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’s big stories and unravel hidden political n…
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The On the Media podcast is an essential and valuable source of media analysis in today's complex media landscape. Hosted by Brooke Gladstone and a team of dedicated journalists, the show offers thoughtful and incisive commentary on current events, with a particular focus on how they are covered in the media. By examining the role of media in shaping public opinion and disseminating information, On the Media helps listeners develop a critical understanding of news reporting and its impact on society.
One of the best aspects of this podcast is its ability to go beyond surface-level reporting and delve into the underlying issues that shape media coverage. The hosts tackle topics that often go unexamined or receive insufficient scrutiny, providing listeners with a deeper understanding of complex issues. They also bring in expert guests who offer unique perspectives, further enriching the analysis presented on the show. The podcast's commitment to thorough research and fact-checking ensures that listeners can trust the information they receive.
On the Media is also commendable for its willingness to question mainstream narratives and challenge conventional wisdom. The show does not shy away from controversial topics or shyly toe political lines, leading to nuanced discussions that encourage critical thinking. By taking a step back from partisan rhetoric and examining media bias from all angles, On the Media promotes intellectual honesty and fosters a more informed citizenry.
One potential downside of this podcast is that it may come across as overly critical towards mainstream media. While it is important to hold journalists accountable for their reporting, some listeners may feel that On the Media focuses too much on exposing flaws rather than highlighting exemplary journalism. Additionally, there may be instances where personal biases seep into the analysis, potentially undermining objectivity.
In conclusion, The On The Media podcast is an invaluable resource for anyone seeking to understand the inner workings of modern media. Its commitment to thorough research, critical analysis, and diverse perspectives makes it an indispensable tool for navigating today's complex information landscape. Despite some potential biases and a tendency towards criticism, On the Media provides a necessary and thoughtful examination of media coverage and its impact on society.
This month marks the anniversary of when most of us first heard about George Santos and his ever-expanding list of lies from a New York Times report published after the midterm election, but a local newspaper called the North Shore Leader was sounding the alarm months before. The New Yorker staff writer Clare Malone took a trip to Long Island to speak with the Leader's publisher, Grant Lally, and its managing editor, Maureen Daly, to find out how the story began. “We heard story after story after story about him doing bizarre things,” Lally told her. “He was so well known, at least in the more active political circles, to be a liar, that by early summer he was already being called George Scamtos.” Lally explains how redistricting drama in New York State turned Santos from a “sacrificial” candidate—to whom no one was paying attention—to a front-runner. At the same time, Malone thinks, “the oddly permissive structure that the Republican Party has created for candidates on a gamut of issues” enabled his penchant for fabrication. “[There's] lots of crazy stuff that's popped up in politics over the past few years. I think maybe Santos thought, Eh, who's gonna check?” This story first ran on the New Yorker Radio Hour in January of this year.
After a seven-day ceasefire, fighting has resumed in Gaza. On this week's On the Media, how the word “genocide” entered discussions of the Israel-Hamas conflict, and the legal implications of the term. Plus, why boardroom drama at the tech company OpenAI received so much media coverage. 1. Ernesto Verdeja [@ErnestoVerdeja], executive director of the Institute For The Study of Genocide at the University of Notre Dame, on the debate and legal implications surrounding the charge of "genocide." Listen. 2. Max Read [@readmaxread], journalist and writer of the "Read Max" newsletter, on why internal theatrics at OpenAI's made so many headlines. Listen. 3. Deepa Seetharaman [@dseetharaman], reporter covering artificial intelligence for the Wall Street Journal, on the journey of "effective altruism" from the halls of Oxford University to the boardrooms of Silicon Valley. Listen.
In his Veteran's day speech a couple of weeks ago former President Donald Trump said this about his political enemies; TRUMP: the threat from outside forces is far less sinister, dangerous and grave than the threat from within. We pledge to you that we will root out the communists, Marxists, fascists and the radical left thugs that live like vermin within the confines of our country. Jeff Sharlet, author of The Undertow: Scenes from a Slow Civil War, argues that Trump's narratives of martyrdom, a persecuted in-group, a mysterious out-group, and a rhetoric of violence are all hallmarks of fascism. Brooke spoke with Sharlet in June about what the rhetoric, aesthetics, and myth-making of Trump and the movement he rode to power can tell us about a rising fascist movement in the United States, and why Sharlet argues we're in the midst of a slow civil war. This is a segment from our June 16, 2023 show, Indicted (Again).
