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May 14, 2019
The Past, Present and Future of Nikole Hannah-Jones
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. 
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28 min
May 10, 2019
Impossible!
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.
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49 min
May 8, 2019
Werner Herzog on Gorbachev
Renowned director and documentarian Werner Herzog's latest filmmaking endeavor examines the legacy of the eighth and final leader of the Soviet Union, Mikhail Gorbachev. For the film, Herzog sat down with the 88 year-old former General Secretary for a candid conversation about his complicated legacy. In the latest installment of Bob's Docs, Herzog joins Bob to discuss his filmmaking process and the history of the man he profiled.
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20 min
May 3, 2019
A High State of Agitation
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. 2. Leo Ferguson [@LeoFergusonnyc], organizer with Jews for Racial and Economic Justice, on the ways to understand and combat antisemitism. 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.  
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49 min
May 1, 2019
Is True Crime Jinxed?
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.  
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11 min
April 26, 2019
Justice Interruptus
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. 1. Paul Waldman [@paulwaldman1], columnist and senior writer for the American Prospect and the Washington Post, on the politics and virtues of impeachment. Listen. 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. 3. Zephyr Teachout [@ZephyrTeachout], author of Corruption in America, on how our nation lost its original anti-corruption zeal. Listen. 4. Donna Haverty-Stacke, [@DHavertyStacke], professor of History at Hunter College, CUNY, on the U.S. origin of May Day and how it has come to be forgotten. Listen. Music: Time Is Late by Marcos Ciscar   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  
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49 min
April 23, 2019
How Is Lead Still A Problem?
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?
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29 min
April 19, 2019
Harm To Ongoing Matter
After years of waiting, journalists finally began digging into the redacted version of the Mueller report. On this week’s On the Media, how the special counsel’s findings confirm years of reporting about turmoil within the White House. Plus, what the Notre Dame fire and the Sacklers show us about the dark side of philanthropy, and how the Justice Department stopped prosecuting executives. And, an undercover investigation shines a light on the NRA’s PR machinery.  1. Eric Umansky [@ericuman], deputy editor at ProPublica and co-host of the Trump Inc. podcast, on the Mueller revelations. Listen. 2. Anand Giridharadas [@AnandWrites], author of Winners Take All: The Elite Charade of Changing the World, on the dark side of philanthropy. Listen. 3. Jesse Eisinger [@eisingerj], author of The Chickenshit Club, on how the Justice Department stopped prosecuting executives. Listen. 4. Peter Charley, executive producer of Al Jazeera's "How To Sell a Massacre," on the NRA's PR machinery. Listen. Songs: Okami by Nicola Cruz Capicua by Animal Chuki Colibria by Nicola Cruz Let's Face the Music and Dance by Harry Roy Lost, Night by Bill Frissell This is NRA Country by Justin Moore
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49 min
April 16, 2019
Who Profits When You File Your Taxes?
Tax Day is behind us, but the Taxpayer First Act is not. The bipartisan proposal passed the House last week and is now under consideration in the Senate — and one of the provisions is exactly what the for-profit tax preparation industry has been pushing for.  Through an agreement with the IRS, companies like H&R Block and Intuit currently offer free tax filing services to taxpayers making less than $66,000 dollars a year. But only 1.6 percent of taxpayers actually use Free File, and critics say that the companies engage in aggressive up-selling through the portal. A provision in the Taxpayer First Act would bar the IRS from developing their own free system.  Dennis Ventry is a tax scholar at the University of California, Davis. He has written about the shortcomings of the Free File program, and explains to Bob why he thinks the IRS isn't doing enough to protect taxpayers who try to use it. He wrote an opinion piece last year titled "Free File providers scam taxpayers; Congress shouldn't be fooled" — which made him the target of a public records request from an industry group.   
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15 min
April 12, 2019
Wake Up, Sheeple!
WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange was arrested in London, and now faces prosecution. On this week’s On the Media, a look at what Assange’s arrest may mean for press freedom. Plus, what the new image of a black hole tell us about the power of science in the face of a conspiracy theory minefield. And, a look at a new documentary about former Trump strategist Steve Bannon. 1. Bob [@bobosphere] opines about what Julian Assange's arrest means — and doesn't mean — for the future of press freedom. Listen. 2. Yale astronomy and physics professor Priyamvada Natarajan [@SheerPriya] finally gets a glimpse at what she's spent years theorizing about: a black hole. Listen. 3. New York Magazine's Madison Malone Kircher [@4evrmalone] on how YouTuber Logan Paul stokes the conspiracy flames. Listen. 4. New York Magazine's Max Read [@max_read] on how the Matrix's "red pill" idea has been so foundational for modern-day skeptics. Listen. 5. Alison Klayman [@aliklay], director of "The Brink," a new documentary about Steve Bannon, on what we can learn by looking at Bannon's role in our political and media world. Listen.  
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49 min
April 11, 2019
Spy vs. Spy
New York Times reporter Michael Schwirtz set out to investigate a series of assassinations in Ukraine with low expectations. Reporting on a homicide as a member of the foreign press is daunting enough to begin with. His assignment was formidable beacuse many of the murders were linked to Russia — a government hostile to the media at best and notorious for murdering foreign journalists at worst. But when Schwirtz approached alleged Russian assassin Oleg Smorodinov to question him about a murder, the accused provided an unexpected bit of testimony: a confession. And on top of that, Smorodinov disclosed the specific role the Kremlin played in ordering and directing his crime. Schwirtz published his findings in a New York Times feature last week. Bob spoke with Schwirtz about spies, state-facilitated assassination and the experience of following a true story that reads like a Russian mystery novel.
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16 min
April 5, 2019
Empire State of Mind
Recently, a member of the Trump administration called Puerto Rico “that country,” obscuring once more the relationship between the island colony and the American mainland. In a special hour this week, On the Media examines the history of US imperialism — and why the familiar US map hides the true story of our country. Brooke spends the hour with Northwestern University historian Daniel Immerwahr, author of How to Hide an Empire: A History of the Greater United States. This is Part 2 of our series, "On American Expansion."   Music: Bill Frisell - Lost Night The O’Neil Brothers - Tribute to America Eileen Alannah - Original recording from 1908 Ali Primera - Yankee Go Home Michael Andrews - The Artifact and Living Michael Andrews - Liquid Spear Waltz  Matt Farley - Bird Poop Song 
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50 min
April 2, 2019
Policing the Police
California recently passed a law that eliminates some of the barriers to accessing records on egregious police misconduct and deadly use of force. With the floodgates open, journalists, like KPCC investigative reporter Annie Gilbertson, are elated and terrified. Just one police violation can come with hundreds of associated documents for journalists to comb through.  So, instead of fighting tooth and nail for the scoop, over 30 media organizations across the state are teaming up to share resources, bodies and insight as they begin the arduous task of combing through the newly-available records. The coalition is called the California Reporting Project. Bob Garfield talked with Gilbertson about what the project is uncovering.  
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13 min
March 29, 2019
The End of Magical Thinking
With the Mueller investigation complete, talking heads have given the short public summary their usual spin. This week, On the Media looks at why the framing of the report produced so much misunderstanding. Plus, how historical amnesia and old ideas about limitless growth have influenced American psychology and foreign policy.  1. Dahlia Lithwick [@Dahlialithwick], writer for Slate and host of the Amicus podcast, on how the summary of Mueller's findings is being spun. Listen. 2. Corey Robin [@CoreyRobin], political science professor at Brooklyn College, on Americans' flawed historical memories. Listen. 3. Greg Grandin [@GregGrandin], history professor at New York University, on his latest book, The End of The Myth: From Frontier to the Border Wall in the Mind of America. Listen.   MUSIC: Prelude 8: The Invisibles - John Zorn Trance Dance - John Zorn Kronos - Purple Haze Sacred Oracle - John Zorn Rebel Soldier - The Nashville Sessions
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49 min
March 27, 2019
The Opioid Narratives
Purdue Pharma has settled a lawsuit with the state of Oklahoma for $270 million, a larger figure than two other cases the company has settled with other states. In doing so, the company also avoided a televised trial in May at a time when there's been growing public pressure on Purdue and its owners, the Sackler family, amid allegations that they misled the public about the dangers of OxyContin.  Back in 2017, Bob spoke with Barry Meier about how public discourse about chronic pain and treatment have been shaped by companies like Purdue with help from physicians, consultants, and the media. Meier is a former reporter for The New York Times and author of Pain Killer: A "Wonder" Drug's Trail of Addiction and Death.  Bob also interviewed journalist Anna Clark about her reporting for the Columbia Journalism Review on opioid-related death notices. Sites like Legacy.com, she explained, have often chronicled the crisis' individual human toll.   
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20 min
March 22, 2019
Hating In Plain Sight
In the aftermath of white supremacist attacks in New Zealand, there's a tension between reporting on the shooter's motivations and not amplifying his message. This week, On the Media examines how the press can navigate that persistent dilemma. Plus, the debate over whether online archives of jihadi terrorist propaganda should be open to the public.  1. Joan Donovan [@BostonJoan] describes the way the press has evolved in its responses to far-right terrorism, and argues for continued caution in coverage of white supremacists. Listen. 2. Kathleen Belew [@kathleen_belew] describes the White Power roots of the Christchurch attack, and argues that to effectively fight this hate, we must understand the movement in which it grows. Listen. 3. Dan Feidt [@HongPong] of Unicorn Riot [@UR_Ninja] on what alt-right groups are discussing in their secret online chatrooms, and what we learn by reading them. Listen. 4. Charlie Winter [@charliewinter], Rukmini Callimachi [@rcallimachi], Ali Fisher [@WandrenPD], Amarnath Amarasingam [@AmarAmarasingam], Pieter Van Ostaeyen [@p_vanostaeyen], and Seamus Hughes [@SeamusHughes] on the debate over whether online archives of jihadi terrorist propaganda should be open to the public. Listen. Songs:Capicua by Animal ChukiUntitled by Aphex Twin (Four Tet remix)Chrysanthemum Complex (Contagion OST) by Cliff Martinez Capernaum OST by Khaled MouzanarMeg Erase Meta by Qasim NaqviIts Motion Keeps by Caroline ShawLo by Dawn of Midi
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49 min
March 19, 2019
No Notoriety
The details are different but the story is the same. A mass shooting, scores of people dead, another nation traumatized. Although in the aftermath of the events in New Zealand last week there is a wrinkle. In her first speech to parliament since the attacks, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern declared that she will never speak the killer's name and she asked the press and others to follow suit. Ardern said the shooter would not get notoriety, perhaps a nod to the group “No Notoriety” started by Tom Teves and his wife Caren. The Teves lost their son in the 2012 shooting rampage in an Aurora, Colorado movie theater and later formed the group to beseech news outlets not to turn mass killers into media icons. Bob spoke to Tom back in 2015 as jury selection was beginning for the trial of his son’s killer.
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8 min
March 15, 2019
The Myth of Meritocracy
A college admissions scandal has highlighted what people refer to as "the myth of meritocracy." But actually, meritocracy itself is a myth. This week, On the Media looks at the satirical origins of the word and what they tell us about why the US embraces it. Plus, the messaging for and against Medicare for All, as well as a historical look at why we don't have universal healthcare. And economic historian and Tucker Carlson antagonist Rutger Bregman. 1. John Patrick Leary [@JohnPatLeary], professor at Wayne State University, on the history of the satirical origins of the word "meritocracy". Listen. 2.  Paul Waldman [@paulwaldman1] of The Washington Post on the messaging war over Medicare for All and what the media is getting wrong about the proposal. Listen. 3. Jill Quadagno of [@floridastate] on the history of why the U.S. has shunned universal healthcare. Listen. 4. Rutger Bregman [@rcbregman] on the myths about wealth and who creates it. Listen.
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49 min
March 13, 2019
Tucker Was Tucker All Along
To suggest that Tucker Carlson has a tendency to hint at deeply discriminatory tropes would be cliché — but also dead-on. Just this week, thanks to newly unearthed audio released by Media Matters, the Fox News darling ditches his signature dog whistle in exchange for unmistakable and unapologetic hate speech. Who is Tucker Carlson, really? In this week's pod extra, Bob delves into the origins of the now-notorious commentator with Lyz Lenz, a writer for Columbia Journalism Review who profiled Carlson in September.
