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Weekly conversations with leading journalists and thinkers to make sense of the history happening all around us

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  • Episode 43

    The Syria Disaster, Seven Years In

    Long the crossroads of civilizations, Syria has now spent seven years as the proxy warzone of great powers. With over half a million dead and millions more displaced, the conflict is  now “arguably the world’s largest humanitarian disaster since World War II,” writes Andrew Tabler in The Atlantic. “The Syrian Civil War now threatens to morph into the Syria War—a regional conflagration which seems likely to burn for a generation. And civilians are cursed to live it, and die in it, every day.” How did we get here? And what comes next?

    - ”How Syria Came to This” (Andrew Tabler, April 15, 2018)
    - “What If There Is No Ethical Way to Act in Syria Now?” (Sigal Samuel, April 13, 2018)
    - “The Obama Doctrine” (Jeffrey Goldberg, April 2016 Issue)
    - “The Syrian War Is Actually Many Wars” (Krishnadev Calamur, April 13, 2018)
    - “Trump's Selective Empathy for Syrian War Victims” (Krishnadev Calamur, April 18, 2018)
    - The Poems of Max Ehrmann (Max Ehrmann, 1906)

  • Episode 42

    Becoming White in America

    In her new book Futureface, Alex Wagner writes that “immigration raises into relief some of our most basic existential questions: Who am I? Where do I belong? And in that way, it’s inextricably tied to an exploration of American identity.” In the book, Alex explores her own American identity – daughter of a Burmese immigrant mother and a small-town Irish Catholic father – and asks how true the stories we grow up with really are.

    Along with co-hosts Matt and Jeff, Alex is joined by The Atlantic’s deputy politics editor Adam Serwer to discuss the tangled intersections of history, heritage, family, race, and nationality. Is America truly a melting pot? Can nationalism be liberal? And is that stalwart American immigrant story just a history written by the victors?


    - Futureface (Alex Wagner, 2018)
    - “The Nationalist's Delusion” (Adam Serwer, November 20, 2017)
    - “America Is Not a Democracy” (Yascha Mounk, March 2018 Issue)
    - ”The End of Identity Liberalism” (Mark Lilla, New York Times, November 18, 2016)
    - ”How Can Liberals Reclaim Nationalism?” (Yascha Mounk, New York Times, March 3, 2018)
    - “Why Are We Surprised When Buddhists Are Violent?” (Dan Arnold and Alicia Turner, New York Times, March 5, 2018)
    - “The Americans Our Government Won’t Count” (Alex Wagner, New York Times, March 30, 2018)
    - “Huapango” by José Pablo Moncayo (South West German Radio Kaiserslautern Orchestra, 2007)
    - Black and White: Land, Labor, and Politics in the South (Timothy Thomas Fortune, 1884)
    - Pogrom: Kishinev and the Tilt of History (Steven Zipperstein, 2018)
  • Episode 41

    News Update: Who Could Tame Facebook?

    As Atlantic staff writer Robinson Meyer recently wrote, Facebook “is currently embroiled in the worst crisis of trust in its 14-year history.” This week, the company’s CEO Mark Zuckerberg testified before the U.S. Congress for the first time. It’s not clear whether Congress will seek to exert more regulatory control over the company, even after revelations that as many as 87 million people unwittingly had their Facebook data given to the political firm Cambridge Analytica, which may have used some of that data to influence the 2016 U.S. election. And the questions senators asked of Zuckerberg suggest they may not yet understand Facebook well enough to regulate it effectively, even if they wanted to.

    In this Radio Atlantic news update, Rob shares what he learned from his exclusive interview with Zuckerberg, and from the CEO’s testimony before Congress. We discuss with Atlantic senior editor Gillian White whether Facebook can be regulated, and whether it will.


