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How to Influence US Iran Policy ... Without Actually Existing

Heshmat Alavi, an Iranian commentator, has been portrayed as a courageous dissident with a broad constituency and rare insight into the inner workings of the Iranian theocracy. His columns have been printed in Forbes, The Diplomat, The Federalist, Voice of America, The Daily Caller and The Hill. And his analysis, such as his assertion that Obama's nuclear deal with Iran pumped money into the mullah's military budget, has been cited by the White House to justify leaving the agreement. But what if...he doesn't actually exist? The Intercept's Murtaza Hussain reported on Heshmat Alavi, and found that the columnist is not who he purports to be.

40 Acres

President Trump claims to have struck a deal with Mexico to settle a dispute of his own making. On this week's On the Media, a look at the lives of the people who stand to suffer most. Plus, how the path to America's eviction crisis begins, in part, with the Great Migration. 1. Bob Moore [@BobMooreNews], freelance reporter based in El Paso, on the human reality at the border amidst the latest Trumpian mendacity. Listen. 2. We continue our four-part series on eviction by charting the persistent line between racist housing policies, localized profiteering and the devastating plunder of generations of wealth. Guests include Matt Desmond [@just_shelter], founder of the Eviction Lab; Natalie Moore [@natalieymoore], reporter for WBEZ; and Marty Wegbreit, director of litigation for the Central Virginia Legal Aid Society. Listen.

What "Running From Cops" Learned From "Cops"

The first episode of the TV show "Cops" aired thirty years ago, and in the ensuing decades it's become influential enough to mold the attitudes of new aspiring police officers. But if the show holds up a mirror to law enforcement in this country, it shows a warped reflection. In the podcast series "Running from Cops", host Dan Taberski and his team watched nearly 850 episodes of the show and tallied what they saw: roughly four times the amount of violent crime than there is in real life, three times as many drug crimes, and ten times the amount of prostitution. "Cops", as the podcast points out, makes the world seem more crime-ridden than in reality. It has also inspired copy-cat shows, like the popular "Live PD," that also warp depictions of what's appropriate (and legal) in policing. In this OTM podcast extra, Bob talks to Dan Taberski about the podcast's findings and what the popularity of these shows says about viewers.

Introducing: The Scarlet E

Millions of rent-burdened Americans face eviction filings and proceedings every year. On this week's On the Media, what we think we know, and what we definitely don't know, about America's eviction crisis. Plus, how local journalists failed the Central Park Five. 1. Jim Dwyer [@jimdwyernyt], columnist for The New York Times, on his experience reporting on the Central Park Five trial. 2. We hear the story of Jeffrey, a security guard in Richmond, Virginia whose severe rent burden caused his family to be evicted. 3. Matthew Desmond [@just_shelter], founder of the Eviction Lab, explains what he and his fellow researchers have learned from their massive collection of eviction data.

Making America Antitrust Again

This week, the US House Antitrust subcommittee announced a probe into the mainly-unchecked power of tech giants like Google, Facebook, Apple and Amazon. The investigation could include public hearings and subpoenas toward antitrust intervention into the businesses of Silicon Valley leviathans. The news came on the same day that The Wall Street Journal reported that the Federal Trade Commission and the Justice Department are expanding their oversight into Facebook and Google's anti-competitive practices. Last November, Brooke spoke with Stacy Mitchell, co-director of the Institute for Local Self-Reliance, about Amazon's domination over industry after industry and where we stand in the arc of antitrust regulation. In 2018, Mitchell wrote an article for The Nation called "Amazon Doesn't Just Want to Dominate the Market — It Wants to Become the Market."

Climate Obscura

The Trump administration has ordered federal agencies to stop publishing worst-case scenario projections of climate change. This week, On the Media examines the administration's pattern of attacks on climate science. Plus, a look at the dark money behind environmental deregulation. 1. Kate Aronoff [@KateAronoff], fellow at the Type Media Center, on the White House's suppression of climate warnings. Listen. 2. Jane Mayer [@JaneMayerNYer], staff writer at The New Yorker and author of Dark Money: The Hidden History of the Billionaires Behind the Rise of the Radical Right, on the billionaires supporting the modern conservative intellectual framework. Listen. 3. Jan Zalasiewicz, Anthropocene Working Group Chair, on the traces that today's humans might leave behind for future civilizations, and Benjamin Kunkel [@kunktation] on whether the Age of Capitalism might be a more appropriate term to describe our epoch. Listen.

Hurricane Season is Nearly Here. Brace Yourself for the Coverage.

Tornadoes ripped across multiple states on Tuesday, killing at least one person. It was the twelfth straight day of tornado activity in the U.S. — a new record, according to the National Weather Service. But as the New York Times reported yesterday, limited data make it difficult to draw explicit connections between a warming climate and trends in tornadic activity. Even in our hyper-quantified time, there's still an element of mystery to where, why, and how twisters strike. And then there are hurricanes. For media professionals, hurricanes offer the very best kind of bad news, because the story arc is predictable, and invariably compelling. In our Breaking News Consumer's Handbooks, we examine the myths, misleading language, and tired media narratives that clog up news coverage at a time when clarity can be a matter of life and death. Since the Atlantic hurricane season begins this week, we're republishing our guide to consuming the coverage to come. In this segment, which originally aired in Sept. 2017, Brooke speaks with Dr. Robert Holmes, National Flood Hazard Coordinator for the U.S. Geological Survey; Gina Eosco, a risk communication consultant; and Scott Gabriel Knowles of Drexel University, author of The Disaster Experts: Mastering Risk in Modern America. Add Caption Here (On the Media/WNYC)

On Matters of War

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. 1. James Goodale, former General Counsel for The New York Times and author of Fighting For The Press, on the disastrous new Julian Assange indictments. Listen. 2. Adam Weinstein [@AdamWeinstein], an editor with The New Republic, on the unofficial Fox News campaign to push the president to pardon alleged war criminals. Listen. 3. Andrew Tilghman [@andrewtilghman], Executive Editor of the Military Times, on the Navy's troubling assault on press freedom. Listen. 4. Scott J. Shapiro [@scottjshapiro], professor of philosophy and law at Yale, on how militaries across the globe navigate the horrors of war. Listen. Songs: All the Presidents Men Theme by David ShireOkami by Nicola Cruz Capharnaüm by Khaled MouzanarR+B = ? by Aeroc Farewell My Good One Forever by PhantasmAgnus Dei by Martín Palmeri

Solving the Facebook Problem at Home and Abroad

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.

Constellation of Secret Evil

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. Support On the Media today at onthemedia.org/donate. Songs: 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 X-File Theme High Water Everywhere Part 1 by Charlie Patton Bullwinkle, Part II by The Centurians

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