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26 min
March 8, 2019
Crossing the Line
Mexican officials and U.S. Customs and Border Protection are using a secret database to target journalists and advocates at the southern border. This week, On the Media speaks with a reporter on the list who was detained for questioning by Mexican authorities. Plus, what the Obama Library’s unique arrangement with the National Archives means for the future of presidential history. And, the grotesque origins of segregation.  1. Mari Payton [@MariNBCSD], reporter at NBC 7 in San Diego, and Kitra Cahana, freelance photojournalist, on the secret government database of immigration reporters and advocates. Listen. 2. Tim Naftali [@TimNaftali], historian at New York University and former director of the Nixon Presidential Library and Museum, and Louise Bernard, director of the museum at the Obama Presidential Center, on the Obama Foundation's decision to curate its own presidential museum. Listen. 3. Steve Luxenberg [@SLuxenberg], author of Separate, on the history of Plessy v. Ferguson. Listen.   Music in this week's show: Fallen Leaves by Marcos Ciscar  Gormenghast by John Zorn With Plenty of Money and You by Hal Kemp And His Orchestra   Let's Face This Music And Dance by Roy Fox And His Orchestra Wade in the Water by Charlie Haden and Hank Jones Get Back - Black, Brown And White by Big Bill Broonzy Moulin Rouge by Toots Thielemans
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49 min
March 6, 2019
The Myth That Fuels the Anti-Vaxx Agenda
This Tuesday, lawmakers in Washington heard from an 18-year-old who, against all odds, got his shots. Ethan Lindenberger, who fought with his own mother to get vaccinated, told senators, "for my mother, her love, affection, and care as a parent was used to push an agenda to create a false distress." That "anti-vaxx" agenda, the dangerous legacy of a thoroughly debunked 1998 study in the British medical journal Lancet, was dealt yet another devastating — though not mortal — blow this week, courtesy of epidemiologists from Denmark’s Staten Serum Institute. Their new study, which included more than 650,000 children, found that the MMR vaccine did not raise the risk of developing autism.  And yet, even in the face of study after study, and even as websites like Pinterest have moved to stamp out the spread of anti-vaxx materials on their websites, the debunked vaccine-autism link and its impact on public health live on. In this 2012 interview, Brooke spoke with Seth Mnookin, author of The Panic Virus: A True Story of Medicine, Science and Fear, about why these myths persist.  
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6 min
March 1, 2019
Look Back in Anger
When President Trump’s former personal lawyer testified in front of Congress this week, it was both captivating and oddly familiar. This week, On the Media looks at the tropes that ran through the hearings, and offers a guide to news consumers trying to understand the tangled threads of the Mueller investigation. Plus, a sideways glance at historical hot takes and a second look at an infamous Nazi rally in the heart of New York City.  1. Bob and Brooke on Michael Cohen's enthralling testimony this week. Listen. 2. Eric Umansky [@ericuman], co-host of Trump, Inc. from WNYC Studios and ProPublica, on how news consumers can best understand Mueller-related news. Listen. 3. Corey Robin [@CoreyRobin], political theorist, on the tendency for journalists to launder their hot takes through history. Listen. 4. Marshall Curry [@marshallcurry], documentary filmmaker, on his Oscar-nominated short, A Night At The Garden. Listen. CORRECTION: In the opening segment, we describe U.S. Representative Jim Cooper, of Tennessee, as belonging to the wrong political party. Rep. Cooper is a Democrat.   Music in this week's show: Enrico Pieranunzi: Fellini's WaltzAngelo Badalamenti: Audrey's DanceJohn Zorn: The Hammer of LosStonemason’s MarchThe Kiboomers: German Lullaby
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50 min
February 26, 2019
Longing for Wakanda
On Sunday night, Marvel’s Black Panther film won the Oscar for three of its six Academy Award nominations: Ludwig Göransson for Best Original Score, Ruth E. Carter for Best Costume Design and Hannah Beachler and Jay R. Hart for Best Production design — just a few of the artists who helped bring Wakanda, the Black Panther’s mythical homeland, to life. A persistent site for utopian longing, Wakanda has once more captured the public imagination: endowed with unlimited access to the most precious natural resource in the world, unsullied by the ravages of colonialism, Wakanda has reignited conversations about what black liberation can and should look like. According to Johns Hopkins University history professor Nathan Connolly, this latest chapter is part of a much longer tradition of imagining and reimagining black utopias. Connolly speaks with Brooke about how Wakanda arises from a 500-year history — from Maroon communities to Haiti to the actual Black Panther movement — a journey that takes us from "dreams to art to life, and back again." This segment originally aired on February 23rd, 2018.
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13 min
February 22, 2019
Twitch and Shout
Twitch.tv is a video streaming platform where millions of people broadcast their lives and video game action in real-time. It's like unedited, real, reality TV. This week, On the Media digs into why so many people want to share so much on Twitch, and what it tells us about the future of entertainment. First, a look at a couple of the biggest streamers of the platform, Ninja and Dr. Disrespect, who command devoted audiences and giant paychecks. Then, Bob dives into the inaugural season of the Overwatch League, the most expensive and highly produced pro gaming venture to date. Finally, Brooke speaks with Radiolab's Jad Abumrad about the life of a homeless streamer who's life was saved by Twitch. 1. Julia Alexander [@loudmouthjulia] and Allegra Frank [@LegsFrank], two writers with Polygon, on the pitfalls and para-social allure of Twitch. Listen. 2. Cecilia D'Anastasio [@cecianasta] a reporter with Kotaku, Saebyeolbe [@saebyeolbe] and Pine [@tf2pine], two pro gamers, and Farzam Kamel, a venture capitalist with Sterling VC, on the inaugural season of the Overwatch League. Listen. 3. Jad Abumrad [@JadAbumrad] of Radiolab and VP Gloves, a homeless Twitch streamer, on the murky ethics of Twitch's IRL (in real life) section. Listen. This hour was originally broadcast on August 18th, 2018. 
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49 min
February 20, 2019
When 20,000 Nazis Gathered in New York
Founded in 1936, the German-American Bund had approximately 25,000 members and 70 chapters around the country. While the Nazis were building concentration camps, the Bund held pro-Hitler retreats and summer camps. February 20th marks the 80th anniversary of the Bund’s most notorious event when 20,000 of its members gathered at Madison Square Garden for a "Pro-American Rally" featuring speeches and performances, staged in front of a 30-foot-high portrait of George Washington. The rally is the subject of the Oscar-nominated documentary short "A Night at The Garden" by filmmaker Marshall Curry. In this On the Media podcast extra, Brooke talks with Curry about how the film's themes resonate today and how a 30-second broadcast spot has had a media moment of its own.  
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19 min
February 15, 2019
Bad Reputation
The 2020 Democratic field is the most diverse ever, and five women are running to be the party’s presidential nominee. This week, we look at the sexist coverage of female candidates with a new Breaking News Consumer's Handbook: Gender and Politics Edition. Then, a re-examination of a 90's tabloid spectacle, Lorena Gallo (Lorena Bobbitt), arrested for cutting her husband's penis off after he raped her. Plus, how Black History Month undermines black history.  1. Lili Loofbourow [@Millicentsomer], staff writer at Slate, on the sexist coverage of women in politics. Listen. 2. Joshua Rofé [@joshua_rofe], filmmaker, and Lorena Gallo (FKA Lorena Bobbitt) on the new documentary "Lorena." Listen. 3. Doreen St. Félix [@dstfelix], staff writer at The New Yorker, on the commercialization of Black History Month. Listen. Songs: The Crave by Jelly Roll Morton Juliet of Spirits by Nino Rota and Eugene Walter Okami by Nicola Cruz River Man by Brad Mehldaw Trio Mai Nozipo by Kronos Quartet  
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49 min
February 13, 2019
A Century of Free Speech
For this week's pod extra, we feature a conversation from WNYC'S Brian Lehrer Show. Brian talked with Columbia University President Lee Bollinger and University of Chicago Law Professor Geoffrey Stone, editors of The Free Speech Century, a collection of essays by leading scholars, marking 100 years since the Supreme Court issued the three decisions that established the modern notion of free speech. Whether it’s fake news or money in politics, we’re still arguing over the First Amendment, and their book lays out the origins of the argument just after the first World War.  
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30 min
February 8, 2019
The World's Biggest Problem
At Tuesday's State of the Union, President Trump continued to call for a wall at the southern border. Meanwhile, some Democrats point to the real crisis: climate change. A look at the messaging of urgency and hope around the Green New Deal. And, a former mentor to Mark Zuckerberg lays out his deep criticisms of Facebook. Then, a Facebook employee makes the case for one potential solution. Plus, a new documentary about Pete Hamill and Jimmy Breslin, two New York City reporters, who helped turn column writing into an art form. 1. Kate Aronoff [@KateAronoff], contributing writer with The Intercept, on how Democrats are selling the urgent need to address climate change. Listen. 2. Roger McNamee [@Moonalice], author of Zucked: Waking Up to the Facebook Catastrophe, on the damage that Facebook has done. Listen. 3. Andy O'Connell [@facebook], manager of content distribution and algorithm policy at Facebook, on the network's new "Supreme Court" for content moderation.  Listen. 4. Jonathan Alter [@jonathanalter], filmmaker and journalist, on the legacy of two masterful newspaper columnists. Listen. Songs: Mermelada by Como Las MoviesI Am Not A Farmer by Bill Frisell Coconut Wireless by MoonaliceFallen Leaves by Marcos CiscarSuperstition by Sungha JungChez Le Photographe Du Motel by Miles DavisDinner Music For A Pack Of Hungry by Raymond Scott
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49 min
February 4, 2019
The Too-Good-To-Be-True Cancer Cure
Despite steadily declining rates of cancer deaths over the past two decades, cancer remains responsible for 1 in every 6 deaths worldwide. It’s a scourge. So when, this week, an Israeli company called Accelerated Evolution Biotechnologies captured the news cycle with promises of a complete cure for cancer within the year, the story caught fire. The company’s technology is called “MuTaTo” — that's multi-target toxin. And, to judge from the news media this week, it seems vetted, verified and veering us all toward a cancer-free future. Reports began in the Jerusalem Post, but quickly took off, making their way into various Murdoch-owned publications like FOX and the New York Post and landing in local news outlets around the country and the globe. A couple days into the fanfare, the skeptics started coming out: for one thing, as oncologist David Gorski points out in his blog “Respectful Insolence,” the claims are based on experiments with mice: no human trials have yet started. For another, they haven’t been sufficiently peer reviewed. In fact, the company won’t share its research, claiming it can’t afford the expense. The too-good-to-be-true story appears to be just that, built on PR puffery. But who can resist a good cancer cure? With Mutato in mind, for this week’s podcast extra, we revisit our Breaking News Consumer’s Handbook: Health News edition, with Gary Schwitzer, publisher & founder of HealthNewsReview.org.