    - “Mark Zuckerberg Says He’s Not Resigning” (Robinson Meyer, April 9, 2018)
    - “The 3 Questions Mark Zuckerberg Hasn’t Answered” (Robinson Meyer, April 10, 2018)
    - “How Facebook’s Ad Tool Fails to Protect Civil Rights” (Gillian B. White, October 28, 2016)
    - “Facebook Lets Advertisers Exclude Users by Race” (Julia Angwin and Terry Parris Jr., ProPublica, October 28, 2016)
    - Sarah Jeong on Twitter
    - “The Most Important Exchange of the Zuckerberg Hearing” (Alexis C. Madrigal, April 11, 2018)
    - “Mark Zuckerberg Is Halfway to Scot-Free” (Alexis C. Madrigal, April 11, 2018)
    - “My Facebook Was Breached by Cambridge Analytica. Was Yours?” (Robinson Meyer, April 10, 2018)
    - “Can Anyone Unseat Mark Zuckerberg?” (Robinson Meyer, March 22, 2018)
    - “The Cambridge Analytica Scandal, in 3 Paragraphs” (Robinson Meyer, March 20, 2018)
  • Episode 40


    “Trump gambled that Americans resent each other’s differences more than they cherish their shared democracy. So far that gamble has paid off,” writes David Frum in his new book Trumpocracy.

    Along with The Atlantic's Global Editor Kathy Gilsinan, David joins to explain how President Trump has undermined our most important institutions. What does democracy around the world look like when the leader of the free world is less interested in it himself?


    - Trumpocracy (David Frum, 2018)
    - “Saudi Crown Prince: Iran's Supreme Leader 'Makes Hitler Look Good'” (Jeffrey Goldberg, April 2, 2018)
    - “The Risks to Freedom in Hungary” (David Frum, April 5, 2018)
    - “How to Build an Autocracy” (David Frum, March 2017 Issue)
    - “Freedom Fights for Survival in Hungary” (David Frum, April 10, 2017)
    - “An Exit From Trumpocracy” (David Frum, January 18, 2018)
    - “Americans Can't Afford to Grow Used to This” (David Frum, January 9, 2018)
    - “Tracking the appearances of “rosy-fingered Dawn” in The Odyssey” (Jason Kottke,, April 3, 2018)
    - “Strategies of Attainment” (C. Lee Shea, War on the Rocks, April 1, 2018)
  • Episode 39

    King Remembered

    In his last speech, known to history as “I’ve Been to the Mountaintop,” Martin Luther King Jr. began by remarking on the introduction he’d been given by his friend, Ralph Abernathy. “As I listened to ... his eloquent and generous introduction and then thought about myself,” King said modestly, “I wondered who he was talking about.”

    The facsimile of King that America would fashion after his assassination—saintly pacifist, stranger to controversy, beloved by all—might have provoked something well beyond wonder. To create a version of King that America could love, the nation sanded down the reality of the man, his ministry, and his activism. In this episode of Radio Atlantic, Vann Newkirk and Adrienne Green join our hosts, Jeffrey Goldberg and Matt Thompson, to discuss the truth of King in the last year of his life and after.

    - KING: Full coverage from The Atlantic of Martin Luther King Jr.’s life and legacy
    - “The Whitewashing of King’s Assassination” (Vann R. Newkirk, MLK Issue)
    - “The Chasm Between Racial Optimism and Reality” (Jeffrey Goldberg, MLK Issue)
    - King’s Three Evils (Martin Luther King Jr., May 10, 1967)
    - “The Civil-Rights Movement’s Generation Gap” (Bree Newsome, MLK Issue)
    - “Martin Luther King Jr.'s 'Letter From Birmingham Jail'” (Martin Luther King Jr., August 1, 1963)
    - “How Much Had Schools Really Been Desegregated by 1964?” (Martin Luther King Jr., MLK Issue)
    - “Martin Luther King Jr. on the Vietnam War” (Martin Luther King Jr., MLK Issue)
    - “Generational Differences in Black Activism” (Conor Friedersdorf, June 30, 2016)
  • Episode 38

    The Family Unit in a Divided Era

    The family is where the forces that are driving Americans farther apart—political polarization, generational divides, class stratification, Facebook fights—literally hit home. Economic, ideological, and technological shifts pose uncertain consequences for what Daniel Patrick Moynihan called “the basic social unit of American life.” And not even a burgeoning industry of experts can tell parents what to do. “Parents are now more anxious than ever about their children,” writes Paula Fass in The Atlantic, “while disputes about how to raise children the ‘right’ way to meet a darkening future are a commonplace of child-rearing advice.”
    On March 20, The Atlantic launched a new section on the family—looking not just at America, but around the world; focusing not just on today, but on yesterday and tomorrow. In this episode, two of the editors steering this coverage, Rebecca Rosen and Adrienne LaFrance, join our hosts to explore how families are faring amid massive change.
  • Episode 37

    Does America Have a Monopoly Problem?

