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

OTM Presents: La Brega

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

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

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

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

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

Music in this series comes from Balún and ÌFÉ

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

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

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

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

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

Music in this series comes from Balún and ÌFÉ


Beware Trump Investigation Big-Talk

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

 


No Silver Bullets

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

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

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

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

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

Music:

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

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

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

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

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

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

Music:

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


How Rush Limbaugh Paved The Way For Trump REBROADCAST

What more can we say: El Rushbo is dead.

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

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

What more can we say: El Rushbo is dead.

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

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


Toxic

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Its Tax Time!

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

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

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

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


Slaying the Fox Monster

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

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

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

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

 

Music:

Mysterioso - Kronos Quartet

Oboe Mambo - Machito & His Afro-Cuban Orchestra

Stormy Weather - Franck Pourcel

Night Thoughts - John Zorn

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

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

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

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

 

Music:

Mysterioso - Kronos Quartet

Oboe Mambo - Machito & His Afro-Cuban Orchestra

Stormy Weather - Franck Pourcel

Night Thoughts - John Zorn


OTM Presents - The Experiment: The Loophole

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

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

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

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

Here's the link to the episode at The Atlantic

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


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

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

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

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

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

Here's the link to the episode at The Atlantic

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

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


Billion Dollar Idea

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

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

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

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

Music:

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

 

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

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

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

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

Music:

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

 


Did Lulz Break Wall Street?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Well, That Was Some Weird Sh*t

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

 


The Trump Inc. Podcast Made a Time Capsule

This story was co-published with ProPublica.

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

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


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

This story was co-published with ProPublica.

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

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

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


You Missed a Spot

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


How the School Transmission Conversation Became So Muddled

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

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

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

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


Breaking the Myth

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


The World, Remade

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

 


A Brief History of Timekeeping

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

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

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

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


What Just Happened?!

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

With excerpts from:

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

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

With excerpts from:

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


Unlearning White Jesus

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

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

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

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

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

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


Who Owns the Future?

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

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

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

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

 

Music:

Joeira by Kurup

Capernaum by Khaled Mouzanar

Okami by Nicola Cruz

Peer Gynt Suite No. 1 by Edvard Grieg

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

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

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

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

 

Music:

Joeira by Kurup

Capernaum by Khaled Mouzanar

Okami by Nicola Cruz

Peer Gynt Suite No. 1 by Edvard Grieg


Investigating the Toll of 2-Day Shipping

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

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


Last Wish

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

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

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

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

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

Music:

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

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

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

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

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

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

Music:

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


Shifting Baselines

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

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

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

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


A Dose Of Reality

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


"Defund the Police" revisited

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

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

This interview originally aired as part of our June 12, 2020 program, It’s Going Down.

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

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

This interview originally aired as part of our June 12, 2020 program, It’s Going Down.


No Ado About Much

With the an apparent second wave of COVID-19 in full force, the media are sounding the alarm on a deadly virus growing out of control. But during the Spanish Flu 100 years ago, the media downplayed the pandemic. On this week's show, a look at how the Spanish Flu vanished from our collective memory. Then, how Shakespeare, a British icon, became an American hero. 

1. John Barry [@johnmbarry], author of The Great Influenza, on how America forgot about the pandemic of 1918. Listen.

2. James Shapiro, author of Shakespeare in a Divided America, on what the Brit's plays teach us about life in the USListen.

Music:
Berceuse in D Flat Major, Op. 57 Chopin - Ivan Moravec
Crows of Homer - Gerry O'Beirne
The Dancing Master: Maiden Lane (John Playford) - The Broadside Band & Jeremy Barlow
John’s Book of Alleged Dances (John Adams) - Kronos Quartet
Fife Feature: Lowland’s Away (Roy Watrous) - Gregory S. Balvanz & The US Army Fife and Drum Corps    
Ballad No. 2 in F, Op. 38 (Chopin) - Ivan Moravec
Little Rose is Gone/Billy in the Lowground - Jim TaylorCollection
Frail As a Breeze - Erik Friedlander
The De Lesseps' Dance - Shakespeare in Love Soundtrack
Kiss Me Kate Overture - Kiss Me Kate Soundtrack
Brush Up Your Shakespeare - Kiss Me Kate Soundtrack
Love & the Rehearsal - Shakespeare in Love Soundtrack
Harpsichord - Four Tet

With the an apparent second wave of COVID-19 in full force, the media are sounding the alarm on a deadly virus growing out of control. But during the Spanish Flu 100 years ago, the media downplayed the pandemic. On this week's show, a look at how the Spanish Flu vanished from our collective memory. Then, how Shakespeare, a British icon, became an American hero. 

1. John Barry [@johnmbarry], author of The Great Influenza, on how America forgot about the pandemic of 1918. Listen.

2. James Shapiro, author of Shakespeare in a Divided America, on what the Brit's plays teach us about life in the US. Listen.

Music:Berceuse in D Flat Major, Op. 57 Chopin - Ivan MoravecCrows of Homer - Gerry O'BeirneThe Dancing Master: Maiden Lane (John Playford) - The Broadside Band & Jeremy Barlow John’s Book of Alleged Dances (John Adams) - Kronos QuartetFife Feature: Lowland’s Away (Roy Watrous) - Gregory S. Balvanz & The US Army Fife and Drum Corps    Ballad No. 2 in F, Op. 38 (Chopin) - Ivan MoravecLittle Rose is Gone/Billy in the Lowground - Jim TaylorCollection Frail As a Breeze - Erik FriedlanderThe De Lesseps' Dance - Shakespeare in Love SoundtrackKiss Me Kate Overture - Kiss Me Kate Soundtrack Brush Up Your Shakespeare - Kiss Me Kate SoundtrackLove & the Rehearsal - Shakespeare in Love SoundtrackHarpsichord - Four Tet


Epidemics Show Societies Who They Really Are

Communicable disease has haunted humanity for all of history. As such, the responses to coronavirus in our midst have a grimly timeless quality. In fact, to one scholar, epidemics are a great lens for peering into the values, temperament, infrastructures and moral structures of the societies they attack. Frank M. Snowden is a professor emeritus of the history of medicine at Yale and author of Epidemics and Society: From the Black Death to the Present. An epidemic, he writes, “holds a mirror” to the civilization in which it occurs. In this podcast extra, he speaks to Bob about what we can learn about ourselves from the infectious diseases we've faced, from the bubonic plague in the 14th century to the Ebola outbreak in 2014 to COVID-19 today.

This interview originally aired as a segment in our March 6, 2020 program, Our Bodies, Ourselves.

Communicable disease has haunted humanity for all of history. As such, the responses to coronavirus in our midst have a grimly timeless quality. In fact, to one scholar, epidemics are a great lens for peering into the values, temperament, infrastructures and moral structures of the societies they attack. Frank M. Snowden is a professor emeritus of the history of medicine at Yale and author of Epidemics and Society: From the Black Death to the Present. An epidemic, he writes, “holds a mirror” to the civilization in which it occurs. In this podcast extra, he speaks to Bob about what we can learn about ourselves from the infectious diseases we've faced, from the bubonic plague in the 14th century to the Ebola outbreak in 2014 to COVID-19 today.

This interview originally aired as a segment in our March 6, 2020 program, Our Bodies, Ourselves.


EXTENDED VERSION The Ancient Heresy That Helps Us Understand QAnon

EXTENDED VERSION (includes content we had to leave on the cutting room floor to make the interview fit into the broadcast)

It’s been two weeks since Trump lost the election to Biden. But he and his followers are still claiming victory. Jeff Sharlet, who has been covering the election for Vanity Fair, credits two Christian-adjacent ideas for these claims. The first is the so-called “prosperity gospel”: the notion that, among other things, positive thinking can manifest positive consequences. Even electoral victory in the face of electoral loss. But the problem with prosperity gospel, like day-and-date rapture prophecies, is that when its bets don’t pay off, it’s glaringly obvious.

As prosperity thinking loses its edge for Trump, another strain of fringe Christianity — dating back nearly two millennia — is flourishing. Jeff Sharlet says an ancient heresy, Gnosticism, can help us understand the unifying force of pseudo-intellectualism on the right. Sharlet explains how a gnostic emphasis on "hidden" truths has animated QAnon conspiracies and Trump’s base.

This is the extended version of a segment from our November 20th, 2020 program, Believe It Or Not.

EXTENDED VERSION (includes content we had to leave on the cutting room floor to make the interview fit into the broadcast)

It’s been two weeks since Trump lost the election to Biden. But he and his followers are still claiming victory. Jeff Sharlet, who has been covering the election for Vanity Fair, credits two Christian-adjacent ideas for these claims. The first is the so-called “prosperity gospel”: the notion that, among other things, positive thinking can manifest positive consequences. Even electoral victory in the face of electoral loss. But the problem with prosperity gospel, like day-and-date rapture prophecies, is that when its bets don’t pay off, it’s glaringly obvious.

As prosperity thinking loses its edge for Trump, another strain of fringe Christianity — dating back nearly two millennia — is flourishing. Jeff Sharlet says an ancient heresy, Gnosticism, can help us understand the unifying force of pseudo-intellectualism on the right. Sharlet explains how a gnostic emphasis on "hidden" truths has animated QAnon conspiracies and Trump’s base.

This is the extended version of a segment from our November 20th, 2020 program, Believe It Or Not.


Believe It Or Not

As the pandemic spreads, officials are imposing new public health policies. On this week’s On the Media, why so many of the new rules contradict what science tells us about the virus. Plus, what a fringe early Christian movement can tell us about QAnon. And, a former White House photographer reflects on covering presidents in the pre-Trump era. 

1. Roxanne Khamsi [@rkhamsi], science journalist, on how political leaders have failed to consistently explain the science behind their policies. Listen.

2. Jeff Sharlet [@jeffsharlet], professor of English at Dartmouth College and author of This Brilliant Darkness: A Book of Strangers, explains how an ancient heresy serves as a blueprint for right wing conspiracies. Listen.

3. Pete Souza [@petesouza] examines the role of the chief White House photographer. Listen.

Music from this week's show:

Chopin — Nocturne for piano in B flat minor
Gotan Project — Vuelvo al Sur
Hans Zimmer/The Da Vinci Code soundtrack — There Has To Be Mysteries
Michael W. Smith — Agnus Dei
Sentimental journey (instrumental)

As the pandemic spreads, officials are imposing new public health policies. On this week’s On the Media, why so many of the new rules contradict what science tells us about the virus. Plus, what a fringe early Christian movement can tell us about QAnon. And, a former White House photographer reflects on covering presidents in the pre-Trump era. 

1. Roxanne Khamsi [@rkhamsi], science journalist, on how political leaders have failed to consistently explain the science behind their policies. Listen.

2. Jeff Sharlet [@jeffsharlet], professor of English at Dartmouth College and author of This Brilliant Darkness: A Book of Strangers, explains how an ancient heresy serves as a blueprint for right wing conspiracies. Listen.

3. Pete Souza [@petesouza] examines the role of the chief White House photographer. Listen.

Music from this week's show:

Chopin — Nocturne for piano in B flat minorGotan Project — Vuelvo al SurHans Zimmer/The Da Vinci Code soundtrack — There Has To Be MysteriesMichael W. Smith — Agnus DeiSentimental journey (instrumental)


Rewatching "Contagion" in a Pandemic

Back in February we spoke to Pulitzer Prize–winning science writer Laurie Garrett, author of The Coming Plague, in an episode we called "Black Swans". The coronavirus had yet to make landfall in the US but the anxiety was building. After the segment aired, New York Times critic Wesley Morris told us that after he heard the part where Garrett described her role as a consultant on the movie, "Contagion" he felt compelled to rewatch the 2011 thriller. In the film, competency — specifically, within federal government agencies — is the solution to a destructive crisis. This is comforting to watch, like a sort of public health "West Wing." It is also unnerving, and heavy, to watch the thrilling procedural un-spool as people, on- and off-screen, die. Brooke spoke to Morris in March about how for him, it was the pandemic film that most perfectly fit with the current moment — down to Kate Winslet, playing a dogged pathogenic detective, reminding her colleague to stop touching his face. 