This year has seen record layoffs in the media industry, with some digital news giants closing down altogether. On this week's On the Media, hear how The New York Times became a profitable powerhouse at a time when other outlets are struggling to survive. Plus, instead of reaching for top profits, some new publications have opted for a humbler mission: survival. 1. Ben Smith [@semaforben], editor-in-chief and co-founder of Semafor, on what went wrong for BuzzFeed News, and why digital media is splintering. Listen. 2. Micah Loewinger [@MicahLoewinger] examines why The New York Times is expanding, and thriving, even amongst record layoffs at other media outlets. Listen. 3. Micah Loewinger [@MicahLoewinger] takes a look at a growing cohort of new outlets around the US trying to wrestle journalism away from big capital through a co-operative business model. Listen.
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 honest" comedian, informs the rise of the hyper-performative, absurdist comedy of John Early and Kate Berlant.
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
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.
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 [@felixsalmon], host of Slate Money, and Nick Quah [@nwquah], podcast critic for Vulture and New York Magazine. Listen.
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.
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
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.
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 in Saudi Arabia, and Kim Ghattas [@KimGhattas], a writer at The Atlantic and author of Black Wave: Saudi Arabia, Iran, and the Forty-Year Rivalry That Unraveled Culture, Religion, and Collective Memory in the Middle East. Listen.
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-deteriorating relationship between conservative media and the GOP led us to this point.
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.
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.
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.
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 policy changes at X have led to a stronger initial surge of misinformation than usual during this conflict, and how an algorithmically-driven "fog of war" impacts our historical record of this conflict.
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 their biggest stories as soon as they're published.
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 former president got his money and how he lost so much of it. For the midweek podcast, OTM correspondent Micah Loewinger called Russ to learn about what Trump's history of fraud means for his future, the revelations of the trial so far, and what details have gotten lost in the deluge of coverage.
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.
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 whether this disaster had shaken his belief in its potential.
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 WaitsPuck - John ZornFinal Retribution -John Zorn
In July, the World Health Organization issues a report indicating that aspartame, an artificial sweetener used in many low calorie sodas and snacks, was "possibly carcinogenic to humans." The new statement on a widely utilized artificial sweetener led to controversy in the medical community, with the Federal Drug Administration saying they saw no concern over aspartame consumption. Some dietitians even took to social media to voice their contradicting opinions. Anahad O'Connor, a health columnist at The Washington Post, the response to the announcement on social media smelled a bit fishy. In a report released earlier this month with colleagues Caitlin Gilbert and Sasha Chavkin, O'Connor found that dozens of registered dietitians, some with more than 2 million followers each, were paid to counter the WHO's announcement. He and his colleagues followed the money back to industry groups like American Beverage, which represents companies like Coca-Cola and PepsiCo. This week, OTM correspondent Micah Loewinger sits down O'Connor to learn more about the growing trend of influencer dietitians and the long history of food and beverage lobbies attempting to influence our eating habits.
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, on being confused for writer and conspiracist Naomi Wolf for much of her career, and her exploration of doppelgangers and the mirror world the other Naomi inhabits. Listen. Music:72 Degrees and Sunny - Thomas NewmanEye Surgery - Thomas Newman Lost Night - Bill Frisell Young at Heart - Brad Mehldau TrioDisfarmer Little Girl - Bill FrissellPavane, Op. 50 - Gabriel Faure - Academy of St. Martin in the FieldsThe First Time Ever I saw Your Face - Bert Jansch
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 Experiences of Survivors and Witnesses, about the moment when exactly 9/11 conspiracy theories broke into the mainstream. This segment originally aired in our September 10th, 2021 program, Aftershocks.
