Bad PlusAvalon by Randy Newman

by WNYC Studios


The Stories Fires Tell

The Camp Fire in California is the deadliest in the state's history, leaving the entire city of Paradise in ashes. Parts of Malibu were destroyed by the Woolsey Fire, which firefighters are still trying to bring under control as of this writing. Every year, the press rushes to the scene to capture the fury and the heroic images of efforts to manage fires, but we may be missing a deeper, more dangerous story. In August, when the Mendocino Complex Fire was raging, Bob spoke to historian Stephen J. Pyne about what the typical media narratives overlook and how we can rethink them. 

by WNYC Studios


Why We're So Polarized

Last week on our show, Bob spoke with Lilliana Mason, a University of Maryland political psychologist and author of Uncivil Agreement: How Politics Became Our Identity, about the reasons behind the tribalism and enmity that characterize our politics. The conversation covered a lot of ground, and much of it — including the political decisions that have shaped the two major parties over the past 50 years, as well as the distinct ways that Republicans and Democrats deploy partisan rage — didn’t make it into our tightly packed show. But, it’s too interesting and important to leave on the cutting room floor, so we’re sharing it as this week’s midterm edition podcast extra. Enjoy!

Last week on our show, Bob spoke with Lilliana Mason, a University of Maryland political psychologist and author of Uncivil Agreement: How Politics Became Our Identity, about the reasons behind the tribalism and enmity that characterize our politics. The conversation covered a lot of ground, and much of it — including the political decisions that have shaped the two major parties over the past 50 years, as well as the distinct ways that Republicans and Democrats deploy partisan rage — didn’t make it into our tightly packed show. But, it’s too interesting and important to leave on the cutting room floor, so we’re sharing it as this week’s midterm edition podcast extra. Enjoy!

by WNYC Studios


Gab is Back in the Headlines and Off the Web

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

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

by WNYC Studios


West Virginia's "Genius" Watchdog

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

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

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

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

by WNYC Studios


The Radical Catalog

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

 

by WNYC Studios


Reimagining History

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

by WNYC Studios


Trump, Inc.: The Business of Silence

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

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

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

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

by WNYC Studios


It's Time for Justice

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

by WNYC Studios


An Obit, This Time For Real

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

by WNYC Studios


FEMA Time

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

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

by WNYC Studios


CNN's Lanny Davis Problem

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

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

by WNYC Studios


Summer Series Episode 4: Tectonic Edition

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

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

by WNYC Studios


Summer Series Episode 3: Airline Crash Edition

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

 

 

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

by WNYC Studios


Summer Series Episode 2: Military Coup Edition

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

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

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

Song:

"Cops or Criminals" by Howard Shore

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

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

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

by WNYC Studios


Summer Series Episode 1: US Storm Edition

For media professionals, hurricanes offer the very best kind of bad news because the story arc is predictable and invariably compelling. In this summer series revisiting some of our Breaking News Consumer’s Handbooks, we examine the myths, misleading language, and tired media narratives that clog up news coverage at a time when clarity can be a matter of life and death.

Brooke speaks with Dr. Robert Holmes, National Flood Hazard Coordinator for the U.S. Geological Survey; Gina Eosco, a risk communication consultant; and Scott Gabriel Knowles of Drexel University, author of The Disaster Experts: Mastering Risk in Modern America.

 

For media professionals, hurricanes offer the very best kind of bad news, because the story arc is predictable, and invariably compelling. In the latest edition of our Breaking News Consumer’s Handbooks, we examine the myths, misleading language, and tired media narratives that clog up news coverage at a time when clarity can be a matter of life and death.

Brooke speaks with Dr. Robert Holmes, National Flood Hazard Coordinator for the U.S. Geological Survey; Gina Eosco, a risk communication consultant; and Scott Gabriel Knowles of Drexel University, author of The Disaster Experts: Mastering Risk in Modern America.

by WNYC Studios


Enemy of the People

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

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

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

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

Songs:

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

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

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

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

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

Songs:

Sacred Oracle by John Zorn (feat. Bill Frisell)String Quartet No. 5 (II) by Kronos Quartet & Philip GlassFallen Leaves by Marcos CiscarCellar Door by Michael AndrewsWalking By Flashlight by Maria SchneiderMelancolia by Marcos Ciscar

by WNYC Studios


Journalism To The Rescue

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

by WNYC Studios


The Center Folds

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

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

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

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

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

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

Songs:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Songs:

