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.
June 24, 2016
Democrats in the House of Representatives staged a dramatic sit-in this week to protest inaction on gun legislation, but are they just preaching to the choir? This week, we look at bridging the gap over guns in America and how the media can better understand both sides. Plus, new algorithms claim to provide more accurate models for policing and sentencing, but they actually might be making things worse.
June 22, 2016
As the media have watched the ascent of Donald Trump with disbelief-going-on-horror, pundits have returned frequently to the question of who exactly his supporters are. Terms like "angry" and "white working class" are mentioned frequently, but the National Review several months ago put it the most pointedly and viciously. In an article lambasting Trump supporters, Kevin Williamson characterized them as lazy drug addicts, compared them to animals, and even suggested that they deserved to die. Though he did not say it directly, the implication was clear: these people were white trash.
We took that opportunity to take a deeper look at the idea of "white trash," with the help of writer and professor Nancy Isenberg, author of the forthcoming book, White Trash: The 400-Year Untold History of Class in America. Isenberg described to Brooke how the notion of "white trash" has been around for a long time, belying the idea that America is a "classless" society. White Trash comes out this week, and we're re-running our conversation in honor of it.
June 17, 2016
The aftermath of the Orlando shootings has been marked by grief...and also politics, with LGBT rights, gun control, and terrorism all vying for center stage. We talk with a gay Muslim writer who found himself in "double jeopardy" this week, delve into the semantic tousle over the words "radical Islam," and consider whether forgetting is an appropriate response to violent extremism.
Plus, as the debate over gun control ratchets up again, a look at how the meaning of the Second Amendment has evolved over time. And, what lies at the heart of Britain's "Brexit" campaign (hint: it's not economics).
June 15, 2016
The attack on Pulse nightclub in Orlando has renewed calls for anti-terrorist action from politicians across the board. For presumptive Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton, this has meant a revival of her call for a government/Silicon Valley alliance that would analyze social networks in order to thwart terrorist plots and impede potential radicalization.
It's an attractive solution but one, as we've explored before, that is far more complicated than it might sound. This week we revisit two conversations we had last January, when a US government delegation met with Silicon Valley executives to discuss just such an approach. Karen Greenberg, director of the Center on National Security at Fordham University School of Law, talks about how a neutral-sounding algorithm for scanning radicalization raises numerous legal red flags. And terrorist behavior expert John Horgan explains how this approach fundamentally misunderstands how radicalization happens and why we must be careful distinguishing between those who consume extremist content and those who intend to act on it.
June 10, 2016
The Associated Press declared Hillary Clinton the presumptive Democratic nominee the night before voters went to polls. We hear from the AP and consider the ethics behind their decision.
Plus: How should journalists be treating Donald Trump? The presumptive GOP nominee has had a year-long codependent relationship with the media, but we may be at a turning point. Paul Waldman of The American Prospect argues that old-school investigative reporting is the best way to engage with Trump's sketchy claims and inflammatory rhetoric. Then, CNN's Jake Tapper reflects on how to press the candidate effectively in interviews and whether the conventional tools of broadcast journalism are enough.
Political theorist Michael Signer defined "demagogue" for us six months ago. We check back in on how the term applies to Trump now. And: fiction writer and essayist Aleksandar Hemon argues that novelists should be further probing contemporary politics in their work.
June 8, 2016
This week we want to share with you a piece that we really liked from our friends at Radio Diaries. It’s a personal, revealing, surprising story told by a teen from a region that usually gets discussed only in terms of oil and conflict.
For two years, Majd Abdulghani recorded an audio diary of her life in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia -- where women cannot drive, and where they only make up 16 percent of the workforce. But the society is changing, and Majd's story of studying to be a scientist, learning karate, and ultimately navigating the world of arranged marriages is a glimpse into a world rarely seen by outsiders.
Radio Diaries' Joe Richman and Sarah Kramer introduce this audio diary, and conduct an additional interview at the end. You can learn more about Saudi women and see photos of Majd on radiodiaries.org, where you'll also find other great stories.
June 3, 2016
This week, a baby girl was born in New Jersey with microcephaly, a reminder that the Zika virus is not a distant threat. What is known and still unknown about Zika has fueled pseudoscience and paranoia. We look at a study about Zika-related conspiracy theories online, and how to debunk them.
Plus: The Obama administration may soon release 28 remaining pages of the Congressional 9/11 report -- and they're likely about Saudi Arabia's role in the attacks. We dig into what's in there and why it matters.
And, the story of New York Times reporter Jeffrey Schmalz, who transformed public perception of AIDS and the gay men and women dying from the disease.
June 1, 2016
Last week’s show, “Kidnapped,” featured an interview with Debra and Marc Tice, parents of Austin Tice, the freelance American journalist who disappeared in Syria nearly four years ago. We received many comments from people who were deeply moved by that conversation, so we thought we’d offer you a longer version.
At age thirty, Austin Tice went to Syria with the purest of intentions: to report, firsthand, what befell the people there. He had little experience but a lot of verve, and nerve, venturing deeper into the country than nearly any other western journalist. Soon he was filing stories for McClatchy and the Washington Post, appearing on CBS, and giving interviews to public radio. Then, in August 2012, he vanished. Six weeks later, his family saw evidence of life: a video showing him being led blindfolded up a hillside by armed, masked men. Since that video, the Tices have had no communication with Austin or his captors. But they have what they call credible, recent reports that Austin is still alive. Bob talks with Debra and Marc Tice about their tireless efforts to draw attention to Austin's plight.
May 27, 2016
The threat of kidnapping in Syria has made it one of the most dangerous places in the world for journalists. A special hour on how we get our news from a country that's nearly impossible to visit, and why the world's tangled policy on hostages means that some live to tell the tale, and others don't.
May 25, 2016
This week, President Obama will become the first sitting US president to visit Hiroshima. To mark the occasion, we're revisiting two segments we produced in 2005 relating to the dropping of the atomic bombs on Japan. First, author and journalist Greg Mitchell discusses the case of George Weller, the first reporter on the scene after the bombings, whose first-hand accounts of the aftermath, and the mysterious illness that followed, were never published, only to be discovered in 2005. Then, David Goodman, co-author of "Exception to the Rulers," tells the story of New York Times reporter William L. Laurence, who witnessed the dropping of the atomic bomb on Nagasaki and won a Pulitzer for his heavily pro-bombing reporting -- only for it to be revealed that he was working for the US War Department all along.