On the Media

Mar 01 2016 169.6k








OTM presents - Blindspot Ep. 5: The Idea
Oct 21 2020 54 mins  
For this week's podcast extra, we're once more highlighting the work of our colleague Jim O'Grady and his brilliant podcast "Blindspot: The Road to 9/11." This is episode 5: The Idea. The World Trade Center was built with soaring expectations. Completed in 1973, its architect, Minoru Yamasaki, hoped the towers would stand as “a representation of man’s belief in humanity” and “world peace.” He even took inspiration from the Great Mosque in the holy city of Mecca with its tall minarets looking down on a sprawling plaza. What he did not expect was that the buildings would become a symbol to some of American imperialism and the strangling grip of global capitalism. Our story picks up in Manila — January 6th, 1995 — where police respond to an apartment fire and uncover a plot to assassinate the Pope. A suspect gives up his boss in the scheme: Ramzi Yousef, the mastermind of the 1993 World Trade Center bombing. Yousef has been on the run for two years and has disappeared again. Port Authority Detective Matthew Besheer and FBI Special Agent Frank Pellegrino fly to Manila to follow his trail. They learn that Yousef has a horrifying attack in the works involving bombs on a dozen airplanes, rigged to explode simultaneously. President Bill Clinton grounds all U.S. flights from the Pacific as the era of enhanced airline security begins. Yousef’s plot is foiled. But what it reveals about his intentions is chilling.





God Bless
Oct 02 2020 50 mins  
President Trump has once more tried to cast himself as an ally of the Christian right — this time, by nominating Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court. This week, On the Media explains how the religious right goes beyond white evangelicals and the persistent allure of persecution narratives in Christianity. Plus, we examine the overlooked religious left. And, we explore how the image of Jesus as a white man was popularized in the 20th century, and why it matters. 1. Andrew Whitehead [@ndrewwhitehead], professor of sociology at Indiana University – Purdue University Indianapolis, explains how Christian nationalism holds the religious right together. Listen. 2. Candida Moss [@candidamoss], professor of theology and religion at the University of Birmingham in the U.K., on how false claims of persecution date back centuries, to the early Christian church. Listen. 3. Jack Jenkins [@jackmjenkins], national reporter at Religion News Service, explains why the religious left is harder to define, and its influence more difficult to measure, than its right-wing counterpart. Listen. 4. OTM reporter Eloise Blondiau [@eloiseblondiau] examines how "White Jesus" came to America, how the image became ubiquitous, and why it matters. Listen. Music from this week's show: Ave Maria — Pascal Jean and Jean BrendersAmazing Grace — Robert D. Sands, Jr.I Got a Right to Sing the Blues — Billy KyleWhat’s That Sound? — Michael AndrewsWade in the Water — Charlie Haden and Hank JonesFor the Creator — Hildegard von BingenWalking by Flashlight — Maria Schneider (The Thompson Fields)















Don't Fall For It
Aug 21 2020 50 mins  
Recently, the president threatened the post office — and with it, the November elections. On this week's On The Media, a look at how decades of cuts to the mail system led to this emergency. Plus, the “birther” lie reared its ugly head once more — but this time, journalists were ready for it. And, the so-called "rising stars" of the Republican Party. 1. Alex Shephard [@alex_shephard], staff writer at the New Republic, on the conservative tropes often employed by journalists covering the public sector — including the USPS. Listen. 2. Charlie Warzel [@cwarzel], opinion writer-at-large at the New York Times, on the deluge of information and misinformation unleashed by the post office scandal. Listen. 3. Mark Joseph Stern [@mjs_DC], staff writer at Slate, on the “think tank” behind the Kamala Harris "birther" lie. Listen. 4. Eugene Scott [@Eugene_Scott], political reporter at the Washington Post, on how journalists have covered the latest unfounded “birther” conspiracy, compared with the original one nearly a decade ago. Listen. 5. Alex Pareene [@pareene], staff writer at the New Republic, on far-right fringe candidates finding a serious foothold in the Republican Party. Listen. Music from this week's show: Passing Time - John Renbourn Cellar Door - Michael Andrews Turnaround - Ornette Colema Shoot the Piano Player Player - Georges Delarue Sleep Talking - Ornette Coleman Mysterioso - Thelonius Monk/Kronos Quartet Middlesex Times - Michael Andrews














