Episodes

  • The overturning of Roe v. Wade will remain the most discussed opinion of this Supreme Court term. But just a day earlier, the high court issued another monumental opinion — this one on guns. On this week's On the Media, hear why this latest ruling will send lawyers scrambling into historical archives. Plus, an inside look at Justice Clarence Thomas' unique strain of conservatism.

    1. Timothy Zick, professor of law at William and Mary Law School, about what's next in the debate over gun control, and why it will be all about history. Listen.

    2. Corey Robin [@CoreyRobin], writer and professor of political science at Brooklyn College and the CUNY Graduate Center, on all that we've missed (or ignored) about Justice Clarence Thomas. Listen.

    Music:

    Dream Machine - John Zorn
    Sign and Sigil - John Zorn
    Whispers of A Heavenly Death - John Zorn

  • As the country reels from last Friday’s decision by the Supreme Court to overturn Roe v. Wade, people, politicians, and health care providers are scrambling to figure out what’s next. But pregnancy was already an especially complicated process, full of rules and regulations, for one particular sector of the population — the military. According to a 2018 report by the U.S. Government Accountability Office, women made up just 16.5% of active-duty service members in the Department of Defense; however, military women are more likely than their civilian counterparts to have unintended pregnancies. They’re also more likely to suffer a miscarriage or ectopic pregnancy, making medical care an essential should the department continue to diversify. This week, Brooke sits down with Kyleanne Hunter, senior political scientist at the RAND Corporation and a Marine Corps combat veteran, to talk about how the department had just begun to make positive changes, and now sits in a complex limbo.

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  • This week, the Supreme Court officially struck down Roe v. Wade, overturning fifty years of legal precedent and abortion rights across the country. On this week’s On the Media, hear about the case that almost defined the abortion debate instead. Plus, the Jan 6 committee’s latest bombshell evidence of Trump’s manipulation of the justice department.

    1. Alana Casanova-Burgess [@Alanallama], former OTM producer, and Jessica Glenza [@JessicaGlenza], health reporter at the Guardian, look at the case that Ruth Bader Ginsburg wished the Court heard instead of Roe v. Wade. Neil Siegel, a professor of law and political science at Duke University School of Law, puts the Susan Struck v. Secretary of Defense case in context. Dahlia Lithwick [@Dahlialithwick], who writes about the courts at Slate, untangles what the justices actually decided in Roe. Listen.

    2. Michael Waldman [@mawaldman], president of the Brennan Center for Justice at NYU School of Law, discusses how the January 6 committee's findings could aid a Justice Department indictment. Listen.

    Music:

    The Water Rises (Laurie Anderson) - The Kronos Quartet
    John’s Book of Alleged Dances - The Kronos Quartet
    Tateh's Picture Book - Randy Newman
    Atlantic City - Randy Newman

  • All across the country this month, people are celebrating queer and trans pride with parades, cookouts, dances, and family gatherings. And yet the future of the community feels darker than it has in a long time. Threats from Proud Boys and elected officials seem to reinforce the idea that LGBT people cannot survive or thrive in places outside a few coastal cities. But a study from the Movement Advancement Project in 2019 revealed that at least 3 million queer people live in rural America. And many have no interest in fleeing to big cities for protection. This week, Annalee Newitz sits in for Brooke, and talks to Rae Garringer about their oral history project, Country Queers. When Garringer was attending college in the early 2000s, the only queer rural representation they saw was in crime stories. Country Queers features LGBT people who are living in rural parts of the United States, in small towns and remote farms, and they’re often taking great joy in it.

  • In this week's January 6th committee hearings, a documentary selling election conspiracies was laughed off by the likes of Bill Barr. But myths about a stolen election are no joke. On this week’s On the Media, hear about a pundit's efforts to revitalize and repackage The Big Lie. Plus, one man’s escape from the conspiracy theory machine.

    1. Philip Bump [@pbump], national correspondent at The Washington Post, on debunking election myths made for the silver screen. Listen.

    2. Nina Jankowicz [@wiczipedia], former head of the Disinformation Governance Board, on the lessons learned from government-led attempts to counter disinformation. Listen.

    3. Josh Owens [@JoshuaHOwens], former staff member at InfoWars, on what made him leave, and how he's come to terms with his past role in dangerous movement. Listen.

