On Point

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Go behind the headlines: From the economy and health care to politics and the environment – and so much more – On Point hosts Meghna Chakrabarti and David Folkenflik speak with newsmakers and real people about the issues that matter most. On Point is produced by WBUR for NPR.


    • Jun 2, 2023 LATEST EPISODE
    • weekdays NEW EPISODES
    • 43m AVG DURATION
    • 1,078 EPISODES

    4.2 from 2,890 ratings Listeners of On Point that love the show mention: tom ashbrook, meghna chakrabarti, megna, bring back tom, onpoint, far ranging, i've been a loyal, miss tom, tom always, siegel, host tom, best npr, david brooks, wbur, moderating, two shows, tom is a great, favorite radio, news shows, sears.

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    Latest episodes from On Point

    'Greedflation': A once fringe theory of inflation gains momentum

    Play Episode Listen Later Jun 2, 2023 47:23

    A pandemic, war in Ukraine, supply chain breakdowns -- all led to soaring prices. And now, the idea that inflation is driven in part by corporations keeping prices high is gaining momentum. We hear why economists are beginning to take 'greedflation' seriously.

    The little-known virus behind a majority of nongenetic birth defects

    Play Episode Listen Later Jun 1, 2023 47:21

    One virus causes more birth defects in American babies than any other nongenetic disease – but most don't know it exists. We hear a mother's journey to understand her daughter's diagnosis of congenital CMV.

    How the medical aid in dying movement is gaining momentum in the U.S.

    Play Episode Listen Later May 31, 2023 47:35

    In the past five years, states allowing access to life-ending medication for the terminally ill have more than tripled. But as more states allow such end-of-life care, is access really growing? And for whom? Dr. Diana Barnard and Katie Engelhart join Meghna Chakrabarti. 

    What the debt ceiling deadline means for your money

    Play Episode Listen Later May 30, 2023 47:18

    The debt ceiling deadline is quickly approaching. How will it impact your personal finances if the U.S. government can't pay its bills? Michelle Singletary joins Meghna Chakrabarti.

    'The last supper': How a 1993 Pentagon dinner reshaped the defense industry

    Play Episode Listen Later May 29, 2023 47:34

    In 1993, then Secretary of Defense Les Aspin invited the CEOs of America's largest defense contractors to a private get-together. We hear how a secret dinner at the Pentagon kicked off a massive consolidation in the defense industry. Norman Augustine and Rep. John Garamendi join Meghna Chakrabarti.

    Gold Star children on life without their heroes

    Play Episode Listen Later May 26, 2023 47:35

    The children of fallen soldiers often bottle up their suffering. But some are opening up with the help of a writing seminar for Gold Star kids. Two of them share their stories.

    Rebroadcast: Understanding J. Edgar Hoover's America

    Play Episode Listen Later May 25, 2023 47:17

    J. Edgar Hoover, former FBI director. History has cast him as powerful, paranoid, a man not afraid to use the power of the FBI to intimidate and investigate his critics. But that's how he's seen now. What about then?

    What Hunter Biden's troubles could mean for the president's 2024 reelection campaign

    Play Episode Listen Later May 24, 2023 47:34

    Hunter Biden faces possible indictment from the Justice Department. Exploring the details behind the headlines about the President's son. Adam Entous joins Meghna Chakrabarti.

    What the DeSantis agenda means for higher education in Florida

    Play Episode Listen Later May 23, 2023 47:33

    Florida law now bans public colleges from offering general ed classes that “distort significant events” or “teach identity politics." What happens when the government tells colleges what they can and can't teach?

    First person: 'I helped to connect families ... from country to country'

    Play Episode Listen Later May 22, 2023 5:37

    Thousands of miles of fiber optic cable at the bottom of the world's oceans carry more than 95% of the world's data, from phone calls and emails to encrypted military secrets. Rick Chislett spent 41 years laying fiber optic cable around the world.

