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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.


New York, NY




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.




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For the first time in our history, a former U.S. president has been indicted. On this week’s On the Media, what Israel can teach us about when a nation’s leader runs afoul of the law. Plus, social media companies are back in the hot seat, facing serious legal threats at the local and national levels. 1. Yael Freidson [@YaelFreidson], legal correspondent for the Israeli newspaper Haaretz, on why the crisis in Israel reached a boiling point after Prime Minister Netanyahu's attempts to cut...


It's not TV it's...

In 2022 HBO picked up nearly forty Emmy awards — many of which went to The White Lotus. That year also happened to be the Home Box Office's 50th birthday. John Koblin co-wrote the book It's Not TV: The Spectacular Rise, Revolution, and Future of HBO with Felix Gillette. Last winter, guest host Ilya Marritz spoke to Koblin, who covers the television industry for The New York Times, about how the network came to be a critical darling, and HBO's fraught future under its new owner,...


Is Lying On the Radio...Legal?

Highly politicized, partisan companies like Salem Media Group have a hold on the airwaves — and they don’t plan to give it up. This week, Senior Vice President of Salem Phil Boyce speaks candidly to reporter Katie Thornton 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. Peddling election denialism seems to be a solid business model — but is it legal? This episode is an adaptation of our latest...


How Neoconservatism Led the US to Invade Iraq

If you ask Democrats why the US invaded Iraq in 2003, many will say that President George W. Bush cynically lied about weapons of mass destruction. Meanwhile, some Republicans will say that President Bush meant well, but had been led astray by faulty intelligence. As we pass the 20th anniversary of the US invasion of Iraq, both of these narratives persist — and both distort the past, according to New York Times columnist Max Fisher. Fisher argues that the invasion was instead simply the...


How did Talk Radio Get So Politically Lop-Sided?

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? This week, 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 reporter Katie Thornton explains how, in the post-war and Civil Rights period, the US government encouraged more diverse viewpoints on the airwaves — until it didn’t. Plus, the technological and legal...


Silenced Samples: How Copyright Laws Infringe on Hip Hop

Iconic hip hop group De La Soul's music is finally available on streaming platforms, just in time for the fiftieth anniversary of hip hop. To say listeners are overjoyed is an understatement. Only a few days after their streaming debut, De La Soul's 1989 debut album, 3 Feet High and Rising, soared to no. 5 on the UK album chart, even topping their original 1990 high of no. 13. For fans this was a long time coming. The hip hop group had a towering presence in the 80s and 90s, their playful...


The Most Influential Christian Talk Radio Network You've Probably Never Heard of

In 2016, Christian talk radio host Eric Metaxas begrudgingly encouraged his listeners to vote for then-presidential candidate Donald Trump. By 2020, he pledged his life to fighting the “stolen election” while talking with Trump on the air. Ahead of the midterm elections, Metaxas and many of his fellow talk radio hosts made sure the falsehood of massive 2020 election fraud was top of mind — on the airwaves and beyond. And while election-denying candidates didn't do as well as many on the...


How Lina Khan Became Antitrust Critics' Favorite Target

In March 2021, when President Joe Biden announced the nomination of Lina Khan to be a commissioner at the Federal Trade Commission, the decision was met with a rare kind of excitement for the otherwise sleepy agency. The excitement seemed bipartisan as 21 Republican senators voted to confirm the commissioner. Not long after, then 32-year-old Khan was promoted to chairperson of the agency, making her the youngest chair in the FTC's history. Since then the tone around Khan has changed...


Historical Fictions

A billion dollar defamation lawsuit has given the public an unprecedented view into the inner workings of Fox News. On this week’s On the Media, how the network’s election falsehoods reveal the company’s commitment to profit over truth. Plus, the story of how historical fiction became the unexpected darling of the literary world. And, how a historian grapples with gaps in our historical record. 1. Andrew Prokop [@awprokop], senior politics correspondent at Vox, and David Folkenflik...


The OTHER Lawsuit Involving the Murdochs

Fox News is in the fight of its legal life right now. Dominion is suing Fox News for 1.6 billion dollars in damages over false claims that it helped rig the 2020 elections for President Biden. Dominion’s legal team draws a direct line from the heated rhetoric of Fox hosts to the January 6, 2021 protests that became a violent siege of the US Capitol. And that forms the basis of an entirely different defamation suit, filed roughly 10,000 miles away. This time, the suit was filed by Lachlan...


Who Profits?