    Music in this Week's Show:
    Ava Maria D. 839 - Pascal Jean and Jean Brenders
    First Drive - Clive Carroll and John Renbourn
    Boy Moves the Sun - Michael Andrews
    Exit Music (For A Film) - Brad Mehldau Trio

  • Josh Owens was an InfoWars employee from 2013 to 2017. In an essay published on CNN.com this week, Owens described his deep regret over the past 5 years as he grappled with the damage his work caused. OTM reporter Micah Loewinger spoke to Owens this week about Jones' role in the dissemination of disinformation in the light of what we are learning about the January 6th insurrection.

  • Gun control legislation appears doomed once again, even as Congress heard heartbreaking testimony from parents of the children killed in Uvalde. On the latest episode of On the Media, why some activists and journalists now advocate for publishing the gruesome photos of victims. Plus, how one family grappled with the brutal video of their loved one's death in prison.

    1. Susie Linfield, professor of journalism at New York University, on the push to share photographs of victims, and the limited political power of an image. Listen.

    2. Spencer and Gail Booker, family of Marvin Booker, who was killed by police in 2010, share what their family went through, and why Marvin's death being caught on camera remains so difficult. Listen.

    3. Lois Beckett [@loisbeckett], senior reporter for The Guardian, on why our coverage of gun violence tends to focus on just one kind tragedy, and how we could make it better. Listen.

  • Back in the before-times, when we used to go into the radio station every day, our office next-door neighbor was WNYC host Brian Lehrer. He hosts a 2 hour live radio call-in show every day from 10 to noon in New York city.

    In this segment from his show he examines the relationship between Dr. Oz and Oprah Winfrey.

    The Trump-endorsed Dr. Oz recently won the Republican Senate primary in Pennsylvania. One reason the doctor is so popular, despite the many critics who say he promotes unscientific therapies and cures, is his many appearances on Oprah Winfrey's long-running daytime talk show. Kellie Jackson, historian, associate professor of African Studies, Wellesley College and host and executive producer of the Oprahdemics podcast, and Leah Wright Rigueur, associate professor of history, Johns Hopkins University and co-host of the Oprahdemics podcast, talk to Brian about Oprah's role in giving Dr. Oz a platform, what he became and if she has any responsibility to speak out.

  • This week, On the Media looks ahead to the January 6th committee hearings that will air live in primetime this month. Find out which questions reporters hope the hearings will answer — like what really happened inside the White House that day. Plus, how a lie about a suitcase full of fake ballots took on a life of its own.

    1. Ilya Marritz [@ilyamarritz] and Andrea Bernstein [@AndreaBNYC], creators of the award-winning series Trump, Inc., break down why the upcoming January 6th committee hearings could be the most consequential yet. Listen.

    2. Ilya Marritz [@ilyamarritz] and Andrea Bernstein [@AndreaBNYC] return in an excerpt from their new show Will Be Wild, examining the forces behind the January 6th insurrection with stories from those who tried to stop the attack, and those who took part. Plus, some pineapple. Listen.

    For transcripts, see individual segment pages.

  • This Wednesday afternoon, in Fairfax County Circuit Court in Virginia, a jury awarded Johnny Depp $15 million in damages in libel suit against Amber Heard, and gave her $2 million in her countersuit against him. All this, over a December 2018 op-ed she wrote in The Washington Post describing herself as "a public figure representing domestic abuse." Depp’s lawyers say he was defamed by the article even though it never mentioned his name. This case, argued over six weeks before a seven-person jury and judge, and a noisily expanding online audience, drove much of the internet crazy with guilty pleasure. Thus ensued a collective hurling of feces at Amber Heard, despite the evidence gathered meticulously in a 2020 British libel case also focused on Depp’s spousal abuse. The only quarter of the media that seemed reluctant to engage in the facts of the case was the progressive press, or the liberal media. There you could find coverage of the social media chaos, but not the underlying reality. This bothered journalist Michael Hobbes, host of the podcast Maintenance Phase, who observed that usually reliable outlets tended to steer around the facts, and sold an already victimized woman down the river.

  • As we trudge through our third year of the pandemic, what is the state of our immunity to COVID? On this week’s On the Media, hear how vaccines and reinfections interact with fast-evolving variants. Plus, why we should take the recent monkeypox outbreak seriously, but avoid panicking.

    1. Katherine Wu [@KatherineJWu], staff writer for The Atlantic, on building immunity three years into the pandemic. Listen.

    2. David Robertson, doctoral candidate at Princeton University, on what the press got wrong when covering herd immunity. Listen.

    3. Fiona Lowenstein [@fi_lowenstein], journalist and founder of Body Politic, on how to write about Long Covid. Listen.

    4. Jon Cohen [@sciencecohen], writer at Science, on why we shouldn't compare the recent monkeypox outbreak to Covid. Listen.

