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


  • Tuesday, June 20, 2017 3:49pm

    On Monday, the Supreme Court ruled that a law denying federal trademark protection to names deemed disparaging is unconstitutional. Justice Samuel Alito wrote in the unanimous decision that “it offends a bedrock First Amendment principle: speech may not be banned on the ground that it expresses ideas that offend.”

    The suit was brought by the Portland dance-rock band The Slants, a group of Asian-American musicians who have taken their name from an ethnic slur and worn it with pride. The musicians sued because when they tried to register trademark for their name, the US Patent and Trademark Office said, “The Slants? No no no no no no."

    Bob spoke to the founder of The Slants, Simon Tam, exactly 2 years ago, when the band had just lost its appeal at the Federal Circuit Court.

  • Thursday, June 15, 2017 11:00pm

    Become a member of the On the Media community today. Sign up to donate just $7 a month and we'll send you a copy of Brooke's new book "The Trouble with Reality". Donate now

    After the politically charged shooting at a Virginia baseball field this week, a look at how politicians and the press blamed everyone from Democrats to William Shakespeare. Plus, trying to get behind the secret deliberation over the Republican healthcare bill with Senator Ron Wyden, and Puerto Rico's search for new words and symbols to define itself.

    1. Following the shooting in Virginia, Bob offers a Breaking News Consumer's Handbook: Political Violence Edition.

    2. The Guardian's Lois Beckett on what critics of The Public Theater's production of "Julius Caesar" get wrong and why theater is so essential in our current political moment.

    3. Senator Ron Wyden on attempts by Republicans to form healthcare policy in secret.

    4. Bob on the Trump administration's adherence to talking points regarding ongoing investigations.

    5. Slate's Dahlia Lithwick on how the courts are contending with Trump's tweets.

    6. On the Media producer Alana Casanova-Burgess on Puerto Rico's attempt to clarify its identity through new words and symbols.

  • Wednesday, June 14, 2017 1:00am

    This week Attorneys General from DC and Maryland alleged in a lawsuit that payments by foreign governments to President Trump's businesses violate anti-corruption clauses in the Constitution. With a president who is also a real estate tycoon, reality TV star, and personal brand -- and who actively receives revenue via each of these personae -- the possibilities seem endless for political corruption, particularly in light of the Emoluments Clause of the Constitution, which forbids the receiving of gifts, titles, and emoluments from foreign countries without Congress's consent.

    The problem, according to law professor Jed Shugerman, is that without access to Donald Trump's tax documents, it's impossible to know the full extent of his financial dealings -- and thus difficult to move forward on any potential corruption charges. Bob talks with Shugerman about a legal strategy that could bring Trump's entanglements into the light.

    But Trump's taxes are only necessary if we define "corruption" as the explicit exchange of payments for favor, or "quid pro quo." This definition, which the Supreme Court used in the controversial Citizens United ruling and which countless politicians have leaned on ever since, argues that unless you can demonstrate explicit exchange, you can't prove, or prosecute, corruption.

    But according to Zephyr Teachout, author of Corruption in America, this was never what America's founders envisioned when they set out to fight corruption. Brooke talks with Teachout about the overwhelming passion for anti-corruption present at the founding of the nation, the "bright line" rules it inspired, and how we have drifted so far from our original understanding of the concept.

    Support On the Media as a Sustaining Member today! Sign up to give just $7 send you Brooke's new book "The Trouble with Reality". Donate now

  • Thursday, June 8, 2017 11:00pm

    The Trump administration has been threatening to crack down on leakers for months, and this week, it did. We examine how a news outlet inadvertently helped the government arrest a 25-year-old NSA contractor. Also, the story of how the AP made deals with Nazi Germany for journalistic access. And, a deep look at the dystopian potential of augmented reality. 

    1. Security expert Barton Gellman on how The Intercept may have led the NSA to its source and what leakers need to do to be as safe as possible.

    2. Journalist Matti Friedman on what a recent report detailing the Associated Press's compromises with Nazi Germany can teach us about reporting today; and the Associated Press's John Daniszewski on whether the AP's Nazi cooperation wasn't justified.

    3. Janet Murray, Ken Perlin, Ryan Pamplin, Robin Alter, John Werner, Keith Boesky and Bob on the future of augmented reality, for better or worse.

  • Wednesday, June 7, 2017 1:00am

    Help us meet the OTM listener challenge by becoming a member today! Sign up to donate just $7 a month and you'll unlock $25,000 from the Tow Foundation to support On the Media. Donate now

    A couple of years back Brooke did On House of Cards, a recap show of season 3 of House of Cards. We invited political scientists, journalists, old white house hands and actors from the show to join her to talk about each episode. If you haven’t listened, it definitely holds up (if we say so ourselves).

    On the occasion of the release last week of season five of House of Cards, we thought we’d throwback to the episode where Brooke sat down with Michael Kelly who plays Frank Underwood’s lethally dedicated chief of staff, Doug Stamper.