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.
During the last election, when asked his opinion about experts and intellectuals, Trump supporter Fiore Napolitano voiced a fairly common sentiment from his cohort, "I've got more brains in my little thumb." That led the United States of Anxiety team to wonder whether hostility to intellect is an underestimated feature of American politics.
Where does this wariness spring from, and what role did it play in the rise of Donald Trump — who was opposed by just about every intellectual associated with either party but whose supporters simply did not care about that issue?
Reporter Jim O'Grady talks to the learned and those who loathe them, including writers and commentators, a neuroscientist, and a gun shop owner in a red-voting part of upstate New York. He quotes a fiery pamphlet penned by a yeoman farmer from the Revolutionary Era, and delves into the 1963 book that describes and frames this issue better and more enduringly than any other.
In the wake of the Manchester attack, tech companies are again under pressure to fight extremism online. A look at whether they’re really doing all that they can. Also, can reporters inform the public about terrorist attacks without supplying the very notoriety the killers crave? Plus: how the South is grappling with taking down monuments to the Confederacy -- and what to put in their place.
This week, the Supreme Court struck down two congressional districts in North Carolina, deciding that the majority-black districts were created to diminish the voting strength of African American democrats in the state. It's an opinion that opens the door for more challenges to gerrymandering at a time when civil rights advocates are looking for legal avenues to fight the redistricting system and when Republicans control most state legislatures.
We're taking the opportunity to revisit a conversation we had in October with David Daley, author of the book, Ratf**ked: The True Story Behind the Secret Plan to Steal America's Democracy. He spoke with Bob about the history of gerrymandering and how Republican strategists have taken the practice to new levels in the last decade.
The Trump-Comey story is largely missing from the far right-wing media. A look at how pro-Trump outlets choose to cover, or ignore, unfavorable news. Plus: the Montana special election has been described as a "referendum" on Trump... but the truth is actually more interesting. And we hear from a reporter who is training citizen journalists in Syria to cover life, not just war.
We're living in an era of smoke and mirrors as never before. Do you find yourself wondering how we reached this pass, where basic facts have no impact and fundamental norms are violated at will? Or, at the very least, would you like to follow Brooke down a rabbit hole as she searches for an explanation? Because after the election, in what amounted to a two-week fever dream, she wrote "The Trouble with Reality: A Rumination on Moral Panic in Our Time," and came to a kind of answer. As this week's podcast extra, we have for you a conversation Brooke had about her book with our colleague, WNYC morning show host Brian Lehrer.
With an administration that seems to break new traditions every day, we look at the rapid-fire changes to the White House story about Comey's firing. What they mean for communications between the President and the public. Plus, some worry that the media are too reliant on old tricks to keep up. How is the press adapting? And, why local TV news may soon take on a more conservative agenda.