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

A Face in the Crowd

The story of a man's rise from local media firebrand to out-sized TV personality superstar to political demagogue. Sound familiar?


It's actually the plot of Elia Kazan's 1957 film "A Face in the Crowd", which charts the dramatic ascent of Larry "Lonesome" Rhodes, played by Andy Griffith. WNYC's Sara Fishko, host of the Fishko Files, explores what the film's story about a rise and fall can tell us about our current political moment.


You can find more Fishko Files at wnyc.org/shows/fishko.

In The Shadows

The alliance between Ted Cruz and John Kasich to stop Trump was over before it began, but it's just the latest in a long history of political plots. We examine the shadowy history of election scheming, and trace the origins of the notion that the people, not politicians, should get to pick the president. Plus, how the haunting disappearance of 43 students in Mexico may finally prompt a reckoning with institutionalized violence and corruption. Also, disturbing collusion between super PACs and presidential campaigns, and drawing meaning from the deep, dark world of the comments section. 

Revisiting the Belfast Project

The Belfast Project is an archive of interviews with militia members from both sides of Ireland's "Troubles," the war that raged in Northern Ireland from the 1970s to the 1990s. The archives, which are housed at Boston College Library, are off-limits to the public and law enforcement, due to the fact that those interviewed agreed to speak on the condition that their testimonies not be published until their deaths. But since 2011, British authorities have launched a series of attempts to get their hands on the records, most recently this week when they subpoenaed Boston College for the files pertaining to lead researcher and former militant Anthony McIntyre.


Brooke spoke to McIntyre in 2014, during the last subpoena, about the Belfast Project and his frustration with what he saw as the College's capitulation to authorities. She also spoke with Boston College's Jack Dunn, who defended the College's commitment to oral history and its attempts to protect the records of the Belfast Project.

On Shakespeare

It's been four hundred years since the death of William Shakespeare, and the Bard is as popular as ever... and just as mysterious. For centuries, a war has raged over the question: who is Shakespeare? We explore how the answer has evolved through the ages, and what that tells us about our changing perceptions of class, art, genius, and religion. Plus, a look at Shakespeare's enduring global relevance, with an inspiring and perilous performance of Love's Labor's Lost in Afghanistan. 

That NPR Thing

With an aging listenership and the rise of podcasts, the future of NPR is thrown into question. Bob digs into the recent conversation about how the public broadcasting giant is reacting to changes in the industry, and what member stations want from the network. 


Then, a work of lewd satire has strained Germany's understanding of free speech -- and highlighted an uneasy relationship with Turkey. And, twenty-five years ago, the testimony of Anita Hill turned the Supreme Court confirmation hearings of Clarence Thomas into must-see TV. A new HBO movie, "Confirmation" portrays the history, and reopens old wounds. Plus: the curious world of the novelization industry.

Little Pink Pill

Last August, Flibanserin -- or "Addyi" -- became the first FDA-approved drug aimed at treating sexual dysfunction in women. Sprout, the company that developed the so-called “female Viagra” was understandably excited, and even more so the next day when they were bought by pharmaceutical giant Valeant, for one billion dollars. But after a rocky year, Valeant announced Monday that they had dismissed the entire sales force associated with Flibanserin and would reintroduce the drug later in the year. When Flibanserin first hit the shelves last year, we took a deep dive into its marketing message and the nebulous world of prescription drugs and female desire.