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On the Media
Sundays at 3pm

On The Media decodes what we hear, read, and see in the media every day, and arms us with critical tools necessary to survive the information age.

While maintaining the civility and fairness that are the hallmarks of public radio, On The Media tackles sticky issues with a frankness and transparency trusted by one million people a week. Winner of 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.

Find a list of recent episodes of On the Media below. To learn more about the show, click here.

  • Across the globe, summers are getting unseasonably, and scarily hot, and last year the United Nations announcing that we've entered the era of "global boiling." And yet it's hard to grapple with the damage caused by extreme heat. It's the deadliest kind of climate disaster, but victims of heat often die out of sight of the public eye. FEMA doesn't even respond to extreme heat waves in the way it does to other "major disasters." Jake Bittle is a staff writer at Grist covering climate impact. Brooke spoke to Bittle last year about the invisibility of extreme heat, the challenge it presents to news outlets, and the potential value of naming heat waves. This is a segment from our August 18, 2023 show, Read All About It. On the Media is supported by listeners like you. Support OTM by donating today (https://pledge.wnyc.org/support/otm). Follow our show on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook @onthemedia, and share your thoughts with us by emailing onthemedia@wnyc.org.
  • Immigration is one of the most important issues in this year’s presidential election. This week, On the Media traces how root causes of mass migration from Central America to the United States over the past decade stem back to the Cold War. Plus, a deep dive on terms like “colonialism” and “decolonization,” and what they mean in the context of Israel-Palestine. [01:00] Host Brooke Gladstone speaks with Jonathan Blitzer, who covers immigration for The New Yorker and is author of the book, Everyone Who Is Gone Is Here, about how the root causes of mass migration from Central America to the United States over the past decade stem back to the Cold War. This interview originally aired on our February 2, 2024 show. [15:30] Brooke continues her conversation with Jonathan Blitzer about how the past and future of Central America and the United States are inextricable, and the far-reaching consequences of Congress’ refusal to reform the immigration system since 1990. This interview originally aired on our February 2, 2024 show. [30:58] Brooke Gladstone speaks with Iyad el-Baghdadi, a Palestinian human rights activist, writer, and co-author of The Middle East Crisis Factory, about the value of historical parallels to describe the conflict in Palestine, and why the precise meanings behind words like “decolonization” and “colonialism” are crucial. This interview originally aired on our March 8, 2024 show. Further reading / listening: Everyone Who Is Gone Is Here The Middle East Crisis Factory On the Media is supported by listeners like you. Support OTM by donating today (https://pledge.wnyc.org/support/otm). Follow our show on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook @onthemedia, and share your thoughts with us by emailing onthemedia@wnyc.org.
  • In January 2023, a TV show called In the Know debuted on Peacock. The comedy is a parody of a daily NPR show produced in New York City, with rather cringey characters portrayed by stop-motion puppets. Each episode also features an interview with a real person who appears on Zoom. The show is written by Zach Woods, Brandon Gardner, and Mike Judge, creator of Beavis and Butthead (who also voices the character of Sandy the movie critic). Woods, known for playing Gabe on The Office and Jared from Silicon Valley, plays the central role of Lauren Caspian, billed as the third most famous NPR host. Brooke speaks with Zach Woods and Brandon Gardner about why public radio provides such rich ground for satire, and how comedy can restore complexity to the world. This interview originally aired on our January 26, 2024 show. On the Media is supported by listeners like you. Support OTM by donating today (https://pledge.wnyc.org/support/otm). Follow our show on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook @onthemedia, and share your thoughts with us by emailing onthemedia@wnyc.org.
  • Every year on the Fourth of July, households across America embrace the aesthetics of patriotism. On this week’s On the Media, find out how the early country music industry got a major boost from the US military and became associated with the “sound of patriotism.” Plus, how a song written by a Canadian became an anthem for the Confederate “lost cause.” [01:00] Host Micah Loewinger speaks with Joseph Thompson, a professor of history and author of the new book Cold War Country, about how hillbilly music transformed into the powerful country music industry, starting with a little assistance from the US military in the 1940s and 50s. [18:40] Micah continues his conversation with Joseph Thompson about how country music came to be linked to a certain type of American patriotism, and why some of country music’s most famous jingoistic songs are more complex than many listeners think. [32:15] Brooke Gladstone speaks with Jack Hamilton, pop critic for Slate and author of the book Just Around Midnight: Rock and Roll and the Racial Imagination, about how “The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down” became an anthem for the Confederate ‘Lost Cause.’ This interview originally aired on our January 8th, 2021 show. Further reading / listening: Cold War Country: How Nashville's Music Row and the Pentagon Created the Sound of American Patriotism Just Around Midnight: Rock and Roll and the Racial Imagination On the Media is supported by listeners like you. Support OTM by donating today (https://pledge.wnyc.org/support/otm). Follow our show on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook @onthemedia, and share your thoughts with us by emailing onthemedia@wnyc.org.
  • Last month, Clarence Thomas acknowledged several luxury trips that were gifted to him by billionaire Harlan Crow. But the pair’s financial ties had long been public knowledge, thanks to a bombshell report by ProPublica in 2023. The gifts included lavish vacations, trips on private yachts and jets — and even a trip to Indonesia valued at as much as half a million dollars. Most of these gifts went undisclosed, despite that being required by law. But this isn’t Thomas’ first rodeo. He has reportedly accepted a slew of gifts in the past, including $1200 worth of tires from an Omaha businessman, and a bust of President Lincoln valued at $15,000. Brooke speaks to Corey Robin, a journalist and political science professor at Brooklyn College and the City University of New York Graduate Center, about Clarence Thomas relationship with money and power, and Robin’s article in Politico, "The Clarence Thomas Scandal Is About More Than Corruption. It’s about his jurisprudence." This interview originally aired on April 21, 2023. On the Media is supported by listeners like you. Support OTM by donating today (https://pledge.wnyc.org/support/otm). Follow our show on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook @onthemedia, and share your thoughts with us by emailing onthemedia@wnyc.org.
  • Some of the most outrageous stories about President Biden are originating from a single, unverified source. On this week’s On the Media, hear about the shadowy organization that’s influencing election narratives. Plus, factual errors are at the heart of a recent Supreme Court decision. Learn how we can reform the system. [01:00] Host Brooke Gladstone interviews Judd Legum, author of Popular Information, about how a rightwing outlet is presenting itself as a neutral news source, all the while pushing coordinated messaging about President Biden. [18:04] Host Micah Loewinger speaks to Mark Joseph Stern, senior writer at Slate, about the factual errors in a recent Supreme Court ruling concerning guns. [35:48] Micah interviews Allison Orr Larsen, professor of law at William and Mary, about how so many contested facts reach the highest court via amicus briefs. Plus, how to reform the so-called “amicus machine.” Further reading: “Sinclair floods local news websites with hundreds of deceptive articles about Biden's mental fitness,” by Judd Legum “Clarence Thomas’ Opinion Legalizing Bump Stocks Is Indefensible,” by Mark Joseph Stern “The Supreme Court Decisions on Guns and Abortion Relied Heavily on History. But Whose History?” by Allison Orr Larsen “It’s a Fact: Supreme Court Errors Aren’t Hard to Find,” by Ryan Gabrielson (2017) On the Media is supported by listeners like you. Support OTM by donating today (https://pledge.wnyc.org/support/otm). Follow our show on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook @onthemedia, and share your thoughts with us by emailing onthemedia@wnyc.org.