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

Mourning in America

As the Covid-19 death toll continues to climb, many Americans are struggling to mourn in the middle of an ongoing tragedy. This week, On the Media examines how ambitious obituary campaigns may allow our fractured country to grieve together, and help future generations tell the story of our chaotic moment. Plus, why stifled press coverage may have erased the 1918 flu from our collective memory. 

1. Terry Parris Jr. [@terryparrisjr], engagement editor at THE CITY, on the importance and challenge of building a citywide obituary archive for New York. Listen.

2. Janice Hume, author of Obituaries in American Culture, on the how obituaries will help historians make sense of our pandemic. Listen.

3. Colin Dickey [@colindickey], author of Ghostland & The Unidentified, on national grieving in a time of hyper-partisanship. Listen.

4. John Barry [@johnmbarry], author of The Great Influenza, on how the 1918 pandemic vanished from our collective memory. Listen.

As the Covid-19 death toll continues to climb, many Americans are struggling to mourn in the middle of an ongoing tragedy. This week, On the Media examines how ambitious obituary campaigns may allow our fractured country to grieve together, and help future generations tell the story of our chaotic moment. Plus, why stifled press coverage may have erased the 1918 flu from our collective memory. 

1. Terry Parris Jr. [@terryparrisjr], engagement editor at THE CITY, on the importance and challenge of building a citywide obituary archive for New York. Listen.

2. Janice Hume, author of Obituaries in American Culture, on the how obituaries will help historians make sense of our pandemic. Listen.

3. Colin Dickey [@colindickey], author of Ghostland & The Unidentified, on national grieving in a time of hyper-partisanship. Listen.

4. John Barry [@johnmbarry], author of The Great Influenza, on how the 1918 pandemic vanished from our collective memory. Listen.


Brooke speaks with "Mrs. America" creator Dahvi Waller

"Mrs. America," now streaming on Hulu, depicts the near-passage of the Equal Rights Amendment in the 1970s and portrays the preeminent voice of the opposition, Phyllis Schlafly. Brooke spoke with the show's creator and executive producer, Dahvi Waller, about what drew her to the era and what lessons she takes from that contentious decade. 

 

 

"Mrs. America," now streaming on Hulu, depicts the near-passage of the Equal Rights Amendment in the 1970s and portrays the preeminent voice of the opposition, Phyllis Schlafly. Brooke spoke with the show's creator and executive producer, Dahvi Waller, about what drew her to the era and what lessons she takes from that contentious decade. 

 

 


Communication Breakdown

In this episode, a tale of two cities. It turns out there’s a literal playbook for communications during an epidemic. Seattle followed it. New York didn’t. And, how incomplete information from leaders has created room for conspiracies to flourish — and what we can do about them. 

1. Phil McCausland [@PhilMcCausland], NBC News reporter, on how, absent federal data and directives about coronavirus, civilians in the American heartland are being left largely in the dark about the severity of their circumstances. Listen.

2. Charles Duhigg [@cduhigg], host of How To! With Charles Duhigg, on how Seattle and NYC's communications strategies following their Covid-19 outbreaks differed so widely — and what we can learn from the results. Listen.

3. Daily Beast reporter Kelly Weill [@KELLYWEILL] on how Covid-19 disinformation may be leading some Americans to other dangerous conspiracy theories like QAnon. And, Atlantic staff writer Joe Pinsker [@jpinsk] on how to cautiously confront friends and family who may be in the early stages of a conspiracy theory kick. Listen.

Music from this week's show:
Zoe Keating - The Last Bird
Four Tet - Two thousand and Seventeen
John Renbourne - Passing Time
The Bad Plus - Time After Time

In this episode, a tale of two cities. It turns out there’s a literal playbook for communications during an epidemic. Seattle followed it. New York didn’t. And, how incomplete information from leaders has created room for conspiracies to flourish — and what we can do about them. 

1. Phil McCausland [@PhilMcCausland], NBC News reporter, on how, absent federal data and directives about coronavirus, civilians in the American heartland are being left largely in the dark about the severity of their circumstances. Listen.

2. Charles Duhigg [@cduhigg], host of How To! With Charles Duhigg, on how Seattle and NYC's communications strategies following their Covid-19 outbreaks differed so widely — and what we can learn from the results. Listen.

3. Daily Beast reporter Kelly Weill [@KELLYWEILL] on how Covid-19 disinformation may be leading some Americans to other dangerous conspiracy theories like QAnon. And, Atlantic staff writer Joe Pinsker [@jpinsk] on how to cautiously confront friends and family who may be in the early stages of a conspiracy theory kick. Listen.

Music from this week's show:Zoe Keating - The Last BirdFour Tet - Two thousand and SeventeenJohn Renbourne - Passing TimeThe Bad Plus - Time After Time


Are Online Courts Less Fair?

The pandemic has forced even the most technophobic online. After refusing for years, the Supreme Court is now hearing oral arguments over the phone and live streaming them, an initiative that — aside from the awkwardness that comes with conference calls — seems to be going well. On May 12, the public was able to tune in to hear arguments about whether or not the president's tax returns should be released.

Advocates for online courts cite low costs and efficiency. But in some cases, online courts can prove less fair than the courthouses people have historically visited in person. Public defenders say that they can't do their jobs online, and not all of their clients even have internet access, let alone a smartphone. Some research suggests that at hearings conducted by video, asylum applicants are twice as likely to be denied asylum and defendants are more likely to be deported.

Douglas Keith is counsel in the Democracy Program at The Brennan Center for Justice at New York University Law School. Keith says that if online courts are the future of justice, we need to set better guidelines to make sure they're fair.

 


No News Is Bad News

The news breaking every day and every minute makes it possible to miss the local news drought advancing all around us. Hundreds of papers have closed and tens of thousands of reporting jobs have been cut to satisfy a starving bottom line. On this week’s On The Media: the local news business, at the intersection of transformation and annihilation.

1. Penny Abernathy [@businessofnews], Knight Chair in Journalism and Digital Media Economics at the University of North Carolina, on America's "local news deserts." Listen.

2. Bob [@Bobosphere], on the rise and fall of the ad revenue–supported newspaper business model, with Cynthia B. Meyers [@AnneHummert], Craig Forman [@cforman], Jeff Jarvis [@jeffjarvis], and Siva Vaidhyanathan [@sivavaid]. Listen.

3. Rachel Dissell [@RachelDissell], investigative reporter, spoke to us on April 21 about what her sudden joblessness means for her beat and her community. Listen.

4. Steven Waldman [@stevenwaldman], president and co-founder of Report For America, on his efforts to funnel non-profit money into much-needed reporting jobs across the country. Listen.

 

Music from the show:

Newsreel - Randy Newman / Cello Song - Nick Drake

Death Have Mercy/BreakAway - Regina Carter

I Moaned and Moaned - Regina Carter

Totem Ancestor - Kronos

Liquid Spear Waltz - Michael Andrews

Tribute to America (Medley)- The O’Neill Brothers

A Ride with Polly Jean- Jenny Scheinman

The news breaking every day and every minute makes it possible to miss the local news drought advancing all around us. Hundreds of papers have closed and tens of thousands of reporting jobs have been cut to satisfy a starving bottom line. On this week’s On The Media: the local news business, at the intersection of transformation and annihilation.

1. Penny Abernathy [@businessofnews], Knight Chair in Journalism and Digital Media Economics at the University of North Carolina, on America's "local news deserts." Listen.

2. Bob [@Bobosphere], on the rise and fall of the ad revenue–supported newspaper business model, with Cynthia B. Meyers [@AnneHummert], Craig Forman [@cforman], Jeff Jarvis [@jeffjarvis], and Siva Vaidhyanathan [@sivavaid]. Listen.

3. Rachel Dissell [@RachelDissell], investigative reporter, spoke to us on April 21 about what her sudden joblessness means for her beat and her community. Listen.

4. Steven Waldman [@stevenwaldman], president and co-founder of Report For America, on his efforts to funnel non-profit money into much-needed reporting jobs across the country. Listen.

 

Music from the show:

Newsreel - Randy Newman / Cello Song - Nick Drake

Death Have Mercy/BreakAway - Regina Carter

I Moaned and Moaned - Regina Carter

Totem Ancestor - Kronos

Liquid Spear Waltz - Michael Andrews

Tribute to America (Medley)- The O’Neill Brothers

A Ride with Polly Jean- Jenny Scheinman


Waiting For a Game-Changer

Over the past few weeks, the public has been introduced — by way of Gilead Science, and a leaked video of doctors discussing their preliminary trial data — to a new potential therapy for Covid-19. Remdesivir, a broad-spectrum antiviral medication, was cleared by the FDA this week to treat severely ill Covid-19 patients, despite limited preliminary results from a handful of clinical trials.

Some in the media initially touted the drug as a potential miracle cure. But as the mounting pressure to cope with an increasingly dire pandemic makes anything less than a silver bullet difficult to swallow, Derek Lowe, the organic chemist behind the science blog In the Pipeline, urges caution. He speaks with Bob about how to report on the so-called "game changer" drugs, and where he believes reporting on the "race for a cure" falls short.


Open Season

Pressure is mounting for journalists to cover sexual assault allegations against Joe Biden. This week on On the Media, we consider how the Democrats once on the front lines of the #MeToo movement are being forced to answer for their presumptive nominee. Plus, fringe groups are calling to reopen the economy early — but what does that even mean?

1. Rebecca Traister [@rtraister], writer-at-large at New York Magazine and The Cut, on who will have to answer for Joe Biden. Listen.

2. Emma Grey Ellis [@EmmaGreyEllis], writer WIRED, on the media's focus on anti-lockdown protests. Listen.

3. Timothy Mitchell, historian and political theorist at Columbia University, on how our understanding of "the economy" came to be. Listen.

4. Derek Thompson [@DKThomp], staff writer at The Atlantic, on how the pandemic could change the shape of the American marketplace. Listen.

Pressure is mounting for journalists to cover sexual assault allegations against Joe Biden. This week on On the Media, we consider how the Democrats once on the front lines of the #MeToo movement are being forced to answer for their presumptive nominee. Plus, fringe groups are calling to reopen the economy early — but what does that even mean?

1. Rebecca Traister [@rtraister], writer-at-large at New York Magazine and The Cut, on who will have to answer for Joe Biden. Listen.

2. Emma Grey Ellis [@EmmaGreyEllis], writer WIRED, on the media's focus on anti-lockdown protests. Listen.

3. Timothy Mitchell, historian and political theorist at Columbia University, on how our understanding of "the economy" came to be. Listen.

4. Derek Thompson [@DKThomp], staff writer at The Atlantic, on how the pandemic could change the shape of the American marketplace. Listen.


The Art of Disastertising

Want to do your part in this pandemic? Why don't you try becoming a Couch Potatotriot, someone who stays home to save lives, but also eats Burger King? It's part of the company's brand pivot — one of many that companies have performed in order to keep their goods and services relevant. Another trend? Lots of somber piano music

Despite the fact that most people are stuck at home watching Netflix, advertisers are still vying for their bucks — promising that consumers can buy what they’re selling without winding up on a ventilator. This stark change in tone and approach is what Amanda Mull, staff writer at The Atlantic, dubbed "disaster-tising" in her recent piece, "How to Advertise In a Pandemic." 

 

 

Want to do your part in this pandemic? Why don't you try becoming a Couch Potatotriot, someone who stays home to save lives, but also eats Burger King? It's part of the company's brand pivot — one of many that companies have performed in order to keep their goods and services relevant. Another trend? Lots of somber piano music

Despite the fact that most people are stuck at home watching Netflix, advertisers are still vying for their bucks — promising that consumers can buy what they’re selling without winding up on a ventilator. This stark change in tone and approach is what Amanda Mull, staff writer at The Atlantic, dubbed "disaster-tising" in her recent piece, "How to Advertise In a Pandemic." 

 

 


On Matters of Time and Space

Over the past two months, packed cities have been repeatedly blamed for the rapid spread of coronavirus. Meanwhile, in jails and prisons, incarcerated people have been contracting the virus at alarming rates, in no small part due to their own overcrowded conditions. On this week's On the Media, we explore what gets lost in conversations about urban density, prisons and the climate amid coronavirus. Plus, what the history of timekeeping can teach us about our current disorientation.

1. Sam Kling [@SamKling2], Global Cities Fellow at the Chicago Council on Global Affairs, on why anti-urbanist tropes come up again and again in the fight against disease. Listen.

2. Ashley Rubin [@ashleytrubin], sociology professor at the University of Hawai'i at Mānoa, on how American jails and prisons became coronavirus epicenters. Listen.

3. Brian Kahn [@blkahn], editor at Earther, on the flawed and dangerous notion that coronavirus is good for the environment. Listen.

4. Anthony Aveni, professor emeritus of astronomy, anthropology and Native American studies at Colgate University, on the invention of time as we know it. Listen.

 

Music from the show:

Frail as a Breeze - Erik Friedlander

Prelude light - John Zorn

I’m Not Following You - Michael Andrews

River Man/Nick Drake - Brad Mehldau

The Glass House (Marjaine’s Inspiration) - Daniel Bergeaud

What’s that Sound - Michael Andrews

After the Fact - John Scofield

Over the past two months, packed cities have been repeatedly blamed for the rapid spread of coronavirus. Meanwhile, in jails and prisons, incarcerated people have been contracting the virus at alarming rates, in no small part due to their own overcrowded conditions. On this week's On the Media, we explore what gets lost in conversations about urban density, prisons and the climate amid coronavirus. Plus, what the history of timekeeping can teach us about our current disorientation.

1. Sam Kling [@SamKling2], Global Cities Fellow at the Chicago Council on Global Affairs, on why anti-urbanist tropes come up again and again in the fight against disease. Listen.

2. Ashley Rubin [@ashleytrubin], sociology professor at the University of Hawai'i at Mānoa, on how American jails and prisons became coronavirus epicenters. Listen.

3. Brian Kahn [@blkahn], editor at Earther, on the flawed and dangerous notion that coronavirus is good for the environment. Listen.

4. Anthony Aveni, professor emeritus of astronomy, anthropology and Native American studies at Colgate University, on the invention of time as we know it. Listen.

 

Music from the show:

Frail as a Breeze - Erik Friedlander

Prelude light - John Zorn

I’m Not Following You - Michael Andrews

River Man/Nick Drake - Brad Mehldau

The Glass House (Marjaine’s Inspiration) - Daniel Bergeaud

What’s that Sound - Michael Andrews

After the Fact - John Scofield


How The Environment Got Political

To mark the 50th Earth Day, we’re re-airing a piece from 2017.

In his proposed 2021 fiscal year budget, Trump has asked Congress for the fourth year in a row to slash funding for the Environmental Protection Agency, essentially stripping away the last remaining programs aimed at curbing climate change. Earlier this month, as Americans were transfixed by the pandemic, EPA director (and former coal lobbyist) Andrew Wheeler announced that coal- and oil-fired power plants would no longer need to comply with regulations designed to reduce mercury and other toxic pollutants. 

But flash back to the late 1960s and it's a very different story. The environment was a bipartisan issue, and a Republican president created the EPA in 1970 in response to public pressure. So how did we get here? How did the environment go from universal concern to political battleground — with the EPA caught in the crossfire? 

With the help of Richard Andrews, professor emeritus of environmental policy at UNC Chapel Hill, and William Ruckelshaus, EPA administrator under presidents Richard Nixon and Ronald Reagan, Brooke considers the tumultuous history of the EPA, its evolving relationship with the public, and its uncertain future.

To mark the 50th Earth Day, we’re re-airing a piece from 2017.

In his proposed 2021 fiscal year budget, Trump has asked Congress for the fourth year in a row to slash funding for the Environmental Protection Agency, essentially stripping away the last remaining programs aimed at curbing climate change. Earlier this month, as Americans were transfixed by the pandemic, EPA director (and former coal lobbyist) Andrew Wheeler announced that coal- and oil-fired power plants would no longer need to comply with regulations designed to reduce mercury and other toxic pollutants. 

But flash back to the late 1960s and it's a very different story. The environment was a bipartisan issue, and a Republican president created the EPA in 1970 in response to public pressure. So how did we get here? How did the environment go from universal concern to political battleground — with the EPA caught in the crossfire? 

With the help of Richard Andrews, professor emeritus of environmental policy at UNC Chapel Hill, and William Ruckelshaus, EPA administrator under presidents Richard Nixon and Ronald Reagan, Brooke considers the tumultuous history of the EPA, its evolving relationship with the public, and its uncertain future.


Model Behavior

As the coronavirus continues to devastate communities across the globe, the Trump administration and right-wing propagandists work to recast the White House response and redirect the blame. This week, On The Media considers partisan revisionist history in the White House briefing room and beyond. Plus, a peek inside the thorny world of infectious disease modeling.

1. McKay Coppins [@mckaycoppins], staff writer at The Atlantic, on the latest pivots in the Trump administration's ever-evolving "disinformation architecture." Listen. 

2. David Siders [@davidsiders], national political correspondent at Politico, on how coronavirus models became a partisan point of contention. Listen.

3. Joshua Epstein, director of New York University’s Agent-Based Modeling Lab, on how to best interpret and apply infectious disease modeling. Listen.

Music from the show:
The Glass House  - Marjane’s Inspiration - Daniel Bergeaud
The Hammer of Los  - John Zorn
Jeopardy (Think Music In the Style of Handel) - Malcolm Hamilton
Jesusland - Ben Folds 
Stay Away - Randy Newman

 

As the coronavirus continues to devastate communities across the globe, the Trump administration and right-wing propagandists work to recast the White House response and redirect the blame. This week, On The Media considers partisan revisionist history in the White House briefing room and beyond. Plus, a peek inside the thorny world of infectious disease modeling.

1. McKay Coppins [@mckaycoppins], staff writer at The Atlantic, on the latest pivots in the Trump administration's ever-evolving "disinformation architecture." Listen. 

2. David Siders [@davidsiders], national political correspondent at Politico, on how coronavirus models became a partisan point of contention. Listen.

3. Joshua Epstein, director of New York University’s Agent-Based Modeling Lab, on how to best interpret and apply infectious disease modeling. Listen.

Music from the show:The Glass House  - Marjane’s Inspiration - Daniel BergeaudThe Hammer of Los  - John ZornJeopardy (Think Music In the Style of Handel) - Malcolm Hamilton Jesusland - Ben Folds Stay Away - Randy Newman

 


Virtual Worship Is Older Than You Think

Spring is peak holy season in the United States: Easter and Passover are underway and Ramadan starts next week. While most faith communities have moved worship online, a small number have refused to stop in-person services, with deadly consequences. (Jack Jenkins at Religion News Service is tracking which states have religious exemptions from their stay-at-home orders on a map you can find here.) 


Samuel Boyd is assistant professor of Religious Studies and Jewish Studies at the University of Colorado, Boulder. He explains that there’s a tension common across faith traditions between the idea that God dwells in specific holy places, and the idea that God can be found in all places and things. According to Boyd, Zoom seders, Facebook Live Jummah prayers and online Mass all feel new, but virtual worship has historic roots. There’s a long tradition of religious communities adapting when they’re denied access to their houses of worship — like when, say, the temple in Jerusalem was destroyed. Twice.

Spring is peak holy season in the United States: Easter and Passover are underway and Ramadan starts next week. While most faith communities have moved worship online, a small number have refused to stop in-person services, with deadly consequences. (Jack Jenkins at Religion News Service is tracking which states have religious exemptions from their stay-at-home orders on a map you can find here.) 

Samuel Boyd is assistant professor of Religious Studies and Jewish Studies at the University of Colorado, Boulder. He explains that there’s a tension common across faith traditions between the idea that God dwells in specific holy places, and the idea that God can be found in all places and things. According to Boyd, Zoom seders, Facebook Live Jummah prayers and online Mass all feel new, but virtual worship has historic roots. There’s a long tradition of religious communities adapting when they’re denied access to their houses of worship — like when, say, the temple in Jerusalem was destroyed. Twice.


Blindsided

As the number of COVID cases rises, why are there still so many unknowns about its reach? This week, On the Media explores the lack of government transparency — and how third parties are filling in the gaps. Plus, as sports give way to socially distant e-sports, how broadcasters are adapting their playbooks to suit the moment. Don’t miss On The Media from WNYC Studios.

1. Alexis Madrigal [@alexismadrigal], staff writer at The Atlantic, tells us why the federal government's release of data has been in short supply. Listen.

2. Noam Levy [@NoamLevey], staff writer for the Los Angeles Times, on the questions of efficacy and transparency surrounding the federal government's efforts to distribute medical supplies. Listen.

3. Will Oremus [@WillOremus], senior writer at OneZero, on why the toilet paper shortage makes more sense than you think. Listen.

4. Micah Loewinger [@MicahLoewinger], on the experimental state of no-sports sports TV. And, Ian Bogost [@ibogost], professor of media studies at Georgia Tech, on what this moments tells us about what sports really mean to America. Listen.

Music from the show:
Fellini’s Waltz — Nino Rota
The Artifact and Living — Michael Andrews
What’s That Sound — Michael Andrews
Cellar Door — Will Oremus
Liquid Spear Waltz — Michael Andrews 
Kernkraft 400 — Zombie Nation

 

As the number of COVID cases rises, why are there still so many unknowns about its reach? This week, On the Media explores the lack of government transparency — and how third parties are filling in the gaps. Plus, as sports give way to socially distant e-sports, how broadcasters are adapting their playbooks to suit the moment. Don’t miss On The Media from WNYC Studios.

1. Alexis Madrigal [@alexismadrigal], staff writer at The Atlantic, tells us why the federal government's release of data has been in short supply. Listen.

2. Noam Levy [@NoamLevey], staff writer for the Los Angeles Times, on the questions of efficacy and transparency surrounding the federal government's efforts to distribute medical supplies. Listen.

3. Will Oremus [@WillOremus], senior writer at OneZero, on why the toilet paper shortage makes more sense than you think. Listen.