Carnival of Souls by Verne LangdonUluwati by John ZornGoing Home for the First Time by Alex WurmanFrail as a Breeze, Pt. 2 by Erik FriedlanderFellini's Waltz by Enrico Pieranunzi & the Charlie HadenDo Nothin' Till You Hear From Me by Ben Webster

by WNYC Studios


On the Media presents Episode 1 of The Realness

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

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

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

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

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

by WNYC Studios


Blah Blah Blah... BANG

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

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

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

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

Music from this week's program:

Whispers of Heavenly Death — John Zorn
String Quartet No. 5 — Philip Glass
The Mole — Hans Zimmer
Flugufrelsarinn — Kronos Quartet
Long Ge — Kronos Quartet
A Ride With Polly Jean — Jenny Scheinman

 

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

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

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

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

Music from this week's program:

Whispers of Heavenly Death — John ZornString Quartet No. 5 — Philip GlassThe Mole — Hans ZimmerFlugufrelsarinn — Kronos QuartetLong Ge — Kronos QuartetA Ride With Polly Jean — Jenny Scheinman

 

by WNYC Studios


I Can't Breathe

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

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

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

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

by WNYC Studios


Big Sky, Dark Money

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

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

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

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

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

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

by WNYC Studios


A Guide To SCOTUS News

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

 

by WNYC Studios


The Rise and Fall 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’s out for blood.”

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

But it turns out that all those lofty promises were empty. There was no revolutionary new way to test blood. This past spring, Holmes settled a lawsuit with the Securities and Exchange Commissio, though admitted no wrongdoing. Last Friday, another nail in the coffin for Theranos came in the form of federal charges of wire fraud, filed against Holmes and the company's former president, Ramesh “Sunny” Balwani. 

The alleged fraud was uncovered by the dogged reporting of John Carreyrou, an investigative journalist at the Wall Street Journal and author of "Bad Blood: Secrets and Lies in a Silicon Valley Startup." 

 

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

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

But it turns out that all those lofty promises were empty. There was no revolutionary new way to test blood. This past spring, Holmes settled a lawsuit with the Securities and Exchange Commissio, though admitted no wrongdoing. Last Friday, another nail in the coffin for Theranos came in the form of federal charges of wire fraud, filed against Holmes and the company's former president, Ramesh “Sunny” Balwani. 

The alleged fraud was uncovered by the dogged reporting of John Carreyrou, an investigative journalist at the Wall Street Journal and author of "Bad Blood: Secrets and Lies in a Silicon Valley Startup." 

by WNYC Studios


Seymour Hersh Looks Back (extended mix)

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

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

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

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

by WNYC Studios


Hurricane Season

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

      Benjamin Torres Gotay [

@TorresGotay

      ], columnist for the newspaper 

El Nuevo Día

      Walter Ronald Gonzalez Gonzalez, director of Art, Culture and Tourism for the region of UtuadoYarimar Bonilla [

@yarimarbonilla

      ], anthropologist at Rutgers UniversityAlfredo Corrasquillo [

@alcarrpr

      ], psychoanalyst and expert on leadership at the University of the Sacred Heart in San JuanSandra Rodriguez Cotto [

@srcsandra

      ], host at WAPA Radio

by WNYC Studios


Fact Checking #WhereAreTheChildren

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

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

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

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

by WNYC Studios


Glenn Beck Reverses His Reversal

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

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

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

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

by WNYC Studios


Africatown

Just outside of Mobile, Alabama, sits the small community of Africatown, a town established by the last known slaves brought to America, illegally, in 1860. Decades after that last slave ship, The Clotilde, burned in the waters outside Mobile, Africatown residents are pushing back against the forces of industrial destruction and national amnesia. Local struggles over environmental justice, land ownership, and development could determine whether Africatown becomes an historical destination, a living monument to a lingering past — or whether shadows cast by highway overpasses and gasoline tanks will erase our country's hard-learned lessons. 

Brooke spoke with Deborah G. Plant, editor of a new book by Zora Neale Hurston's about a founder of Africatown, Joe Womack, environmental activist and Africatown resident, Vickii Howell, president and CEO of the MOVE Gulf Coast Community Development Corporation, Charles Torrey, research historian for the History Museum of Mobile, and others about the past, present, and future of Africatown, Alabama. 