    “Politicians from both parties publicly worship the solemn dignity of entrepreneurship and small businesses. But by the numbers, America has become the land of the big and the home of the consolidated,” writes The Atlantic’s Derek Thompson.

    In a time when Americans have lost faith in their institutions, the nation seems to now look to corporations for positive action. Can big business be a force for good or only a force for profit? Does their very size pose a threat? If corporations can be people, can they be good citizens?


    - “Is Big Business Really That Bad?” (Robert D. Atkinson and Michael Lind, April 2018 Issue)
    - “America’s Monopoly Problem” (Derek Thompson, October 2016 Issue)
    - “'Corporations Are People' Is Built on an Incredible 19th-Century Lie” (Adam Winkler, March 5, 2018)
    - “How American Business Got So Big” (Gillian B. White, November 18, 2016)
    - “A Small Town Kept Walmart Out. Now It Faces Amazon.” (Alana Semuels, March 2, 2018)
    - “Why Amazon Pays Some of Its Workers to Quit” (Alana Semuels, February 14, 2018)
    - “The Internet Is Enabling a New Kind of Poorly Paid Hell” (Alana Semuels, January 23, 2018)
    - “Hitchens Talks to Goldblog About Cancer and God” (Jeffrey Goldberg, August 6, 2010)

  • Episode 36

    If We Could Learn From History

    Discarding the limits on a leader's time in office is a classic autocrat's move. So when Xi Jinping began to clear a path for an indefinite term as China's president, he dimmed many once-bright hopes that he would speed the nation's path toward a new era of openness and reform. For James Fallows,The Atlantic's national correspondent, it was a sad vindication of a warning he issued two years ago in the magazine, of “China’s Great Leap Backward.”

    As the 15th anniversary of the U.S. invasion of Iraq approaches, we review the developments in China, and look back at another warning that proved prescient: Fallows's National Magazine Award-winning essay, "The Fifty-First State?" Fallows joins our hosts, Alex Wagner and Matt Thompson, along with The Atlantic's global editor Kathy Gilsinan.

    - “China’s Great Leap Backward” (James Fallows, December 2016 Issue)
    - “Xi Jinping Reveals Himself As An Autocrat” (James Fallows and Caroline Kitchener, February 26, 2018)
    - “China Is Not a Garden-Variety Dictatorship” (David Frum, March 5, 2018)
    - “The Myth of a Kinder, Gentler Xi Jinping” (Isaac Stone Fish, February 27, 2018)
    - “China's Surveillance State Should Scare Everyone” (Anna Mitchell and Larry Diamond, February 2, 2018)
    - China's Trapped Transition (Minxin Pei, 2006)
    - “The Fifty-First State?” (James Fallows, November 2002 Issue)
    - “The Obama Doctrine” (Jeffrey Goldberg, April 2016 Issue)
    - Steve Coll on “The Atlantic Interview” (February 7, 2018)
    - A Peace to End All Peace: The Fall of the Ottoman Empire and the Creation of the Modern Middle East(David Fromkin, 1989)
    - On Grand Strategy (John Lewis Gaddis, 2018)
    - An American Tragedy (Theodore Dreiser, 1925)
    - “Babylon Berlin” on Netflix
    - “Christopher Steele, the Man Behind the Trump Dossier” (Jane Mayer, The New Yorker, March 12, 2018)
  • Episode 35

    Goodbye Black History Month, Hello Black Future

    Moviegoers across America are filling theaters to see, as The Atlantic’s Adam Serwer describes it, “a high-tech utopia that is a fictive manifestation of African potential unfettered by slavery and colonialism.” Wakanda, the setting of Marvel’s blockbuster film Black Panther, is suddenly everywhere, which means people the world over are seeing something that’s never had this widespread an audience: Afrofuturism.