4. Micah Loewinger [@MicahLoewinger], on the experimental state of no-sports sports TV. And, Ian Bogost [@ibogost], professor of media studies at Georgia Tech, on what this moments tells us about what sports really mean to America. Listen.

Music from the show:Fellini’s Waltz — Nino RotaThe Artifact and Living — Michael AndrewsWhat’s That Sound — Michael AndrewsCellar Door — Will OremusLiquid Spear Waltz — Michael Andrews  Kernkraft 400 — Zombie Nation

 


How Hydroxychloroquine Became A Thing

President Trump has continued to push the anti-malarial drug hydroxychloroquine as a potential treatment for Covid-19, even though scientists say more research is needed to prove that it is safe and effective. But how'd we get here in the first place? Julia Carrie Wong is a reporter for The Guardian who has traced how a misleading, flawed study from France has become a widely-cited piece of evidence by media personalities on Fox and elsewhere. In this podcast extra, she explains what's deeply wrong with the study's conclusions and what happened when it got to be featured prominently by Trump's preferred television network. Wong talks to Bob about what's so appealing about the hydroxychloroquine narrative and why the administration might be so attracted to it. 


War, What Is It Good For?

Many elected officials have declared metaphorical war against the coronavirus. On this week’s show, On The Media examines the historical risks and benefits of relying on bombastic cliches. Plus, quarantined celebrities are revealing how they are and, more often, aren’t just like us. 

1. Jeet Heer [@HeerJeet], correspondent at The Nation, explains why treating the pandemic like a war might benefit essential workers on the frontline. Listen.

2. Nicholas Mulder [@njtmulder], historian at Cornell University, on how wartime economic policies change societies. Listen.

3. Eula Biss, author of On Immunity, on the perils of painting public health crises with the broad brush of war. Listen.

4. Bob [@bobosphere] reflects on famesplaining celebs, using their platforms for good and for not-good. Listen.

Many elected officials have declared metaphorical war against the coronavirus. On this week’s show, On The Media examines the historical risks and benefits of relying on bombastic cliches. Plus, quarantined celebrities are revealing how they are and, more often, aren’t just like us. 

1. Jeet Heer [@HeerJeet], correspondent at The Nation, explains why treating the pandemic like a war might benefit essential workers on the frontline. Listen.

2. Nicholas Mulder [@njtmulder], historian at Cornell University, on how wartime economic policies change societies. Listen.

3. Eula Biss, author of On Immunity, on the perils of painting public health crises with the broad brush of war. Listen.

4. Bob [@bobosphere] reflects on famesplaining celebs, using their platforms for good and for not-good. Listen.


We Live On Zoom Now – And That Might Be a Problem

Since many of us have retreated to our homes in the past month, we’ve been connected to each other mostly through our screens. Work meetings, dinners, catch-ups with old friends, classes, religious ceremonies, weddings, funerals. They’re all taking place in one location: our computers. And often, over an app called Zoom. A piece of software that until recently was mostly used for business-to-business conversations, Zoom has taken over lives... and, given the company's track record of misrepresenting its data and encryption policies, that might be a bit of a problem. For this podcast extra, Bob speaks with Motherboard journalist Joseph Cox, who recently broke the story that Zoom was sharing user data with Facebook.

Since many of us have retreated to our homes in the past month, we’ve been connected to each other mostly through our screens. Work meetings, dinners, catch-ups with old friends, classes, religious ceremonies, weddings, funerals. They’re all taking place in one location: our computers. And often, over an app called Zoom. A piece of software that until recently was mostly used for business-to-business conversations, Zoom has taken over lives... and, given the company's track record of misrepresenting its data and encryption policies, that might be a bit of a problem. For this podcast extra, Bob speaks with Motherboard journalist Joseph Cox, who recently broke the story that Zoom was sharing user data with Facebook.


Playing The Hero

Elected officials offer a flood of facts and spin in daily coronavirus briefings. On this week’s On the Media, hear how the press could do a better job separating vital information from messaging. Plus, a look at the unintended consequences of armchair epidemiology. And, how one watchdog journalist has won paid sick leave for thousands of workers during the pandemic. 

1. Bob [@bobosphere] on the challenges of covering the pandemic amidst a swirl of political messaging. Listen

2. Ivan Oransky [@ivanoransky], professor of medical journalism at New York University, on the rapidly-changing ways that medical scientists are communicating with each other. Listen

3. Ryan Broderick [@broderick], senior reporter at Buzzfeed News, on "coronavirus influencers." Listen

4. Judd Legum [@JuddLegum], author of the Popular Information newsletter, on pressing large corporations to offer paid sick leave. Listen

5. Brooke [@OTMBrooke] on the cost-benefit analysis being performed with human lives. Listen

 

Elected officials offer a flood of facts and spin in daily coronavirus briefings. On this week’s On the Media, hear how the press could do a better job separating vital information from messaging. Plus, a look at the unintended consequences of armchair epidemiology. And, how one watchdog journalist has won paid sick leave for thousands of workers during the pandemic. 

1. Bob [@bobosphere] on the challenges of covering the pandemic amidst a swirl of political messaging. Listen

2. Ivan Oransky [@ivanoransky], professor of medical journalism at New York University, on the rapidly-changing ways that medical scientists are communicating with each other. Listen

3. Ryan Broderick [@broderick], senior reporter at Buzzfeed News, on "coronavirus influencers." Listen

4. Judd Legum [@JuddLegum], author of the Popular Information newsletter, on pressing large corporations to offer paid sick leave. Listen

5. Brooke [@OTMBrooke] on the cost-benefit analysis being performed with human lives. Listen

 


When Coronavirus Isn't The Only Crisis

Last week, roughly 400 Israelis got an alert on their cell phone: “You must immediately go into isolation [for 14 days] to protect your relatives and the public.” Data-tracking suggested that they had recently spent time near someone who had tested positive for Covid-19. The next day, hundreds of Israelis set up a convoy of cars to demonstrate outside the Knesset, the Israeli parliament (since mass gatherings are prohibited, to slow the spread of the virus). Protestors said that the surveillance measures were just one of a series of undemocratic actions taken by Benjamin Netanyahu's government in a power grab that uses the coronavirus as a cover. So what happens when a country faces a series of crises on top of a pandemic? Bob spoke with Steve Hendrix, Jerusalem bureau chief for The Washington Post, about what the virus has meant for Israelis in the midst of a politically polarized maelstrom.

Last week, roughly 400 Israelis got an alert on their cell phone: “You must immediately go into isolation [for 14 days] to protect your relatives and the public.” Data-tracking suggested that they had recently spent time near someone who had tested positive for Covid-19. The next day, hundreds of Israelis set up a convoy of cars to demonstrate outside the Knesset, the Israeli parliament (since mass gatherings are prohibited, to slow the spread of the virus). Protestors said that the surveillance measures were just one of a series of undemocratic actions taken by Benjamin Netanyahu's government in a power grab that uses the coronavirus as a cover. So what happens when a country faces a series of crises on top of a pandemic? Bob spoke with Steve Hendrix, Jerusalem bureau chief for The Washington Post, about what the virus has meant for Israelis in the midst of a politically polarized maelstrom.


Bracing for Impact

As a global pandemic threatens to upend life as we know it, the future is becoming increasingly difficult to grapple with. On this week's On the Media, we turn to people who have been spent years readying themselves for societal collapse: doomsday preppers. Plus, how a different disaster — Hurricane Katrina — revealed inconsistencies in how we care for one another in times of crisis. 

1. As the pandemic continues to disrupt our communities and daily routines, the very passage of time feels distorted. Brooke [@otmbrooke] examines how covid-19 is warping a sense of chronology. Listen here.

2. OTM Producer Micah Loewinger [@MicahLoewinger] immerses himself in the survivalist media sphere, and talks to Richard Mitchell Jr., professor emeritus of sociology at Oregon State University, about how preppers are reacting to news that the moment they've been planning for may finally be here. Listen here.

3. Rebecca Onion [@rebeccaonion], staff writer at Slate, on survivalist novelist and blogger John Wesley Rawles and the rise of prepper fiction. Listen here.

4. Vann Newkirk II, staff writer at The Atlantic and host of the new podcast "Floodlines," on the lessons of Hurricane Katrina. Listen here.

 

Music from this week's show:

Time is Late by Marcos Ciscar

PRELUDE 8: The Invisibles by John Zorn

Coffee Cold by Galt MacDermot

Slow Pulse Conga by William Pasley

Down to Earth by Peter Gabriel

"Auf einer Burg" by Don Byron

Melancolia by Marcos Ciscar

 

As a global pandemic threatens to upend life as we know it, the future is becoming increasingly difficult to grapple with. On this week's On the Media, we turn to people who have been spent years readying themselves for societal collapse: doomsday preppers. Plus, how a different disaster — Hurricane Katrina — revealed inconsistencies in how we care for one another in times of crisis. 

1. As the pandemic continues to disrupt our communities and daily routines, the very passage of time feels distorted. Brooke [@otmbrooke] examines how covid-19 is warping a sense of chronology. Listen here.

2. OTM Producer Micah Loewinger [@MicahLoewinger] immerses himself in the survivalist media sphere, and talks to Richard Mitchell Jr., professor emeritus of sociology at Oregon State University, about how preppers are reacting to news that the moment they've been planning for may finally be here. Listen here.

3. Rebecca Onion [@rebeccaonion], staff writer at Slate, on survivalist novelist and blogger John Wesley Rawles and the rise of prepper fiction. Listen here.

4. Vann Newkirk II, staff writer at The Atlantic and host of the new podcast "Floodlines," on the lessons of Hurricane Katrina. Listen here.

 

Music from this week's show:

Time is Late by Marcos Ciscar

PRELUDE 8: The Invisibles by John Zorn

Coffee Cold by Galt MacDermot

Slow Pulse Conga by William Pasley

Down to Earth by Peter Gabriel

"Auf einer Burg" by Don Byron

Melancolia by Marcos Ciscar

 


Can Eviction Moratoriums Stop The Bleeding?

From Miami to Massachusetts, from San Francisco to Pittsburgh to New York, housing courts are closing up and marshals are standing down as various eviction moratoriums provide at least one answer to the mounting economic uncertainties caused by the coronavirus. In this podcast extra, Brooke and Matthew Desmond (Evicted author and producing partner of our series, The Scarlet E: Unmasking America's Eviction Crisis) discuss whether the policy changes we've seen can avert a total housing catastrophe — and whether the present crisis might cause us to ask deeper questions about housing affordability in America.


Civilization, Interrupted

The World Health Organization has officially declared the spread of COVID-19 a global pandemic. On this week's On the Media, how coverage of the virus in the United States, overseas and onscreen is informing how we cope with the threat of infection.

1.  McKay Coppins [@mckaycoppins], staff writer at The Atlantic, on right-wing media's coronavirus misinformation campaign. Listen.

2. Rachel Donadio [@RachelDonadio], European politics and culture reporter for The Atlantic, on how the Italian media have been keeping a nation under lockdown informed. Listen.

3. Christopher Miller [@ChristopherJM], Buzzfeed News correspondent, on how coronavirus rumors decimated a small Ukrainian village. Listen.

4. Gideon Lasco [@gideonlasco], medical anthropologist at the University of the Philippines Diliman, on the symbolism of surgical masks. Listen.

5. Wesley Morris [@Wesley_Morris] of the New York Times, on rewatching the movie Contagion. Listen.

The World Health Organization has officially declared the spread of COVID-19 a global pandemic. On this week's On the Media, how coverage of the virus in the United States, overseas and onscreen is informing how we cope with the threat of infection.

1.  McKay Coppins [@mckaycoppins], staff writer at The Atlantic, on right-wing media's coronavirus misinformation campaign. Listen.

2. Rachel Donadio [@RachelDonadio], European politics and culture reporter for The Atlantic, on how the Italian media have been keeping a nation under lockdown informed. Listen.

3. Christopher Miller [@ChristopherJM], Buzzfeed News correspondent, on how coronavirus rumors decimated a small Ukrainian village. Listen.

4. Gideon Lasco [@gideonlasco], medical anthropologist at the University of the Philippines Diliman, on the symbolism of surgical masks. Listen.

5. Wesley Morris [@Wesley_Morris] of the New York Times, on rewatching the movie Contagion. Listen.


A Unique Petri Dish

The COVID-19 pandemic has expanded our vocabulary with terms like “social distancing” and “self-isolation.” In an article in Slate, physician and Harvard Medical School instructor Jeremy Samuel Faust gave us one more: “case fatality rate,” or CFR. Initial reports have the CFR for this disease at 2 to 3 percent — but Faust writes that the actual numbers could in fact be much lower. Faust analyzes the "unique petri dish" that is the Diamond Princess cruise ship, and explains that, of the 3,711 people on board, at least 705 tested positive for the virus and 6 people have died...indicating a CFR of 0.85 percent. 

The COVID-19 pandemic has expanded our vocabulary with terms like “social distancing” and “self-isolation.” In an article in Slate, physician and Harvard Medical School instructor Jeremy Samuel Faust gave us one more: “case fatality rate,” or CFR. Initial reports have the CFR for this disease at 2 to 3 percent — but Faust writes that the actual numbers could in fact be much lower. Faust analyzes the "unique petri dish" that is the Diamond Princess cruise ship, and explains that, of the 3,711 people on board, at least 705 tested positive for the virus and 6 people have died...indicating a CFR of 0.85 percent. 


Why Nonvoters Choose to Opt Out

In advance of yesterday’s primaries, we saw some electoral anxieties of a slightly new variety: would voters turn out in the face of COVID-19? In the end, over 3.5 million people voted — not an appreciable decline, but then, the virus is still relatively limited here in the US. And even under the best of circumstances, over 40 percent of American citizens don’t vote. In fact, in November 2016, around 100 million eligible voters passed on the opportunity. That’s more people who voted for either Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump. And it might be even more than that, since nonvoter statistics seem often to be underreported. Eitan Hersh, associate professor of political science at Tufts, was an academic adviser on a new Knight Foundation study, The 100 Million Project: The Untold Story of American Non-voters. It was the largest survey of chronic nonvoters in history — and it overturned some age-old conventional wisdom.

In advance of yesterday’s primaries, we saw some electoral anxieties of a slightly new variety: would voters turn out in the face of COVID-19? In the end, over 3.5 million people voted — not an appreciable decline, but then, the virus is still relatively limited here in the US. And even under the best of circumstances, over 40 percent of American citizens don’t vote. In fact, in November 2016, around 100 million eligible voters passed on the opportunity. That’s more people who voted for either Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump. And it might be even more than that, since nonvoter statistics seem often to be underreported. Eitan Hersh, associate professor of political science at Tufts, was an academic adviser on a new Knight Foundation study, The 100 Million Project: The Untold Story of American Non-voters. It was the largest survey of chronic nonvoters in history — and it overturned some age-old conventional wisdom.


Our Bodies, Ourselves

The press called out President Trump after he dismissed an alarming coronavirus statistic on – quote – a “hunch.” On this week’s On The Media, what both Trump and his critics miss in their pursuit of certainty. Plus, why the political scientist who predicted the 2018 midterms thinks Democrats will beat Trump in 2020. And, how the White House is seeking to re-write international norms about “women’s health,” “women’s rights,” and “gender equality” by avoiding those very words.

1. Jon Cohen [@sciencecohen], staff writer for Science, on the various difficulties of reporting on COVID-19. Listen.

2. Frank Snowden, professor emeritus of medical history at Yale University, on the lessons from historical epidemics. Listen.

3. Rachel Bitecofer [@RachelBitecofer], political scientist at Christopher Newport University, on what she sees as Super Tuesday's clear lessons. Listen.

4. Jessica Glenza [@JessicaGlenza], health reporter for The Guardian, on the embattled language of women's health. Listen

Music from this week's show:
Accentuate the Positive by Syd Dale Double Dozen and Alec Gould
Carmen Fantasy by Anderson and Roe
Cellar Door by Michael Andrews
Chicago Sunset by Charlie Musselwhite
First Drive by Clive Carroll and John Renbourn
Fallen Leaves by Marcus Ciscar
Starlings by Vijay Iyer Trio

The press called out President Trump after he dismissed an alarming coronavirus statistic on – quote – a “hunch.” On this week’s On The Media, what both Trump and his critics miss in their pursuit of certainty. Plus, why the political scientist who predicted the 2018 midterms thinks Democrats will beat Trump in 2020. And, how the White House is seeking to re-write international norms about “women’s health,” “women’s rights,” and “gender equality” by avoiding those very words.

1. Jon Cohen [@sciencecohen], staff writer for Science, on the various difficulties of reporting on COVID-19. Listen.

2. Frank Snowden, professor emeritus of medical history at Yale University, on the lessons from historical epidemics. Listen.

3. Rachel Bitecofer [@RachelBitecofer], political scientist at Christopher Newport University, on what she sees as Super Tuesday's clear lessons. Listen.

4. Jessica Glenza [@JessicaGlenza], health reporter for The Guardian, on the embattled language of women's health. Listen

Music from this week's show:Accentuate the Positive by Syd Dale Double Dozen and Alec GouldCarmen Fantasy by Anderson and RoeCellar Door by Michael AndrewsChicago Sunset by Charlie MusselwhiteFirst Drive by Clive Carroll and John RenbournFallen Leaves by Marcus CiscarStarlings by Vijay Iyer Trio


Covering a Pandemic When Institutions Go Dark

As the global death toll from novel coronavirus continues to increase, the American media are looking to national public health institutions to make sense of the scope and severity of the damage. Much reporting has come from semi-regular phone pressers with the Center for Disease Control and Prevention. But over the past week, the CDC telebriefings have shifted — in tone, substance and frequency.

Gothamist senior editor Elizabeth Kim has listened in on the CDC coronavirus press briefings since the outbreak began in January. For this podcast extra, Kim joins Brooke to discuss what she and other reporters need from the CDC right now to keep the public informed in the face of a possible pandemic.

As the global death toll from novel coronavirus continues to increase, the American media are looking to national public health institutions to make sense of the scope and severity of the damage. Much reporting has come from semi-regular phone pressers with the Center for Disease Control and Prevention. But over the past week, the CDC telebriefings have shifted — in tone, substance and frequency.

Gothamist senior editor Elizabeth Kim has listened in on the CDC coronavirus press briefings since the outbreak began in January. For this podcast extra, Kim joins Brooke to discuss what she and other reporters need from the CDC right now to keep the public informed in the face of a possible pandemic.


Black Swans

As coronavirus spreads, the Center for Disease Control is warning Americans to take urgent precautions. Meanwhile, the White House says tune out and calm down. On this week’s On the Media, what to expect as COVID-19 threatens to make its way through a ruptured body politic. Plus, amid so much focus on electability, a look at the millions of voters who swing from voting “blue” to simply not voting at all.

1. Journalist [@Laurie_Garrett] on the nature of contagions and how a nation of so-called “epidemic voyeurs” is reacting to a possible pandemic on American soil. Listen.

2. Farhad Manjoo [@fmanjoo]New York Times opinion columnist, on making prediction in an unpredictable world. Listen.

3. Ibram X. Kendi [@DrIbram], executive director of the Antiracist Research and Policy Center at American University and author of How to be an Antiracist, on the "other swing voter." Listen.

Further reading: "The Wuhan Virus: How To Stay Safe," by Laurie Garrett, published by Foreign Policy on January 25, 2020. Garrett also recommends reading coronavirus coverage and commentary from STAT's Helen Branswell, Science Mag's Jon Cohen and Kai Kupferschmidt, and John Hopkins's Tom Inglesby

Music:

John Zorn - Berotim

Cling Mansell & Kronos Quartet - Full Tense

Nino Rota/Enrico Peranunzi & Charlie Haden - Fellini’s Waltz

Martyn Axe - German Lullaby

Nino Rota - Il Casanova de Frederico Fellini

David Bowie/Meridian String Quartet - Heroes

 

As coronavirus spreads, the Center for Disease Control is warning Americans to take urgent precautions. Meanwhile, the White House says tune out and calm down. On this week’s On the Media, what to expect as COVID-19 threatens to make its way through a ruptured body politic. Plus, amid so much focus on electability, a look at the millions of voters who swing from voting “blue” to simply not voting at all.

1. Journalist [@Laurie_Garrett] on the nature of contagions and how a nation of so-called “epidemic voyeurs” is reacting to a possible pandemic on American soil. Listen.

2. Farhad Manjoo [@fmanjoo]New York Times opinion columnist, on making prediction in an unpredictable world. Listen.

3. Ibram X. Kendi [@DrIbram], executive director of the Antiracist Research and Policy Center at American University and author of How to be an Antiracist, on the "other swing voter." Listen.

Further reading: "The Wuhan Virus: How To Stay Safe," by Laurie Garrett, published by Foreign Policy on January 25, 2020. Garrett also recommends reading coronavirus coverage and commentary from STAT's Helen Branswell, Science Mag's Jon Cohen and Kai Kupferschmidt, and John Hopkins's Tom Inglesby

Music:

John Zorn - Berotim

Cling Mansell & Kronos Quartet - Full Tense

Nino Rota/Enrico Peranunzi & Charlie Haden - Fellini’s Waltz

Martyn Axe - German Lullaby

Nino Rota - Il Casanova de Frederico Fellini

David Bowie/Meridian String Quartet - Heroes

 


MSNBC Is Being Very, Very Calm About Bernie Sanders

On Saturday, what most pollsters, politicos, and Bernie Sanders campaign organizers had been saying for days, if not weeks, proved true: namely, that the Democratic Socialist candidate for president had been well-poised for victory in Nevada, the most diverse state in the race thus far. Since the AP was able to call the race early in the day, the punditry had all the time they needed to speak to the moment. But, Columbia Journalism Review's Jon Allsop observed, despite the fact that Sanders's win had been predicted by analysts across the board, the day-of analysis had an unmistakable vibe of alarm. In this podcast extra, Bob and Allsop discuss the latest friction between the Sanders campaign and MSNBC, and what the network is doing — and can do moving forward — to avoid any repeat of Saturday's blunders.

