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

Kids These Days

A University of Chicago welcome letter criticizing political correctness on college campuses reignited vigorous debate. An examination of the value of tools like trigger warnings and safe spaces. Plus, with just two months until election day, a new Breaking News Consumer’s Handbook for making sense of the polls. And, a history of music in presidential campaigns.

Bob's Grill #5: Former CNN President Jon Klein

It's the latest and last installment of Bob's Grill, and we've got a special guest chef (it's Brooke). 


The year was 2005, and CNN was focused on a big story with wall-to-wall coverage. The story was, of course, The Runaway Bride. Jennifer Milbanks had cold feet and disappeared a few days before her wedding. She made tabloid headlines and left tracks all over the cable news channels, including CNN - which covered her day and night for a week. Coincidentally, the network’s new president Jonathan Klein, had just months before been promising more rigorous journalism and less sensationalism. So OTM called him up. In this interview, Klein and Brooke butt heads over what constitutes news, and whether stories need justification.


Post-script: Jon Klein left CNN in 2010. 

Define "Normal"

Right-wing rumors about Hillary Clinton's health have made their way into the mainstream media, but it's hardly the first time a candidate's health has been in the headlines this year: the press has been scrutinizing Donald Trump's mental state for months. This week, examining the arguments for and against speculating about a candidate's health. Plus, how the dominant media narratives after the Rio Olympics obscure real problems, and how climate change is reshaping the country as we know it. 

Bob's Grill #4: ExxonMobil's Richard Keil

We return to Bob's Grill this week with a 2015 interview with ExxonMobil's Richard Keil, the company's senior adviser for global public affairs. 


Last year, the website InsideClimate News published an investigative series examining ExxonMobil’s rich history of scientific study on fossil fuels and global warming. The series, called "Exxon: The Road Not Taken", found that the company was at the forefront of climate change research in the 1970s and 80s -- before pivoting to funding climate change denial groups in 1989.


At the time, Bob spoke with Richard Keil of Exxon about why the company disputed the reporting, and about the company's history of funding climate change denial front groups. 


Stay tuned next week for more from the Grill. 

Bob's Grill #3: James O'Keefe

We return to Bob’s Grill this week with a 2011 interview with “sting operation” videographer James O’Keefe, best known for his efforts to discredit institutions such as Planned Parenthood, NPR, the Open Society Foundations, and the community organizing group ACORN. O'Keefe says he's using the tools of investigative journalism, but his videos are full of distorted quotes, manipulated footage, and in some cases outright lies. Bob spoke with O’Keefe shortly after the release of his undercover video of NPR executive Ron Schiller, and took him to task for his, shall we say, creative editorializing.


Stay tuned next week for more from the Grill.

Magic 8 Ball

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.