 

Back in February we spoke to Pulitzer Prize–winning science writer Laurie Garrett, author of The Coming Plague, in an episode we called "Black Swans". The coronavirus had yet to make landfall in the US but the anxiety was building. After the segment aired, New York Times critic Wesley Morris told us that after he heard the part where Garrett described her role as a consultant on the movie, "Contagion" he felt compelled to rewatch the 2011 thriller. In the film, competency — specifically, within federal government agencies — is the solution to a destructive crisis. This is comforting to watch, like a sort of public health "West Wing." It is also unnerving, and heavy, to watch the thrilling procedural un-spool as people, on- and off-screen, die. Brooke spoke to Morris in March about how for him, it was the pandemic film that most perfectly fit with the current moment — down to Kate Winslet, playing a dogged pathogenic detective, reminding her colleague to stop touching his face. 

 


Another World Entirely

With President Trump refusing to accept the results of the election, analysts are asking if he’s trying to wage a coup. On this week’s On the Media, why so many Republicans support the president’s claims, despite the evidence. Don’t miss On the Media, from WNYC Studios.

1. Bob on the latest Trumpian Big Lie, concerning the very foundation of democracy. Listen.

2. Casey Newton [@CaseyNewton], author of the Platformer newsletter, on the surging post-election popularity of the social media platforms Parler and MeWe. Listen.

3. Matthew Sheffield [@mattsheffield], former conservative journalist and host of the Theory Of Change podcast, on why he hopes to "free people" from the very media ecosystem he helped build. Listen.

4. Samanth Subramanian [@Samanth_S], journalist, on the Trump administration's assault on public data. Listen.

 

Music:

Hidden Agenda  - Kevin MacLeod
Slow Pulse Conga - William Pasley
Accentuate the Positive - Syd Dale Double Dozen and Alec Gould
Blues: La dolce vita dei Nobili - Nino Rota

 

With President Trump refusing to accept the results of the election, analysts are asking if he’s trying to wage a coup. On this week’s On the Media, why so many Republicans support the president’s claims, despite the evidence. Don’t miss On the Media, from WNYC Studios.

1. Bob on the latest Trumpian Big Lie, concerning the very foundation of democracy. Listen.

2. Casey Newton [@CaseyNewton], author of the Platformer newsletter, on the surging post-election popularity of the social media platforms Parler and MeWe. Listen.

3. Matthew Sheffield [@mattsheffield], former conservative journalist and host of the Theory Of Change podcast, on why he hopes to "free people" from the very media ecosystem he helped build. Listen.

4. Samanth Subramanian [@Samanth_S], journalist, on the Trump administration's assault on public data. Listen.

 

Music:

Hidden Agenda  - Kevin MacLeodSlow Pulse Conga - William PasleyAccentuate the Positive - Syd Dale Double Dozen and Alec GouldBlues: La dolce vita dei Nobili - Nino Rota

 


The Pfizer Vaccine Isn't a Home Run Yet

Pfizer announced Monday that its coronavirus vaccine demonstrated more than 90% effectiveness and no serious bad reactions in trial results — an outcome that should enable the company to obtain an emergency authorization soon. Between the vaccine and the unveiling, also on Monday, of a Biden-led coronavirus task force, it seemed like the rare pandemic-era day in which the good news could compete with the tragic. But Pulitzer Prize–winning science writer Laurie Garrett wrote this week in Foreign Policy that even if this vaccine works as advertised, there are still plenty of reasons to worry about much good it can do. In this podcast extra, Garrett tells Brooke about what she views as caveats to the potential breakthrough. 

CORRECTION: This podcast contains an error concerning the timing of testing after the second dose of Pfizer's coronavirus vaccine candidate. According to a protocol released by Pfizer, Phase 3 study participants were tested for coronavirus "at least 7 days after receipt of the second dose," [emphasis added]. In this interview, Garrett says, "7 days after [the second dose], [participants] got a COVID test. The results presented are what was found at that seven-day point." Rather, the results announced by Pfizer earlier this month were based on testing conducted at least one week after the second dose. 

We reached out to Garrett for additional comment, and she added this: "All [Pfizer's] protocol required was a single test at the 7 day point. Eventually, Pfizer has extended that to 14 days. Since we don’t have any breakdown on numbers in the only published info — press release — we don’t know what % of the vax recipients were tested at 7 days, 8 days, 12 days…..no idea. So all we CAN say is that they all got a minimum of response time before testing. It’s a glass half full, half empty issue."

Pfizer announced Monday that its coronavirus vaccine demonstrated more than 90% effectiveness and no serious bad reactions in trial results — an outcome that should enable the company to obtain an emergency authorization soon. Between the vaccine and the unveiling, also on Monday, of a Biden-led coronavirus task force, it seemed like the rare pandemic-era day in which the good news could compete with the tragic. But Pulitzer Prize–winning science writer Laurie Garrett wrote this week in Foreign Policy that even if this vaccine works as advertised, there are still plenty of reasons to worry about much good it can do. In this podcast extra, Garrett tells Brooke about what she views as caveats to the potential breakthrough. 

CORRECTION: This podcast contains an error concerning the timing of testing after the second dose of Pfizer's coronavirus vaccine candidate. According to a protocol released by Pfizer, Phase 3 study participants were tested for coronavirus "at least 7 days after receipt of the second dose," [emphasis added]. In this interview, Garrett says, "7 days after [the second dose], [participants] got a COVID test. The results presented are what was found at that seven-day point." Rather, the results announced by Pfizer earlier this month were based on testing conducted at least one week after the second dose. 

We reached out to Garrett for additional comment, and she added this: "All [Pfizer's] protocol required was a single test at the 7 day point. Eventually, Pfizer has extended that to 14 days. Since we don’t have any breakdown on numbers in the only published info — press release — we don’t know what % of the vax recipients were tested at 7 days, 8 days, 12 days…..no idea. So all we CAN say is that they all got a minimum of response time before testing. It’s a glass half full, half empty issue."


This Is Us

With Joe Biden approaching victory, Donald Trump and his political allies flooded the internet with conspiracy theories. This week, On the Media examines the misinformation fueling right-wing demonstrations across the country. Plus, why pollsters seemed to get the election wrong — again. And, how the history of the American right presaged the Republican Party's anti-majoritarian turn. 

1. John Mark Hansen, professor of political science at the University of Chicago, explains what exactly it would take to steal a presidential election. Listen.

2. Zeynep Tufecki [@zeynep], associate professor at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, argues in favor of doing away with election forecasting models. Listen.

3. Rick Perlstein [@rickperlstein], author of Reaganland: America's Right Turn 1976-1980, on the history of anti-majoritarian politics on the American right. Listen.

Music from this week's show:

White Man Sleeps — Kronos Quartet
L’Illusionista — Nino Rota
German Lullaby — The Kiboomers
Frail as a Breeze, Part 2 — Erik Friedlander
Wouldn’t It Be Loverly — Fred Hersh

With Joe Biden approaching victory, Donald Trump and his political allies flooded the internet with conspiracy theories. This week, On the Media examines the misinformation fueling right-wing demonstrations across the country. Plus, why pollsters seemed to get the election wrong — again. And, how the history of the American right presaged the Republican Party's anti-majoritarian turn. 

1. John Mark Hansen, professor of political science at the University of Chicago, explains what exactly it would take to steal a presidential election. Listen.

2. Zeynep Tufecki [@zeynep], associate professor at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, argues in favor of doing away with election forecasting models. Listen.

3. Rick Perlstein [@rickperlstein], author of Reaganland: America's Right Turn 1976-1980, on the history of anti-majoritarian politics on the American right. Listen.

Music from this week's show:

White Man Sleeps — Kronos QuartetL’Illusionista — Nino RotaGerman Lullaby — The KiboomersFrail as a Breeze, Part 2 — Erik FriedlanderWouldn’t It Be Loverly — Fred Hersh


Imprecision 2020

For election night 2020, while cable news had white boards and talking heads, the OTM crew hosted comedians, singers and friends for some great conversation with occasional updates on what was happening in the presidential race. In this podcast extra we highlight one of those conversations.

Mychal Denzel Smith is a writer and fellow at Type Media Center. Brooke spoke to him about his most recent book titled Stakes Is High: After The American Dream which focuses on the perils, for the individual, and the nation of embracing the American myth, better known as the American Dream, the idea that everything is possible for those who work hard. And she asked him what kind of changes the outcome of this election might herald.

To round out the broadcast, Bob and Brooke answered some audience questions...and revisited some of the issues in the conversation they had the day after the 2016 election, Now What? 

For election night 2020, while cable news had white boards and talking heads, the OTM crew hosted comedians, singers and friends for some great conversation with occasional updates on what was happening in the presidential race. In this podcast extra we highlight one of those conversations.

Mychal Denzel Smith is a writer and fellow at Type Media Center. Brooke spoke to him about his most recent book titled Stakes Is High: After The American Dream which focuses on the perils, for the individual, and the nation of embracing the American myth, better known as the American Dream, the idea that everything is possible for those who work hard. And she asked him what kind of changes the outcome of this election might herald.

To round out the broadcast, Bob and Brooke answered some audience questions...and revisited some of the issues in the conversation they had the day after the 2016 election, Now What? 


Chaos Reigns

The past few decades have been a time of deep partisan animosity. On this week’s On The Media, how we might move beyond the current polarization. Plus, how one man’s obsession with organizing the natural world led him down a dark path. 

1. Lilliana Mason [@lilymasonphd], political psychologist at the University of Maryland, on why our political landscape became so polarized, and where we might go from here. Listen.

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

 

Music:

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

John’s Book of Alleged Dances - Kronos Quartet

Nocturne for Piano in B flat minor - Chopin

Il Casanova di Federico Fellini

Death Have Mercy/Breakaway - Regina Carter


The Amazing Randi (just don't call him a magician)

Famed conjurer, illusionist -- and even more famously exposer of supernatural fraud --  James Randi died last week at his Florida home at the age of 92. Co-founder of the Committee for Skeptical Inquiry the Amazing Randi tirelessly exposed the deceit behind (as his New York Times obituary summarized): "spoon bending, mind reading, fortunetelling, ghost whispering, water dowsing, faith healing, U.F.O.-spotting and sundry varieties of bamboozlement, bunco, chicanery, flimflam, flummery, humbuggery, mountebankery, pettifoggery and out-and-out quacksalvery."

He’s lauded as a great “debunker,” but he didn’t like that descriptor, preferring “investigator.” And if you didn’t wish to be corrected, it was also wise not to call him a magician. Because “magic” isn’t really magic, is it? 

For The Genius Dialogues (Bob's Audible.com podcast series of interviews with MacArthur Genius Grant laureates) Bob visited the then 87-year-old Randi in Plantation, Florida. Here is that conversation. 

Famed conjurer, illusionist -- and even more famously exposer of supernatural fraud --  James Randi died last week at his Florida home at the age of 92. Co-founder of the Committee for Skeptical Inquiry the Amazing Randi tirelessly exposed the deceit behind (as his New York Times obituary summarized): "spoon bending, mind reading, fortunetelling, ghost whispering, water dowsing, faith healing, U.F.O.-spotting and sundry varieties of bamboozlement, bunco, chicanery, flimflam, flummery, humbuggery, mountebankery, pettifoggery and out-and-out quacksalvery."

He’s lauded as a great “debunker,” but he didn’t like that descriptor, preferring “investigator.” And if you didn’t wish to be corrected, it was also wise not to call him a magician. Because “magic” isn’t really magic, is it? 

For The Genius Dialogues (Bob's Audible.com podcast series of interviews with MacArthur Genius Grant laureates) Bob visited the then 87-year-old Randi in Plantation, Florida. Here is that conversation. 


The Games We Play

With the election underway, both camps are pushing their “get out the vote” messages. This week, On the Media looks at the origins of the modern presidential campaign, and how livestream technology is transforming the look and feel of voter outreach. Plus, how a mysterious network of fake news sites duped real journalists into creating propaganda. And, the empty, recurring trope of Republicans "distancing" themselves from Trump.

1. Makena Kelly [@kellymakena] explains the rising role of fandom in politics, and how Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez's event on Twitch this week was a landmark in online organizing. Listen.

2. Greg Mitchell [@GregMitch] and Jill Lepore on how modern methods of seeding lies and hysteria into a campaign can be traced back to a single race in 1934. Listen.

3. Priyanjana Bengani [@acookiecrumbles] on the emergence of "pink slime" news outlets, which take legitimate journalism and use it as a cover for more nefarious goals at home and abroad. Also featuring Pat Morris and Laura Walters [@walterslaura]. Listen.

4. Bob [@Bobosphere] explains why outlets need to stop saying Republicans like Ben Sasse are "breaking" with Trump. Listen.