This week a former Proud Boys leader received the longest prison sentence for the insurrection so far. On this week's On the Media, why conspiracy theories that the FBI planned January 6 live on. Plus, in the aftermath of a 1984 subway shooting, hear how the New York press crowned the gunman a hero. 1. Tess Owen [@misstessowen], senior reporter at Vice News, on the latest fallout from the January 6th insurrection. Listen. 2. Leon Neyfakh [@leoncrawl], host of the podcast Fiasco: Vigilante, available exclusively on Audible, on how the press covered a notorious and divisive 1984 New York City subway shooting. Listen.
In early August, Christopher Anthony Lunsford, who goes by Oliver Anthony, quietly released a song called "Rich Men North of Richmond." A week later, the folk song had rocketed to the top of the Billboard charts — a historic feat for someone with no chart history to speak of. But the ascent wasn't without controversy. The song, to some, sounded like a right-wing anthem. And it was heralded as such online by right wing pundits, and included as a part of the first question of the opening Republican presidential primary debate. But Oliver Anthony's politics, and the song's appeal, have turned out to be a little more complicated. This week, OTM correspondent Micah Loewinger sits down with Chris Molanphy, Slate's pop-chart columnist, and author of the forthcoming book "Old Town Road," to talk about how such an unlikely song rose to the top. Micah speaks to Molanphy about how the Billboard charts have gotten weirder, and more anarchic, and what "Rich Men North of Richmond" has in common with "Ballad of the Green Berets," a song released almost 60 years prior.
Why does every social media platform seem to get worse over time? This week's On the Media explores an expansive theory on how we lost a better version of the internet, and the systems that insulate Big Digital from competition. Plus, some solutions for fixing the world wide web. 1. Cory Doctorow [@doctorow], journalist, activist, and the author of Red Team Blue, on his theory surrounding the slow, steady descent of the internet. Listen. 2. Brooke asks Cory if the troubles that plague some corners of the internet are specific to Big Digital, rather than the economy at large-- and how our legal systems enabled it all. Listen. 3. Cory and Brooke discuss possible solutions to save the world wide web, and how in a sea of the enshittified there's still hope. Listen. Music:I'm Not Following You - Michael AndrewsI'm Forever Blowing BubblesThe Desert and Two Grey Hills - Gerry O'BeirneLa vie en rose - Toots ThielemansAll I Want (Joni Mitchel) - Fred Hersch
In March 2021, when President Joe Biden announced the nomination of Lina Khan to be a commissioner at the Federal Trade Commission, the decision was met with a rare kind of excitement for the otherwise sleepy agency. The excitement seemed bipartisan as 21 Republican senators voted to confirm the commissioner. Not long after, then 32-year-old Khan was promoted to chairperson of the agency, making her the youngest chair in the FTC's history. Since then the tone around Khan has changed dramatically, as Republican commissioners at the agency have pushed back against what they see as a radical agenda. Back in March, OTM correspondent Micah Loewinger spoke to Emily Birnbaum, technology and lobbying reporter for Bloomberg, about a growing anti-antitrust movement emerging in the press and in Washington, and why Khan has become its main target.
In late 2016, American diplomats in Havana, Cuba started hearing a mysterious buzzing sound and experiencing debilitating symptoms. On this week's On the Media, why the government now disputes theories that it was a secret Russian weapon. Plus, what the electric hum of your refrigerator and the uncanny hearing ability of pigeons reveal about the world we live in. 1. Adam Entous, staff writer at The New York Times, Jon Lee Anderson, staff writer at The New Yorker, and Robert Bartholomew, sociologist and author of Havana Syndrome: Mass Psychogenic Illness and the Real Story Behind the Embassy Mystery and Hysteria, on the investigation into the mysterious affliction that spread across the globe. Listen. 2. Jennifer Munson, OTM Technical Director, and Nasir Memon, New York University professor of computer science and engineering, on the obscure technology called electrical network frequency analysis, or ENF, and the world of audio forensics. Listen. 3. Robert Krulwich [@rkrulwich], co-creator and former co-host of Radiolab, and John Hagstrum, a geophysicist emeritus at the U.S. Geological Survey, on the mysterious avian disappearance that rocked world headlines. Listen. Music:Meet Tina - Havana SyndromeHistory Lesson - Havana SyndromeOkami - Nicola CruzElectricity - OMDWallpaper - Woo
When two blockbuster movies, Barbie and Oppenheimer, premiered in U.S. theaters on the same day in July 2023, they ushered in a renewed enthusiasm for the double feature, and introduced the word "Barbenheimer" to moviegoers' vocabularies. For this midweek podcast, we're returning to an old OTM piece by David Serchuk about a sound—more specifically, a scream—that's lived an amazingly long and storied life on the silver screen.
