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

Gawker, Hulk Hogan, and the First Amendment

A jury in St. Petersburg, Florida, found that Gawker Media must pay $140 million in damages to the wrestler Hulk Hogan (real name Terry Bollea). The case is about Gawker publishing an excerpt of a tape showing Hogan having sex with his friend's then-wife -- a tape Hogan claims he did not know his friend was filming. The case has raised concerns about First Amendment protections because Gawker is claiming the post was newsworthy and in the public interest -- and Hulk Hogan is claiming that Gawker caused him emotional distress by invading his privacy. 

Gawker Media's President and General Counsel, Heather Dietrick, talks to Bob about the company's plan to appeal the decision, why the jury awarded Hogan such a huge sum, and why the public's appetite for sex tapes has waned. 

Party People

For the first months of the Trump campaign, the media wondered incredulously, "What kind of person thinks he can act like that and get elected?" Now that Trump is the presumptive Republican nominee, a new question has arisen: "What kind of people could support a person who acts like that?" 

We take a look at how the media have attempted to understand (and suppress) the mythical Trump supporter -- and how some of the more damning conclusions reflect a deep-seated discomfort with class in America. Plus, how a "broken" campaign finance system perpetually enriches the consultant class and how Trump 2016 is being received around the world.

The Body Of An American

In 1993, the photojournalist Paul Watson took three photographs of Somalians dragging the body of an American soldier through the streets of Mogadishu. As he took the shots, he thought he heard the soldier, William David Cleveland, whisper: "If you do this, I will own you forever." The moment and its aftermath is the subject of a play, "The Body of An American", on through March 20 at the Cherry Lane Theatre. Brooke speaks with the playwright, Dan O'Brien, and with Watson about the photographs, the play, and their friendship. 

Information about 'The Body of An American' is available through the Cherry Lane Theatre's website.

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Print Is Back, Back Again

A special hour on the publishing industry and the resurgence of print--from Amazon’s flirtation with brick-and-mortar bookstores to the success of wholesale suppliers shilling books by the foot as decorative objects. Plus, South Korea’s well-funded quest for a Nobel Prize in Literature, the subversive history of adult coloring books, and more. 


A War Reporter Played By Tina Fey

When New York Times book critic Michiko Kakutani reviewed reporter Kim Barker’s 2011 memoir, The Taliban Shuffleshe described Barker as “a sort of Tina Fey character, who unexpectedly finds herself addicted to the adrenaline rush of war.” That line piqued the interest of a certain actress and producer; not long after, Paramount Pictures acquired the rights to The Taliban Shuffle. The resulting movie, Whiskey Tango Foxtrot, stars Fey as a journalist named "Kim Baker." Bob talks with Kim Barker about how she learned the ropes as a conflict journalist in the early days of war in Afghanistan, and what it's like to have Tina Fey play you in a movie. 

Predictile Dysfunction

Political commentators have repeatedly, reliably, been wrong this election season. There was the improbable Bernie Sanders. The inevitable Jeb Bush. The passing-fad Donald Trump. Now that we've landed so far from where we began, we examine why pundits make such bad predictions, and why they probably won't stop.