Recently in On the Media Podcast

OTM Goes Inside Washington

Friday, May 09, 2014

OTM has traveled the world exploring the nexus of media and society, reaching such far off places as Russia, China, and Egypt. But the center of American politics and power had been overlooked—until now. This week Bob travels to Washington, DC to investigate perception and reality, money and celebrity and the evolving role of the media in the nation’s capital.

TLDR #24 - The Million Dollar Homepage

Monday, May 05, 2014

In 2005, Alex Tew was a 21-year-old entrepreneur who wanted to make a million dollars before college. The only problem was he had literally nothing of value to sell. So he made The Million Dollar Homepage -- possibly the most ambitiously garish website ever created.

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Portraying Medicine: The Perils of Painting By Numbers

Friday, May 02, 2014

A special hour of stories about reporting on medical science. The misreporting of the effect of vaccines on autism, tracking retractions in medical journals, and a century old hoax that went uncorrected for forty years.

TLDR #23 - A Bitcoin Story for People Who Don't Care About Bitcoin

Sunday, April 27, 2014

When Wired reporter Andy Greenberg read Newsweek's cover story claiming to have found mysterious Bitcoin creator Satoshi Nakamoto, he was disappointed. Not so much that the mystery had been solved, but that the answer to the search was not all that interesting. But then, as the Newsweek started getting picked apart, he got a tip about another possible Bitcoin creator: a very ill, very brilliant cryptographer named Hal Finney. 

Andy Greenberg is the author of This Machine Kills Secrets: How WikiLeakers, Cypherpunks, and Hacktivists Aim to Free the World's Information.

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CNN's Malaysia Air Obsession, Bad Political Memoirs, and More

Friday, April 25, 2014

CNN's never-ending coverage of the lost Malaysian Airlines plane, an FCC blow to net neutrality, and why there are so many terrible political memoirs.

TLDR #22 - What Happens When You Tell The Whole Internet Your Password

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Earlier this week, a commenter named Y. Woodman Brown posted his online passwords in the Washington Post comments section to show just how little his online security mattered to him. It was quickly picked up by the press as an example of online security hubris. Naturally, we had to find him. Alex talks to Y. Woodman Brown and the person who hijacked his Twitter account after the passwords were posted.

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ROBOTS! (and artificial intelligence)

Friday, April 18, 2014

A special theme hour - starring a computer competing against a comedian for laughs, the Army's recruitment chatbot, and Google crushing on robots. 

TLDR #21 - There Is No Such Thing As Silence

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Continuing our expose into the very hush-hush world of Silence, we look at an app that promises to deliver you four minutes and thirty-three seconds of silence. PJ talks to Larry Larson, who helped design the 4'33" app.


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Attacking the Koch Brothers, Remembering Rwandan Genocide, and More

Friday, April 11, 2014

A fond farewell to Stephen Colbert's character, remembering the genocide in Rwanda 20 years ago, and a report on the skin lightening industry.

TLDR #20 - Silence

Monday, April 07, 2014

A band called Vulfpeck has asked fans to stream an entire album of silence on Spotify while they sleep, so the band can use the royalties to tour without charging for their shows. So far, the scheme has worked. We talk to Vulfpeck's Jack Stratton about hustling as a musician on the internet.

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Punishing Propagandists, Covering Climate Change, and More

Friday, April 04, 2014

A conversation with former FCC commissioner Michael J. Copps, communicating climate change to the public, and EU sanctions against Russia's chief propagandist.

Obamacare In Spanish, Cartographers vs. The World, and More

Friday, March 28, 2014

The Obamacare advertising blitz tries to reach the young and uninsured, the annexation of Crimea creates a dilemma for map makers, and the history of those ubiquitous online quizzes. 

Cold War 2.0, The Guardians of the Internet, and More

Friday, March 21, 2014

Russia's new propaganda war, not-so-private metadata, and the people with the keys to the internet.

#19 - Project Flame

Thursday, March 20, 2014

In 1966, a bored college freshman created Project Flame, an early computer dating system that promised to pair lonely hearts. Project Flame was an overnight sensation. The only problem was that the guy who founded didn't have a computer. Or any idea how to use one. 

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Covering a missing airplane, Copyright in outer space, and more

Friday, March 14, 2014

How the media are covering the story of the missing Malaysia Airlines flight, the re-birth of the First Amendment, and copyright law in outer space.

TLDR #18 - The Army's Robot Recruiter

Monday, March 10, 2014

Sgt. Star is the army’s robot. Specifically, he’s a chatbot designed to influence potential recruits to enlist in the US Army. So how do we feel about that? Alex talks to the Army and a reporter who's covered recruitment abuses to figure out if we're better or worse off for having a Siri who can talk us into going to war.

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The Crisis in Crimea, Dissent on Russia Today, Streaming Media and More

Friday, March 07, 2014

The effort to preserve journalistic freedom during the Crimean crisis. Plus, Bob Garfield issues a special report on the streaming video revolution.

TLDR #17 - Hey, Guess What? I Found Truth For Us

Monday, March 03, 2014

Last fall, TLDR covered a bunch of hoaxes. Some we liked, most we didn't. On this episode, we talk to Paulo Ordoveza and Adrienne LaFrance, a couple of people who have devoted themselves to trying to debunk the innumerable falsehoods flying around the internet.

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Secrecy at the Border

Friday, February 28, 2014

A look at the suspension of rights at the border, murkiness of border policies, and lack of answers from the federal government.

TLDR #16 - *Win a Million Dollar Mansion From Your HOME COMPUTER*

Sunday, February 23, 2014

"Sweepers" are people who spend their free time entering hundreds of online sweepstakes -- the contests most of us skip because we're sure they're all scams. It turns out, we're wrong. Some people win big. Reporter Laura Mayer takes us into the online sweepstakes universe.

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