CORRECTION: Iowa, not Nevada, is the most populous state to have already cast votes in the 2020 election. 

On Saturday, what most pollsters, politicos, and Bernie Sanders campaign organizers had been saying for days, if not weeks, proved true: namely, that the Democratic Socialist candidate for president had been well-poised for victory in Nevada, the most diverse state in the race thus far. Since the AP was able to call the race early in the day, the punditry had all the time they needed to speak to the moment. But, Columbia Journalism Review's Jon Allsop observed, despite the fact that Sanders's win had been predicted by analysts across the board, the day-of analysis had an unmistakable vibe of alarm. In this podcast extra, Bob and Allsop discuss the latest friction between the Sanders campaign and MSNBC, and what the network is doing — and can do moving forward — to avoid any repeat of Saturday's blunders.

CORRECTION: Iowa, not Nevada, is the most populous state to have already cast votes in the 2020 election. 


Money, Power, Glory

The showdown for the Democratic nomination continues, and the gloves have come off. This week, On the Media examines the conflicting narratives around how each candidate raises money. Plus, how changes at the National Archives could distort the historical record of the Trump administration.

1. Michael Grynbaum [@grynbaum], media correspondent for The New York Times, and Kathy Kiely [@kathykiely], former news director at Bloomberg Politics and journalism professor at University of Missouri School of Journalism, on how Bloomberg News is — and isn't — covering the candidacy of its owner. Listen.

2. Taylor Lorenz [@TaylorLorenz], reporter for The New York Times, on Bloomberg's meme-ification. Listen.

3. Sarah Bryner [@AKSarahB], Director of Research & Strategy at Open Secrets, on the state of campaign financing, ten years after Citizens United. Listen.

4. Matthew Connelly [@mattspast], history professor at Columbia University, explains how policy changes at the National Archives could distort the historical record about the Trump Administration. Listen.

Music from this week's show: 

David Holmes — $160 Million Chinese Man
Adrian Younge Turn Down the Sound
Billy Bragg and Wilco Union Prayer
Antibalas Dirty Money
Bill Frisell Lost, Night
Califone Burned by the Christians

The showdown for the Democratic nomination continues, and the gloves have come off. This week, On the Media examines the conflicting narratives around how each candidate raises money. Plus, how changes at the National Archives could distort the historical record of the Trump administration.

1. Michael Grynbaum [@grynbaum], media correspondent for The New York Times, and Kathy Kiely [@kathykiely], former news director at Bloomberg Politics and journalism professor at University of Missouri School of Journalism, on how Bloomberg News is — and isn't — covering the candidacy of its owner. Listen.

2. Taylor Lorenz [@TaylorLorenz], reporter for The New York Times, on Bloomberg's meme-ification. Listen.

3. Sarah Bryner [@AKSarahB], Director of Research & Strategy at Open Secrets, on the state of campaign financing, ten years after Citizens United. Listen.

4. Matthew Connelly [@mattspast], history professor at Columbia University, explains how policy changes at the National Archives could distort the historical record about the Trump Administration. Listen.

Music from this week's show: 

David Holmes — $160 Million Chinese ManAdrian Younge Turn Down the SoundBilly Bragg and Wilco Union PrayerAntibalas Dirty MoneyBill Frisell Lost, NightCalifone Burned by the Christians


Corporations Were Always People

No discussion of money and politics is complete without a tip of the hat to Citizens United, the landmark Supreme Court ruling of 10 years ago that recognized corporations as people and their money as speech. 

That ruling was followed a few years ago by the Hobby Lobby decision, giving business owners the right to flout federal law based on their religious beliefs. To many Americans, particularly on the left, both rulings were bizarre and ominous expansions of corporate rights. But, if you think this is the novel handiwork of a uniquely conservative Supreme Court, you haven't been paying attention to the past three or four hundred years of court cases and American history.

Adam Winkler, professor of law at UCLA, is the author of We the Corporations: How American Business Won Their Civil Rights. He told us in 2018 that the principle of corporate rights has been litigated forever and predates our very founding. 

 

No discussion of money and politics is complete without a tip of the hat to Citizens United, the landmark Supreme Court ruling of 10 years ago that recognized corporations as people and their money as speech. 

That ruling was followed a few years ago by the Hobby Lobby decision, giving business owners the right to flout federal law based on their religious beliefs. To many Americans, particularly on the left, both rulings were bizarre and ominous expansions of corporate rights. But, if you think this is the novel handiwork of a uniquely conservative Supreme Court, you haven't been paying attention to the past three or four hundred years of court cases and American history.

Adam Winkler, professor of law at UCLA, is the author of We the Corporations: How American Business Won Their Civil Rights. He told us in 2018 that the principle of corporate rights has been litigated forever and predates our very founding. 

 


Norm!

Attorney General Bill Barr appeared to spar with Donald Trump in the latest chapter of the Roger Stone case. On this week’s On the Media, why the apparent interference in the Justice Department’s work should cause concern. Plus, Customs and Border Patrol builds a new bulwark against disclosure and transparency. And, a family migration story three decades in the making. 

1. Dahlia Lithwick, writer for Slate, on what the latest Dept. of Justice news tells us about the fragility of American justice. Listen.

2. Susan Hennessey [@Susan_Hennessey], executive editor at Lawfare, on the latest threats to "prosecutorial independence." Listen.

3. Ken Klippenstein [@kenklippenstein], DC correspondent at The Nation, on Customs and Border Patrol (CBP)'s re-designation as a "security agency." Listen.

4. Jason DeParle [@JasonDeParle], author of A Good Provider Is One Who Leaves, on the 32-year process of reporting one family's migration story. Listen.

Music from this week's show:

In The Bath — Randy Newman
The Artifact & Living — Michael Andrews
String Quartet No. 5 — Philip Glass, performed by Kronos Quartet
The Glass House - Marjanes's Inspiration — David Bergeaud
Frail as a Breeze, Pt. 2 — Erik Friedlander
The Thompson Fields — Maria Schneider 

 

Attorney General Bill Barr appeared to spar with Donald Trump in the latest chapter of the Roger Stone case. On this week’s On the Media, why the apparent interference in the Justice Department’s work should cause concern. Plus, Customs and Border Patrol builds a new bulwark against disclosure and transparency. And, a family migration story three decades in the making. 

1. Dahlia Lithwick, writer for Slate, on what the latest Dept. of Justice news tells us about the fragility of American justice. Listen.

2. Susan Hennessey [@Susan_Hennessey], executive editor at Lawfare, on the latest threats to "prosecutorial independence." Listen.

3. Ken Klippenstein [@kenklippenstein], DC correspondent at The Nation, on Customs and Border Patrol (CBP)'s re-designation as a "security agency." Listen.

4. Jason DeParle [@JasonDeParle], author of A Good Provider Is One Who Leaves, on the 32-year process of reporting one family's migration story. Listen.

Music from this week's show:

In The Bath — Randy NewmanThe Artifact & Living — Michael AndrewsString Quartet No. 5 — Philip Glass, performed by Kronos QuartetThe Glass House - Marjanes's Inspiration — David BergeaudFrail as a Breeze, Pt. 2 — Erik FriedlanderThe Thompson Fields — Maria Schneider 

 


OTM Presents: U.S. of Anxiety's "40 Acres in Mississippi"

Elbert Lester has lived his full 94 years in Quitman County, Mississippi, on land he and his family own. That’s exceptional for black people in this area, and some family members even say the land came to them through “40 acres and a mule.” But that's pretty unlikely, so our WNYC colleague Kai Wright, host of The United States of Anxiety, went on a search for the truth and uncovered a story about an old and fundamental question in American politics, one at the center of the current election: Who are the rightful owners of this country’s staggering wealth?

- John Willis is author of Forgotten Time

- Eric Foner is author of The Second Founding

- The National Memorial for Peace and Justice is located in Montgomery, Alabama. For more information about documented lynchings in Mississippi, and elsewhere, visit the Equal Justice Initiative's interactive report, Lynching in America. You can navigate to each county to learn about documented lynchings there.

Elbert Lester has lived his full 94 years in Quitman County, Mississippi, on land he and his family own. That’s exceptional for black people in this area, and some family members even say the land came to them through “40 acres and a mule.” But that's pretty unlikely, so our WNYC colleague Kai Wright, host of The United States of Anxiety, went on a search for the truth and uncovered a story about an old and fundamental question in American politics, one at the center of the current election: Who are the rightful owners of this country’s staggering wealth?

- John Willis is author of Forgotten Time

- Eric Foner is author of The Second Founding

The National Memorial for Peace and Justice is located in Montgomery, Alabama. For more information about documented lynchings in Mississippi, and elsewhere, visit the Equal Justice Initiative's interactive report, Lynching in America. You can navigate to each county to learn about documented lynchings there.


Picture-Perfect Democracy

The sloppy roll-out of Iowa results prompted disinformation and confusion over the mechanics of the caucus system. This week, On the Media looks at the origins of the nomination process to explain how we got here. Plus, local reporters in New Hampshire examine the power struggle at the heart of the upcoming contest. 

1. Galen Druke [@galendruke] on the history of America's unique primary system. Listen.

2. Stranglehold reporters Jack Rodolico [@JackRodolico]Lauren Chooljian [@laurenchooljian], and Casey McDermott [@caseymcdermott] on Dixville Notch's mythical status. Listen.  

3. Lauren Chooljian [@laurenchooljian] examines how New Hampshire's local press benefits from being a first-in-the-nation primary. Listen.

Music from this week's show: 

Sacred Oracle by John Zorn
Young at Heart by Brad Mehldau
The Camping Store by Clive Carroll and John Renbourn
Milestones by Bill Evan Trio

The sloppy roll-out of Iowa results prompted disinformation and confusion over the mechanics of the caucus system. This week, On the Media looks at the origins of the nomination process to explain how we got here. Plus, local reporters in New Hampshire examine the power struggle at the heart of the upcoming contest. 

1. Galen Druke [@galendruke] on the history of America's unique primary system. Listen.

2. Stranglehold reporters Jack Rodolico [@JackRodolico], Lauren Chooljian [@laurenchooljian], and Casey McDermott [@caseymcdermott] on Dixville Notch's mythical status. Listen.  

3. Lauren Chooljian [@laurenchooljian] examines how New Hampshire's local press benefits from being a first-in-the-nation primary. Listen.

Music from this week's show: 

Sacred Oracle by John ZornYoung at Heart by Brad MehldauThe Camping Store by Clive Carroll and John RenbournMilestones by Bill Evan Trio


How Rush Limbaugh Paved The Way For Trump

A lot was reported about Tuesday night's State of the Union address. President Trump's characteristic self-congratulation, the fact-checking of his error-filled speech, and Nancy Pelosi's sensational paper rip stunt. Tuesday night also solidified Rush Limbaugh's ascent to Republican royalty. By awarding him the Presidential Medal of Freedom, Trump inducted Limbaugh into a gilded class of American history, featuring Norman Rockwell, Maya Angelou, Thurgood Marshall, and Martin Luther King Jr. According to Matt Gertz, a senior fellow at Media Matters for America, the award could be seen as the culmination of the GOP's transformation, precipitated by Limbaugh and solidified by Trump. 


Cancel This!

As the coronavirus continues to spread, the World Health Organization has declared a state of emergency. This week, On the Media looks at how panic and misinformation are going viral, too. Plus, a controversial endorsement for Bernie Sanders puts the spotlight on Joe Rogan, and has renewed the debate over "cancel culture." And, the impeachment proceedings continue to move toward a conclusion. 

1. Brooke [@OTMBrooke] reflects on the impeachment proceedings as they come to an anti-climactic ending. Listen.

2. Alexis Madrigal [@alexismadrigalof The Atlantic explains how panic online is spreading faster than the coronavirus itself. Listen.

3. Devin Gordon [@DevinGordonX] talks about why Joe Rogan is so popular, and reflects on the controversy surrounding his tentative endorsement of Bernie Sanders. Listen.

4. Natalie Wynn, creator of the Youtube channel ContraPoints, lays out her criticism of "cancel culture" and takes an honest look at her own "cancellations." Listen.

Music: 

Roary's Waltz by John Zorn

Psychotic Girl by Black Keys

Baba O'Reilly by The Who

Life on Mars by David Bowie (covered by Meridian String Quartet)

River Man by Brad Mehldau

As the coronavirus continues to spread, the World Health Organization has declared a state of emergency. This week, On the Media looks at how panic and misinformation are going viral, too. Plus, a controversial endorsement for Bernie Sanders puts the spotlight on Joe Rogan, and has renewed the debate over "cancel culture." And, the impeachment proceedings continue to move toward a conclusion. 

1. Brooke [@OTMBrooke] reflects on the impeachment proceedings as they come to an anti-climactic ending. Listen.

2. Alexis Madrigal [@alexismadrigal] of The Atlantic explains how panic online is spreading faster than the coronavirus itself. Listen.

3. Devin Gordon [@DevinGordonX] talks about why Joe Rogan is so popular, and reflects on the controversy surrounding his tentative endorsement of Bernie Sanders. Listen.

4. Natalie Wynn, creator of the Youtube channel ContraPoints, lays out her criticism of "cancel culture" and takes an honest look at her own "cancellations." Listen.

Music: 

Roary's Waltz by John Zorn

Psychotic Girl by Black Keys

Baba O'Reilly by The Who

Life on Mars by David Bowie (covered by Meridian String Quartet)

River Man by Brad Mehldau


OTM presents: Here's the Thing with Megan Twohey and Jodi Kantor

Our colleagues at "Here's the Thing" produced a great episode this week that we think you'll enjoy:

Jodi Kantor and Megan Twohey are the New York Times reporters who broke the Harvey Weinstein story.  For five months -- perpetually in danger of losing the scoop -- they cultivated and cajoled sources ranging from the Weinsteins’ accountant to Ashley Judd.  The article that emerged on October 5th, 2017, was a level-headed and impeccably sourced exposé, whose effects continue to be felt around the world.  Their conversation with Alec Baldwin covers their reporting process, and moves on to a joint wrestling with Alec’s own early knowledge of one of the Weinstein allegations, and his ongoing friendship with accused harasser James Toback.  The guests ask Alec questions about the movie industry’s ethics about sex and “the casting couch.”  Over a respectful and surprising half-hour, host and guests together talk through the many dilemmas posed by the #MeToo movement that Kantor and Twohey did so much to unleash.

Our colleagues at "Here's the Thing" produced a great episode this week that we think you'll enjoy:

Jodi Kantor and Megan Twohey are the New York Times reporters who broke the Harvey Weinstein story.  For five months -- perpetually in danger of losing the scoop -- they cultivated and cajoled sources ranging from the Weinsteins’ accountant to Ashley Judd.  The article that emerged on October 5th, 2017, was a level-headed and impeccably sourced exposé, whose effects continue to be felt around the world.  Their conversation with Alec Baldwin covers their reporting process, and moves on to a joint wrestling with Alec’s own early knowledge of one of the Weinstein allegations, and his ongoing friendship with accused harasser James Toback.  The guests ask Alec questions about the movie industry’s ethics about sex and “the casting couch.”  Over a respectful and surprising half-hour, host and guests together talk through the many dilemmas posed by the #MeToo movement that Kantor and Twohey did so much to unleash.


Optical Delusion

A gathering of thousands of armed protesters in Virginia last weekend prompted fears of mass violence. On this episode of On the Media, how some militia groups are spinning the lack of bloodshed as victory. Plus, fresh demands for accountability in Puerto Rico, and why the senate impeachment trial feels so predictable. 

1. Bob Garfield [@Bobosphere] on the present moment in the impeachment trial. Listen.

2. Lois Beckett [@loisbeckett], reporter at the Guardian, and OTM producer Micah Loewinger [@MicahLoewinger] on the efforts to shape the media narrative among gun rights activists at Virginia's Lobby Day. Listen.

3. OTM producer Alana Casanova-Burgess [@AlanaLlama] on the "double-bind" Puerto Rico faces as earthquakes shake the state. Listen here. 

Music:

All the President's Men Theme by Nini Rosso
Joeira by Kurup
General Scott's March by Liberty Tree Wind Players
Original music by Mark Henry Phillips
Cantus for Bob Hardison by Michael Linnen
Kerala by Bonobo

A gathering of thousands of armed protesters in Virginia last weekend prompted fears of mass violence. On this episode of On the Media, how some militia groups are spinning the lack of bloodshed as victory. Plus, fresh demands for accountability in Puerto Rico, and why the senate impeachment trial feels so predictable. 

1. Bob Garfield [@Bobosphere] on the present moment in the impeachment trial. Listen.

2. Lois Beckett [@loisbeckett], reporter at the Guardian, and OTM producer Micah Loewinger [@MicahLoewinger] on the efforts to shape the media narrative among gun rights activists at Virginia's Lobby Day. Listen.

3. OTM producer Alana Casanova-Burgess [@AlanaLlama] on the "double-bind" Puerto Rico faces as earthquakes shake the state. Listen here. 

Music:

All the President's Men Theme by Nini RossoJoeira by KurupGeneral Scott's March by Liberty Tree Wind PlayersOriginal music by Mark Henry PhillipsCantus for Bob Hardison by Michael LinnenKerala by Bonobo


The Alleged Crimes of Greenwald

The Brazilian federal government on Tuesday revealed charges of cybercrimes against Pulitzer Prize–winning journalist Glenn Greenwald, for his alleged role in the leaking of explosive messages written by high-ranking law enforcement officials. Press freedom advocates immediately decried the charges as a dangerous blow to basic press freedoms; Greenwald himself told Washington Post cybersecurity reporter Joseph Marks, "Governments [are] figuring out how they can criminalize journalism based on large-scale leaks." In this podcast extra, Marks breaks down the charges and draws comparisons (and contrasts) with the American government's prosecution of Wikileaks founder Julian Assange. 


Family Feud

A pre-debate news drop from CNN threatened the relative peace between Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren. On this week’s On the Media, why the feud is more distracting than illuminating. Plus, why paying close attention to political news is no substitute for civic participation. And, the origins of two oligarchic dynasties: the Trumps and the Kushners.

1. Rebecca Traister [@rtraister], writer for New York Magazine, on the inevitability of the questions facing women in politics. Listen.

2. Eitan Hersh [@eitanhersh], political scientist at Tufts University, on the political hobbyism and news consumption. Listen.

3. Andrea Bernstein [@AndreaWNYC], co-host of WNYC's Trump, Inc. podcast, on the corruption, improbabilities, and ironies of the Trump and Kushner family histories. Listen.

A pre-debate news drop from CNN threatened the relative peace between Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren. On this week’s On the Media, why the feud is more distracting than illuminating. Plus, why paying close attention to political news is no substitute for civic participation. And, the origins of two oligarchic dynasties: the Trumps and the Kushners.

1. Rebecca Traister [@rtraister], writer for New York Magazine, on the inevitability of the questions facing women in politics. Listen.

2. Eitan Hersh [@eitanhersh], political scientist at Tufts University, on the political hobbyism and news consumption. Listen.

3. Andrea Bernstein [@AndreaWNYC], co-host of WNYC's Trump, Inc. podcast, on the corruption, improbabilities, and ironies of the Trump and Kushner family histories. Listen.


Climate Change, News Corp, and the Australian Fires

For years, climate change experts have said that hotter and drier summers would exacerbate the threat of bushfires in Australia. Fires have been raging since September and a prolonged drought and record-breaking temperatures mean the blazes won't stop for weeks — if not months. 

But to read or watch or listen to the conservative press in Australia is to get an altogether different story: that it's arson, not climate change, that's mainly responsible for the deaths of nearly 30 humans and an estimated one billion animals. Damien Cave is the New York Times bureau chief in Sydney, and he recently wrote about "How Rupert Murdoch Is Influencing Australia's Bushfire Debate." He spoke to Bob about the media landscape of denial and deflection, and why critics say it's making it harder to hold the government accountable. 


Hurtling Toward Catastrophe

After the US military assassinated an Iranian military general, war propaganda kicked into overdrive. On this week’s On the Media, how news consumers can cut through the misleading claims and dangerous frames. Plus, how Generation Z is interpreting the geopolitical crisis through memes. And, how apocalyptic thinking is a near-constant through history. 

1. Nathan Robinson [@NathanJRobinson], editor of Current Affairs, on the most suspect tropes in war coverage. Listen.

2. Lee Fang [@lhfang], investigative journalist at The Intercept, on the pundits with unacknowledged conflicts of interest. Listen.

3. Ian Bogost [@ibogost], contributing writer at The Atlantic, on #WorldWar3 memes. Listen.

4. Dan Carlin [@HardcoreHistory], host of "Hardcore History," on apocalyptic moments throughout human history. Listen.

Music from this week's show:

Nirvana/The Bad Plus — Smells Like Teen Spirit
Michael Andrews — The Artifact & Living
Unknown — March for the 3 Regt. of Foot
Thin Lizzy — The Boys Are Back In Town
John Zorn — Prelude 3: Prelude of Light
Hank Jones — Wade in the Water
John Zorn — Gormenghast

After the US military assassinated an Iranian military general, war propaganda kicked into overdrive. On this week’s On the Media, how news consumers can cut through the misleading claims and dangerous frames. Plus, how Generation Z is interpreting the geopolitical crisis through memes. And, how apocalyptic thinking is a near-constant through history. 

1. Nathan Robinson [@NathanJRobinson], editor of Current Affairs, on the most suspect tropes in war coverage. Listen.

2. Lee Fang [@lhfang], investigative journalist at The Intercept, on the pundits with unacknowledged conflicts of interest. Listen.

