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

In Other Words

Trump has backed off his signature campaign promise to build a border wall right away. We look at the symbolism of a barrier on the southern border, and how it obscures the truth about immigration. Also, how our president has long managed to succeed without actually succeeding, the challenges of tracking hate crimes without good data, and an attempt to reclaim the word "Jew." 

The Art of Winning a Pulitzer

Northwestern Iowa’s Storm Lake Times is a twice-weekly county newspaper with a circulation of 3,330. It has a staff of about 10, including the recipes editor. Its top advertiser is "Builders Sharpening and Service." And it just...won the Pulitzer Prize for editorial writing, taking on three sets of county commissioners and Big Agriculture in one fell swoop. Bob speaks with Art Cullen, editor and co-owner of the paper, about the editorials that won him the award -- and what its like to argue for progressive aims in a bastion of conservatism.

"We'll Do It Live!"

Bill O'Reilly was the bombastic, blustery face of Fox News. Now that he's out, what happens to the identity and future of the channel? Plus, how to read the scary headlines about US-North Korea relations; why erratic foreign policy can be effective foreign policy; how China sees Trump; and what role do referendums really have in shaping our democracy? 

Closing the Blinds

Breaking from an open government initiative started by President Obama, the White House announced last Friday that visitor logs will no longer be published due to "national security concerns." It's the latest move in a plethora of actions the White House has taken to make historically public data, private.


Bob speaks to Alex Howard, Deputy Director of the Sunlight Foundation, a non-profit advocate of open government, about the newly privatized logs, covert meetings at Mar-a-Lago, and secret ethics waivers that are allowing former lobbyists to shape policy from within the administration.

This American War on Drugs

Attorney General Jeff Sessions has signaled that he'd like to revamp the War on Drugs. We take a look at the history of the battle, and how sensational media depictions of crack, heroin, and meth have helped fuel it. Plus: our Breaking News Consumer’s Handbook: Drugs Edition. Then, a look at how America’s first drug czar used racist propaganda to outlaw marijuana. And why the debate between treatment and law enforcement is blurrier than you might think.

How the Press Gets Seduced By War

Last week, President Trump ordered the firing of 59 Tomahawk cruise missiles on Syria in retaliation against the chemical attack allegedly committed by Syrian President Bashar al-Assad against his own people. The coverage of the strikes appeared to present a stark choice between good and evil, rather than a Gordian knot of geopolitics, regional politics, domestic politics, and the proliferation of terror. But is it really that easy?


Bob speaks with Stephen Kinzer, Senior Fellow at the Watson Institute for International and Public Affairs at Brown University and a columnist at the Boston Globe, who argues that the public is being presented with a deceptively simple version of reality because the media aren't asking the right questions.