Who Is Lady Liberty, And What Does She Want?
Jul 08 2020 21 mins  
The Statue of Liberty is nearly 140 years old, but she's enjoying renewed relevance in the Trump era. In announcing hostile immigration policies, Trump administration officials have been questioned about Emma Lazarus' famous poem "The New Colossus" and its message about the monument in New York Harbor. Last year, Acting Citizenship and Immigration Services Director Ken Cuccinelli said on NPR’s Morning Edition, "Give me your tired and your poor who can stand on their own two feet and will not become a public charge. That plaque was put on the Statue of Liberty at almost the same time as the first public charge law was passed." That's a common nativist response to both the statue and poem, and it reveals some of the different ways the Statue of Liberty has reflected different attitudes towards migrants since 1886. Paul Kramer is a professor of history at Vanderbilt University who has written about the symbolism of the Statue of Liberty and how it intersects with views of immigration in US history. Last year, he and Brooke visited Liberty Island and reflected on her different meanings and portrayals in American history. For this week's podcast extra, we're re-airing that segment. You can read Professor Kramer's piece in Slate on President Reagan and the Statue of Liberty here. You can watch his presentation on the history of the three statues (The Guardian Statue, the Exile Statue, and the Imperial Statue) here.














Boiling Point
May 29 2020 50 mins  
Protestors are expressing outrage over police brutality while the president is threatening violence against them on Twitter. We follow how this latest chapter of unrest follows generations of pain, and how the Karen meme is shedding light on racism and entitlement during the pandemic. Plus: how do we get to a better place? And, Bob examines Twitter's efforts to address Trump's use of the platform. 1. Apryl Williams [@AprylW] of the University of Michigan examines the Karen meme and what it tells us about criticism of privilege in the pandemic. Listen here. 2. Jessie Daniels [@JessieNYC] of the CUNY Graduate Center on the history of white women in racial dynamics. Listen here. 3. Kara Swisher [@karaswisher] of Record Decode discusses Twitter's efforts this week, and attorney Bradley Moss [@BradMossEsq] on why Trump can't be sued for his tweets. Listen here. **NOTE: In this episode, Bob refers to Jack Dorsey as "interim" CEO of Twitter. He is co-founder and CEO. Bob also refers to "common carriers" in a description of threatened changes to Section 230. "Common carriers" are not relevant to the subject at hand and we regret the errors. The sentence should have read: "Publishers, like the New York Times or Star magazine, can be sued over the content they print, but online platforms from Reddit to Pinterest to Wikipedia have immunity from that through Section 230. Without that protection, Twitter, Facebook and so on would have to either delete much of their content for fear of being sued, or simply stop policing it altogether." For more information on Section 230 can be found in this handy explainer from Verge. Please see the transcript tab for precise locations about about where those mistakes are in the show.






















Bracing for Impact
Mar 20 2020 50 mins  
As a global pandemic threatens to upend life as we know it, the future is becoming increasingly difficult to grapple with. On this week's On the Media, we turn to people who have been spent years readying themselves for societal collapse: doomsday preppers. Plus, how a different disaster — Hurricane Katrina — revealed inconsistencies in how we care for one another in times of crisis. 1. As the pandemic continues to disrupt our communities and daily routines, the very passage of time feels distorted. Brooke [@otmbrooke] examines how covid-19 is warping a sense of chronology. Listen here. 2. OTM Producer Micah Loewinger [@MicahLoewinger] immerses himself in the survivalist media sphere, and talks to Richard Mitchell Jr., professor emeritus of sociology at Oregon State University, about how preppers are reacting to news that the moment they've been planning for may finally be here. Listen here. 3. Rebecca Onion [@rebeccaonion], staff writer at Slate, on survivalist novelist and blogger John Wesley Rawles and the rise of prepper fiction. Listen here. 4. Vann Newkirk II, staff writer at The Atlantic and host of the new podcast "Floodlines," on the lessons of Hurricane Katrina. Listen here. Music from this week's show: Time is Late by Marcos Ciscar PRELUDE 8: The Invisibles by John Zorn Coffee Cold by Galt MacDermot Slow Pulse Conga by William Pasley Down to Earth by Peter Gabriel "Auf einer Burg" by Don Byron Melancolia by Marcos Ciscar





























