Brian Lehrer Radio Show 9/12: In The Wake of 9/11… Then & Now…

Out of curiosity, I decided to listen to the episode on the 12th of September due to historical events that happened in New York City the day before in 2001. New York City, where the Brian Lehrer Show originates and is actively recorded, was the kick-starter to our countries transition in security, racial relations, and our systems of immigration on September 11th, 2001 as the Twin Towers collapsed that morning.

The radio show started with a historical sound bite from the mayor of New York at the time of the 9/11 attacks, Rudy Giuliani. His farewell address was spotlighted. This farewell address was dense, but the radio show capitalized on how he addressed the idea of “immigration” in relation to the recently endured attacks. Giuliani told the people that “our greatest strength as a city is immigration […] and keeping ourselves open to people and we should not allow what has happened to us stop that.” Brian then fast forwards time to our 2016 elections and juxtaposes Giuliani’s outlook on immigration and how our president Donald Trump, as apart of his platform, exclaims, in relation to immigration, specifically from Mexico, “They’re bringing drugs. They’re bringing crime. They’re rapists.” This juxtaposition sets of the show perfectly for a segment and discussion on national politics.

The featured guest on the radio segment was a political columnist for The Washington Post named Karen Tumulty. Both her and Brian, along with audience members that called in to participate and engage with the material discussed our current political climate while drawing connections to how 9/11 influenced such climate.

At one point in the segment, a man presented his credentials and then set up his argument, rather than a question per say, in response to Giuliani and how he in the opening of the show.  This audience member said that “Giuliani was to New York what Donald Trump is to the country.” This man became increasingly more passionate and proceeded to tell the listeners on the show how “the speech was a performance” and how “it was not him.” Rudy Giuliani was indeed extremely racially divisive especially after 9/11, not necessarily anti-immigration, but very racist and vindictive. This audience member took on the voice of who he believed to be many holding the same opinion and explained how Giuliani was seen as a divider, not a unifier. This audience member felt very passionate to not ask a question, but to engage with the content and to assure that the argument being presented was well rounded in its representation.

The following audience member did, however, present a question, but said question was still very much fueled with her opinion. This woman asked, “if there is going to be a democratic senate, could they enact a law for presidents to release their tax returns?” This question was addressed immediately by the guest speaker, Karen, who answered this idea of how our current president, Trump, has been lacking in transparency. She then continued to talk about how the recent death of McCain has triggered a conversation about changing the laws about putting forward political figures finances. believed was, honestly, another wholesome interaction. I respect this audience member immensely due to her growth mindset and how, instead of asking about why such a law doesn’t exist, but how we can enact such a law.

The final part of this specific segment involved Bill, an audience member who called in to address the immigration debate that was mentioned towards the beginning of the show. Bill prefaced his argument with the fact that he was pushing back on some ideas mentioned in this particular show. He then introduced himself as a 9/11 first responder. He then got arguably a bit aggressive and suggested that possibly “singing the “kumbaya song” shouldn’t take precedence over the safety of our country.” He then proceeded to say that “special aliens are coming through the borders.” Bill then closed his contribution by blaming 9/11 on the laxity of our immigration law and how lapses in our security are to blame. Bill was then respectfully rebutted by both Karen and Brian and much of their argument Bill agreed with, and he was very quickly brought to weak knees since he was not equipped with necessary facts to support his impassioned stances.

To be completely honest, I was quite impressed with how civilly the audience engaged in the conversation. Taking a step back and realizing how incredibly polarized our country is, I was pleasantly surprised how the audience presented their opinion in a very respectful manner, while still able to portray said opinion and engage in uncomfortable conversation. It was reassuring and enlightening, to say the least, to not only see that people do care enough to hold strong opinions but in contrary to what can be perceived from the surface of our current political climate, people also do care enough to listen to one another on an equal playing field.


This episode was a solid overview and discussion of the recent news on Kavanaugh. It began with some clips from Anita Hill’s hearing. Most of the callers made very valuable contributions to the conversation (especially with Lehrer’s facilitation). Kate Zurnechy who’s covering the story for the New York Times was on as a guest speaker.

I did not call in but I very much appreciated being privy to the conversation.

Fireside Chats, Updated

I felt a distinct sense of nostalgia as I listened to the 9/21 episode with the “ask the mayor” portion. It called back to a time when public officials were more reachable. Imagine the fireside chats, updated to a new format but still similar in so many ways. It was amazing to hear Bill DeBlasio talk and answer questions even when I did not agree with him. One pivotal moment for me was the very simple question of the woman who wanted to tell the mayor that her complaints about tractor trailers. When asked this question the mayor of a city of millions of people stopped and respectfully and completely answered her question. I would presume, because of the cynicism that I have when thinking about the moral fiber of public officials, that he would cast aside a question that might not be as hard hitting, but this format makes sure that he is accountable to all the questions asked.


I watched this live episode, which took place in June and focused on the issue of parent-child separation at the U.S. border.

It was clear from both Brian and his guest’s words that they were firmly against the new border policies. Something that I really appreciated was all the fact-checking that they discussed when it came to recent statements that were made by government officials. I actually learned quite a bit on a subject that I had thought I knew pretty well.

During the show, they received one caller who Brian introduced as a conservative Trump supporter who had a positive view of the separation policy. However, the caller actually spoke about the intersections between protests against this policy and the Black Lives Matter movement. It was clear that he was against the policy and probably a liberal-minded person. After he finished, Brian joked that he must have lied to the screeners.