With the election underway, both camps are pushing their “get out the vote” messages. This week, On the Media looks at the origins of the modern presidential campaign, and how livestream technology is transforming the look and feel of voter outreach. Plus, how a mysterious network of fake news sites duped real journalists into creating propaganda. And, the empty, recurring trope of Republicans "distancing" themselves from Trump.

1. Makena Kelly [@kellymakena] explains the rising role of fandom in politics, and how Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez's event on Twitch this week was a landmark in online organizing. Listen.

2. Greg Mitchell [@GregMitch] and Jill Lepore on how modern methods of seeding lies and hysteria into a campaign can be traced back to a single race in 1934. Listen.

3. Priyanjana Bengani [@acookiecrumbles] on the emergence of "pink slime" news outlets, which take legitimate journalism and use it as a cover for more nefarious goals at home and abroad. Also featuring Pat Morris and Laura Walters [@walterslaura]. Listen.

4. Bob [@Bobosphere] explains why outlets need to stop saying Republicans like Ben Sasse are "breaking" with Trump. Listen.


OTM presents - Blindspot Ep. 5: The Idea

For this week's podcast extra, we're once more highlighting the work of our colleague Jim O'Grady and his brilliant podcast "Blindspot: The Road to 9/11." This is episode 5: The Idea.

The World Trade Center was built with soaring expectations. Completed in 1973, its architect, Minoru Yamasaki, hoped the towers would stand as “a representation of man’s belief in humanity” and “world peace.” He even took inspiration from the Great Mosque in the holy city of Mecca with its tall minarets looking down on a sprawling plaza. What he did not expect was that the buildings would become a symbol to some of American imperialism and the strangling grip of global capitalism.

Our story picks up in Manila — January 6th, 1995 — where police respond to an apartment fire and uncover a plot to assassinate the Pope. A suspect gives up his boss in the scheme: Ramzi Yousef, the mastermind of the 1993 World Trade Center bombing. Yousef has been on the run for two years and has disappeared again. Port Authority Detective Matthew Besheer and FBI Special Agent Frank Pellegrino fly to Manila to follow his trail. They learn that Yousef has a horrifying attack in the works involving bombs on a dozen airplanes, rigged to explode simultaneously. President Bill Clinton grounds all U.S. flights from the Pacific as the era of enhanced airline security begins. Yousef’s plot is foiled. But what it reveals about his intentions is chilling. 

For this week's podcast extra, we're once more highlighting the work of our colleague Jim O'Grady and his brilliant podcast "Blindspot: The Road to 9/11." This is episode 5: The Idea.

The World Trade Center was built with soaring expectations. Completed in 1973, its architect, Minoru Yamasaki, hoped the towers would stand as “a representation of man’s belief in humanity” and “world peace.” He even took inspiration from the Great Mosque in the holy city of Mecca with its tall minarets looking down on a sprawling plaza. What he did not expect was that the buildings would become a symbol to some of American imperialism and the strangling grip of global capitalism.

Our story picks up in Manila — January 6th, 1995 — where police respond to an apartment fire and uncover a plot to assassinate the Pope. A suspect gives up his boss in the scheme: Ramzi Yousef, the mastermind of the 1993 World Trade Center bombing. Yousef has been on the run for two years and has disappeared again. Port Authority Detective Matthew Besheer and FBI Special Agent Frank Pellegrino fly to Manila to follow his trail. They learn that Yousef has a horrifying attack in the works involving bombs on a dozen airplanes, rigged to explode simultaneously. President Bill Clinton grounds all U.S. flights from the Pacific as the era of enhanced airline security begins. Yousef’s plot is foiled. But what it reveals about his intentions is chilling. 


Emergency Mode

Premonitions of Election Day violence abound, especially with the growing visibility of extremist militia groups. This week, On The Media looks at a little-known app fueling those groups’ recruitment and organizing. Plus, why skepticism of election forecasts might be a good thing. And, how election coverage has changed (and stagnated) since 2016.

1. Jay Rosen [@jayrosen_nyu], media critic and author of the blog PressThink, on how political journalism needs to switch to an "emergency" setting. Listen.

2. Nate Silver [@NateSilver538], founder and editor-in-chief at FiveThirtyEight, on how his election forecast model has changed (and remained the same) since 2016. Listen.

3. Sam Jackson [@sjacks26], professor at University of Albany, on the debate over "militia member" vs. "domestic terrorist." Listen.

4. OTM reporter Micah Loewinger [@MicahLoewinger] investigates how a walkie-talkie app called Zello is enabling armed white supremacist groups to gather and recruit. Listen.

Music from this week's show:
Mysterioso — Kronos Quartet
Full Tense — Clint Mansell and Kronos Quartet
I Saw The Light — Hank Williams 
I Saw The Light — Hank Williams (reprise)

Premonitions of Election Day violence abound, especially with the growing visibility of extremist militia groups. This week, On The Media looks at a little-known app fueling those groups’ recruitment and organizing. Plus, why skepticism of election forecasts might be a good thing. And, how election coverage has changed (and stagnated) since 2016.

1. Jay Rosen [@jayrosen_nyu], media critic and author of the blog PressThink, on how political journalism needs to switch to an "emergency" setting. Listen.

2. Nate Silver [@NateSilver538], founder and editor-in-chief at FiveThirtyEight, on how his election forecast model has changed (and remained the same) since 2016. Listen.

3. Sam Jackson [@sjacks26], professor at University of Albany, on the debate over "militia member" vs. "domestic terrorist." Listen.

4. OTM reporter Micah Loewinger [@MicahLoewinger] investigates how a walkie-talkie app called Zello is enabling armed white supremacist groups to gather and recruit. Listen.

Music from this week's show: Mysterioso — Kronos Quartet Full Tense — Clint Mansell and Kronos Quartet I Saw The Light — Hank Williams I Saw The Light — Hank Williams (reprise)


Brooke speaks with Lulu Miller about her new book, "Why Fish Don't Exist"

Earlier this month, Stanford University announced it would rename Jordan Hallnamed for David Starr Jordan, noted natural historian, ichthyologist, and Stanford's founding president back in 1891. Jordan's name is also coming off of several sites at Indiana University, where he also served as president. So who is this long-heralded, lately-demoted David Starr Jordan? He was, among many other things, a great obsession of Lulu Miller, co-host of Radiolab and author of the book, Why Fish Don't Exist: A Story of Loss, Love, and the Hidden Order of Life. In this podcast extra, Brooke and Lulu discuss Jordan's history, as well as the author's obsession with him, as a supreme taxonomist who sought determinedly to order the natural world — at least, in part, by finding and naming its fish and later, notoriously, by ranking its people. 

Earlier this month, Stanford University announced it would rename Jordan Hall, named for David Starr Jordan, noted natural historian, ichthyologist, and Stanford's founding president back in 1891. Jordan's name is also coming off of several sites at Indiana University, where he also served as president. So who is this long-heralded, lately-demoted David Starr Jordan? He was, among many other things, a great obsession of Lulu Miller, co-host of Radiolab and author of the book, Why Fish Don't Exist: A Story of Loss, Love, and the Hidden Order of Life. In this podcast extra, Brooke and Lulu discuss Jordan's history, as well as the author's obsession with him, as a supreme taxonomist who sought determinedly to order the natural world — at least, in part, by finding and naming its fish and later, notoriously, by ranking its people. 


The Unlucky Many

GOP Senator Mike Lee tweeted this week that “we are not a democracy.” On this week’s On the Media, why the Republican party’s political future may depend upon anti-democratic — small-’d’ — ideas. Plus, how the good luck of the so-called “silent” generation has shaped the politics of Joe Biden. And, how the bad luck of the millennial generation might shape our collective future.

1. Nicole Hemmer [@pastpunditry], Columbia University research scholar and author of Messengers of the Right: Conservative Media and the Transformation of American Politics, on the origins and evolution of the "republic, not a democracy" slogan. Listen.

2. Matthew Sitman [@MatthewSitman], associate editor at the Catholic journal Commonweal and co-host of the Know Your Enemy podcast, on the anti-democratic state of the Republican party. Listen.

3. Elwood Carlson, sociology professor at Florida State University, on the "silent generation," members of which comprise much of the governing elite. Listen.

4. Anne Helen Petersen [@annehelen], author of Can’t Even: How Millennials Became the Burnout Generation, on the downwardly mobile millennial generation. Listen.

Music from this week's show:
Prelude of Light — John Zorn  
Invitation to a Suicide — John Zorn
The Glass House - Curtains — David Bergeaud
Trance Dance — John Zorn
Whistle While You Work — Bunny Berigan And His Orchestra
Young At Heart — Brad Mehldau
The Invisibles — John Zorn

GOP Senator Mike Lee tweeted this week that “we are not a democracy.” On this week’s On the Media, why the Republican party’s political future may depend upon anti-democratic — small-’d’ — ideas. Plus, how the good luck of the so-called “silent” generation has shaped the politics of Joe Biden. And, how the bad luck of the millennial generation might shape our collective future.

1. Nicole Hemmer [@pastpunditry], Columbia University research scholar and author of Messengers of the Right: Conservative Media and the Transformation of American Politics, on the origins and evolution of the "republic, not a democracy" slogan. Listen.

2. Matthew Sitman [@MatthewSitman], associate editor at the Catholic journal Commonweal and co-host of the Know Your Enemy podcast, on the anti-democratic state of the Republican party. Listen.

3. Elwood Carlson, sociology professor at Florida State University, on the "silent generation," members of which comprise much of the governing elite. Listen.

4. Anne Helen Petersen [@annehelen], author of Can’t Even: How Millennials Became the Burnout Generation, on the downwardly mobile millennial generation. Listen.

Music from this week's show:Prelude of Light — John Zorn  Invitation to a Suicide — John ZornThe Glass House - Curtains — David BergeaudTrance Dance — John ZornWhistle While You Work — Bunny Berigan And His OrchestraYoung At Heart — Brad MehldauThe Invisibles — John Zorn


Trump's War on Critical Race Theory

The Trump administration issued executive orders last month that ban federal workers from participating in anti-racism trainings. Under the orders, such phrases as “critical race theory” and “white privilege” are verboten during executive branch on-boardings. The White House has previously issued guidance meant to stifle the teaching of negative aspects of American history — spurred, at least in part, by the overwhelmingly racist backlash to the New York Times' 1619 project. In this podcast extra, Bob talks with Georgetown law professor Paul Butler about how the president is using executive authority to curate a culture of white ignorance

The Trump administration issued executive orders last month that ban federal workers from participating in anti-racism trainings. Under the orders, such phrases as “critical race theory” and “white privilege” are verboten during executive branch on-boardings. The White House has previously issued guidance meant to stifle the teaching of negative aspects of American history — spurred, at least in part, by the overwhelmingly racist backlash to the New York Times' 1619 project. In this podcast extra, Bob talks with Georgetown law professor Paul Butler about how the president is using executive authority to curate a culture of white ignorance


God Bless

President Trump has once more tried to cast himself as an ally of the Christian right — this time, by nominating Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court. This week, On the Media explains how the religious right goes beyond white evangelicals and the persistent allure of persecution narratives in Christianity. Plus, we examine the overlooked religious left. And, we explore how the image of Jesus as a white man was popularized in the 20th century, and why it matters. 

1. Andrew Whitehead [@ndrewwhitehead], professor of sociology at Indiana University – Purdue University Indianapolis, explains how Christian nationalism holds the religious right together. Listen.

2. Candida Moss [@candidamoss], professor of theology and religion at the University of Birmingham in the U.K., on how false claims of persecution date back centuries, to the early Christian church. Listen.

3. Jack Jenkins [@jackmjenkins], national reporter at Religion News Service, explains why the religious left is harder to define, and its influence more difficult to measure, than its right-wing counterpart. Listen.

4. OTM reporter Eloise Blondiau [@eloiseblondiau] examines how "White Jesus" came to America, how the image became ubiquitous, and why it matters. Listen.

 

Music from this week's show:

Ave Maria — Pascal Jean and Jean Brenders
Amazing Grace — Robert D. Sands, Jr.
I Got a Right to Sing the Blues — Billy Kyle
What’s That Sound? — Michael Andrews
Wade in the Water — Charlie Haden and Hank Jones
For the Creator — Hildegard von Bingen
Walking by Flashlight — Maria Schneider (The Thompson Fields)

President Trump has once more tried to cast himself as an ally of the Christian right — this time, by nominating Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court. This week, On the Media explains how the religious right goes beyond white evangelicals and the persistent allure of persecution narratives in Christianity. Plus, we examine the overlooked religious left. And, we explore how the image of Jesus as a white man was popularized in the 20th century, and why it matters. 

