On The Media



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


  • Is Love is Blind a Toxic Workplace?

    12/06/2024 Duração: 25min

    This week's midweek podcast comes from our colleagues at the New Yorker Radio Hour:On the Netflix reality-TV dating show “Love Is Blind,” contestants are alone in windowless, octagonal pods with no access to their phones or the Internet. They talk to each other through the walls. There’s intrigue, romance, heartbreak, and, in some cases, sight-unseen engagements. According to several lawsuits, there’s also lack of sleep, lack of food and water, twenty-hour work days, and alleged physical and emotional abuse. New Yorker staff writer Emily Nussbaum has been reporting on what these lawsuits reveal about the culture on the set of “Love Is Blind,” and a push for a new union to give reality-TV stars employee protections and rights. “The people who are on reality shows are a vulnerable class of people who are mistreated by the industry in ways that are made invisible to people, including to fans who love the shows,” Nussbaum tells NYRH host, David Remnick. Nussbaum’s forthcoming book is “Cue the Sun! The Invention o

  • A Former Disinformation Reporter is Running The Onion. Plus, Birds ARE Real.

    07/06/2024 Duração: 50min

    This week, the Department of Justice accused one of the most influential right wing outlets of laundering tens of millions of dollars. On this week’s On the Media, a former reporter on his progression from defining the disinformation beat to running one of the most famous fake news outlets, The Onion. Plus, a satirical movement about birds illuminates the inner workings of conspiracies.[01:09] Host Micah Loewinger interviews Ben Collins, newly minted shareholder and CEO of the satirical site The Onion, about how his background in disinformation reporting led him to his latest gig. [18:03] Host Brooke Gladstone speaks with Ian Beacock about Birds Aren’t Real, a prank conspiracy theory that is itself a case study in how misinformation spreads.[34:41] Lastly, Brooke interviews Annalee Newitz about their latest book, Stories Are Weapons: Psychological Warfare and the American Mind. They discuss how stories have long been spun as a means of controlling people — from the 18th century to today’s culture wars. Furthe

  • Mr. Beast Reigns Supreme on YouTube

    05/06/2024 Duração: 18min

    Something happened on the internet this week that was at once HUGE and also kind of a foregone conclusion. Jimmy Donaldson better known as Mr. Beast has been for many years basically the king of YouTube. But, as of this week, Mr Beast is now officially the most subscribed YouTuber in the world with 271 million followers at time of recording. His clickbaity game-show style videos, with their extravagant sets and giant payouts, have come to define this era of the site. Remember Squid Game, the Korean Netflix sensation? That show got around 265 million views. Mr Beast’s “real life” Squid Game video got 616 million views. That’s why he’s number 1. And there’s actually a very interesting history of jockeying for YouTube’s top spot. Mr. Beast has overtaken a giant Indian entertainment company, T-series (266 million subscribers) which had reigned unchallenged for years. In 2019, Micah worked with Brooke on a piece about the last time a big Western YouTuber went head to head with T-series. Back then it was a guy who

  • Trump Found Guilty; The Right-Wing Media Were Prepared For It

    01/06/2024 Duração: 50min

    When Donald J. Trump was found guilty on all counts in the hush money trial, some in the press were caught off guard. But the former president and conservative pundits primed for this result with a strategic messaging campaign. On this week’s On the Media, hear how Trump uses Truth Social to disseminate talking points to a web of right-wing influencers.[01:10] Host Micah Loewinger analyzes the media coverage following the announcement of the verdict in Trump’s hush money trial and the ways that rightwing media had been primed to respond. He also interviews Sarah Ellison of the Washington Post about how a network of right-wing influencers amplify Donald Trump’s Truth Social posts, carrying their reach far beyond the platform. [22:58] Micah speaks with Matthew Goldstein, business reporter at the New York Times, about the short, rocky history of Trump Media and how the company became the latest memestock. [35:58] Lastly, host Brooke Gladstone interviews Lynsey Addario, an award-winning photojournalist who has co

  • How Tech Journalists Are Fueling the AI Hype Machine

    29/05/2024 Duração: 21min

    Micah breaks down media hype about AI. According to Sam Harnett, a former tech reporter, journalists are repeating lazy tropes about the future of work that once boosted companies like Uber, Airbnb, and Fiverr. Plus, Julia Angwin, founder of Proof News, debunks fantastical claims by AI companies about their software. And Paris Marx, host of Tech Won’t Save Us, explains how AI leaders like Sam Altman use the press to lobby regulators and investors. On the Media is supported by listeners like you. Support OTM by donating today (https://pledge.wnyc.org/support/otm). Follow our show on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook @onthemedia, and share your thoughts with us by emailing [email protected].

  • How Tired Tropes Drive AI Coverage. Plus, is the Vibecession Back or Not?