Songs:

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

Just outside of Mobile, Alabama, sits the small community of Africatown, a town established by the last known slaves brought to America, illegally, in 1860. Decades after that last slave ship, The Clotilde, burned in the waters outside Mobile, Africatown residents are pushing back against the forces of industrial destruction and national amnesia. Local struggles over environmental justice, land ownership, and development could determine whether Africatown becomes an historical destination, a living monument to a lingering past — or whether shadows cast by highway overpasses and gasoline tanks will erase our country's hard-learned lessons. 

Brooke spoke with Deborah G. Plant, editor of a new book by Zora Neale Hurston's about a founder of Africatown, Joe Womack, environmental activist and Africatown resident, Vickii Howell, president and CEO of the MOVE Gulf Coast Community Development Corporation, Charles Torrey, research historian for the History Museum of Mobile, and others about the past, present, and future of Africatown, Alabama. 

Songs:

Traditional African Nigerian Music of the Yoruba TribeDeath Have Mercy by Regina CarterSacred Oracle by John Zorn and Bill FrisellPassing Time by John RenbournThe Thompson Fields by Maria Schneider Jazz Orchestra

by WNYC Studios


The Recording of America

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

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

by WNYC Studios


An Extended Trip Through Wild Wild Country

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

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

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

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

by WNYC Studios


Mayday, May Day

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

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

 

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

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

 

by WNYC Studios


Introducing Nancy: a podcast about all things LGBTQ

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

by WNYC Studios


The One and Only, Carl Kasell

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

 

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

by WNYC Studios


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

by WNYC Studios


Paved With Good Intentions

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

by WNYC Studios


TV News Anchors Speaking From the Heart — Uh, TelePrompter

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

by WNYC Studios


We, the Liberators

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

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

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

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

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

Music:

Lost, Night by Bill Frisell

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

Long-Ge by Kronos Quartet

Frail As A Breeze, Part 2 by Erik Friedlander

Whispers of Heavenly Death by John Zorn

Purple Haze by Kronos Quartet

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

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

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

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

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

Music:

Lost, Night by Bill Frisell

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

Long-Ge by Kronos Quartet

Frail As A Breeze, Part 2 by Erik Friedlander

Whispers of Heavenly Death by John Zorn

Purple Haze by Kronos Quartet

by WNYC Studios


Iraq's Accidental Journalists

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

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

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

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

by WNYC Studios


Crowdsourcing Justice: The Truth Behind the Steubenville Rape

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

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

by WNYC Studios


Did Farhad "Unplug"?

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

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

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

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

 

 

by WNYC Studios


Like We Used To Do

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

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

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

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

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

**Note: This program originally contained an interview with the New York Times' Farhad Manjoo discussing an experiment in which he got his news only from print journalism and "unplugged from Twitter and other social networks" for two months. That interview was pulled after further reporting revealed that he did no such thing.**

Music:

"Tipico" by Miguel Zenon

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

"Death Have Mercy / Breakaway" by Regina Carter

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

"Okie from Muskogee" by Merle Haggard

"Fightin' Side of Me" by Merle Haggard

"The Pill" by Loretta Lynn

"Watching You" by Rodney Atkins

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

"Friends In Low Places" by Garth Brooks

"Redneck Woman" by Gretchen Wilson

"Take This Job and Shove It" by Johnny Paycheck

"F— Aneta Briant" by David Allan Coe

"Irma Jackson" by Merle Haggard

"They Don't Know" by Jason Aldean

"Wild Mountain Thyme" by Buddy Emmons

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

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

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

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

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

**Note: This program originally contained an interview with the New York Times' Farhad Manjoo discussing an experiment in which he got his news only from print journalism and "unplugged from Twitter and other social networks" for two months. That interview was pulled after further reporting revealed that he did no such thing.**

by WNYC Studios


Everything You Love Will Burn

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

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

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

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

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

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

by WNYC Studios


Face the Racist Nation

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

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

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

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

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

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

Songs:

Lost, Night by Bill Frisell

Disfarmer Theme by Bill Frisell

I Am Not a Farmer by Bill Frisell

Gone Tomorrow by Lambchop

 


 

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

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

 

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

by WNYC Studios


Follow The Money

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

by WNYC Studios


Back to the Future

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

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

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

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

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

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

Songs:

The Glass House - End Title by David Bergeaud

The Stone by The Chieftains

Trance Dance by John Zorn

Smells Like Teen Spirit by The Bad Plus

Rescue Me by Fontella Bass

Mai Nozipo by Kronos Quartet

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

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

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

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

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

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

by WNYC Studios


Rinse and Repeat

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

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

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

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

by WNYC Studios


The Safety Net Just Got a Little Less Safe

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

by WNYC Studios


Trump Inc.