1. Andrew Whitehead [@ndrewwhitehead], professor of sociology at Indiana University – Purdue University Indianapolis, explains how Christian nationalism holds the religious right together. Listen.

2. Candida Moss [@candidamoss], professor of theology and religion at the University of Birmingham in the U.K., on how false claims of persecution date back centuries, to the early Christian church. Listen.

3. Jack Jenkins [@jackmjenkins], national reporter at Religion News Service, explains why the religious left is harder to define, and its influence more difficult to measure, than its right-wing counterpart. Listen.

4. OTM reporter Eloise Blondiau [@eloiseblondiau] examines how "White Jesus" came to America, how the image became ubiquitous, and why it matters. Listen.

 

Music from this week's show:

Ave Maria — Pascal Jean and Jean BrendersAmazing Grace — Robert D. Sands, Jr.I Got a Right to Sing the Blues — Billy KyleWhat’s That Sound? — Michael AndrewsWade in the Water — Charlie Haden and Hank JonesFor the Creator — Hildegard von BingenWalking by Flashlight — Maria Schneider (The Thompson Fields)


Covering the Proud Boys, Without Platforming Them

At the debate between Joe Biden and President Trump in Cleveland this Tuesday, moderator Chris Wallace of Fox News gave the president an explicit opportunity to condemn white supremacy and white supremacist organizations. Trump deflected, but when Wallace and Biden prompted him to denounce the Proud Boys — a far-right fraternal organization known for enacting political violence — the president instructed the group members to "stand back and stand by."

The fiasco raises a question the press has been grappling with for the better part of four years: how does one report on a moment like that responsibly? Bob speaks with Dr. Joan Donovan, Research Director of the Shorenstein Center on Media, Politics and Public Policy at Harvard University, about how the press can cover the president's remarks without amplifying far-right ideologies.

At the debate between Joe Biden and President Trump in Cleveland this Tuesday, moderator Chris Wallace of Fox News gave the president an explicit opportunity to condemn white supremacy and white supremacist organizations. Trump deflected, but when Wallace and Biden prompted him to denounce the Proud Boys — a far-right fraternal organization known for enacting political violence — the president instructed the group members to "stand back and stand by."

The fiasco raises a question the press has been grappling with for the better part of four years: how does one report on a moment like that responsibly? Bob speaks with Dr. Joan Donovan, Research Director of the Shorenstein Center on Media, Politics and Public Policy at Harvard University, about how the press can cover the president's remarks without amplifying far-right ideologies.


The Politicization of the Justice Department Press Shop

Federal investigations seldom begin with an uproar. Internal rules keep fledgling probes on the down-low, lest evidence — or reputations — be destroyed. Before elections the Justice Department is (historically) especially mum, so as not to influence voters on the basis of mere suspicion. Not lately, however. In this pod extra, Bob talks with writer and former federal prosecutor Ankush Khardori about the transformation of a historically circumspect Justice Department press office into a Trump propaganda machine.

Federal investigations seldom begin with an uproar. Internal rules keep fledgling probes on the down-low, lest evidence — or reputations — be destroyed. Before elections the Justice Department is (historically) especially mum, so as not to influence voters on the basis of mere suspicion. Not lately, however. In this pod extra, Bob talks with writer and former federal prosecutor Ankush Khardori about the transformation of a historically circumspect Justice Department press office into a Trump propaganda machine.


Spheres of Influence

Conspiracy theories are spreading like wildfire on YouTube, Twitter, and Facebook. This week, On the Media examines the role their slicker sister site Instagram plays in spreading disinformation online. Plus, a look at the "real" Paris Hilton in a new documentary. And, what the world of reality dating shows can teach us about America’s tenuous grasp on the truth.

1. OTM Reporter Leah Feder [@leahfeder] investigates how QAnon has infiltrated and donned the Instagram aesthetic, contributing to a toxic stew known as "conspirituality." Listen.

2. Director Alexandra Dean [@alexhaggiagdean] explains the process of making a new Youtube documentary called This is Paris, which paints a wholly unrecognizable portrait of the mogul. Listen.

3. OTM Producer Xandra Ellin [@xandraellin], tells us what watching reality dating shows has taught her about the truth. Listen.

 

Conspiracy theories are spreading like wildfire on YouTube, Twitter, and Facebook. This week, On the Media examines the role their slicker sister site Instagram plays in spreading disinformation online. Plus, a look at the "real" Paris Hilton in a new documentary. And, what the world of reality dating shows can teach us about America’s tenuous grasp on the truth.

1. OTM Reporter Leah Feder [@leahfeder] investigates how QAnon has infiltrated and donned the Instagram aesthetic, contributing to a toxic stew known as "conspirituality." Listen.

2. Director Alexandra Dean [@alexhaggiagdean] explains the process of making a new Youtube documentary called This is Paris, which paints a wholly unrecognizable portrait of the mogul. Listen.

3. OTM Producer Xandra Ellin [@xandraellin], tells us what watching reality dating shows has taught her about the truth. Listen.

 


Better Questions About Amy Coney Barrett's Faith

As Republicans rush to nominate a judge to fill the late Ruth Bader Ginsburg's seat, Amy Coney Barrett has emerged as a frontrunner. Democrats have plenty to fear about her appointment. But instead of poring over her judicial record, many of Barrett’s critics are making assumptions about how she might preside on the court based on her faith. Newsweek published a piece — now corrected — that claimed Barrett's faith community, called People of Praise, inspired Margaret Atwood's The Handmaid's Tale. Others inferred that when Barrett used the Christian phrase "Kingdom of God" she meant that she favored a theocracy. It’s a replay of sorts of her confirmation hearing for her appeals court seat in 2017. Whether or not Barrett is revealed to be Trump's pick, she will be remembered for inspiring some bad takes on religion.

So what assumptions about religion are distracting journalists? And what better questions should be put to Barrett about her faith and its role in her judicial decision making? In this podcast extra, Brooke speaks to Michael O'Loughlin, national correspondent at America Media, a Catholic news organization, and host of the podcast Plague: Untold Stories of AIDS and the Catholic Church.

As Republicans rush to nominate a judge to fill the late Ruth Bader Ginsburg's seat, Amy Coney Barrett has emerged as a frontrunner. Democrats have plenty to fear about her appointment. But instead of poring over her judicial record, many of Barrett’s critics are making assumptions about how she might preside on the court based on her faith. Newsweek published a piece — now corrected — that claimed Barrett's faith community, called People of Praise, inspired Margaret Atwood's The Handmaid's Tale. Others inferred that when Barrett used the Christian phrase "Kingdom of God" she meant that she favored a theocracy. It’s a replay of sorts of her confirmation hearing for her appeals court seat in 2017. Whether or not Barrett is revealed to be Trump's pick, she will be remembered for inspiring some bad takes on religion.

So what assumptions about religion are distracting journalists? And what better questions should be put to Barrett about her faith and its role in her judicial decision making? In this podcast extra, Brooke speaks to Michael O'Loughlin, national correspondent at America Media, a Catholic news organization, and host of the podcast Plague: Untold Stories of AIDS and the Catholic Church.


The Wrong Fires

As wildfires blaze across the United States, some right-wing politicians and pundits are blaming racial justice protesters. On this week’s On the Media, how to stay focused on the realities of climate change when everything is politicized. Plus, the mistakes we make when we talk about human trafficking. And, the Gamergate playbook is the template for a coordinated attack on Netflix and an indie film on its platform.

1. Dave Karpf [@davekarpf], professor at George Washington University's School of Media and Public Affairs, on the tension between business-as-usual campaign coverage and serious concerns about election integrity. Listen.

2. Kate Knibbs [@Knibbs], senior writer at Wired, on the Cuties controversy. Listen.

3. Michael Hobbes [@RottenInDenmark], senior enterprise reporter at Huffington Post, on the disastrous effects of misreporting on child trafficking. Listen.

4. Amy Westervelt [@amywestervelt], climate journalist and host of the podcast "Drilled," on wildfire misinformation. Listen.

As wildfires blaze across the United States, some right-wing politicians and pundits are blaming racial justice protesters. On this week’s On the Media, how to stay focused on the realities of climate change when everything is politicized. Plus, the mistakes we make when we talk about human trafficking. And, the Gamergate playbook is the template for a coordinated attack on Netflix and an indie film on its platform.

1. Dave Karpf [@davekarpf], professor at George Washington University's School of Media and Public Affairs, on the tension between business-as-usual campaign coverage and serious concerns about election integrity. Listen.

2. Kate Knibbs [@Knibbs], senior writer at Wired, on the Cuties controversy. Listen.

3. Michael Hobbes [@RottenInDenmark], senior enterprise reporter at Huffington Post, on the disastrous effects of misreporting on child trafficking. Listen.

4. Amy Westervelt [@amywestervelt], climate journalist and host of the podcast "Drilled," on wildfire misinformation. Listen.


Joe Rogan: Debate Moderator?

Earlier this year we aired a profile of Joe Rogan. The unbelievably popular podcast host was in the headlines because then-presidential candidate Bernie Sanders had gone on his show — resulting in a kerfuffle in the progressive camp, because of Rogans misogyny and racism. He's back in the headlines again this week after Trump tweeted that he would gladly participate in a debate hosted by Rogan.

The fact that Joe Rogan wields so much influence is itself a kind of a head-scratcher for many coastal media observers. “Why Is Joe Rogan So Popular?” is the title of a profile in The Atlantic by Devin Gordon, a writer who immersed himself in Joe Rogan's podcast and lifestyle to understand his enormous popularity. In this segment, first aired in January, he and Brooke discuss Rogan's complicated appeal. 

Earlier this year we aired a profile of Joe Rogan. The unbelievably popular podcast host was in the headlines because then-presidential candidate Bernie Sanders had gone on his show — resulting in a kerfuffle in the progressive camp, because of Rogans misogyny and racism. He's back in the headlines again this week after Trump tweeted that he would gladly participate in a debate hosted by Rogan.

The fact that Joe Rogan wields so much influence is itself a kind of a head-scratcher for many coastal media observers. “Why Is Joe Rogan So Popular?” is the title of a profile in The Atlantic by Devin Gordon, a writer who immersed himself in Joe Rogan's podcast and lifestyle to understand his enormous popularity. In this segment, first aired in January, he and Brooke discuss Rogan's complicated appeal. 


What To Expect When You’re Electing

Voters looking for a quick resolution this November might have to wait longer than usual to learn who won the presidency. On this week’s On the Media, a look at what we might expect as election night approaches. Plus, lessons on electoral chaos from presidential contests past. And, how QAnon is moving from the web to the streets.

1. Walter Shapiro [@MrWalterShapiro], fellow at the Brennan Center, on why TV news outlets need to be more comfortable with uncertainty on election night. Listen.

2. Renee DiResta [@noUpside], Stanford Internet Observatory research manager, on how social media chaos sown by domestic actors could have disastrous consequences on election night. Listen.

3. Ed Kilgore [@Ed_Kilgore], political columnist at New York Magazine, on the what we can learn from the contentious election of 1876. Listen.

4. Brandy Zadrozny [@BrandyZadrozny], NBC News investigative reporter, on how QAnon falsehoods are motivating seemingly innocuous protests to "save our children" nationwide. Listen.

 

Music from this week's show:

Sneaky Snitch — Kevin MacLeod
The Builder — Kevin MacLeod
In the Hall of the Mountain King — Kevin MacLeod
Hidden Agenda — Kevin MacLeod
Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairies — Kevin MacLeod

Voters looking for a quick resolution this November might have to wait longer than usual to learn who won the presidency. On this week’s On the Media, a look at what we might expect as election night approaches. Plus, lessons on electoral chaos from presidential contests past. And, how QAnon is moving from the web to the streets.

1. Walter Shapiro [@MrWalterShapiro], fellow at the Brennan Center, on why TV news outlets need to be more comfortable with uncertainty on election night. Listen.

2. Renee DiResta [@noUpside], Stanford Internet Observatory research manager, on how social media chaos sown by domestic actors could have disastrous consequences on election night. Listen.

3. Ed Kilgore [@Ed_Kilgore], political columnist at New York Magazine, on the what we can learn from the contentious election of 1876. Listen.

4. Brandy Zadrozny [@BrandyZadrozny], NBC News investigative reporter, on how QAnon falsehoods are motivating seemingly innocuous protests to "save our children" nationwide. Listen.