    24/05/2024 Duração: 50min

    A majority of Americans believe that the economy is in a recession even though it’s not. On this week’s On the Media, hear why there’s a mismatch between facts and feelings about the economy. Plus, how the outlandish claims of AI companies often go unchecked by the press.[01:09] Host Micah Loewinger interviews Jeanna Smialek of The New York Times about whether the ‘vibecession’ is back and the factors that are shaping negative perceptions of the economy.[14:41] Micah speaks with Gordon Hanson, economist at Harvard University’s Kennedy School, about how President Biden has adopted, and even escalated, former President Trump’s tariffs on China, and why the political narratives around tariffs don’t always match up with the economic realities.[29:29] Lastly, Micah breaks down media hype about AI. According to Sam Harnett, a former tech reporter, journalists are repeating lazy tropes about the future of work that once boosted companies like Uber, Airbnb, and Fiverr. Plus, Julia Angwin, founder of Proof News, debun

  • Rightwing Media is Obsessed with the Darien Gap

    22/05/2024 Duração: 22min

    Immigration consistently polls as one of the most important topics for voters. According to a recent Gallup poll immigration is the most polarizing issue of the last 25 years, with 48 percent of Republicans saying it’s the most important issue compared to just 8 percent of Democrats. This probably has something to do with the coverage of immigration in conservative media. And recently, right pundits have begun to focus on one of the most dangerous parts of a migrants’ journey north from South America. In March, New York Times reporter Ken Bensinger reported a story from the Darien Gap in Panama, which was once thought to be too perilous to cross but which now sees thousands of migrants make their way through every month. For this week's podcast extra, we bring you a recent episode of the podcast What Next, hosted by our former WNYC colleague Mary Harris.  Mary spoke to Ken Bensinger about the right wing media obsession with the Darien Gap. Further reading / listening:Right-Wing Influencers Descend on the Dari

  • What Bush v. Gore Revealed About Contested Elections

    17/05/2024 Duração: 50min

    On this week’s On the Media we revisit another fraught moment in American democracy: the contested  election between Al Gore and George W. Bush in 2000. Hear about the extraordinary legal battle that ensued, and what it can teach us about partisan politics today. Leon Neyfakh, host of the podcast Fiasco, takes us back in time to witness how the Gore and Bush campaigns fought for recounts; how “chads” and “military ballots” became central to the contest; and the role of the so-called Brooks Brothers riot.Further listening:Fiasco: Bush v Gore On the Media is supported by listeners like you. Support OTM by donating today (https://pledge.wnyc.org/support/otm). Follow our show on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook @onthemedia, and share your thoughts with us by emailing [email protected].

  • The Story Behind Biden’s New Tariffs

    15/05/2024 Duração: 31min

    This week, President Biden announced major new tariffs on $18 billion worth of imports from China. The goods that will be affected include batteries, steel, aluminum, and semiconductors. Tariffs on electric vehicles will go up from 25 percent to 100 percent. These new tariffs signal a reversal from Biden’s messaging on tariffs during the 2020 campaign, and also a reversal of a decades-long consensus in Washington that lower tariffs are better for the American economy. To understand how we got here, Micah spoke with Gordon Hanson, an economist and a co-director of the Reimagining the Economy Project at Harvard University’s Kennedy School.Further reading:Help for the Heartland? The Employment and Electoral Effects of the Trump Tariffs in the United StatesWashington’s New Trade Consensus On the Media is supported by listeners like you. Support OTM by donating today (https://pledge.wnyc.org/support/otm). Follow our show on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook @onthemedia, and share your thoughts with us by emailing on

  • What the Media Get Wrong About Campus Protests

    10/05/2024 Duração: 50min

    In reports about pro-Palestinian college encampments, comparisons to the anti-war demonstrations of 1968 abound. On this week’s On the Media, hear how historical analogies distract us from what makes today’s protests unique. Plus, a reporter debunks a theory that Bill Gates is somehow funding campus activism.[01:09] Host Micah Loewinger speaks with Danielle K. Brown, a journalism professor at Michigan State university, about how coverage has detracted focus from students’ demands for universities to cut ties with Israel. Plus, Rick Perlstein, a columnist at The American Prospect, says reporters’ fondness for drawing parallels with 1968 has obscured the singularity of today’s encampments.[16:54] Micah continues the conversation about pro-Palestinian protest coverage with Andrew Perez, senior politics editor at Rolling Stone. They explore the inaccurate reporting on “outside agitators” and funding sources of campus demonstrations.[31:38] Micah speaks with Oren Persico, a staff writer at The Seventh Eye, about h

  • Revisiting a Conversation with Paul Auster

    08/05/2024 Duração: 24min

    Last week, news broke that writer Paul Auster died from complications related to lung cancer. The New York Times called him “the patron saint of literary Brooklyn;” elsewhere he was dubbed "the dean of American postmodernists." He was the author of many novels such as The New York Trilogy, and he wrote screenplays, memoirs, and nonfiction, including Burning Boy: The Life and Work of Stephen Crane.He was also a long-time friend of Brooke and her husband Fred Kaplan — they lived a few blocks away from each other in their Brooklyn neighborhood. In November of 2021, Paul Auster walked over to Brooke’s home studio to talk about Stephen Crane.   On the Media is supported by listeners like you. Support OTM by donating today (https://pledge.wnyc.org/support/otm). Follow our show on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook @onthemedia, and share your thoughts with us by emailing [email protected].