Hindsight Is 2019
Dec 27 2019 50 mins  
2019 started on a note of fakery, as we made sense of the conspiracies and simulacra that distort our information field. It's ending with a similar air of surreality, with impeachment proceedings bringing the dynamics of the Trump presidency into stark relief. Along the way, we've examined forces, deconstructed narratives, and found the racist core at the heart of so much of the American project. And as we've come to look differently at the world, we've come to look differently at ourselves. With excerpts from: When The Internet is Mostly Fake, January 11th, 2019 United States of Conspiracy, May 17th, 2019 Trump Sees Conspiracies Everywhere, October 4th, 2019 Understanding the White Power Movement, March 22nd, 2019 Why "Send Her Back" Reverberated So Loudly, July 19th, 2019 The Scarlet E, Part II: 40 Acres, June 14th, 2019 Part 1: The Myth Of The Frontier, March 29th, 2019 Empire State of Mind, April 5th, 2019 The Perils of Laundering Hot Takes Through History, March 1st, 2019 Music: Sentimental Journey by Hal McIntyre and his OrchestraNewsreel by Randy NewmanString Quartet No. 5 (II) by Kronos Quartet & Philip Glass8½ by Rino NotaSongs of War by United States Old Guard fife and Drum CorpsThe Water Rises / Our Street Is a Black River by Laurie Anderson & Kronos Quartet Marc Phillips Tribute To America (Medley) by The O’Neill BrothersTomorrow Never Knows by Quartetto d’Archi Dell’Orchestra Sinfonica di Milano Giuseppe VerdiMerkabah by John Zorn



Sons of the Soil
Dec 18 2019 20 mins  
Last week, India’s ruling party (the BJP) passed the Citizenship Amendment Act. The legislation grants a clear path to Indian citizenship to non-Muslim refugees from Bangladesh, Pakistan and Afghanistan. Opponents pointed out flaws in the law almost as soon as it was introduced. The law fails to mention Muslim minorities who face persecution in their own countries, such as the Rohingyas in Myanmar. Critics see it as the latest step in the Hindu nationalist government’s steady march toward a Hindu nation-state. The move follows the revocation of Kashmir’s autonomy this summer, and two million people losing statehood in Northeast India after being left off of a national register of citizens. The list requires citizens to provide documents to prove Indian ancestry. Many Muslims fear that the National Register of Citizens will be enacted across India, leaving religious minorities in the world’s largest democracy in danger of losing their home. Union Home Minister Amit Shah twisted history to provide justification for the Citizenship Amendment Act, shouting to his colleagues in Parliament that decades ago it was the now opposition, Congress Party, that divided India and Pakistan along religious lines. As Indian historian Romila Thapar wrote in The New York Times earlier this year, “extreme nationalists require their own particular version of the past to legitimize their actions in the present.” This week, we go back to a piece reported by OTM Producer Asthaa Chaturvedi. She examines how Hindu nationalists are rewriting Indian history in the world’s largest democracy, with journalist Shoaib Daniyal, political scientist Christophe Jaffrelot, and sociology professor Nandini Sundar.

