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What is real is no longer a question for philosophers alone. In today's world, it's a question we all contend with on a daily basis. Online, on television, in print and in public discourse, facts, feelings, and flat-out lies all share the same stage.

Donkey Hotey / Creative Commons

Conservative media giant Sinclair Broadcast Group will reach 72 percent of American homes with televisions if they're allowed to acquire Tribune Media. The president likes the idea - even as it breaks current FCC rules that no TV station owners should reach beyond 39 percent of homes. No wonder he likes it. A new analysis shows President Trump does better in areas lacking a trusted news outlet. 

After weeks of remaining conspicuously out of sight, Facebook Chief Operating Officer Sheryl Sandberg told NPR's Steve Inskeep that she doesn't know if companies other than Cambridge Analytica exploited users' private data without their consent.

"We don't know," she said, leaning into a black leather swivel chair at the company's headquarters in Menlo Park, Calif., on Thursday.

Sandberg said Facebook has launched an investigation and audit to determine whether user information has been compromised by other firms.

Brett Streutker / Flickr

As secular attitudes increase around the world and beliefs in the supernatural decline, how is it that the demand for exorcisms has never been higher?

In America and across Europe, the Catholic Church is struggling to keep up. And as the Vatican is busy teaching courses to train new exorcists, the question remains: Why now?

This hour we speak with a historian, a psychiatrist, and an officially sanctioned exorcist to unravel the mystery behind the twenty-first-century resurgence of this age-old Catholic practice.

GUESTS:

Updated 1:04 p.m. ET

The "substantial doubt" that iHeartMedia's corporate leaders expressed around the company's likelihood of surviving another year, mentioned in its quarterly financial report last November, has been put to rest.

A phone with social media apps
Ryan Caron King / WNPR

Are you constantly pulling out your phone to check that notification from Instagram or Facebook? If so, you’re not alone—nearly seven in ten American adults are on social media, according to a recent Pew survey.

This hour: social media has made our world smaller, but do virtual networks make us feel more connected? A recent study found that those who spend more time on social media actually tend to feel more socially isolated. We ask researchers and a psychiatrist why.

Marco Arment (Flickr Creative Commons)

In the wake of the school shooting earlier this month in Florida, many are trying to make sense of the tragedy.

Last week, President Donald Trump suggested that violent video games and movies are the real culprit. But does the research back up the president's theory?

An outside legal review of NPR's handling of allegations against its former top news executive, Michael Oreskes, found that questions were raised about his behavior toward women even before he was hired. And concerns about misconduct were reportedly flagged throughout Oreskes' 2 1/2-year tenure at the network right up to the day he was fired.

Erik Drost / Creative Commons

There have been some really great Super Bowl ads over the last 35 years. They changed the way we spoke and the way ads were created and consumed.

JT / Flickr

Americans like to argue, a lot. In politics, in media, and in society at large, arguing has (arguably) become the default means by which we handle disagreement. But is it the most effective way, and has our readiness to wage a war with words gotten out of hand?

TonyNetone / Creative Commons

The central question in Special Counsel Robert Mueller's investigation is whether a foreign agent interfered in our electoral process and whether the Trump campaign colluded in that effort. 

Mort Walker, the renowned comic strip artist best known for his cartoon depicting the high jinks of the loafing Army private "Beetle Bailey," died Saturday at the age of 94 at his home in Stamford, Conn.

Walker drew Beetle Bailey as a daily comic strip for 68 years, making him the longest-running artist in the medium's history, according to a statement from King Features, which performed the original syndication for the strip.

Updated at 5:02 p.m. ET

The Los Angeles Times has given prominent coverage to recent revelations of sexual harassment of women by prominent men, particularly in entertainment and media. Yet a review by NPR finds that the newspaper's own CEO and publisher, Ross Levinsohn, has been a defendant in two sexual harassment lawsuits and that his conduct in work settings over the past two decades has been called into question repeatedly by female colleagues.

On the Friday before Christmas, Fox News confirmed that its chief Washington correspondent, James Rosen, had left the network. He had worked there for 18 years and become something of a legend. The U.S. Justice Department under the Obama administration was so frustrated by his reporting on U.S. intelligence about North Korea that it conducted a leak investigation into his sources.

Kris Krüg/PopTech / flickr creative commons

Kurt Andersen's new book is Fantasyland: How America Went Haywire. It's a 500-year history "of America jumping the shark." The idea, largely, is that our present post-fact, fake-news moment is... nothing new.

This hour, we look back at the history. We look at our present -- which is to say, we look at our present president: "To describe [Trump] is practically to summarize this book," Andersen says in Fantasyland. And we wonder if there's any way to regain and retain reality in America.

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