The Peabody Award-winning On the Media podcast is your guide to examining how the media sausage is made. Host Brooke Gladstone examines threats to free speech and government transparency, cast a skeptical eye on media coverage of the week’s big stories and unravel hidden political narratives in everything we read, watch and hear.
We Don't Talk About Leonard: Episode 1
In this first episode of our new miniseries, We Don't Talk About Leonard, ProPublica reporters Andrea Bernstein, Andy Kroll, and Ilya Marritz investigate the background of the man who has played a critical role in the conservative takeover of America's courts — Leonard Leo. From his humble roots in middle class New Jersey, to a mansion in Maine where last year he hosted a fabulous party on the eve of the Supreme Court decision to tank “Roe.”
1. The night before the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade, Leonard Leo threw a lavish party at his house in Maine. Listen.
2. Leonard Leo's journey from a high-schooler with the nickname "Moneybags Kid" to a high-ranking member of the Federalist Society. Listen.
3. Leonard Leo and the Federalist Society turn their attention to the state supreme courts. Listen.
This podcast was created in partnership with ProPublica, a nonprofit newsroom that investigates abuses of power. Sign up to receive their biggest stories as soon as they’re published.
The Story Behind Gannett's AI Debacle
In late August, Gannett, the country’s largest newspaper company, rolled out a new artificial intelligence service that promised to automate high school sports coverage across the country. And within a matter of days it had gone horribly wrong. People on Twitter quickly discovered that bizarre phrases like “close encounters of the athletic kind,” or how one team “took victory away” from another, had shown up on Gannett news sites in Florida, Indiana, Georgia, Ohio, Kentucky, and Tennessee. As Scott Simon explained on NPR, in some of these AI articles there were robotic place holders where there should’ve been a mascot’s name.
Jay Allred is the CEO of Source Media Properties, which includes Richland Source, a local news organization in Ohio, and LedeAI, the company that built the technology that Gannett was using to automate its high school coverage. For the midweek podcast, OTM correspondent Micah Loewinger speaks with Jay about what went wrong, why he wanted to build this technology in the first place, and whether this disaster had shaken his belief in its potential.
Suing to Save the Planet, and How Climate Activism Got a Bad Rap
Thousands of protesters descended on New York as the United Nations convened its Climate Summit. On this week’s On the Media, hear how Big Oil is being taken to court for lying to the public about fossil fuels. Plus, a look at a global network of think tanks that’s been vilifying climate activism for decades.
1. Rebecca Leber [@rebleber], senior climate reporter at Vox, on why some climate activists are turning to lawsuits to make change. Listen.
2. Amy Westervelt [@amywestervelt], host and producer of the podcast Drilled, on how a network of think tanks is shaping perceptions of peaceful climate activism as dangerous and extreme. Listen.
3. Leah Sottile [@Leah_Sottile], extremism reporter and the host of the podcast Burn Wild, on how eco-terrorism became security priority for the U.S. government. Listen.
Music:Il Casanova de Federico Fellini - Nino RotaPrelude 8: The Invisibles - John Zorn
It’s Raining - Irma Thomas
Middlesex Times - Donnie Darko - Michael Andrews Way Down in the Hole - Tom WaitsPuck - John ZornFinal Retribution -John Zorn
The “Too Old” President and Political Doppelgängers
The House has opened a formal impeachment inquiry into President Biden. On this week’s On the Media, find out exactly what Republicans are looking for–and why they should’ve already found it. Plus, geriatric men are the likely presidential nominees. Is there such a thing as “too old” for the job?
1. Stephen Collinson [@StCollinson], CNN senior political reporter, on the impact of a baseless impeachment inquiry on the institution of Presidential impeachments. Listen.
2. James Fallows [@JamesFallows], writer of the “Breaking the News'' newsletter on Substack, and the former chief speechwriter for the Carter administration, on if the press is tackling the age question correctly. Listen.
3. Dr. Steven N. Austad [@StevenAustad], The University of Alabama at Birmingham’s Protective Life Endowed Chair in Healthy Aging Research, on what the science of aging can tell us about a potential Biden second term. Listen.
4. Naomi Klein [@NaomiAKlein], journalist and author of Doppelganger: A Trip into the Mirror World, on being confused for writer and conspiracist Naomi Wolf for much of her career, and her exploration of doppelgangers and the mirror world the other Naomi inhabits. Listen.
Music:72 Degrees and Sunny - Thomas NewmanEye Surgery - Thomas Newman
Lost Night - Bill Frisell
Young at Heart - Brad Mehldau TrioDisfarmer Little Girl - Bill FrissellPavane, Op. 50 - Gabriel Faure - Academy of St. Martin in the FieldsThe First Time Ever I saw Your Face - Bert Jansch
How 9/11 Broke Our Brains
Twenty-two years ago, two planes crashed into the Twin Towers. Another plane hit the Pentagon, and another crashed in Pennsylvania — killing nearly 3,000 people in total. The attacks became the pretense for a sprawling, ongoing war on terror that has directly and indirectly claimed some 4.5 million lives in post-9/11 war zones, including Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iraq, Syria, and Yemen, according to a 2023 estimate from Brown University.
In his 2021 podcast, 9/12, Dan Taberski brought us the story of a documentary filmmaker named Dylan Avery, whose 2005 film Loose Change helped embolden the 9/11 Truther Movement. In this piece, OTM reporter Micah Loewinger speaks with Taberski about Loose Change, and the complicated notoriety it brought to Avery. He also interviews Korey Rowe, a producer on Loose Change, about how Google Video helped it become the internet's first viral film. Then, Micah speaks with Charles B Strozier, author of Until the Fires Stopped Burning: 9/11 and New York City in the Words and Experiences of Survivors and Witnesses, about the moment when exactly 9/11 conspiracy theories broke into the mainstream.
This segment originally aired in our September 10th, 2021 program, Aftershocks.
Another Proud Boy Goes to Jail and A Media War in 1980's NYC
This week a former Proud Boys leader received the longest prison sentence for the insurrection so far. On this week’s On the Media, why conspiracy theories that the FBI planned January 6 live on. Plus, in the aftermath of a 1984 subway shooting, hear how the New York press crowned the gunman a hero.
1. Tess Owen [@misstessowen], senior reporter at Vice News, on the latest fallout from the January 6th insurrection. Listen.
2. Leon Neyfakh [@leoncrawl], host of the podcast Fiasco: Vigilante, available exclusively on Audible, on how the press covered a notorious and divisive 1984 New York City subway shooting. Listen.
My guiding star
OTM’s critical lens towards the media has been a huge help to my understanding of the systems underneath the noise. From their series on poverty in America to their coverage of the Trump presidency, I am an avid fan.
On the Media
I am so happy to have found your site where I can again listen to your podcast. I was so disappointed when OPB dropped your podcast.
A great show
Glad to be able to resubscribe after recently learning that Brooke Gladstone is now the sole host. An incisive, illuminating, and intelligent analysis of media matters - and why it matters.