Recently in On the Media Podcast

Breaking Bad in Spanish, the "Hispanic Walter Cronkite", and More

Friday, July 04, 2014

An exploration of Hispanic media today, including the remaking of popular American shows into Spanish, a conversation with Hispanic TV's star newscaster, and a challenge to Bob and Brooke to discuss it all without sucking.

TLDR #30 - The Russian Troll Army

Sunday, June 29, 2014

Last month, documents surfaced that showed a company called the Internet Research Agency was paying people in Russia to go to an office and post pro-Kremlin comments all day. Alex talks to Buzzfeed's Max Seddon about why they do it, and how successful they actually are at swaying public opinion.

Read More

Comments [18]

Egypt's Press Suppression, True Crime, and More

Friday, June 27, 2014

How the suppression of a free press in Egypt is reversing the course of the Arab Spring, challenging the conventional wisdom on student debt, a defense of True Crime, and more.

ISIS's Media Offensive, Online Death Threats, and What NPR Is (and Isn't)

Friday, June 20, 2014

ISIS's Twitter and television offensive, the effects of language on your morals, and what NPR is and what it isn't. 

TLDR #29 - Olivia Taters, Robot Teenager

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Rob Dubbin accidentally built a teenage girl named Olivia Taters who lives on the internet. She may not always communicate in complete sentences, but she's convincing enough that teenagers actually converse with her. Also, she's very, very funny. PJ talks to Dubbin about how Olivia came into existence, and what she's been talking about lately.

Read More

Comments [1]

The Bergdahl Controversy, The Slenderman Panic, and a Cantor Narrative

Friday, June 13, 2014

This week On the Media analyzes the Bowe Bergdahl controversy - the story of a prisoner exchange that has quickly become a partisan issue. Plus, a conversation with the creator of Slender Man - the online horror meme at the center of at least two deadly assaults. 

TLDR #28 - No Trail

Sunday, June 08, 2014

In February of this year, Philip Welsh of Silver Spring, Maryland, was murdered. His murder remains unsolved, largely because he didn't use the internet, and left no digital trail. Alex talks to Philip's family and reporter Dan Morse about the case.

Read More

Comments [1]

The Snowden Leaks One Year Later

Friday, June 06, 2014

Our fluctuating interest in Snowden and his leaks one year later, your digital life after death, and the viral photo fiction that changed Tom Cruise's career.

TLDR #27 - How Google is Killing the Best Site On the Internet

Monday, June 02, 2014

A couple weeks ago, Matt Haughey, the founder of TLDR's favorite website, Metafilter, announced that his website is dying. And he says it's because Google algorithmically stopped directing traffic to the site over a year ago. Alex tries to figure out what you do when Google's algorithm decides it no longer likes you.

Read More

Comments [4]

The Media after a Massacre, Amazon’s War, and Confessions of a Tabloid Hack

Friday, May 30, 2014

The eerie digital afterlife Elliot Rodger left behind, a former "tabloid hack" dishes about tabloids, and the brains behind #YesAllWomen

TLDR #26 - A Gold Bottle of Champagne The Size of An Adult Human Man

Monday, May 26, 2014

Most people use social networks to present themselves as happier than they really are - it's hard to get an honest read on anyone. But writer Charlie Warzel believes there's a secret method you can use to find out how someone is actually feeling online. On TLDR this week, we try to use Charlie's method to divine the secret heart of Drake, the rapper.

Read More


Experiencing Tragedy at the 9/11 Museum

Friday, May 23, 2014

Balancing visitor experience and harrowing tragedy at the 9/11 Memorial Museum, how the Chinese media are reacting to the Justice Department's hacker indictment, and the often head-spinning reporting of health news.

Covering Nigeria, Russian Censorship, and More

Friday, May 16, 2014

How Boko Haram caught the international media's attention, why The New York Times fired Jill Abramson, and a look back at joke censorship in the Soviet Union.

A Conversation With Veep's Armando Iannucci

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

For OTM's special hour on Washington DC, Bob spoke with Armando Iannucci, the creator and executive producer of HBO's hit comedy "Veep." We liked that conversation so much, we decided to put up an extended cut here. Iannucci tells Bob about his fascination with American politics, how the show manages to capture the unglamorous details of the nation's capital, and why everyone inside the beltway claims to know a "Jonah," but no one claims to be one.

Read More


TLDR #25 - Monsters

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Kim Correa loves the online game DayZ, which lets you interact with other humans during a zombie apocalypse. DayZ's appeal is that it allows weird, spontaneous interactions between players. It also allows really terrible ones. Kim talks about her experience of being raped in a virtual world -- something she doesn't quite know what to do with. We also talk to writer Julian Dibbel, who wrote about how one online community dealt with a virtual rape back in 1993.

Read More

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.

Read More


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.

Read More

Comments [1]

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.