    “Blockbusters rarely challenge consensus, and Disney blockbusters even less so,” Vann Newkirk wrote for The Atlantic in an essay about the film. “That’s what makes the final provocation of Black Panther so remarkable and applicable today.” But what is Black Panther’s remarkable provocation, and how does it apply to our world?

    Black Panther
    is only one part of a sudden explosion of Afrofuturism into mainstream American culture, from a new visual concept album by Janelle Monae to Children of Blood and Bone, a forthcoming YA book series by Tomi Adeyemi that has already become part of a seven-figure deal. Adam Serwer and Vann Newkirk join our hosts to talk about what this genre encompasses, and what its newfound popularity means.


    - “The Tragedy of Erik Killmonger” (Adam Serwer, February 21, 2018)
    - “The Provocation and Power of Black Panther” (Vann Newkirk, February 14, 2018)
    - “What Chadwick Boseman and Lupita Nyong'o Learned About Wakanda” (David Sims, February 28, 2018)
    - “Why Fashion Is Key to Understanding the World of Black Panther” (Tanisha C. Ford, February 14, 2018)
    - “Why I'm Writing Captain America” (Ta-Nehisi Coates, February 28, 2018)
    - “‘Black Panther’ and the Invention of ‘Africa’” (Jelani Cobb, The New Yorker, February 18, 2018)
    - “The Surprising Optimism of African Americans and Latinos” (Russell Berman, September 4, 2015)
    - Standing at Armageddon (Nell Irvin Painter)
    - Autonomous (Annalee Newitz)
  • Episode 34

    How Innocence Becomes Irrelevant (No Way Out, Part III)

    After Rick Magnis, a Texas judge, reviewed the evidence in Benjamine Spencer’s case, he recommended a new trial for Spencer “on the grounds of actual innocence.” But Texas’s highest criminal court took the rare step of rejecting the judge’s ruling. Why? Because Spencer did not meet the state’s “Herculean” standard of unassailable proof, such as DNA, that would remove all doubts of his innocence. According to the judge who wrote the opinion denying Spencer a new trial, this standard has kept innocent people in prison without a possibility of getting out.

    In this third and final chapter of “No Way Out,” we reveal more evidence that points to Spencer’s innocence: A new witness who confirms his alibi, new technology that calls into question the testimony of the star eyewitness in his trial, and a full recantation by another key eyewitness against him. We also share a stunning discovery: potential DNA evidence that offers Spencer the thinnest hope of meeting the state’s astronomical burden of proof.

    And yet, none of this may be enough to exonerate Benjamine Spencer. In this episode, we explore why that is, and what it means.

    - A list of key individuals mentioned in this story
    - "Can You Prove Your Innocence Without DNA?" (Barbara Bradley Hagerty, January/February 2018 issue)
    - "Innocence Is Irrelevant" (Emily Yoffe, September 2017 issue)

  • Episode 33

    Who Killed Jeffrey Young? (No Way Out, Part II)

    In part one of our three-part series "No Way Out," Barbara Bradley Hagerty told the story of how Benjamine Spencer was convicted for the murder of Jeffrey Young, and how much of the evidence that led to that conviction has fallen apart under scrutiny. But if Spencer did not kill him, who else could have? And if the evidence does point to another assailant, is that enough to free Spencer?

    In this episode, part two of three, Barbara explores an alternate theory of the crime. She talks with two friends of another man they say boasted about committing it. Their story, coupled with the shoddiness of the evidence that convicted Spencer, was enough to secure a recommendation that Spencer be given a new trial, "on the grounds of actual innocence."


    Key individuals mentioned in this story (listed in order of appearance):

