Earlier this month, Ronna McDaniel, Chairwoman of the Republican National Committee, wrote a letter to the Commission on Presidential Debates—the independent, bipartisan organization that has convened general election debates since the 1980's. In her letter, McDaniel said that the RNC would boycott the presidential debates during the upcoming election cycle. That is – unless the commission was willing to meet its demands. The move is the latest refusal by Republicans to meet political norms. And it also poses the question: What – if anything – would be lost if the presidential debates didn’t happen? Brooke spoke to Alex Shephard, staff writer at The New Republic who's article on the subject was titled: “Let the Presidential Debates Die.”
It’s been over a year since Donald Trump was defeated fair and square in the 2020 election, but polling shows that belief in the Big Lie is as strong as ever. On this week’s On the Media, hear journalists debate how to interview Americans convinced by this dangerous myth. Plus, find out why one political linguist isn’t sure the press can pull democracy back from the brink.
1. Matthew Sitman [@MatthewSitman], host of the Know Your Enemy podcast, shares his tips for interviewing right-wing intellectuals. Listen.
2. Bill Kristol [@BillKristol], editor-at-large of The Bulwark, reckons with 'Stop the Steal'-ers in his party. Listen.
3. Astead Herndon [@AsteadWesley], national politics reporter at the The New York Times, on why he'd rather interview a 'Big Lie'-believing voter than a politician. Listen.
4. George Lakoff [@GeorgeLakoff], linguist and cognitive scientist, reflects on the "truth sandwich." Listen.
Bewitched, Bothered and Bewildered by Brad MehldauCellar Door by Michael AndrewsCello Song by Nick DrakeBoy Moves the Sun by Michael AndrewsI’m Not Following You by Michael AndrewsWhite Man Sleeps I by Kronos QuartetLove Angel by Marcos CiscarTraveling Music by Kronos Quartet
Snow...in the tropics?
This week we are airing another episode from the show "La Brega"a podcast about life in Puerto Rico and hosted by former OTM producer Alana Casanova-Burgess.
During the early 1950s, the children of Puerto Rico were invited to an icy winter spectacle. Mayor Felisa Rincón de Gautier, the charismatic mayor of San Juan, arranged for Eastern Airlines to bring a plane-load of snow for a snowball fight in the city. It was a feat that has become legend for a whole generation. But while this winter wonderland came to San Juan free of charge, it wasn't without a cost.
In this special episode of La Brega, we learn how the snow was actually transported to San Juan from Hilda Jimenez, Doña Fela’s assistant. And we hear from some of the people who experienced it up-close. Ignacio Rivera (of the radio program Fuego Cruzado) was 8 years old and threw snowballs; the artist Antonio Martorell remembers that too, but also sees the event as part of Puerto Rico’s troubling colonial relationship with the United States. Seventy years later – when ice is at an even greater premium – journalist and author Ana Teresa Toro says Puerto Rico is still grappling with how to understand that special delivery.
To learn more about Doña Fela, we recommend a visit to the Casa Museo Felisa Rincón de Gautier.
You can learn more about Antonio Martorell in a recent documentary called El Accidente Feliz. His portrait of the mayor is here.
The snowball fight is also the subject of a piece by the artist Sofía Gallisá Muriente, called Lluvia con nieve, now part of Whitney's collection.
Ana Teresa Toro’s new book of poetry is “Flora animal.”
A Question of War
Since the insurrection on January 6, warnings of a second American Civil War have been sounded. This week, On the Media explores whether the civil war talk is an alarmist cry, or actually a sober assessment. Plus, hear how the myth of “the Dark Ages” paints an unfair portrait of medieval times.
1. David Remnick, editor of The New Yorker and host of the New Yorker Radio Hour, on the risk of second civil war. Listen.
2. Barbara Walter [@bfwalter], professor of International Relations at the University of California, San Diego, on the tell-tale signs that a country is headed for insurgence. Listen.
3. Charlie Warzel [@cwarzel], journalist and contributing writer at The Atlantic, on when journalists should sound the alarm (and how loud we should ring it). Listen.
4. David M. Perry [@Lollardfish] and Matthew Gabriele [@prof_gabriele], authors of The Bright Ages: A New History of Medieval Europe, on how the Dark Ages might have not been so dark. Listen.
Wade in the Water by Hank Jones and Charlie HadenThe Glass House - Marjane’s Inspiration by David BergeaudSeinfeld Theme - Jonathan WolffLowland’s Away by Gregory Blavenz - The Us Army Fife And Drum CorpsHarpsichord - Four TetAd summan missam: Santus II by Ensemble Aeolus
Is New York Times v Sullivan on the Chopping Block?