    A new rivalry between the U.S. and China over the world's undersea cables

    Play Episode Listen Later May 22, 2023 47:14

    Thousands of miles of fiber optic cable lying at the bottom of the world's oceans carry more than 95% of the world's data. Now, those undersea cables are at the forefront of a new rivalry between China and the U.S. over who controls the flow of big data.

    The U.S. military promised to counter extremism. Has the Pentagon made progress?

    Play Episode Listen Later May 19, 2023 47:02

    The U.S. military promised to implement policies that would counter extremism in its ranks. But still it persists. What more should the Pentagon be doing to stop extremism in the military?

    How remote work is reshaping commercial real estate

    Play Episode Listen Later May 18, 2023 47:04

    Commercial real estate is cratering. In cities like Los Angeles and Chicago, more than 20% of office space lies vacant. What does that mean for America's cities?

    Why hasn't the media learned its lesson about covering Donald Trump?

    Play Episode Listen Later May 17, 2023 47:25

    Former president Donald Trump tried to overthrow an election he lost. Now, he's running for president again. How should news organizations cover candidate Trump in post Jan. 6th America?

    A record cull of Yellowstone bison intensifies debate into how to best manage them

    Play Episode Listen Later May 16, 2023 47:28

    This year more than a third of Yellowstone's bison have been removed from the herd – most of them shot – after they wandered out of the national park in search of food. That's intensified the debate into how to best manage the iconic animal. Rick Wallen joins Meghna Chakrabarti.

    What happened to Nina Jankowicz when Fox News came for her

    Play Episode Listen Later May 15, 2023 47:33

    When the Department of Homeland Security appointed Nina Jankowicz to lead an effort to fight disinformation and hate speech, disinformation and hate speech came for her. Now, she's suing Fox News. Nina Jankowicz joins Meghna Chakrabarti.

    The U.S. COVID public health emergency ends: How did the pandemic change American life?

    Play Episode Listen Later May 12, 2023 47:21

    The COVID-19 emergency declaration is over. Over three years, Americans saw their lives forever changed. We check in with Americans we heard from during the pandemic about life now.

    How the politicization of COVID endangered our lives and democracy

    Play Episode Listen Later May 11, 2023 47:34

    The federal COVID-19 public health emergency is coming to an end today. But as we look back at the three-plus years of the pandemic, did we miss the opportunity to best protect our country? Olivia Troye and Shana Gadarian join Meghna Chakrabarti.

    The clock ticks on the debt limit: Lessons from America's last debt ceiling crisis

    Play Episode Listen Later May 10, 2023 47:34

    The U.S. debt limit clock is ticking. The nation could default in weeks. In 2011, the country came within 72 hours of that happening.

    Rebroadcast: Is customer service bad on purpose?

    Play Episode Listen Later May 9, 2023 47:22

    Press one. Press two. Try to find a human, but you can't. Welcome to the nightmare that is customer service.

    'It goes so fast': NPR's Mary Louise Kelly on her life as journalist and mother

    Play Episode Listen Later May 8, 2023 47:35

    NPR's Mary Louise Kelly has reported from around the world. In her new book, she looks back on the choices she made as a reporter and a mother. Mary Louise Kelly joins Meghna Chakrabarti, live at the Brattle Theatre in Cambridge, Mass.

    Does the Supreme Court need a code of conduct?

    Play Episode Listen Later May 5, 2023 47:09

    The Supreme Court doesn't have a code of ethics -- unlike every other judicial bench in the U.S. Who should require and enforce a code of ethics on the high court? Amanda Frost joins Meghna Chakrabarti.

    First person: A tragedy inspired her activism

    Play Episode Listen Later May 4, 2023 5:54

    When Sheila Clemmons Lee's son was killed in a Nashville police traffic stop in 2017, she joined a coalition campaigning to create a police oversight board. Now, the Republican super-majority in the Tennessee state legislature has moved to abolish the board.

    What Tennessee tells us about democracy in America's states

    Play Episode Listen Later May 4, 2023 47:33

    In Tennessee's state assembly, Republicans are unabashedly exerting their power – over-ruling local laws, expelling Democratic lawmakers. What does Tennessee tell us about the health of democracy in U.S. state legislatures?

