Bad Reputation


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The 2020 Democratic field is the most diverse ever, and five women are running to be the party’s presidential nominee. This week, we look at the sexist coverage of female candidates with a new Breaking News Consumer's Handbook: Gender and Politics Edition. Then, a re-examination of a 90's tabloid spectacle, Lorena Gallo (Lorena Bobbitt), arrested for cutting her husband's penis off after he raped her. Plus, how Black History Month undermines black history. 
  1. Lili Loofbourow [@Millicentsomer], staff writer at Slate, on the sexist coverage of women in politics. Listen.
  2. Joshua Rofé [@joshua_rofe], filmmaker, and Lorena Gallo (FKA Lorena Bobbitt) on the new documentary "Lorena." Listen.

  3. Doreen St. Félix [@dstfelix], staff writer at The New Yorker, on the commercialization of Black History Month. Listen.

Songs: The Crave by Jelly Roll Morton Juliet of Spirits by Nino Rota and Eugene Walter Okami by Nicola Continue reading "Bad Reputation"

The World’s Biggest Problem


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At Tuesday's State of the Union, President Trump continued to call for a wall at the southern border. Meanwhile, some Democrats point to the real crisis: climate change. A look at the messaging of urgency and hope around the Green New Deal. And, a former mentor to Mark Zuckerberg lays out his deep criticisms of Facebook. Then, a Facebook employee makes the case for one potential solution. Plus, a new documentary about Pete Hamill and Jimmy Breslin, two New York City reporters, who helped turn column writing into an art form. 1. Kate Aronoff [@KateAronoff], contributing writer with The Intercept, on how Democrats are selling the urgent need to address climate change. Listen. 2. Roger McNamee [@Moonalice], author of Zucked: Waking Up to the Facebook Catastrophe, on the damage that Facebook has done. Listen.
  1. Andy O'Connell [@facebook], manager of content distribution and algorithm policy at Facebook, Continue reading "The World’s Biggest Problem"

The Too-Good-To-Be-True Cancer Cure


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Despite steadily declining rates of cancer deaths over the past two decades, cancer remains responsible for 1 in every 6 deaths worldwide. It’s a scourge. So when, this week, an Israeli company called Accelerated Evolution Biotechnologies captured the news cycle with promises of a complete cure for cancer within the year, the story caught fire. The company’s technology is called “MuTaTo” — that's multi-target toxin. And, to judge from the news media this week, it seems vetted, verified and veering us all toward a cancer-free future. Reports began in the Jerusalem Post, but quickly took off, making their way into various Murdoch-owned publications like FOX and the New York Post and landing in local news outlets around the country and the globe. A couple days into the fanfare, the skeptics started coming out: for one thing, as oncologist David Gorski points out in his blog “Respectful Insolence,” Continue reading "The Too-Good-To-Be-True Cancer Cure"

Misery in the Name of Liberty


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The Venezuelan press has been facing repression for years. This week, On the Media explores how journalists in the country are struggling to cover the standoff between two men who claim to be president. Also, how both the history of American interventionism and the legacy of Simón Bolívar color coverage of Venezuela. Plus, a critical look at the images coming out of Chinese internment camps. 1. Mariana Zuñiga [@marazuniga], freelance reporter based in Caracas, on her experience covering Venezuela's presidential standoff. Listen
  1. Miguel Tinker Salas [@mtinkersalas], professor of history at Pomona College, on the legacy of Simón Bolívar. Listen.
  2. Stephen Kinzer [@stephenkinzer], professor of international relations at Brown University, on the history of American intervention in Latin America. Listen

  3. Rian Thum [@RianThum], senior research fellow at the University of Nottingham, on the internment of Uighurs by Continue reading "Misery in the Name of Liberty"

Close Encounters


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The Lincoln Memorial debacle showed how vulnerable the press are to a myriad of social and political forces. This week, we examine how the outrage unfolded and what role MAGA hat symbolism might have played. And, a graphic photo in the New York Times spurs criticism. Plus, a reality show that attempts to bridge the gap between indigenous people and white Canadians. 
  1. Bob's thoughts on where the Lincoln Memorial episode has left us. Listen.