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9 min
February 1, 2019
Misery in the Name of Liberty
The Venezuelan press has been facing repression for years. This week, On the Media explores how journalists in the country are struggling to cover the standoff between two men who claim to be president. Also, how both the history of American interventionism and the legacy of Simón Bolívar color coverage of Venezuela. Plus, a critical look at the images coming out of Chinese internment camps. 1. Mariana Zuñiga [@marazuniga], freelance reporter based in Caracas, on her experience covering Venezuela's presidential standoff. Listen.  2. Miguel Tinker Salas [@mtinkersalas], professor of history at Pomona College, on the legacy of Simón Bolívar. Listen. 3. Stephen Kinzer [@stephenkinzer], professor of international relations at Brown University, on the history of American intervention in Latin America. Listen.  4. Rian Thum [@RianThum], senior research fellow at the University of Nottingham, on the internment of Uighurs by the Chinese government. Listen.  Songs: Sueno en Paraguay by Chancha Via CircuitoMermelada by Como Las MoviesContradanza Del Espíritu by Roberto FonsecaLa Canción Bolivariana by Alí PrimeraSlow Pulse Conga by William PasleyMi Guitarrita by Manuel SilvaChrysanthemum Complex (Contagion OST) by Cliff MartinezBizning Naxshimiz by Ayshemgul Memet, Shohrat Tursun & Ilyar Ayup
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49 min
January 30, 2019
A Tell-All Memoir And An NDA
This week, the latest tell-all memoir from a former White House staffer hit bookstores. Team of Vipers: My 500 Extraordinary Days in the Trump White House is by Cliff Sims — who was, depending on who you ask, either key player as Director of Message Strategy or, as Trump tweeted this week, “nothing more than a gofer.” The book, of course, is a landfill of trash and dirt on his former colleagues. And even as Sims toured the morning shows, the late shows and the everything-else shows to hawk his book, Trump Campaign COO Michael Glassner was threatening to sue him for violating the campaign's non disclosure agreement. Sims says he remembers signing some paperwork, but doesn’t remember if there was an NDA in there and, as other lawyers have since chimed in, there is established precedent that would make it very hard for the campaign to silence a former federal employee. The subject of NDAs comes up a lot for people in Trump’s orbit — which is why the team at Trump, Inc. (produced here at our station, WNYC) did a whole episode on the topic. We present that episode for you as our podcast extra this week. Enjoy!
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29 min
January 25, 2019
Close Encounters
The Lincoln Memorial debacle showed how vulnerable the press are to a myriad of social and political forces. This week, we examine how the outrage unfolded and what role MAGA hat symbolism might have played. And, a graphic photo in the New York Times spurs criticism. Plus, a reality show that attempts to bridge the gap between indigenous people and white Canadians.  1. Bob's thoughts on where the Lincoln Memorial episode has left us. Listen. 2. Charlie Warzel [@cwarzel], tech writer, on the zig-zagging meta-narratives emerging from the Lincoln Memorial episode, and the role played by right-wing operatives. Listen. 3. Jeannine Bell [@jeanninelbell], professor at Indiana University's Maurer School of Law, on MAGA hat symbology. Listen. 4. Kainaz Amaria [@kainazamaria], visuals editor at Vox, on the Times' controversial decision to publish a bloody photo following the January 15 attack in Nairobi, Kenya. Listen. 5. Vanessa Loewen, executive producer of the Canadian documentary series First Contact and Jean La Rose, CEO of the Aboriginal Peoples Television Network, on their televised effort to bridge the gap between indigenous and settler Canadians. Listen
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49 min
January 22, 2019
Rethinking MLK Day
When he was still in his twenties, Martin Luther King Jr. was, among other things, an advice columnist for Ebony magazine. Writer Mychal Denzel Smith studied those columns for an article this week in The Atlantic, and he found that readers asked the civil rights leader about everything from race relations to marriage problems. In some instances Dr. King was surprisingly unorthodox — the preacher's thoughts on birth control are particularly eloquent — and in others, his advice was less than sage. When one reader complained about her philandering husband, he told her to self-reflect: "Are you careful with your grooming? Do you nag? Do you make him feel important?" When another described her husband as a "complete tyrant," self-reflection on the part of the woman was, again, the answer.  Denzel Smith joins Brooke to discuss Dr. King's mid-century masculinity, how it is still wielded as a cudgel against young black Americans, and why he thinks Americans — black and white — are due for a vacation from MLK-mania.  This segment is from our April 6, 2018 program, Paved With Good Intentions.
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19 min
January 18, 2019
The Giant Referendum On Everything
For the past month, journalists have been reporting on the anxieties of furloughed federal workers. This week, On the Media learns that many reporters face a new threat to their own job security. Plus, an on-screen dramatization of Brexit, and a likely sea-change in Youtube's rankings.  1. Dave Krieger [@DaveKrieger], former editorial page director of the Boulder Daily Camera, on the latest newspaper target of vulture capitalism. Listen. 2. James Graham [@mrJamesGraham], screenwriter of "Brexit," on his star-studded depiction of an urgent, present-day dispute. Listen. 3. Matthew Goodwin [@GoodwinMJ], professor of politics and international relations at the University of Kent, on why so many people got the Brexit narrative wrong. Listen. 4. Clay Shirky [@cshirky], Ajey Nagar [@CarryMinati], Sarah Moore [@sarahlynn_1995] and others on the global culture war over PewDiePie and T-Series. Listen.
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49 min
January 15, 2019
That time Brooke met Rosanne Cash
Rosanne's Cash's new album features 10 new songs, all written and co-written by Cash, that find her "speaking out and looking inward" (The Boston Globe) from a uniquely female perspective. It features contributions from Elvis Costello, Kris Kristofferson, Colin Meloy and Sam Phillips, plus three extra tracks that appear on the deluxe edition of the record. The album's title track was just named one of the Top 5 songs of 2018 by The New York Times.  She sat down with Brooke for an evening of talk and music at WNYC's very own theater, The Greene Space. 
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40 min
January 11, 2019
Everything Is Fake
On Thursday, President Trump flew down to McAllen, Texas to push his pro-wall, anti-immigrant narrative. This week, On the Media examines how the community tells a more welcoming story about the border — and a dogged presidential fact-checker joins us to pick apart the Oval Office address. Plus, how some progressives used Russian election interference tactics against a right-wing senate campaign. Also, is everything online fake?  1. Lorenzo Zazueta [@lorenzozazueta], immigration reporter for The Monitor in McAllen, Texas, on the theatrics of a political border visit. Listen. 2. Daniel Dale [@ddale8], Washington bureau chief for the Toronto Star, fact-checks President Trump's Oval Office address. Listen. 3. Scott Shane [@ScottShaneNYT], national security reporter for the New York Times, on the Russian interference social media tactics used by some progressives in the run-up to the 2017 Alabama special senate election. Listen. 4. Matt Osborne [@OsborneInk], progressive Alabama activist, on his own deceptive role in the political battle between Roy Moore and now–Senator Doug Jones. Listen. 5. Max Read [@max_read], writer and editor at New York Magazine, on the overwhelming fakeness of the internet. Listen.
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49 min
January 9, 2019
10 Things That Scare Jeff VandeMeer
Is it too ordinary to be afraid of your cat dying? Jeff VanderMeer is an author based in Tallahassee, Florida. This week he is the featured guest on the podcast "10 things that scare me: a tiny podcast about our biggest fears," produced by WNYC Studios. We spoke to Jeff a year ago about the impending climate change disaster for a show we called Apocalypse, Now. His award-winning Southern Reach trilogy has been published in over 35 languages.  Join the 10 Things That Scare Me conversation, and tell them your fears here. And follow 10 Things That Scare Me on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook.
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6 min
January 4, 2019
Africatown
Just outside of Mobile, Alabama, sits the small community of Africatown, a town established by the last known slaves brought to America, illegally, in 1860. Decades after that last slave ship, The Clotilde, burned in the waters outside Mobile, Africatown residents are pushing back against the forces of industrial destruction and national amnesia. Local struggles over environmental justice, land ownership, and development could determine whether Africatown becomes an historical destination, a living monument to a lingering past — or whether shadows cast by highway overpasses and gasoline tanks will erase our country's hard-learned lessons.  Brooke spoke with Deborah G. Plant, editor of a new book by Zora Neale Hurston about a founder of Africatown, Joe Womack, environmental activist and Africatown resident, Vickii Howell, president and CEO of the MOVE Gulf Coast Community Development Corporation, Charles Torrey, research historian for the History Museum of Mobile, and others about the past, present, and future of Africatown, Alabama.  **This episode was originally aired in May of 2018.** Songs: Traditional African Nigerian Music of the Yoruba TribeDeath Have Mercy by Regina CarterSacred Oracle by John Zorn and Bill FrisellPassing Time by John RenbournThe Thompson Fields by Maria Schneider Jazz Orchestra
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49 min
January 2, 2019
Remembering Joe Frank
Joe Frank -- the radio producer’s radio producer, the ultimate acquired taste -- passed away a year ago this month. He was 79. For over four decades Frank hosted late-night shows that could float between hilarious dreams and suspenseful nightmares, between fact and fiction. And though his shows were rarely mainstream hits, cultural figures like Ira Glass of This American Life and film director Alexander Payne consider Frank a major influence on their own work. Brooke discussed Joe Frank's life, style and legacy with Jad Abumrad, co-host of WNYC's Radiolab, and Mark Oppenheimer, host of Tablet magazine's Unorthodox podcast, who wrote an article in Slate titled "Joe Frank Signs Off."
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17 min
December 28, 2018
The Worst Thing We've Ever Done
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. This episode originally aired on June 1st, 2018. It was re-broadcast on December 28, 2018.
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51 min
December 25, 2018
10 Things That Scare Brooke
Merry Christmas, to those who celebrate! To those who don't (and, aw heck, to those who do too) we offer a very special end-of-year gift: fear. More specifically, Brooke's greatest fears, courtesy of our WNYC colleagues, 10 Things That Scare Me. Fear is a subject — and experience — near and dear to our beloved Brooke, so we can assure you that this is not a conversation to skip. 
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7 min
December 21, 2018
The Seen and the Unseen
Two weeks ago, a seven-year-old girl died in Customs and Border Patrol custody. This week, On the Media considers how coverage of her death has resembled previous immigration story cycles. Plus, we make an year-end review of cabinet officials shown the door as the result of investigative reporting — and we honor the 80 journalists killed around the globe this year. Also, we explore the subversive, revolutionary art of Hilma af Klint. Aura Bogado [@aurabogado], immigration reporter at Reveal, on the conditions migrants experience when they cross the border and the importance of hearing them in their own words. Listen. Columbia Journalism Review's Jon Allsop [@Jon_Allsop] on how reporters have cut through the noise of the Trump administration to uncover stories with impact. Listen. Brooke on this year's slain journalists and the risks they took in pursuit of their reporting. Listen. Tracey Bashkoff, curator at the Guggenheim Museum, walks Brooke through an exhibition of Hilma af Klint's work. Listen. Harvard University historian Ann Braude on the relationship between 19th century spiritualism and the women's rights movement. Listen.
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50 min
December 19, 2018
What We Learned — And Didn't Learn — From the Pentagon Papers
In 1971, federal investigators convened two grand juries to investigate, among other things, the publishing, by major newspapers, of thousands of pages of secret government documents reviewing the history from 1945 on, of the still ongoing war in Vietnam.  The Pentagon Papers' consequences were vast — including that historic effort by the federal government to investigate — under the Espionage Act — staffers at the Washington Post, the New York Times, and the Boston Globe. As tends to be the case with sprawling grand jury cases, the investigators’ questions and methods remain a secret. But Jill Lepore hopes to change that. On Monday of this week, Lepore — Harvard historian, New Yorker staff writer, and author of These Truths: A History of the United States — asked a federal court to order the release of documents related to those grand juries. “Why and when was the investigation opened?” Lepore demands in court documents. “Why was it closed? To what lengths did the government go in conducting the investigation?” A half-century after Pentagon analyst Daniel Ellsberg’s mammoth revelations, questions still linger.  Earlier this year, Brooke spoke with Les Gelb, one of the drafters of the original papers, about what journalists and historians previously failed to understand about the Pentagon Papers.
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15 min
December 14, 2018
Plague of Suspicion
It’s been 100 years since one of the deadliest diseases... well, ever. The 1918-1919 flu pandemic (usually and mistakenly called the “Spanish Flu”) infected roughly a third of the world’s population and killed somewhere on the order of 50-100 million people, leaving no corner of the world untouched. It came just as the world was beginning its recovery from the other global catastrophe of the time — the First World War. The pandemic is sometimes referred to as the “Forgotten Plague” because the extent of the devastation wasn’t realized at the time, and it’s been missing from most history books since.   This week on On the Media, we look back at what happened and ask: could it, would it happen again? This hour of On the Media is part of “Germ City” a series produced by the WNYC newsroom in collaboration with the Museum of the City of New York and the New York Academy of Medicine. Laurie Garrett [@Laurie_Garrett], author and infectious disease expert, and Nancy Tomes, historian at Stony Brook University, on the 1918 flu pandemic. Listen. Dr Harvey V. Fineberg, president of the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation, on the 1976 swine flu fiasco. Listen. Matthew Gertz [@MattGertz], senior fellow at Media Matters, on the media’s coverage of the 2014 Ebola outbreak. Listen. Dr Amesh Adalja [@AmeshAA], Senior Scholar at the John Hopkins Center for Health Security and Dr Hoe Nam Leong, an infectious disease specialist at Mount Elizabeth Novena Hospital in Singapore, on airplanes and infectious disease. Listen.  Professor Dominique Brossard [@brossardd], Chair of the Department of Life Sciences Communication at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, on how media covers pandemics. Listen.