3. Ian Bogost [@ibogost], contributing writer at The Atlantic, on #WorldWar3 memes. Listen.

4. Dan Carlin [@HardcoreHistory], host of "Hardcore History," on apocalyptic moments throughout human history. Listen.

Music from this week's show:

Nirvana/The Bad Plus — Smells Like Teen SpiritMichael Andrews — The Artifact & LivingUnknown — March for the 3 Regt. of FootThin Lizzy — The Boys Are Back In TownJohn Zorn — Prelude 3: Prelude of LightHank Jones — Wade in the WaterJohn Zorn — Gormenghast


The Weinstein Trial Begins

In New York this week, jury selection began in the trial of former Hollywood titan Harvey Weinstein. News of his alleged sexual predations launched the #MeToo movement in October 2017, through investigative reporting from both The New York Times and The New Yorker. Even as he prepares to stand trial in New York, sexual assault charges were filed against him in Los Angeles. To date, over eighty women in the film industry have accused him of rape and sexual assault and abuse. Weinstein claims they were all consensual acts. 

The reporting has been groundbreaking in its detail, laying out the allegations for the public. But in Hollywood, Weinstein’s abuses already were an open secret. In 2017, Brooke spoke with Buzzfeed senior culture writer Anne Helen Petersen about the essential role of gossip and whisper networks in protecting the vulnerable and spreading news that threatens the powerful. 

 

In New York this week, jury selection began in the trial of former Hollywood titan Harvey Weinstein. News of his alleged sexual predations launched the #MeToo movement in October 2017, through investigative reporting from both The New York Times and The New Yorker. Even as he prepares to stand trial in New York, sexual assault charges were filed against him in Los Angeles. To date, over eighty women in the film industry have accused him of rape and sexual assault and abuse. Weinstein claims they were all consensual acts. 

The reporting has been groundbreaking in its detail, laying out the allegations for the public. But in Hollywood, Weinstein’s abuses already were an open secret. In 2017, Brooke spoke with Buzzfeed senior culture writer Anne Helen Petersen about the essential role of gossip and whisper networks in protecting the vulnerable and spreading news that threatens the powerful. 

 


Can Restorative Justice Save The Internet?

As prison populations soar, advocates on both side of the spectrum agree that the law-and-order approach to criminal justice is not making us safer. On this week's On the Media, we look at restorative justice, an alternative to prison that can provide meaningful resolution and rehabilitation. Meanwhile, harassment and bullying are plaguing our online lives, but social media companies seem fresh out of solutions. OTM brings you the story of a reporter and a researcher who teamed up to test whether restorative justice can be used to help detoxify the web.

1. Danielle Sered [@daniellesered], author of Until We Reckon: Violence, Mass Incarceration, and a Road to Repair, on her promising foray into restorative justice. Listen.

2. Lindsay Blackwell [@linguangst], UX researcher at Facebook, and OTM reporter Micah Loewinger [@micahloewinger] share the story of their online restorative justice experiment. Plus, Jack Dorsey [@jack], CEO of Twitter, and Ashley Feinberg [@ashleyfeinberg], a senior writer at Slate, on the toxic state of Twitter. Listen.

As prison populations soar, advocates on both side of the spectrum agree that the law-and-order approach to criminal justice is not making us safer. On this week's On the Media, we look at restorative justice, an alternative to prison that can provide meaningful resolution and rehabilitation. Meanwhile, harassment and bullying are plaguing our online lives, but social media companies seem fresh out of solutions. OTM brings you the story of a reporter and a researcher who teamed up to test whether restorative justice can be used to help detoxify the web.

1. Danielle Sered [@daniellesered], author of Until We Reckon: Violence, Mass Incarceration, and a Road to Repair, on her promising foray into restorative justice. Listen.

2. Lindsay Blackwell [@linguangst], UX researcher at Facebook, and OTM reporter Micah Loewinger [@micahloewinger] share the story of their online restorative justice experiment. Plus, Jack Dorsey [@jack], CEO of Twitter, and Ashley Feinberg [@ashleyfeinberg], a senior writer at Slate, on the toxic state of Twitter. Listen.


Ken Kesey's Acid Quest

Happy New Year! In this pod extra, we're celebrating what might be your first hangover of 2020 — whether it's fueled by alcohol or just the thought of the year ahead. So, we thought we'd bring you the story of an odd holiday known as Bicycle Day, April 19: the day in 1943, when Swiss scientist Albert Hofmann rode his bike home from work after dosing himself with his lab concoction, lysergic acid diethylamide, or LSD. The first acid trip.

Hofmann’s wobbly ride is what launches us into an exploration of a moment, when Ken Kesey, an evangelist of acid would emerge from a Menlo Park hospital lab, and plow through the nation’s gray flannel culture in a candy colored bus. Some know Kesey as the enigmatic author behind One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest — others, as the driving force in The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test, Tom Wolfe’s seminal work in New Journalism. In honor of the 50th anniversary of the release of Acid Test, Brooke spoke in 2018 with Wolfe (since deceased) and writer River Donaghey about how acid shaped Kesey, spawned the book and de-normalized American conformity.

This segment is from our April 20, 2018 show, Moving Beyond the Norm.

Songs:

Holidays B by Ib Glindemann
Im Glück by Neu!
Apache '65 by Davie Allan and the Arrows
Selections from "The Acid Tests Reels" by The Merry Pranksters & The Grateful Dead
Alicia by Los Monstruos
The Days Between by The Grateful Dead (Live 6/24/95)

Happy New Year! In this pod extra, we're celebrating what might be your first hangover of 2020 — whether it's fueled by alcohol or just the thought of the year ahead. So, we thought we'd bring you the story of an odd holiday known as Bicycle Day, April 19: the day in 1943, when Swiss scientist Albert Hofmann rode his bike home from work after dosing himself with his lab concoction, lysergic acid diethylamide, or LSD. The first acid trip.

Hofmann’s wobbly ride is what launches us into an exploration of a moment, when Ken Kesey, an evangelist of acid would emerge from a Menlo Park hospital lab, and plow through the nation’s gray flannel culture in a candy colored bus. Some know Kesey as the enigmatic author behind One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest — others, as the driving force in The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test, Tom Wolfe’s seminal work in New Journalism. In honor of the 50th anniversary of the release of Acid Test, Brooke spoke in 2018 with Wolfe (since deceased) and writer River Donaghey about how acid shaped Kesey, spawned the book and de-normalized American conformity.

This segment is from our April 20, 2018 show, Moving Beyond the Norm.

Songs:

Holidays B by Ib GlindemannIm Glück by Neu!Apache '65 by Davie Allan and the ArrowsSelections from "The Acid Tests Reels" by The Merry Pranksters & The Grateful DeadAlicia by Los MonstruosThe Days Between by The Grateful Dead (Live 6/24/95)


Hindsight Is 2019

2019 started on a note of fakery, as we made sense of the conspiracies and simulacra that distort our information field. It's ending with a similar air of surreality, with impeachment proceedings bringing the dynamics of the Trump presidency into stark relief. Along the way, we've examined forces, deconstructed narratives, and found the racist core at the heart of so much of the American project. And as we've come to look differently at the world, we've come to look differently at ourselves.

With excerpts from:

  1. When The Internet is Mostly Fake, January 11th, 2019
  2. United States of Conspiracy, May 17th, 2019
  3. Trump Sees Conspiracies Everywhere, October 4th, 2019
  4. Understanding the White Power Movement, March 22nd, 2019
  5. Why "Send Her Back" Reverberated So Loudly, July 19th, 2019
  6. The Scarlet E, Part II: 40 Acres, June 14th, 2019
  7. Part 1: The Myth Of The Frontier, March 29th, 2019
  8. Empire State of Mind, April 5th, 2019
  9. The Perils of Laundering Hot Takes Through History, March 1st, 2019

Music:

Sentimental Journey by Hal McIntyre and his Orchestra
Newsreel by Randy Newman
String Quartet No. 5 (II) by Kronos Quartet & Philip Glass
8½ by Rino Nota
Songs of War by United States Old Guard fife and Drum Corps
The Water Rises / Our Street Is a Black River by Laurie Anderson & Kronos Quartet 
Marc Phillips 
Tribute To America (Medley) by The O’Neill Brothers
Tomorrow Never Knows by  Quartetto d’Archi Dell’Orchestra Sinfonica di Milano Giuseppe Verdi
Merkabah by John Zorn

 

2019 started on a note of fakery, as we made sense of the conspiracies and simulacra that distort our information field. It's ending with a similar air of surreality, with impeachment proceedings bringing the dynamics of the Trump presidency into stark relief. Along the way, we've examined forces, deconstructed narratives, and found the racist core at the heart of so much of the American project. And as we've come to look differently at the world, we've come to look differently at ourselves.

With excerpts from:

    When The Internet is Mostly Fake, January 11th, 2019 United States of Conspiracy, May 17th, 2019 Trump Sees Conspiracies Everywhere, October 4th, 2019 Understanding the White Power Movement, March 22nd, 2019 Why "Send Her Back" Reverberated So Loudly, July 19th, 2019 The Scarlet E, Part II: 40 Acres, June 14th, 2019 Part 1: The Myth Of The Frontier, March 29th, 2019 Empire State of Mind, April 5th, 2019 The Perils of Laundering Hot Takes Through History, March 1st, 2019

Music:

Sentimental Journey by Hal McIntyre and his OrchestraNewsreel by Randy NewmanString Quartet No. 5 (II) by Kronos Quartet & Philip Glass8½ by Rino NotaSongs of War by United States Old Guard fife and Drum CorpsThe Water Rises / Our Street Is a Black River by Laurie Anderson & Kronos Quartet Marc Phillips Tribute To America (Medley) by The O’Neill BrothersTomorrow Never Knows by  Quartetto d’Archi Dell’Orchestra Sinfonica di Milano Giuseppe VerdiMerkabah by John Zorn

 


The Hidden Truths of Hanukkah

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

According to Rabbi James Ponet, Emeritus Howard M. Holtzmann Jewish Chaplain at Yale University, the kid-friendly Hanukkah mythology has obscured the thorny historical details that offer deeper truths about what it means to be a Jew. In his 2005 Slate piece, "Hanukkah as Jewish Civil War," Ponet looked at the often-overlooked Jew-on-Jew violence that under-girds the Hanukkah story. In 2018, he and Brooke discussed how this civil war lives on in Jewish views on Israel, and how the tension between assimilation and tradition came to define the Jewish people. We're re-releasing it today in time for the holidays.

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

According to Rabbi James Ponet, Emeritus Howard M. Holtzmann Jewish Chaplain at Yale University, the kid-friendly Hanukkah mythology has obscured the thorny historical details that offer deeper truths about what it means to be a Jew. In his 2005 Slate piece, "Hanukkah as Jewish Civil War," Ponet looked at the often-overlooked Jew-on-Jew violence that under-girds the Hanukkah story. In 2018, he and Brooke discussed how this civil war lives on in Jewish views on Israel, and how the tension between assimilation and tradition came to define the Jewish people. We're re-releasing it today in time for the holidays.


Let The Record Show

For only the third time in U.S. history, the American press is covering a presidential impeachment. On this week’s On the Media, a look at a few of the coverage missteps made along the way. And, the reporting process behind the Washington Post "Afghanistan Papers" scoop. Plus, the story of an unprecedented trove of TV news history, and the media activist who made it possible.

1. Jon Allsop [@Jon_Allsop], writer for Columbia Journalism Review, on the impeachment coverage that's been less-than-perfect. Listen.

2. Craig Whitlock [@CraigMWhitlock], investigative reporter for the Washington Post, on a once-secret internal government history of the Afghanistan War. Listen.

3. Matt Wolf, documentarian, on the life and work of the activist-archivist Marion Stokes. Listen.

For only the third time in U.S. history, the American press is covering a presidential impeachment. On this week’s On the Media, a look at a few of the coverage missteps made along the way. And, the reporting process behind the Washington Post "Afghanistan Papers" scoop. Plus, the story of an unprecedented trove of TV news history, and the media activist who made it possible.

1. Jon Allsop [@Jon_Allsop], writer for Columbia Journalism Review, on the impeachment coverage that's been less-than-perfect. Listen.

2. Craig Whitlock [@CraigMWhitlock], investigative reporter for the Washington Post, on a once-secret internal government history of the Afghanistan War. Listen.

3. Matt Wolf, documentarian, on the life and work of the activist-archivist Marion Stokes. Listen.


Sons of the Soil

Last week, India’s ruling party (the BJP) passed the Citizenship Amendment Act. The legislation grants a clear path to Indian citizenship to non-Muslim refugees from Bangladesh, Pakistan and Afghanistan. Opponents pointed out flaws in the law almost as soon as it was introduced. The law fails to mention Muslim minorities who face persecution in their own countries, such as the Rohingyas in Myanmar. Critics see it as the latest step in the Hindu nationalist government’s steady march toward a Hindu nation-state. The move follows the revocation of Kashmir’s autonomy this summer, and two million people losing statehood in Northeast India after being left off of a national register of citizens. The list requires citizens to provide documents to prove Indian ancestry. Many Muslims fear that the National Register of Citizens will be enacted across India, leaving religious minorities in the world’s largest democracy in danger of losing their home.

Union Home Minister Amit Shah twisted history to provide justification for the Citizenship Amendment Act, shouting to his colleagues in Parliament that decades ago it was the now opposition, Congress Party, that divided India and Pakistan along religious lines. As Indian historian Romila Thapar wrote in The New York Times earlier this year, “extreme nationalists require their own particular version of the past to legitimize their actions in the present.” This week, we go back to a piece reported by OTM Producer Asthaa Chaturvedi. She examines how Hindu nationalists are rewriting Indian history in the world’s largest democracy, with journalist Shoaib Daniyal, political scientist Christophe Jaffrelot, and sociology professor Nandini Sundar.  

Last week, India’s ruling party (the BJP) passed the Citizenship Amendment Act. The legislation grants a clear path to Indian citizenship to non-Muslim refugees from Bangladesh, Pakistan and Afghanistan. Opponents pointed out flaws in the law almost as soon as it was introduced. The law fails to mention Muslim minorities who face persecution in their own countries, such as the Rohingyas in Myanmar. Critics see it as the latest step in the Hindu nationalist government’s steady march toward a Hindu nation-state. The move follows the revocation of Kashmir’s autonomy this summer, and two million people losing statehood in Northeast India after being left off of a national register of citizens. The list requires citizens to provide documents to prove Indian ancestry. Many Muslims fear that the National Register of Citizens will be enacted across India, leaving religious minorities in the world’s largest democracy in danger of losing their home.

Union Home Minister Amit Shah twisted history to provide justification for the Citizenship Amendment Act, shouting to his colleagues in Parliament that decades ago it was the now opposition, Congress Party, that divided India and Pakistan along religious lines. As Indian historian Romila Thapar wrote in The New York Times earlier this year, “extreme nationalists require their own particular version of the past to legitimize their actions in the present.” This week, we go back to a piece reported by OTM Producer Asthaa Chaturvedi. She examines how Hindu nationalists are rewriting Indian history in the world’s largest democracy, with journalist Shoaib Daniyal, political scientist Christophe Jaffrelot, and sociology professor Nandini Sundar.  


Body of Law: Beyond Roe

A majority of Americans polled by CSPAN last year couldn't name a Supreme Court case. Of those who could, Roe v. Wade was by far the most familiar, with 40 percent able to name it. (Only five percent could name Brown v. Board of Education.) And since it was decided in 1973, a majority — roughly 70 percent — have consistently said they want Roe upheld, albeit with some restrictions on legal abortion.

But what do we really know about Roe? Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg has often said she wishes it had been another case that the Supreme Court heard as the first reproductive freedom case instead. It was Susan Struck v. Secretary of Defense, and it came to the high court during the same term as Roe

The year was 1970, and the Air Force (like the other branches of the military) had a regulation banning female service members from having a family. If a servicewoman got pregnant, she would get discharged. Captain Susan Struck was a nurse serving in Vietnam, and she challenged the decision in court with Ginsburg as her lawyer. However, the court never heard the case because the Air Force changed their policy first. For this week's show, we partnered with The Guardian (read their story here) to learn more about Susan Struck’s fight and its bigger lessons for reproductive freedom and for women in the workplace. 

Our producer Alana Casanova-Burgess and The Guardian's health reporter Jessica Glenza spoke to Struck about the difficult decision she made to give her baby up for adoption in order to fight the regulation. Plus, we hear why legal scholars think this case "deserves to be honored by collective memory," and how Ginsburg's arguments to the Supreme Court differed from what the justices decided in Roe

Then:

- Slate's Dahlia Lithwick explains the threats to reproductive rights in the court right now;

Neil Siegel of Duke Law School puts the Struck case in context and discusses what better questions we could be asking about women's equality;

- activist and scholar Loretta Ross explains the tenets of reproductive justice and how they expand the frame beyond Roe and abortion;

- and Reva Siegel of Yale Law School tells the story of how abortion was discussed before 1973, including during the Women's Strike of 1970. And she describes the framework of ProChoiceLife, which expands the idea of what pro-life policy is. She is also the co-editor of Reproductive Rights and Justice Stories

Read The Guardian’s print version here, and share your story with Jessica Glenza if you were a woman serving in the military before 1976.

Music by Nicola Cruz, Kronos Quartet, and Mark Henry Phillips

A majority of Americans polled by CSPAN last year couldn't name a Supreme Court case. Of those who could, Roe v. Wade was by far the most familiar, with 40 percent able to name it. (Only five percent could name Brown v. Board of Education.) And since it was decided in 1973, a majority — roughly 70 percent — have consistently said they want Roe upheld, albeit with some restrictions on legal abortion.

But what do we really know about Roe? Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg has often said she wishes it had been another case that the Supreme Court heard as the first reproductive freedom case instead. It was Susan Struck v. Secretary of Defense, and it came to the high court during the same term as Roe

The year was 1970, and the Air Force (like the other branches of the military) had a regulation banning female service members from having a family. If a servicewoman got pregnant, she would get discharged. Captain Susan Struck was a nurse serving in Vietnam, and she challenged the decision in court with Ginsburg as her lawyer. However, the court never heard the case because the Air Force changed their policy first. For this week's show, we partnered with The Guardian (read their story here) to learn more about Susan Struck’s fight and its bigger lessons for reproductive freedom and for women in the workplace. 

Our producer Alana Casanova-Burgess and The Guardian's health reporter Jessica Glenza spoke to Struck about the difficult decision she made to give her baby up for adoption in order to fight the regulation. Plus, we hear why legal scholars think this case "deserves to be honored by collective memory," and how Ginsburg's arguments to the Supreme Court differed from what the justices decided in Roe

Then:

- Slate's Dahlia Lithwick explains the threats to reproductive rights in the court right now;

Neil Siegel of Duke Law School puts the Struck case in context and discusses what better questions we could be asking about women's equality;

- activist and scholar Loretta Ross explains the tenets of reproductive justice and how they expand the frame beyond Roe and abortion;

- and Reva Siegel of Yale Law School tells the story of how abortion was discussed before 1973, including during the Women's Strike of 1970. And she describes the framework of ProChoiceLife, which expands the idea of what pro-life policy is. She is also the co-editor of Reproductive Rights and Justice Stories

Read The Guardian’s print version here, and share your story with Jessica Glenza if you were a woman serving in the military before 1976.

Music by Nicola Cruz, Kronos Quartet, and Mark Henry Phillips


The "Pentagon Papers" Of Our Time

On Monday, the Washington Post released the fruits of a three-year investigative effort: the "Afghanistan Papers," a once-secret internal government history of a deadly, costly, and ultimately futile entanglement. The hundreds of frank, explosive interviews — along with a new tranche of memos written by the former Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld — revealed the extent to which American leaders misled the public on their efforts to hunt down Osama Bin Laden, rout the Taliban, expel Al Qaeda, install democracy, and undo corruption. In this podcast extra, investigative reporter Craig Whitlock tells Bob about the monumental story that the Post uncovered — and the extraordinary effort it took to report it out. 


The Dead Consensus

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

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

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

Music:

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

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

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

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

Music:

It's Beginning To Look A Lot Like Christmas by Black Dyke BandGormenghast by John ZornPassing Time by John RenbournPrelude of Light by John ZornPsalom by Kronos QuartetPurple Haze by Kronos Quartet


Tribalism, Anger and the State of Our Politics

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

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

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

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


We Need To Talk About Poland

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

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

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

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

 

Music:

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

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

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

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

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

 

Music:

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


PURPLE EPISODE 4: Media to the Rescue?

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

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

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

Music:

Ashokan Farewell by Jay Ungar

 

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

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

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

Music:

Ashokan Farewell by Jay Ungar

 


PURPLE EPISODE 3: Let’s Not Discount Reality

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

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

Music:

Purple Haze by Jimi Hendrix

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

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

Music:

Purple Haze by Jimi Hendrix


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

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

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

Song:

Il Casanova di Federico Fellini by Nino Rota

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

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

Song:

Il Casanova di Federico Fellini by Nino Rota


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

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

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

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

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

Music:

We Insist by Zoë Keating

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

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

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

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

Music:

We Insist by Zoë Keating


The Disagreement Is The Point

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

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

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

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

Music:

Misterioso by Kronos Quartet

Human Nature by Vijay Iyer Trio

Il Casanova di Federico Fellini by Nino Rota

Whispers of Heavenly Death by John Zorn

These Boots Are Made For Walkin' by Nancy Sinatra

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

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

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

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

Music:

Misterioso by Kronos Quartet

Human Nature by Vijay Iyer Trio

Il Casanova di Federico Fellini by Nino Rota

Whispers of Heavenly Death by John Zorn

These Boots Are Made For Walkin' by Nancy Sinatra


We Made a Lipstick For You!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thank you so much!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thank you so much!


