While maintaining the civility and fairness that are the hallmarks of public radio, OTM tackles sticky issues with a frankness and transparency that has built trust with listeners and led to more than a tripling of its audience in five years.
Since OTM was re-launched in 2001, it has been one of NPR's fastest growing programs, heard on more than 300 public radio stations. It has won Edward R. Murrow Awards for feature reporting and investigative reporting, the National Press Club's Arthur Rowse Award for Press Criticism and a Peabody Award for its body of work.
January 12, 2018
The book that took D.C. by storm; evaluating our first year under President Trump; the story of the Pentagon Papers, from someone who helped write them; and the latest scholarly research on "fake news" — that is, using the original, vintage meaning of the term. Plus, a live report from the Fake News Awards.
1. Michael Wolff [@MichaelWolffNYC], columnist and author, on his latest book Fire & Fury and the dysfunctional Trump White House from whence it came.
3. Les Gelb, former columnist and former Defense Department official, on his experience leading the team that wrote the Pentagon Papers, subject of the new Hollywood drama, "The Post."
5. Bob Garfield [@Bobosphere], OTM's glamour correspondent, reports live from the red carpet at the 2017 Fake News Awards and, folks, the stars are as stunning as the stories are shoddy.
January 10, 2018
Leslie Gelb, the man who supervised the team that compiled the Pentagon Papers, wasn't a character in the new Hollywood drama, "The Post." He is rarely called for comment in documentaries and films about the Pentagon Papers leak. Back in 1971, Gelb was against the publication of the Papers by both the New York Times and the Washington Post, but he came to see that they demonstrated the major flaws of the Vietnam War effort. In this podcast extra, Brooke talks to Gelb about what the Pentagon Papers were trying to achieve in the first place, how they're understood by the public, and what stories "The Post" missed in its interpretation.
January 5, 2018
The surprising political history of abortion in America; how the language of the abortion debate impacts us all; state lawmakers are tightening the rules around how doctors communicate with their patients about abortion; and more.
1. Jill Lepore, staff writer at the New Yorker and professor of American history at Harvard, on how the American debate about abortion became so politicized.
2. Sherri Chessen, former star of the 1960s hit children's show Romper Room, on the story of her own abortion and the media firestorm that surrounded it.
3. WNYC's Mary Harris [@marysdesk] with Utah-based OB-GYN Dr. Leah Torres [@LeahNTorres] and others on the state rules that determine what medical professionals can and can't say to patients seeking abortions.
4. Sociologist Dorothy Roberts [@DorothyERoberts] on how the term "pro-choice" has limited the abortion rights movement and created problems for those looking to advance women's health.
January 3, 2018
When the British TV show Black Mirror first arrived in the US in late 2014, it was applauded for imagining dystopian, technology-centric scenarios that did not seem terribly far off. Now, as the show launches its fourth season, real life seems to be working hard to surpass the strangeness, and sense of dread, that the show continues to inspire.
In January of 2015, Brooke spoke with the creator of Black Mirror, Charlie Brooker, about how the show came about and what it seeks to show us about our technological future...and present.
"Auld Lang Syne"
"15 Million Merits" by Stephen McKeon
"Bing Abi" by Stephen McKeon
December 29, 2017
Father Time — his 2017 sash bloodied and muddied, no doubt — will soon hand off the baton to Baby New Year and, like the reluctant old fellow reaching the end of his tenure, we have some feelings about it. It's been a weird one, and we're obviously not holding our breaths hoping for a respite in the next calendar year. So in anticipation of emotions of all kinds, we present The Feelings Show: three interviews from that past that helped us deal with, you know — things.
1. Rebecca Solnit, writer and historian, on her impatience with despair and her insistence that the future is unknowable — and therefore full of potential.
2. Robert Wright [@robertwrighter], writer and theologian, on how adopting basic mindfulness techniques could improve our lives and help us avoid outrage fatigue.
3. Jad Abumrad [@JadAbumrad], host of WNYC's Radiolab, and Eugene Thacker, professor of media studies at The New School, on nihilism's powerful grip on our culture.
December 22, 2017
When it comes to fighting fire with fire, common knowledge would have us leave the pyrotechnics to the trained professionals. This week, though, we take a look at those taking matters into their own hands, no matter the heat. With far-right internet trolls publishing the phone numbers and addresses of their "antifa" enemies, leftists are weighing the merits of returning the favor. CNN gets caught up in the frenetic energy of the Twitter presidency and the Russia investigations — and completely misfires. Plus, how Detroit's "chief storyteller" plans to counter incomplete narratives with more genuine — and government-funded — stories of his own.