 

Music from this week's show:

Sneaky Snitch — Kevin MacLeodThe Builder — Kevin MacLeodIn the Hall of the Mountain King — Kevin MacLeodHidden Agenda — Kevin MacLeodDance of the Sugar Plum Fairies — Kevin MacLeod


OTM presents - Blindspot: The Road to 9/11

Every now and then we like to feature the work of our colleagues here at our producing station, WNYC. This week we want to introduce you to a new podcast a co-production of HISTORY and WNYC hosted by reporter, Jim O'Grady. Blindspot: Road to 9/11 is an eight part series that uses the voices of U.S. government and intelligence officials, national security experts, reporters, informants, and associates of the terrorists to tell the little-known story of the lead up to the events of September 11th 2001.

This is episode one: The Bullet. The 9/11 attacks were so much more than a bolt from the blue on a crisp September morning. They were more than a decade in the making. The story starts in a Midtown Manhattan hotel ballroom in 1990. Shots ring out and the extremist rabbi, Meir Kahane, lies mortally wounded. His assassin, El-Sayyid Nosair, is connected to members of a Brooklyn mosque who are training to fight with Islamic freedom fighters in Afghanistan. NYPD Detective Louis Napoli and FBI Special Agent John Anticev catch the case, and start unraveling a conspiracy that is taking place in plain sight by blending into the tumult of the city. It is animated by an emerging ideology: violent jihad.

Listen wherever you get your podcasts. 

 

Every now and then we like to feature the work of our colleagues here at our producing station, WNYC. This week we want to introduce you to a new podcast a co-production of HISTORY and WNYC hosted by reporter, Jim O'Grady. Blindspot: Road to 9/11 is an eight part series that uses the voices of U.S. government and intelligence officials, national security experts, reporters, informants, and associates of the terrorists to tell the little-known story of the lead up to the events of September 11th 2001.

This is episode one: The Bullet. The 9/11 attacks were so much more than a bolt from the blue on a crisp September morning. They were more than a decade in the making. The story starts in a Midtown Manhattan hotel ballroom in 1990. Shots ring out and the extremist rabbi, Meir Kahane, lies mortally wounded. His assassin, El-Sayyid Nosair, is connected to members of a Brooklyn mosque who are training to fight with Islamic freedom fighters in Afghanistan. NYPD Detective Louis Napoli and FBI Special Agent John Anticev catch the case, and start unraveling a conspiracy that is taking place in plain sight by blending into the tumult of the city. It is animated by an emerging ideology: violent jihad.

Listen wherever you get your podcasts. 

 


Armed and Dangerous

Armed right-wingers are stoking violence in cities across the country. On this week’s On the Media, a look at the origins of the American militia movement. Plus, as things heat up, Facebook is fanning the flames. And, in the face of an incendiary headline from the Kenosha News, a digital editor resigns.

1. John Temple [@johntemplebooks], author of Up in Arms: How the Bundy Family Hijacked Public Lands, Outfoxed the Federal Government, and Ignited America’s Patriot Movement, on the evolution of right-wing militias in the United States. Listen.

2. Julia Carrie Wong [@juliacarriew], senior technology reporter for The Guardian, on how Facebook is creating the conditions for violence on the streets. Listen.

3. Daniel Thompson [@olfashionednews], former digital editor for the Kenosha News, on his decision to resign over an editorial stand-off. Listen.

Armed right-wingers are stoking violence in cities across the country. On this week’s On the Media, a look at the origins of the American militia movement. Plus, as things heat up, Facebook is fanning the flames. And, in the face of an incendiary headline from the Kenosha News, a digital editor resigns.

1. John Temple [@johntemplebooks], author of Up in Arms: How the Bundy Family Hijacked Public Lands, Outfoxed the Federal Government, and Ignited America’s Patriot Movement, on the evolution of right-wing militias in the United States. Listen.

2. Julia Carrie Wong [@juliacarriew], senior technology reporter for The Guardian, on how Facebook is creating the conditions for violence on the streets. Listen.

3. Daniel Thompson [@olfashionednews], former digital editor for the Kenosha News, on his decision to resign over an editorial stand-off. Listen.


The Urban Exodus That Wasn't

As the president continues his verbal assault on America's urban centers, presenting nightmare scenarios of what will happen to the suburbs absent his protection, the story of a pandemic-induced mass migration from cities has proliferated in the media: families fleeing increasingly hellish virus-infested urban wastelands, making their way into the safe, idyllic suburbs where bluebirds sing, kids roam free and there’s a Mattress Firm in every strip mall. 

It all makes so much sense. But it's not true.

Jeff Andrews wrote about this media myth in a recent Curbed article called No, the Pandemic Is Not Emptying Out America’s Cities. In this podcast extra, Andrews joined Bob to dissect the tale of the urban flight that wasn't.  

As the president continues his verbal assault on America's urban centers, presenting nightmare scenarios of what will happen to the suburbs absent his protection, the story of a pandemic-induced mass migration from cities has proliferated in the media: families fleeing increasingly hellish virus-infested urban wastelands, making their way into the safe, idyllic suburbs where bluebirds sing, kids roam free and there’s a Mattress Firm in every strip mall. 

It all makes so much sense. But it's not true.

Jeff Andrews wrote about this media myth in a recent Curbed article called No, the Pandemic Is Not Emptying Out America’s Cities. In this podcast extra, Andrews joined Bob to dissect the tale of the urban flight that wasn't.  


Bizarro World

At the Republican National Convention, Trump advisor Larry Kudlow said the pandemic “was awful.” On this week’s On the Media, why some politicians and educators are using the past tense to describe an active threat. Plus, how COVID could prompt long-term changes to American higher ed.

1. James Fallows [@JamesFallows] on the contrasting spectacles of this year's virtual Democratic and Republican National Conventions. Listen.

2. Scott Galloway [@profgalloway], professor of marketing at NYU and host of Pivot Podcast, on why so many colleges and universities decided to reopen despite the pandemic, and what it tells us about the future of higher education. Listen.

3. OTM producer/reporter Micah Loewinger [@MicahLoewinger] tells the story of how remote learning saved his friend’s life. Listen.

At the Republican National Convention, Trump advisor Larry Kudlow said the pandemic “was awful.” On this week’s On the Media, why some politicians and educators are using the past tense to describe an active threat. Plus, how COVID could prompt long-term changes to American higher ed.

1. James Fallows [@JamesFallows] on the contrasting spectacles of this year's virtual Democratic and Republican National Conventions. Listen.

2. Scott Galloway [@profgalloway], professor of marketing at NYU and host of Pivot Podcast, on why so many colleges and universities decided to reopen despite the pandemic, and what it tells us about the future of higher education. Listen.

3. OTM producer/reporter Micah Loewinger [@MicahLoewinger] tells the story of how remote learning saved his friend’s life. Listen.


With #SaveTheChildren Rallies, QAnon Sneaks Into The Offline World

On Saturday, more than 200 cities from Spokane to Scranton saw modest rallies for a cause so pure, so unifying, that who in their right mind wouldn’t want to join in? "Save the children" was the chant and child trafficking the scourge. But lately it is a movement being hijacked from within, which is just the latest instance of the QAnon conspiracy theory spilling out of its online domain. This we know from reporting by NBC News investigative reporter Brandy Zadrozny, along with reporter Ben Collins. In this podcast extra, Zadrozny explains how these rallies function as "information laundering," and how local journalists have inadvertantly taken part in QAnon's recruitment strategy

On Saturday, more than 200 cities from Spokane to Scranton saw modest rallies for a cause so pure, so unifying, that who in their right mind wouldn’t want to join in? "Save the children" was the chant and child trafficking the scourge. But lately it is a movement being hijacked from within, which is just the latest instance of the QAnon conspiracy theory spilling out of its online domain. This we know from reporting by NBC News investigative reporter Brandy Zadrozny, along with reporter Ben Collins. In this podcast extra, Zadrozny explains how these rallies function as "information laundering," and how local journalists have inadvertantly taken part in QAnon's recruitment strategy


Don't Fall For It

Recently, the president threatened the post office — and with it, the November elections. On this week's On The Media, a look at how decades of cuts to the mail system led to this emergency. Plus, the “birther” lie reared its ugly head once more — but this time, journalists were ready for it. And, the so-called "rising stars" of the Republican Party.

1. Alex Shephard [@alex_shephard], staff writer at the New Republic, on the conservative tropes often employed by journalists covering the public sector — including the USPS. Listen.

2. Charlie Warzel [@cwarzel], opinion writer-at-large at the New York Times, on the deluge of information and misinformation unleashed by the post office scandal. Listen.  

3. Mark Joseph Stern [@mjs_DC], staff writer at Slate, on the think tank behind the Kamala Harris "birther" lie. Listen.

4. Eugene Scott [@Eugene_Scott], political reporter at the Washington Post, on how journalists have covered the latest unfounded birther conspiracy, compared with the original one nearly a decade ago. Listen.

5. Alex Pareene [@pareene], staff writer at the New Republic, on far-right fringe candidates finding a serious foothold in the Republican Party. Listen.

 

 

Music from this week's show:

Passing Time - John Renbourn

Cellar Door - Michael Andrews

Turnaround - Ornette Colema

Shoot the Piano Player Player - Georges Delarue

Sleep Talking - Ornette Coleman

Mysterioso - Thelonius Monk/Kronos Quartet

Middlesex Times - Michael Andrews

Recently, the president threatened the post office — and with it, the November elections. On this week's On The Media, a look at how decades of cuts to the mail system led to this emergency. Plus, the “birther” lie reared its ugly head once more — but this time, journalists were ready for it. And, the so-called "rising stars" of the Republican Party.

1. Alex Shephard [@alex_shephard], staff writer at the New Republic, on the conservative tropes often employed by journalists covering the public sector — including the USPS. Listen.

2. Charlie Warzel [@cwarzel], opinion writer-at-large at the New York Times, on the deluge of information and misinformation unleashed by the post office scandal. Listen.  

3. Mark Joseph Stern [@mjs_DC], staff writer at Slate, on the “think tank” behind the Kamala Harris "birther" lie. Listen.

4. Eugene Scott [@Eugene_Scott], political reporter at the Washington Post, on how journalists have covered the latest unfounded “birther” conspiracy, compared with the original one nearly a decade ago. Listen.

5. Alex Pareene [@pareene], staff writer at the New Republic, on far-right fringe candidates finding a serious foothold in the Republican Party. Listen.

 

 

Music from this week's show:

Passing Time - John Renbourn

Cellar Door - Michael Andrews

Turnaround - Ornette Colema

Shoot the Piano Player Player - Georges Delarue

Sleep Talking - Ornette Coleman

Mysterioso - Thelonius Monk/Kronos Quartet

Middlesex Times - Michael Andrews


The Covid Conspiracy Boom on Facebook

During the COVID-19 pandemic, Facebook has taken a public stance against bogus health claims that discourage people from taking proper precautions against the virus. The company even gave the World Health Organization free advertising to help fight misinformation.

But research from Avaaz, a global non-profit that works to protect democracies from disinformation on social media, shows that global health misinformation accumulated an estimated 3.8 billion views on Facebook in the past year. The conspiracies circulating on Facebook can be fatal — some of them suggest ingesting poisonous substances, while others tell people not to wear masks or to shun vaccines.

In this podcast extra, Bob talks to Fadi Quran, campaign director at Avaaz, about the "superspreader" pages that are amassing these page views, the most popular health conspiracies on Facebook, and whether there's any hope that Facebook will address the proliferation of disinformation on its site.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, Facebook has taken a public stance against bogus health claims that discourage people from taking proper precautions against the virus. The company even gave the World Health Organization free advertising to help fight misinformation.

But research from Avaaz, a global non-profit that works to protect democracies from disinformation on social media, shows that global health misinformation accumulated an estimated 3.8 billion views on Facebook in the past year. The conspiracies circulating on Facebook can be fatal — some of them suggest ingesting poisonous substances, while others tell people not to wear masks or to shun vaccines.

In this podcast extra, Bob talks to Fadi Quran, campaign director at Avaaz, about the "superspreader" pages that are amassing these page views, the most popular health conspiracies on Facebook, and whether there's any hope that Facebook will address the proliferation of disinformation on its site.


Apocalypse Now

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


How Close is the End?

In this episode (which first aired in January), Brooke talks to journalist and devoted amateur historian Dan Carlin, the creator of the podcast, Hardcore History, and the author of a new book The End is Always Near: Apocalyptic Moments, from the Bronze Age Collapse to Nuclear Near Misses about how history treats apocalypse.