    From Part I:
    • Benjamine Spencer, the prisoner, convicted in October 1987, retried and convicted in March 1988, given life in prison
    • Jeffrey Young, the victim, murdered in Dallas in March 1987
    • Jay Young, Jeffrey’s son, the elder of two
    • Cheryl Wattley, Spencer’s current attorney
    • Troy Johnson, a friend of Jeffrey Young’s, who tried calling him the night of his murder
    • Harry Young, Jeffrey’s father, a senior executive in Ross Perot’s company
    • Jesus “Jessie” Briseno, a detective for the Dallas Police Department, the lead investigator on the murder of Jeffrey Young
    • Gladys Oliver, the prosecution’s star eyewitness in the trials of Benjamine Spencer
    • Robert Mitchell, another man convicted a week after Spencer in a separate trial for the same crime, now deceased
    • Faith Johnson, the current district attorney in Dallas
    • Frank Jackson, Spencer’s defense attorney in the original trial
    • Andy Beach, the prosecutor in the trial that sent Spencer to prison
    • Alan Ledbetter, the foreman of the jury that convicted Spencer
    • Danny Edwards, the jailhouse informant who testified in Spencer’s original trials that Spencer had confessed to him
    • Debra Spencer, Benjamine Spencer’s wife at the time of his conviction
    • Christi Williams, the alibi witness who testified in Spencer’s defense at his trials
    • Jim McCloskey, the founder of Centurion Ministries, the group that has aided Spencer's quest for exoneration
    • Daryl Parker, a private investigator who has helped re-examine Spencer’s case and Young’s murder
    • Jimmie Cotton, one of three eyewitnesses for the prosecution in Spencer’s original trials
    • Charles Stewart, another of three eyewitnesses for the prosecution in Spencer’s trials, now deceased
    • Sandra Brackens, a potential witness in Spencer’s defense who was not called to testify at his trials
    New to Part II:
    • Michael Hubbard, an alternative suspect in Young's death
    • Ferrell Scott, a childhood friend of Hubbard's
    • Kelvin Johnson, a friend of Hubbard's who claims to have committed robberies with him
    • Craig Watkins, a newly-elected District Attorney interested in reinvestigating claims of innocence 
    • Judge Rick Magnis, the judge of Texas' 283rd District
    Subscribe to Radio Atlantic to hear part three in the “No Way Out” series when it's released.

  • Episode 32

    No Way Out, Part I

    In 1987, Jeffrey Young was robbed and killed, and his body was left on a street in the poor neighborhood of West Dallas. Benjamine Spencer was tried and convicted for the attack.

    Spencer was black, 22 years old, and recently married. Young was 33 and white, and his father was a senior executive for Ross Perot, one of the most prominent businessmen in Dallas. No physical evidence connected Spencer to the murder. Instead, he was convicted based on the testimony of three eyewitnesses and a jailhouse informant who claimed Spencer confessed to the crime. Spencer has now been in prison for most of his life.

    From behind bars, Spencer amassed evidence to support his claim of innocence, and secured the assistance of Centurion Ministries, a group that re-examines cases of prisoners like him. Together, they were able to convince a Texas judge of Spencer’s innocence. In investigating this story, not only did we confirm Centurion’s findings, but we’ve gathered new, exculpatory evidence, some of which appears first in this special, three-episode series of Radio Atlantic.


    Key individuals mentioned in this story (listed in order of appearance):
    • Benjamine Spencer, the prisoner, convicted in October 1987, retried and convicted in March 1988, given life in prison
    • Jeffrey Young, the victim, murdered in Dallas in March 1987
    • Jay Young, Jeffrey’s son, the elder of two
    • Cheryl Wattley, Spencer’s current attorney
    • Troy Johnson, a friend of Jeffrey Young’s, who tried calling him the night of his murder
    • Harry Young, Jeffrey’s father, a senior executive in Ross Perot’s company
    • Jesus “Jessie” Briseno, a detective for the Dallas Police Department, the lead investigator on the murder of Jeffrey Young
    • Gladys Oliver, the prosecution’s star eyewitness in the trials of Benjamine Spencer
    • Robert Mitchell, another man convicted a week after Spencer in a separate trial for the same crime, now deceased
    • Faith Johnson, the current district attorney in Dallas
    • Frank Jackson, Spencer’s defense attorney in the original trial
    • Andy Beach, the prosecutor in the trial that sent Spencer to prison
    • Alan Ledbetter, the foreman of the jury that convicted Spencer
    • Danny Edwards, the jailhouse informant who testified in Spencer’s original trials that Spencer had confessed to him
    • Debra Spencer, Benjamine Spencer’s wife at the time of his conviction
    • Christi Williams, the alibi witness who testified in Spencer’s defense at his trials
    • Jim McCloskey, the founder of Centurion Ministries, the group that has aided Spencer's quest for exoneration
    • Daryl Parker, a private investigator who has helped re-examine Spencer’s case and Young’s murder
    • Jimmie Cotton, one of three eyewitnesses for the prosecution in Spencer’s original trials
    • Charles Stewart, another of three eyewitnesses for the prosecution in Spencer’s trials, now deceased
    • Sandra Brackens, a potential witness in Spencer’s defense who was not called to testify at his trials
    Subscribe to Radio Atlantic to hear part two in the “No Way Out” series when it's released.

