On Point

NEPR NEWS NETWORK: Weekdays 10 – 11 a.m. and 8-10 p.m. (repeats first hour)
  • Hosted by Meghna Chakrabarti, David Folkenflik

NPR’s On Point covers everything from breaking news to ancient poetry, with newsmakers, thinkers, journalists, artists, scientists and ordinary citizens from around the world. Produced at WBUR in Boston.

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QAnon: A Look Inside The Online Conspiracy

13 hours ago

Conspiracy theories have always woven their way through American history. But with the internet, and the emergence of QAnon, they’ve run wild.  


Adrienne LaFrance, executive editor of The Atlantic. (@AdrienneLaF)

This program originally aired on May 18, 2020.

What gives art meaning? Is it the shared experience of taking it in? What impact does physical distancing have on our consumption and appreciation of art, both performance and visual?

Some professional sports are back, but the fans in the stands aren’t. We’ll look at how the games are being played, and if the seasons can continue.  


Jason Gay, sports columnist for the Wall Street Journal. (@jasongay)

Det. Sgt. Heather Taylor joins us to talk about being a Black woman in law enforcement, the violence she’s experienced in her own life, and how that’s shaped her views and hopes for her career and country.


Det. Sgt. Heather Taylorpresident of the Ethical Society of Police, which represents many Black officers in the St. Louis region. Night watch homicide sergeant with the St. Louis Metro Police Department. (@HthrTylr)

James Baldwin's Lessons For America

Jul 29, 2020

We look back on the life and work of the great American writer and thinker James Baldwin.  


Eddie Glaude Jr., chair of the department of African American studies at Princeton University. Author of “Begin Again.” (@esglaude)

What It Takes To Develop A COVID-19 Vaccine

Jul 28, 2020

Vaccine development is complicated. We break down the process from testing to distribution, and bring you the latest on the leading contenders for a COVID-19 vaccine.


Caroline Chen, health care reporter for ProPublica. (@CarolineYLChen)

We know that mothers are often disproportionately responsible for housework and childcare. And that’s even more challenging if you’re working. Now, the pandemic has made parents working from home and children attending online classes the new norm. So how has it affected the lives working moms?

The rise of Donald Trump on the political stage is the culmination of a seemingly inconvenient electoral coupling: big money interests and a more extreme right-wing populace of blue collar voters. Does the GOP represent “forgotten” Americans? Or does it represent the super-rich?

On Tuesday, President Trump signed a memorandum calling for the exclusion of undocumented immigrants from the census count that determines House representation. But the power to make that decision, according to the Constitution, belongs to Congress. So what impact will his demand have?


Hansi Lo Wang, National correspondent for NPR covering the 2020 census. (@hansilowang)

Kermode bears, also known as spirit bears, are incredibly elusive. They live only in one section of British Columbia’s central coast, and a new study indicates the gene that turns their fur white is even rarer than previously thought. We’ll talk to two researchers from the study about the quest to protect and preserve the Great Bear Rainforest.

At the birth of this nation, Thomas Paine called for government baby bonds — savings bonds for every child. The idea has been given a fresh coat of paint, and is being proposed as a low-cost government program to tackle the vast inequality in today’s America.

We look back on the life of John Lewis, the civil rights icon and congressman who dedicated himself to the fight for racial equality. From his emergence on the national stage during the March on Washington in 1963 to his decades as a symbol of moral authority on Capitol Hill, we remember the man and his legacy of public service.

A Conversation With Jane Goodall

Jul 17, 2020

60 years ago, Jane Goodall first began her close observations of Tanzania’s chimpanzees. Equipped with simple binoculars, a notebook and patience, she transformed the way the world understood primates and wildlife. She joins us to look back on her legacy, and discuss the urgent challenges around climate and conservation.

In 2012, former Alabama governor Don Siegelman went to jail for five years. He says his prosecution was driven by a politicized justice system. And he’s now making the case for why American democracy could be at stake without criminal justice reform.

A conversation with legendary civil rights activist Bob Moses and historian Taylor Branch on the history that’s being made in 2020.

The Supreme Court has surprised both the left and right with rulings on abortion, presidential power, LGBTQ rights and more. Is Chief Justice John Roberts showing that this court can rise above partisanship? We recap the biggest cases of this term and look ahead to the fall.

We discuss the lessons of the classic novel “Lord of the Flies.” Should humans be living by the notion of survival of the fittest — or survival of the kindest?

Libertarian extremists known as the boogaloo bois are now linked with at least two murders. We look at the origins of the movement.


Cassie Miller, senior research analyst for the Southern Poverty Law Center. (@cassiepmiller)

Could the U.S. be on the verge of a financial crash? That’s what Frank Partnoy considers in a recent article in The Atlantic. He joins us to talk about the possibility of a financial crash and the risks big banks are taking.

How the U.S. presidency became impossible. We talk to John Dickerson of CBS News about why he thinks the job is simply too much for anyone.

We look at a 14-mile stretch of the U.S.-Mexico border. What does a border mean in an interconnected world?

This program originally aired on May 11, 2020. 

Handwashing can help kill the coronavirus. But you may be surprised by how short the history of handwashing actually is among humans.

The Republican Party is falling into dangerous traps that could cost the party elections for a generation. At least, that’s the premise of Harvard professor Thomas Patterson’s new book, “Is the Republican Party Destroying Itself?” We’ll talk to him, plus Republicans who have a different vision for the future of the GOP.

Most mornings, Dave Petee leaves his house early and sets out in search of the sounds of hope and tranquility.

Petee, a Unitarian Universalist minister living in Cambridge, finds them on his daily walks around Fresh Pond Reservoir, courtesy of the birds.

Petee is being treated for cancer, and part of his therapy is going on these regular morning walks around the pond. Accompanied by the chirping and cooing of the local avian life, he’s never really alone. By this point, he’s able to identify many of them by their calls.

The Future Of Home Health Care

Jun 30, 2020

We look at the experience of domestic and home health care workers who are among the most vulnerable during the pandemic.


Linda Walton, domestic worker in Atlanta, Georgia. Member of We Dream in Black, an organization advocating for the rights of home health care workers.

Who will Joe Biden select as his running mate? We assess his short list of candidates.


Christopher Devine, political science professor at the University of Dayton. Co-author of “Do Running Mates Matter?” (@ProfDevine)

Children’s book author Jacqueline Woodson has written over 30 books, often focused on race and identity in America. We get her take on the current moment and talk about the never-ending power of story.

How Coronavirus Will Change City Life

Jun 26, 2020

This broadcast originally aired on May 6, 2020.

Past pandemics changed the way of life in cities around the world. We look at how city features were inspired by history’s worst disease outbreaks.


Brian Melican, journalist, author and translator. (@melican)

Recovering from COVID-19. Millions of Americans have had the disease. Some people suffer from long-term medical conditions. So what does recovery actually look like?


Dr. Mafuzur Rahman, vice chair of medicine, director of hospital medicine and clinical assistant professor at SUNY Downstate. He’s been on the front lines of the pandemic and created a COVID-19 discharge clinic.

Reimagining Democracy For The 21st Century

Jun 24, 2020

Read the ‘Our Common Purpose’ report here.

From political polarization, to rising inequality, to the immediate crisis of the pandemic and police violence, faith in our civic institutions is under fire. A new report takes a hard look at the state of American democracy and how to fix it.