Designed to Intimidate

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

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

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

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

Music:

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

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

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

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

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

Music:

Zoe Keating — We InsistDonnie Darko — Cellar DoorChicago Sunset — Charlie MusselwhiteCarmen Fantasy — Anderson and RowTongue in cheek — Gaurav Raina Tarana MarwahOtotoa — Malphino


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

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

                                                                                                      -Philipp Blom

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

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

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

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

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

With the voices of Michael Wist and Alexis Cuadrado

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

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

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

                                                                                                      -Philipp Blom

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

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

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

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

Producer/Host: Sara FishkoAssociate Producer: Olivia BrileyTechnical Director: Ed HaberEditor: Karen Frillmann

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

With the voices of Michael Wist and Alexis Cuadrado

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

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


Curiouser and Curiouser

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

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

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

 

Music from this week's show:

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

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

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

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

 

Music from this week's show:

How Strange by Nicola CruzI'm the Slime By Frank ZappaSuite for Solo Cello No. 6 in D Major, BWV 1012: I. Prelude by Yo Yo MaLachrymae Antiquae by Kronos QuartetTwo Thousand Seventeen by Four Tet


Can We Govern Ourselves?

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

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

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

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

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

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


Band-Aid On A Bulletwound

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

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

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

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

Music from this week's show:

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

 

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

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

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

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

Music from this week's show:

John Zorn — Prelude 7: Sign and SigilJohn Zorn — Night ThoughtsClint Mansell & Kronos Quartet: Coney Island Dreaming Korla Pandit — Procession of the Grand MoghulMichael Andrews: The Artifact and Living

 


OTM presents Trump Inc: All the President's Memes

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

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

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

Trump, Inc. was there.

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

This week: The business of conspiracies.

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

Trump, Inc. was there. 

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

This week: The business of conspiracies.


When They Come For You

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

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

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

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

 

Music:

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

 

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

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

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

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

 

Music:

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

 


OTM presents: Impeachment Pod, the Taylor Testimony

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

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

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

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

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

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


Hanging In The Balance

In covering President Trump’s decision to stop protecting Kurdish fighters in Syria, press reports have focused on the Kurds as US allies and tools in fighting ISIS. This week, On the Media looks at a different aspect of Kurdish life: the experiment in direct democracy that has flourished in northern Syria for the past five years. Plus: how debate moderators fail audiences when they focus on taxes. And, how reporters have negotiated dangerous conditions while reporting on the Turkish operation in Syria. 

1. Daniel Estrin [@DanielEstrin], NPR international correspondent, on the difficulties in reporting from Syria, from outside Syria. Listen

2.  Jenna Krajeski [@Jenna_Krajeski], a journalist with the Fuller Project for International Reporting, on the Kurdish political project, and Rapareen abd Elhameed Hasn, a 27-year-old activist and co-president of her local health authority in Rojava, on what it's been like on the ground. Listen.

3. Arthur Delaney [@ArthurDelaneyHP], on the worst debate question moderators keep asking. Listen.

Music from this week's show:

Marcus Ciscar — “Fallen Leaves”
Michael Linnen — “Cantus for Bob Hardison”
Zoe Keating — “We Insist”
Mark Henry Phillips — [untitled track]
Mark Henry Phillips — [untitled track]
Gaurav Raina and Tarana Marwah — “Tongue in Cheek”
Howard Shore — “Cops or Criminals”

In covering President Trump’s decision to stop protecting Kurdish fighters in Syria, press reports have focused on the Kurds as US allies and tools in fighting ISIS. This week, On the Media looks at a different aspect of Kurdish life: the experiment in direct democracy that has flourished in northern Syria for the past five years. Plus: how debate moderators fail audiences when they focus on taxes. And, how reporters have negotiated dangerous conditions while reporting on the Turkish operation in Syria. 

1. Daniel Estrin [@DanielEstrin], NPR international correspondent, on the difficulties in reporting from Syria, from outside Syria. Listen

2.  Jenna Krajeski [@Jenna_Krajeski], a journalist with the Fuller Project for International Reporting, on the Kurdish political project, and Rapareen abd Elhameed Hasn, a 27-year-old activist and co-president of her local health authority in Rojava, on what it's been like on the ground. Listen.

3. Arthur Delaney [@ArthurDelaneyHP], on the worst debate question moderators keep asking. Listen.

Music from this week's show:

Marcus Ciscar — “Fallen Leaves”Michael Linnen — “Cantus for Bob Hardison”Zoe Keating — “We Insist”Mark Henry Phillips — [untitled track]Mark Henry Phillips — [untitled track]Gaurav Raina and Tarana Marwah — “Tongue in Cheek”Howard Shore — “Cops or Criminals”


Introducing... Impeachment: A Daily Podcast

The pace of impeachment-related revelations is breathtaking, and it isn't slowing yet. With each day comes yet another executive branch staffer defying the White House by testifying behind closed doors on Capitol Hill — new names, fresh allegations, and ever more twists and turns. To help us follow the developments, Brian Lehrer — whose office here at WNYC is mere steps away from OTM HQ — has started a daily podcast: Impeachment. In this second episode of the podcast, New York Times reporter Katie Benner explains why George Kent, a senior State Department official for Ukraine policy, told Congressional investigators that he was instructed by a supervisor to "lie low" after raising concerns about the Trump administration's conduct. 


Sticks and Stones

“The right to throw a punch ends at the tip of someone’s nose.” It’s the idea that underlies American liberties — but does it still fit in 2019? This week, On the Media looks back at our country’s radical — and radically inconsistent — tradition of free speech. Plus, a prophetic philosopher predicts America 75 years after Trump.

1. Andrew Marantz [@andrewmarantz], author of Anti-Social: Online Extremists, Techno-Utopians, and the Hijacking of the American Conversation — and our guest host for this hour — explains what he sees as the problem with free speech absolutism. Listen

2. John Powell [@profjohnapowell], law professor at UC Berkeley, P.E. Moskowitz [@_pem_pem], author of The Case Against Free Speech: The First Amendment, Fascism, and the Future of Dissent, and Susan Benesch [@SusanBenesch], Director of the Dangerous Speech Project, on our complicated legal right to speak. Listen

3. Andrew and Brooke discuss the philosopher Richard Rorty, whose work can teach us much about where the present approach to speech might take us, as a nation. Listen

“The right to throw a punch ends at the tip of someone’s nose.” It’s the idea that underlies American liberties — but does it still fit in 2019? This week, On the Media looks back at our country’s radical — and radically inconsistent — tradition of free speech. Plus, a prophetic philosopher predicts America 75 years after Trump.

1. Andrew Marantz [@andrewmarantz], author of Anti-Social: Online Extremists, Techno-Utopians, and the Hijacking of the American Conversation — and our guest host for this hour — explains what he sees as the problem with free speech absolutism. Listen

2. John Powell [@profjohnapowell], law professor at UC Berkeley, P.E. Moskowitz [@_pem_pem], author of The Case Against Free Speech: The First Amendment, Fascism, and the Future of Dissent, and Susan Benesch [@SusanBenesch], Director of the Dangerous Speech Project, on our complicated legal right to speak. Listen

3. Andrew and Brooke discuss the philosopher Richard Rorty, whose work can teach us much about where the present approach to speech might take us, as a nation. Listen


"The Heartbeat of Wounded Knee"

This coming Monday, some states and cities will celebrate Indigenous People’s Day, renamed from Columbus Day to honor the lives and history lost due to centuries of colonialism. Meanwhile, the few American Indian stories most Americans learn in school, like those found in Dee Brown's best-selling Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee, only reinforce simplistic narratives of genocide, disease, and suffering.

David Treuer, an Ojibwe professor of literature at the University of Southern California, offers a counter-narrative to this tragic account of Indian life in his book, The Heartbeat of Wounded Knee: Native America From 1890 to the Present. In this interview from fall of 2018, he and Brooke discuss the overlooked American Indian Movement that informed the viral 2016 protest at Standing Rock, and the means by which Indians have been fighting for social and political change for centuries.

This is a segment from our October 5, 2018 program, The Victimhood.

This coming Monday, some states and cities will celebrate Indigenous People’s Day, renamed from Columbus Day to honor the lives and history lost due to centuries of colonialism. Meanwhile, the few American Indian stories most Americans learn in school, like those found in Dee Brown's best-selling Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee, only reinforce simplistic narratives of genocide, disease, and suffering.

David Treuer, an Ojibwe professor of literature at the University of Southern California, offers a counter-narrative to this tragic account of Indian life in his book, The Heartbeat of Wounded Knee: Native America From 1890 to the PresentIn this interview from fall of 2018, he and Brooke discuss the overlooked American Indian Movement that informed the viral 2016 protest at Standing Rock, and the means by which Indians have been fighting for social and political change for centuries.

This is a segment from our October 5, 2018 program, The Victimhood.


A Likely Story

The talk from the Trump team is becoming increasingly hard to follow. This week, On the Media takes a look at the conspiracy thinking that’s taken over the executive branch. Plus, leaders at Fox News search for a path forward amidst infighting and impeachment drama. And, a deep dive into Ukrainian politics and the Trump connection.

1. Alex Ward [@AlexWardVox], staff writer at Vox, and Jeet Heer [@HeerJeet], national affairs correspondent at The Nation, on the conspiracies fueling Trump's policies and behaviors. Listen.

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

3. Trump, Inc.'s Andrea Bernstein [@AndreaWNYC] and Ilya Marritz [@ilyamarritz] take a deep dive into Ukrainian politics and the origins of Giuliani's "investigations." Listen.

 

The talk from the Trump team is becoming increasingly hard to follow. This week, On the Media takes a look at the conspiracy thinking that’s taken over the executive branch. Plus, leaders at Fox News search for a path forward amidst infighting and impeachment drama. And, a deep dive into Ukrainian politics and the Trump connection.

1. Alex Ward [@AlexWardVox], staff writer at Vox, and Jeet Heer [@HeerJeet], national affairs correspondent at The Nation, on the conspiracies fueling Trump's policies and behaviors. Listen.

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

3. Trump, Inc.'s Andrea Bernstein [@AndreaWNYC] and Ilya Marritz [@ilyamarritz] take a deep dive into Ukrainian politics and the origins of Giuliani's "investigations." Listen.

 


Go and Get Yourself a Whistle and Blow

Ever present in the Snowden and Manning era, the word "whistleblower" is again dominating the airwaves. But where exactly did the word come from? Who gets to decide who qualifies as a whistleblower? Back in 2015, Brooke spoke to language columnist Ben Zimmer, legal director for the Government Accountability Project Tom Devine, and progressive icon Ralph Nader--who "rehabilitated" the word in the 1970's--about the history of the popular epithet.

Ever present in the Snowden and Manning era, the word "whistleblower" is again dominating the airwaves. But where exactly did the word come from? Who gets to decide who qualifies as a whistleblower? Back in 2015, Brooke spoke to language columnist Ben Zimmer, legal director for the Government Accountability Project Tom Devine, and progressive icon Ralph Nader--who "rehabilitated" the word in the 1970's--about the history of the popular epithet.


Nice Democracy You've Got There...

The impeachment inquiry into President Trump is tangled up in Ukrainian politics, but few Washington reporters understand the dynamics at play. This week, On the Media looks at what we all need to know to make sense of the news. Plus, why there are no whistle-blower protections for those in the intelligence community. And, how the Nixon impeachment makes a case for a more deliberate Trump inquiry. Don't miss...

1. Tim Naftali [@TimNaftali], historian at New York University, on what the Nixon impeachment teaches us about the need for a deliberate process. Listen

2. Tom Devine, legal director at the Government Accountability Project, on the poor protections for intelligence community whistle-blowers. Listen.

3. Adam Entous [@adamentous], staff writer at The New Yorker, on the patchy validity of Trump's Hunter Biden accusations. Listen.

4. Kyrylo Loukerenko [@K_Loukerenko], executive director at Hromadske Radio, helps us make sense of the misinformation about Ukraine. Listen.

Music:

Nuages (Clouds) by James Carter

Life On Mars? by Meridian String Quarter

A Ride With Polly Jean by Jenny Scheinman

Nocturne for piano in B flat minor 

 

The impeachment inquiry into President Trump is tangled up in Ukrainian politics, but few Washington reporters understand the dynamics at play. This week, On the Media looks at what we all need to know to make sense of the news. Plus, why there are no whistle-blower protections for those in the intelligence community. And, how the Nixon impeachment makes a case for a more deliberate Trump inquiry. Don't miss...

1. Tim Naftali [@TimNaftali], historian at New York University, on what the Nixon impeachment teaches us about the need for a deliberate process. Listen

2. Tom Devine, legal director at the Government Accountability Project, on the poor protections for intelligence community whistle-blowers. Listen.

3. Adam Entous [@adamentous], staff writer at The New Yorker, on the patchy validity of Trump's Hunter Biden accusations. Listen.

4. Kyrylo Loukerenko [@K_Loukerenko], executive director at Hromadske Radio, helps us make sense of the misinformation about Ukraine. Listen.

Music:

Nuages (Clouds) by James Carter

Life On Mars? by Meridian String Quarter

A Ride With Polly Jean by Jenny Scheinman

Nocturne for piano in B flat minor 

 


Live Streaming Truth and Reconciliation

It's been two years since the brutal and bloody 22-year reign of Gambian leader Yahya Jammeh ended and the country is now embroiled in a uniquely transparent truth and reconciliation process. Officials are interviewing killers and victims about the deaths and disappearances of hundreds of people and it's all being live streamed on YouTube, Facebook and traditional media. Bob spoke to New York Times correspondent Julie Turkewitz, who wrote about how the process has become must-see-tv in The Gambia.

It's been two years since the brutal and bloody 22-year reign of Gambian leader Yahya Jammeh ended and the country is now embroiled in a uniquely transparent truth and reconciliation process. Officials are interviewing killers and victims about the deaths and disappearances of hundreds of people and it's all being live streamed on YouTube, Facebook and traditional media. Bob spoke to New York Times correspondent Julie Turkewitz, who wrote about how the process has become must-see-tv in The Gambia.


Too Hot For School

Roosevelt’s New Deal remade American society, and now climate activists are pushing for a Green New Deal to do it again. This week, On the Media looks at the attacks from conservatives against both projects, and why congress underestimates support for climate action. Plus, how a wave of labor strikes might be a crucial component in building momentum towards Green New Deal adoption. And, the teenage girls spreading climate awareness on Tik-Tok.

1. Jane McAlevey [@rsgexp], writer and organizer, on why striking is essential to effect meaningful social change. Listen. 

2. Kim Phillips-Fein, historian at New York University, on lessons from the origins of and fights against the original New Deal. Listen.

3. Kate Aronoff [@KateAronoff], writer at The Intercept, on what a popular meme tells us about climate activism permeating youth culture. Listen.

4. Leah Stokes [@leahstokes], professor at the University of California at Santa Barbara, on the misunderstandings about public opinion and climate action. Listen.

 

Roosevelt’s New Deal remade American society, and now climate activists are pushing for a Green New Deal to do it again. This week, On the Media looks at the attacks from conservatives against both projects, and why congress underestimates support for climate action. Plus, how a wave of labor strikes might be a crucial component in building momentum towards Green New Deal adoption. And, the teenage girls spreading climate awareness on Tik-Tok.

1. Jane McAlevey [@rsgexp], writer and organizer, on why striking is essential to effect meaningful social change. Listen. 

2. Kim Phillips-Fein, historian at New York University, on lessons from the origins of and fights against the original New Deal. Listen.

3. Kate Aronoff [@KateAronoff], writer at The Intercept, on what a popular meme tells us about climate activism permeating youth culture. Listen.

4. Leah Stokes [@leahstokes], professor at the University of California at Santa Barbara, on the misunderstandings about public opinion and climate action. Listen.

 


OTM presents Trump Inc: The Family Business

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

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

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

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

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

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

Trump, Inc. takes a step back to make sense of the seemingly endless scandals swirling around the White House. They're not random. They fit a pattern and that has a precedent. It turns out, Trump is running the government a lot like he's run his business: through bluster, boss-ism, and by ignoring the rules.


A Very Bitter Joke

Good riddance, John Bolton! By dismissing his third National Security Advisor, President Trump prompted renewed concern over White House instability. This week, On the Media makes the case that John Bolton’s outster is good news for the republic. Plus, after four decades of progress, domestic abuse is on the rise and Senate Republicans are stymieing the Violence Against Women Act. And, Brooke visits Lady Liberty to learn about the 130-year political war over the meaning of the statue. 

1. Fred Kaplan [@fmkaplan], writer at Slate, on the press coverage surrounding John Bolton's ouster. Listen.

2. Rachel Louise Snyder [@RLSWrites], author of No Visible Bruises, on the legacy and future of the Violence Against Women Act. Listen.

3. Paul Kramer, history professor at Vanderbilt University, on the conflicting depictions and interpretations of the Statue of Liberty. Listen.

 

Music:

Frail as a Breeze by Erik Friedlander

The New Colossus by Saunder Choi

Toccata and fugue in D minor by J. S. Bach played on glass harp by Robert Tiso

 River Man by Brad Mehldau Trio

Good riddance, John Bolton! By dismissing his third National Security Advisor, President Trump prompted renewed concern over White House instability. This week, On the Media makes the case that John Bolton’s outster is good news for the republic. Plus, after four decades of progress, domestic abuse is on the rise and Senate Republicans are stymieing the Violence Against Women Act. And, Brooke visits Lady Liberty to learn about the 130-year political war over the meaning of the statue. 

1. Fred Kaplan [@fmkaplan], writer at Slate, on the press coverage surrounding John Bolton's ouster. Listen.

2. Rachel Louise Snyder [@RLSWrites], author of No Visible Bruises, on the legacy and future of the Violence Against Women Act. Listen.

3. Paul Kramer, history professor at Vanderbilt University, on the conflicting depictions and interpretations of the Statue of Liberty. Listen.

 

Music:

Frail as a Breeze by Erik Friedlander

The New Colossus by Saunder Choi

Toccata and fugue in D minor by J. S. Bach played on glass harp by Robert Tiso

 River Man by Brad Mehldau Trio


Why Many Afghans Don't Understand 9/11

This weekend in a series of tweets, President Trump both disclosed and scrapped secret talks with the Taliban in Camp David. Of course, the Taliban did not perpetrate 9/11. But they did offer safe haven in Afghanistan to Al Qaeda, whose hijackers turned passenger airplanes into bombs in the most deadly act of terrorism on US soil.

A few weeks later, America invaded the central Asian crossroads whose history has been one of occupation. "Today we focus on Afghanistan, but the battle is broader," President George Bush said at the time. "Every nation has a choice to make. In this conflict, there is no neutral ground. If any government sponsors the outlaws and killers of innocence, they have become outlaws and murderers themselves. And they will take that lonely path at their own peril." The whole world understood.

Or, almost the whole world. One country that was unclear about the US mission and its motives was Afghanistan itself. According to a November 2010 study by the International Council on Security and Development, during the height of fighting in Helmand and Kandahar, 92 percent of southern Afghan males there had never heard of 9/11. The staggering statistic caught the eye of Stars & Stripes reporter J.P. Lawrence — himself a Iraq-war veteran; to mark the anniversary of 9/11 he decided to conduct his own survey last year. In this podcast extra, he and Bob talk about why misconceptions persist about the 18-year war in Afghanistan. 

This weekend in a series of tweets, President Trump both disclosed and scrapped secret talks with the Taliban in Camp David. Of course, the Taliban did not perpetrate 9/11. But they did offer safe haven in Afghanistan to Al Qaeda, whose hijackers turned passenger airplanes into bombs in the most deadly act of terrorism on US soil.

A few weeks later, America invaded the central Asian crossroads whose history has been one of occupation. "Today we focus on Afghanistan, but the battle is broader," President George Bush said at the time. "Every nation has a choice to make. In this conflict, there is no neutral ground. If any government sponsors the outlaws and killers of innocence, they have become outlaws and murderers themselves. And they will take that lonely path at their own peril." The whole world understood.

Or, almost the whole world. One country that was unclear about the US mission and its motives was Afghanistan itself. According to a November 2010 study by the International Council on Security and Development, during the height of fighting in Helmand and Kandahar, 92 percent of southern Afghan males there had never heard of 9/11. The staggering statistic caught the eye of Stars & Stripes reporter J.P. Lawrence — himself a Iraq-war veteran; to mark the anniversary of 9/11 he decided to conduct his own survey last year. In this podcast extra, he and Bob talk about why misconceptions persist about the 18-year war in Afghanistan. 


Pressure Drop

As Hurricane Dorian devastated the Bahamas, Democratic presidential candidates promised climate action in an unprecedented televised event. On this week’s On the Media, how CNN’s town hall advances the climate conversation. Plus, how the bulk of gun violence coverage fails to address the root causes of the crisis. 

1. David Roberts [@drvox], writer at Vox, on how the CNN climate town hall advances the conversation on climate change.

2. John Morales [@JohnMoralesNBC6], chief meteorologist at WTVJ NBC-6 Miami, on how a meteorologist reports the weather as the climate changes.

3. Lois Beckett [@loisbeckett], senior reporter at The Guardian, on how covering of gun violence obscures the path to optimal solutions.

As Hurricane Dorian devastated the Bahamas, Democratic presidential candidates promised climate action in an unprecedented televised event. On this week’s On the Media, how CNN’s town hall advances the climate conversation. Plus, how the bulk of gun violence coverage fails to address the root causes of the crisis. 

1. David Roberts [@drvox], writer at Vox, on how the CNN climate town hall advances the conversation on climate change.

2. John Morales [@JohnMoralesNBC6], chief meteorologist at WTVJ NBC-6 Miami, on how a meteorologist reports the weather as the climate changes.

3. Lois Beckett [@loisbeckett], senior reporter at The Guardian, on how covering of gun violence obscures the path to optimal solutions.


Remembering Les Gelb

On Saturday, Leslie Gelb died at the age of 82. Gelb was a Senate aide in his 20s, a New York Times correspondent in his 30s, an assistant Secretary of State as he neared 40, then back to the Times as national security correspondent, editor, columnist, part of a Pulitzer Prize–winning team and finally, rounding out his career, president of the Council on Foreign Relations. He also made several memorable appearances on On the Media. Brooke remembers him this week and we revisit a conversation they had back in 2018 about the Pentagon Papers.

