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

When Real Police Shootings Look Nothing Like The Movies

According to The Washington Postmore than 800 people have been shot and killed by police officers in the United States this year. As videos of many of these shootings-- especially ones depicting confrontations between police officers and black men-- go viral, Alyssa Rosenberg, opinion writer at The Washington Post, examines how different they look from the portrayals of police shootings that we're used to seeing in films and on TV. Her series, Dragnets, Dirty Harrys and Dying Hard examines the ways in which police officers are portrayed in pop culture. She talks to Bob about her third installment of the series: "In Pop Culture, There Are No Bad Police Shootings."


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Wrong Number

The press didn’t see it coming. Or did they? This week, we examine the role of data – and delusion – in this election. Nate Silver reflects on the promise and pitfalls of polling, and Zachary Karabell discusses how financial indicators gloss over the gritty realities of American life. Plus: how a plan to dismantle the electoral college could make elections more democratic, and election coverage more interesting.


 


 

Now What?

It's the morning after in the offices of On the Media. Usually editorial meetings take place in Brooke's office with Bob dialed in on the conference phone. This week we did it in the studio so you can hear the hosts talk about how they are feeling and how they envision the direction of the show in the Trump presidency. 

On Shaky Ground

The months-long protest against the North Dakota Access Pipeline finally received mainstream attention this week after a misdirection campaign on Facebook, but to what end? Plus, making sense of what you've been told about Russia's role in the election; Bob talks to Glenn Beck about his recent transformation; and the all-too-predictable fallout from hiring partisans as cable news pundits.

Debunking the AIDS "Patient Zero" Myth

One of the most enduring myths of HIV/AIDS history has finally been laid to rest. The so-called "patient zero," a Canadian flight attendant named Gaétan Dugas, was once blamed for igniting the entire AIDS epidemic in America. Media outlets fixated on his sexual promiscuity; the New York Post called him "The Man Who Gave Us Aids."


But new research published in the journal Nature reexamined the original blood samples taken from Dugas in 1983 and found that the strain of the virus he was infected with was already present in the country years before Dugas frequented the gay scene in New York and San Francisco. Bob talks with Michael Worobey, evolutionary biologist and lead author of the Nature paper, about how the patient zero story is an ongoing black comedy of mischaracterization.

Poor Judgment

The Trump camp is pointing to "oversampling" in the polls as the latest sign that the election is rigged against him. But the pollsters say that's not how polling works. FiveThirtyEight helps separate the conspiratorial from the commonplace in election polls. Plus, a look at what the media get wrong about Trump supporters, a controversial capital punishment rule gets taken up by the Supreme Court, and a Breaking News Consumer's Handbook for poverty.