The Supreme Court heard two cases this week that could upend Silicon Valley. On this week’s On The Media, a look at the fragile law holding the modern internet together. Plus, how a century-long PR campaign taught Americans to love the free market and loathe their own government. 1. Emily Birnbaum [@birnbaum_e], tech lobbying reporter with Bloomberg, Mark Joseph Stern [@mjs_DC], senior writer at Slate, and Emma Llanso [@ellanso], director of the Free Expression Project at the Center for...


Brooke on the Press in Times of War

This week we're airing an interview that Brooke did while on a fellowship at the American Academy in Rome. She and her husband Fred Kaplan (author of the War Stories column in Slate), sat down with Mark Hannah, host of the podcast "None of the Above," produced by the Eurasia Group Foundation. From the Crimean War of 1853 to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine this year, journalists, reporters, and the media have shaped the public’s understanding of war. But do the stories we read and the photos we...


Off the Rails

1. Julia Rock [@jul1arock], reporter at the The Lever, and Allison Fisher [@citizenfisher], director of the Climate and Energy Program for Media Matters for America, on why the Ohio derailment was a foreseeable disaster and how dearth of early media coverage, which failed to hold parties accountable, left space for distrust. Listen. 2. Gönül Tol [@gonultol], the founding director of the Middle East Institute's Turkey program and author of "Erdoğan’s War: A Strongman’s Struggle at Home and...


Joke, Threat, Obvious

YouTube is one of the biggest media companies in the world. In 2020, we uploaded 500 hours of footage to the site every minute. And on average we watched over 5 billion videos every day. It’s a broadcasting machine so complex, it would make Marshall McLuhan’s head explode. OTM Correspondent Micah Loewinger has been obsessed with YouTube since he was 13. Last fall he sat down with journalist Mark Bergen to discuss his new book, Like, Comment, Subscribe: Inside YouTube’s Chaotic Rise to World...


Hide and Seek

It’s a bird, it’s a plane… no, it’s a spy balloon. On this week’s On the Media, how to grasp a news event that’s equal parts concerning and absurd. Plus, the hunt for who poisoned the Russian dissident Alexei Navalny, and re-reading classic Russian novels in the shadow of the Ukraine war. 1. Jon Allsop [@Jon_Allsop], freelance journalist and author of the Columbia Journalism Review's newsletter The Media Today, on how to understand polarizing reactions to the Chinese spy balloon....


David Remnick Speaks to Salman Rushdie About Surviving the Fatwa

Thirty-four years ago, the Ayatollah Khomeini, the Supreme Leader of Iran, issued a fatwa calling for the assassination of the novelist Salman Rushdie, whose book “The Satanic Verses” Khomeini declared blasphemous. It caused a worldwide uproar. Rushdie lived in hiding in London for a decade before moving to New York, where he began to let his guard down. “I had come to feel that it was a very long time ago and, and that the world moves on,” he tells David Remnick. “That’s what I had agreed...


Too Big to Fail?

On this week’s On the Media, what the data says about how boys and men are struggling today. Plus, the history behind Ticketmaster’s dominance in the live music industry, and how Hollywood trust-busting in the 1930s and 1940s unleashed an era of indie films. 1. Richard Reeves [@RichardvReeves], a senior fellow in Economic Studies at the Brookings Institution and author of the book Of Boys and Men: Why the Modern Male Is Struggling, Why It Matters, and What to Do About It, on the research...


Puerto Rico in 8 Songs

Former OTM producer Alana Casanova-Burgess is back with season 2 of her critically acclaimed podcast series, La Brega. This one is all about the music! For over a century, Puerto Rican musicians have been influential across the hemisphere. From the Harlem Hellfighters of WWI who helped develop jazz to the reggaetoneros who dominate today’s charts, Puerto Rican music is everywhere. We start the season with the island’s most celebrated composer Rafael Hernandez, who wrote beloved songs like...


Sorry, That's Classified

If millions of Americans have access to classified documents, can we really call them secrets? On this week's On the Media, a former Pentagon official explains how America’s bloated classification system came to be. Plus, a look at the stories we tell about Baby Boomers, and how our country might change after they’re gone. 1. Oona Hathaway [@oonahathaway], professor at Yale Law School and former special counsel at the Pentagon, on the complicated nature of classified documents. Listen. 2....


Operation Podcast: What the CIA's Latest Media Venture Can Teach Us About the Agency

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 operation:podcast. Brooke speaks with David Shamus McCarthy,...