1. Brooke on Fox News's and congressional Republicans' recent attacks on the FBI and special counsel Robert Mueller.
2. Glenn Greenwald [@ggreenwald], editor at The Intercept, on CNN's mistaken reporting on Wikileaks and Donald Trump, Jr. last week, and the media's seeming frenzy to get the goods on President Trump.
3. Bob examines the ethics of doxxing with Decca Muldowney [@deccamuldowney], reporter at ProPublica, Elie Mystal [@ElieNYC], legal editor for WNYC's More Perfect, and Jessica Nocero, non-profit healthcare administrator and antifa militant.
4. Aaron Foley [@aaronkfoley], Detroit's Chief Storyteller, on his new responsibility to transform his city's narrative.
5. Sara Fishko [@FishkoFiles], host of WNYC's Fishko Files, looks back on a time in film history when lies and misdirection were a forgivable delight.
December 20, 2017
In selling their new tax bill to the public, Republicans have leaned heavily on the theme of simplification. According to them, one of the primary benefits of overhauling our mammoth tax code is that it would make the dreaded filing process easier for Americans. But in reality the new tax bill does little to address the confusion that plagues the tax filing process...or the tax preparation companies like H&R Block that make millions off of that confusion. Last April, Brooke spoke with ProPublica's Senior Reporting Fellow Jessica Huseman about the role the tax preparation lobby has played in keeping our code so complicated and why it doesn't have to be that way. With the passage of the Republican tax bill, we're re-airing that interview.
December 15, 2017
Three months after Hurricane Maria, Puerto Rico's recovery story is far from over and far from simple. For some, it's a story of resilience. Others, resignation. For all, it is a story of frustration. Where some adapt, or become acostumbrados, and others demand political solutions. Where tragedy and privation is relieved not just by clean tap water or dependable electricity, but by jokes, music and defiance. This week, we look at the on-the-ground reality of Puerto Rico's recovery and explore all that has been exposed by the storm and its aftermath.
1. Sandra Rodriguez Cotto [@srcsandra], host at WAPA Radio, on community radio's role in supporting Puerto Rico's recovery. Omaya Sosa Pascual [@omayasosa], investigative journalist and co-founder of the Center for Investigative Journalism, on Maria's death count and understanding who is really in charge of Puerto Rico.
2. OTM producer Alana Casanova-Burgess [@alanallama] speaks with Benjamin Torres Gotay [@TorresGotay], columnist for the newspaper El Nuevo Día; Walter Ronald Gonzalez Gonzalez, director of Art, Culture, and Tourism for the region of Utuado; Yarimar Bonilla [@yarimarbonilla], anthropologist at Rutgers University; psychoanalyst Alfredo Carrasquillo [@alcarrpr]; and Sandra Rodriguez Cotto [@srcsandra], host at WAPA Radio, about what was exposed by the storm.
4. Alana considers what might come next for the island and on the fact that Puerto Rico's problems, before and after Hurricane Maria, are America's problems writ large: inequality, addiction, and the growing dangers of climate change.
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December 13, 2017
Roy Moore just lost the election in Alabama, but not before his wife Kayla Moore caused an uproar at his final campaign rally. Defending her husband against "fake news" and accusations of antisemitism, Kayla Moore announced: "Our attorney is a Jew."
Mark Oppenheimer, host of the podcast Unorthodox, has argued that we should start using the word "Jew" rather than "Jewish." Brooke spoke with him earlier this year about the history of the term, its use as a racial slur, and how it could be re-purposed. After the Kayla Moore debacle, Brooke reconnected with Oppenheimer to talk about the possible limits of his argument, whether the Moores really have Jewish friends, and how to spell "Hanukkah."
December 8, 2017
From Capitol Hill to the workplace to the darkest corners of the internet, it can feel like our world is increasingly being manipulated by threats and intimidation. This week we look at the role of bullies in our lives and how we should and shouldn’t respond. Plus, as the GOP tax bill moves through Congress, a look back at the historical struggle over taxation in America. And finally, the story of an MSNBC contributor fired and rehired within the past two weeks and the far-right troll who was responsible.
1. Brooke on WNYC's own revelations of sexual misconduct and bullying and Dahlia Lithwick [@Dahlialithwick], writer for Slate and host of the Amicus podcast, on the potential danger for Democrats when they take the "moral high ground" on sexual misconduct.
2. Molly Michelmore [@MollyMichelmore], historian at Washington & Lee University, on the history and evolution of political rhetoric surrounding American tax policy.
3. Sam Seder [@SamSeder], MSNBC contributor and host of the Majority Report podcast, on his temporary firing from the network, and Mike Cernovich, "mens-rights" activist and far-right conspiracy theorist, on his reasons for trolling MSNBC—that is, until he hung up on us.