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

Two Years in the Life of a Saudi Girl

This week we want to share with you a piece that we really liked from our friends at Radio Diaries. It’s a personal, revealing, surprising story told by a teen from a region that usually gets discussed only in terms of oil and conflict.

For two years, Majd Abdulghani recorded an audio diary of her life in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia -- where women cannot drive, and where they only make up 16 percent of the workforce. But the society is changing, and Majd's story of studying to be a scientist, learning karate, and ultimately navigating the world of arranged marriages is a glimpse into a world rarely seen by outsiders. 

Radio Diaries' Joe Richman and Sarah Kramer introduce this audio diary, and conduct an additional interview at the end. You can learn more about Saudi women and see photos of Majd on radiodiaries.org, where you'll also find other great stories. 

When To Believe

This week, a baby girl was born in New Jersey with microcephaly, a reminder that the Zika virus is not a distant threat. What is known and still unknown about Zika has fueled pseudoscience and paranoia. We look at a study about Zika-related conspiracy theories online, and how to debunk them. 

Plus: The Obama administration may soon release 28 remaining pages of the Congressional 9/11 report -- and they're likely about Saudi Arabia's role in the attacks. We dig into what's in there and why it matters. 

And, the story of New York Times reporter Jeffrey Schmalz, who transformed public perception of AIDS and the gay men and women dying from the disease. 

The #FreeAustinTice Campaign

Last week’s show, “Kidnapped,” featured an interview with Debra and Marc Tice, parents of Austin Tice, the freelance American journalist who disappeared in Syria nearly four years ago. We received many comments from people who were deeply moved by that conversation, so we thought we’d offer you a longer version.  

At age thirty, Austin Tice went to Syria with the purest of intentions: to report, firsthand, what befell the people there. He had little experience but a lot of verve, and nerve, venturing deeper into the country than nearly any other western journalist. Soon he was filing stories for McClatchy and the Washington Post, appearing on CBS, and giving interviews to public radio. Then, in August 2012, he vanished. Six weeks later, his family saw evidence of life: a video showing him being led blindfolded up a hillside by armed, masked men. Since that video, the Tices have had no communication with Austin or his captors. But they have what they call credible, recent reports that Austin is still alive. Bob talks with Debra and Marc Tice about their tireless efforts to draw attention to Austin's plight.


The threat of kidnapping in Syria has made it one of the most dangerous places in the world for journalists. A special hour on how we get our news from a country that's nearly impossible to visit, and why the world's tangled policy on hostages means that some live to tell the tale, and others don't. 

Covering the First Atomic Bombs

This week, President Obama will become the first sitting US president to visit Hiroshima. To mark the occasion, we're revisiting two segments we produced in 2005 relating to the dropping of the atomic bombs on Japan. First, author and journalist Greg Mitchell discusses the case of George Weller, the first reporter on the scene after the bombings, whose first-hand accounts of the aftermath, and the mysterious illness that followed, were never published, only to be discovered in 2005. Then, David Goodman, co-author of "Exception to the Rulers," tells the story of New York Times reporter William L. Laurence, who witnessed the dropping of the atomic bomb on Nagasaki and won a Pulitzer for his heavily pro-bombing reporting -- only for it to be revealed that he was working for the US War Department all along. 


Seventy-one years after the bombing, President Obama is set to be first sitting US president to visit Hiroshima, raising questions that many are keen to avoid. Plus, revisiting a notorious murder that the press got wrong; the long reach of a WWII slogan; and attempts in Ukraine to whitewash the nation's history. A special hour on memory, both historical and personal, and how what we remember shapes our world.