  • How to Read a President, with Carlos Lozada, Vinson Cunningham, and Curtis Sittenfeld

    03/05/2024 Duração: 50min

    When politicians publish their autobiographies, often they reveal more than intended. On this week’s On the Media, find out how one reporter sifts through political memoirs for truths about politicians and the people they lead. Plus, in vivid detail, a novelist imagines the private lives of former presidents.[01:00] Host Brooke Gladstone speaks with Carlos Lozada, New York Times Opinion columnist and a co-host of the weekly “Matter of Opinion” podcast. Lozada explains how he mines political memoirs for deeper understanding of our political figures by examining what they include and what they omit.[16:59] Brooke speaks with Vinson Cunningham, author of the new novel Great Expectations. Cunningham, who is now a theater critic at The New Yorker, worked on the 2008 Obama campaign and later in the White House. Great Expectations is inspired by that time in his life, and the difficult-to-read candidate for the presidency.[35:19] Brooke interviews novelist Curtis Sittenfeld about her exploration of the minds of poli

  • 'The Three Body Problem' And the Rise of Chinese Science Fiction

    01/05/2024 Duração: 19min

    Chinese science fiction has gone from a niche, underground genre to the country's hottest new export. On Saturday, at the 8th China Science Fiction Conference hosted in Beijing, an animated presenter unveiled graphs detailing the meteoric rise of the genre, claiming that China had raked in nearly $16 billion in revenue from its sci-fi industry in 2023. And in late March, an adaptation of one of China's  biggest cultural exports, 'The Three Body Problem,' premiered on Netflix. The show, based on a book by Liu Cixin, follows a group of modern-day scientists battling an alien invasion, triggered by one cataclysmic decision made by an aggrieved physicist during the Cultural Revolution in China. The show garnered roughly 15.6 million views in its first week. But the seed of this science fiction craze was first planted in 2008, with the publication of the book, which quickly became an unexpected global phenomenon. The book and its two sequels have exceeded the total sales of all literary works exported by China so

  • How Not to Cover the Trump Trials. Plus, the Latest Push To Defund NPR

    26/04/2024 Duração: 50min

    Trump is back in court for his hush money trial hearing, and his immunity case was argued at the Supreme Court. On this week’s On the Media, hear what gets lost in the blow-by-blow coverage of Trump’s legal woes. Plus, an essay from a former NPR editor has lawmakers calling to cut funding to the public radio network.[01:10] Host Brooke Gladstone speaks with Dahlia Lithwick, who covers the courts for Slate and hosts the podcast Amicus, about her frustration with pundits' obsession with solving political problems involving Trump with the law. [15:14] Host Micah Loewinger speaks with Kelly McBride, NPR’s public editor, about the push to ‘defund NPR’ sparked by a former NPR editor’s essay and whether his points have any salience. [32:59] Brooke continues the conversation about NPR with Alicia Montgomery, vice president of audio at Slate and former editor at NPR. They explore the real problems brewing at the public radio network.Further reading / listening:The Law Alone Cannot Curb Donald Trump’s LawlessnessThe re

  • A War Photographer Watches Alex Garland's 'Civil War'

    24/04/2024 Duração: 23min

    Alex Garland's new film, 'Civil War,' debuted at no. 1 at the box office earlier this month, and  follows four journalists on a road trip from New York City to D.C. in the midst of societal collapse. The beating heart of the film is Lee, a veteran photojournalist played by Kirsten Dunst, who's determined to interview the president as his administration is on the verge of collapse to rebel forces. Lynsey Addario is an award-winning photojournalist who has covered humanitarian crises abroad for over two decades, including the ongoing war in Ukraine, and  conflicts in the Middle East and Africa. For the midweek pod, Brooke Gladstone speaks with Addario about her real-life experience covering wars abroad, and how accurately the film depicts what it's like to report amidst a dangerous war.  On the Media is supported by listeners like you. Support OTM by donating today (https://pledge.wnyc.org/support/otm). Follow our show on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook @onthemedia, and share your thoughts with us by emailing o

  • Meet the Media Prophets Who Preach Christian Supremacy. Plus, Journalism in ‘Civil War’