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50 min
December 12, 2018
Three Years for Michael Cohen
Michael Cohen, President Trump’s former lawyer, was sentenced Wednesday to three years in prison for financial crimes and for lying to Congress. In rendering the sentence,  Judge William H. Pauley said Cohen’s crimes — among them, tax evasion and campaign finance violations — were “motivated by personal greed and ambition.” The case has implications for Trump himself; Judge Pauley noted at the sentencing that Cohen's campaign finance crimes were designed to affect the outcome of the election. But court filings from this case and from the separate case against Paul Manafort offer many, many threads to follow. In this podcast extra, we turn to our colleagues at the Trump Inc. podcast, an open investigation from a team of ProPublica and WNYC journalists. This week, they unpacked what can be learned from the sentencing memos and what remains a mystery. Also, they just won a prestigious Dupont award! 
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26 min
December 7, 2018
How Quickly We Forget
The death of George H.W. Bush brought us a week’s worth of ceremony, eulogy and wall-to-wall coverage. This week, a look at the choices journalists made when they set out to memorialize the president. And, immigration stories in our media focus on the U.S.–Mexico border — but what about immigration elsewhere in Latin America? Is there a journalistic solution to the scale of global immigration? Plus, a baseball metaphor and a bit of forgotten Hanukkah history. 1. Anne Helen Petersen [@annehelen], senior culture writer at Buzzfeed, and David Greenberg [@republicofspin], historian at Rutgers University, on the history — and pitfalls — of presidential eulogies. Listen. 2. Bob on the speculation surrounding Robert Mueller's investigation. Listen. 3. Diego Salazar [@disalch], journalist, on the immigration crisis within Latin America.  Listen. 4. Masha Gessen [@mashagessen], staff writer at The New Yorker, on her modest proposal for immigration coverage. Listen. 5. Rabbi James Ponet, Jewish chaplain emeritus at Yale University, on the historical origins of Hanukkah. Listen. Songs:  Ototoa by MalphinoFallen Leaves by Marcos CiscarWallpaper by WooString Quartet, No. 2 by Kronos QuartetViderunt Omnes by Kronos Quartet
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50 min
December 5, 2018
The Centuries-Old Practice of "Slaying Lewks"
Satisfaction at the political enemy’s hypocrisy can be so rich that partisan critics strain — sometimes absurdly — to locate it. Such is the case with Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, newly elected member of Congress from New York and avowed democratic socialist.  How to prove she is a phony? Why, her clothes, of course. It’s an absurd attempt at gotcha, but not an uncommon one. Bob spoke with Einav Rabinovitch-Fox, historian at Case Western Reserve University, about the long history of media obsession with the clothing of outspoken women — in particular, the thousands of garment workers who went on strike in 1909.
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12 min
November 30, 2018
Laugh Until You Cry
The White House tried to bury a devastating climate assessment on Black Friday; this week, On the Media documents how TV talk shows gave climate change deniers a platform to spin the report for their own ends. We look back on Fox News' coming-of-age under Roger Ailes and we consider what comes next for the company amidst pressure, transition and unprecedented proximity to power. Plus, a pro-migration video goes viral in Honduras for all the wrong reasons. 1. Lisa Hymas [@lisahymas], director of the climate and energy program at Media Matters for America, on climate denialism in environmental coverage. Listen. 2. Alexis Bloom, director of Divide and Conquer: The Story of Roger Ailes [@rogerailesfilm], on Ailes' role as newsman and political kingmaker. Listen. 3. Sarah Ellison [@Sarahlellison], staff writer at the Washington Post, on what comes next for "New Fox." Listen. 4. Alana Casanova-Burgess [@AlanaLlama], producer for On the Media, on how a pro-migration satire got out of its creators' hands. Listen. Songs: Ototoa by MalphinoFallen Leaves by Marcos CiscarString Quartet No. 2 (Company) by Kronos QuartetViderunt Omnes by Kronos Quartet
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50 min
November 28, 2018
The Long History of Ignoring Climate Scientists
A government climate change report was released last week and summarily dismissed...by the government. It was a worrying development, to be sure — but it was also only the latest chapter in the long history of scientists' unheeded warnings. Back in 1988, Andrew Revkin started covering global warming, beginning with a cover piece for Discover Magazine (and later for The New York Times). Last summer, he spoke with Brooke about the lessons he's learned in thirty years of coverage — and what they mean for how humankind might be able to navigate a much warmer future.  Revkin's piece on thirty years of climate change reporting was in the July issue of National Geographic. He is also the co-author of Weather: An Illustrated History: From Cloud Atlases to Climate Change. He is now Strategic Adviser for Environmental and Science Journalism at the National Geographic Society.
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20 min
November 23, 2018
Whose Streets?
The message from Silicon Valley seems to be that self-driving cars are the way of the future. This week, On the Media considers the history behind the present-day salesmanship. Plus, why transit rights mean much more than point-A-to-point-B mobility. Also, a new opera about Robert Moses and Jane Jacobs.  1. Angie Schmitt [@schmangee], national reporter at Streetsblog, on the "heartwarming" stories of Americans who walk miles and miles to work. Listen. 2. Peter Norton, professor of history at University of Virginia's Department of Engineering and Society, and Emily Badger, urban policy reporter for the New York Times, on the past, present and dazzling future of self-driving car salesmanship. Listen. 3. Judd Greenstein [@juddgreenstein], composer, on the in-progress opera, A Marvelous Order. Listen. 4. Kafui Attoh, professor of urban studies at the CUNY Graduate Center, on the deeper political meanings of "transit rights." Listen.   Music from this week's show: Dan Deacon — USA III: RailIggy Pop — The PassengerGary Numan — CarsJudd Greenstein — ChangeJudd Greenstein — A Marvelous OrderBrian Eno — Music For Airports
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50 min
November 19, 2018
The Civil War, One Day at a Time
On the 155th anniversary of The Gettysburg Address, we bring you a conversation with Professor Adam Goodheart. He ran The New York Times blog, Disunion, which covers the American Civil War as if it were a real-time event unfolding today. Goodheart's used Civil War Era journalism as one of his primary sources and says that sharing updates about the war gives his readers a sense of immediacy that a traditional history book can't provide. He spoke to Brooke in 2010, also on November 19th, the anniversary of The Gettysburg Address. 
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10 min
November 16, 2018
Do Not Pass Go
Over a week after the midterms, there's uncertainty in key races in Florida and Georgia. We examine the pervasive conspiracy theories around vote counting. Plus, Amazon has concluded their infamous HQ2 search. At the time, it seemed like a reality show contest. What did it cost the participants? Also, how Amazon fits into a history of anti-trust attitudes in the U.S. And, a look back at a time when capitalism squared off against Jim Crow — and won.  1. Will Sommer [@willsommer] digs into the conspiratorial buzz around the Florida recounts and how right-wing media is fueling doubt. Listen. 2. David Dayen [@ddayen] talks about Amazon's HQ2 sweepstakes and what the contest may have cost participants and the public. Listen. 3. Stacy Mitchell [@stacyfmitchell] goes through the history of anti-trust regulation and where Amazon fits in as a monopoly. Listen. 4. Sears once disrupted the power structure of Jim Crow with a mail-order catalog. Louis Hyman [@louishyman] tells the story of how American consumerism squared off against racism. Listen. Songs: The Pink Panther Theme by Henry Mancini & His OrchestraThrough the Street by David BergeaudWith Plenty Of Money And You by Hal KempDon't Dream It's Over by The Bad PlusAvalon by Randy Newman
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49 min
November 13, 2018
The Stories Fires Tell
The Camp Fire in California is the deadliest in the state's history, leaving the entire city of Paradise in ashes. Parts of Malibu were destroyed by the Woolsey Fire, which firefighters are still trying to bring under control as of this writing. Every year, the press rushes to the scene to capture the fury and the heroic images of efforts to manage fires, but we may be missing a deeper, more dangerous story. In August, when the Mendocino Complex Fire was raging, Bob spoke to historian Stephen J. Pyne about what the typical media narratives overlook and how we can rethink them. 
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13 min
November 9, 2018
We're Not Very Good At This
America’s divisions are all the more clear after another frenzied news cycle. This week, we ask a historian and a data scientist whether we humans are capable of governing ourselves. Plus, the post-midterm prognosis on climate change, and how our media have often complicated our country’s founding spirit of self-reflection. 1. Brooke [@OTMBrooke] looks at the Shepard tone of anti-democratic news developments over the past week. Listen. 2. Kate Aronoff [@KateAronoff], contributing writer at the Intercept, on how climate change fared in this week's midterms. Listen. 3. Mary Christina Wood, University of Oregon law professor, on the public trust doctrine. Listen. 4. Jill Lepore, Harvard historian and New Yorker staff writer, on the enduring argument over the role of government in American life. Listen. 5. Joshua M. Epstein, director of NYU's Agent-Based Modeling Lab, on the computerized models that can teach us about how we behave in groups. Listen.  
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58 min
November 6, 2018
Why We're So Polarized
Last week on our show, Bob spoke with Lilliana Mason, a University of Maryland political psychologist and author of Uncivil Agreement: How Politics Became Our Identity, about the reasons behind the tribalism and enmity that characterize our politics. The conversation covered a lot of ground, and much of it — including the political decisions that have shaped the two major parties over the past 50 years, as well as the distinct ways that Republicans and Democrats deploy partisan rage — didn’t make it into our tightly packed show. But, it’s too interesting and important to leave on the cutting room floor, so we’re sharing it as this week’s midterm edition podcast extra. Enjoy!
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25 min
November 2, 2018
The Others
After a week of hate-fueled attacks, we examine the "dotted line" from incitement to violence. We dig deep into tribalism and how it widens the gulf between Republicans and Democrats. Plus, the history of antisemitic propaganda and how it inspires modern-day violence. Also, why is the GOP running against California in midterm races around the country?  1. A look at the possible connections between hateful rhetoric and violent acts, with law professor Garrett Epps [@Profepps], historian Michael Beschloss, and writer Amanda Robb. Listen. 2. Leo Ferguson [@LeoFergusonnyc] of Jews for Racial & Economic Justice on the history of antisemitic propaganda. Listen. 3. Lilliana Mason [@LilyMasonPhD], author of Uncivil Agreement: How Politics Became Our Identity, on tribalism and partisanship. Listen. 4. Why is California the bogeyman in the midterms? Lawrence Wright [@lawrence_wright] on the California/Texas relationship, KQED's Marisa Lagos [@mlagos] with the view from California, and Seth Masket [@smotus] of the University of Denver on the Californication of Colorado. Listen.
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49 min
October 30, 2018
Gab is Back in the Headlines and Off the Web
The social media website Gab has faced sanction and scorn in the days since one of its active users killed 11 members of Pittsburgh's Jewish community. Gab had, for the past few years, made itself out as a "free speech" harbor, safe from the intellectual strictures of the mainstream web. That is to say, it attracted — and very rarely rejected — hordes of neo-nazis, anti-PC provocateurs and right-wing trolls.  When Brooke interviewed Gab's then-COO Utsav Sanduja last fall, the company was in the midst of an anti-trust lawsuit against Google, claiming the the tech titan had wielded its monopoly power to silence a competitor. Brooke spoke with Sanduja about that lawsuit — and about his website's frequently deplorable content. 