On Saturday, Leslie Gelb died at the age of 82. Gelb was a Senate aide in his 20s, a New York Times correspondent in his 30s, an assistant Secretary of State as he neared 40, then back to the Times as national security correspondent, editor, columnist, part of a Pulitzer Prize–winning team and finally, rounding out his career, president of the Council on Foreign Relations. He also made several memorable appearances on On the Media. Brooke remembers him this week and we revisit a conversation they had back in 2018 about the Pentagon Papers.


Whose Streets?

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

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

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

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

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

This episode originally aired on November 23, 2018.


Music from this week's show:

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

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

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

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

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

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

This episode originally aired on November 23, 2018.

Music from this week's show:

Dan Deacon — USA III: RailIggy Pop — The PassengerGary Numan — CarsJudd Greenstein — ChangeJudd Greenstein — A Marvelous OrderBrian Eno — Music For Airports


A History of Persuasion: Part 3

Silicon Valley’s so-called “millionaire maker” is a behavioral scientist who foresaw the power of putting persuasion at the heart of the tech world’s business model. But pull back the curtain that surrounds the industry’s behemoths, and you'll find a cadre of engineers and executives that's small enough to rein in. This is the final installment of a three-part series from The Stakes. If you haven't heard parts one and two, start there first.

In this episode, we hear from:

- Alexandra Rutherford, Professor in the Department of Psychology at York University in Toronto and author of Beyond the Box: B.F. Skinner's Technology of Behaviour from Laboratory to Life, 1950s-1970s

- Ian Leslie, author of “The Scientists Who Make Apps Addictive

- B.J. Fogg, Director of the Stanford University "Behavior Design Lab”

- Tristan Harris, Co-Founder & Executive Director of the Center for Humane Technology

- Dorothy Glancy, Professor of Law at Santa Clara University

- Senator Mark Warner of Virginia

Hosted by Kai Wright. Reported by Amanda Aronczyk.

Silicon Valley’s so-called “millionaire maker” is a behavioral scientist who foresaw the power of putting persuasion at the heart of the tech world’s business model. But pull back the curtain that surrounds the industry’s behemoths, and you'll find a cadre of engineers and executives that's small enough to rein in. This is the final installment of a three-part series from The Stakes. If you haven't heard parts one and two, start there first.

In this episode, we hear from:

Alexandra Rutherford, Professor in the Department of Psychology at York University in Toronto and author of Beyond the Box: B.F. Skinner's Technology of Behaviour from Laboratory to Life, 1950s-1970s

Ian Leslie, author of “The Scientists Who Make Apps Addictive

B.J. Fogg, Director of the Stanford University "Behavior Design Lab”

Tristan Harris, Co-Founder & Executive Director of the Center for Humane Technology

Dorothy Glancy, Professor of Law at Santa Clara University

Senator Mark Warner of Virginia

Hosted by Kai Wright. Reported by Amanda Aronczyk.


Empire State of Mind

In a special hour this week, On the Media examines the history of US imperialism — and why the familiar US map hides the true story of our country. Brooke spends the hour with Northwestern University historian Daniel Immerwahr, author of How to Hide an Empire: A History of the Greater United States.

This is Part 2 of our series "On American Expansion." This episode originally aired April 5th, 2019.

 

Music:

Bill Frisell - Lost Night

The O’Neil Brothers - Tribute to America

Eileen Alannah - Original recording from 1908

Ali Primera - Yankee Go Home

Michael Andrews - The Artifact and Living

Michael Andrews - Liquid Spear Waltz 

Matt Farley - Bird Poop Song 

In a special hour this week, On the Media examines the history of US imperialism — and why the familiar US map hides the true story of our country. Brooke spends the hour with Northwestern University historian Daniel Immerwahr, author of How to Hide an Empire: A History of the Greater United States.

This is Part 2 of our series "On American Expansion." This episode originally aired April 5th, 2019.

 

Music:

Bill Frisell - Lost Night

The O’Neil Brothers - Tribute to America

Eileen Alannah - Original recording from 1908

Ali Primera - Yankee Go Home

Michael Andrews - The Artifact and Living

Michael Andrews - Liquid Spear Waltz 

Matt Farley - Bird Poop Song 


A History of Persuasion: Part 2

Ted Kaczynski had been a boy genius. Then he became the Unabomber. After years of searching for him, the FBI finally caught him in his remote Montana cabin, along with thousands of pages of his writing. Those pages revealed Kaczynski's hatred towards a field of psychology called "behaviorism," the key to the link between him and James McConnell.

This is part two of a three-part series from our colleagues at The Stakes. If you haven't heard part one, listen here first.

In this episode, we hear from:

- Philip Bradley, Harvard contemporary of Ted Kaczynski

- Alston Chase, author of A Mind for Murder: The Education of the Unabomber and the Origins of Modern Terrorism

- Donald Max Noel, former FBI agent and author of UNABOMBER: How the FBI Broke Its Own Rules to Capture the Terrorist Ted Kaczynski

- Dr. Charles Seigerman, former student of James McConnell and Certified Neuropsychologist

- Greg Stejskal, former FBI agent

- Larry Stern, Professor of Sociology at Collin College

Hosted by Kai Wright. Reported by Amanda Aronczyk.

Ted Kaczynski had been a boy genius. Then he became the Unabomber. After years of searching for him, the FBI finally caught him in his remote Montana cabin, along with thousands of pages of his writing. Those pages revealed Kaczynski's hatred towards a field of psychology called "behaviorism," the key to the link between him and James McConnell.

This is part two of a three-part series from our colleagues at The Stakes. If you haven't heard part one, listen here first.

In this episode, we hear from:

- Philip Bradley, Harvard contemporary of Ted Kaczynski

- Alston Chase, author of A Mind for Murder: The Education of the Unabomber and the Origins of Modern Terrorism

- Donald Max Noel, former FBI agent and author of UNABOMBER: How the FBI Broke Its Own Rules to Capture the Terrorist Ted Kaczynski

- Dr. Charles Seigerman, former student of James McConnell and Certified Neuropsychologist

- Greg Stejskal, former FBI agent

Larry Stern, Professor of Sociology at Collin College

Hosted by Kai Wright. Reported by Amanda Aronczyk.


A Civilization As Great As Ours

The Indian government has revoked autonomy for the Muslim-majority region of Kashmir. This week, a close look at how Hindu nationalists are rewriting Indian history in the world's largest democracy. Plus: what are the stories that America has told about itself? 

1. Producer Asthaa Chaturvedi [@Pasthaaa] examines the ways Hindu nationalists have sought to rewrite history in and outside the classroom in an effort to glorify India's Hindu past, and what this movement means for a country founded on principles of multiculturalism. Listen

2. What are the stories that America has told about itself? Historian Greg Grandin [@GregGrandin] talks about his book, The End of the Myth: From the Frontier to the Border Wall in the Mind of America, and the old idea about limitless growth that influenced American policy and psychology. Listen

The Indian government has revoked autonomy for the Muslim-majority region of Kashmir. This week, a close look at how Hindu nationalists are rewriting Indian history in the world's largest democracy. Plus: what are the stories that America has told about itself? 

1. Producer Asthaa Chaturvedi [@Pasthaaa] examines the ways Hindu nationalists have sought to rewrite history in and outside the classroom in an effort to glorify India's Hindu past, and what this movement means for a country founded on principles of multiculturalism. Listen

2. What are the stories that America has told about itself? Historian Greg Grandin [@GregGrandin] talks about his book, The End of the Myth: From the Frontier to the Border Wall in the Mind of America, and the old idea about limitless growth that influenced American policy and psychology. Listen


A History of Persuasion: Part 1

Infinite scrolling. Push notifications. Autoplay. Our devices and apps were designed to keep us engaged and looking for as long as possible. Now, we’ve woken up from years on social media and our phones to discover we've been manipulated by unaccountable powers using persuasive psychological tricks. But this isn’t the first time.

In this three-part series from our colleagues at The Stakes, a look at the winding story of the science of persuasion — and our collective reaction to it. In part one, a once-famous psychologist who became embroiled in controversy, and how the Unabomber tried to kill him. 

We hear from:

- Larry Stern, Professor of Sociology at Collin College

- Nicklaus Suino, writer, martial arts expert, attorney and business consultant

Hosted by Kai Wright. Reported by Amanda Aronczyk.

Infinite scrolling. Push notifications. Autoplay. Our devices and apps were designed to keep us engaged and looking for as long as possible. Now, we’ve woken up from years on social media and our phones to discover we've been manipulated by unaccountable powers using persuasive psychological tricks. But this isn’t the first time.

In this three-part series from our colleagues at The Stakes, a look at the winding story of the science of persuasion — and our collective reaction to it. In part one, a once-famous psychologist who became embroiled in controversy, and how the Unabomber tried to kill him. 

We hear from:

Larry Stern, Professor of Sociology at Collin College

Nicklaus Suino, writer, martial arts expert, attorney and business consultant

Hosted by Kai Wright. Reported by Amanda Aronczyk.


The Democracy We Think We Live In

The pathways and origins of white nationalist thought were a matter of deadly importance in coverage of last weekend’s shootings. On this week’s On the Media, how mainstream punditry launders a tolerance for xenophobia. Also, the history of American presidents and media figures dismissing black and brown claims to power in a democracy. Plus, what calls for additional federal oversight in Puerto Rico mean for Puerto Ricans.

1. Tom Scocca [@tomscocca], politics editor at Slate, on the journalists, writers and political figures who cater to America's racist id. Listen.

2. Adam Serwer [@AdamSerwer], staff writer at The Atlantic, on the catastrophic, deadly idea that "only white people are fit for self-government." Listen.

3. OTM producer Alana Casanova-Burgess [@AlanaLlama] reports on the conversations some Puerto Ricans are having in Puerto Rico in a historic moment for the island, including demands more democracy -- and what that means in a colonial context. Listen.

Music

Exurgency by Zoe Keating

The pathways and origins of white nationalist thought were a matter of deadly importance in coverage of last weekend’s shootings. On this week’s On the Media, how mainstream punditry launders a tolerance for xenophobia. Also, the history of American presidents and media figures dismissing black and brown claims to power in a democracy. Plus, what calls for additional federal oversight in Puerto Rico mean for Puerto Ricans.

1. Tom Scocca [@tomscocca], politics editor at Slate, on the journalists, writers and political figures who cater to America's racist id. Listen.

2. Adam Serwer [@AdamSerwer], staff writer at The Atlantic, on the catastrophic, deadly idea that "only white people are fit for self-government." Listen.

3. OTM producer Alana Casanova-Burgess [@AlanaLlama] reports on the conversations some Puerto Ricans are having in Puerto Rico in a historic moment for the island, including demands more democracy -- and what that means in a colonial context. Listen.

Music

Exurgency by Zoe Keating


Deciphering the White Power Movement

When events like the shooting in El Paso happen, the elements may indeed be obvious: Guns. Sociopathy. Alienation. But the obvious is also reductive, and risks obscuring larger forces at play. The same goes with the vocabulary of race violence: White nationalist. White identity. Alt-right. White supremacy. White power. They’re used interchangeably, which further clouds the picture. Following the events in Christchurch, New Zealand earlier this year, we spoke to University of Chicago professor Kathleen Belew. She told us that the shooting was not just born of resentment and paranoia, or even radical racism, but of a clearly defined revolutionary movement: the white power movement. Belew is author of Bring the War Home: The White Power Movement and Paramilitary America, which describes the history of the white power movement that consolidated after the Vietnam War. She argues that if society is to wage an effective response to the white power threat, we need to work to understand it.

This segment is from our March 22nd, 2019 program, Hating In Plain Sight.

When events like the shooting in El Paso happen, the elements may indeed be obvious: Guns. Sociopathy. Alienation. But the obvious is also reductive, and risks obscuring larger forces at play. The same goes with the vocabulary of race violence: White nationalist. White identity. Alt-right. White supremacy. White power. They’re used interchangeably, which further clouds the picture. Following the events in Christchurch, New Zealand earlier this year, we spoke to University of Chicago professor Kathleen Belew. She told us that the shooting was not just born of resentment and paranoia, or even radical racism, but of a clearly defined revolutionary movement: the white power movement. Belew is author of Bring the War Home: The White Power Movement and Paramilitary America, which describes the history of the white power movement that consolidated after the Vietnam War. She argues that if society is to wage an effective response to the white power threat, we need to work to understand it.

This segment is from our March 22nd, 2019 program, Hating In Plain Sight.


Repairing Justice: How to Fix the Internet

Harassment and bullying are plaguing our online lives, but social media companies seem fresh out of solutions. This week, On the Media experiments with a radical approach for detoxifying the web. Can theories of criminal justice reform rehabilitate trolls and fix the internet? 

1. Lindsay Blackwell [@linguangst], Facebook user experience researcher and PhD student at the University of Michigan School of Information, on the source of online harassment. Plus, Jack Dorsey [@jack], CEO of Twitter, and Ashley Feinberg [@ashleyfeinberg], a senior writer at Slate, on how Twitter can improve. Listen.

2. Danielle Sered [@daniellesered], executive director of Common Justice, on the power of replacing punishment with restoration. Producer Micah Loewinger [@MicahLoewinger] and Lindsay Blackwell [@linguangst] team up to implement a "restorative justice" approach in r/ Christianity, one of the largest forums for discussing the religion. Listen.

This is the 3rd and final part in our “Repairing Justice” series.

Harassment and bullying are plaguing our online lives, but social media companies seem fresh out of solutions. This week, On the Media experiments with a radical approach for detoxifying the web. Can theories of criminal justice reform rehabilitate trolls and fix the internet? 

1. Lindsay Blackwell [@linguangst], Facebook user experience researcher and PhD student at the University of Michigan School of Information, on the source of online harassment. Plus, Jack Dorsey [@jack], CEO of Twitter, and Ashley Feinberg [@ashleyfeinberg], a senior writer at Slate, on how Twitter can improve. Listen.

2. Danielle Sered [@daniellesered], executive director of Common Justice, on the power of replacing punishment with restoration. Producer Micah Loewinger [@MicahLoewinger] and Lindsay Blackwell [@linguangst] team up to implement a "restorative justice" approach in r/ Christianity, one of the largest forums for discussing the religion. Listen.

This is the 3rd and final part in our “Repairing Justice” series.


Repairing Justice: An Alternative to Prison

Last week on the show, we examined the power of the prosecutor in our justice system, and how voters are electing a new wave of so-called “progressive prosecutors” to try to turn the tide on mass incarceration. If you haven’t heard it yet, be sure to check it out. It was part one of a three-part series we’re calling “Repairing Justice”; this is part two. We’ve talked about how the law-and-order approach doesn’t work, and that we don’t want to keep locking people in jail for every infraction. But that raises the question: what, then, do we do to address injustice when it appears?

Rather than the isolation and violence that prison breeds, some advocates are pushing for a new approach… one based not on punishment, but on truth and reconciliation. It’s called "restorative justice," and in this podcast extra, Bob speaks with Danielle Sered, executive director of Common Justice and a pioneer of the practice

This is Part 2 of our “Repairing Justice” series. 

Last week on the show, we examined the power of the prosecutor in our justice system, and how voters are electing a new wave of so-called “progressive prosecutors” to try to turn the tide on mass incarceration. If you haven’t heard it yet, be sure to check it out. It was part one of a three-part series we’re calling “Repairing Justice”; this is part two. We’ve talked about how the law-and-order approach doesn’t work, and that we don’t want to keep locking people in jail for every infraction. But that raises the question: what, then, do we do to address injustice when it appears?

Rather than the isolation and violence that prison breeds, some advocates are pushing for a new approach… one based not on punishment, but on truth and reconciliation. It’s called "restorative justice," and in this podcast extra, Bob speaks with Danielle Sered, executive director of Common Justice and a pioneer of the practice

This is Part 2 of our “Repairing Justice” series. 


Repairing Justice: The Prosecutor

It was the week of the prosecutor, with Special Counsel Robert Mueller grabbing most of the attention. But on this week’s On the Media, a closer look at the progressive prosecutor movement — from neighborhood politics to local media to the presidential debate stage. 

1. Lara Bazelon [@larabazelon], law professor at the University of San Francisco School of Law and former director of the Loyola Law School Project for the Innocent in Los Angeles, on Sen. Kamala Harris's record as a prosecutor. Listen.

2. Emily Bazelon [@emilybazelon], staff writer at The New York Times Magazine and author of Charged: The New Movement to Transform American Prosecution and End Mass Incarceration, on how the power of the prosecutor has grown to be so big. Listen.

3. Emily Bazelon [@emilybazelon] on the national movement to elect progressive prosecutors. Plus, progressive prosecutors Philadelphia DA Larry Krasner [@DA_LarryKrasner] and Suffolk County, MA DA Rachael Rollins [@DARollins] on their time in office and the pushback they've received. Plus, Staten Island DA Michael McMahon [@StatenIslandDA] on his skepticism about the movement. Listen.

This is Part 1 of our “Repairing Justice” series. 

 

Music

Fellini’s Waltz - Enrico Pieranunzi and Charlie Haden

Misterioso - Kronos Quartet and Ron Carter

Young At Heart - Brad Mehldau

White Man Sleeps I - Kronos Quartet

Smells Like Teen Spirit  - The Bad Plus

It was the week of the prosecutor, with Special Counsel Robert Mueller grabbing most of the attention. But on this week’s On the Media, a closer look at the progressive prosecutor movement — from neighborhood politics to local media to the presidential debate stage. 

1. Lara Bazelon [@larabazelon], law professor at the University of San Francisco School of Law and former director of the Loyola Law School Project for the Innocent in Los Angeles, on Sen. Kamala Harris's record as a prosecutor. Listen.

2. Emily Bazelon [@emilybazelon], staff writer at The New York Times Magazine and author of Charged: The New Movement to Transform American Prosecution and End Mass Incarceration, on how the power of the prosecutor has grown to be so big. Listen.

3. Emily Bazelon [@emilybazelon] on the national movement to elect progressive prosecutors. Plus, progressive prosecutors Philadelphia DA Larry Krasner [@DA_LarryKrasner] and Suffolk County, MA DA Rachael Rollins [@DARollins] on their time in office and the pushback they've received. Plus, Staten Island DA Michael McMahon [@StatenIslandDA] on his skepticism about the movement. Listen.

This is Part 1 of our “Repairing Justice” series. 

 

Music

Fellini’s Waltz - Enrico Pieranunzi and Charlie Haden

Misterioso - Kronos Quartet and Ron Carter

Young At Heart - Brad Mehldau

White Man Sleeps I - Kronos Quartet

Smells Like Teen Spirit  - The Bad Plus


What, Me Worry?

Earlier this month, DC Comics announced that MAD Magazine will mostly stop doing what it’s done for some six decades, which is to pointedly mock American politics and culture. Barring the occasional end-of-year special, future copies of MAD will consist solely of old material. The publication, which first appeared in 1957 and hit a peak circulation of 2.8 million in 1973, has been in decline since. 

MAD Magazine defined an entire generation’s distrust in the media, politicians, advertisers, and all forms of authority. For this podcast extra, Brooke spoke to Jeet Heer, national affairs correspondent for The Nation, about his recent article on the history of MAD.

Earlier this month, DC Comics announced that MAD Magazine will mostly stop doing what it’s done for some six decades, which is to pointedly mock American politics and culture. Barring the occasional end-of-year special, future copies of MAD will consist solely of old material. The publication, which first appeared in 1957 and hit a peak circulation of 2.8 million in 1973, has been in decline since. 

MAD Magazine defined an entire generation’s distrust in the media, politicians, advertisers, and all forms of authority. For this podcast extra, Brooke spoke to Jeet Heer, national affairs correspondent for The Nation, about his recent article on the history of MAD.


Internal Scream

Puerto Ricans packed the streets night after night this week to call for Governor Ricardo Rosselló’s resignation. On this week’s On the Media, what happens when a leader’s mockery becomes too much for citizens to bear — in San Juan, and in Washington. Plus, coming-of-age on the far-right and far-left, on YouTube.

1. Ibram X. Kendi [@DrIbram], founding director of American University’s Antiracist Research and Policy Center, on who gets to be American. Listen.

2. Pedro Reina-Pérez [@pedroreinaperez], journalist and historian with both the University of Puerto Rico and Harvard University, and Jay Fonseca [@jayfonsecapr], television and radio host, on the profane, homophobic and sexist chat messages that pushed Puerto Rico to the breaking point. Listen.

3. OTM Producer Micah Loewinger [@MicahLoewinger] considers how YouTube creators on the left, like Natalie Wynn [@ContraPoints], are challenging the platform’s surge of far right extremism. Listen.

Puerto Ricans packed the streets night after night this week to call for Governor Ricardo Rosselló’s resignation. On this week’s On the Media, what happens when a leader’s mockery becomes too much for citizens to bear — in San Juan, and in Washington. Plus, coming-of-age on the far-right and far-left, on YouTube.

1. Ibram X. Kendi [@DrIbram], founding director of American University’s Antiracist Research and Policy Center, on who gets to be American. Listen.

2. Pedro Reina-Pérez [@pedroreinaperez], journalist and historian with both the University of Puerto Rico and Harvard University, and Jay Fonseca [@jayfonsecapr], television and radio host, on the profane, homophobic and sexist chat messages that pushed Puerto Rico to the breaking point. Listen.

3. OTM Producer Micah Loewinger [@MicahLoewinger] considers how YouTube creators on the left, like Natalie Wynn [@ContraPoints], are challenging the platform’s surge of far right extremism. Listen.


The Right-Wing Web Goes to the White House

On this show, we’ve often observed that what happens online rarely stays online. In the age of Pizzagate, Trump tweets and Wiki Leaks data dumps, it is obvious that conversations online increasingly dominate, even define, our politics — a fact demonstrated yet again last Thursday when the president invited his favorite online trolls, memers and political operatives to clink champagne glasses in the White House and discuss an alleged anti-conservative bias on social media. Will Sommer, tech reporter for The Daily Beast, wrote about the odd cast of characters and what this social media summit tells us about the president’s 2020 re-election strategy.

