On The Media

Airs Sundays at 5 pm
  • Hosted by Brooke Gladstone & Bob Garfield

While maintaining the civility and fairness that are the hallmarks of public radio, On The Media tackles sticky issues with a frankness and transparency. On The Media decodes what we hear, read and see in the media every day and exposes the relationship of the media with our culture and society.

Distributed by: NYPR


  • Thursday, December 7, 2017 11:00pm

    From Capitol Hill to the workplace to the darkest corners of the internet, it can feel like our world is increasingly being manipulated by threats and intimidation. This week we look at the role of bullies in our lives and how we should and shouldn’t respond. Plus, as the GOP tax bill moves through Congress, a look back at the historical struggle over taxation in America. And finally, the story of an MSNBC contributor fired and rehired within the past two weeks and the far-right troll who was responsible. 

    1. Brooke on WNYC's own revelations of sexual misconduct and bullying and Dahlia Lithwick [@Dahlialithwick], writer for Slate and host of the Amicus podcast, on the potential danger for Democrats when they take the "moral high ground" on sexual misconduct. 

    2. Molly Michelmore [@MollyMichelmore], historian at Washington & Lee University, on the history and evolution of political rhetoric surrounding American tax policy. 

    3. Sam Seder [@SamSeder], MSNBC contributor and host of the Majority Report podcast, on his temporary firing from the network, and Mike Cernovich, "mens-rights" activist and far-right conspiracy theorist, on his reasons for trolling MSNBC—that is, until he hung up on us. 

    4. Emily Bazelon [@emilybazelon], staff writer for the New York Times Magazine, on what schoolyard dynamics can teach us about adult bullies and how to confront them. 

  • Tuesday, December 5, 2017 5:08pm

    Update: On Wednesday, following the release of this pod extra, New York Public Radio announced that Jonathan Schwartz and Leonard Lopate had been placed on indefinite leave as the station investigates "accusations of inappropriate conduct" filed against the two long-time hosts.

    This weekend, New York Magazine published investigative reporter Suki Kim's personal experiences and reporting on sexual harassment by John Hockenberry, former host of the WNYC program, "The Takeaway." The article alleges that over the past decade, Hockenberry sexually harassed interns, producers, and a guest on "The Takeaway." It also details a culture of bullying; in particular Hockenberry's behavior towards three female co-hosts, none of whom remained on the show. 

    In August 2017, John Hockenberry retired from WNYC as a highly regarded, award-winning broadcast and radio journalist. Most staff members at WNYC were unaware of his alleged behavior until we read Suki Kim's article. 

    This podcast is a tick-tock of a station reckoning with its own sexual harassment allegations; the on-air conversations between hosts, reporters, listeners and WNYC management.


  • Thursday, November 30, 2017 11:00pm

    It was yet another week of outrageous and consequential stories piling on top of one another at a head-spinning pace. A failed attempt to discredit the Washington Post. A bombshell plea from a former Trump official. A secret button. Poison in the Hague. A computer glitch that could ruin Christmas. And the FCC's upcoming vote on "net neutrality," a bureaucratic thicket with potentially catastrophic consequences. All of this, plus radical transparency in journalism, bots bringing down public comment and the history of America's love of hoaxes. 

    1. Brooke leads us through a week that was, as she says, a "ceaseless and accelerating volume of crazy"—coming both from the news at large and the Oval Office. 

    2. Margaret Sullivan [@Sulliview], columnist for the Washington Post, on how her colleagues' adroit response to the failed Project Veritas "sting" could help rehabilitate the public's faith in news organizations. 

    3. Tom Wheeler [@tewheels], former Chairman of the FCC, and Nick Gillespie [@nickgillespie], Editor-in-Chief of Reason.com, debate the FCC's upcoming vote on whether to repeal Obama-era regulations for internet service providers known as net neutrality.

    4. Issie Lapowsky [@issielapowsky], Senior Writer for Wired, on how networks of bots and bad actors have thrown the federal government's public comment process into jeopardy.

    5. Kevin Young [@Deardarkness], director of the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture and author of Bunk, on American hoaxes have long played on deep divisions in our society.


  • Monday, November 27, 2017 2:22pm

    The New York Times' profile of Tony Hovater, a white nationalist and Nazi sympathizer, set Twitter on fire last weekend — and not in a good way. Bob speaks with Charlie Warzel, senior technology writer at Buzzfeed, about what the story got wrong.  As Warzel wrote earlier this week, in a piece titled "The New York Times Can't Figure Out Where Nazis Come From in 2017. Pepe Has an Answer": 

    "Save for a passing mention of 4chan and some description of Hovater's more contentious Facebook posts, the Times piece does little to describe the online ecosystem that has helped white nationalists, neo-Nazis, and the alt-right organize, amplify its message, and thrive in recent years. And, simply put, any attempt to answer what exactly led Hovater to "gravitate toward the furthest extremes of American political discourse" is incomplete without it."

  • Thursday, November 23, 2017 11:00pm

    Science fiction has always been an outlet for our greatest anxieties. This week, we delve into how the genre is exploring the reality of climate change. Plus: new words to describe the indescribable.

    1. Jeff VanderMeer [@jeffvandermeer], author of the Southern Reach Trilogy and Borne, on writing about the relationships between people and nature.

    2. Claire Vaye Watkins [@clairevaye] talks about Gold Fame Citrus, her work of speculative fiction in which an enormous sand dune threatens to engulf the southwest. 

    3. Kim Stanley Robinson discusses his latest work, New York 2140. The seas have risen 50 feet and lower Manhattan is submerged. And yet, there's hope.

    4. British writer Robert Macfarlane [@RobGMacfarlane] on new language for our changing world. 

    Throughout the show: listeners offer their own new vocabulary for the Anthropocene era. Many thanks to everyone who left us voice memos!