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

"Busted" #4: When the Safety Net Doesn't Catch You

UPDATE: OTM has received numerous inquiries from listeners who want to help Margaret Smith. If you’d like to donate, she has set up a PayPal account here. Please note that neither OTM nor WNYC is affiliated with this account. We do not control the money nor do we monitor how it is spent. Donations are considered a gift to Smith, and are not tax-deductible.


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In the fourth installment of our series "Busted: America's Poverty Myths," we examine the strengths and shortcomings of our nation's safety net. Government assistance does help lift millions out of poverty each year -- indeed, without it, poverty would be twice as high -- but those in the most dire circumstances often slip through the cracks.


With the help of Linda Tirado, author of Hand to Mouth: Living in Bootstrap America, and Matthew Desmond, author of Evicted: Poverty and Profit in the American City, we consider how anti-poverty programs can actually keep people poor and offer little hope for a way out.


Also, Brooke meets Margaret Smith, a Columbus woman made homeless after a violent crime derailed the life she'd carefully built with her six children. And we visit an Athens County food pantry that provides not just meals to the community, but also school supplies, clothing, furniture, job training, home repairs, disaster relief...even burial plots. 


Songs:

Invitation to a Suicide by John Zorn
Equinox by John Coltrane
Passing Time by John Renbourn
Peace Piece by Kronos Quartet

"Busted" #2: Who Deserves To Be Poor?

UPDATE: Since this series began, OTM has received numerous inquiries from listeners who want to help Carla Scott. If you’d like to donate, she has set up a PayPal account here. Please note that neither OTM nor WNYC is affiliated with this account. We do not control the money nor do we monitor how it is spent. Donations are considered a gift to Scott, and are not tax-deductible.


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In the second installment of our series on poverty myths, we trace the history of welfare in America, from aid to widows after the Civil War to Lyndon Johnson's War on Poverty to Bill Clinton's pledge to "end welfare as we know it." With the help of Kathy Edin, co-author of $2.00 a Day: Living on Almost Nothing in America, we consider how the notion of government assistance sapping people of initiative has long shaped policy...and permitted many in poverty to fall through the cracks.


And Brooke meets Carla Scott, a young woman in Cleveland forced to sell her plasma for bus fare after a series of events derailed her life, as well as Carla's nonagenarian grandmother, Grace, a hard-line believer in "personal responsibility." 



Carla and her grandmother Grace on Grace's porch in Cleveland.
(Brooke Gladstone/WNYC)




Grandmother Grace with a photo of herself from earlier days.
(Brooke Gladstone/WNYC)


 Songs:


Marjane's Inspiration by David Bergeaud
Slow Pulse Conga by William Pasley
Chicago Sunset by Charlie Musselwhite
Carmen Fantasy by Anderson & Roe
Fondu 5 by Ballet Dance Jazz J. Company
John's Book of Alleged Dances by Kronos Quartet
The Thompson Fields by Maria Schneider Orchestra
Stolen Moments by Ahmad Jamal


“Busted: America’s Poverty Myths” is produced by Meara Sharma and Eve Claxton, with special thanks to Nina Chaudry. This series is produced in collaboration with WNET in New York as part of “Chasing the Dream: Poverty and Opportunity in America.” Major funding for “Chasing the Dream” is provided by the JPB Foundation, with additional funding from the Ford Foundation.  

The Game Has Changed

As tensions between the press and the president-elect continue to mount, a look at why some news outlets chose to publish a salacious but unverified set of allegations about Donald Trump. Plus, how the rules of journalism may change in the Era of Trump and what journalists need to do to adjust; and writer Rebecca Solnit on finding hope in dark and uncertain places.

January Surprise

For weeks now, journalists have been aware of a dossier circulating among top officials and the media; it alleges among other things, that Russia has compromising (Kompromat) information on President Elect Donald Trump. But it wasn't until a chain of events set off by a presidential briefing about the contents of the dossier that the media felt free to talk about what they knew. Brooke speaks with Slate's Will Oremus about Buzzfeed's (and Slate's) decision to publish the anonymous (and unverified) Russia memos in full. 

No End In Sight

British journalist John Cantlie has been a prisoner of ISIS for more than four years. Throughout his captivity, he's been forced to act as a sort of warped foreign correspondent, extolling the virtues of the group in propaganda videos. With every appearance, he looks weaker and gaunter. In this special hour, we consider how Cantlie's plight is a window into the challenges of reporting on Syria, and why the world's tangled policy on hostages means that some live to tell the tale, and others don't. 

To Thine Own Self Be True

It's been four hundred years since the death of William Shakespeare, and the Bard is as popular as ever... and just as mysterious. For centuries, a war has raged over the question: who is Shakespeare? We explore how the answer has evolved through the ages, and what that tells us about our changing perceptions of class, art, genius, and religion. Plus, a look at Shakespeare's enduring global relevance, with an inspiring and perilous performance of Love's Labor's Lost in Afghanistan.