    Music:
    Sleep Talking by Ornette Coleman
    Sonata for Violin and Guitar (Mauro Giuliani) by Itzhak Perlman and John Williams
    Superstition (Stevie Wonder) by Jung Sungha
    I Got A Right To Sing the Blues by Billy Kyle
    John’s Book of Alleged Dances by The Kronos Quartet

    For transcripts, see individual segment pages.

  • Last week’s show was titled “Again and Again” and it led with an essay about the then latest devastating mass shooting, in Buffalo. We combed our archives for all those people we’d spoken to in the past about the tropes and mistakes that litter the coverage of these abominations. We didn’t gather new tape because...honestly? We’ve said it all before. And then it happened again. This time in Texas at an elementary school.

    August of 2019 saw another moment where 2 shooting rampages occurred within days of each other; one in El Paso, Texas and the next in Dayton, Ohio.

    At the time, Washington Post columnist Margaret Sullivan wrote, “When a mass shooting happens, even when it happens twice in a 24-hour period — even when the death tolls soars into the dozens — we reflexively spring into action. We describe the horror of what happened, we profile the shooter, we tell about the victims’ lives, we get reaction from public officials. It’s difficult, gut-wrenching work for journalists on the scene. And then there’s the next one. And the next one. If journalism is supposed to be a positive force in society — and we know it can be — this is doing no good.”


    Lois Beckett is a senior reporter for The Guardian. She covered gun violence for many years, now gun policy. She says that mainstream coverage of the issue is flawed because it's focused mainly on one type of tragedy. She explained to me when I spoke to her 3 years ago, how better coverage would mean focusing on the root causes of gun violence.

    This is a segment from our September 6th, 2019 program, Pressure Drop.

  • In the wake of yet another racist mass shooting, this time in Buffalo, New York, media outlets are churning out heartbreakingly familiar stories, with the same tropes and the same helplessness. On this week's On the Media, how we've become mired in patterns and lost sight of the potential solutions. Plus, how journalists should cover the ongoing siege on democracy. Then, a deep dive into the forgotten legacy of one of America's most influential writers.

    1. Brooke Gladstone [@OTMBrooke], OTM host, on the tropes that choke coverage of every mass shooting, and why we should focus on consequences and the 'rot at the root.' Listen.

    2. Jay Rosen [@jayrosen_nyu], professor of journalism at New York University and media critic for PressThink, on why journalists should still be in "emergency mode." Listen.

    3. Paul Auster, acclaimed novelist and author of Burning Boy: The Life and Work of Stephen Crane, on the 19th century writer's forgotten legacy. Listen.

    Music:

    White Man Sleeps by The Kronos Quartet
    Fergus River Roundelay by Gerry O’Beirne
    Middlesex Times by Michael Andrews
    A Ride with Polly Jean by Jenny Scheinman
    Cellar Door by Michael Andrews

  • This week we're airing an interview that Brooke did while on a fellowship at the American Academy in Rome. She and her husband Fred Kaplan (author of the War Stories column in Slate), sat down with Mark Hannah, host of the podcast "None of the Above," produced by the Eurasia Group Foundation.

    From the Crimean War of 1853 to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine this year, journalists, reporters, and the media have shaped the public’s understanding of war. But do the stories we read and the photos we see provide an impartial picture of the wars they document? As Hannah recently explained in Foreign Policy, certain aspects of American war coverage—reliance on government sources and incentives to simplify geopolitics as battles between good and evil—have long compelled news organizations to tilt toward military action.

  • With Roe v Wade under threat, some politicians and media outlets are trying to turn the national conversation away from abortion and toward civility. On this week’s On the Media, how the GOP has mastered the art of setting the narrative. Plus, how moral panics surrounding dangerous TikTok trends follow a century-old pattern of blaming new technology for the deviant behavior of teenagers.

    1. Paul Waldman [@paulwaldman1], opinion writer for the Washington Post, on Republicans decrying the draft opinion leak and protests to motivate their base ahead of the midterms. Listen.

    2. Micah Loewinger [@MicahLoewinger], OTM correspondent, on alarmist news coverage of TikTok challenges and its misleading influence on panicked parents. Listen.

    3. Brandy Zadrozny [@BrandyZadrozny], senior reporter for NBC News, on the story of Tiffany Dover, and how misinformation about her death fueled anti-vax messaging. Listen.

