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On the Media

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I Can't Breathe

Four years ago this week, on July 17, 2014, Eric Garner died in Staten Island at the hands of a New York City police officer. We probably wouldn't have known if it hadn't been for a cellphone video that captured his arrest, the excessive force that killed him, and his final words. The national media couldn't look away, until they did look away. Matt Taibbi is a journalist and author of the book, I Can't Breathe: A Killing on Bay Street, an exploration of Eric Garner's life and death in the media — and of his real life, too. Brooke spoke to him last year.

Russian Dressing On Everything

Reporting on the Russia investigation is not for the faint of heart. This week, a look at how a journalist became entangled in the investigation when she turned her source over to the FBI. Plus, how another reporter avoided common journalistic mistakes during the Iraq War and a conversation with the director of the new documentary The Other Side of Everything about the end of Yugoslavia. 1. Tom Nichols [@RadioFreeTom], professor of national security at the Naval War College, on separating the signal from the noise in stories about Trump's relations with Russia. Listen. 2. Marcy Wheeler [@emptywheel], national security blogger, on her decision to out a source to the FBI. Listen. 3. Jonathan Landay [@JonathanLanday], national security correspondent at Reuters, on his reporting at the outset of the Iraq War. Listen. 4. Mila Turajlić, director of "The Other Side of Everything," on her mother's dissent against the former Yugoslavian government. Listen.

Big Sky, Dark Money

With President Trump's nomination of federal judge Brett Kavanaugh, the Supreme Court will likely be locked up by the political right for a generation. This is in large part thanks to a historic decision made in 2010 by the court's then-shakier conservative majority: the Citizens United ruling, which fundamentally reshaped the political landscape of the United States by unleashing floods of political spending, particularly in the form of untraceable "dark money." For the state of Montana, the post-Citizens United world has brought back old memories: over a century ago, copper kings like William A. Clark used their vast wealth to control the state and buy up political power. In 1912, the state responded by passing one of the first campaign finance laws in the nation, banning corporate political spending entirely. That law was struck down by the Supreme Court in 2012, but Montanans have continued to push back against corporate political spending using other means. A new documentary, Dark Money, uses Montana as a microcosm to explain the reality of campaign finance in the United States today. Bob speaks with director Kimberly Reed about the documentary and why she's hopeful that, despite the unbalanced playing field, positive change is possible.

Blame It On The Alcohol

This week, we devote an entire hour to what one important scholar deemed "the cause of and solution to all of life's problems." From its earliest role as a source of nourishment to its depictions in ancient literature, we examine the roots of mankind's everlasting drinking problems. Plus, how a bizarre 60 Minutes piece spread the idea that red wine has medicinal effects. Then, a look at how popular culture has incorrectly framed Alcoholics Anonymous as the best and only option for addiction recovery. And, a scientist cooks up a synthetic substitute for booze. 1. Iain Gately, author of Drink: A Cultural History of Alcohol, on the ancient origins of our core beliefs about booze. Listen. 2. Robert Taylor, assistant managing editor at Wine Spectator, on red wine's constantly changing reputation as a healthy substance. Listen. 3. Gabrielle Glaser [@GabrielleGlaser], author of Her Best-Kept Secret: Why Women Drink - And How They Can Regain Control, on the history and P.R. methods of Alcoholics Anonymous. Listen. 4. David Nutt [@ProfDavidNutt], psychologist at Imperial College London, on his new alcohol substitute, "alcosynth." Listen. Songs: When I Get Low I Get High by Ella Fitzgerald Tomorrow Never Knows by Quartetto D/Archi Dell'Orchestra Sinfonica Di Milano Il Casanova Di Federico Fellini by Solisti E Orchestre Del Cinema Italiano Option with Variations by Kronos Quartet/composer Rhiannon Giddens

Polite Oppression

Following a string of landmark Supreme Court rulings and a surprise retirement, this week On the Media examines the conservative culture on the bench and wonders what we can expect from the court going forward. Plus, is civility really dead or only sleeping? And what is the view from small-town America? 1. Adam Serwer [@AdamSerwer], senior editor at The Atlantic, on the Supreme Court's decision to uphold the Trump administration's travel ban decision. Listen. 2. Teresa Bejan [@tmbejan], professor of political theory at the University of Oxford, on the historical origins of our "crisis of civility." Listen. 3. Keith Bybee, professor of judiciary studies at Syracuse University, on the oft-repeated deaths of American civility — and how notions of civility can be a tool of oppression. Listen. 4. Deborah Fallows, author and linguist, and James Fallows [@JamesFallows], national correspondent at The Atlantic, on the societies thriving outside the media lens. Listen.

A Guide To SCOTUS News

There's a reason why Supreme Court reporters know to never to take a vacation in June. The end of this season's term brought us a head-spinning drumbeat of huge 5-4 decisions, from upholding the Muslim travel ban to dealing a huge blow to organized labor to siding with anti-abortion pregnancy centers. Understanding the Supreme Court is difficult for myriad reasons. So, with the expertise of seasoned SCOTUS reporters, in 2015 we put together a handy guide for the discerning news consumer to make sense of the court, its decisions, and its coverage. We're revisiting it this week. Add Caption Here (Breaking News Consumer's Handbook: SCOTUS Edition/WNYC)

Chaos Agents

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. 1. Dara Lind [@DLind] and Dahlia Lithwick [@Dahlialithwick] on how Trump's family separation policy attempts to re-frame the immigration debate, and why news fatigue isn't an option. Listen. 2. Carlos Dada [@CarlosDada] on the way the family separation and zero-tolerance asylum policy are changing the way Central Americans see the United States. Listen. 3. Francisco Balderrama on the mass expulsion of Mexican immigrants and their American-born children from the United States during the Great Depression. Listen. 4. Brian Lehrer [@BrianLehrer] on six decades of culture wars in the United States. Listen. Songs: Texas Polka by Bonnie LouMarjane's Inspiration by David BergeaudThe Invisibles by John ZornMaria Christina by Los LobosBlackbird by Brad Mehldau

The Rise and Fall of Elizabeth Holmes

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 those promises were just that. There was no revolutionary new way to test blood. This spring she settled a lawsuit with the securities and exchange commission (though admitting no wrongdoing) and last Friday, another nail in the coffin for Theranos in the form of federal charges which were filed against Holmes and the company's former president. The alleged crimes were 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".

Using My Religion

More than two thousand reporters went to Singapore to cover the summit between President Trump and Kim Jong Un. This week, On the Media examines 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. 1. Noah Bierman [@Noahbierman], White House correspondent for the Los Angeles Times, on his experience reporting from Singapore. Listen. 2. Margaret Sullivan [@Sulliview], media columnist for the Washington Post, on American media falling for Trumpian stagecraft at the summit. Listen. 3. Jesse Brown [@JesseBrown], host of the Canadaland podcast, on U.S. media's renewed interest in Justin Trudeau. Listen. 4. Erin Arvedlund [@erinarvedlund], reporter for the Philadelphia Inquirer, on the dangers of a tariff on Canadian newsprint. 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. Songs: Puck by John Zorn (feat. Bill Frisell, Carol Emanuel & Kenny Wollesen)Dinner Music for a Pack of Hungry by Raymond ScottThe Party's Over by Dick HymanPaperback Writer by Quartetto d'Archi Dell'Orchestra Sinfonica di Milano Guiseppe VerdiTilliboyo by Kronos Quartet

Seymour Hersh Looks Back (extended mix)

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."

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