Devil in the Details

This week, we dive headfirst into the uncomfortable and the untrue — on the international stage, in the White House, and in your local newspaper. How claims from Immigration and Customs Enforcement [ICE] press releases sometimes end up, almost verbatim, in local reporting on deportations; why a New York City immigration advocate's history muddies the waters around his advocacy; what Poland's new Holocaust law really means for the country; and how personal stakes can shape our understanding of the plight of the Rohingya in Myanmar.  Featuring: 
  1. Bob, on the Trump White House getting caught up in lies once again. 
  2. Gaby Del Valle [@gabydvj], staff writer for The Outline, on how ICE press releases make their way into local news reporting

  3. Errol Louis [@errollouis], host of Inside City Hall on NY1, on the press's coverage of immigration advocate Ravi Ragbir.

4. Geneviève Zubrzycki, sociology professor at the University Continue reading "Devil in the Details"

The Safety Net Just Got a Little Less Safe

On Monday, Donald Trump released the second budget proposal of his presidency. There’s lots in it — more money for defense, veterans and border security and some tax changes too. But what really jumps out is the proposal to cut funding for federal assistance programs including a 20 percent cut to Section 8 housing, a 22 percent cut to Medicaid and a brutal 27 percent cut to SNAP (the benefit formerly known as food stamps). Bobby Kogan, who on Twitter identifies himself as “chief number cruncher for the Senate budget committee”, points out that SNAP benefits are already small at just $1.40 per meal, and that “cutting the program by a quarter is extremely cruel.” The proposed cuts evinced outrage from advocates for the poor, who have also noted that the social safety net has big holes and vulnerable people have been falling through them for years. In the fall of 2016, Brooke reported a series we called Continue reading "The Safety Net Just Got a Little Less Safe"

Blame It On The Alcohol

This week, we devote an entire hour to what one important scholar deemed “the cause of and solution to all of life’s problems.” From its earliest role as a source of nourishment to its depictions in ancient literature, we examine the roots of mankind’s everlasting drinking problems. Plus, how a bizarre 60 Minutes piece spread the idea that red wine has medicinal effects. Then, a look at how popular culture has incorrectly framed Alcoholics Anonymous as the best and only option for addiction recovery. And, a scientist cooks up a synthetic substitute for booze. 1. Iain Gately, author of Drink: A Cultural History of Alcohol, on the ancient origins of our core beliefs about booze.  2. Robert Taylor, assistant managing editor at Wine Spectator, on red wine's constantly changing reputation as a healthy substance.
  1. Gabrielle Glaser [@GabrielleGlaser], author of Her Best-Kept Secret: Why Women Drink - Continue reading "Blame It On The Alcohol"

Trump Inc.

Back in January last year,  Donald Trump, newly elected, not yet sworn in, tried to quell concerns about his many conflicts of interest by declaring he would turn over the day-to-day running of his company to his sons. Did he follow through on that?  Has he leveraged the presidency to enrich himself? Who are his partners? Who does he take money from? Trump has rejected the advice of ethics experts to divest himself from his enterprises. He’s also refused to release details about his finances (including, of course, his tax records). Our colleagues in the WNYC newsroom.  Ilya Marritz and Andrea Bernstein together with Pro Publica’s Eric Umansky, experienced investigative journalists all, were researching these questions when they slammed into a wall: The documents with the answers were not available. Their solution? A new weekly podcast of course, called: Trump Inc. They’re calling it an “open investigation” because they’ll be Continue reading "Trump Inc."

This Is Not A Test

It was yet another week of will-he-won't-he: Will President Donald Trump authorize the release of the House Intelligence Committee's "memo," in spite of senior FBI and Justice Dept. officials' warnings not to do so? (Spoiler alert: He did.) Will he continue to edge the U.S. closer to a devastating military encounter with North Korea — as he did for the first year of his presidency, and as he did during his State of the Union address earlier this week? And if the United States finds itself engaged in the unimaginable — nuclear conflict — what lessons will we learn from those who have already tried to imagine just that? 
  1. Steven Aftergood [@saftergood], transparency advocate, on the House Intelligence Committee's notorious "memo."
  2. Lawrence Krauss [@LKrauss1], theoretical physicist and chair of the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists’ Board of Sponsors, on the Doomsday Clock's Continue reading "This Is Not A Test"

Gitmo Is Back in Business

In his State of the Union speech this week the president announced - to rapturous applause from congressional Republicans, that he had just signed an order to keep open the detention facilities in Guantanamo Bay. When Mohamedou Ould Slahi was released from the prison in 2016, after 14 years behind bars, he was finally able to read Guantanamo Diarythe bestselling book he had written while imprisoned. And for the first time, he saw the thousands of black bars the FBI had placed over much of his account of capture, torture, and interrogation. Late last year, Slahi and his original editor, writer and activist Larry Siems, set to work unredacting his workBob spoke to Siems last fall about their efforts to finally release the full Guantanamo Diary. He also spoke to Slahi via Skype from his home in Mauritania to discuss his book, his experience behind bars and what he wants people to learn about the American political and justice systems.

Rallying Cry

A year into the Trump Administration, thousands continue to take to the streets but has the press lost interest? This week we look at the nature of protest in an era of never-ending distraction. We also take a deep dive into the world of right-wing conspiracies, as well as meme culture as a whole. Plus, we remember Ursula Le Guin, the monumental science fiction author who passed away earlier this week. 
  1. Will Sommer [@willsommer], author of of the Right Richter newsletter and editor at The Hill, on the latest right-wing conspiracies. 
  2. Amanda Hess [@amandahess], internet critic at the New York Times, on the dynamics and politics of meme culture.

  3. Zeynep Tufekci [@zeynep], professor at the University of North Carolina, on coverage of protest movements like the Women's March.

  4. David S. Meyer [@davidsmeyer1], sociology professor at the University of Continue reading "Rallying Cry"