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

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

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

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

by WNYC Studios


Gitmo Is Back in Business

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

by WNYC Studios


Unsettled: A Story from the Global Refugee Crisis

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

by WNYC Studios


A Journalist of Consequence

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

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

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

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

by WNYC Studios


What 'The Post' Missed

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

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

by WNYC Studios


The Man Behind Black Mirror

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

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

Songs:

"Auld Lang Syne"

"15 Million Merits" by Stephen McKeon

"Bing Abi" by Stephen McKeon

 

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

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

Songs:

"Auld Lang Syne"

"15 Million Merits" by Stephen McKeon

"Bing Abi" by Stephen McKeon

by WNYC Studios


The Feelings Show

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

by WNYC Studios


Don't Expect Filing Your Taxes to Get Any Easier

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

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

by WNYC Studios


A Reckoning in Our Own House

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

by WNYC Studios


About that Nazi Next Door

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

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

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

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

by WNYC Studios


Apocalypse, Now

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

by WNYC Studios


Brooke Gets Mindful

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

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

by WNYC Studios


The Reckoning

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

by WNYC Studios


Rebecca Traister Says 'the Anger Window' Is Open

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

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

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

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

by WNYC Studios


The Ecstasy of Gold

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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12 Months Later: Brooke and Bob on Covering Trump

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

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

Both conversations are collected here for this weeks podcast extra.

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

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

Both conversations are collected here for this weeks podcast extra.

by WNYC Studios


Off the Radar

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

by WNYC Studios


Monumental Questions

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

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

by WNYC Studios


Chokehold

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

by WNYC Studios


Scary Clowns

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

 

 

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

by WNYC Studios


Under the Influence

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

by WNYC Studios


Raqqa Liberated

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

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

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

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

by WNYC Studios


Losing Power

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

by WNYC Studios


Puerto Rico's Never-ending Emergency

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

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More Human Than Human

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

by WNYC Studios


After Vegas

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

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

by WNYC Studios


OTM live at the Texas Tribune Festival: The Journalists

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

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

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

 

by WNYC Studios


Insult to Injury

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

by WNYC Studios


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

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

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

 

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

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

by WNYC Studios


OTM live at the Texas Tribune Festival: The Politicians

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

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

 

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

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

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Trust Issues

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

by WNYC Studios


What Lies Ahead For Puerto Rico

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

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

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

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

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"Free Speech Week" Puts Berkeley Back in the Crosshairs

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

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

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Look What You Made Me Do

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

by WNYC Studios


The Counter-Jihad Movement & the Making of a President

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

Pamela Geller and David Yerulshami (Pamela Geller)

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

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

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

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

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

 

by WNYC Studios


Duck and Cover

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

by WNYC Studios


This American War on Drugs

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

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

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

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

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

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Bob's Docs Episode Four: It's Personal

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

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

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

 

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

by WNYC Studios


Gutted

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

by WNYC Studios


Bob's Docs Episode Three: Prurience

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

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

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

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

by WNYC Studios


Bob's Docs Episode Two: Access

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

by WNYC Studios


Bob's Docs Episode One: Manipulation

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

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

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

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

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

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

by WNYC Studios


Armchair diagnosing do's and don'ts

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

 

 

by WNYC Studios


Not Repealed, Not Replaced

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

 

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

 

by WNYC Studios


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

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

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

by WNYC Studios


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

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

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

 

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

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

by WNYC Studios


"The American people elected a fighter"

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

by WNYC Studios


Newton Minow Still Cares About the Media

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

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

by WNYC Studios


The Slants Win the Day!

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

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

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

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

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

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

by WNYC Studios


Sterner Stuff

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

by WNYC Studios


No One Is Above the Law

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

by WNYC Studios


Doug Stamper Is A Very Bad Man

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

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

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

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

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

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

by WNYC Studios


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

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

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

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

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

 

by WNYC Studios


Drawing New Lines

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

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

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

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

by WNYC Studios


The Trouble With Reality

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

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

by WNYC Studios


The United States of Anxiety is Back!

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

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

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

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

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

 

The United States of Anxiety: Culture Wars introduces you to people who have been battling to shape America’s political culture for decades. The WNYC team profile culture warriors, past and present, who have influenced debates over race, religion, science, sexuality, gender and more. They connect those debates to real people, with real stakes in the outcome. They’re filling in the blanks – aiming to answer questions you didn’t even know you had – and they’re asking, What are you willing to fight for? 

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

 

by WNYC Studios