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

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. 

Rolling In It

One week after the Panama Papers thrust the shadowy world of the ultra-rich into the spotlight, the massive trove of data is still being sifted as world leaders scramble to explain-away offshore accounts. How 400 journalists from 76 countries worked in secret for over a year to decipher the largest leak ever, and how we got here in the first place.

Behind the Panama Papers

The Panama Papers is by sheer volume of documents the largest whistle-blower leak in history. With over 100 news organizations from over 80 countries involved it is also the largest journalistic collaboration ever. And it has already claimed its first scalp.


On Tuesday, Iceland Prime Minister Sigmundur Gunnlaugsson resigned over revelations of undisclosed investments in three of Iceland’s failed banks.


But the 11.5 million documents from the Panama law-firm Mossack Fonseca also expose shadowy dealings surrounding dictators and kleptocrats worldwide -- with 99% of the iceberg still submerged.


The material has been scrutinized by some 400 reporters for the past year, under the coordination of the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists. Bob speaks with the consortium's director, Gerard Ryle, about how the global investigation came together.

We Gotta Try Harder

This week President Obama criticized journalistic irresponsibility in a speech, but critics note that he has consistently worked to block press access. We take a look at the plight of public information under an opaque administration. Plus, the ethics of reading the news; dissecting the notion of "momentum" in election seasons; seeking posthumous fame for a cult filmmaker; and a Ghanaian undercover journalist fights for justice using every tool, and disguise, at his disposal.