Body of Law: Beyond Roe
Dec 13 2019 50 mins  
A majority of Americans polled by CSPAN last year couldn't name a Supreme Court case. Of those who could, Roe v. Wade was by far the most familiar, with 40 percent able to name it. (Only five percent could name Brown v. Board of Education.) And since it was decided in 1973, a majority — roughly 70 percent — have consistently said they want Roe upheld, albeit with some restrictions on legal abortion. But what do we really know about Roe? Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg has often said she wishes it had been another case that the Supreme Court heard as the first reproductive freedom case instead. It was Susan Struck v. Secretary of Defense, and it came to the high court during the same term as Roe. The year was 1970, and the Air Force (like the other branches of the military) had a regulation banning female service members from having a family. If a servicewoman got pregnant, she would get discharged. Captain Susan Struck was a nurse serving in Vietnam, and she challenged the decision in court with Ginsburg as her lawyer. However, the court never heard the case because the Air Force changed their policy first. For this week's show, we partnered with The Guardian (read their story here) to learn more about Susan Struck’s fight and its bigger lessons for reproductive freedom and for women in the workplace. Our producer Alana Casanova-Burgess and The Guardian's health reporter Jessica Glenza spoke to Struck about the difficult decision she made to give her baby up for adoption in order to fight the regulation. Plus, we hear why legal scholars think this case "deserves to be honored by collective memory," and how Ginsburg's arguments to the Supreme Court differed from what the justices decided in Roe. Then: - Slate's Dahlia Lithwick explains the threats to reproductive rights in the court right now; - Neil Siegel of Duke Law School puts the Struck case in context and discusses what better questions we could be asking about women's equality; - activist and scholar Loretta Ross explains the tenets of reproductive justice and how they expand the frame beyond Roe and abortion; - and Reva Siegel of Yale Law School tells the story of how abortion was discussed before 1973, including during the Women's Strike of 1970. And she describes the framework of ProChoiceLife, which expands the idea of what pro-life policy is. She is also the co-editor of Reproductive Rights and Justice Stories. Read The Guardian’s print version here, and share your story with Jessica Glenza if you were a woman serving in the military before 1976. Music by Nicola Cruz, Kronos Quartet, and Mark Henry Phillips






PURPLE EPISODE 4: Media to the Rescue?
Nov 26 2019 10 mins  
As part of a month-long campaign called the Purple Project for Democracy, (a strictly non-partisan, apolitical effort that a number of other large news organizations have also contributed to) we are featuring a series of conversations about an alarming loss of trust, faith and devotion by Americans for American democracy — and what to do about it. Bob is one of the Purple Project organizers. In episode four, Bob examines the media’s responsibility for instilling devotion, or at least perspective, for our democracy. A 2014 National Assessment of Educational Progress, or NAEP, showed only 23 percent of eighth graders in the United States attained “proficient” status in civics. A 2011 Newsweek survey found that 70 percent of Americans didn’t even know that the Constitution is the supreme law of the land. And only 26% of those surveyed in 2017 by the University of Pennsylvania could name all three branches of government. And no wonder: with STEM curriculum and standardized testing squeezing the school day, civics has become the snow leopard of the social studies curriculum. So if the knowledge vacuum is otherwise filled by misinformation and disinformation, and the result is a loss of faith and trust in democracy itself, who is left to intervene? Jan Schaffer — ombudsman for the Corporation of Public Broadcasting, Pulitzer Prize–winning former journalist and founder of The Institute for Interactive Journalism — talks to Bob about what responsibility the media have to become educators, and maybe even re-assurers, of last resort. Music: Ashokan Farewell by Jay Ungar



PURPLE EPISODE 1: “Is Democracy up for grabs?”
Nov 23 2019 16 mins  
As part of a month-long campaign called the Purple Project for Democracy, (a strictly non-partisan, apolitical effort that a number of other large news organizations have also contributed to) we are featuring a series of conversations about an alarming loss of trust, faith and devotion by Americans for American democracy -- and what to do about it. Bob is one of the Purple Project organizers. Democracy is in trouble. Not necessarily because of our current political mayhem, or even because of the accumulated sins and failures of American society, but because vast swaths of the public are giving up on the system that has governed us for 243 years. Here are some alarming data points: One, in 2018 only 33% of the general population expressed trust for government. Two, among 1400 adults asked about the importance of democracy, only 39% of younger participants said “absolutely important.” Three, in a 2018 Democracy Fund survey of 5000 Americans, 24% of respondents expressed support for “a strong leader who doesn’t have to bother with Congress or elections,” and either a “strong leader” and 18% for “army rule. The more complicated question is what as a society we are to do about it? In this mini-series we’ll be talking that over, but we’ll begin with the actual state of public sentiment and public participation. Eric Liu is the co-founder and CEO of Citizen University and Co-chair of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences Commission on the Practice of Democratic Citizenship. He and Bob discuss potential solutions for taking on widespread disaffection. Music: We Insist by Zoë Keating