This summer's extreme heat has contributed to disasters around the world--but some of them are hard to see. On this week's On the Media, why extreme heat is one of the most challenging climate disasters for reporters to cover. Plus, the story of how historical fiction became the unexpected darling of the literary world. 1. Jake Bittle [@jake_bittle], staff writer at Grist, on this year's scarily hot summer and the impacts of extreme heat. Listen. 2. OTM producer Eloise Blondiau [@eloiseblondiau] takes a deep dive into how historical fiction became a rich resource for reckoning with our past, feat: Alexander Manshel, assistant professor of English at McGill University [@xandermanshel], and novelists Alexander Chee [@alexanderchee] and Min Jin Lee [@minjinlee11]. Listen. 3. Tiya Miles [@TiyaMilesTAM], professor of history at Harvard University and author of All That She Carried: The Journey of Ashley's Sack, a Black Family Keepsake, on rediscovering lost histories. Listen. Music:Misterioso - (Monk) - Kronos QuartetNon Pusc SofirPrincipio di VirtuGoing Home - Hank Jones, Charlie HadenThe Beatitudes - Kronos QuartetTilliboyo - Kronos QuartetTraveling Music - Kronos Quartet
In the first half of the last school year, PEN America has recorded almost 900 different books pulled from library shelves across the country. As long as libraries have existed, people have tried to police what goes in them. The burning of the Library of Alexandria is a metaphor that gets invoked any time we lose access to a treasure trove of books. But for centuries it has also inspired scientists and inventors, philosophers and programmers to dream about creating an ideal library, one that provides access to all the knowledge in the world. OTM producer Molly Schwartz goes to a birthday party for Wikidata at the Brooklyn Public Library, where she talks to Wikimedia New York City president Richard Knipel, Wikimedia software engineer James Forrester, and long-time Wikipedia editor Jim Henderson about how the free online encyclopedia has made strides toward providing knowledge to the sum of human knowledge. She also speaks with library historian Alex Wright, author of the book Glut: Mastering Information Through the Ages, and software engineering consultant Gyula Lakatos, creator of the Library of Alexandria application suite, about the history of universal library projects and what keeps the dream alive.
When the US women's soccer team was knocked out of the world cup, they became the latest target of a right-wing media campaign. On this week's On the Media, the state of discourse around gender. Plus, the quality of coverage around trans rights, and how it's changed. 1. Alex Abad-Santos [@alex_abads], senior correspondent at Vox, on the right-wing outrage against the US women's national soccer team after their elimination from the World Cup. Listen. 2. Micah Loewinger [@MicahLoewinger], OTM correspondent, on the state of coverage of trans rights, and how it has changed since New York Times contributors wrote an open letter to the paper accusing it of biased reporting several months ago. Listen.
This week, another legal blow for former president Donald Trump after a judge ruled to dismiss Trump's counter defamation lawsuit against E Jean Carroll for statements she made about a ruling on civil case earlier this year. Back in May, a Manhattan federal jury found that former president Donald Trump sexually abused writer E. Jean Carroll in a luxury department store dressing room in the mid 1990s, and awarded her $5 million for defamation and battery. The jurors, however, rejected Carroll's claim that she was raped. This came at the end of a seven-day trial, during which Carroll testified against Trump's claims that she was lying, and that he had never met her. The day of the verdict, Carroll strolled out of the courtroom onto the New York City sidewalk, sunglass-clad and triumphant. Rebecca Traister is a writer-at-large for New York magazine, and author of “Good and Mad: The Revolutionary Power of Women's Anger.” This week, she speaks with Brooke about the place that this nearly thirty-year-old case holds in the landscape of Me Too, the premature death bells of the movement, and just how long it takes for movements to fully permeate laws, practices, and attitudes. This is segment originally aired in our May 12, 2023 show, Her Day in Court.
