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.


  • The Hasan Minhaj Saga and Evolving Expectations of Truth in Comedy

    22/11/2023 Duração: 20min

    In September, The New Yorker published an article by Clare Malone titled “Hasan Minhaj’s Emotional Truths,” fact-checking moments from the comedian’s stand up specials. The article reportedly cost Minhaj the hosting gig for The Daily Show, and Minhaj posted a lengthy Youtube video responding to its claims. The New Yorker has stood behind its story, even after Minhaj called it misleading. The scandal, which has been covered by almost every major news outlet, brings into question what audiences expect from comedians — especially ones who do Jon-Stewart-style political commentary. This week, Brooke speaks to Jesse David Fox, author of Comedy Book: How Comedy Conquered Culture and the Magic That Makes It Work, about why the saga provoked such a strong reaction. Plus, Fox explains the changing role of truth in comedy: from the authentic acts of Lenny Bruce and Richard Pryor, to the vulnerability of Tig Notaro. Fox also notes that the fall from grace of Louis C.K., who pre-#MeToo was often proclaimed the "most hon

  • TikTok In the Crosshairs... Again. And Saying Goodbye to Jezebel

    17/11/2023 Duração: 50min

    President Joe Biden and Xi Jinping just recently met face-to-face for the first time in a year. On this week’s On the Media, a look at why Chinese state media released glowing content about the U-S leading up to the summit. Plus, the rise and fall of the online feminist publication Jezebel. 1. Daniel Sneider [@DCSneider], lecturer in East Asian Studies and international policy at Stanford University, on what the media made of President Biden's meeting with President Xi Jinping. Listen. 2. Drew Harwell [@drewharwell], tech reporter for The Washington Post, on TikTok's place in the Israel-Hamas war. Listen. 3. Anna Holmes [@AnnaHolmes], founding editor of Jezebel, on the birth, life, and death of a website devoted to women. Listen.   Music from this week's show: It's Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas - AvalonSkylark - Anita O’DayWhat's That Sound - Michael AndrewsJesusland - Ben FoldsTilliboyo - Kronos Quartet

  • FTC chair Lina Khan is Kicking A** and Taking Names

    15/11/2023 Duração: 19min

    As we've discussed on the show at length, most recently with Cory Doctorow in our series The Enshittification of Everything, Amazon has slowly been inserting itself into seemingly every facet of our lives. All the while using its status as a monopoly in the market to squash competition, take advantage of its users and skew prices for everyone. At the end of our series Doctorow described how he has hope in among other people, Lina Khan, the chair of the Federal Trade Commission.  Says Khan; “Amazon has actually quietly been hiking prices for consumers in ways that are not always clearly visible but at the end of the day can result in consumers paying billions of dollars more than they would if there was actually competition in the market.”  In this midweek episode, we are airing a conversation our colleague and host of the New Yorker Radio Hour, David Remnick had with Lina Khan about her plan to sue Amazon for violating antitrust laws.   

  • Trump Coverage is Still Terrible. Plus, Podcasting’s First Boom and Bust

    10/11/2023 Duração: 51min

    Donald Trump was out of sight at the GOP presidential primary debate – but definitely not out of mind. On this week’s On the Media, a look at how the press is covering the former president and his threats against democracy. Plus, a deep dive into the meteoric rise and stumble of the podcast industry.  1. Dan Froomkin [@froomkin], editor of presswatchers.org, on how the press is failing the public in covering Donald Trump in this moment. Listen. 2. OTM Producer Molly Rosen [@mollyfication] with Kevin Marks [@kevinmarks], a software engineer who wrote the first script that downloaded "audio blogs" onto iTunes, and Rob Walch, VP of Podcaster Relations at Libsyn, on Apple's power over podcasts. Listen. 3. Micah Loewinger [@MicahLoewinger] takes stock of how we got to this moment in podcasting and the role public radio stations will play in the future, feat: Alex Sujong Laughlin [@alexlaughs], supervising producer and co-owner at Defector Media, Anna Sale [@annasale] host of Death, Sex & Money, Felix Salmon [@

  • Making Television After #MeToo

    08/11/2023 Duração: 16min

    Last week on the show, Brooke spoke to two writers about new wrinkles in the now 6-year-old #MeToo movement. But we had one additional interview that we wanted to share. In this midweek podcast extra, Brooke sits down with Lili Loofbourow, Washington Post television critic, to discuss three phases of TV post-#MeToo. Plus, Loofbourow explains how series like "Fleabag," "The Morning Show," and "Unbelievable" have internalized lessons from the movement, and what we can expect going forward.

