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.
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.
December 5, 2017
Update: On Wednesday, following the release of this pod extra, New York Public Radio announced that Jonathan Schwartz and Leonard Lopate had been placed on indefinite leave as the station investigates "accusations of inappropriate conduct" filed against the two long-time hosts.
This weekend, New York Magazine published investigative reporter Suki Kim's personal experiences and reporting on sexual harassment by John Hockenberry, former host of the WNYC program, "The Takeaway." The article alleges that over the past decade, Hockenberry sexually harassed interns, producers, and a guest on "The Takeaway." It also details a culture of bullying; in particular Hockenberry's behavior towards three female co-hosts, none of whom remained on the show.
In August 2017, John Hockenberry retired from WNYC as a highly regarded, award-winning broadcast and radio journalist. Most staff members at WNYC were unaware of his alleged behavior until we read Suki Kim's article.
This podcast is a tick-tock of a station reckoning with its own sexual harassment allegations; the on-air conversations between hosts, reporters, listeners and WNYC management.
December 1, 2017
It was yet another week of outrageous and consequential stories piling on top of one another at a head-spinning pace. A failed attempt to discredit the Washington Post. A bombshell plea from a former Trump official. A secret button. Poison in the Hague. A computer glitch that could ruin Christmas. And the FCC's upcoming vote on "net neutrality," a bureaucratic thicket with potentially catastrophic consequences. All of this, plus radical transparency in journalism, bots bringing down public comment and the history of America's love of hoaxes.
1. Brooke leads us through a week that was, as she says, a "ceaseless and accelerating volume of crazy"—coming both from the news at large and the Oval Office.
2. Margaret Sullivan [@Sulliview], columnist for the Washington Post, on how her colleagues' adroit response to the failed Project Veritas "sting" could help rehabilitate the public's faith in news organizations.
3. Tom Wheeler [@tewheels], former Chairman of the FCC, and Nick Gillespie [@nickgillespie], Editor-in-Chief of Reason.com, debate the FCC's upcoming vote on whether to repeal Obama-era regulations for internet service providers known as net neutrality.
4. Issie Lapowsky [@issielapowsky], Senior Writer for Wired, on how networks of bots and bad actors have thrown the federal government's public comment process into jeopardy.
November 27, 2017
The New York Times' profile of Tony Hovater, a white nationalist and Nazi sympathizer, set Twitter on fire last weekend — and not in a good way. Bob speaks with Charlie Warzel, senior technology writer at Buzzfeed, about what the story got wrong. As Warzel wrote earlier this week, in a piece titled "The New York Times Can't Figure Out Where Nazis Come From in 2017. Pepe Has an Answer":
"Save for a passing mention of 4chan and some description of Hovater's more contentious Facebook posts, the Times piece does little to describe the online ecosystem that has helped white nationalists, neo-Nazis, and the alt-right organize, amplify its message, and thrive in recent years. And, simply put, any attempt to answer what exactly led Hovater to "gravitate toward the furthest extremes of American political discourse" is incomplete without it."
November 24, 2017
Science fiction has always been an outlet for our greatest anxieties. This week, we delve into how the genre is exploring the reality of climate change. Plus: new words to describe the indescribable.
1. Jeff VanderMeer [@jeffvandermeer], author of the Southern Reach Trilogy and Borne, on writing about the relationships between people and nature.
2. Claire Vaye Watkins [@clairevaye] talks about Gold Fame Citrus, her work of speculative fiction in which an enormous sand dune threatens to engulf the southwest.
3. Kim Stanley Robinson discusses his latest work, New York 2140. The seas have risen 50 feet and lower Manhattan is submerged. And yet, there's hope.
4. British writer Robert Macfarlane [@RobGMacfarlane] on new language for our changing world.
Throughout the show: listeners offer their own new vocabulary for the Anthropocene era. Many thanks to everyone who left us voice memos!
November 21, 2017
If you find yourself fuming at the Thanksgiving table this week when the conversation turns political, rather than losing your cool in front of your friends and family, consider pausing and taking a deep breath. According to Robert Wright, author of Why Buddhism is True: The Science and Philosophy of Meditation and Enlightenment, so much of the tribalism and animosity that fuels our political moment could be mitigated if more Americans adopted mindfulness techniques. In this podcast extra, Brooke speaks with Wright about how living a mindful life can make us savvier, saner news consumers and help us avoid outrage fatigue.
November 17, 2017
As allegations of sexual misconduct continue to dominate the news, a look at how we are dealing with high-profile offenders and who is being ignored. Plus, a critical reexamination of Bill Clinton's reputation, the difficulty of processing good art made by bad people, and how to brace ourselves for the potential backlash.
3. Sarah Smarsh [@Sarah_Smarsh], writer and reporter, on the sexual harassment accusations that won't make the news, especially those of the working poor.
November 14, 2017
New York Magazine writer Rebecca Traister says that every new revelation about sexual harassment confirms what women have always known. In her most recent article she asks "as stories about abuse, assault, and complicity come flooding out, how do we think about the culprits in our lives? Including, sometimes, ourselves."
Brooke spoke with Rebecca on Tuesday; it was a long and impassioned interview, a shorter version of which will be in this week's show (a full hour about the "#metoo" moment), but in the meantime, here is a *lightly* edited version of their conversation.
November 10, 2017
Another massive data leak has cast scrutiny on the world of the ultra-wealthy, but some doubt whether much will change. A look inside the Paradise Papers and at the secretive industry of "wealth management" that makes sure the wealthy remain rich and hidden. Also, in the wake of the shuttering of Gothamist and DNAinfo, how journalism is contending with its "billionaire problem," and a look at the recent standoff between Disney and journalists. Finally, the story of how a Syrian man's journey to the West found him experiencing America's Wild West in Sweden.
1. Marina Walker Guevara [@MarinaWalkerG], Deputy Director at The International Consortium of Investigative Journalists, on how the group reported the Paradise Papers.
4. Bob [@bobosphere] on the recent showdown between Disney, the LA Times and a collection of film journalists.
November 8, 2017
It's now a year since Election Day 2016, and a year since we gathered in our office the day after Election Day to figure out what exactly had happened. The mood was tense, and our Executive Producer Katya Rogers seized the opportunity to offer listeners some ultra transparency, documenting a moment when Brooke and Bob were at their most doubting. The result: a raw podcast extra, in which the hosts argued about what had gone down and how the show should cover the Trump administration.
Flash forward to this summer, when Bob and Brooke re-listened to their November conversation and then turned on the mics to reflect on their thoughts and speculations from eight months earlier.
Both conversations are collected here for this weeks podcast extra.