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.

Episodes

January 24, 2023 26 min

For decades, the Central Intelligence Agency has cultivated its appeal as an organization shrouded in secrecy, engaged in cutting edge tech and no-holds-barred espionage in defense of the US. It’s an image that sells in Hollywood. The CIA also assisted in the making of some movies about some real life operations. But as the agency ages, it continues to strive to stay up to date. In 2022, when the CIA turned 75, the agency launched ...

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Many of us are still cookin’ with gas, but should we? On this week’s On the Media, a look at why gas stoves, and the political flame-war over appliances, are back in the news. Plus, why new research says we’ve left the golden age of science and technology.

1. Paris Marx [@parismarx], the host of the podcast ‘Tech Won’t Save Us,’ and the author of ‘Road to Nowhere: What Silicon Valley Gets Wrong about the Future of Transp...

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January 18, 2023 17 min

Human aspirations for technology are vast. One day, maybe we'll develop technologies that cure cancer. Rid us of viruses. Perhaps fix that pesky climate change. Even, deliver us from death altogether.... But is the increasing belief in salvation through technology just religion in new clothes? Meghan O'Gieblyn is the author of the book God, Human, Animal, Machine: Technology, Metaphor, and the Search for Meaning. In the fal...

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January 13, 2023 50 min

Schools across the country are considering whether to ban the new AI chatbot, ChatGPT. On this week’s On the Media, a look at the ever-present hype around AI and claims that machines can think. Plus, the potential implications of handing over decision-making to computers.

1. Tina Tallon [@ttallon], assistant professor of A.I. and the Arts at the University of Florida, on the love-hate relationship with AI technology over the p...

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This week HBO is set to release its latest show, The Last Of Us, about two strangers, who end up on a perilous journey together through a zombie-infested post-apocalyptic America. The show, starring Pedro Pascal and Bella Ramsey, is based on a hit video game series of the same name. It should be an easy hit for the network.

Yet, the show's creators have had to contend with what's known as the “video game curse.” Dating back...

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January 6, 2023 51 min

The start of a new year is a time to look both forward and back. On this week’s On the Media, hear how facing our climate’s fragility could inspire hope, instead of despair. Plus, a physicist explains how creation stories help us understand our place in the universe.

1. Luke Kemp [@LukaKemp], a Research Associate at Cambridge’s Centre for the Study of Existential Risk, on a new study that says we need to put more attention on t...

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January 4, 2023 21 min

At the end of 2022, Congress passed legislation to ban TikTok from all government devices, citing data privacy concerns and potential ties between the app and the Chinese government. But this isn't the first time the incredibly popular social media platform occupied headlines. Ever since TikTok exploded worldwide in 2018, news outlets across the country have breathlessly reported on TikTok challenges, which they claim range fro...

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December 30, 2022 49 min
In October, a court ruled in favor of the Department of Justice and blocked the merging of two publishing giants: Penguin Random House and Simon & Schuster. On this week’s On the Media, hear what readers will lose if conglomerates further monopolize the market. Plus, it turns out readers do not want to curl up with a good ebook.

1. Alexandra Alter [@xanalter], reporter at the New York Times, on how the booming pub...

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December 28, 2022 18 min

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, and 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, about unlearning Jesus&#...

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December 23, 2022 50 min

And just like that, 2022 is coming to a close. On this week's On the Media, a look back at our year of coverage, from Russia’s war on Ukraine, to an unprecedented rise in book bannings at home. Tune in to hear about the fights, fictions, and things we’re still figuring out.

With excerpts from:

  • Is Talk of a Possible 'New' Civil War Useful? The Perils of a Gauzy History How Meduza is Adapting to Russia's Crackdown on ...
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    December 21, 2022 16 min

    We covered a lot of ground in the series, so in this bonus episode we wanted to give space to some of the voices we couldn’t fit into the story; a concerned citizen who tried to take the issue of combatting on-air conspiracy theories into her own hands, a journalist who went into the belly of the beast, a former talk radio host and some of the people on the receiving end of the right wing broadcasts...the listeners.

     

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    December 16, 2022 50 min

    This year, right-wing groups at home and abroad were animated by wistful recollections of the past. On this week's On the Media, hear how nostalgia is weaponized in politics. Plus, a deep dive into newspaper archives reveals that we’ve been having the same debates for over a century.

    1. Sophia Gaston [@sophgaston], social researcher and the Head of Foreign Policy & UK Resilience at UK think tank Policy Exchange, on the ...

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    Highly politicized, partisan companies like Salem have a hold on the airwaves — and they don’t plan to give it up. Senior Vice President of Salem, Phil Boyce speaks candidly to Katie about the personalities he handpicked to spread Salem’s message and about the company’s plans to expand into the media world off the airwaves. And in this final episode of the series we ask the perennial question: peddling election denialism seems to b...

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    December 9, 2022 50 min

    A 2020 story about Hunter Biden's hacked laptop keeps finding its way back into the news cycle. On this week's On the Media, a look at Elon Musk's so-called Twitter Files and whether they’re newsworthy. Plus, the meteoric rise and fraught future of HBO, which turned 50 this year.

    1. Blake Montgomery [@blakersdozen], tech news editor at Gizmodo, and Olivia Nuzzi [@Olivianuzzi], Washington correspondent for New Yo...

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    In the 1970s, talk radio was hitting its stride, with hosts and listeners from all political persuasions. But the radio dial was about to change forever. Community needs assessments, requirements to offer public service programs and multiple perspectives, and limits on how many stations a single company could own were all eradicated. Technological and legal changes would consolidate the radio industry exponentially, allowing conser...

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    December 2, 2022 50 min

    An ancient scapegoat for society’s woes is back in the news. On this week’s On the Media, a deeper look at the confusing landscape of modern anti-semitism. Plus, a conversation with some of the dogged reporters who spent years uncovering the truth behind the 2014 Malaysia Airlines crash in Ukraine.

    1. Leo Ferguson [@LeoFergusonnyc], the Director of Strategic Projects for the Jews for Racial & Economic Justice, on the rise o...

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    This week, we’re sharing a chat Brooke had with her longtime colleague Brian Lehrer for Interview Magazine. Brian hosts his inimitably thoughtful daily talk show for WNYC, where he rallies a community of callers and experts to talk about the issues they care about most. But you may not know that Brian was once the first ever host of this very show. In this conversation, Brooke and Brian discuss how they made their ways into public ...

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    How did the right get their vice grip of the airwaves, all the while arguing that they were being silenced and censored by a liberal media? In this episode we look at the early history of American radio to reveal that censorship of far-right and progressive voices alike was once common on radio. And we learn how, in the post-war and Civil Rights period, the US government encouraged more diverse viewpoints on the airwaves — until it...
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    November 25, 2022 50 min

    Conspiracy theories and disinformation have found a home on right-wing talk radio, where falsehoods often escape scrutiny from regulators and fact-checkers. On this week’s On the Media, hear how one Christian radio network grew a gargantuan audience and served up the Big Lie. Plus, a look at how the rise in LGBTQ hate online is connected to the deadly shooting in Colorado.

    1. Jo Yurcaba [@JoYurcaba], a journalist focused on LGB...

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    November 23, 2022 11 min

    In television's younger days, going live was extremely difficult, costly and rare. But in November of 1963 a monumental tragedy made live coverage essential, no matter the cost, whenever a president left the White House. WNYC’s Sara Fishko recollects those dreadful days in November when everyone was paralyzed in front of the small screen.  

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