I thought that was pretty interesting and it makes me wonder how often that must happen. I can see that people who really want to get on the show might claim that they hold a more minority opinion in the hope that they’ll get on. However, I did notice that Brian responded differently to the false caller. With others, he and his guest discussed and considered what the person had said. With this caller, however, he more or less ignored the caller’s words. Aside from joking that the caller had lied to the screeners, he just moved on to another caller that actually was a more conservative person. Does he always ignore false callers like that? Wouldn’t people learn that falsifying their identity means you get ignored? That’s something that, if I were to listen more, I would definitely be looking out for. I have a feeling it would occur way more on highly controversial issues or issues where there is a strong majority opinion among listeners.


I listened to this morning’s (9/24/18) podcast of the Brian Lehrer WNYC. (I didn’t see the memo that I should’ve listened to one of last weeks until it was too late… oh well). This episode talked about, as the title says, politics, hearings, elections, rent laws and kids adventures. I was surprised to see, or hear rather, how the audience participated. Callers were from all walks of life, red or blue. It was a very relieving to hear civil and progressive discussions between people, not parties. Some callers made excellent points, some… not so much. One caller made a very illogical remark regarding the Kavanaugh scandal, saying something strange concerning consent. It was weird, so weird in fact that Brian kind of cut him off. It was nice, because it represented how while Brian will allow voices from all over, he won’t waste air time on someone who will try to defend something obviously wrong. Aside from that, the audience and guest participation was refreshing. Brian would bring up current issues, and callers would offer new perspectives that don’t necessarily fall into either party. Overall the podcast held a great, informative and progressive conversation about current issues in America today. Props to Brian for listening to those who he might disagree with entirely, its something that we don’t see enough these days.


This week’s assignment is to analyze one episode of the 817-766-5138 from the week of September 17th: Analyze one episode of the Brian Lehrer show on WNYC. Listen to the live broadcast, weekdays at 10am-noon. Pay attention to audience participation, what are their questions, how well do you think they engage with the subjects being discussed? Call in with a question or comment, if you feel inclined to.

As of today, it is too late to call in, but you can still listen to the shows online:

It’s also fine if you listened to a different show, not broadcast last week. Write a short blog post describing how the show has engaged with the public. Did callers advance the discussion effectively? Are there issues you think were missed?

This is due on Wednesday September 26th.

Kavanaugh Hearings

I listened to the episode on the Kavanaugh situation because I wanted to learn more about the situation and have a better understanding. I was very interested in the questions brought up.

The questions and discussion with Philip Bump were very intriguing. As a nation, I feel as if we are in desperate need of reassurance and guidance during this troubling time and Philip lended a very strong lens to the situation. The question from the woman who was raped at 16 made me very sad because so many women in America and this world have not much choice in the way their futures play out after a hard incident. There are so many expectations placed on women who have any connection with a politician and it becomes even more complex when the man is trying to earn power and eyes are on him. 

I am interested to see how the hearings play out and will listen to the show to learn more about it. The podcast communicates the material in a very comprehendible manner that is interesting. I think it is very important for citizens to be politically aware and responsible and reading the news daily or listening to podcasts is a great way. 


The topics of homeless, working class and the education in New York were concepts that were talked and answered in interesting ways, especially since from a state that has a clustered population like New York City itself with different boroughs in one small with a big population. As I listened to the questions that were being asked of how we can increase shelter for the homeless, how education has progressed throughout time and better ways to make the area better, I thought that this was very well perceived by Brian Lehrer in how he responded to the questions. Lehrer knew that his questions weren’t going to be all optimistic, but he did what he could to answer to the best of his abilities the questions his callers asked. 

I really liked the way he talked about Democrats and Progressive people need to unite together to do more, especially with the current president and the political system that is of today. Lehrer said that there is a change coming that only the Democrats and Progressive have that can make New York better than it was.

Also, Lehrer discussing how the homeless is a difficult task to reach with people wanting to build more shelter for the homeless, but can’t because of the whole economy giving a certain percentage and can’t fully fix the problem was interesting. Especially with a huge problem like this in New York that is impossible to resolve with the huge population. I really thought the podcast was interesting in the concepts that were being discussed and the questions that were being asked.


I listened to part of the 9/20 live show about Kavanaugh’s accusation. I thought this talk was really interesting because it brought up a lot of interesting questions. One of the best points in my opinion is how much criticism victims get when they decide to come forward. Which is what I think holds a lot of woman from coming forward about what happened to them. Another thing I found really interesting was when they talked about the polygraphs because there are so many controversies when it cones to this.

I had never heard of this show nor have I heard of this case. What I did enjoy from the show was how opened they were to different comments, at least from the bit I listened to. Overall, I think they cover the story pretty well and engage well with their audience. 

(301) 836-7747

I listened to a live segment of the September 20th Brian Lehrer show, which talked about Christine Blasey Ford’s accusation of Brett Kavanaugh. Having never heard of nor listened to the Brian Lehrer show, I wasn’t sure what to expect, but I was pleasantly surprised by this episode; I found myself immersed in a fluid, multi-perspective conversation that was contributed to by the host, the guest, and the callers.

I think what I found most refreshing was a willingness, on the part of all participants in this conversation, to entertain new ideas, angles, and theories. I heard things like, “most women would have a hard time coming forward” with a story like Ford’s — an appreciation for the tough work she was doing by making the accusation — and questions of how to properly corroborate stories like this one without putting the burden of proof on victims. There was a tendency to step into others’ shoes to seek understanding, but to acknowledge that there is no “answer” to these questions. There were no hard-and-fast conclusions about how, for example, Ford might feel about everything that is happening, or whether she’s lying, or anything like that. Instead, it was an examination of the different possibilities and understandings of the events that are unfolding, with new perspectives contributed by each caller. In this way, the podcast was conversational at a level that I find many other news sharing platforms are unable to facilitate.