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11 min
October 26, 2018
Knock, Knock
With the midterms approaching, Democrats and Republicans are fighting to control the national conversation. This week, On the Media looks at how to assess the predictions about a blue or red wave this November. Republican messaging — especially from the White House — has emphasized the dangers presented by the so-called caravan. How did that caravan begin? And, what is the history behind the documents that regulate international travel? Plus, how transgender rights activists in Massachusetts are deploying a counter-intuitive door-to-door tactic. 1. Clare Malone [@ClareMalone], senior political writer for FiveThirtyEight, on the electoral reporting tropes that dominate midterm coverage. Listen. 2. Sarah Kinosian [@skinosian], freelance reporter, on the origins of the current Central American caravan. Listen. 3. John Torpey [@JohnCTorpey], historian at the CUNY Graduate Center, on the history of passports. Listen. 4. David Broockman [@dbroockman], political scientist at the Stanford Graduate School of Business, and Matt Collette [@matt_pc], producer of WNYC's Nancy, on the activism surrounding a transgender rights referendum in Massachusetts. Listen.
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49 min
October 24, 2018
West Virginia's "Genius" Watchdog
Nearly two years since the 2016 Presidential Election, much of the press are still covering so-called "Trump country" using a series of simplistic narratives, blaming these states for Trump and portraying them as irrevocably scarred by the decline of the coal industry. That doesn't mean there aren't real problems surrounding the fossil fuel industry. Ken Ward Jr. is a reporter at West Virginia’s Charleston Gazette-Mail, where since 1991 he’s been covering the coal, chemical and natural gas industries, and their impact on communities that were promised a better future. Bob speaks with Ken about the reporting that earned him a 2018 “genius grant” from the MacArthur Foundation, and how West Virginia's coal country is moving forward.
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19 min
October 19, 2018
Bloodlines
In using a genetic test to try to prove her Native ancestry, Senator Elizabeth Warren inadvertently stepped into a quagmire. This week, we examine the tensions around DNA and identity. Plus, after Jamal Khashoggi’s death, revisiting the trope of the so-called reformist Saudi royal. And, a look at what we can learn — and how we've tried to learn it — from twins, triplets and other multiple births. 1. Abdullah Al-Arian, [@anhistorian] professor of Middle East History at Georgetown University, on the decades-long trope in American op-ed pages about reformist Saudi royals. Listen. 2. Kim TallBear, [@KimTallBear] professor of Native Studies at the University of Alberta and author of Native American DNA: Tribal Belonging and the False Promise of Genetic Science, on the way "blood" has been used to undermine tribal sovereignty. Listen. 3. Alondra Nelson, [@alondra] president of the Social Science Research Council, professor of sociology at Columbia University and author of The Social Life of DNA: Race, Reparations, and Reconciliation After the Genome, on why DNA testing has been so valuable to African-American communities. Listen. 4. Nancy Segal, [@nlsegal] director of the Twin Studies center at California State University at Fullerton and author of Accidental Brothers: The Story of Twins Exchanged at Birth and the Power of Nature and Nurture, on what we've learned about human nature from the study of twins. Listen. Songs: The Glass House (End Title) by David BergeaudLiquid Spear Waltz by Michael AndrewsSlow Pulse Conga by William PasleyTurn Down the Sound by Adrian YoungeI Wish I Had An Evil Twin by The Magnetic Fields
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49 min
October 18, 2018
The Radical Catalog
Another chapter in the history of American consumerism came to a close this week when the retail giant Sears announced it was filing for bankruptcy and closing 142 of its unprofitable stores. As experts sifted through the details about what doomed Sears, we found ourselves reading a Twitter thread about a little-known bit of shopping history. Louis Hyman is an economic historian and professor at Cornell University’s School of Industrial and Labor Relations. He tweeted: "In my history of consumption class, I teach about Sears, but what most people don't know is just how radical the catalogue was in the era of Jim Crow." In this week's podcast extra, Hyman talks to Brooke about what we can learn from the way Sears upended Jim Crow power dynamics, and what lessons it offers about capitalism more broadly. His latest book is Temp: How American Work, American Business, and the American Dream Became Temporary.  
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16 min
October 12, 2018
Full Faith & Credit
Ten autumns ago came two watershed moments in the history of money. In September 2008, the bankruptcy of Lehman Brothers triggered a financial meltdown from which the world has yet to fully recover. The following month, someone using the name Satoshi Nakamoto introduced BitCoin, the first cryptocurrency. Before our eyes, the very architecture of money was evolving — potentially changing the world in the process. In this hour, On the Media looks at the story of money, from its uncertain origins to its digital reinvention in the form of cryptocurrency. 1. The life and work of JSG Boggs, the artist who created hand-drawn replicas of currency that he used to buy goods and services. With Lawrence Weschler and MIT's Neha Nerula [@neha]. Listen. 2. A brief history of money with UC Irvine's Bill Maurer and Mark Blyth [@MkBlyth] from Brown University. Listen.  3. How cryptocurrency could shape the future of money, with MIT's Neha Narula [@neha], New York Times' Nathaniel Popper [@nathanielpopper], Vinay Gupta [@leashless] of Mattereum, Brown University's Mark Blyth [@MkBlyth] and artist Kevin Abosch [@kevinabosch]. Listen.
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49 min
October 10, 2018
Reimagining History
Last week, the MacArthur Foundation awarded genius grants to 25 creatives in art, literature, science and music. John Keene, a writer of poetry, fiction and cultural criticism, was one of them. He was recognized for his innovative use of language and form, and the way his work “exposes the social structures that confine, enslave, or destroy” people of color and queer people. Keene spoke to Brooke back in 2015 about his story collection, Counternarratives, which centers the voices of the marginalized in both imagined and reimagined historical moments.
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16 min
October 5, 2018
The Victimhood
On Thursday in the Wall Street Journal, Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh acknowledged his sharp tone in recent hearings. This week, we examine the anger and resentment driving the #MeToo backlash. Plus, a deep dive into into our flawed narratives about Native American history, and a close look at the role problematic fantasies about indigenous people play in German culture. 1. Lili Loofbourow [@Millicentsomer], staff writer at Slate, on the purposeful role of male anger in the Kavanaugh nomination process. Listen. 2. David Treuer [@DavidTreuer], writer and historian, on the simplistic, flawed narratives tied up in popular Native American history. Listen. 3. Frank Usbeck, historian and researcher-curator at the State Ethnographic Collections of Saxony, and Evan Torner, German Studies professor at the University of Cincinnati, on the fantasies about indigenous people involved in German politics and culture. Listen. Songs: Rebel Soldier by Nashville SessionsPrelude of Light by John ZornPuck by John ZornTribute to America by The O'Neill Brothers GroupHer Avwerah by Norfolk and WesternLost, Night by Bill Frisell
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50 min
October 3, 2018
Trump, Inc.: The Business of Silence
President Donald Trump has had many roles in his life: Real estate scion, reality show star, Oval Office holder. But through it all, one thing has remained consistent. He tries to control what information becomes public about himself and his business. In the latest episode of Trump, Inc., a WNYC collaboration with ProPublica, our colleagues look at the ways Trump has tried to buy and enforce silence — and how it matters more than ever now that he’s president. They talk to The New Yorker’s Ronan Farrow about just one of the tactics used by those helping the president: the “catch and kill.”  
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29 min
September 28, 2018
What Goes Around, Comes Around?
The Kavanaugh-Ford hearings this week felt like a watershed moment — but it’s not yet clear what long-term impact they’ll have. This week, we examine some of the policies that could be affected by the Supreme Court if Kavanaugh is confirmed, including dark money disclosure and voting rights. Plus, a moment of zen during trying times.  1. Brooke on this week's Kavanaugh-Ford hearings. Listen.  2. Carol Anderson [@ProfCAnderson], professor of history at Emory University, on how voter suppression is destroying democracy. Listen.  3. Michelle Ye Hee Lee [@myhlee], national reporter for the Washington Post, on the recent Supreme Court action regarding the disclosure of dark money donations. Listen. 4. Robert Wright [@robertwrighter], author and professor at Union Seminary, on how living a mindful life can make us savvier, saner news consumers. Listen.   Songs: Black Coffee by Galt MacDermotMelancholia by Marcos Ciscar
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50 min
September 26, 2018
It's Time for Justice
On Tuesday, nearly four years since a viral comedy routine helped usher a long list of rape and sexual assault allegations against Bill Cosby into the fore, the once-beloved artist was sentenced to three to 10 years in a state prison. Years before Cosby's predatory behavior became public knowledge, rumors circulated in Hollywood and privileged circles, well within earshot of journalist Ta-Nehisi Coates. But, in a 2008 profile of Cosby for The Atlantic, Coates merely mentioned some of the sexual assault accusations in passing, without digging into the damning details. Whether willful denial or reckless mistake, this oversight would come to haunt him — so much that he fessed up and agreed to mull it all over with Bob back in 2014.
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8 min
September 21, 2018
Make Amends
Senators are weighing serious allegations of attempted rape as they consider Judge Kavanaugh's nomination to the Supreme Court. Meanwhile, McDonald's employees in ten cities went on strike to bring attention to sexual harassment at the fast food chain. This week, we look at the ripples from the #MeToo movement and how much further they have to go.  1. Dr. Christine Blasey Ford's expected testimony against Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh has echoes of Anita Hill's testimony against Clarence Thomas in 1991. Kai Wright [@kai_wright] of the podcast The United States of Anxiety revisits how that moment led to a "Year of the Woman" in 1992. Listen.  2. Disgraced former radio hosts Jian Ghomeshi and John Hockenberry recently wrote essays reflecting on their lost status after #MeToo allegations. Slate's Laura Miller [@magiciansbook] discusses the serious shortcomings of those essays. Listen. 3. Rabbi Danya Ruttenberg [@TheRaDR] explains what atonement and repentance actually mean, and why a clear definition matters in the context of the #MeToo movement. Listen. 4. History professor Annelise Orleck [@AnneliseOrleck1] puts this week's McDonald's strike over sexual harassment allegations in its global and historical context. Listen.   Songs: Middlesex Times by Michael AndrewsBubble Wrap by Thomas NewmanLiquid Spear Waltz by Michael AndrewsJohn’s Book of Alleged Dances by Kronos QuartetHuman Nature by Steve Porcaro, John Bettis, Vijay IyerLove Theme from Spartacus by Yusef Lateef
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49 min
September 18, 2018
An Obit, This Time For Real
This past week’s coverage of Hurricane Florence has had all the trappings of a terrible storm: the satellite images, the sandbags and empty grocery stores, the newscasters dressed in flood gear.  One recurring side character we seem to have avoided this time around, though, is the doctored image of a shark swimming on a flooded highway. It’s a preposterous hoax that succeeds, occasionally, on the merits of some kernel of truth; for instance, whole swathes of interstate highway in North Carolina are, as of this moment, covered with water. That kernel of truth is what hoaxers and jokers build their handiwork upon — as did the veteran hoaxer Alan Abel, who passed away late last week at the age of 94. Abel made a name for himself inventing characters and causes and turning the joke on the media; in 1980 he staged his own death and got himself an obituary in the New York Times. Brooke spoke to Abel — and his daughter, Jenny Abel, the director of the documentary, "Abel Raises Cain" — in 2008.
