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 22, 2018
Family separation, a re-framed immigration debate and Trump's misleading executive order: why news fatigue about the border isn’t an option. This week, we explore multiple sides of the asylum policy — including the view from Central America. Plus, a look back at US repatriation policy in the 1930's, and six decades of American culture wars.
3. Francisco Balderrama on the mass expulsion of Mexican immigrants and their American-born children from the United States during the Great Depression. Listen.
Texas Polka by Bonnie Lou
Marjane’s Inspiration by David Bergeaud
The Invisibles by John Zorn
Maria Christina by Los Lobos
Blackbird by Brad Mehldau
June 19, 2018
In 2014, Fortune magazine ran a cover story featuring Elizabeth Holmes: a blonde woman wearing a black turtleneck, staring deadpan at the camera, with the headline, “This CEO’s out for blood.”
A decade earlier, Holmes had founded Theranos, a company promising to “revolutionize” the blood testing industry, initially using a microfluidics approach — moving from deep vein draws to a single drop of blood. It promised easier, cheaper, more accessible lab tests — and a revolutionized healthcare experience.
But it turns out that all those lofty promises were empty. There was no revolutionary new way to test blood. This past spring, Holmes settled a lawsuit with the Securities and Exchange Commissio, though admitted no wrongdoing. Last Friday, another nail in the coffin for Theranos came in the form of federal charges of wire fraud, filed against Holmes and the company's former president, Ramesh “Sunny” Balwani.
The alleged fraud was uncovered by the dogged reporting of John Carreyrou, an investigative journalist at the Wall Street Journal and author of "Bad Blood: Secrets and Lies in a Silicon Valley Startup."
June 15, 2018
More than two thousand reporters went to Singapore to cover the summit between President Trump and Kim Jong-un. This week, we examine how so much coverage can lead to so little understanding. Plus, at long last, Justin Trudeau is subjected to media scrutiny in the US. And, the latest threat to American newspapers, the trouble with a new bill meant to battle anti-Semitism, and Jeff Session's fraught theology.
2. Margaret Sullivan [@Sulliview], media columnist for the Washington Post, on American media falling for Trumpian stagecraft at the summit. Listen.
5. Michael Lieberman [@ADLWashCounsel], Washington counsel for the Anti-Defamation League, and Kenneth Stern, executive director of the Justus & Karin Rosenberg Foundation, on the proposed Anti-Semitism Awareness Act; Brooke on Jeff Sessions biblical defense of the Trump administration's immigration policies. Listen.
Puck by John Zorn (feat. Bill Frisell, Carol Emanuel & Kenny Wollesen)
Dinner Music for a Pack of Hungry by Raymond Scott
The Party's Over by Dick Hyman
Paperback Writer by Quartetto d'Archi Dell'Orchestra Sinfonica di Milano Guiseppe Verdi
Tilliboyo by Kronos Quartet
June 12, 2018
For decades, Seymour Hersh has been an icon of muckraking, investigative reporting: his work exposed such atrocities as the massacre of Vietnamese civilians in My Lai and the torture of Iraqis in Abu Ghraib. He also documented the US's development of chemical weapons in the 60s, CIA domestic spying in the 70s, wrote a highly critical piece on the raid that killed Osama bin Laden in 2015 and did a whole lot more. Hersh speaks with Brooke about his latest book, Reporter: A Memoir, which chronicles his half century of reporting and the various obstacles he's encountered along the way.
We spoke to Hersh in 2008 about his My Lai reporting. Listen here.
We spoke to Hersh in 2015 about his bin Laden reporting. Listen here.
This segment is from our June 8th, 2018 program, "Perps Walk."
June 8, 2018
Justice for whom? President Trump’s controversial pardoning spree has benefited political allies and nonviolent drug offenders alike. This week, we look at whether the President’s unorthodox use of clemency might not be such a bad thing. Plus, why the Justice Department curbed prosecution of white collar crime, and Seymour Hersh revisits highlights from his storied investigative reporting career.
3. Seymour Hersh, investigative journalist, on some of the personal experiences and incredible stories that have defined his half-century-long reporting career. Listen.