  2. Charlie Warzel [@cwarzel], tech writer, on the zig-zagging meta-narratives emerging from the Lincoln Memorial episode, and the role played by right-wing operatives. Listen.

  3. Jeannine Bell [@jeanninelbell], professor at Indiana University's Maurer School of Law, on MAGA hat symbology. Listen.

  4. Kainaz Amaria [@kainazamaria], visuals editor at Vox, on the Times' controversial decision to publish a bloody photo following the January 15 attack in Nairobi, Kenya. Listen.

  5. Vanessa Continue reading "Close Encounters"

The Giant Referendum On Everything


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For the past month, journalists have been reporting on the anxieties of furloughed federal workers. This week, On the Media learns that many reporters face a new threat to their own job security. Plus, an on-screen dramatization of Brexit, and a likely sea-change in Youtube's rankings. 
  1. Dave Krieger [@DaveKrieger], former editorial page director of the Boulder Daily Camera, on the latest newspaper target of vulture capitalism. Listen.

  2. James Graham [@mrJamesGraham], screenwriter of "Brexit," on his star-studded depiction of an urgent, present-day dispute. Listen.

  3. Matthew Goodwin [@GoodwinMJ], professor of politics and international relations at the University of Kent, on why so many people got the Brexit narrative wrong. Listen.

  4. Clay Shirky [@cshirky], Ajey Nagar [@CarryMinati], Sarah Moore [@sarahlynn_1995] and others on the global culture war over PewDiePie and T-Series. Listen.

Everything Is Fake


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On Thursday, President Trump flew down to McAllen, Texas to push his pro-wall, anti-immigrant narrative. This week, On the Media examines how the community tells a more welcoming story about the border — and a dogged presidential fact-checker joins us to pick apart the Oval Office address. Plus, how some progressives used Russian election interference tactics against a right-wing senate campaign. Also, is everything online fake? 
  1. Lorenzo Zazueta [@lorenzozazueta], immigration reporter for The Monitor in McAllen, Texas, on the theatrics of a political border visit. Listen.

  2. Daniel Dale [@ddale8], Washington bureau chief for the Toronto Star, fact-checks President Trump's Oval Office address. Listen.

  3. Scott Shane [@ScottShaneNYT], national security reporter for the New York Times, on the Russian interference social media tactics used by some progressives in the run-up to the 2017 Alabama special senate election. Listen.

  4. Matt Osborne Continue reading "Everything Is Fake"

The Worst Thing We’ve Ever Done


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After World War II, Germany and the Allied powers took pains to make sure that its citizens would never forget the country’s dark history. But in America, much of our past remains hidden or rewritten. This week, Brooke visits Montgomery, Alabama, home to The Legacy Museum and the National Memorial for Peace and Justice, a new museum and memorial created by the Equal Justice Initiative that aim to bring America’s history of segregation and racial terror to the forefront.
  1. Brooke talks to the Equal Justice Initiative's [@eji_org] Bryan Stevenson about what inspired him to create The Legacy Museum and memorial and to historian Sir Richard Evans [@RichardEvans36] about the denazification process in Germany after World War II. Listen.
  2. Brooke visits The Legacy Museum and National Memorial for Peace and Justice. Listen.

  3. Brooke speaks again with Bryan Stevenson about his own history and America's ongoing struggle to confront our Continue reading "The Worst Thing We’ve Ever Done"

The Seen and the Unseen


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Two weeks ago, a seven-year-old girl died in Customs and Border Patrol custody. This week, On the Media considers how coverage of her death has resembled previous immigration story cycles. Plus, we make an year-end review of cabinet officials shown the door as the result of investigative reporting — and we honor the 80 journalists killed around the globe this year. Also, we explore the subversive, revolutionary art of Hilma af Klint.
    Aura Bogado [@aurabogado], immigration reporter at Reveal, on the conditions migrants experience when they cross the border and the importance of hearing them in their own words. Listen. Columbia Journalism Review's Jon Allsop [@Jon_Allsop] on how reporters have cut through the noise of the Trump administration to uncover stories with impact. Listen. Brooke on this year's slain journalists and the risks they took in pursuit of their reporting. Listen. Tracey Bashkoff, curator at the Guggenheim Museum, walks Brooke through an Continue reading "The Seen and the Unseen"