OTM presents: Shell Shock 1919: How the Great War Changed Culture
Nov 13 2019 55 mins  
You really have a feeling that here is a building that looks fantastically beautiful, and it’s got its whole façade simply blown off by this war. -Philipp Blom World War I presented civilization with unprecedented violence and destruction. The shock of the first modern, “industrial” war extended far into the 20th century and even into the 21st, and changed how people saw the world and themselves. And that was reflected in the cultural responses to the war – which included a burgeoning obsession with beauty and body image, the birth of jazz, new thinking about the human psyche, the Harlem Renaissance, Surrealism...and more. WNYC's Sara Fishko and guests sift through the lingering effects of the Great War on modern art and life in Shell Shock 1919: How the Great War Changed Culture. Guests include Jon Batiste, Ann Temkin, David Lubin, Philipp Blom, Jay Winter, Ana Carden-Coyne, Sabine Rewald, David Levering Lewis, Emma Chambers, Marion von Osten, Emily Bernard, and Gail Stavitsky ‘L.H.O.O.Q.’ by Marcel Duchamp; readymade [postcard reproduction of Leonardo da Vinci’s Mona Lisa] and pencil (1919) (Philadelphia Museum of Art) James Reese Europe and the 369th Regiment band, also known as the Harlem Hellfighters (1918) (U.S. National Archives and Record Administration) Margaret Gorman, the first Miss America, on the Atlantic City boardwalk (1921) (Wikimedia Commons) Still from Wallace Worsley’s The Hunchback of Notre Dame (1923, Universal) starring Lon Chaney as Quasimodo and Patsy Ruth Miller as Esmeralda (Universal Pictures) The Cenotaph in Whitehall, London on November 9, 2015, surrounded by poppy wreaths for Remembrance Day (Bailey-Cooper Photography / Alamy Stock Photo) Producer/Host: Sara FishkoAssociate Producer: Olivia BrileyTechnical Director: Ed HaberEditor: Karen Frillmann Production help from Terence Mickey, Meara Sharma, and Frederic Castel With the voices of Michael Wist and Alexis Cuadrado Thanks to Loren Schoenberg, Jennifer Keene, Jo Fox, Katy Wan, Marion von Osten, Marion Kiesow II, Patrick Helber, Shannon Connolly, and Natalia Ramirez Shell Shock 1919 is supported by the Revada Foundation of the Logan Family















5 • 11 Ratings

Random Pod Guy Oct 22 2020
👍

mgluckman Aug 31 2020
Weekly listener for over 10 years. One of the best out there. Bob is gold, edited by Brooke.






pugsley May 24 2020
Truely thoughtful podcast always. This particular submition had my heart hurt. Bless all that have been touched by this pandemic and all.

Rumhand May 06 2020
OTM is unparalleled in quality and honesty.

iruns May 03 2020
Great context to all the chaotic content in the media.

kimby 1000 May 03 2020
Smart and insightful. I've been hooked on On the Media since their series on poverty. Check it out for yourself.

ilovepodcastnews Apr 21 2020
Bob and Brooke are first class journalist and provide the in-depth, fact checked news I rely on for critical understanding of politics and media. I listen to many podcasts, and this is on top of the list to stay informed and educated.

jarod_hm Apr 19 2020
On the Media provides excellent context about news coverage and current events. It has been an unparalleled source of clarity for years.

Bob_WestHaven Apr 18 2020
One of my favorite podcasts. Love the depth, and also Brooke and Bob and their wonderful and wonderfully complementary senses of humor

fleuvogian Apr 17 2020
Helped contain and focus my stress






Jacquito Apr 16 2020
Adds context and thought to any good news diet!