    Why Americans are leaving big cities behind

    Play Episode Listen Later May 3, 2023 47:20

    Americans are moving out of big cities. Cost, quality of life and the pandemic are shifting decades of population growth patterns. So where do Americans want to live now?

    Reforming the country's organ transplant system

    Play Episode Listen Later May 2, 2023 47:32

    Thousands of people die each year waiting for an organ transplant in the U.S. The Biden administration says it's time the system is reformed. We hear how to improve America's organ transplant system.

    Can AI be regulated?

    Play Episode Listen Later May 1, 2023 46:57

    Nearly 30,000 experts in the computing and AI world signed an open letter calling for a pause on AI development. What guardrails are needed before more advanced artificial intelligence is unleashed?

    Fraud and forgery in the world of fine art

    Play Episode Listen Later Apr 28, 2023 47:06

    The world of fine art is full of multimillion dollar one-of-a-kinds and breathtaking masterpieces. But it's also rife with fraudsters and forgers. When fakes demand a fortune, what does that say about the intrinsic value of art?

    Should there be a mandatory retirement age for elected officials?

    Play Episode Listen Later Apr 27, 2023 47:10

    Nearly three-quarters of Americans believe there should be a mandatory retirement age for elected officials. In many state judiciaries, there already is. Do mandatory retirement ages work in state courts?

    Behind the push to strike down free preventative health care in America

    Play Episode Listen Later Apr 26, 2023 47:21

    The Affordable Care Act says you don't have to pay for preventative health care. But a federal judge in Texas recently struck that down. And it could change the way 160 million Americans get their care. Nicholas Bagley joins Meghna Chakrabarti.

    What the Discord leaks reveal about the Pentagon's own cyber security

    Play Episode Listen Later Apr 25, 2023 47:26

    Cyber warfare is the future of war. And in many ways, that future is already here. So, is the United States ready?

    How insecurity contributes to disenchantment with democracy

    Play Episode Listen Later Apr 24, 2023 47:13

    People the world over are feeling economically and culturally insecure. Economist Pranab Bardhan says liberal leaders aren't paying enough attention to that, and that's led to a growing disenchantment with democracy.

    America's Black maternal health crisis and how to fix it

    Play Episode Listen Later Apr 21, 2023 47:04

    As maternal deaths rose in the U.S. during the pandemic, Black women bore the brunt. In fact, they are almost three times more likely to die in childbirth than white women. Helena Grant, Kimberly Seals Allers and Congresswoman Alma Adams join Tiziana Dearing.

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    An inside look at the Supreme Court's conservative transformation

    Play Episode Listen Later Apr 20, 2023 46:54

    Joan Biskupic has been a supreme court analyst for 25 years. Her new book tells the inside story of the court's conservative transformation -- the personalities and the politics behind the court we have now, and will have for years to come.

    What MLB fans and players think of baseball's new rules

    Play Episode Listen Later Apr 19, 2023 47:03

    Major League Baseball has new rules designed to speed up the game and attract new fans. We learn what fans and players think of the sport's big changes in the first few weeks of the new season. Jeff Passan and C.J. Stewart join Anthony Brooks.

    Preparing for America's electric vehicle future

    Play Episode Listen Later Apr 18, 2023 47:22

    President Biden's new emissions standards are designed to accelerate the push towards electric vehicles. Among the challenges – batteries, and China's stranglehold on the supply chain. We hear how to reach an electric future.

    The GOP and the abortion trap

    Play Episode Listen Later Apr 17, 2023 47:20

    By limiting access to abortion, Republicans have achieved a long sought-after goal. But it has cost them dearly in recent elections and many are looking to 2024 with trepidation. Jess Bidgood, Ramesh Ponnuru, Dante Scala and Eleanor Klibanoff join Anthony Brooks.

    The power of populism: Can populism strengthen a democracy?

    Play Episode Listen Later Apr 14, 2023 47:34

    It's episode five of our series 'The power of populism.' Populism can have an authoritarian trajectory, but can it also bring about better democracies? Thomas Frank, Jean Louise Cohen and Jack Beatty join Meghna Chakrabarti.