On this show, we’ve often observed that what happens online rarely stays online. In the age of Pizzagate, Trump tweets and Wiki Leaks data dumps, it is obvious that conversations online increasingly dominate, even define, our politics — a fact demonstrated yet again last Thursday when the president invited his favorite online trolls, memers and political operatives to clink champagne glasses in the White House and discuss an alleged anti-conservative bias on social media. Will Sommer, tech reporter for The Daily Beast, wrote about the odd cast of characters and what this social media summit tells us about the president’s 2020 re-election strategy.


Uncomfortably Numb

Migrants in detention centers, another assault allegation against the President, and the start to a potentially devastating hurricane season… On this week’s On the Media, how painful news might be making America numb. And, why sometimes it’s okay to tune out. Plus, what Jeffrey Epstein's arrest teaches us about the Q-Anon conspiracy theory. 

1. Max Read [@max_read],writer and editor at New York Magazine, on the partial fulfillment of a "message-board prophecy." Listen.

2. David Corn [@DavidCornDC], Washington bureau chief for Mother Jones, and Priya Shukla [@priyology], PhD candidate at the University of California-Davis, on the psychological effects of climate change on those who study it. Listen.

3. Dan Degerman [@ddegerman], philosophy researcher at Lancaster University, on the political implications of "Brexit anxiety." Listen.

4. Jenny Odell [@the_jennitaur], author of How to Do Nothing: Resisting the Attention Economy, on how to protect our attention in the face of information overload. Listen.

Migrants in detention centers, another assault allegation against the President, and the start to a potentially devastating hurricane season… On this week’s On the Media, how painful news might be making America numb. And, why sometimes it’s okay to tune out. Plus, what Jeffrey Epstein's arrest teaches us about the Q-Anon conspiracy theory. 

1. Max Read [@max_read],writer and editor at New York Magazine, on the partial fulfillment of a "message-board prophecy." Listen.

2. David Corn [@DavidCornDC], Washington bureau chief for Mother Jones, and Priya Shukla [@priyology], PhD candidate at the University of California-Davis, on the psychological effects of climate change on those who study it. Listen.

3. Dan Degerman [@ddegerman], philosophy researcher at Lancaster University, on the political implications of "Brexit anxiety." Listen.

4. Jenny Odell [@the_jennitaur], author of How to Do Nothing: Resisting the Attention Economy, on how to protect our attention in the face of information overload. Listen.


The Epstein Story Didn't Just Happen Overnight

Julie Brown of the Miami Herald conceived, reported, and wrote one of the most explosive criminal justice stories in recent memory. She revealed the shutting down of an FBI investigation that may have been on the verge of discovering the full extent of a child-sex-trafficking operation run by politically-connected billionaire Jeffrey Epstein. The prosecutor allegedly behind that decision, Alex Acosta, is now President Trump's Secretary of Labor.  Acosta offered Epstein a plea deal in which Epstein pleaded guilty to recruiting underage girls for sex and spent about a year in the local lockup, with work release.  The deal also proactively protected from prosecution any potential co-conspirators.  Brown pored over internal emails to see exactly how Acosta and other powerful law-enforcement officials made these decisions.  While in New York to receive a Polk Award for her work, Brown stopped by WNYC's Greene Space to talk to the host of "Here's the Thing" Alec Baldwin about her reporting.

Julie Brown of the Miami Herald conceived, reported, and wrote one of the most explosive criminal justice stories in recent memory. She revealed the shutting down of an FBI investigation that may have been on the verge of discovering the full extent of a child-sex-trafficking operation run by politically-connected billionaire Jeffrey Epstein. The prosecutor allegedly behind that decision, Alex Acosta, is now President Trump's Secretary of Labor.  Acosta offered Epstein a plea deal in which Epstein pleaded guilty to recruiting underage girls for sex and spent about a year in the local lockup, with work release.  The deal also proactively protected from prosecution any potential co-conspirators.  Brown pored over internal emails to see exactly how Acosta and other powerful law-enforcement officials made these decisions.  While in New York to receive a Polk Award for her work, Brown stopped by WNYC's Greene Space to talk to the host of "Here's the Thing" Alec Baldwin about her reporting.


Full Faith & Credit

Ten autumns ago came two watershed moments in the history of money. In September 2008, the bankruptcy of Lehman Brothers triggered a financial meltdown from which the world has yet to fully recover. The following month, someone using the name Satoshi Nakamoto introduced BitCoin, the first cryptocurrency. Before our eyes, the very architecture of money was evolving — potentially changing the world in the process. In this hour, On the Media looks at the story of money, from its uncertain origins to its digital reinvention in the form of cryptocurrency.

1. The life and work of JSG Boggs, the artist who created hand-drawn replicas of currency that he used to buy goods and services. With Lawrence Weschler and MIT's Neha Narula [@neha]. Listen.

2. A brief history of money with UC Irvine's Bill Maurer and Mark Blyth [@MkBlyth] from Brown UniversityListen. 

3. How cryptocurrency could shape the future of money, with MIT's Neha Narula [@neha], New York Times' Nathaniel Popper [@nathanielpopper], Vinay Gupta [@leashless] of Mattereum, Brown University's Mark Blyth [@MkBlyth] and artist Kevin Abosch [@kevinabosch]Listen.

Ten autumns ago came two watershed moments in the history of money. In September 2008, the bankruptcy of Lehman Brothers triggered a financial meltdown from which the world has yet to fully recover. The following month, someone using the name Satoshi Nakamoto introduced BitCoin, the first cryptocurrency. Before our eyes, the very architecture of money was evolving — potentially changing the world in the process. In this hour, On the Media looks at the story of money, from its uncertain origins to its digital reinvention in the form of cryptocurrency.

1. The life and work of JSG Boggs, the artist who created hand-drawn replicas of currency that he used to buy goods and services. With Lawrence Weschler and MIT's Neha Narula [@neha]. Listen.

2. A brief history of money with UC Irvine's Bill Maurer and Mark Blyth [@MkBlyth] from Brown University. Listen. 

3. How cryptocurrency could shape the future of money, with MIT's Neha Narula [@neha], New York Times' Nathaniel Popper [@nathanielpopper], Vinay Gupta [@leashless] of Mattereum, Brown University's Mark Blyth [@MkBlyth] and artist Kevin Abosch [@kevinabosch]. Listen.


The Sound of America

There are many Americas. Nowadays they barely speak to each other. But during the most perilous years of the last century, one young composer went in search of a sound that melded many of the nation's strains into something singular and new. He was a man of the left, though of no political party: gay, but neither closeted nor out; Jewish, but agnostic, unless you count music as a religion. His name was Aaron Copland. On this July 4th weekend, WNYC’s Sara Fishko tells his story.

There are many Americas. Nowadays they barely speak to each other. But during the most perilous years of the last century, one young composer went in search of a sound that melded many of the nation's strains into something singular and new. He was a man of the left, though of no political party: gay, but neither closeted nor out; Jewish, but agnostic, unless you count music as a religion. His name was Aaron Copland. On this July 4th weekend, WNYC’s Sara Fishko tells his story.


The Scarlet E, Part IV: Solutions

We have an eviction crisis, which is really just one part of a broader housing affordability crisis. Incomes are too low for rents. Rents are too high for incomes. The barriers to home-buying are growing, especially for younger Americans. The wealth gap between black and white Americans is spreading, driven largely by inequalities in housing. The shockwaves from the foreclosure crisis continue. And in some cities, gentrification drives up costs and drives away low-income families.  

Luckily enough, there are solutions — quite a few of them, in fact. In this fourth and final episode of The Scarlet E: Unmasking America’s Eviction Crisis, we evaluate the proposals, which range from subtle to significant.

First, a look back on a solution that worked in some places and was allowed to fail in many others. We visit Atlanta, home to the nation’s first public housing projects. We learn how the city has since destroyed or converted all of its public housing. And with the help of Lawrence Vale, author of Purging the Poorest: Public Housing and the Design Politics of Twice-Cleared Communities, we look at one public housing project, in Boston, that continues to thrive.

And then we look at solutions, both proposed and in-play. Again in Atlanta, we meet landlord Marjy Stagmeier, whose unique model improves nearby schools’ performance — and still turns a profit. We speak with sociologist Matt Desmond about the need to fully fund our Section 8 housing voucher program, and to encourage, or compel, landlords to accept voucher-holders. And we touch on the housing proposals from several Democratic candidates for president. Matt wonders whether our federal housing policies — for instance, the mortgage interest deduction — are subsidizing those most in need. We also ask New York City Councilmember Mark Levine and South Carolina legislator Marvin Pendarvis about possible reforms in our housing courts. We hear from Marty Wegbreit, director of litigation for the Central Virginia Legal Aid Society, about how Richmond turned its shame over its high eviction rates into policy. And we consider ways that some cities might increase their affordable housing supply by doing away with restrictive, exclusionary zoning policies.


Music by Mark Henry Phillips.

To hear other episodes of The Scarlet E and to learn about the eviction stats in your own state, visit onthemedia.org/eviction.

Support for “The Scarlet E” is provided by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, and the Melville Charitable Trust. Additional support is provided by the Economic Hardship Reporting Project, and “Chasing the Dream,” a WNET initiative reporting on poverty and opportunity in America.

Support for On the Media is provided by the Ford Foundation and the listeners of WNYC Radio.

 

We have an eviction crisis, which is really just one part of a broader housing affordability crisis. Incomes are too low for rents. Rents are too high for incomes. The barriers to home-buying are growing, especially for younger Americans. The wealth gap between black and white Americans is spreading, driven largely by inequalities in housing. The shockwaves from the foreclosure crisis continue. And in some cities, gentrification drives up costs and drives away low-income families.  

Luckily enough, there are solutions — quite a few of them, in fact. In this fourth and final episode of The Scarlet E: Unmasking America’s Eviction Crisis, we evaluate the proposals, which range from subtle to significant.

First, a look back on a solution that worked in some places and was allowed to fail in many others. We visit Atlanta, home to the nation’s first public housing projects. We learn how the city has since destroyed or converted all of its public housing. And with the help of Lawrence Vale, author of Purging the Poorest: Public Housing and the Design Politics of Twice-Cleared Communities, we look at one public housing project, in Boston, that continues to thrive.

And then we look at solutions, both proposed and in-play. Again in Atlanta, we meet landlord Marjy Stagmeier, whose unique model improves nearby schools’ performance — and still turns a profit. We speak with sociologist Matt Desmond about the need to fully fund our Section 8 housing voucher program, and to encourage, or compel, landlords to accept voucher-holders. And we touch on the housing proposals from several Democratic candidates for president. Matt wonders whether our federal housing policies — for instance, the mortgage interest deduction — are subsidizing those most in need. We also ask New York City Councilmember Mark Levine and South Carolina legislator Marvin Pendarvis about possible reforms in our housing courts. We hear from Marty Wegbreit, director of litigation for the Central Virginia Legal Aid Society, about how Richmond turned its shame over its high eviction rates into policy. And we consider ways that some cities might increase their affordable housing supply by doing away with restrictive, exclusionary zoning policies.

Music by Mark Henry Phillips.

To hear other episodes of The Scarlet E and to learn about the eviction stats in your own state, visit onthemedia.org/eviction.

Support for “The Scarlet E” is provided by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, and the Melville Charitable Trust. Additional support is provided by the Economic Hardship Reporting Project, and “Chasing the Dream,” a WNET initiative reporting on poverty and opportunity in America.

Support for On the Media is provided by the Ford Foundation and the listeners of WNYC Radio.

 


Coming Out Posthumously

June marks LGBTQ Pride month, and fifty years since the Stonewall riots. In the past five decades, the conversation around gay rights has moved so quickly that it can be hard to remember where it was in the very recent past. 

After the 2012 death of Sally Ride, the first American woman to go to space, the world learned something new about the pioneering astronaut: she was gay, and was survived by her partner Tam O'Shaughnessy. This previously unknown detail of Ride's life was mentioned in one line at the end of a lengthy obituary in The New York Times, and the reaction from readers ranged from criticism for posthumously outing Ride to criticism for not honoring the detail enough. Bob spoke with Bill McDonald, the obituary editor at The New York Times, about the ethics and obligations of obituary writers in creating a bigger picture of the lives of the dead. 


The Scarlet E, Part III: Tenants and Landlords

This is episode three in our series, “The Scarlet E: Unmasking America’s Eviction Crisis.” It’s the dollars-and-cents episode, in which we account for what we know and don’t know about those who own and those who rent.

We digest some new data — compiled and analyzed, in part, by our collaborator, Matthew Desmond — that demonstrate the extent to which landlords often profit in impoverished communities. We speak with the founder of a massive online eviction platform, who defends his company’s “standardized process.” In Camden, New Jersey we hear the story of Destiny, a social worker whose corporate landlord showed no reluctance to bring her to housing court, month after month. In Indianapolis we meet a mom-and-pop landlord who doesn’t deny her profits in the low-income market — she’s a businesswoman, after all — but who also has often given delinquent tenants the chance to get caught up. And in Richmond, Virginia we learn the hard truth about landlords’ comfortable place in the American legal system — even in spite of unmistakable neglect.


Music by Mark Henry Phillips, except for "Indiana," sung by Straight No Chaser.

To hear other episodes of The Scarlet E and to learn about the eviction stats in your own state, visit onthemedia.org/eviction.

Support for “The Scarlet E” is provided by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, and the Melville Charitable Trust. Additional support is provided by the Economic Hardship Reporting Project, and “Chasing the Dream,” a WNET initiative reporting on poverty and opportunity in America.

Support for On the Media is provided by the Ford Foundation and the listeners of WNYC Radio.

This is episode three in our series, “The Scarlet E: Unmasking America’s Eviction Crisis.” It’s the dollars-and-cents episode, in which we account for what we know and don’t know about those who own and those who rent.

We digest some new data — compiled and analyzed, in part, by our collaborator, Matthew Desmond — that demonstrate the extent to which landlords often profit in impoverished communities. We speak with the founder of a massive online eviction platform, who defends his company’s “standardized process.” In Camden, New Jersey we hear the story of Destiny, a social worker whose corporate landlord showed no reluctance to bring her to housing court, month after month. In Indianapolis we meet a mom-and-pop landlord who doesn’t deny her profits in the low-income market — she’s a businesswoman, after all — but who also has often given delinquent tenants the chance to get caught up. And in Richmond, Virginia we learn the hard truth about landlords’ comfortable place in the American legal system — even in spite of unmistakable neglect.

Music by Mark Henry Phillips, except for "Indiana," sung by Straight No Chaser.

To hear other episodes of The Scarlet E and to learn about the eviction stats in your own state, visit onthemedia.org/eviction.

Support for “The Scarlet E” is provided by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, and the Melville Charitable Trust. Additional support is provided by the Economic Hardship Reporting Project, and “Chasing the Dream,” a WNET initiative reporting on poverty and opportunity in America.

Support for On the Media is provided by the Ford Foundation and the listeners of WNYC Radio.


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

Heshmat Alavi, an Iranian commentator, has been portrayed as a courageous dissident with a broad constituency and rare insight into the inner workings of the Iranian theocracy. His columns have been printed in Forbes, The Diplomat, The Federalist, Voice of America, The Daily Caller and The Hill. And his analysis, such as his assertion that Obama’s nuclear deal with Iran pumped money into the mullah's military budget, has been cited by the White House to justify leaving the agreement. But what if...he doesn't actually exist?

The Intercept's Murtaza Hussain reported on Heshmat Alavi, and found that the columnist is not who he purports to be.

Heshmat Alavi, an Iranian commentator, has been portrayed as a courageous dissident with a broad constituency and rare insight into the inner workings of the Iranian theocracy. His columns have been printed in Forbes, The Diplomat, The Federalist, Voice of America, The Daily Caller and The Hill. And his analysis, such as his assertion that Obama’s nuclear deal with Iran pumped money into the mullah's military budget, has been cited by the White House to justify leaving the agreement. But what if...he doesn't actually exist?

The Intercept's Murtaza Hussain reported on Heshmat Alavi, and found that the columnist is not who he purports to be.


40 Acres

President Trump claims to have struck a deal with Mexico to settle a dispute of his own making. On this week’s On the Media, a look at the lives of the people who stand to suffer most. Plus, how the path to America’s eviction crisis begins, in part, with the Great Migration. 

1. Bob Moore [@BobMooreNews], freelance reporter based in El Paso, on the human reality at the border amidst the latest Trumpian mendacity. Listen.

2. We continue our four-part series on eviction by charting the persistent line between racist housing policies, localized profiteering and the devastating plunder of generations of wealth. Guests include Matt Desmond [@just_shelter], founder of the Eviction Lab; Natalie Moore [@natalieymoore], reporter for WBEZ; and Marty Wegbreit, director of litigation for the Central Virginia Legal Aid Society. Listen.

President Trump claims to have struck a deal with Mexico to settle a dispute of his own making. On this week’s On the Media, a look at the lives of the people who stand to suffer most. Plus, how the path to America’s eviction crisis begins, in part, with the Great Migration. 

1. Bob Moore [@BobMooreNews], freelance reporter based in El Paso, on the human reality at the border amidst the latest Trumpian mendacity. Listen.

2. We continue our four-part series on eviction by charting the persistent line between racist housing policies, localized profiteering and the devastating plunder of generations of wealth. Guests include Matt Desmond [@just_shelter], founder of the Eviction Lab; Natalie Moore [@natalieymoore], reporter for WBEZ; and Marty Wegbreit, director of litigation for the Central Virginia Legal Aid Society. Listen.


What "Running From Cops" Learned From "Cops"

The first episode of the TV show "Cops" aired thirty years ago, and in the ensuing decades it's become influential enough to mold the attitudes of new aspiring police officers. But if the show holds up a mirror to law enforcement in this country, it shows a warped reflection.

In the podcast series "Running from Cops", host Dan Taberski and his team watched nearly 850 episodes of the show and tallied what they saw: roughly four times the amount of violent crime than there is in real life, three times as many drug crimes, and ten times the amount of prostitution. "Cops", as the podcast points out, makes the world seem more crime-ridden than in reality. It has also inspired copy-cat shows, like the popular "Live PD," that also warp depictions of what's appropriate (and legal) in policing. In this OTM podcast extra, Bob talks to Dan Taberski about the podcast's findings and what the popularity of these shows says about viewers.  


Introducing: The Scarlet E

Millions of rent-burdened Americans face eviction filings and proceedings every year. On this week’s On the Media, what we think we know, and what we definitely don’t know, about America’s eviction crisis. Plus, how local journalists failed the Central Park Five. 

1. Jim Dwyer [@jimdwyernyt], columnist for The New York Times, on his experience reporting on the Central Park Five trial. 

2. We hear the story of Jeffrey, a security guard in Richmond, Virginia whose severe rent burden caused his family to be evicted. 

3. Matthew Desmond [@just_shelter], founder of the Eviction Lab, explains what he and his fellow researchers have learned from their massive collection of eviction data. 

Millions of rent-burdened Americans face eviction filings and proceedings every year. On this week’s On the Media, what we think we know, and what we definitely don’t know, about America’s eviction crisis. Plus, how local journalists failed the Central Park Five. 

1. Jim Dwyer [@jimdwyernyt], columnist for The New York Times, on his experience reporting on the Central Park Five trial. 

2. We hear the story of Jeffrey, a security guard in Richmond, Virginia whose severe rent burden caused his family to be evicted. 

3. Matthew Desmond [@just_shelter], founder of the Eviction Lab, explains what he and his fellow researchers have learned from their massive collection of eviction data. 


Making America Antitrust Again

This week, the US House Antitrust subcommittee announced a probe into the mainly-unchecked power of tech giants like Google, Facebook, Apple and Amazon. The investigation could include public hearings and subpoenas toward antitrust intervention into the businesses of Silicon Valley leviathans. The news came on the same day that The Wall Street Journal reported that the Federal Trade Commission and the Justice Department are expanding their oversight into Facebook and Google's anti-competitive practices.

Last November, Brooke spoke with Stacy Mitchell, co-director of the Institute for Local Self-Reliance, about Amazon’s domination over industry after industry and where we stand in the arc of antitrust regulation. In 2018, Mitchell wrote an article for The Nation called “Amazon Doesn't Just Want to Dominate the Market — It Wants to Become the Market.” 

This week, the US House Antitrust subcommittee announced a probe into the mainly-unchecked power of tech giants like Google, Facebook, Apple and Amazon. The investigation could include public hearings and subpoenas toward antitrust intervention into the businesses of Silicon Valley leviathans. The news came on the same day that The Wall Street Journal reported that the Federal Trade Commission and the Justice Department are expanding their oversight into Facebook and Google's anti-competitive practices.

Last November, Brooke spoke with Stacy Mitchell, co-director of the Institute for Local Self-Reliance, about Amazon’s domination over industry after industry and where we stand in the arc of antitrust regulation. In 2018, Mitchell wrote an article for The Nation called “Amazon Doesn't Just Want to Dominate the Market — It Wants to Become the Market.” 


Climate Obscura

The Trump administration has ordered federal agencies to stop publishing worst-case scenario projections of climate change. This week, On the Media examines the administration’s pattern of attacks on climate science. Plus, a look at the dark money behind environmental deregulation.

1. Kate Aronoff [@KateAronoff], fellow at the Type Media Center, on the White House's suppression of climate warnings. Listen.

2. Jane Mayer [@JaneMayerNYer], staff writer at The New Yorker and author of Dark Money: The Hidden History of the Billionaires Behind the Rise of the Radical Right, on the billionaires supporting the modern conservative intellectual framework. Listen.

3. Jan Zalasiewicz, Anthropocene Working Group Chair, on the traces that today's humans might leave behind for future civilizations, and Benjamin Kunkel [@kunktation] on whether the Age of Capitalism might be a more appropriate term to describe our epoch. Listen.

