On The Media

On The Media, hosted by Bob Garfield and Brooke Gladstone, is America's only national radio program devoted to media criticism and analysis, lifting the veil on how the media works.

Recent Episodes

Highly Irregular

An expensive TV ad campaign has been selling Supreme Court nominee Neil Gorsuch to the American people. We speak with the group behind the effort. Plus, Trump's accusations of wiretapping may be false, but they remind us that someone is always listening. And, decoding North Korea panic; and why the diplomatic press corps helps actual diplomacy.

Better Know a Justice

At his confirmation hearing this week, supreme court nominee Neil Gorsuch - according to the New York Times, cast himself as quote "a humble Westerner, reared on fly-fishing.”  


And yet, for all the care put into his biography, Judge Gorsuch also seemed to say… nevermind. He rules on the law, not on people.


It’s a needle that’s been tricky for judicial nominees to thread: they want to seem human, but not too human. In a show we aired last year, Brooke and Thane Rosenbaum, director of the Forum on law, culture and society at NYU, examine some art and culture about the Supreme Court, and consider just how human we want our justices to be.

Doesn't Add Up

The President’s proposed budget seems to prioritize national security over pretty much everything else. We examine how the lowest-income Americans could be affected, and what's missing from the media debate. Also, how the White House might be manipulating data to forecast unrealistic economic growth, and why the Congressional Budget Office is so central to the American legislative process. Plus, how Wikileaks played the media with the recent CIA data dump. 

This is Not a Safe Space

Earlier this month libertarian political scientist Charles Murray and author of the book “the Bell Curve,” derided by many as a racist take on the relationship between genetics and intelligence, was invited to speak at Middlebury College in Vermont. Murray only made it a couple of words into his talk when more than half of those crowding the hall stood up, turned their backs on him and proceeded to read a long prepared remark, en masse. When Murray and the liberal professor who was to interview him after his talk were walking to the car, the crowds jostled him, and injured her. Thus, with violence, liberal students curtailed the free speech rights of a visitor.


We dove into the issue of political correctness on campus last September after noticing a letter sent to incoming freshmen at the University of Chicago that said, quote, “We do not support so-called ‘trigger warnings,’ The university's position, the letter insisted, was based on the administration's "commitment to academic freedom" and their dedication to "fostering the free exchange of ideas" and "diversity of opinion and background." we spoke to former Uchicago student, Cameron Okeke, professor of philosophy at Cornell University Kate Manne, and Geoffrey Stone, professor of Law at the University of Chicago,

Seeing Is Believing

In the 1960s, pollution was a visible, visceral problem, and public pressure led a Republican president to create the Environmental Protection Agency. Now, the GOP wants to slash the agency's budget and roll back "burdensome" environmental regulations. The story of how the environment went from bipartisan issue to political battleground.


Also, journalists and politicians have long avoided drawing a straight line between natural disasters and climate change. How that's changing, thanks to new "extreme weather attribution" science. And, the myth of the Great Pacific Garbage Patch, a useful—yet misleading—container for our collective anxieties about the planet. 


Plus, President Trump’s new ban on travelers from Muslim-majority countries was released with little fanfare—intentionally. What the optics tell us, and what the law tells us. 

When the Press Sues Over "Fake News"

“Fake news.” What began as a description of utterly false articles, fabricated for political advantage or profit, was immediately co-opted by Donald Trump to attack any story or opinion piece in the mainstream media that has the temerity to correct him. Back in November, famed First Amendment attorney Floyd Abrams said that in the age of Trump the press should consider a form of defense it has long avoided: suing its opponents for libel.


The Grand Junction Daily Sentinel, a small paper in Colorado, may act on that advice. Accused by a Colorado state senator of publishing fake news, Jay Seaton, the paper's publisher, has threatened to retaliate with a libel suit, the very legal weapon that news organizations have historically fended off. Bob speaks with Seaton about this new strategy and how it could backfire on the rest of the media.