On the Media

On the Media

The Peabody Award-winning On the Media podcast is your guide to examining how the media sausage is made. Host Brooke Gladstone examines threats to free speech and government transparency, cast a skeptical eye on media coverage of the week’s big stories and unravel hidden political narratives in everything we read, watch and hear.


February 23, 2024 50 mins

An Alabama Supreme Court ruling on frozen embryos threatens fertility treatments across the state. On this week’s On the Media, hear how a particular branch of Christian nationalism influenced one justice’s decision. Plus, how film adaptations of books have come to dominate our screens.

1. Matthew D. Taylor [@TaylorMatthewD], senior scholar at the Institute for Islamic, Christian, & Jewish Studies, on <...

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Russia's jailed opposition leader, Alexei Navalny, has died in prison. Navalny had been living behind bars since shortly after landing in Moscow in January of 2021. He had been returning home following months of recovery in Europe, after he fell violently sick on a flight between Siberia and Moscow. 

In the months following Navalny’s poisoning, Christo Grozev, former lead Russia invest...

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Coverage of President Joe Biden’s age has reached a fever pitch. On this week’s On the Media, hear whether the quality of the reports has matched their volume. Plus, meet Bobi Wine, a pop star and opposition politician who is fighting for democracy in Uganda.

1. Judd Legum [@JuddLegum], founder of the newsletter Popular Information, Charan Ranganath [@CharanRanganath], a neuroscientist at UC Davis and author of the for...

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Last week we learned that ousted Fox blowhard Tucker Carlson had gone to Russia. He was spotted eating fake McDonalds and watching a ballet at the Bolshoi theater. But Tucker was there for more important things than fast food and culture; he was there for a sit down with President Putin. Carlson was mainly silent as Putin delivered an almost 40 minute long speech on the history of how Ukraine belongs to Russia.

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In December, the New York Times sued OpenAI for allegedly using the paper’s articles to train chatbots. On this week’s On the Media, a look at how media outlets are trying to survive in this era of generative AI. Plus, why New York’s oldest Black newspaper is joining forces with an AI startup to address biases in the technology. 

1. Kate Knibbs [@Knibbs], senior writer at Wired, on AI clickbait flooding the internet. L...

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February 7, 2024 17 mins

Naomi Klein has been confused for writer Naomi Wolf for much of her career. Wolf rose to prominence with the book The Beauty Myth in the 90s, establishing herself as a bestselling feminist, liberal writer. Klein, on the other hand, wrote acclaimed critiques of capitalism such as No Logo and The Shock Doctrine. ...

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Texas Governor Greg Abbott has threatened to defy the federal government’s control over the border as the surge of migrants continues. On this week’s On the Media, a look at what might be a brewing constitutional crisis. Plus, hear MSNBC’s Chris Hayes make a case for why journalists should be paying even closer attention to Donald Trump.

1.  Adam Serwer [@AdamSerwer], staff writer at The Atlantic, on the humanitarian a...

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In Micah Loewinger's introduction to this interview, he shared this personal anecdote:

"Before I landed a job at this show, I worked for a few years, on and off, at a couple record stores around New York City. And some of my favorite albums to this day, were recommended to me by my coworkers. Men and women who I consider to be archivists –– not just of old formats like vinyl records, CDs, and cassettes –– but of ...

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After New Hampshire and Iowa, the GOP field is narrowing to Donald Trump's benefit once again. On this week’s On the Media, hear how Florida governor Ron DeSantis went from right-wing media darling to the party outcast. Plus, what gets lost in the blow-by-blow coverage of Trump’s legal woes.

1. Nick Nehamas [@NickNehamas], politics reporter for the New York Times, Mary Ellen Klas [@MaryEllenKlas], opinion writer at Blo...