  • Warring Narratives in the Israel-Gaza Conflict and a New #MeToo Movement

    03/11/2023 Duração: 52min

    Israel began a ground operation in Gaza as a conflict that’s already left thousands dead continues to escalate. On this week’s On the Media, reflections on the unique difficulty of covering this war. Plus, six years after explosive allegations against Harvey Weinstein helped launch a movement, how MeToo lives on in the media. 1. David Remnick, editor of The New Yorker, on striving to balance perceptions and narratives, and the challenges posed to a reporter covering the Israel-Hamas war. Listen. 2. Vickie Wang [@VickieDeTaiwan] is an interpreter, writer, and stand-up comic, on how one television show sparked a movement in Taiwan. Listen. 3. Yomi Adegoke [@yomiadegoke], columnist for The Guardian and British Vogue, on the powerful intersection of #MeToo and the internet. Listen.   Music: Frail as a Breeze - Erik FriedlanderWhispers of a Heavenly Death - John ZornFallen Leaves - Marcos CiscarI Am - India Arie Boy Moves the Sun - Michael AndrewsQuizas Quizas Quizas - Ramon Sole    

  • The Evolution of Opinions Online and "Statementese"

    31/10/2023 Duração: 16min

    There's been no shortage of opinions across the globe as the Israel-Hamas conflict rages on. But stateside, there's also been an abundance of statements: from individuals, brands, and even colleges and universities. That isn't uncommon in the social-media age, but do all those words actually tell us something? In this midweek podcast extra, Brooke sits down with Sam Adler-Bell, writer and co-host of the podcast “Know Your Enemy,” to talk about the phenomena of "statementese," when we started expecting comments from institutions, and the potential downside of thinking that Instagram posts are all we can do.

  • Breaking News Consumer's Handbook: Israel/Gaza Edition

    27/10/2023 Duração: 50min

    Experts say disinformation around the Israel-Hamas war is running rampant. On this week’s On the Media, a guide to understanding your feed in the midst of armed conflict. Plus, a deep dive into Saudi Arabia’s rebranding experiment. 1. Mike Caulfield [@uwcip], a research scientist at the University of Washington’s Center for an Informed Public, Aric Toler [@AricToler], a reporter at the visual investigations team at the New York Times, and Shayan Sadarizadeh [@Shayan86], a journalist at BBC Monitoring and BBC Verify, on how to navigate your social media feed in the midst of the war in Israel and Gaza. Listen.  2. OTM correspondent Micah Loewinger [@MicahLoewinger] looks at Saudi Arabia's strategy to shore up its power, and the role the nation could play in negotiations for peace between Israel and Palestine. Featuring: Justin Scheck [@ScheckNYTimes], a reporter at the New York Times, and co-author of Blood and Oil: Mohammed Bin Salman’s Ruthless Quest For Global Power, Ahmed Al Omran [@ahmed], a reporter based

  • How Right Wing Media Created The House Speaker Fiasco

    25/10/2023 Duração: 23min

    It's been over 20 days since the United States has had a Speaker of the House. Republican Kevin McCarthy was ousted by the right flank of his party earlier this month, and the tumultuous race for a new Speaker has revealed deep divisions in the Republican party. On Tuesday morning, House Republicans selected Tom Emmer, the majority whip from Minnesota, as their next man up. He's the third nominee the GOP has offered up in the past three weeks, after Steve Scalise and Jim Jordan each failed to secure enough Republican votes to win on the House floor. And with conflict brewing in the Middle East and government shutdown looming on the horizon, House Republicans have left Congress in paralysis with their inability to elect a speaker.  For the midweek podcast, OTM correspondent Micah Loewinger speaks with Brian Rosenwald, a Scholar in Residence at the University of Pennsylvania and author of Talk Radio’s America: How an Industry Took Over a Political Party That Took Over the United States, about how the long-deter

  • The Fog of War, and the Deadly Toll of Reporting from Gaza and Israel

    20/10/2023 Duração: 51min

    More than twenty journalists have been killed during the recent Israel-Hamas conflict. On this week’s On the Media, hear about the deadly challenges facing reporters on the ground. Plus, why comparisons of the Hamas attack on October 7th to September 11th serve as a warning for the geopolitical fallout that may lie ahead. 1. OTM host Brooke Gladstone [@OTMBrooke] on the worsening fog of war surrounding Israel and Palestine, and the confusion and disinformation in the coverage of the conflict. Listen. 2. OTM correspondent Micah Loewinger [@MicahLoewinger] and Sherif Mansour, the Middle East and North Africa Program Coordinator for the Committee to Protect Journalists, on the sharp rise in cases of violence against reporters in Gaza and Israel. Listen.  3. Tareq Baconi, president of the board of Al-Shabaka, the Palestinian Policy Network, and David Klion [@DavidKlion], contributing editor at Jewish Currents, on why comparisons of 9/11 to the Hamas attack forewarn us of geopolitical conflict. Listen.    