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8 min
September 14, 2018
Doomed to Repeat
The anniversary of a disaster gives us a moment to reflect on whether we have learned the right lessons — or any at all. This week, we examine the narratives that have solidified ten years after the financial crisis, and one year after Hurricane Maria.  1. Political anthropologist Yarimar Bonilla [@yarimarbonilla] on how we can focus our attention on Puerto Rico's structural challenges even as the president spouts falsities about the "unsung success" of the federal response to Hurricane Maria. Listen. 2. Dean Starkman [@deanstarkman], author of The Watchdog That Didn't Bark: The Financial Crisis and the Disappearance of Investigative Journalism, on how the signs of the financial crisis had been visible leading up to it but many journalists were looking elsewhere. Listen. 3. Brown University professor Mark Blyth [@MkBlyth] takes on the most popular narratives of the financial crash. Listen. 4. Copenhagen Business School business historian Per Hansen on Hollywood's depiction of the board room and Wall Street from 1928 to 2015. Listen. Songs: Marjane's Inspiration by David BergeaudGlass House by BonoboDinner Music For A Pack of Hungry Cannibals by Raymond ScottWith Plenty Of Money And You by Hal KempCoffee Cold by Galt MacDermotModern Times OST by Charlie Chaplin
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50 min
September 12, 2018
FEMA Time
On Wednesday, as Florence swirled ominously off the coast of the Carolinas, and states prepared for imminent disaster, Senator Jeff Merkley (D-OR) thought it would be a good time to draw everyone’s attention to the shifting priorities of this administration. Specifically, he released a budget that showed the Department of Homeland Security had transferred nearly 10 million dollars from the Federal Emergency Management Agency to Immigration and Customs Enforcement to pay for detention and removal operations. FEMA officials maintain that the smaller budget won’t hinder their operations, but as wildfires rage and hurricanes make landfall, they have a lot on their plate. We don't think about FEMA much, until that's all we think about. Historian Garrett Graff says the agency’s, quote, “under-the-radar nature” was originally a feature, not a bug. Graff wrote about "The Secret History of FEMA" for Wired last September and he spoke to Bob about the agency's Cold War origins as civil defense in the event of a nuclear attack and how it transitioned to "natural" disaster response. Plus, they discuss the limitations to FEMA's capabilities and why it has such a spotty record. Graff is also author of Raven Rock: The Story of the U.S. Government's Secret Plan to Save Itself -- While The Rest of Us Die.
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11 min
September 7, 2018
O See, Can You Say
Between the Kavanaugh confirmation hearings on Capitol Hill and an anonymous op-ed from within the Trump White House, a wave of rule-bending and -breaking has crashed on Washington. This week, we explore how political decorum and popular dissent have evolved since the early days of our republic — and how the legal protections for those core freedoms could transform our future. 1. Brooke and Bob on how best to cover the anonymous op/ed written by a "senior official in the Trump administration." Listen. 2. Geoffrey Stone, professor of law at University of Chicago, on our evolving — and occasionally faulty — interpretations of the first amendment. And, Laura Weinrib, professor of law at University of Chicago, on how early-20th century labor struggles gave birth to our modern ideas about freedom of speech. Listen. 3. Tim Wu [@superwuster], professor of law at Columbia University, on how the first amendment could inform new regulations for Silicon Valley. Listen. Music: John Renbourn - Passing TimePuck - John ZornJoeira - KurupMulatu Astatke - Tezeta  
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50 min
September 5, 2018
CNN's Lanny Davis Problem
Six weeks ago, CNN broke a blockbuster story: According to several anonymous sources, President Trump had advance knowledge of the infamous Trump Tower meeting. It was a potential smoking gun, until one of those sources — Lanny Davis, attorney for Michael Cohen — recanted. Beyond that headache for CNN, there was another. The original article had claimed, "Contacted by CNN, one of Cohen's attorneys, Lanny Davis, declined to comment." Depending on how you understand the word "comment," and depending your general disposition, that claim could be technically true or woefully, mendaciously disingenuous. Bob spoke with Washington Post media reporter Paul Farhi about the implications — and dangers — of this latest media mishap. 
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12 min
August 29, 2018
Summer Series Episode 4: Tectonic Edition
After an earthquake struck Nepal in April of 2015, the post-disaster media coverage followed a trajectory we'd seen repeated after other earth-shaking events. We put together a template to help a discerning news consumer look for the real story. It's our Breaking News Consumer's Handbook: Tectonic Edition. Brooke spoke to Jonathan M. Katz, who wrote "How Not to Report on an Earthquake" for the New York Times Magazine. 
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14 min
August 24, 2018
Fallout
End-of-times narratives themselves are nothing new; only the means have changed. While once a few horsemen and a river of blood were enough to signal the dusk of man, apocalypse now requires the imaginations of entire atomic laboratories — or roving squads of special effects crews. This week we look through a few recent highlights from the genre: from a 1980's made-for-TV spectacle, to a new piece of speculative fiction documenting a hypothetical nuclear conflict with North Korea. 1. Jeffrey Lewis [@ArmsControlWonk], author of "The 2020 Commission Report," on what we might say to ourselves after a devastating war with North Korea. Listen. 2. Marsha Gordon [@MarshaGGordon], film studies professor at North Carolina State University, on the 1983 film "The Day After," which imagines a massive nuclear strike in the Midwestern U.S. Listen. 3. Anne Washburn, playwright, on "Mr. Burns: A Post-Electric Play," in which she imagines American cultural life after a devastating nuclear event. Listen. 4. Andrew Fitzgerald [@magicandrew], chief digital content officer at Hearst TV, on what journalists, seven years ago, thought about the prospect of covering the end of the world. Listen.
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51 min
August 22, 2018
Summer Series Episode 3: Airline Crash Edition
When a commercial plane goes down, media speculation ensues. With the help of The Atlantic's James Fallows, we give you some tips that can help you comb through the coverage.
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11 min
August 17, 2018
Twitch And Shout
Twitch.tv is a video streaming platform where tens of thousands people broadcast their lives and video game game-play in real-time. It's like unedited, real, reality TV. This week, On the Media digs into why so many people want to share so much on Twitch, and why the site draws more than 15 million viewers. First, a look at a couple of the biggest streamers of the platform, Ninja and Dr. Disrespect, who command devoted audiences and giant paychecks. Then, Bob dives into the inaugural season of the Overwatch League, the most expensive and highly produced pro gaming venture to date. Finally, Brooke speaks with Radiolab's Jad Abumrad about the life of a homeless streamer who's life was saved by Twitch. 1. Julia Alexander [@loudmouthjulia] and Allegra Frank [@LegsFrank], two writers with Polygon, on the pitfalls and para-social allure of Twitch. Listen. 2. Cecilia D'Anastasio [@cecianasta] a reporter with Kotaku, Saebyeolbe [@saebyeolbe] and Pine [@tf2pine], two pro gamers, and Farzam Kamel, a venture capitalist with Sterling VC, on the inaugural season of the Overwatch League. Listen. 3. Jad Abumrad [@JadAbumrad] of Radiolab and VP Gloves, a homeless Twitch streamer, on the murky ethics of Twitch's IRL (in real life) section. Listen. Correction: The original broadcast of this hour includes the statistic that Twitch draws more viewers than HBO and Netflix. Upon request for comment, Twitch did not offer sufficient information to confirm that figure. 
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58 min
August 15, 2018
Summer Series Episode 2: Military Coup Edition
Back in the summer of 2016, as Turkish putschists shut down highways, attacked government buildings and took broadcasters hostage, world media outlets struggled to provide sober reports of the coup. During the chaos, some listeners told us on Twitter that they’d appreciate an On the Media Breaking News Consumers Handbook coup edition. Coups are especially tricky to report on because they're mainly about perception and narrative. Plotters and the government are both trying to establish dominance, and misreporting can determine whether the attempt succeeds or not.  Naunihal Singh, author of Seizing Power: The Strategic Logic of Military Coups, says the first step for a successful military coup is to take control of radio and tv broadcasters. From there, they can literally and figuratively control the narrative.  Brooke spoke to Singh about how to understand coups through the media, and how to understand whether an attempt will succeed or fail. 
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11 min
August 10, 2018
Planet Fire
People like neo-nazi Andrew Anglin and conspiracy theorist Alex Jones have long tested the limits of permissible speech. On this week’s On the Media, hear from a lawyer who defends the First Amendment rights of society’s worst actors. Plus, a lawyer suing in defense of government transparency, a fire historian weighs in on the coverage of the California wildfires, and a Texas journalist who has reported on hundreds of executions. 1. Marc Randazza [@marcorandazza], first amendment lawyer, on Alex Jones, the Unite the Right rally, and free speech. Listen.  2. Mark Pedroli [@MarkPedroli], attorney, on the technology used by former Missouri governor Eric Greitens to skirt transparency laws. Listen.  3. Stephen Pyne, fire historian and professor at Arizona State University, on the tropes, faults, and failings of wildfire coverage. Listen.  4. Michael Graczyk, recently retired A.P. reporter, on his experience covering more than 400 executions in Texas. Listen.   Frail as a Breeze, Erik Friedlander Solace, The Sting Soundtrack Mulatu Astatke, Tezeta (Nostalgia) Kokoroke, Abusey Junction, We Out Here
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50 min
August 8, 2018
Summer Series Episode 1: US Storm Edition
For media professionals, hurricanes offer the very best kind of bad news, because the story arc is predictable, and invariably compelling. In the latest edition of 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. 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.
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28 min
August 3, 2018
Enemy of the People
At a rally in Tampa, Florida, Trump supporters attacked CNN reporter Jim Acosta, prompting the president to double down on his anti-press "Enemy of the People" rhetoric. A look at how and why the president incites his base — and where it all might lead. And, as the regulatory battle surrounding 3D gun blueprints rages on, we dive into the worldview of Cody Wilson, the man who started the controversy. Plus, why we’re still living in the aftermath of Trayvon Martin’s killing, six years later. 1. Greg Sargent [@ThePlumLineGS], columnist at the Washington Post, on the president's dangerous anti-press rhetoric. Listen. 2. Andy Greenberg [@a_greenberg], reporter for Wired, on the regulatory battles surrounding 3D gun blueprints. And, Cody Wilson [@Radomysisky], founder of Defense Distributed, speaking on his vision for an open source library for gun schematics. Listen. 3. Benjamin Crump [@AttorneyCrump], civil rights attorney, and Jenner Furst, one of the filmmakers behind the docu-series "Rest in Power: The Trayvon Martin Story," on Trayvon Martin's legacy. Listen. Songs: Sacred Oracle by John Zorn (feat. Bill Frisell)String Quartet No. 5 (II) by Kronos Quartet & Philip GlassFallen Leaves by Marcos CiscarCellar Door by Michael AndrewsWalking By Flashlight by Maria SchneiderMelancolia by Marcos Ciscar
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50 min
August 2, 2018
Journalism To The Rescue
This summer, in a project designed by ProPublica, 10 news organizations are sharing information to flesh out the hidden details of families separated by the Trump administration's zero tolerance immigration policy. Bob speaks with Selymar Colón, digital managing editor at Univision News, one of the organizations involved in the collaboration, about how the consortium has investigated and reported on some of the 200 tips it has received —and about the four families that were reunited after their stories were published.
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11 min
July 27, 2018
The Center Folds
Socialism is having a moment in the sunlight — that is, on daytime television. Yet at the same time that the left earns a closer look from political pundits, Democrats and Republicans still fail to understand each other with nuance. Plus, after newspaper layoffs and a White House lockout this week, we assess the press’s appetite for solidarity.  1. Nathan Robinson [@NathanJRobinson], editor-in-chief at Current Affairs, on socialism's renewed place in mainstream political discourse. Listen. 2. Perry Bacon Jr. [@perrybaconjr], political writer at FiveThirtyEight, on the misconceptions Democrats and Republicans have about each other. Listen. 3. Pete Vernon [@byPeteVernon], writer at the Columbia Journalism Review, on the White House's decision this week to bar a CNN reporter from a press event. Listen. 4. Chelsia Rose Marcius [@chelsiamarchius], former staff reporter at the New York Daily News, Tom Laforgia [@thomaslaforgia], former editor at the NYDN, and Molly Crane-Newman [@molcranenewman], reporter at the NYDN, on the layoffs at the tabloid earlier this week. Listen. 5. Felix Salmon [@felixsalmon], financial journalist, on the motivations — and, he says, incompetence — behind tronc's business decisions. Listen. Songs: Carnival of Souls by Verne LangdonUluwati by John ZornGoing Home for the First Time by Alex WurmanFrail as a Breeze, Pt. 2 by Erik FriedlanderFellini's Waltz by Enrico Pieranunzi & the Charlie HadenDo Nothin' Till You Hear From Me by Ben Webster
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50 min
July 25, 2018
On the Media presents Episode 1 of The Realness
This week On the Media recommends a new podcast from our colleagues at WNYC. Check it out. Prodigy and Havoc begin laying down rhymes together in high school. When their first album flops, they come up with a new sound that's directly influenced by P's sickle cell, and it helps define a generation of hip hop. Plus: Big Twins talks about the sickle cell attack he’ll never forget.  LANGUAGE WARNING: The Realness contains strong language that some listeners may find offensive.  WNYC’s health coverage and The Realness by Only Human is supported in part by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, Jane and Gerald Katcher and the Katcher Family Foundation, Science Sandbox, an initiative of the Simons Foundation, and the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation.  Audio of Prodigy on Questlove Supreme is provided by Pandora, which also has a recording of Mobb Deep's classic hit "Shook Ones (Part II)" performed by Nas.
