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

Essential Coverage

The battle over Republican Senators' most recent attempt at repealing and replacing the Affordable Care Act dominated the media this week, and seemingly at all hours of the day. We take a look at a few players in the saga, from the putative maverick who brought the process to a halt with a quick thumbs-down, to a reporter trying to follow a process somewhat devoid of transparency, to the war of words that could determine the future of the American health care system. Plus, a retrospective view on the media's role in Charlie Gard's life. 


1. The Atlantic's James Fallows explores Senator John McCain's long history in the media spotlight — a story of dualities, cozy jokes, and the occasional, genuine maverick choice. 


2. Kaiser Health News's Julie Rovner describes the opaque and convoluted experience of covering the GOP process to repeal and replace Obamacare. 


3. The Daily Beast's Sam Stein examines the new anti-Obamacare propaganda coming from within the Trump Administration. 


4. Florida State University's Jill Quadagno leads us through the hundred-year messaging war over universal healthcare in the U.S., including a recent rise in public support for a single-payer system. 


5. The Times of London's Melanie Phillips discusses the role the American right-wing media played in the media storm surrounding Charlie Gard's tragic, short life. 

Armchair diagnosing do's and don'ts

In March, the American Psychoanalytic Association emailed its 3500 members giving them the go ahead to bring their professional judgement to bear in commenting publicly about the president’s words and deeds.


But Tuesday, the much larger American Psychiatric Association was obliged to reiterate its so-called Goldwater Rule, it’s ethics policy forbidding members to diagnose or speculate on anyone who they haven’t examined. The rule sprang from a Fact Magazine article claiming that 1189 psychiatrists found hawkish 1964 presidential candidate Barry Goldwater psychologically unfit to be president.


Last summer Bob spoke to Paul Appelbaum, a professor of Psychiatry, Medicine and Law at Columbia University, who explained that he is a strong proponent of mental health experts staying out of the pundit business.


And to Bill Doherty, a therapist and Psychology professor at the University of Minnesota, who believes the integrity of the profession depends precisely on speaking out. He’s the creator of the online manifesto, Citizen Therapists Against Trumpism, which garnered thousands of signatures from mental health specialists.


 

Doubt It

There’s new research about how people process information, errors, and corrections. A look at what those findings tell us about the efficacy of journalism. Plus, how unethical research practices and liberal bias have created a cloud of doubt in the world of social science research. And, eight months after the election, Brooke and Bob reflect on OTM’s coverage of the Trump administration.


1. Dartmouth College's Brendan Nyhan on new research that challenges the "backfire effect," the theory that make people double-down on their false ideas.


2. University of Toronto's Uli Schimmack on the replication crisis throughout the field of psychology, and the effort to promote more ethical research practices.


3. New York University's Jay Van Bavel on how social psychology is trying to face the possibility of a liberal slant, both in research subjects and in the system itself.


4. Brooke and Bob revisit their post-Election Day confrontation, and discuss how best to cover Trump going forward.

Not Repealed, Not Replaced

After the Republican Party’s seven-year attempt to dismantle the Affordable Care Act kicked the bucket this week, Donald Trump declared that he would “let Obamacare fail.” He has plenty of options for moving that failure along and his actions inevitably would hit poor people the hardest, a fact that does not surprise Jack Frech who spent 30 years serving the poor in Appalachian Ohio. Frech was saddened but not surprised by the proposals put forward by house and Senate Republicans. He says such ideas are both perennial and bipartisan. For example the Clinton administration bundled what was once federal welfare assistance into block grants to states where the money often is misdirected or hoarded by the states, even as its shriveled by inflation. For context in the ensuing healthcare battles we are replaying a conversation Brooke had with Jack just after the house bill was passed.


 

Three-Dimensional Chess

The press are calling Don Jr.’s meeting with a Russian lawyer a “smoking gun.” Why Trump supporters see it otherwise. Plus, the White House’s plan to cement the voter fraud narrative in service of future voter suppression. And, an Iraqi radio broadcaster puts his life on the line fighting ISIS propaganda in Mosul and a group of Syrian citizen journalists push back on the narratives about Raqqa.


 


1. Buzzfeed's Charlie Warzel on how the right-wing media is spinning the Don Jr. emails — and how it reveals something deeper about the pro-Trump media ecosystem.


2. Russian journalist Alexey Kovalev on what the American media get wrong in its reporting on Vladimir Putin.


3. ProPublica's Jessica Huseman on the mistaken reporting on the backlash to the "election integrity" commission's attempt to gather data about voters from the states.


4. City of Ghosts director Matthew Heineman describes the efforts of Raqqa is Being Slaughtered Silently, a band of citizen journalists led by Abdel Aziz al-Hamza who risk their lives to report on conditions in Raqqa, Syria.


5. Radio Al-Ghad's Mohammad Al-Musali describes how his pirate radio station defied the media blackout in Mosul under ISIS rule in order to shine a light onto the city.

In Which Brooke Explains OTM's Secret Sauce To Jesse Thorn

Bullseye host Jesse Thorn has just launched a new podcast called The Turnaround. It’s a series of longform interviews with interviewers about interviewing, with people ranging from Ira Glass to Larry King to Marc Maron and this week, with Brooke. Jesse really wanted to get into how On The Media is made, and why it sounds the way it does.