Elvis Presley returned from his years in the army to record one of his biggest hits, “Are You Lonesome Tonight?” But he could never quite get the lyrics right. Why? Revisionist History puts the King of Rock and Roll on the couch.
I expected Gladwell to circle back around to the opening song about beating the dog, but he left us hanging…
"She was Joan of Arc, Madame Curie, and Florence Nightingale--all wrapped up in one."
One long, hot afternoon on Capitol Hill, in the summer of 1991, the most powerful man in Congress took on the most powerful person in American science. Science won. What does it take to end a reign of terror? The science fraud panic of the 1990s, part two of two.
Six weeks ago, CNN broke a blockbuster story: According to several anonymous sources, President Trump had advance knowledge of the infamous Trump Tower meeting. It was a potential smoking gun, until one of those sources — Lanny Davis, attorney for Michael Cohen — recanted.
Beyond that headache for CNN, there was another. The original article had claimed, "Contacted by CNN, one of Cohen's attorneys, Lanny Davis, declined to comment." Depending on how you understand the word "comment," and depending your general disposition, that claim could be technically true or woefully, mendaciously disingenuous. Bob spoke with Washington Post media reporter Paul Farhi about the implications — and dangers — of this latest media mishap.
End-of-times narratives themselves are nothing new; only the means have changed. While once a few horsemen and a river of blood were enough to signal the dusk of man, apocalypse now requires the imaginations of entire atomic laboratories — or roving squads of special effects crews. This week we look through a few recent highlights from the genre: from a 1980's made-for-TV spectacle, to a new piece of speculative fiction documenting a hypothetical nuclear conflict with North Korea.
1. Jeffrey Lewis [@ArmsControlWonk], author of "The 2020 Commission Report," on what we might say to ourselves after a devastating war with North Korea. Listen.
2. Marsha Gordon [@MarshaGGordon], film studies professor at North Carolina State University, on the 1983 film "The Day After," which imagines a massive nuclear strike in the Midwestern U.S. Listen.
3. Anne Washburn, playwright, on "Mr. Burns: A Post-Electric Play," in which she imagines American cultural life after a devastating nuclear event. Listen.
4. Andrew Fitzgerald [@magicandrew], chief digital content officer at Hearst TV, on what journalists, seven years ago, thought about the prospect of covering the end of the world. Listen.
This summer we are revisiting some of our favorite Breaking News Consumer Handbooks. Episode 4 in this mini-series is Tectonic Edition.
After an earthquake struck Nepal in April of 2015, the post-disaster media coverage followed a trajectory we'd seen repeated after other earth-shaking events. We put together a template to help a discerning news consumer look for the real story. It's our Breaking News Consumer's Handbook: Tectonic Edition. Brooke spoke to Jonathan M. Katz, who wrote "How Not to Report on an Earthquake" for the New York Times Magazine.
Understanding how news is reported and the good and bad of it can certainly help one be a better consumer of it. This episode was quite enlightening about how disaster reporting is often done wrong.
An investigation into the media's coverage of white supremacist groups.
For more than a year, Lois Beckett [@loisbeckett], senior reporter at The Guardian US, has been showing up at white nationalist rallies, taking their pictures, writing down what they say. And she finds herself thinking: How did we get here? How did her beat as a political reporter come to include interviewing Nazis? And what are the consequences of giving these groups this much coverage?
In this week's program, we revisit this deep dive into what the news media often get wrong about white supremacists, and what those errors expose about the broader challenge of confronting racism in America.
2. Felix Harcourt [@FelixHistory], professor of history at Austin College and author of "Ku Klux Kulture," on the history of the Ku Klux Klan in the press in the 1920s. Listen.
3. Anna Merlan, Elle Reeve, Al Letson, Gary Younge [@garyyounge], editor-at-large for The Guardian, and Josh Harkinson [@joshharkinson], former senior writer at Mother Jones, on how individual identity impacts reporting on discriminatory movements. Listen.
A stunning story and solidly great reporting. I heard the end of this on the radio a few weeks ago and circled back to listen to it a second time. I hope all journalists working in politics take a close look at it.
"Crucial life lessons from the end of hockey games, Idris Elba, and some Wall Street guys with a lot of time on their hands."
Revisionist History wades into the crowded self-help marketplace, with some help with from a band of math whizzes and Hollywood screenwriters. It's late in a hockey game, and you're losing. When should you pull your goalie? And what if you used that same logic when a bad guy breaks into your house and holds your entire family hostage? We think the unthinkable, so you don’t have to.
Why one should be a bit more disagreeable and “pull the goalie”.
"Q: Was there a period where you felt you had something to prove? A: The first 45 years of my life."
Sammy Davis Junior was one of the world’s greatest entertainers for the better part of half a century. He was black. But he thought the best way to succeed in the world was to act as if he wasn’t. Did we judge him too harshly?
I’m always astounded by some of the finer points that Gladwell comes up with. Taking a look back at this bit of history has a wonderfully enlightening idea. I was near tears at the end of the Roast segment.
I can also certainly relate to the idea of changing myself so as not to be an “outsider”.
General Leonard Chapman guided the Marines Corp through some of the most difficult years in its history. He was brilliant, organized, decisive and indefatigable. Then he turned his attention to the America’s immigration crisis. You think you want effective leadership? Be careful what you wish for.
A piece of history I was surprised to not have heard about with relation to current immigration policy. Also a great example of how policy makers need to be able to think 20 steps into the potential futures to realize the ramifications of what they’re doing an the effects it will have on future generations.
Has the Everything Store become a dangerous monopoly threatening the U.S. economy?
Some time later this year, Amazon could become the first trillion-dollar company in American history. Its valuation has already doubled in the last 14 months to about $800 billion, and Jeff Bezos, its founder and CEO, is officially the richest man on the planet.
There are ways in which Amazon seems to be the greatest company in American history. It’s revolutionized the global shopping experience and expanded into media and hardware, while operating on razor-thin margins that have astonished critics. But some now consider it the modern incarnation of a railroad monopoly, a logistics behemoth using its scale to destroy competition.
So what is Amazon: brilliant, dangerous, or both? That’s the subject of the latest episode of Crazy/Genius, our new podcast on technology and culture.
To build the case for breaking up the Everything Store, I talk to Scott Galloway, a professor of marketing at NYU and an outspoken critic of big tech, and Lina Khan, a researcher at the Open Markets Institute and a leading expert on antitrust policy. Both of them encourage me to see how a company famous for low prices can still behave in an anticompetitive manner. Making the case against heavy regulation for Amazon are Rob Atkinson, the president of the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation, a tech think tank, and Michael Mandel, an economist with the Progressive Policy Institute who researches technology and e-commerce. Both encourage me to focus not only on the hidden costs of Amazon’s largeness, but also on the hidden benefits.