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30 min
July 20, 2018
Blah Blah Blah... BANG
In a matter of months, we've moved from bipartisan immigration talks to calls to abolish ICE. On this week’s On the Media, a look at how leftists are employing a right-wing communications strategy in order to change the national debate. Plus, thirty years into the conversation on global warming, what have we really learned? And in the days following the Trump-Putin summit, what did we miss?  1. Brooke on this week's coverage of the Trump-Putin summit, and on a new metaphor for the Trump era: the Shepard tone. Listen.  2. Joseph Lehman, president of the Mackinac Center for Public Policy; Laura Marsh [@lmlauramarsh], literary editor at The New Republic; and Sean McElwee [@SeanMcElwee], activist and contributor at The Nation, on the Overton Window. Listen.  3. Andrew Revkin [@Revkin] of the National Geographic Society on thirty years of global warming coverage. Listen.  Music from this week's program: Whispers of Heavenly Death — John ZornString Quartet No. 5 — Philip GlassThe Mole — Hans ZimmerFlugufrelsarinn — Kronos QuartetLong Ge — Kronos QuartetA Ride With Polly Jean — Jenny Scheinman  
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49 min
July 17, 2018
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.
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14 min
July 13, 2018
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.
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50 min
July 10, 2018
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.
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14 min
July 6, 2018
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
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49 min
June 29, 2018
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.
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50 min
June 28, 2018
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)  
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13 min
June 22, 2018
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
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50 min
June 19, 2018
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 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." 
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19 min
June 15, 2018
Using My Religion
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. 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
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50 min
June 12, 2018
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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48 min
June 8, 2018
Perps Walk
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. 1. Mark Osler [@Oslerguy], Professor of Law at the University of St. Thomas, on why President Trump's unorthodox approach to clemency might not be such a bad thing. Listen. 2. Jesse Eisenger [@eisingerj], senior reporter at ProPublica, on why federal prosecutors have adopted such a lenient approach to white collar crime. Listen. 3. Seymour Hersh, investigative journalist, on some of the personal experiences and incredible stories that have defined his half-century-long reporting career. Listen.
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50 min
June 6, 2018
Hurricane Season
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 UtuadoYarimar Bonilla [ @yarimarbonilla ], anthropologist at Rutgers UniversityAlfredo Corrasquillo [ @alcarrpr ], psychoanalyst and expert on leadership at the University of the Sacred Heart in San JuanSandra Rodriguez Cotto [ @srcsandra ], host at WAPA Radio
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16 min
May 30, 2018
Fact Checking #WhereAreTheChildren
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. 
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15 min
May 25, 2018
Technical Foul
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.  1. Dahlia Lithwick [@Dahlialithwick], legal correspondent at Slate, on Giuliani's claim of a Mueller "perjury trap." Listen. 2. Kate Conger [@kateconger], senior reporter at Gizmodo, on partnerships between tech titans and the US military. Listen. 3. Yasha Levine [@yashalevine], investigative journalist, on the internet's forgotten military origins. 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.
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50 min
May 24, 2018
Glenn Beck Reverses His Reversal
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.
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19 min
May 18, 2018
Africatown
Just outside of Mobile, Alabama, sits the small community of Africatown, a town established by the last known slaves brought to America, illegally, in 1860. Decades after that last slave ship, The Clotilde, burned in the waters outside Mobile, Africatown residents are pushing back against the forces of industrial destruction and national amnesia. Local struggles over environmental justice, land ownership, and development could determine whether Africatown becomes an historical destination, a living monument to a lingering past — or whether shadows cast by highway overpasses and gasoline tanks will erase our country's hard-learned lessons.  Brooke spoke with Deborah G. Plant, editor of a new book by Zora Neale Hurston about a founder of Africatown, Joe Womack, environmental activist and Africatown resident, Vickii Howell, president and CEO of the MOVE Gulf Coast Community Development Corporation, Charles Torrey, research historian for the History Museum of Mobile, and others about the past, present, and future of Africatown, Alabama.  Songs: Traditional African Nigerian Music of the Yoruba TribeDeath Have Mercy by Regina CarterSacred Oracle by John Zorn and Bill FrisellPassing Time by John RenbournThe Thompson Fields by Maria Schneider Jazz Orchestra
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50 min
May 16, 2018
The Recording of America
Studs Terkel, born 106 years ago on this date, May 16, spent the majority of his life documenting the lives of others – very often everyday, working-class people he believed were “uncelebrated and unsung.” From coal miners and sharecroppers to gangsters and prostitutes, every American had a story to tell and Terkel wanted to hear it. After Terkel died in 2008, publisher Andre Schiffrin, who edited Terkel's writing for more than four decades, spoke with Bob about Terkel's singular gift for oral history.
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9 min
May 11, 2018
This Is America
Today, more than 45 million Americans live in poverty. The problem has been addressed countless times since the nation’s founding, but it persists, and for the poorest among us, it gets worse. America has not been able to find its way to a sustainable solution, because most of its citizens see the problem of poverty from a distance, through a distorted lens. So in 2016 we presented "Busted: America's Poverty Myths," a series exploring how our understanding of poverty is shaped not by facts, but by private presumptions, media narratives, and the tales of the American Dream. This week we're revisiting part of that series.  1. Matthew Desmond [@just_shelter], author of Evicted: Poverty and Profit in the American City, on the myriad factors that perpetuate wealth inequality and Jack Frech [@FrechJack], former Athens County Ohio Welfare Director, on how the media's short attention span for inequality coverage stymies our discourse around poverty. Listen. 2. Jill Lepore, historian and staff writer for the New Yorker, on the long history of America's beloved "rag to riches" narrative and Natasha Boyer, a Ohio woman whose eviction was initially prevented thanks to a generous surprise from strangers, on the reality of living in poverty and the limitations of "random acts of kindness." Listen. 3. Brooke considers the myth of meritocracy and how it obscures the reality: that one's economic success is more due to luck than motivation. Listen. “Busted: America’s Poverty Myths” is produced by Meara Sharma and Eve Claxton, with special thanks to Nina Chaudry. This series is produced in collaboration with WNET in New York as part of “Chasing the Dream: Poverty and Opportunity in America.” Major funding for “Chasing the Dream” is provided by the JPB Foundation, with additional funding from the Ford Foundation.
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50 min
May 8, 2018
An Extended Trip Through Wild Wild Country
Back in the early 1980s, thousands of followers of the Indian guru Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh descended upon a 64,000 acre piece of land in central Oregon to found their utopia. The Rajneeshees had millions of dollars at their disposal and an ideology based on meditation, raising consciousness and free love — one that Bhagwan’s young American and European followers found seemingly irresistible. And one that the local people in the adjacent town of Antelope, Oregon, population 40, saw as an evil threat. Cult or utopian project? Menace or marvel? Brothers MacLain and Chapman Way, directors of the new Netflix documentary series Wild Wild Country, leave it to their viewers to decide, presenting the story in a way that illuminates how the conventions of documentary shape our perceptions. In this extended version of the interview, Bob speaks with the Way brothers about the challenges they faced and choices they made in presenting wildly conflicting narratives about this truly bizarre chapter in Oregonian history.
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33 min
May 4, 2018
Dark Twisted Fantasy
After last month’s terrorist attack in Toronto, the media attempted to make sense of the term “incel,” or involuntary celibate. We situate the subculture within the complex ecosystem of aggrieved men online. Plus, a conversation with the directors of the new Netflix documentary series "Wild Wild Country," about their experience revisiting a forgotten utopian project. And, a look at how the press has responded to repeated attacks from President Trump.  1. Jay Rosen [@jayrosen_nyu], professor of journalism at New York University, on the media losing the battle for the freedom of the press.  2. Will Sommer [@willsommer], editor at The Hill and author of Right Richter, on the complex ecosystem of aggrieved men online.  3. Michael Kimmel [@MichaelS_Kimmel], professor of sociology and gender studies at Stony Brook University, on the roots of masculine frustration.  4. MacLain Way and Chapman Way, directors of the new Netflix documentary series "Wild Wild Country," on the brief and infamous story of the Rajneesh commune. 
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50 min
May 2, 2018
Mayday, May Day
International Workers' Day is celebrated with rallies and protests all over the world on May 1st, but it's not a big deal in the United States. In this podcast extra, Brooke speaks to Donna Haverty-Stacke of Hunter College, CUNY about the U.S. origin of May Day and how it has come to be forgotten. The first national turnout for worker's rights in the U.S. was on May 1, 1886 -- and contrary to what you've heard elsewhere, it wasn't the same thing as the Haymarket Affair. Haverty-Stacke is also author of America’s Forgotten Holiday: May Day and Nationalism, 1867–1960, and she explains that the fight over May 1st, or May Day, is also about the fight for American identity and what it means to be radical and patriotic at the same time.  The OTM crew sings "Into The Streets May First," a never-before-professionally-recorded 1935 Aaron Copland anthem in honor of May Day:  
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24 min
April 27, 2018
Dog Whistle
This week, we explore the ways white Americans — in the voting booth, and on T.V. — deal with a changing society. A new study finds that many white voters supported Donald Trump out of a fear of losing their place in the world. "Roseanne" gets a reboot, and "The Simpsons" reacts poorly under pressure. Plus, a closer look at the company Trump kept and the deals he sought before his presidency, with the hosts of the WNYC podcast "Trump, Inc." 1. Thomas Frank [@thomasfrank_], author of Listen, Liberal, on the economic factors that could lead to a second term of Trump.  2. Diana Mutz, political science professor at the University of Pennsylvania, on the fears and anxieties that motivated Trump voters.  3. Willa Paskin [@willapaskin], T.V. critic at Slate, on the Roseanne reboot. 4. Hari Kondabolu [@harikondabolu], comedian, on sloppy cultural representation in "The Simpsons."  5. Ilya Marritz [@ilyamarritz] and Andrea Bernstein [@AndreaWNYC], reporters at WNYC, and Eric Umansky [@ericuman], deputy managing editor at ProPublica, on the company Trump kept and the business deals he sought before his presidency.  Music: Puck (feat. Bill Frisell, Carol Emanuel & Kenny Wollesen) by John Zorn Baba O'Riley by The Who Life on Mars? by Meridian String Quartet Roseanne Theme Song by Dan Foliart and Howard Pearl Apu's Theme from The Simpsons: Hit and Run by Marc Baril, Allan Levy, and Jeff Tymoschuk Here It Comes by Modest Mouse Cops or Criminals by Howard Shore
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58 min
April 24, 2018
Introducing Nancy: a podcast about all things LGBTQ
This week we want to introduce you to some friends of ours at WNYC. Nancy podcast is hosted by best friends Tobin Low and Kathy Tu and its about all things LGBTQ.  This week’s episode has Kathy solving a mystery on behalf of our WNYC colleague Kai Wright. As a young, black, gay man living in Washington DC around 2000, Kai saw a film called Punks. It was a movie about gay life but it wasn’t just about white people and it wasn’t rooted in tragedy. It was a romantic comedy about men like him – something he’d never seen before. But when he tried to track down the film almost 20 years later, he couldn’t find it anywhere. This episode has Kathy on the case to track down the film, and find out how a piece of media can essentially disappear. Want to see Punks? Claim tickets now for the one-night-only screening now, featuring a Q&A with director Patrik-Ian Polk. You can also join Tobin and Kathy for a special pre-screening reception. Special thanks to the ONE National Gay & Lesbian Archives at USC. Original music by Jeremy Bloom with additional music by Ultracat ("Little Happenings"). Theme by Alex Overington. Support our work! Become a Nancy member today at Nancypodcast.org/donate.