    The power of populism: Flipping the script on the urban-rural divide

    Play Episode Listen Later Apr 13, 2023 47:32

    It's easy to think of American populism as disempowered rural residents versus the urban elite. When it comes to America's electoral system and influencing national policy, who has the real power? Jonathan Rodden and Danielle Allen join Meghna Chakrabarti.

    Wisconsin and the politics of resentment

    Play Episode Listen Later Apr 12, 2023 47:20

    On Point continues to explore “The power of populism” this week. Today, Wisconsin and the politics of resentment. How has populism flourished in the Badger state?

    The power of populism: Populism in the world's largest democracy

    Play Episode Listen Later Apr 11, 2023 47:27

    Populism is on the rise across the globe, from Turkey to Hungary to Brazil. The second episode of our series “The power of populism” looks at the appeal of populism in India, and what it means for the future of the world's largest democracy.

    The power of populism: What makes a leader a populist?

    Play Episode Listen Later Apr 10, 2023 47:29

    Populism has been on the rise in recent years. But why? And what exactly is populism? It's the first episode of our series "The power of populism."

    What's next – legally and politically – for Donald Trump

    Play Episode Listen Later Apr 7, 2023 47:29

    For the first time in our nation's history, a president was indicted on criminal charges. What's next for Donald Trump?

    How to fix the growing discipline problem in U.S. classrooms

    Play Episode Listen Later Apr 6, 2023 47:19

    Student discipline problems rose sharply in the pandemic. Schools say disruptive behavior has been on the rise for years, but they're not allowed to do much about it. Now, lawmakers want to change that. Ben Court, Patrick Wall and Elizabeth Errico join Meghna Chakrabarti.

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    How to make America's wireless networks more reliable

    Play Episode Listen Later Apr 5, 2023 47:24

    T-Mobile had a major cell phone outage in February. Last year, AT&T customers in Minnesota lost service for four days. What would it take to make America's wireless networks more reliable? Harold Feld joins Meghna Chakrabarti.

    america minnesota att reliable t mobile make america wireless networks meghna chakrabarti harold feld
    'I could not deliver the care my patients needed': A doctor's experience of moral injury

    Play Episode Listen Later Apr 4, 2023 4:53

    Health care professionals across the country say they're being forced to compromise the quality of care they give their patients in the name of profits. Dr. Jamie Wooldridge is a pediatric pulmonologist. She says the stresses of the health care industry are driving many doctors and nurses to leave the profession.

    Moral injury in modern medicine and how to heal health care workers

    Play Episode Listen Later Apr 4, 2023 47:06

    In our nation's for-profit health system, more and more health care professionals say they're being forced to make choices that are bad for patients. Much like soldiers at war, clinicians now report suffering from “moral injury.”

    Why Black children bear the brunt of gun deaths, and what can be done to stop it

    Play Episode Listen Later Apr 3, 2023 47:32

    Gun violence recently surpassed car accidents as the leading cause of death for American children. For Black children – that's been the case since 2006. Dr. Victor Garcia and Joseph Richardson join Meghna Chakrabarti.

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    Why some states are rolling back telehealth access

    Play Episode Listen Later Mar 31, 2023 47:23

    The COVID pandemic paved the way for widespread use of telehealth doctor's appointments. They worked. But some states are rolling back access to virtual visits.

    The American invasion of Iraq through an Iraqi's eyes

    Play Episode Listen Later Mar 30, 2023 47:17

    20 years after the U.S. invaded Iraq, congress is quietly repealing its authorization of the war. We look back at the past two decades in Iraq, through an Iraqi's eyes. Ghaith Abdul-Ahad joins Meghna Chakrabarti.

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    What's at the root of Israel's democratic crisis

    Play Episode Listen Later Mar 29, 2023 47:32

    Mass protest in Israel have delayed Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's attempts to transform Israel's judiciary. But there are signs of deeper troubles for Israeli democracy.

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