The Trump administration has ordered federal agencies to stop publishing worst-case scenario projections of climate change. This week, On the Media examines the administration’s pattern of attacks on climate science. Plus, a look at the dark money behind environmental deregulation.

1. Kate Aronoff [@KateAronoff], fellow at the Type Media Center, on the White House's suppression of climate warnings. Listen.

2. Jane Mayer [@JaneMayerNYer], staff writer at The New Yorker and author of Dark Money: The Hidden History of the Billionaires Behind the Rise of the Radical Right, on the billionaires supporting the modern conservative intellectual framework. Listen.

3. Jan Zalasiewicz, Anthropocene Working Group Chair, on the traces that today's humans might leave behind for future civilizations, and Benjamin Kunkel [@kunktation] on whether the Age of Capitalism might be a more appropriate term to describe our epoch. Listen.


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

Tornadoes ripped across multiple states on Tuesday, killing at least one person. It was the twelfth straight day of tornado activity in the U.S. — a new record, according to the National Weather Service. But as the New York Times reported yesterday, limited data make it difficult to draw explicit connections between a warming climate and trends in tornadic activity. Even in our hyper-quantified time, there's still an element of mystery to where, why, and how twisters strike. 

And then there are hurricanes.

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

Since the Atlantic hurricane season begins this week, we're republishing our guide to consuming the coverage to come. In this segment, which originally aired in Sept. 2017, Brooke speaks with Dr. Robert Holmes, National Flood Hazard Coordinator for the U.S. Geological Survey; Gina Eosco, a risk communication consultant; and Scott Gabriel Knowles of Drexel University, author of The Disaster Experts: Mastering Risk in Modern America.

 

Tornadoes ripped across multiple states on Tuesday, killing at least one person. It was the twelfth straight day of tornado activity in the U.S. — a new record, according to the National Weather Service. But as the New York Times reported yesterday, limited data make it difficult to draw explicit connections between a warming climate and trends in tornadic activity. Even in our hyper-quantified time, there's still an element of mystery to where, why, and how twisters strike. 

And then there are hurricanes.

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

Since the Atlantic hurricane season begins this week, we're republishing our guide to consuming the coverage to come. In this segment, which originally aired in Sept. 2017, Brooke speaks with Dr. Robert Holmes, National Flood Hazard Coordinator for the U.S. Geological Survey; Gina Eosco, a risk communication consultant; and Scott Gabriel Knowles of Drexel University, author of The Disaster Experts: Mastering Risk in Modern America.

Add Caption Here (On the Media/WNYC)

 


On Matters of War

Controversy erupted over news that President Trump may grant more pardons for alleged war criminal Edward Gallagher and others. This week, On the Media looks at Fox News’s influence on the president’s decision. And, how the Navy may be spying on a reporter who's tracked Gallagher's case. Plus, how the latest Julian Assange indictment could spell disaster for the future of investigative journalism. 

1. James Goodale, former General Counsel for The New York Times and author of Fighting For The Press, on the disastrous new Julian Assange indictments. Listen

2. Adam Weinstein [@AdamWeinstein], an editor with The New Republic, on the unofficial Fox News campaign to push the president to pardon alleged war criminals. Listen.

3. Andrew Tilghman [@andrewtilghman], Executive Editor of the Military Times, on the Navy's troubling assault on press freedom. Listen.

4. Scott J. Shapiro [@scottjshapiro], professor of philosophy and law at Yale, on how militaries across the globe navigate the horrors of war. Listen.

Songs:

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

 

Controversy erupted over news that President Trump may grant more pardons for alleged war criminal Edward Gallagher and others. This week, On the Media looks at Fox News’s influence on the president’s decision. And, how the Navy may be spying on a reporter who's tracked Gallagher's case. Plus, how the latest Julian Assange indictment could spell disaster for the future of investigative journalism. 

1. James Goodale, former General Counsel for The New York Times and author of Fighting For The Press, on the disastrous new Julian Assange indictments. Listen

2. Adam Weinstein [@AdamWeinstein], an editor with The New Republic, on the unofficial Fox News campaign to push the president to pardon alleged war criminals. Listen.

3. Andrew Tilghman [@andrewtilghman], Executive Editor of the Military Times, on the Navy's troubling assault on press freedom. Listen.

4. Scott J. Shapiro [@scottjshapiro], professor of philosophy and law at Yale, on how militaries across the globe navigate the horrors of war. Listen.

Songs:

All the Presidents Men Theme by David ShireOkami by Nicola Cruz Capharnaüm by Khaled MouzanarR+B = ? by Aeroc Farewell My Good One Forever by PhantasmAgnus Dei by Martín Palmeri

 


Solving the Facebook Problem at Home and Abroad

When former Facebook co-founder Chris Hughes penned a New York Times op-ed calling for the breakup of the platform, he was lauded by anti-corporate politicians and the press. Then came a series of hard questions: how exactly would breaking up Facebook, which owns WhatsApp and Instagram, address free speech concerns? Or help stifle the spread of propaganda on the platform? And how would American regulations affect the majority of Facebook users, who live in the global south? According to Michael Lwin, an American-born antitrust lawyer living in Yangon, Myanmar, US regulators should tread lightly. He and Bob speak about how calls to break up Facebook could have wide ranging unintended consequences, especially outside of the US.

When former Facebook co-founder Chris Hughes penned a New York Times op-ed calling for the breakup of the platform, he was lauded by anti-corporate politicians and the press. Then came a series of hard questions: how exactly would breaking up Facebook, which owns WhatsApp and Instagram, address free speech concerns? Or help stifle the spread of propaganda on the platform? And how would American regulations affect the majority of Facebook users, who live in the global south? According to Michael Lwin, an American-born antitrust lawyer living in Yangon, Myanmar, US regulators should tread lightly. He and Bob speak about how calls to break up Facebook could have wide ranging unintended consequences, especially outside of the US.


Constellation of Secret Evil

A controversial bill in Alabama is the latest in a wave of different abortion bans sweeping the country. This week, On the Media looks at the influence of Janet Porter, a little-known lobbyist who has been pushing what are misleadingly referred to as “heartbeat” laws. And, a deep dive into the rise of Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán, and what his autocratic regime tells us about the future of Europe. Plus, a new book reveals how conspiracy theories became a fact of American life.

1. Jessica Glenza [@JessicaGlenza], health reporter at the Guardian US, on the influence of Janet Porter, the lobbyist behind the so-called "heartbeat" abortion laws. Listen.

2. Paul Lendvai, author of Orbán: Hungary's Strongman, on the rise of Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán. Listen.

3. Anna Merlan [@annamerlan], author of Republic of Lies, on the long arc of conspiratorial thinking in the United States. Listen.

Support On the Media today at onthemedia.org/donate

Songs: 

Dame tu Mano by Combo Chimbita

Passing Time by John Renbourn

The Glass House by Marjane's Inspiration

Califone by Burned by Christians

We Insist by Zoe Keating

Green Onions by Booker T. and The MG's

X-File Theme

High Water Everywhere Part 1 by Charlie Patton

Bullwinkle, Part II by The Centurians

A controversial bill in Alabama is the latest in a wave of different abortion bans sweeping the country. This week, On the Media looks at the influence of Janet Porter, a little-known lobbyist who has been pushing what are misleadingly referred to as “heartbeat” laws. And, a deep dive into the rise of Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán, and what his autocratic regime tells us about the future of Europe. Plus, a new book reveals how conspiracy theories became a fact of American life.

1. Jessica Glenza [@JessicaGlenza], health reporter at the Guardian US, on the influence of Janet Porter, the lobbyist behind the so-called "heartbeat" abortion laws. Listen.

2. Paul Lendvai, author of Orbán: Hungary's Strongman, on the rise of Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán. Listen.

3. Anna Merlan [@annamerlan], author of Republic of Lies, on the long arc of conspiratorial thinking in the United States. Listen.

Support On the Media today at onthemedia.org/donate

Songs: 

Dame tu Mano by Combo Chimbita

Passing Time by John Renbourn

The Glass House by Marjane's Inspiration

Califone by Burned by Christians

We Insist by Zoe Keating

Green Onions by Booker T. and The MG's

X-File Theme

High Water Everywhere Part 1 by Charlie Patton

Bullwinkle, Part II by The Centurians


The Past, Present and Future of Nikole Hannah-Jones

This week, we want to bring you a terrific new episode of Death, Sex and Moneyanother WNYC show that we think our listeners will appreciateThe show's host, Anna Sale, is on maternity leave, and an exciting cohort of former guests and friends of the show are hosting in her absence, talking with the people they're most curious about.

The episode this week is hosted by Al Letson. Normally he hosts the podcast Reveal, but here he’s talking with Nikole Hannah-Jones, an award-winning investigative reporter covering racial injustice for the New York Times Magazine. If you’re familiar with Nikole’s reporting (and even if you're not), we think you’ll enjoy this conversation about how her life brought her to the work she does today. 


Impossible!

The political press has long used the vague notion of “electability” to drive horserace coverage of presidential candidates. This week, On the Media considers how the emphasis on electability takes the focus away from the issues and turns voters into pundits. Plus, the shady dealings of the tax preparation industry, and how FOIA has been weaponized. And, how Trump duped financial journalists about his net worth in the 1980s.

1. Investigative journalist Jonathan Greenberg [@JournalistJG] on how Trump obscured his finances to wind up on the Forbes list of richest Americans — and why it mattered so much to him.

2. Dennis Ventry, professor at UC Davis School of Law, on how the tax preparation industry united to shield themselves from a publicly-funded alternative.

3. OTM producer Alana Casanova-Burgess [@AlanaLlama] speaks with Dennis Ventry, Michael Halpern [@halpsci], Eric Lipton [@EricLiptonNYT] and Claudia Polsky about a bill in California that seeks to curb the weaponization of FOIA.

4. Alex Pareene [@pareene], staff writer at The New Republic, on how the idea of "electability" has metastasized among democratic voters.

The political press has long used the vague notion of “electability” to drive horserace coverage of presidential candidates. This week, On the Media considers how the emphasis on electability takes the focus away from the issues and turns voters into pundits. Plus, the shady dealings of the tax preparation industry, and how FOIA has been weaponized. And, how Trump duped financial journalists about his net worth in the 1980s.

1. Investigative journalist Jonathan Greenberg [@JournalistJG] on how Trump obscured his finances to wind up on the Forbes list of richest Americans — and why it mattered so much to him.

2. Dennis Ventry, professor at UC Davis School of Law, on how the tax preparation industry united to shield themselves from a publicly-funded alternative.

3. OTM producer Alana Casanova-Burgess [@AlanaLlama] speaks with Dennis Ventry, Michael Halpern [@halpsci], Eric Lipton [@EricLiptonNYT] and Claudia Polsky about a bill in California that seeks to curb the weaponization of FOIA.

4. Alex Pareene [@pareene], staff writer at The New Republic, on how the idea of "electability" has metastasized among democratic voters.


Werner Herzog on Gorbachev
Renowned director and documentarian Werner Herzog's latest filmmaking endeavor examines the legacy of the eighth and final leader of the Soviet Union, Mikhail Gorbachev. For the film, Herzog sat down with the 88 year-old former General Secretary for a candid conversation about his complicated legacy. In the latest installment of Bob's Docs, Herzog joins Bob to discuss his filmmaking process and the history of the man he profiled.
Renowned director and documentarian Werner Herzog's latest filmmaking endeavor examines the legacy of the eighth and final leader of the Soviet Union, Mikhail Gorbachev. For the film, Herzog sat down with the 88 year-old former General Secretary for a candid conversation about his complicated legacy. In the latest installment of Bob's Docs, Herzog joins Bob to discuss his filmmaking process and the history of the man he profiled.


A High State of Agitation

After accusations that he mischaracterized the Mueller investigation’s findings, Attorney General William Barr blames the media for muddling the story. This week, On the Media dissects Barr’s deflections. And, how a Jewish satirist uses grotesque caricatures to cut to the heart of the discourse on antisemitism and why effectively combating hate requires building coalitions. Plus, how ABC's The View became one of the biggest political stages on television.

1. Dahlia Lithwick [@Dahlialithwick], host of the Amicus podcast and writer at Slate, on Barr's mischaracterization of the Mueller report.

2. Leo Ferguson [@LeoFergusonnyc], organizer with Jews for Racial and Economic Justice, on the ways to understand and combat antisemitism.

3. Eli Valley [@elivalley], comic artist and satirist, on feeling gaslit by the antisemitism debate.

4. Ramin Setoodah [@RaminSetoodeh], author of Ladies Who Punch: The Explosive Inside Story of The View and the New York bureau chief for Variety, on The View's surprising role in American politics.

 

After accusations that he mischaracterized the Mueller investigation’s findings, Attorney General William Barr blames the media for muddling the story. This week, On the Media dissects Barr’s deflections. And, how a Jewish satirist uses grotesque caricatures to cut to the heart of the discourse on antisemitism and why effectively combating hate requires building coalitions. Plus, how ABC's The View became one of the biggest political stages on television.

1. Dahlia Lithwick [@Dahlialithwick], host of the Amicus podcast and writer at Slate, on Barr's mischaracterization of the Mueller report.

2. Leo Ferguson [@LeoFergusonnyc], organizer with Jews for Racial and Economic Justice, on the ways to understand and combat antisemitism.

3. Eli Valley [@elivalley], comic artist and satirist, on feeling gaslit by the antisemitism debate.

4. Ramin Setoodah [@RaminSetoodeh], author of Ladies Who Punch: The Explosive Inside Story of The View and the New York bureau chief for Variety, on The View's surprising role in American politics.

 


Is True Crime Jinxed?

Whether Robert Durst confessed on camera will become a relevant legal matter in the real estate figure's upcoming trial. The supposed confession — "What the hell did I do? Killed them all, of course." — at the end of HBO's The Jinx: The Life and Deaths of Robert Durst has recently been revealed to have been seriously, deceptively edited. In 2015 Bob spoke with documentary filmmaker Joe Berlinger, co-creater of the Paradise Lost trilogy, about modern filmmaker, the responsibility of the artist and different interpretations of "truth." It's a relevant conversation to revisit, this week in particular.

 

Whether Robert Durst confessed on camera will become a relevant legal matter in the real estate figure's upcoming trial. The supposed confession — "What the hell did I do? Killed them all, of course." — at the end of HBO's The Jinx: The Life and Deaths of Robert Durst has recently been revealed to have been seriously, deceptively edited. In 2015 Bob spoke with documentary filmmaker Joe Berlinger, co-creater of the Paradise Lost trilogy, about modern filmmaker, the responsibility of the artist and different interpretations of "truth." It's a relevant conversation to revisit, this week in particular.

 


Justice Interruptus

A week after the redacted Mueller report’s release, Democrats weigh the risks — and imperatives — of impeachment. On this week’s On the Media, why our founders gave congress the power to oust the president in the first place. Plus, the forgotten roots of May Day, the international workers’ holiday.

1. Paul Waldman [@paulwaldman1], columnist and senior writer for the American Prospect and the Washington Post, on the politics and virtues of impeachment. Listen.

2. Jeffrey Engel [@jeffreyaengel], the founding director of the Center for Presidential History at Southern Methodist University, and coauthor of Impeachment: An American History on the the history of impeachment. Listen.

3. Zephyr Teachout [@ZephyrTeachout], author of Corruption in America, on how our nation lost its original anti-corruption zeal. Listen.

4. Donna Haverty-Stacke, [@DHavertyStacke], professor of History at Hunter College, CUNY, on the U.S. origin of May Day and how it has come to be forgotten. Listen.

Music:

Time Is Late by Marcos Ciscar

 

Jeopardy: Think Music (in style of Handel) by Donald Fraser, Merv Griffin, Donald Fraser

Here It Comes by Modest Mouse

Liquid Spear Waltz by Michael Andrews

Tymperturbably Blue (Live 1959) by Duke Ellington

Into the Streets May First: written by Aaron Copland; performed by Jon Hanrahan (direction, piano); vocals by Alana Casanova-Burgess, Leah Feder, Micah Loewinger, Brooke Gladstone, Karen Frillman, Jim O’Grady, Philip Yiannopoulos, engineered by Irene Trudel

 

A week after the redacted Mueller report’s release, Democrats weigh the risks — and imperatives — of impeachment. On this week’s On the Media, why our founders gave congress the power to oust the president in the first place. Plus, the forgotten roots of May Day, the international workers’ holiday.

1. Paul Waldman [@paulwaldman1], columnist and senior writer for the American Prospect and the Washington Post, on the politics and virtues of impeachment. Listen.

2. Jeffrey Engel [@jeffreyaengel], the founding director of the Center for Presidential History at Southern Methodist University, and coauthor of Impeachment: An American History on the the history of impeachment. Listen.

3. Zephyr Teachout [@ZephyrTeachout], author of Corruption in America, on how our nation lost its original anti-corruption zeal. Listen.

4. Donna Haverty-Stacke, [@DHavertyStacke], professor of History at Hunter College, CUNY, on the U.S. origin of May Day and how it has come to be forgotten. Listen.

Music:

Time Is Late by Marcos Ciscar

 

Jeopardy: Think Music (in style of Handel) by Donald Fraser, Merv Griffin, Donald Fraser

Here It Comes by Modest Mouse

Liquid Spear Waltz by Michael Andrews

Tymperturbably Blue (Live 1959) by Duke Ellington

Into the Streets May First: written by Aaron Copland; performed by Jon Hanrahan (direction, piano); vocals by Alana Casanova-Burgess, Leah Feder, Micah Loewinger, Brooke Gladstone, Karen Frillman, Jim O’Grady, Philip Yiannopoulos, engineered by Irene Trudel

 


How Is Lead Still A Problem?

Once in a while, in this space, we offer you an episode of another podcast that we think is pretty aligned with our goals here at On the Media. This week, we’re offering you the first episode of a new podcast from WNYC Studios, called The Stakes. The angle is: we built the society we've got. And maybe it's time to build a new one.

You can and should subscribe to The Stakes wherever you get your podcasts (we are). But in the meantime, here's their first episode all about the pervasive problem of lead paint still poisoning children. The ancient Greeks knew lead is poisonous. Ben Franklin wrote about its dangers. So how did it end up being all around us? And how is it still a problem?

Once in a while, in this space, we offer you an episode of another podcast that we think is pretty aligned with our goals here at On the Media. This week, we’re offering you the first episode of a new podcast from WNYC Studios, called The Stakes. The angle is: we built the society we've got. And maybe it's time to build a new one.

You can and should subscribe to The Stakes wherever you get your podcasts (we are). But in the meantime, here's their first episode all about the pervasive problem of lead paint still poisoning children. The ancient Greeks knew lead is poisonous. Ben Franklin wrote about its dangers. So how did it end up being all around us? And how is it still a problem?


Harm To Ongoing Matter

After years of waiting, journalists finally began digging into the redacted version of the Mueller report. On this week’s On the Media, how the special counsel’s findings confirm years of reporting about turmoil within the White House. Plus, what the Notre Dame fire and the Sacklers show us about the dark side of philanthropy, and how the Justice Department stopped prosecuting executives. And, an undercover investigation shines a light on the NRA’s PR machinery. 

1. Eric Umansky [@ericuman], deputy editor at ProPublica and co-host of the Trump Inc. podcast, on the Mueller revelations. Listen.

2. Anand Giridharadas [@AnandWrites], author of Winners Take All: The Elite Charade of Changing the World, on the dark side of philanthropy. Listen.

3. Jesse Eisinger [@eisingerj], author of The Chickenshit Club, on how the Justice Department stopped prosecuting executives. Listen.

4. Peter Charley, executive producer of Al Jazeera's "How To Sell a Massacre," on the NRA's PR machinery. Listen.

Songs:

Okami by Nicola Cruz
Capicua by Animal Chuki
Colibria by Nicola Cruz
Let's Face the Music and Dance by Harry Roy
Lost, Night by Bill Frissell
This is NRA Country by Justin Moore

After years of waiting, journalists finally began digging into the redacted version of the Mueller report. On this week’s On the Media, how the special counsel’s findings confirm years of reporting about turmoil within the White House. Plus, what the Notre Dame fire and the Sacklers show us about the dark side of philanthropy, and how the Justice Department stopped prosecuting executives. And, an undercover investigation shines a light on the NRA’s PR machinery. 

1. Eric Umansky [@ericuman], deputy editor at ProPublica and co-host of the Trump Inc. podcast, on the Mueller revelations. Listen.

2. Anand Giridharadas [@AnandWrites], author of Winners Take All: The Elite Charade of Changing the World, on the dark side of philanthropy. Listen.

3. Jesse Eisinger [@eisingerj], author of The Chickenshit Club, on how the Justice Department stopped prosecuting executives. Listen.

4. Peter Charley, executive producer of Al Jazeera's "How To Sell a Massacre," on the NRA's PR machinery. Listen.

Songs:

Okami by Nicola Cruz Capicua by Animal Chuki Colibria by Nicola Cruz Let's Face the Music and Dance by Harry Roy Lost, Night by Bill Frissell This is NRA Country by Justin Moore


Who Profits When You File Your Taxes?

Tax Day is behind us, but the Taxpayer First Act is not. The bipartisan proposal passed the House last week and is now under consideration in the Senate — and one of the provisions is exactly what the for-profit tax preparation industry has been pushing for. 

Through an agreement with the IRS, companies like H&R Block and Intuit currently offer free tax filing services to taxpayers making less than $66,000 dollars a year. But only 1.6 percent of taxpayers actually use Free File, and critics say that the companies engage in aggressive up-selling through the portal. A provision in the Taxpayer First Act would bar the IRS from developing their own free system. 

Dennis Ventry is a tax scholar at the University of California, Davis. He has written about the shortcomings of the Free File program, and explains to Bob why he thinks the IRS isn't doing enough to protect taxpayers who try to use it. He wrote an opinion piece last year titled "Free File providers scam taxpayers; Congress shouldn't be fooled" — which made him the target of a public records request from an industry group.