Carlin explores what can seem impossible to us: that we might suffer the same fate that all previous eras did.

In this episode (which first aired in January), Brooke talks to journalist and devoted amateur historian Dan Carlin, the creator of the podcast, Hardcore History, and the author of a new book The End is Always Near: Apocalyptic Moments, from the Bronze Age Collapse to Nuclear Near Misses about how history treats apocalypse.

Carlin explores what can seem impossible to us: that we might suffer the same fate that all previous eras did.


"A Kind of Permanent Battle"

As we approach November’s contentious presidential election, 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.

This episode originally aired on November 29th, 2019.

Music:

Krzysztof Penderecki - 3 miniature: per clarinetto e pianoforte
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

As we approach November’s contentious presidential election, 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.

This episode originally aired on November 29th, 2019.

Music:

Krzysztof Penderecki - 3 miniature: per clarinetto e pianoforteChopin - 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


Making Sense of 'Cancel Culture'

There’s a standard way the conversation on "cancel culture" goes: on the one side, male comedians and right-wingers saying cancel culture is out of control, you can't say anything anymore without getting dragged. On the other, progressive think piece writers saying cancel culture is blown way out of proportion, and is really just powerful people finally being held accountable for their actions. But according to YouTuber Natalie Wynn, creator of the channel ContraPoints, neither of these argument is quite correct.

Wynn herself has been canceled. Many times over. For a host of offenses. And it’s given her plenty of time to reflect on all the ways the dominant conversations around cancel culture miss the particular pernicious effects of the phenomenon. In her video, "Canceling," she takes an honest look at her own cancellations and its effects, and outlines a set of principles around cancel culture to help clarify what, exactly, it is — and what it can lead to. In this conversation, Wynn breaks those principles down for Brooke.

This is a longer version of an interview that originally in our January 31st, 2020 program, “Cancel This!”

There’s a standard way the conversation on "cancel culture" goes: on the one side, male comedians and right-wingers saying cancel culture is out of control, you can't say anything anymore without getting dragged. On the other, progressive think piece writers saying cancel culture is blown way out of proportion, and is really just powerful people finally being held accountable for their actions. But according to YouTuber Natalie Wynn, creator of the channel ContraPoints, neither of these argument is quite correct.

Wynn herself has been canceled. Many times over. For a host of offenses. And it’s given her plenty of time to reflect on all the ways the dominant conversations around cancel culture miss the particular pernicious effects of the phenomenon. In her video, "Canceling," she takes an honest look at her own cancellations and its effects, and outlines a set of principles around cancel culture to help clarify what, exactly, it is — and what it can lead to. In this conversation, Wynn breaks those principles down for Brooke.

This is a longer version of an interview that originally in our January 31st, 2020 program, “Cancel This!”


Break Your Silence

Despite defiance from police departments and police unions, efforts to limit police secrecy have notched at least one recent victory. On this week’s On The Media, hear how the public can now view misconduct records that had long been closely guarded by the nation’s largest police force. Plus, how America's most famous cop-whistleblower views the present moment. And, the Black nationalist origins of Justice Clarence Thomas’s legal thinking.

1. Eric Umansky [@ericuman], deputy managing editor at ProPublica, on never-before-seen New York Police Department misconduct records. Listen.  

2. Tom Devine, legal director of the Government Accountability Project [@GovAcctProj], and Frank Serpico [@SerpicoDet], former New York Police Department detective, on the whistleblower protections necessary in any police reform. Listen.

3. 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.

 

Despite defiance from police departments and police unions, efforts to limit police secrecy have notched at least one recent victory. On this week’s On The Media, hear how the public can now view misconduct records that had long been closely guarded by the nation’s largest police force. Plus, how America's most famous cop-whistleblower views the present moment. And, the Black nationalist origins of Justice Clarence Thomas’s legal thinking.

1. Eric Umansky [@ericuman], deputy managing editor at ProPublica, on never-before-seen New York Police Department misconduct records. Listen.  

2. Tom Devine, legal director of the Government Accountability Project [@GovAcctProj], and Frank Serpico [@SerpicoDet], former New York Police Department detective, on the whistleblower protections necessary in any police reform. Listen.

3. 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.

 


Why is Trump’s Campaign Suing a Small TV Station in Wisconsin?

In this week's pod extra, we bring you an episode from Trump, Inc., a podcast from our friends at WNYC Studios, about a new threat to press freedom. This year, President Donald Trump’s reelection campaign filed defamation lawsuits against three of the country’s most prominent news organizations: the New York Times, the Washington Post and CNN. Then it filed another suit against a somewhat lower-profile news organization: northern Wisconsin’s WJFW-TV, which serves the 134th-largest market in the country. In this piece, Trump, Inc. reporters Meg Cramer and Katherine Sullivan tell the story of the Trump campaign's aggressive and exceedingly expensive legal operation. 

In this week's pod extra, we bring you an episode from Trump, Inc., a podcast from our friends at WNYC Studios, about a new threat to press freedom. This year, President Donald Trump’s reelection campaign filed defamation lawsuits against three of the country’s most prominent news organizations: the New York Times, the Washington Post and CNN. Then it filed another suit against a somewhat lower-profile news organization: northern Wisconsin’s WJFW-TV, which serves the 134th-largest market in the country. In this piece, Trump, Inc. reporters Meg Cramer and Katherine Sullivan tell the story of the Trump campaign's aggressive and exceedingly expensive legal operation. 


If You Build It...

The White House is sending troops into cities with the stated goal of protecting monuments. On this week's On The Media, a look at the clash over memorials going back to the American revolution. Plus, lessons for redesigning our post-pandemic built environment — from the disability rights movement. And, a conversation about the new documentary "Crip Camp" and the history of the disability rights movement.

1. Kirk Savage, professor of history of art and architecture at University of Pittsburgh, on the early origins of American anti-monument sentiment. Listen.

2. Vanessa Chang [@vxchang], lecturer at California College of the Arts; Mik Scarlet [@MikScarlet]; and Sara Hendren [@ablerism], on issues of accessibility and health in design — past, present, and future. Listen.

3. Judy Heumann [@judithheumann], disability rights activist, on the 30th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act and the documentary "Crip Camp." Listen.

The White House is sending troops into cities with the stated goal of protecting monuments. On this week's On The Media, a look at the clash over memorials going back to the American revolution. Plus, lessons for redesigning our post-pandemic built environment — from the disability rights movement. And, a conversation about the new documentary "Crip Camp" and the history of the disability rights movement.

1. Kirk Savage, professor of history of art and architecture at University of Pittsburgh, on the early origins of American anti-monument sentiment. Listen.

2. Vanessa Chang [@vxchang], lecturer at California College of the Arts; Mik Scarlet [@MikScarlet]; and Sara Hendren [@ablerism], on issues of accessibility and health in design — past, present, and future. Listen.

3. Judy Heumann [@judithheumann], disability rights activist, on the 30th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act and the documentary "Crip Camp." Listen.


The Lincoln Project Is Sorry About All That

It’s yet another day in Trump-era America. You know what that means: Another Lincoln Project ad going viral on Twitter, bound for the evening news. The anti-Trump political action committee's ads have been subject of much praise in the areas of the media that are generally skeptical of the president. Those mainstream media milieus have showed precious little skepticism, though, of the project itself. The president’s defenders on Fox have provided some critical coverage, but one of the few examples of such coverage from elsewhere in the televised political media came from a cartoon news show, Tooning Out The News, executive produced by Stephen Colbert. The Lincoln Project also received a sideways glance earlier this month from Jeet Heer, national affairs correspondent for The Nation. In this podcast extra, Jeet and Brooke discuss the Lincoln Project's funding, spending, style, politics, and its co-founders origins in Republican politics. 

It’s yet another day in Trump-era America. You know what that means: Another Lincoln Project ad going viral on Twitter, bound for the evening news. The anti-Trump political action committee's ads have been subject of much praise in the areas of the media that are generally skeptical of the president. Those mainstream media milieus have showed precious little skepticism, though, of the project itself. The president’s defenders on Fox have provided some critical coverage, but one of the few examples of such coverage from elsewhere in the televised political media came from a cartoon news show, Tooning Out The News, executive produced by Stephen Colbert. The Lincoln Project also received a sideways glance earlier this month from Jeet Heer, national affairs correspondent for The Nation. In this podcast extra, Jeet and Brooke discuss the Lincoln Project's funding, spending, style, politics, and its co-founders origins in Republican politics. 


"This is Fine"

As climate catastrophe marches apace and the nation's public health infrastructure continues to unravel, we take stock of how we got here and what it might be like to look back on this year in the future. Plus, the frightening encroachment of QAnon conspiracy theorists into mainstream politics.

1. David Roberts [@drvox], staff writer at Vox.com, on how "shifting baselines syndrome" clouds our perspective on climate chaos. Listen.

2. Sarah Kliff [@sarahkliff], investigative reporter at the New York Times, on the obstacles to effective sharing of health data, from politics to fax machines. Listen.

3. Anthea M. Hartig [@amhistdirector], director of the Smithsonian's National Museum of American History, on archivists' efforts to document 2020 in real time. Listen.

4. Alex Kaplan [@AlKapDC], senior researcher at Media Matters, on how fringe conspiracy theory QAnon rose to prominence and has consumed segments of the political right. Listen.

As climate catastrophe marches apace and the nation's public health infrastructure continues to unravel, we take stock of how we got here and what it might be like to look back on this year in the future. Plus, the frightening encroachment of QAnon conspiracy theorists into mainstream politics.

1. David Roberts [@drvox], staff writer at Vox.com, on how "shifting baselines syndrome" clouds our perspective on climate chaos. Listen.

2. Sarah Kliff [@sarahkliff], investigative reporter at the New York Times, on the obstacles to effective sharing of health data, from politics to fax machines. Listen.

3. Anthea M. Hartig [@amhistdirector], director of the Smithsonian's National Museum of American History, on archivists' efforts to document 2020 in real time. Listen.

4. Alex Kaplan [@AlKapDC], senior researcher at Media Matters, on how fringe conspiracy theory QAnon rose to prominence and has consumed segments of the political right. Listen.


Sorry Not Sorry

Fox Primetime host Tucker Carlson has already had quite the July. On the plus side, the latest ratings for his show have made him officially the most watched cable news host. On the other side of the ledger, advertisers are fleeing his show on the grounds of not wishing to be associated with lies and hate speech. Oh, also, his head writer Blake Neff, was forced out after his explicitly racist and misogynist social media posts were unmasked online. And now Tucker is off the show for two weeks, as he put it “on a long-planned vacation.” 


The last time Carlson was in the headlines — with the March 2019 resurrection of his very own hate speech — we spoke to writer Lyz Lenz, who wrote a profile of Carlson for CJR. 

Fox Primetime host Tucker Carlson has already had quite the July. On the plus side, the latest ratings for his show have made him officially the most watched cable news host. On the other side of the ledger, advertisers are fleeing his show on the grounds of not wishing to be associated with lies and hate speech. Oh, also, his head writer Blake Neff, was forced out after his explicitly racist and misogynist social media posts were unmasked online. And now Tucker is off the show for two weeks, as he put it “on a long-planned vacation.” 

The last time Carlson was in the headlines — with the March 2019 resurrection of his very own hate speech — we spoke to writer Lyz Lenz, who wrote a profile of Carlson for CJR. 


40 Acres

Home is in your heart and in your head, but mostly home is on land — acreage parceled out, clawed at, stolen, denied for decades and decades. First, there was Field Order No. 15, the Union Army’s plan to distribute 40-acre plots to the newly emancipated. That was a promise broken almost immediately. Later, there was the Great Migration, in which millions of African Americans fled north, where governments, lenders, and white neighbors would never let them own their land and build their own wealth. And now a system, purpose-built, extracts what it can, turning black and brown renters into debtors and evictees. 

In this excerpt from our series, The Scarlet E: Unmasking America’s Eviction Crisis, we catalog the thefts and the schemes — most of which were perfectly legal — and we ask how long this debt will fester.

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

 

Home is in your heart and in your head, but mostly home is on land — acreage parceled out, clawed at, stolen, denied for decades and decades. First, there was Field Order No. 15, the Union Army’s plan to distribute 40-acre plots to the newly emancipated. That was a promise broken almost immediately. Later, there was the Great Migration, in which millions of African Americans fled north, where governments, lenders, and white neighbors would never let them own their land and build their own wealth. And now a system, purpose-built, extracts what it can, turning black and brown renters into debtors and evictees. 