This year, the Department of Defense began renaming military bases that honor the Confederacy. On this week's On the Media, a former general explains why the reckoning with the myth of the “lost cause” is overdue. Plus, hear how Russian propaganda about the war in Ukraine has been hundreds of years in the making. 1. Ty Seidule [@Ty_Seidule], the Vice Chair of the National Commission on Base Renaming, on the military's efforts to reckon with the "Lost Cause." Listen. 2. Alexis Akwagyiram [@alexisak], Managing Editor of Semafor Africa and former Reuters bureau chief in Nigeria, on the potential widespread impact of the coup in Niger. Listen. 3. Mikhail Zygar [@zygaro], investigative journalist and founder of the independent Russian TV channel Rain, on debunking some of Russia's most powerful myths about itself. Listen. Music:The Last Bird - Zoe KeatingTomorrow Never Knows - Quartetto D'Archi Dell'orchestra Sinfonia di Milano Giuseppi VerdiWinter Sun - Gerry O'BeirneAli Farka Toucche - Jenny ScheinmanAirborne Toxic Event - Danny ElfmanLieutenenent Kije - Sergei ProkofievLieutenenent Kije - Sergei Prokofiev
According to a New York Times-Siena poll released this week 54 percent of republican voters said if the election were held today they would vote for Donald Trump. DeSantis trails by 37 percentage points and the others in the field are in single digits. Despite, (or because of?) his solid lead, Trump is wavering on whether he will show his face at the first Republican presidential debate set for August 23rd. As he told Maria Bartiromo on Fox; “You're leading people by 50 or 60 points, you say, why would you be doing a debate? It's actually not fair. Why would you let someone who's at zero or one or two or three be popping you with questions?” Trump's debate snubbing is just the latest example of the GOP resistance to a longstanding political norms. refusal by Republicans to meet political norms. Last year Ronna McDaniel, chairwoman of the Republican National Committee, wrote a letter to the commission on presidential debates, the independent, bipartisan organization that has convened general election debates since the 80s. In her letter, she said that the RNC would boycott the presidential debates during the upcoming election cycle. That is, unless the commission was willing to meet its demands. Between the RNC's demands and now the potential absence of the Republican front-runner the question is; what, if anything, would be lost if the presidential debates didn't happen? Brooke spoke to Alex Shephard - senior editor at The New Republic, last year after he wrote an article titled, Let the Presidential Debates Die.
Click here to support this work. President Biden just ordered U.S. investigators to share evidence of Russian war crimes with The International Criminal Court. On this week's On the Media, what will it take to secure justice for Ukraine? Plus, a moving look back at the early days of the conflict. 1. Mstyslav Chernov [@mstyslav9], a video journalist for the Associated Press and director, on the making of the documentary, "20 Days in Mariupol," and what footage from Ukrainian frontlines didn't make it to American newsreels. Listen. 2. Deborah Amos [@deborahamos], a veteran Middle East correspondent and this week's guest co-host, on how war crime investigators focusing on Ukraine first learned how to document war crimes in Syria, and what this means for holding Russia accountable. Listen. 3. Nathaniel Raymond [@nattyray11], war crimes investigator and Executive Director of Yale's Humanitarian Research Lab, about his report confirming the Russian government held at least six thousand Ukrainian children in re-education camps. Listen. 4. Philippe Sands [@philippesands], professor of law at University College London, on why Western nations are hesitant to charge Putin for the “crime of aggression.” Listen.
The researchers at Yale's Humanitarian Research Lab gather in a carpeted underground bunker, beneath the campus library, to steadily gather evidence of Russia's alleged war crimes. In a report published earlier this year, in collaboration with the State Department, they presented evidence of the Russian government operating more than 40 child custody centers for Ukrainian children who have been forcibly removed from their homes to Russia. On the other hand, Russia's embassy in Washington has claimed that the children were forced to flee to safety due to the war. About a month later, on March 17, the International Criminal Court issued an arrest warrant for Russian president Vladimir Putin, accusing him of the war crime of illegally deporting children from Ukraine. For this week's midweek podcast, we're airing a piece by our guest co-host Deborah Amos, first broadcast by NPR's Morning Edition in February, in which she reported on the devastating evidence unearthed by the Yale researchers, and what this means for leveraging accountability against Putin.