What We Learned — And Didn’t Learn — From the Pentagon Papers


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In 1971, federal investigators convened two grand juries to investigate, among other things, the publishing, by major newspapers, of thousands of pages of secret government documents reviewing the history from 1945 on, of the still ongoing war in Vietnam.  The Pentagon Papers' consequences were vast — including that historic effort by the federal government to investigate — under the Espionage Act — staffers at the Washington Post, the New York Times, and the Boston Globe. As tends to be the case with sprawling grand jury cases, the investigators’ questions and methods remain a secret. But Jill Lepore hopes to change that. On Monday of this week, Lepore — Harvard historian, New Yorker staff writer, and author of These Truths: A History of the United Statesasked a federal court to order the release of documents related to those grand juries. “Why and when was the investigation opened?” Lepore Continue reading "What We Learned — And Didn’t Learn — From the Pentagon Papers"

Do Not Pass Go


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Over a week after the midterms, there's uncertainty in key races in Florida and Georgia. We examine the pervasive conspiracy theories around vote counting. Plus, Amazon has concluded their infamous HQ2 search. At the time, it seemed like a reality show contest. What did it cost the participants? Also, how Amazon fits into a history of anti-trust attitudes in the U.S. And, a look back at a time when capitalism squared off against Jim Crow — and won. 
  1. Will Sommer [@willsommer] digs into the conspiratorial buzz around the Florida recounts and how right-wing media is fueling doubt. Listen.
  2. David Dayen [@ddayen] talks about Amazon's HQ2 sweepstakes and what the contest may have cost participants and the public. Listen.

  3. Stacy Mitchell [@stacyfmitchell] goes through the history of anti-trust regulation and where Amazon fits in as a monopoly. Listen.

  4. Sears once disrupted Continue reading "Do Not Pass Go"

Tucker Carlson Calls CNN Hypocrites on Free Speech: They ‘Led the Campaign’ Against Alex Jones


This post is by Caleb Howe from Mediaite


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On Fox News on Wednesday night, Tucker Carlson said that CNN is one of the “greatest enemies” of free speech, citing their reporting on Alex Jones as one example, arguing that the network is now posing as a First Amendment defender in light of Jim Acosta‘s banishment. “In the past couple of days, you’ve heard a lot of pumping and puffing about free speech and freedom of the press, and how those freedoms are currently imperiled by the White House, and to be clear, we are for free speech. Unfettered, absolute free speech.” he began. “And we cannot help but notice that some of free speech’s greatest enemies are now posing as its defenders, all of a sudden.” That’s when he turned to CNN. “Take CNN, for example. It was a CNN that almost single-handedly led the campaign to have broadcaster Alex Jones banished from the Internet, Continue reading "Tucker Carlson Calls CNN Hypocrites on Free Speech: They ‘Led the Campaign’ Against Alex Jones"

We’re Not Very Good At This


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America’s divisions are all the more clear after another frenzied news cycle. This week, we ask a historian and a data scientist whether we humans are capable of governing ourselves. Plus, the post-midterm prognosis on climate change, and how our media have often complicated our country’s founding spirit of self-reflection.
  1. Brooke [@OTMBrooke] looks at the Shepard tone of anti-democratic news developments over the past week. Listen.

  2. Kate Aronoff [@KateAronoff], contributing writer at the Intercept, on how climate change fared in this week's midterms. Listen.

  3. Mary Christina Wood, University of Oregon law professor, on the public trust doctrine. Listen.

  4. Jill Lepore, Harvard historian and New Yorker staff writer, on the enduring argument over the role of government in American life. Listen.

  5. Joshua M. Epstein, director of NYU's Agent-Based Modeling Lab, on the computerized models that can teach us about how we behave in groups. Listen.