  • What Comparisons to 9/11 Tell Us about the Israel-Hamas Conflict

    18/10/2023 Duração: 15min

    This week, amid the deluge of coverage of the Israel-Hamas conflict following Hamas’ surprise attack on October 7th, a certain historical analogy kept coming up: "this is Israel's 9/11." The analogy has been widely repeated, by officials abroad and stateside.For some invoking 9/11 explains Israel's retaliation. For others, the analogy is a warning, a reminder of the still unfolding violence and death that the American response wrought around the globe. This week, Brooke sits down with David Klion, contributing editor at Jewish Currents, who wrote about the analogy for n+1 magazine, to discuss why we should see it the invocation of 9/11 as a lesson and a warning.

  • We Don't Talk About Leonard: Episode 3

    13/10/2023 Duração: 50min

    In the third episode of "We Don't Talk About Leonard," Leonard Leo is in Maine, a man in his castle, at the height of his powers. He has helped remake the American judicial system, and now he has a plan to do the same for society and politics — to make a Federalist Society for everything. ProPublica reporters Andrea Bernstein, Andy Kroll, and Ilya Marritz drill even further into the fight to gain influence over state courts, and reveal what Leo and his allies are planning for the future. 1. Big money starts pouring into state Supreme Court races in Wisconsin and across the country. Listen. 2. Leonard Leo takes over a network of conservatives trying to shape American culture. Listen. 3. Leonard Leo faces pushback in a town where people know who he is. Listen. This podcast was created in partnership with ProPublica, a nonprofit newsroom that investigates abuses of power. Sign up to receive their biggest stories as soon as they’re published.

  • How Elon Musk's X Failed During the Israel-Hamas Conflict

    11/10/2023 Duração: 16min

    This week, Bloomberg reported that social media posts about the Israel-Hamas conflict have led to a sticky cesspool of confusion and conflict on Elon Musk’s X, formerly known as Twitter. On Saturday, just hours after Hamas fighters from Gaza surged into Israel, unverified photos and videos of missile air strikes, buildings and homes being destroyed and other posts depicting military violence — in Israel and Gaza — crowded the platform. But some of the horror, not all of course, were old images passed off as new. Some of this content was posted by anonymous accounts that carried blue checkmarks, which signals that they had purchased verification under X’s “premium” subscription service. Some military footage circulating on X were drawn from video games, and some of the lies were, as usual, pushed by far-right pundits on the platform, for clicks or, possibly, ulterior motives. For the midweek podcast, Brooke speaks with Avi Asher-Schapiro, who covers tech for the Thomson Reuters Foundation, about how Musk's pol

  • We Don't Talk About Leonard: Episode 2

    06/10/2023 Duração: 50min

    Leonard Leo realized that in order to generate conservative rulings, the Supreme Court needs the right kind of cases. In this episode of “We Don’t Talk About Leonard,” ProPublica reporters Andrea Bernstein, Andy Kroll, and Ilya Marritz investigate the machine that Leonard Leo built across the country to bring cases to the Supreme Court and fill vacant judgeships, and the web of nonprofits he’s created through which to funnel dark money into judicial races. 1. The rise of a conservative lawyer through the ranks demonstrates the growing importance of state solicitors general. Listen. 2. Leonard Leo cultivates wealthy donors, and a fishing trip sets off a Supreme Court ethics scandal. Listen. 3. Leonard Leo gains power and prominence as the author of former President Trump's list of potential Supreme Court appointees, and a Federalist Society donor becomes disillusioned. Listen. This podcast was created in partnership with ProPublica, a nonprofit newsroom that investigates abuses of power. Sign up to receive the

  • Why You Should Pay Attention to Trump's Civil Fraud Case

    04/10/2023 Duração: 20min

    Donald Trump is in court this week in New York City, again, for a multimillion dollar civil fraud trial. He, his sons, and the Trump organization have been accused of using false financial statements and inflating their net worth by billions. In addition to this case, Trump is facing four criminal indictments: the January 6th insurrection case in DC, the Stormy Daniels hush money case in New York, the classified documents case in Florida, and the political interference case in Georgia. It’s a lot to keep track of, but this civil trial is worth one's attention. If NY State Attorney General Letitia James succeeds, Trump could lose control of his businesses and his most valuable assets, like Trump Tower — along with whatever’s left of the public image he spent decades constructing on television and in the press. Russ Buettner is a reporter on the New York Times Investigation Desk, the team that hunted down Trump’s tax returns and other elusive financial documents, in an effort to understand how exactly the forme

  • We Don't Talk About Leonard: Episode 1

    29/09/2023 Duração: 50min

    In this first episode of our new miniseries, We Don't Talk About Leonard, ProPublica reporters Andrea Bernstein, Andy Kroll, and Ilya Marritz investigate the background of the man who has played a critical role in the conservative takeover of America's courts — Leonard Leo. From his humble roots in middle class New Jersey, to a mansion in Maine where last year he hosted a fabulous party on the eve of the Supreme Court decision to tank “Roe.” 1. The night before the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade, Leonard Leo threw a lavish party at his house in Maine. Listen. 2. Leonard Leo's journey from a high-schooler with the nickname "Moneybags Kid" to a high-ranking member of the Federalist Society. Listen. 3. Leonard Leo and the Federalist Society turn their attention to the state supreme courts. Listen. This podcast was created in partnership with ProPublica, a nonprofit newsroom that investigates abuses of power. Sign up to receive their biggest stories as soon as they’re published.