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24 min
April 20, 2018
Moving Beyond the Norm
Alex Jones built his Infowars brand on conspiratorial thinking and table-pounding rage. This week, we look at the three lawsuits testing whether Jones can sustain his business on lies alone. After the LGBT-rights advocate David Buckel committed suicide in Brooklyn's Prospect Park this past weekend, we review the difficult history of self-immolation and we zoom in on one such incident, in Texas in 2014. Plus, an LSD retrospective, featuring never-before-heard audio from author Ken Kesey's acid-fueled hijinks.  1. Lyrissa Lidsky [@LidskyLidsky], professor at University of Missouri's School of Law, on the legal threats to Alex Jones' conspiratorial media business. Listen.  2. Andrew Poe, professor of political science at Amherst College, on the history of self-immolation. Listen.  3. Michael Hall [@mikehalltexas], executive editor at Texas Monthly, on the life and death of pastor Charles Moore. Listen.  4. River Donaghey and Tom Wolfe, author of The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test, on the legacy of author and LSD evangelist Ken Kesey. Listen.  Music: Lost, Night by Bill Frisell Coffee Cold by Galt MacDermot Whispers of Heavenly Death by John Zorn Unaccompanied Cello Suite No.4 in E-Flat Major by Yo-Yo Ma Walking by Flashlight by Maria Schneider Tomorrow Never Knows by Quartetto D'Archi Dell'Orchestra Sinfonica Di Milano
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50 min
April 18, 2018
The One and Only, Carl Kasell
This week the venerable Carl Kasell, legendary newscaster and Wait, Wait Don’t Tell Me scorekeeper, died aged 84, from complications related to Alzheimer's. Brooke sat down with Carl back in 2014 on the occasion of his retirement to commemorate a distinguished, and deeply baritone, public radio career.
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11 min
April 13, 2018
Who's In Charge Here?
After Mark Zuckerberg's two-day testimony before Congress, we consider whether a reckoning for the social media giant might finally be on the horizon. A new documentary looks at how the state of Montana has been fighting back against dark money ever since the Supreme Court's Citizens United decision, and a legal scholar explains the unlikely history of corporations' rights. Plus, a second look at two infamous, misunderstood crimes: the Pulse Nightclub shooting and the Steubenville rape case.  1. Bob on Mark Zuckerberg's testimony this week, with anti-trust expert Matt Stoller [@matthewstoller]. Listen. 2. Kimberly Reed [@_kimreed], filmmaker, on her new documentary, Dark Money. Listen. 3. Adam Winkler [@adamwinkler], professor of law at UCLA, on the history of corporations' legal rights. Listen. 4. Melissa Jeltsen [@quasimado], senior reporter at the Huffington Post, on the mistaken narratives that followed the Pulse Nightclub shooting. Listen. 5. Derek L. John [@DerekLJohn], radio producer and reporter, on what internet vigilantes got wrong about the Steubenville rape case. Listen.
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50 min
April 10, 2018
Trump Inc.: Trump, the Ex-Lobbyist and 'Chemically Castrated' Frogs
From our colleagues in the WNYC newsroom who produce Trump Inc.: This week, we’re doing a couple of  things differently on Trump, Inc. Instead of focusing on President Trump’s businesses, we’re looking more broadly at business interests in the Trump administration. We’re also giving you, our listeners, homework. Last month, ProPublica published the first comprehensive and searchable database of Trump’s 2,685 political appointees, along with their federal lobbying and financial records. It’s the result of a year spent filing Freedom of Information Act requests, collecting staffing lists and publishing financial disclosure reports. We’ve found plenty in the documents. We know there are lots of lobbyists now working at agencies they once lobbied (including one involving an herbicide that could affect the sexual development of frogs). We know there are dozens of officials who’ve received ethics waivers from the White House. We know there are “special-government employees” who are working in the private sector and the government at the same time. But there’s so much more to do. Remember, we have multiple documents for nearly 2,700 appointees. And we need your help. For example, you can help us unmask who is actually behind LLCs listed in officials’ financial disclosures. (A reader did that last year and turned us on to an interesting below-market condo sale the president made to his son, Eric Trump.)   Here’s step-by-step-instructions on how you can dig in. You can also contact us via Signal, WhatsApp or voicemail at 347-244-2134. Here’s more about how you can contact us securely. You can always email us at tips@trumpincpodcast.org.  
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20 min
April 6, 2018
Paved With Good Intentions
With a caravan of activists making its way through Mexico, President Trump signed a proclamation to send troops to defend the border. This week we examine that caravan’s unintended consequences, as well as the unintended consequences of a bill, recently passed by Congress, to combat online sex trafficking. Sounds like a no-brainer, right? Maybe. Plus, we take a judicious look back at Martin Luther King Jr.'s legacy.  1. Carrie Kahn [@ckahn], international correspondent for NPR, Alberto Xicotencatl [@BETTOXICO], director of Saltillo Migrant House, and Alex Mensing [@alex_mensing], organizer for Pueblo Sin Fronteras, on the stories and faulty narratives coming out of Mexico over the past week. Listen. 2. Carolyn Maloney [@RepMaloney], congresswoman from New York's 12th district, Elliot Harmon [@elliotharmon], from the Electronic Frontier Foundation, and Kate D'Adamo [@KateDAdamo], sex worker rights advocate, on the Fight Online Sex Trafficking Act, which currently awaits President Trump's signature. Listen.  3. Mychal Denzel Smith [@mychalsmith], writer, on how Martin Luther King Jr.'s masculinity impacts young black Americans today. Listen. 
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50 min
April 3, 2018
TV News Anchors Speaking From the Heart — Uh, TelePrompter
Did you see the video that was making the rounds this weekend? It features a seemingly endless parade of Sinclair Broadcast Group TV news anchors — those smiley folks so trusted by their local audiences — speaking from the heart. OK, not from the heart, necessarily, but from the TelePrompter, all with the same script. The video was put together by Timothy Burke at Deadspin, and to date it’s been viewed over 7.5 million times. And it has put the spotlight back on Sinclair's political activism. Its 2016 election coverage fawned over Trump and its ongoing White House coverage still does. Meanwhile, Sinclair is in negotiations with the FCC and the Department of Justice over its purchase of Tribune Media, a deal that would expand its reach to 72% of US households, and with it a vast platform — over public airwaves — for its conservative message. Last summer Bob spoke to Felix Gillette, who profiled Sinclair for Bloomberg News, about the company's focus on profit above all. 
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11 min
March 30, 2018
We, the Liberators
In March of 2003, U.S.–led coalition forces invaded Iraq, sparking a seemingly endless conflagration that claimed tens of thousands of lives and continues to shape events both international and domestic. Fifteen years later, what have we forgotten? What lessons can we carry forward? And what, if anything, of life in pre-invasion Iraq remains?  1. Max Fischer [@Max_Fisher], editor and writer at the New York Times, on the ideologies that led the U.S. to invade Iraq in 2003. Listen.  2. Deb Amos [@deborahamos], international correspondent for NPR, and John Burnett [@radiobigtex], Southwest correspondent for NPR, on their experiences reporting on the early months of the Iraq War. Listen. 3. Sinan Antoon [@sinanantoon], writer and New York University professor, on watching from afar as the Iraq War destroyed his home country. Listen. 4. Corey Robin [@CoreyRobin], political science professor at Brooklyn College, on Americans' flawed historical memories. Listen. Music: Lost, Night by Bill Frisell Berotim by John Zorn featuring Bill Frisell, Carol Emanuel, and Kenny Wollesen Long-Ge by Kronos Quartet Frail As A Breeze, Part 2 by Erik Friedlander Whispers of Heavenly Death by John Zorn Purple Haze by Kronos Quartet
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50 min
March 28, 2018
Iraq's Accidental Journalists
Last week marked the fifteenth anniversary of the night of “Shock and Awe” exploding across the night sky over Baghdad, the opening salvo in an ongoing war. It was a deadly conflict to cover and foreign reporters increasingly relied on Iraqis to take the risks on the ground. Back in 2006, Brooke spoke to three Iraqis who were pulled into journalism by a trick of fate and caught up in the wave of correspondents pouring in from the West. Then, we caught up with them years later. 
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18 min
March 23, 2018
Big, If True
Cambridge Analytica claims that, with the help of 50 million Facebook users' data, it was able to target ads so specifically and so effectively that it helped swing the election for Donald Trump. The media have been more than happy to boost the claim, but many experts are skeptical. This week, a look at what exactly went on with Cambridge Analytica and whether we shouldn't be focusing more on Facebook. Plus, how social media works to undermine free will and what the future might hold for Facebook. 1. Antonio García Martínez, columnist at WIRED and former tech entrepreneur, on Cambridge Analytica's "psychographic" techniques. Listen. 2. Siva Vaidhyanathan, director of University of Virginia's Center for Media and Citizenship, on past regulatory efforts to reign in Facebook. Listen. 3. Franklin Foer, staff writer at The Atlantic, on what he sees as Facebook's war on free will. Listen. 4. Clay Shirky, author, educator and tech writer, on what real change for Facebook might look like and why he is still an optimist when it comes to the internet. Listen. Music: Tomorrow Never Knows by Quartetto D'Archi Dell'Orchestra Sinfonica Di Milano Slow Pulse Conga by William Pasley Passing Time by John Renbourn Transparence (Instrumental) by Charlie Haden
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50 min
March 20, 2018
Crowdsourcing Justice: The Truth Behind the Steubenville Rape
Five years ago, two high school football players in Steubenville, Ohio were found responsible in juvenile court for the rape of a 16-year-old girl.  For much of the national media, that was the end of  the story — but for those in Steubenville who lived through it, the truth never caught up to the lies that spread online and the vigilante terror that resulted. A new, three-part audio documentary from Audible examines the case and the danger of crowd-sourcing justice to online activists. Bob spoke to producer Derek John who, along with Anders Kelto, reported the series for Audible’s new podcast, “Gamebreaker.” 
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15 min
March 16, 2018
The Past Is Never Dead
This week, we look at how selective coverage shapes our view of foreign borders, conflicts and historical figures — from Syria to Winston Churchill. Plus, a conversation with the editor-in-chief of National Geographic about their latest issue unpacking tricky issues of race, starting with the magazine's troubled past. 1. Thalia Beaty [@tkbeaty], reporter for Storyful, on the latest coverage of the war in Syria. 2. Miranda Bogen [@mbogen], policy analyst at Upturn, on the perilous geopolitics of Google Maps.  3. Susan Goldberg [@susanbgoldberg], editor-in-chief of National Geographic, on how the magazine is reckoning with racist coverage in its past. 4. Madhusree Mukerjee [@Madhusree1984], author of Churchill's Secret War, on the ruthless legacy of Winston Churchill you didn't see in his latest Hollywood treatment. 
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49 min
March 13, 2018
Did Farhad "Unplug"?
Last week we spoke with New York Times tech columnist Farhad Manjoo after he published an article titled, “For two months, I got my news from print newspapers. Here’s what I learned.” He wrote that, earlier this year, "after the breaking-newsiest year in recent memory, I decided to travel back in time. I turned off my digital news notifications, unplugged from Twitter and other social networks, and subscribed to home delivery of three print newspapers.” It was a crash diet.  Lots of healthy analog, and just a little digital — podcasts, email newsletters — for dessert. Farhad found the experience so uplifting and liberating that he was moved to evangelize. He told Bob during their conversation, which you can still listen to, "I boiled it down into three Michael Pollan-esque prescriptions: Get news, not too quick, avoid social." The only problem was, according to analysis by Dan Mitchell in the Columbia Journalism Review and Joshua Benton of Harvard’s Nieman Lab, Farhad spent most of his 48-day diet sneaking into the fridge. In the time that he was supposedly “unplugged” from Twitter news, he had tweeted hundreds and hundreds of times. Not the crime of the century — but still, oops. And so Farhad spoke with Bob once more, to explain his rather involved definition of the word "unplugged," and to admit that old habits die hard.    
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12 min
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