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.
May 24, 2019
Controversy erupted over news that President Trump may grant more pardons for alleged war criminal Edward Gallagher and others. This week, On the Media looks at Fox News’s influence on the president’s decision. And, how the Navy may be spying on a reporter who's tracked Gallagher's case. Plus, how the latest Julian Assange indictment could spell disaster for the future of investigative journalism.
All the Presidents Men Theme by David Shire
Okami by Nicola Cruz
Capharnaüm by Khaled Mouzanar
R+B = ? by Aeroc
Farewell My Good One Forever by Phantasm
Agnus Dei by Martín Palmeri
May 22, 2019
When former Facebook co-founder Chris Hughes penned a New York Times op-ed calling for the breakup of the platform, he was lauded by anti-corporate politicians and the press. Then came a series of hard questions: how exactly would breaking up Facebook, which owns WhatsApp and Instagram, address free speech concerns? Or help stifle the spread of propaganda on the platform? And how would American regulations affect the majority of Facebook users, who live in the global south? According to Michael Lwin, an American-born antitrust lawyer living in Yangon, Myanmar, US regulators should tread lightly. He and Bob speak about how calls to break up Facebook could have wide ranging unintended consequences, especially outside of the US.
May 17, 2019
A controversial bill in Alabama is the latest in a wave of different abortion bans sweeping the country. This week, On the Media looks at the influence of Janet Porter, a little-known lobbyist who has been pushing what are misleadingly referred to as “heartbeat” laws. And, a deep dive into the rise of Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán, and what his autocratic regime tells us about the future of Europe. Plus, a new book reveals how conspiracy theories became a fact of American life.
1. Jessica Glenza [@JessicaGlenza], health reporter at the Guardian US, on the influence of Janet Porter, the lobbyist behind the so-called "heartbeat" abortion laws. Listen.
2. Paul Lendvai, author of Orban: Hungary's Strongman, on the rise of Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán. Listen.
3. Anna Merlan [@annamerlan], author of Republic of Lies, on the long arc of conspiratorial thinking in the United States. Listen.
Dame tu Mano by Combo Chimbita
Passing Time by John Renbourn
The Glass House by Marjane's Inspiration
Califone by Burned by Christians
We Insist by Zoe Keating
Green Onions by Booker T. and The MG's
High Water Everywhere Part 1 by Charlie Patton
Bullwinkle, Part II by The Centurians
May 14, 2019
This week, we want to bring you a terrific new episode of Death, Sex and Money, another WNYC show that we think our listeners will appreciate. The show's host, Anna Sale, is on maternity leave, and an exciting cohort of former guests and friends of the show are hosting in her absence, talking with the people they're most curious about.
The episode this week is hosted by Al Letson. Normally he hosts the podcast Reveal, but here he’s talking with Nikole Hannah-Jones, an award-winning investigative reporter covering racial injustice for the New York Times Magazine. If you’re familiar with Nikole’s reporting (and even if you're not), we think you’ll enjoy this conversation about how her life brought her to the work she does today.
May 10, 2019
The political press has long used the vague notion of “electability” to drive horserace coverage of presidential candidates. This week, On the Media considers how the emphasis on electability takes the focus away from the issues and turns voters into pundits. Plus, the shady dealings of the tax preparation industry, and how FOIA has been weaponized. And, how Trump duped financial journalists about his net worth in the 1980s.
1. Investigative journalist Jonathan Greenberg [@JournalistJG] on how Trump obscured his finances to wind up on the Forbes list of richest Americans — and why it mattered so much to him.
2. Dennis Ventry, professor at UC Davis School of Law, on how the tax preparation industry united to shield themselves from a publicly-funded alternative.
3. OTM producer Alana Casanova-Burgess [@AlanaLlama] speaks with Dennis Ventry, Michael Halpern [@halpsci], Eric Lipton [@EricLiptonNYT] and Claudia Polsky about a bill in California that seeks to curb the weaponization of FOIA.
4. Alex Pareene [@pareene], staff writer at The New Republic, on how the idea of "electability" has metastasized among democratic voters.
May 8, 2019
May 3, 2019
After accusations that he mischaracterized the Mueller investigation’s findings, Attorney General William Barr blames the media for muddling the story. This week, On the Media dissects Barr’s deflections. And, how a Jewish satirist uses grotesque caricatures to cut to the heart of the discourse on antisemitism and why effectively combating hate requires building coalitions. Plus, how ABC's The View became one of the biggest political stages on television.
1. Dahlia Lithwick [@Dahlialithwick], host of the Amicus podcast and writer at Slate, on Barr's mischaracterization of the Mueller report.
3. Eli Valley [@elivalley], comic artist and satirist, on feeling gaslit by the antisemitism debate.
4. Ramin Setoodah [@RaminSetoodeh], author of Ladies Who Punch: The Explosive Inside Story of The View and the New York bureau chief for Variety, on The View's surprising role in American politics.
May 1, 2019
Whether Robert Durst confessed on camera will become a relevant legal matter in the real estate figure's upcoming trial. The supposed confession — "What the hell did I do? Killed them all, of course." — at the end of HBO's The Jinx: The Life and Deaths of Robert Durst has recently been revealed to have been seriously, deceptively edited. In 2015 Bob spoke with documentary filmmaker Joe Berlinger, co-creater of the Paradise Lost trilogy, about modern filmmaker, the responsibility of the artist and different interpretations of "truth." It's a relevant conversation to revisit, this week in particular.
April 26, 2019
A week after the redacted Mueller report’s release, Democrats weigh the risks — and imperatives — of impeachment. On this week’s On the Media, why our founders gave congress the power to oust the president in the first place. Plus, the forgotten roots of May Day, the international workers’ holiday.
2. Jeffrey Engel [@jeffreyaengel], the founding director of the Center for Presidential History at Southern Methodist University, and coauthor of Impeachment: An American History on the the history of impeachment. Listen.
Jeopardy: Think Music (in style of Handel) by Donald Fraser, Merv Griffin, Donald Fraser
Here It Comes by Modest Mouse
Liquid Spear Waltz by Michael Andrews
Tymperturbably Blue (Live 1959) by Duke Ellington
Into the Streets May First: written by Aaron Copland; performed by Jon Hanrahan (direction, piano); vocals by Alana Casanova-Burgess, Leah Feder, Micah Loewinger, Brooke Gladstone, Karen Frillman, Jim O’Grady, Philip Yiannopoulos, engineered by Irene Trudel
April 23, 2019
Once in a while, in this space, we offer you an episode of another podcast that we think is pretty aligned with our goals here at On the Media. This week, we’re offering you the first episode of a new podcast from WNYC Studios, called The Stakes. The angle is: we built the society we've got. And maybe it's time to build a new one.
You can and should subscribe to The Stakes wherever you get your podcasts (we are). But in the meantime, here's their first episode all about the pervasive problem of lead paint still poisoning children. The ancient Greeks knew lead is poisonous. Ben Franklin wrote about its dangers. So how did it end up being all around us? And how is it still a problem?