In this excerpt from our series, The Scarlet E: Unmasking America’s Eviction Crisis, we catalog the thefts and the schemes — most of which were perfectly legal — and we ask how long this debt will fester.

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

 


Who Is Lady Liberty, And What Does She Want?

The Statue of Liberty is nearly 140 years old, but she's enjoying renewed relevance in the Trump era. In announcing hostile immigration policies, Trump administration officials have been questioned about Emma Lazarus' famous poem "The New Colossus" and its message about the monument in New York Harbor. Last year, Acting Citizenship and Immigration Services Director Ken Cuccinelli said on NPR’s Morning Edition, "Give me your tired and your poor who can stand on their own two feet and will not become a public charge. That plaque was put on the Statue of Liberty at almost the same time as the first public charge law was passed.That's a common nativist response to both the statue and poem, and it reveals some of the different ways the Statue of Liberty has reflected different attitudes towards migrants since 1886.

Paul Kramer is a professor of history at Vanderbilt University who has written about the symbolism of the Statue of Liberty and how it intersects with views of immigration in US history. Last year, he and Brooke visited Liberty Island and reflected on her different meanings and portrayals in American history. For this week's podcast extra, we're re-airing that segment.

You can read Professor Kramer's piece in Slate on President Reagan and the Statue of Liberty here. You can watch his presentation on the history of the three statues (The Guardian Statue, the Exile Statue, and the Imperial Statue) here.

The Statue of Liberty is nearly 140 years old, but she's enjoying renewed relevance in the Trump era. In announcing hostile immigration policies, Trump administration officials have been questioned about Emma Lazarus' famous poem "The New Colossus" and its message about the monument in New York Harbor. Last year, Acting Citizenship and Immigration Services Director Ken Cuccinelli said on NPR’s Morning Edition, "Give me your tired and your poor who can stand on their own two feet and will not become a public charge. That plaque was put on the Statue of Liberty at almost the same time as the first public charge law was passed.That's a common nativist response to both the statue and poem, and it reveals some of the different ways the Statue of Liberty has reflected different attitudes towards migrants since 1886.

Paul Kramer is a professor of history at Vanderbilt University who has written about the symbolism of the Statue of Liberty and how it intersects with views of immigration in US history. Last year, he and Brooke visited Liberty Island and reflected on her different meanings and portrayals in American history. For this week's podcast extra, we're re-airing that segment.

You can read Professor Kramer's piece in Slate on President Reagan and the Statue of Liberty here. You can watch his presentation on the history of the three statues (The Guardian Statue, the Exile Statue, and the Imperial Statue) here.


The Worst Thing We've Ever Done

After World War II, Germany and the Allied powers took pains to make sure that its citizens would never forget the country’s dark history. But in America, much of our past remains hidden or rewritten. This week, Brooke visits Montgomery, Alabama, home to The Legacy Museum and the National Memorial for Peace and Justice, a new museum and memorial created by the Equal Justice Initiative that aim to bring America’s history of segregation and racial terror to the forefront.

1. Brooke talks to the Equal Justice Initiative's [@eji_org] Bryan Stevenson about what inspired him to create The Legacy Museum and memorial and to historian Sir Richard Evans [@RichardEvans36] about the denazification process in Germany after World War II. Listen.

2. Brooke visits The Legacy Museum and National Memorial for Peace and Justice. Listen.

3. Brooke speaks again with Bryan Stevenson about his own history and America's ongoing struggle to confront our racist past and present. Listen.

This episode originally aired on June 1st, 2018. It was re-broadcast on July 3rd, 2020.

After World War II, Germany and the Allied powers took pains to make sure that its citizens would never forget the country’s dark history. But in America, much of our past remains hidden or rewritten. This week, Brooke visits Montgomery, Alabama, home to The Legacy Museum and the National Memorial for Peace and Justice, a new museum and memorial created by the Equal Justice Initiative that aim to bring America’s history of segregation and racial terror to the forefront.

1. Brooke talks to the Equal Justice Initiative's [@eji_org] Bryan Stevenson about what inspired him to create The Legacy Museum and memorial and to historian Sir Richard Evans [@RichardEvans36] about the denazification process in Germany after World War II. Listen.

2. Brooke visits The Legacy Museum and National Memorial for Peace and Justice. Listen.

3. Brooke speaks again with Bryan Stevenson about his own history and America's ongoing struggle to confront our racist past and present. Listen.

This episode originally aired on June 1st, 2018. It was re-broadcast on July 3rd, 2020.


United States of Conspiracy

For much of the past month, a new addition has joined the audioscape of cities across the country: fireworks. Loud ones. Keep-you-up-all-night-ones. And during those sleepless hours in the dark of night, the brain can do some remarkable dot-connecting. One Twitter thread went mega-viral, conjecturing: “My neighbors and I believe that this is part of a coordinated attack on Black and Brown communities by government forces. [...] It’s meant to sound like a war zone because a war zone is what it’s about to become.” That the fireworks were being supplied by the NYPD to cause chaos and provide pretext for a violent police crackdown sounds unlikely. And people reporting out the story have found little evidence to back it up, finding instead that vendors in neighboring states were selling the fireworks in bulk, at a discount, to young people looking to blow off steam. 

But those drawing connections between fireworks and law enforcement should perhaps be given a pass. After all, some of the most outlandish-sounding conspiracy theories in American history have, after a time, proven to be true. For this week's podcast extra, we're revisiting a conversation from last year between Bob and journalist Anna Merlan, author of Republic of Lies, who explained that conjuring up conspiracies is a pastime as old as history.

 

 

For much of the past month, a new addition has joined the audioscape of cities across the country: fireworks. Loud ones. Keep-you-up-all-night-ones. And during those sleepless hours in the dark of night, the brain can do some remarkable dot-connecting. One Twitter thread went mega-viral, conjecturing: “My neighbors and I believe that this is part of a coordinated attack on Black and Brown communities by government forces. [...] It’s meant to sound like a war zone because a war zone is what it’s about to become.” That the fireworks were being supplied by the NYPD to cause chaos and provide pretext for a violent police crackdown sounds unlikely. And people reporting out the story have found little evidence to back it up, finding instead that vendors in neighboring states were selling the fireworks in bulk, at a discount, to young people looking to blow off steam. 

But those drawing connections between fireworks and law enforcement should perhaps be given a pass. After all, some of the most outlandish-sounding conspiracy theories in American history have, after a time, proven to be true. For this week's podcast extra, we're revisiting a conversation from last year between Bob and journalist Anna Merlan, author of Republic of Lies, who explained that conjuring up conspiracies is a pastime as old as history.

 

 


Your Lying Eyes

In recent weeks, the Trump administration has removed multiple people from key watchdog roles. On the week’s On the Media: how the president keeps weakening the tools meant to hold him accountable. Plus, looking for truth when police keep lying.

1. Liz Hempowicz [@lizhempowicz] of the Project on Government Oversight on the breakdown of the accountability state under President Trump. Listen.

2. Eric Boehlert [@EricBoehlert] on what stories that frame cops as victims teach us about the relationship between police and the press. Listen.

3. Kevin Riley [@ajceditor], Atlanta Journal Constitution editor, on what happens when reporters demand more skeptical coverage of law enforcement. Listen.

4. Dan Taberski [@dtaberski] on his podcast series “Running From Cops,” which interrogated how the newly-cancelled series COPS made the world seem like a more crime-ridden place. Listen.

In recent weeks, the Trump administration has removed multiple people from key watchdog roles. On the week’s On the Media: how the president keeps weakening the tools meant to hold him accountable. Plus, looking for truth when police keep lying.

1. Liz Hempowicz [@lizhempowicz] of the Project on Government Oversight on the breakdown of the accountability state under President Trump. Listen.

2. Eric Boehlert [@EricBoehlert] on what stories that frame cops as victims teach us about the relationship between police and the press. Listen.

3. Kevin Riley [@ajceditor], Atlanta Journal Constitution editor, on what happens when reporters demand more skeptical coverage of law enforcement. Listen.

4. Dan Taberski [@dtaberski] on his podcast series “Running From Cops,” which interrogated how the newly-cancelled series COPS made the world seem like a more crime-ridden place. Listen.


"Abstinence-Only" Coronavirus Guidance Won't Save Us

When the US entered the early stages of the pandemic, federal and municipal leaders maintained that the best way to prevent the spread of the pandemic was for as many people as possible to "Stay Home." Technically, that advice was sound: the only surefire way to prevent illness is to eliminate contact with all possible vectors. Still, that advice was impossible to heed perfectly and indefinitely, and people almost immediately began taking risks to fulfill their basic wants and needs. Unfortunately, as a public health strategy, "Stay Home" offered no guidance for how to most safely take particular risks — as a consequence making already high-risk behaviors even less safe.

For public health professionals whose work involves sex safety, drug and alcohol use, and HIV/AIDS prevention, the discourse surrounding coronavirus — the absolutism, the moralism, the shaming and the open hostility towards public health recommendations — is familiar. As epidemiologist Julia Marcus wrote in a recent piece for The Atlantic, the "Stay Home" edict bears striking resemblance to that famous mantra preached by abstinence advocates: "Just Say No." In this podcast extra, Marcus and Brooke consider the shortcomings of an abstinence-only response to the pandemic, and how harm-reduction approaches could better serve the public.

When the US entered the early stages of the pandemic, federal and municipal leaders maintained that the best way to prevent the spread of the pandemic was for as many people as possible to "Stay Home." Technically, that advice was sound: the only surefire way to prevent illness is to eliminate contact with all possible vectors. Still, that advice was impossible to heed perfectly and indefinitely, and people almost immediately began taking risks to fulfill their basic wants and needs. Unfortunately, as a public health strategy, "Stay Home" offered no guidance for how to most safely take particular risks — as a consequence making already high-risk behaviors even less safe.

For public health professionals whose work involves sex safety, drug and alcohol use, and HIV/AIDS prevention, the discourse surrounding coronavirus — the absolutism, the moralism, the shaming and the open hostility towards public health recommendations — is familiar. As epidemiologist Julia Marcus wrote in a recent piece for The Atlantic, the "Stay Home" edict bears striking resemblance to that famous mantra preached by abstinence advocates: "Just Say No." In this podcast extra, Marcus and Brooke consider the shortcomings of an abstinence-only response to the pandemic, and how harm-reduction approaches could better serve the public.


The Undertow

We visualize the coronavirus pandemic as coming in waves, but the national picture of new cases shows no sign of abating. This week, On the Media examines the lack of urgency around upwards of 20,000 confirmed daily cases. And, making sense of how the current social uprisings fit into a cycle of social movements. Then, how the messiness of protests can be easily forgotten. Plus, efforts to remember one of the single worst incidents of racist violence in American history.

1. Caitlin Rivers [@cmyeaton], researcher at Johns Hopkins University, on the messaging surrounding the "second wave" of the pandemic. Listen.

2. Allen Kwabena Frimpong [@a_kwabena], co-founder of the AdAstra Collective, on how to situate the current uprisings for racial justice in the cycle of social movements. Listen.

3. Maggie Astor [@MaggieAstor], reporter at the New York Times, on how protest movements can be sanitized by history. Listen.

4. Russell Cobb [@scissortail74], author of The Great Oklahoma Swindle, on remembering the Tulsa Massacre. Listen.

 

Music from this week's show:

Let Yourself Go- Fred Hersch

Auf Einer Burg - Don Byron

Transparence - Charlie Haden & Gonzalo Rubalcaba

Love Theme from Spartacus - Fred Hersch

Middlesex Times - Michael Andrews...

Young at Heart - Brad Mehldau

We visualize the coronavirus pandemic as coming in waves, but the national picture of new cases shows no sign of abating. This week, On the Media examines the lack of urgency around upwards of 20,000 confirmed daily cases. And, making sense of how the current social uprisings fit into a cycle of social movements. Then, how the messiness of protests can be easily forgotten. Plus, efforts to remember one of the single worst incidents of racist violence in American history.

1. Caitlin Rivers [@cmyeaton], researcher at Johns Hopkins University, on the messaging surrounding the "second wave" of the pandemic. Listen.

2. Allen Kwabena Frimpong [@a_kwabena], co-founder of the AdAstra Collective, on how to situate the current uprisings for racial justice in the cycle of social movements. Listen.

