Listening Tip: This Week's On The Media

Editor’s Note: This article previously appeared in a different format as part of The Atlantic’s Notes section, retired in 2021.

Week in and week out, I’m a fan of NPR’s On the Media. But this week’s episode, which I listened to just now while back in DC and out for a blissful summer-evening run on the American University track, is really worth going out of your way to hear.

Two highlights: an interview with the irrepressible Felix Salmon on the utter stupidity of reporting minute-by-minute fluctuations in the stock market, especially when it plummets as it recently has. I wasn’t in a position to take notes while running, but it was full of little chestnuts to the effect of: The Dow Jones average shouldn’t matter to anyone, ever. And: Journalists invent “reasons” why the market goes up and down, because we all dread the existential horror of recognizing that these movements truly are random.

Part of the On the Media checklist for avoiding stock-market panic.

The other is an exposé of the marketing spin and quasi-scientific hucksterism behind the “female Viagra” pill. This will make you angry and/or embarrassed for everyone involved, especially those presenting this as a “women’s equality” issue. And several other good features too. Check it out.

* * *

Part of the grand-strategic concept behind our Notes section is to bring back, to the stately web, discussions that otherwise would confine themselves to Twitter. This is one such case!