"Going Home for the First Time" by Alex Wurman
"Tymperturbably Blue" by Duke Ellington
"Let's Face the Music and Dance" by Duke Ellington
"Purple Haze" by Kronos Quartet
June 6, 2018
Puerto Rico was (briefly) back in the news this week when a Harvard study shed more light on many people died in the aftermath of Hurricane Maria. The study has a wide range of estimated deaths, but the mid-point is stunning: 4,645 people died as a result of the storm, the researchers found.
Meanwhile, a judge on the island ruled that the Puerto Rican government has seven days to release death certificates and data related to the death toll of Hurricane Maria. The ruling was in response to a lawsuit filed by CNN and the Puerto Rican-based Center for Investigative Journalism, or CPI. Both organizations have been investigating the death toll following the storm and question the government’s official tally of 64. CPI's estimate is that 1,065 more people than usual died in the weeks after the storm. We take this opportunity to revisit our reporting from the island in the aftermath of that devastating storm.
Hurricane Maria's category-five winds and torrential rain stripped away much of the island's lush vegetation, leaving behind a strange and alien landscape. But more was exposed than barren tree branches. The storm also called attention to, and exacerbated, the island's high poverty rate. Further-flung regions, outside of metropolitan San Juan, found themselves in the spotlight. And longstanding questions of identity and relationship to the mainland U.S. were brought to the fore.
In the three months since Hurricane Maria, those who have remained on the island have faced a choice. They could face Puerto Rico as Maria left it—stripped away of vegetation, infrastructure, and assumptions—and rebuild the island and its society anew. Or they could become acostumbrados: accustomed to a frustrating new normal.
Alana Casanova-Burgess looks at what the storms have exposed and at a path forward through a thicket of fear, adaptation, and hope, featuring:
- 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
- Alfredo Corrasquillo [@alcarrpr], psychoanalyst and expert on leadership at the University of the Sacred Heart in San Juan
- Sandra Rodriguez Cotto [@srcsandra], host at WAPA Radio
June 1, 2018
After World War II, Germany and the Allied powers took pains to make sure that its citizens would never forget the country’s dark history. But in America, much of our past remains hidden or rewritten. This week, Brooke visits Montgomery, Alabama, home to The Legacy Museum and the National Memorial for Peace and Justice, a new museum and memorial created by the Equal Justice Initiative that aim to bring America’s history of segregation and racial terror to the forefront.
1. Brooke talks to the Equal Justice Initiative's [@eji_org] Bryan Stevenson about what inspired him to create The Legacy Museum and memorial and to historian Sir Richard Evans [@RichardEvans36] about the denazification process in Germany after World War II. Listen.
2. Brooke visits The Legacy Museum and National Memorial for Peace and Justice. Listen.
3. Brooke speaks again with Bryan Stevenson about his own history and America's ongoing struggle to confront our racist past and present. Listen.
May 30, 2018
We talk a lot about right wing news outlets picking up out-of-context facts and amplifying them in their outrage machine, so as to infuriate and validate their angry audiences. But this phenomenon is not solely the province of the political right, as we saw last week when two separate stories about immigration policy in the Trump era morphed into one outrage-inspiring tale.
Paige Austin is an immigration lawyer for the New York Civil Liberties Union. She explains to Bob how liberals came to believe that the Trump administration had torn nearly 1,500 children from their parents' arms, and then lost them — and how this conflation presents potential dangers for the very population that she hopes to defend.
May 25, 2018
Rudy Giuliani has been warning the press that the president may not testify in the Russia investigation, but Trump has signaled otherwise. This week, we untangle the White House’s mixed-up messaging on the Russia investigation. Plus, after reports that companies like Amazon and Google are seeking, or have received, massive contracts with the Pentagon, we take a look at the internet’s forgotten military origins. And, a new book re-imagines major moments in athletics history.
2. Kate Conger [@kateconger], senior reporter at Gizmodo, on partnerships between tech titans and the US military. Listen.
4. Mike Pesca [@pescami], host of Slate's The Gist, on his new book, Upon Further Review: The Greatest What-Ifs in Sports History. Listen.
May 24, 2018
In November 2016, Bob spoke to Blaze bloviator Glenn Beck to hear about how he was a changed man. More compassionate, a better listener and very opposed to Donald Trump. This weekend, Beck proudly donned a MAGA hat. Why the turnaround? According to Beck, it was in reaction to the media's reaction to something Trump said about immigrants.
So the old Beck is back. But to Bob, he'd been there all along. Enjoy.