3. Maggie Astor [@MaggieAstor], reporter at the New York Times, on how protest movements can be sanitized by history. Listen.

4. Russell Cobb [@scissortail74], author of The Great Oklahoma Swindle, on remembering the Tulsa Massacre. Listen.

 

Music from this week's show:

Let Yourself Go- Fred Hersch

Auf Einer Burg - Don Byron

Transparence - Charlie Haden & Gonzalo Rubalcaba

Love Theme from Spartacus - Fred Hersch

Middlesex Times - Michael Andrews...

Young at Heart - Brad Mehldau


The Military Stands Up To Trump

It began with the President’s notorious bible photo-op, preceded by a military crackdown north of the White House clearing protesters from Lafayette Square. Several days later, General Mark Milley, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, publicly renounced his role in enabling the June 1st incident. Secretary of Defense Mark Esper also spoke out, undercutting the president's apparent desire to use the Insurrection Act to quell protests across the country.

And just days before Trump’s commencement speech at West Point, several hundred alumni of the military academy signed an open letter urging new West Point graduates to approach future orders from the president, especially those concerning military force against civilians, with caution. According to Slate writer Fred Kaplan (full disclosure: he's married to Brooke), author of The Bomb: Presidents, Generals, and the Secret History of Nuclear War, such public insubordination from the general class down to the rank and file, is highly unusual. He and Bob discuss what these unprecedented events might tell us about Trump's standing. 

It began with the President’s notorious bible photo-op, preceded by a military crackdown north of the White House clearing protesters from Lafayette Square. Several days later, General Mark Milley, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, publicly renounced his role in enabling the June 1st incident. Secretary of Defense Mark Esper also spoke out, undercutting the president's apparent desire to use the Insurrection Act to quell protests across the country.

And just days before Trump’s commencement speech at West Point, several hundred alumni of the military academy signed an open letter urging new West Point graduates to approach future orders from the president, especially those concerning military force against civilians, with caution. According to Slate writer Fred Kaplan (full disclosure: he's married to Brooke), author of The Bomb: Presidents, Generals, and the Secret History of Nuclear War, such public insubordination from the general class down to the rank and file, is highly unusual. He and Bob discuss what these unprecedented events might tell us about Trump's standing. 


The Milkshake Duck-ing of Bon Appetit

There’s this old internet fable about a duck who liked milkshakes. Everyone loved the Milkshake Duck, until it turned out to be racist. The moral of the story is that everything online either turns to caca, or we learn it always was. The latest example, we submit, is the so-called Food Media — or at least its most prominent avatar, Bon Appetit.

Adam Rapoport resigned last Monday after weeks of furious attention to systemic racial inequality nation-wide, and after a month of similar scrutiny within food media, beginning last month with the tumble of viral-recipe-author Alison Roman. It was around then that technology and culture writer Navneet Alang wrote an essay for Eater titled “Stewed Awakening: Alison Roman, Bon Appetit, and the Global Pantry Problem.” In this podcast extra, Brooke and Navneet discuss the faulty editorial decisions and disastrous, un-inspected assumptions that led to food media's recent failings. 

There’s this old internet fable about a duck who liked milkshakes. Everyone loved the Milkshake Duck, until it turned out to be racist. The moral of the story is that everything online either turns to caca, or we learn it always was. The latest example, we submit, is the so-called Food Media — or at least its most prominent avatar, Bon Appetit.

Adam Rapoport resigned last Monday after weeks of furious attention to systemic racial inequality nation-wide, and after a month of similar scrutiny within food media, beginning last month with the tumble of viral-recipe-author Alison Roman. It was around then that technology and culture writer Navneet Alang wrote an essay for Eater titled “Stewed Awakening: Alison Roman, Bon Appetit, and the Global Pantry Problem.” In this podcast extra, Brooke and Navneet discuss the faulty editorial decisions and disastrous, un-inspected assumptions that led to food media's recent failings. 


It's Going Down

As public opinion catches up to the Black Lives Matter movement, some activists are calling to “defund the police.” On this week’s On the Media, the debate over whether to take that slogan literally. Plus, what investigative reporting tells us about how police departments protect abusive cops. And, the case for canceling movies and TV shows with police protagonists. Then, the story of a small town that prepared to go to war with imaginary Antifa hordes. 

1. Amna Akbar [orangebegum], law professor at The Ohio State University, on the origins of the police abolition movement. Listen.

2. George Joseph [@georgejoseph94], investigative reporter for WNYC and Gothamist, on how police departments skirt accountability. Listen.

3. Alyssa Rosenberg [@AlyssaRosenberg], Washington Post culture columnist, on why Hollywood should rethink cop-focused entertainment. Listen.

4. Brandy Zadrozny [@BrandyZadrozny], NBC News reporter, on how Antifa became the right's boogeyman du jour. Listen.


All The Opinion That's Fit To Print?

Two years ago, Vox's David Roberts wrote a piece arguing that The New York Times opinion section is not honest about the state of American conservatism. The animating force behind conservative politics in this country, he wrote, is Trumpism. Therefore, to invite conservative writers who truly articulated Trump's views to readers would mean inviting a strain of authoritarianism and illiberalism that would never actually be welcome in its opinion pages. Instead, they invite relatively palatable conservatives who make irrelevant arguments about politics. It's a losing game.

Last week, however, the paper invited Senator Tom Cotton, R-Ark., to write an opinion piece arguing for the military to be sent to American streets to "restore order." Former Times opinion editor James Bennet (who has since resigned) also admitted that he had not read it before it was published. So, what does this latest episode tell us about the media's role in upholding America's values? This week, David Roberts once again wrote about the Times opinion section for Vox, in a post arguing that the Cotton op-ed "revealed a pathology on the editorial side... an insistence on extending the presumption of good faith to the GOP, even in the face of its rising authoritarianism."


No Justice, No Peace

In the midst of a historic week of protests, the national conversation about police is quickly transforming. This week, On the Media looks at the language used here and abroad to describe the "civil unrest" in America. Then, we explore how decades of criminal justice policy decisions brought us to this boiling point. Plus, are human beings, against all odds, actually pretty decent? 

1. Karen Attiah [@KarenAttiah], The Washington Post Global Opinions Editor, on how our media would cover American police brutality protests if they were happening abroad. Listen.

2. Elizabeth Hinton [@elizabhinton], historian at Yale University, on the historical roots of American law enforcement. Listen.

3. Rutger Bregman [@rcbregman], author of Humankind: A Hopeful History, on what our policies would like if we believed in the decency of people. Listen.

In the midst of a historic week of protests, the national conversation about police is quickly transforming. This week, On the Media looks at the language used here and abroad to describe the "civil unrest" in America. Then, we explore how decades of criminal justice policy decisions brought us to this boiling point. Plus, are human beings, against all odds, actually pretty decent? 

1. Karen Attiah [@KarenAttiah], The Washington Post Global Opinions Editor, on how our media would cover American police brutality protests if they were happening abroad. Listen.

2. Elizabeth Hinton [@elizabhinton], historian at Yale University, on the historical roots of American law enforcement. Listen.

3. Rutger Bregman [@rcbregman], author of Humankind: A Hopeful History, on what our policies would like if we believed in the decency of people. Listen.


Trump and the Christian Persecution Complex

On Monday, President Trump stood outside St. John's Episcopal Church, which had caught fire the day prior in protests for racial justice. When he brandished a Bible before photographers, Trump knew exactly what message he was sending: Christianity is under siege and the president is the defender of the faith. Never mind the fact that peaceful protesters, clergy among them, were driven from the area minutes before with tear gas to make way for the photoshoot.

The narrative of Christianity under attack is a familiar one. Just a few weeks ago, Trump declared that houses of worship should open amid the pandemic on the grounds of religious liberty — despite the public health risk. But it turns out, the myth of Christian persecution can be traced far further back than the Culture Wars.

In fact, according to Candida Moss, Christian historians coined the idea that to be persecuted was to be righteous in the 4th Century and they exaggerated claims that Christians were persecuted in the first place. Moss is a professor of theology and religion at Birmingham University in the U.K., and author of The Myth of Persecution: How Early Christians Invented a Story of Martyrdom. Moss spoke to Bob just after Trump has announced his call for churches to open. In this week's Pod Extra she explains how Christian history has been revised for political means, from the early church to present day.


Boiling Point

Protestors are expressing outrage over police brutality while the president is threatening violence against them on Twitter. We follow how this latest chapter of unrest follows generations of pain, and how the Karen meme is shedding light on racism and entitlement during the pandemic. Plus: how do we get to a better place? And, Bob examines Twitter's efforts to address Trump's use of the platform.

1. Apryl Williams [@AprylW] of the University of Michigan examines the Karen meme and what it tells us about criticism of privilege in the pandemic. Listen here

2. Jessie Daniels [@JessieNYCof the CUNY Graduate Center on the history of white women in racial dynamics. Listen here

3. Kara Swisher [@karaswisherof Record Decode discusses Twitter's efforts this week, and attorney Bradley Moss [@BradMossEsq] on why Trump can't be sued for his tweets. Listen here

**NOTE: In this episode, Bob refers to Jack Dorsey as "interim" CEO of Twitter. He is co-founder and CEO. Bob also refers to "common carriers" in a description of threatened changes to Section 230. "Common carriers" are not relevant to the subject at hand and we regret the errors. The sentence should have read: "Publishers, like the New York Times or Star magazine, can be sued over the content they print, but online platforms from Reddit to Pinterest to Wikipedia have immunity from that through Section 230. Without that protection, Twitter, Facebook and so on would have to either delete much of their content for fear of being sued, or simply stop policing it altogether." For more information on Section 230 can be found in this handy explainer from Verge.

Please see the transcript tab for precise locations about about where those mistakes are in the show.

Protestors are expressing outrage over police brutality while the president is threatening violence against them on Twitter. We follow how this latest chapter of unrest follows generations of pain, and how the Karen meme is shedding light on racism and entitlement during the pandemic. Plus: how do we get to a better place? And, Bob examines Twitter's efforts to address Trump's use of the platform.

1. Apryl Williams [@AprylW] of the University of Michigan examines the Karen meme and what it tells us about criticism of privilege in the pandemic. Listen here

2. Jessie Daniels [@JessieNYC] of the CUNY Graduate Center on the history of white women in racial dynamics. Listen here

3. Kara Swisher [@karaswisher] of Record Decode discusses Twitter's efforts this week, and attorney Bradley Moss [@BradMossEsq] on why Trump can't be sued for his tweets. Listen here

**NOTE: In this episode, Bob refers to Jack Dorsey as "interim" CEO of Twitter. He is co-founder and CEO. Bob also refers to "common carriers" in a description of threatened changes to Section 230. "Common carriers" are not relevant to the subject at hand and we regret the errors. The sentence should have read: "Publishers, like the New York Times or Star magazine, can be sued over the content they print, but online platforms from Reddit to Pinterest to Wikipedia have immunity from that through Section 230. Without that protection, Twitter, Facebook and so on would have to either delete much of their content for fear of being sued, or simply stop policing it altogether." For more information on Section 230 can be found in this handy explainer from Verge.

Please see the transcript tab for precise locations about about where those mistakes are in the show.


Chase Woodruff is angry and he thinks you should be too

As an On the Media listener, you follow the news - probably more so during this pandemic. And you will have noted articles filled with compassion for the families of those who have died, perhaps cynicism in the coverage of politicians’ motives and a ton of data analysis to interpret the numbers we’re bombarded with. 

Chase Woodruff, a journalist who was recently laid off from his alt-weekly job in Denver, Colorado thinks that’s all fine...but not enough. What’s missing from the media’s content checklist, he says, is anger. In an essay on the place of righteous indignation as a staple of the alt-weekly world he once inhabited, he wrote about his fears that as the so-called "rude press" die off at an even more rapid pace than dailies, vital outlets for resistance and emotion will be lost too. 

As an On the Media listener, you follow the news - probably more so during this pandemic. And you will have noted articles filled with compassion for the families of those who have died, perhaps cynicism in the coverage of politicians’ motives and a ton of data analysis to interpret the numbers we’re bombarded with. 

Chase Woodruff, a journalist who was recently laid off from his alt-weekly job in Denver, Colorado thinks that’s all fine...but not enough. What’s missing from the media’s content checklist, he says, is anger. In an essay on the place of righteous indignation as a staple of the alt-weekly world he once inhabited, he wrote about his fears that as the so-called "rude press" die off at an even more rapid pace than dailies, vital outlets for resistance and emotion will be lost too. 


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.