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This week we're featuring the work of our colleagues at WNYC:

Valerie Reyes-Jimenez called it “The Monster.” That’s how some people described HIV and AIDS in the 1980s. Valerie thinks as many as 75 people from her block on New York City’s Lower East Side died. They were succumbing to an illness that was not recognized as the same virus that was killing young, white, gay men just across town in the West Village.

At the same time, in...

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This year has had a rocky start for journalism. The Baltimore Sun changed hands again, and layoffs loom at the LA Times. On this week’s On the Media, hear how private investment firms broke local news. Meanwhile, nonprofit publications try to repair the damage. Plus, a music critic reflects on the job cuts at Pitchfork and the power of the album review.

1. Margot Susca [@MargotSusca], assistan...

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EXTENDED VERSION; Nightmarish images of destruction in Gaza have filled the news and social media feeds for months. But within Israel, mainstream media outlets tell a very different story. This week, Micah Loewinger speaks with Oren Persico, a staff writer at The Seventh Eye, an independent investigative magazine focused on media and freedom of speech in Israel, about the Israeli media landsca...

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The conflict in the Middle East has already killed tens of thousands of Palestinians. On this week’s On the Media, hear how Israeli media outlets are broadcasting a sanitized version of what's happening in Gaza to the Israeli people. Plus, how one billionaire is going after the media for an article about plagiarism.

1. Oren Persico [@OrenPersico], staff writer at The Seventh Eye, an independent inves...

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January 10, 2024 45 mins

50 years ago ABBA won the contest for the song Waterloo. 

Recently Brooke's old friend Charlie asked her to take part in a new podcast born of his love of and obsession with Eurovision, an international song contest organized annually by the European Broadcasting Union, or EBU, with reps from some 70 countries! 

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Daniel Ellsberg, the famed whistleblower who leaked the Pentagon Papers to the Washington Post, died six months ago. On this week’s On the Media, hear about his life, how the Pentagon Papers made it to print, and the impact he had on generations of whistleblowers. Plus, the women who covered the War in Vietnam. 

1. Tom Devine, legal director for the Government Accountability Project, on Daniel Ellsbe...

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January 3, 2024 20 mins

On February 23, 1972, oral arguments began in the Supreme Court for a case that would shape the course of journalism. In the case known as Branzburg v. Hayes,” the arguments rolled together three related cases that explored the reporter's privilege to protect confidential sources in the face of a legal investigation. The most important of these three cases was United States v. Caldwell. Earl Caldwell was a New York Tim...

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December 29, 2023 52 mins

And just like that, the year is coming to a close. On this episode of On the Media, hear about the challenges that await journalists in the upcoming election in 2024. Plus, what reporters uncovered about our courts this year. And, a look back at one of the deadliest years for journalists in recent memory, in large part due to the Israel-Hamas war. With excerpts from:

  1. Inside CNN's Turbulent Year
  2. E. Jean Carroll and...
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December 27, 2023 18 mins

During this holiday season, you likely encountered public nativity scenes depicting the birth of Jesus, presenting the family with very rare exceptions as white. And the same can be said of his ubiquitous adult portrait –– with fair skin and hair a radiant gold, eyes fixed on the middle distance. In this segment from 2020, Eloise talks to Mbiyu Chui, pastor at the Shrine of the Black Madonna in Detroit, ab...

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In the run up to the 2024 election, polls are frontpage news. On this week’s On the Media, a guide on which polls to pay attention to, and how to interpret them. Plus, hear about a growing segment of the population: news avoiders. What they can teach us, and what they're missing out on. And, a look at changing expectations of truth in comedy — from Lenny Bruce to Hasan Minhaj.

1. Ruth Igielnik [@Ruth...

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December 20, 2023 18 mins

This holiday season, book store displays — and Christmas stockings — will be filled with novels minted with gold and silver medals. Those gilded stamps denote recognition by literary prizes like the National Book Award, which was announced just last month. Alexander Manshel is the author of Writing Backwards: Historical Fiction and the Reshaping of the American Canon. ...

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