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.
“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.
As the Trump-Russia saga continues to unfold, how the Obama administration spent its final days scrambling to preserve evidence of Russian interference in the election. Also, the old Soviet-era art of "kremlinology" is back -- but does it really help us understand what Putin is thinking? Plus, a potential key to unveiling Trump’s tax returns, how our understanding of corruption has strayed from the vision of the founders, and more.
CRISPR is a new technology that enables scientists to quickly alter the genetic makeup of the entire population of a species. It's so powerful that just one genetically-modified mosquito could eradicate malaria. It's so easy to do that a grad student could (accidentally) enact these global ecological changes from their kitchen. It's also under-regulated. Under science's current culture of secrecy, ensuring that scientists are taking necessary precautions with gene-drive research is next to impossible, says CRISPR innovator Kevin Esvelt. Writing in Nature last summer, Esvelt urged the scientific community to open all experiments to public scrutiny, beginning with the revolutionary and potentially world-changing gene-editing research he helped advance.
Also in the podcast, the idea of human cloning captivates and terrifies. Depictions of human clones in science fiction reflect some of our deepest fears about what it means to be human. But not everyone shares those anxieties. For example, the creators of the hit BBC series Orphan Black have developed a show which decidedly diverges from the canon of popular culture clone portrayals. Brooke talks with bioethicist Gregory Pence, author of What We Talk About When We Talk About Clone Club, about how Orphan Black reflects and challenges dominant ideas in the debate on human cloning.
With a president who would rather watch TV than receive intelligence briefings, CNN’s Brian Stelter helps unpack the symbiotic relationship between Fox News and the White House. Plus, whether Trump’s new guidelines for mass deportation of undocumented immigrants are more PR than sound policy, how the term “sanctuary cities” may oversell how much safety is actually provided, and the Supreme Court sheds light on violence at the US border. Also, a former FEC Commissioner explains why the Commission has ceased to function as intended.
Republicans decry the leakers; Democrats applaud them...oh, how the tables have turned. How to make sense of the Flynn affair and revelations about the Trump team's communications with Russia. Plus, the steady stream of information from within the government has the media debating the power of the so-called “Deep State” -- invisible officials pulling the strings. Also, deploying the word "treason" with care, what Slobodan Milošević teaches us about Donald Trump, and what Hugo Chávez does not.
In response to scandals large and small, first the Trump campaign and now the Trump White House has relied on the fact that each successive lie or outrage will be washed over by the next and the next. And its worked. Until now. Bob ponders whether this week's resignation of General Flynn from his position as National Security Adviser has thrown the White House media machine (momentarily) off its axis.