    Music:

    Fallen Leaves by Marcos CiscarThe Camping Store by Clive Carroll and John RenbournCoffee Cold by Galt MacDermotMiddlesex Times by Michael Andrews
  • This week, we take a look at the latest celebrity trial to ensnare the national attention. Johnny Depp is suing Amber Heard, his ex-wife, for defamation, and she’s counter suing him for the same. Depp’s suit takes issue with an op-ed Heard wrote back in 2018 for the Washington Post in which she identifies herself as a survivor of domestic violence. She first came forward with allegations against Depp in 2016. In 2018, Depp sued British tabloid, The Sun, for defamation over headlines that accused him of abuse, but he lost that case. Given the history, you might expect to see fewer headlines over this latest trial. But, not so. The ratings for Court TV, which is broadcasting every moment of the trial, have more than doubled. Pair the live visuals with Depp’s rabid online fanbase, and you’ve got a case being watched billions of times over — in fact, the #JusticeforJohnnyDepp hashtag has upwards of 10 billion views on TikTok and it’s spawned several viral sounds and trends and … comedy sketches. Guest host Brandy Zadrozny asks EJ Dickson, senior writer for Rolling Stone, about how pro-Depp coverage of the case took over TikTok, and its consequences.

  • Across news outlets, crime reporting often relies on police sources and incomplete data. On this week’s show, hear how to spot bias in crime stories and what more nuanced coverage looks like. And, the struggle to protect whistleblowers calling out police abuse. Plus, the story of one powerful tabloid that has stymied bail reform for decades.

    1. Laura Bennett, the co-author of ​“Freedom, Then the Press: New York Media and Bail Reform,” on how to read a crime story. Listen.

    2. Matt Katz [@mattkatz00] WNYC reporter, on what bad coverage of bail reform looks like. Listen.

    3. Tom Devine, legal director of the Government Accountability Project, on how to protect whistleblowers on police misconduct. Listen.

    4. Tauhid Chappell [@TauhidChappell], Philadelphia Project Manager for Free Press, on abolishing the crime beat. Listen.

  • This week, OTM presents a story from our colleagues at The Experiment. There’s a common story about abortion in this country, that people have only two options to intentionally end a pregnancy: the clinic or the coat hanger. They can choose the safe route that’s protected by Roe v. Wade—a doctor in a legal clinic—or, if Roe is overturned, endure a dangerous back-alley abortion, symbolized by the coat hanger. But a close look at the history of abortion in this country shows that there’s much more to this story. As a draft of the majority opinion overruling Roe v. Wade was leaked to the media this week, activists are once again preparing to take abortion into their own hands.

    Reporter Jessica Bruder explores the abortion underground to learn about the movement’s origins, and reveals how activists today are mobilizing around effective and medically safe abortion methods that can be done at home.

    A transcript of this episode is available.

    Further reading: “A Covert Network of Activists Is Preparing for the End of Roe”

  • After news broke that Elon Musk is likely to purchase Twitter later this year, the billionaire began sharing a controversial vision for the app. On this week’s On the Media, hear why Musk’s plan to turn Twitter into a so-called free speech platform could spiral out of control and how urban planning can make safer digital spaces. Plus, how science fiction inspired some of Silicon Valley’s most powerful men.

    1. Anand Giridharadas [@AnandWrites], author of Winners Take All: The Elite Charade of Changing the World, Erika D. Smith [@Erika_D_Smith], LA Times columnist, and Natalie Wynn [@ContraPoints], YouTuber and political commentator, on the implications and possible outcomes of Elon Musk's potential purchase of Twitter. Listen.

    2. Eli Pariser [@elipariser], co-director of Civic Signals, on how urban planning can manage the problems of social programing to create digital spaces that don't exploit us. Listen.

    3. Jill Lepore, Harvard historian and staff writer at the New Yorker, Annalee Newitz [@Annaleen], former Editor-in-Chief of Gizmodo and science fiction author, and Gene Seymour [@GeneSeymour], longtime cultural critic, on tech moguls' obsession with science fiction. Listen.

  • On this week's podcast extra we present episode 1 of a new series from our colleague, Nancy Solomon. She’s our New Jersey specialist at WNYC and she’s got quite the tale to tell. It’s about a murder on a Jersey cul de sac that was never solved. And it involves some of the most powerful people in the state. It’s even got a waterfront land deal. It’s sort of like Chinatown meets American Hustle. It’s a seven episode podcast, and we think you’ll like it. Listen and subscribe here: https://link.chtbl.com/M_a20dat?sid=otmwebsite