    19/04/2024 Duração: 50min

    Former president Trump says he wants to make America pray again. On this week’s On the Media, hear how Christian nationalism is shaping American politics. Plus, what the new film Civil War has to say about the role of journalism when civilizing norms have broken down. [01:08] Host Brooke Gladstone speaks with Matthew D. Taylor, scholar at the Institute for Islamic, Christian, & Jewish Studies in Baltimore and author of the forthcoming book, The Violent Take It by Force: The Christian Movement That Is Threatening Our Democracy. They discuss different strains of Christian nationalism — from the sentimental view of America as a Christian nation, to the desire to uphold Christian supremacy. Plus, how the phenomenon has shaped American politics for centuries.[17:42] Brooke continues her conversation with Matthew D. Taylor. Taylor introduces Brooke to the world of independent charismatic Christianity and its media, where an extreme form of Christian nationalism has taken root. Plus, the Christian leaders who st

  • Happy Bicycle Day!

    17/04/2024 Duração: 21min

    April 19th, which is this Friday, marks an odd holiday known as Bicycle Day — the day, now 81 years ago, when Swiss scientist Albert Hofmann rode his bike home from work after dosing himself with his lab concoction, lysergic acid diethylamide, or LSD. The first acid trip.Hofmann’s wobbly ride is what launches us into an exploration of a moment, when Ken Kesey, an evangelist of acid would emerge from a Menlo Park hospital lab, and plow through the nation’s gray flannel culture in a candy colored bus. Some know Kesey as the enigmatic author behind One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest — others, as the driving force in The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test, Tom Wolfe’s seminal work in New Journalism. In honor of the 50th anniversary of the release of Acid Test, Brooke speaks with Wolfe and writer River Donaghey about how acid shaped Kesey, spawned the book and de-normalized American conformity.Songs:Holidays B by Ib GlindemannIm Glück by Neu!Apache '65 by Davie Allan and the ArrowsSelections from "The Acid Tests Reels" by T

  • The Rise and Fall of Alt-Weeklies, and Backpage.com vs The Feds

    12/04/2024 Duração: 51min

    New York City’s alternative weekly newspaper, The Village Voice, birthed a generation of legendary writers. On this week’s On the Media, how the Voice transformed journalism and what’s being lost as alt-weeklies across the country die off. Plus, why the feds brought America’s most controversial alt-weekly mogul to court.[02:17] Host Micah Loewinger speaks with Tricia Romano, author of The Freaks Came Out to Write, about the early days of The Village Voice, including one reporter’s mission to stop Robert Moses and its revolutionary music section. [15:09] Micah continues his conversation with Tricia Romano, getting into the Voice’s sale to Rupert Murdoch, the tensions within the paper, and how Craigslist led to its ultimate demise.[29:11] An alt-weekly mogul, Mike Lacey, became the Larry Flynt of the internet age. The hosts of the new Audible show Hold Fast conducted a series of interviews with Lacey to tell the story of the alt-weekly chain’s rise and fall. Further reading / listening:The Freaks Came Out to Wr

  • How The Village Voice Changed Journalism

    10/04/2024 Duração: 44min

    The Village Voice, founded in 1955, is widely credited as the first alternative weekly newspaper, or alt-weekly. The big show this week is all about the rise and fall of the alt-weekly—the type of off-beat, fearless publication that, once-upon-a-time, you could pick up on a street corner in cities across the country. For the mid-week podcast, Micah interviewed Tricia Romano, the author of a new oral history titled, The Freaks Came Out To Write: The Definitive History of the Village Voice, the Radical Paper that Changed American Culture. Their conversation about this legendary New York publication was wide-ranging, and too long for the radio. And too profane for the radio. So we’re bringing you a longer, uncensored version here. Don’t listen to this one with kids.

  • Warring Narratives Around UNRWA. Plus, Media Bets on Sports Gambling

    05/04/2024 Duração: 51min

    President Joe Biden is calling for a ceasefire in Gaza as famine looms. On this week’s On the Media, hear how warring media narratives have jeopardized UNRWA, the largest humanitarian aid organization in the region. Plus, what the explosion in sports gambling means for the future of sports journalism.  1. Mehul Srivastava [@MehulAtLarge], Financial Times correspondent, and Chris Van Hollen [@ChrisVanHollen], US Senator from Maryland, on the warring media narratives around UNRWA. Listen. 2. Lex Takkenberg [@LTakkenberg], humanitarian law expert and a former Chief of Ethics for UNRWA, on the lessons to be learned from the agency's founding and its predecessor, the United Nations Conciliation Commission for Palestine. Listen. 3. OTM producer Rebecca Clark-Callender [@Rebecca_CC_] explores how sports media and the gambling industry's relationship keeps evolving, featuring: Brian Moritz [@bpmoritz], sports media scholar at St. Bonaventure University, Danny Funt [@dannyfunt], reporter and contributor to the Washing

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