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

Lies, Lies, Lies

Donald Trump’s statements about Muslims cheering after 9/11 are just the latest in a long record of false claims. But if Trump is the most recent, maybe most flamboyant, falsifier to enter US politics, he's not the first and won't be the last. OTM takes a look at political lies, including a taxonomy and history of political untruths; a psychological examination of how and why we lie; and whether, at the end of the day, the most damaging lies aren't the ones we tell ourselves about our fellow citizens.


Discuss on Twitter: #OTMlies

On San Bernardino

Hours before Wednesday's mass shooting in San Bernardino, California, a group of physicians petitioned Congress to end the so-called Dickey Amendment, a nearly twenty-year-old ban that effectively prevents the CDC from researching gun violence. Brooke talks with Todd Zwillich, Washington Correspondent for The Takeaway, about the history of the ban and its current political state.


And: as the names of the victims are being released to the public and their families struggle to make meaning from their incalculable loss, they often find they must learn how to manage the media to achieve their goals. The template for that kind of PR savvy was established back in 1999, after the massacre at Columbine High School, as Karen Duffin reported for us a few years ago. 


For more OTM follow us on Twitter @OnTheMedia, and subscribe to our newsletter at our website, www.onthemedia.org.

6 Months Later...

In the wake of the attacks in Paris, global terror threats, and renewed debate about mass surveillance and national security, we revisit our special hour on the origins of the infamous Patriot Act, born in a post-9/11 climate of fear. We examine what's in the act: warrantless search and seizure, bulk collection of personal data, intelligence sharing, and more...as well as how much of what we associate with the Patriot Act actually lies in a wild-west of lesser-known programs. Plus, new conversations about France's current state of emergency and a frank look at the sheer ineffectiveness of mass surveillance in fighting terrorism since 9/11. 

The Language of Terror

Amidst the emotion, fear, and confusion following an attack, a Breaking News Consumer's Handbook for the coverage of terrorism. Plus, a look at the semantics surrounding acts of war and terror and a look back at lessons learned, and forgotten, in the years since 9/11.

Feel This

OTM looks at how the media tries to reach us on an emotional level. We look at the New York Times' dive into virtual reality-inspired empathy, and Europe's "compassion fatigue". Plus: why clickbait is king, the lucrative "hate read", why the University of Missouri protesters' media-free zone is about more than press freedom, and more.


Discuss on Twitter: #OTMempathy, #OTMmissouri, #OTMvr, #OTMaylan, #OTMupworthy, #OTMcarebot, #OTMheart, #OTMclickbait, #OTMhatereads

What Did Exxon Know?

ExxonMobil is under investigation by the New York State Attorney General for potentially misleading shareholders about the threat of climate change. The subpoena comes after reports, including from InsideClimate News, about Exxon's pivot from supporting state-of-the-art research to funding a network of climate denial groups.


Observers have noted that Exxon's campaign of misinformation mirrors what Big Tobacco did about the risks of smoking. That industry is still paying a $246 billion settlement. Bob discusses the pattern, the two prosecutions, and what might come next with Naomi Oreskes of Harvard, co-author of Merchants of Doubt: How a Handful of Scientists Obscured the Truth on Issues from Tobacco Smoke to Global Warming


Then, Bob revisits his conversation earlier this fall with ExxonMobil's Richard Keil, who responded to the InsideClimate News reporting


For more OTM follow us on Twitter, @OnTheMedia, and subscribe to our newsletter.