  • The Story Behind Gannett's AI Debacle

    27/09/2023 Duração: 17min

    In late August, Gannett, the country’s largest newspaper company, rolled out a new artificial intelligence service that promised to automate high school sports coverage across the country. And within a matter of days it had gone horribly wrong. People on Twitter quickly discovered that bizarre phrases like “close encounters of the athletic kind,” or how one team “took victory away” from another, had shown up on Gannett news sites in Florida, Indiana, Georgia, Ohio, Kentucky, and Tennessee. As Scott Simon explained on NPR, in some of these AI articles there were robotic place holders where there should’ve been a mascot’s name. Jay Allred is the CEO of Source Media Properties, which includes Richland Source, a local news organization in Ohio, and LedeAI, the company that built the technology that Gannett was using to automate its high school coverage. For the midweek podcast, OTM correspondent Micah Loewinger speaks with Jay about what went wrong, why he wanted to build this technology in the first place, and w

  • Suing to Save the Planet, and How Climate Activism Got a Bad Rap

    23/09/2023 Duração: 50min

    Thousands of protesters descended on New York as the United Nations convened its Climate Summit. On this week’s On the Media, hear how Big Oil is being taken to court for lying to the public about fossil fuels. Plus, a look at a global network of think tanks that’s been vilifying climate activism for decades.  1. Rebecca Leber [@rebleber], senior climate reporter at Vox, on why some climate activists are turning to lawsuits to make change. Listen. 2. Amy Westervelt [@amywestervelt], host and producer of the podcast Drilled, on how a network of think tanks is shaping perceptions of peaceful climate activism as dangerous and extreme. Listen. 3. Leah Sottile [@Leah_Sottile], extremism reporter and the host of the podcast Burn Wild, on how eco-terrorism became security priority for the U.S. government. Listen.   Music:Il Casanova de Federico Fellini - Nino RotaPrelude 8: The Invisibles - John Zorn It’s Raining - Irma Thomas Middlesex Times - Donnie Darko - Michael Andrews Way Down in the Hole - Tom WaitsPu

  • The “Too Old” President and Political Doppelgängers

    15/09/2023 Duração: 50min

    The House has opened a formal impeachment inquiry into President Biden. On this week’s On the Media, find out exactly what Republicans are looking for–and why they should’ve already found it. Plus, geriatric men are the likely presidential nominees. Is there such a thing as “too old” for the job? 1. Stephen Collinson [@StCollinson], CNN senior political reporter, on the impact of a baseless impeachment inquiry on the institution of Presidential impeachments. Listen. 2. James Fallows [@JamesFallows], writer of the “Breaking the News'' newsletter on Substack, and the former chief speechwriter for the Carter administration, on if the press is tackling the age question correctly. Listen.  3. Dr. Steven N. Austad [@StevenAustad], The University of Alabama at Birmingham’s Protective Life Endowed Chair in Healthy Aging Research, on what the science of aging can tell us about a potential Biden second term. Listen.  4. Naomi Klein [@NaomiAKlein], journalist and author of Doppelganger: A Trip into the Mirror World

  • How 9/11 Broke Our Brains

    11/09/2023 Duração: 17min

    Twenty-two years ago, two planes crashed into the Twin Towers. Another plane hit the Pentagon, and another crashed in Pennsylvania — killing nearly 3,000 people in total. The attacks became the pretense for a sprawling, ongoing war on terror that has directly and indirectly claimed some 4.5 million lives in post-9/11 war zones, including Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iraq, Syria, and Yemen, according to a 2023 estimate from Brown University.  In his 2021 podcast, 9/12, Dan Taberski brought us the story of a documentary filmmaker named Dylan Avery, whose 2005 film Loose Change helped embolden the 9/11 Truther Movement. In this piece, OTM reporter Micah Loewinger speaks with Taberski about Loose Change, and the complicated notoriety it brought to Avery. He also interviews Korey Rowe, a producer on Loose Change, about how Google Video helped it become the internet's first viral film. Then, Micah speaks with Charles B Strozier, author of Until the Fires Stopped Burning: 9/11 and New York City in the Words and Experience

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