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

New Reality

The first week of the Trump administration was a frenzy of executive actions, falsehoods, and attacks on the media. Bob goes to the White House to talk with the press corps about how they're handling a moving target. Plus, how Trump's first executive action on abortion is a symbolic continuation of the decades-long war over reproductive rights. And, the swift rise and fall of the term "fake news." 

Week One

White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer and his boss have had a rough first few days in their new jobs. Historian Martha Joynt Kumar explains that the relationship between the press secretary and the press has always been a tricky one.

Future Tense

President Trump may be the most vocal with his disdain, but he's hardly the first president to have a rocky relationship with the press. Plus, why the White House press corps is so frustrating for everyone involved, and whether Trump's open animosity could actually be a blessing in disguise for the media. And, how the Obama administration’s last-minute expansion of surveillance powers might function in new hands.

"Busted" #3: Rags to Riches

In the third installment of our series, "Busted: America's Poverty Myths," we take on one of our country's most fundamental notions: that America is a land of equal opportunity and upward mobility for all. And we ask why, in spite of a wealth of evidence to the contrary, does this idea persist?


With the help of historian Jill Lepore, Brooke traces the history of the "rags to riches" narrative, beginning with Benjamin Franklin, whose 18th century paper manufacturing business literally turned rags into riches. We hear from Natasha Boyer, a young Ohio woman who was saved from eviction by a generous surprise from strangers... only for the miracle to prove fleeting. And we consider the efficacy of "random acts of kindness" and the fateful role of luck -- where you're born, and to whom -- in determining success.


Songs:
"Rags To Riches" by Tony Bennett
"Adagio K. 617a For Glass Armonica" by Christa and Gerald Schönfeldinger
"Shine (Reprise)" by Roger Anderson & Lee Goldsmith
"Rondoletto" by Margaret Lion
"Avocet" by Bert Jansch
"This Old House" by Marcos Ciscar
"Melancolia" by Marcos Ciscar

"Busted" #1: The Poverty Tour


Today, more than 45 million Americans live in poverty. The problem has been addressed countless times since the nation’s founding, but it persists, and for the poorest among us, it gets worse. America has not been able to find its way to a sustainable solution, because most of its citizens see the problem of poverty from a distance, through a distorted lens. So we present "Busted: America's Poverty Myths," a series exploring how our understanding of poverty is shaped not by facts, but by private presumptions, media narratives, and the tales of the American Dream. 


Brooke traveled to Ohio, a state that reflects the varied nature of poverty, to talk directly with people who are poor and understand how they got that way, and why, under current policies, they are likely to stay that way. You'll hear from them over the next several weeks. But first, we examine how the story of poverty gets told -- and whether media attention makes any difference -- with the help of Jack Frech, a longtime Athens County welfare director who has been leading reporters on "poverty tours" of Appalachia for decades. 


“Busted: America’s Poverty Myths” is produced by Meara Sharma and Eve Claxton, with special thanks to Nina Chaudry. This series is produced in collaboration with WNET in New York as part of “Chasing the Dream: Poverty and Opportunity in America.” Major funding for “Chasing the Dream” is provided by the JPB Foundation, with additional funding from the Ford Foundation.


Songs:


 "Ec-Stacy" by Jess Stacy


"Gavotte in A Minor" by Matthew Camidge, arr. by Andy Boden


"Youkali Tango-Habanera" by Kurt Weill; performed by the Armadillo String Quartet


 


 


 

"Busted" #5: Breaking News Consumer's Handbook: Poverty in America Edition

When reporting on poverty, the media fall into familiar traps and pundits make prescriptions that disregard the facts. So, in the fifth and final installment of our series, "Busted: America's Poverty Myths," we present a Breaking News Consumer's Handbook: Poverty in America Edition. It'll equip you with the tools to spot shoddy reporting and the knowledge to identify coverage with insight.


With help from Jack Frech, former Athens County welfare director; Kathryn Edin, co-author of $2.00 A Day: Living on Almost Nothing in AmericaGreg Kaufmann, editor of TalkPoverty.orgMatthew Desmond, author of Evicted: Poverty and Profit in the American City; and Linda Tirado, author of Hand To Mouth: Living in Bootstrap America