  • Episode 31

    From 'I, Tonya' to 'Cat Person,' Is 'Based On a True Story' Better?

    Conor Friedersdorf recently argued in The Atlantic that in this moment, when the truth is bitterly contested, fiction presents us an opportunity. It allows us to step into another person’s perspective and talk about gray areas without the problems of detailing an actual person’s private moments. But does blurring the lines between truth and fiction undermine the messy complexities of the real world? David Sims and Megan Garber join to discuss the spate of recent pop culture that aims to recast reality.


    - “‘The Arrangements’: A Work of Fiction” (Chimamanda Ngozie Adichie, The New York Times Magazine, June 28, 2016)
    - “Remote Control” (Sarah Marshall, The Believer, January 2014 Issue)
    - "Re-Examining Monica, Marcia, Tonya and Anita, the 'Scandalous' Women of the '90s" (Sarah Marshall, Splinter, April 19, 2016)
    - The Crown: Netflix's Best Superhero Show” (Sophie Gilbert, December 9, 2017)
    - “How #MeToo Can Probe Gray Areas With Less Backlash” (Conor Friedersdorf, January 18, 2018)
    - “'Cat Person' and the Impulse to Undermine Women's Fiction” (Megan Garber, December 11, 2017)
    - “Aziz Ansari and the Paradox of ‘No’” (Megan Garber, January 16, 2018)
    - “Dinner Discussion” (Saturday Night Live, January 27, 2018)
    - “Grease Dilemma” (CollegeHumor, 2011)
    - Sticky Fingers: The Life and Times of Jann Wenner and Rolling Stone Magazine (Joe Hagan, 2017)
    - One Day at a Time Is a Sitcom That Doubles as a Civics Lesson” (Megan Garber, January 17, 2017)
    - An epic 200-plus tweet thread on Janet Jackson (October 23, 2017)
  • Episode 30

    Paul Manafort and How the Swamp Was Made

    “Conventional wisdom suggests that the temptations of Washington, D.C., corrupt all the idealists, naïfs, and ingenues who settle there," Franklin Foer writes in his cover story for the March issue of The Atlantic. "But what if that formulation gets the causation backwards? What if it took an outsider to debase the capital and create the so-called swamp?”

    Before Paul Manafort led the campaign to position Donald Trump as the ultimate Washington outsider, Manafort had built a career on being the consummate D.C. insider. Foer tells the story of Manafort's rise and fall, his stint as a consigliere to oligarchs, and the lines he was willing to cross in lobbying and political consulting. Foer joins Jeff and Matt to describe how Manafort's career is a window into the rise of corruption in America.


    - “The Plot Against America” (Franklin Foer, March 2018 Issue)
    - “How the Swamp Drained Trump” (McKay Coppins, January 30, 2018)
    - “Dictatorships & Double Standards” (Jeane Kirkpatrick, Commentary, November 1, 1979)
    - The Soul of a New Machine (Tracy Kidder, 1981)
    - “Mackenzie Davis Answers the Tough Questions” (E. Alex Jung, Vulture, August 14, 2017)
    - Shop Class as Soulcraft (Matthew B. Crawford, 2010)
  • Episode 29

    Who Gets to be American?

    Once again, immigration is at the top of America's legislative agenda, as it has been, seemingly every generation, for much of the nation's history. But while many recent discussions of immigration have focused on unauthorized immigrants, some of the most contentious aspects of the current debate concern legal immigration: Who should the U.S. allow to be an American? Priscilla Alvarez, an editor on The Atlantic's politics and policy team, joins hosts Matt and Alex to discuss the debate within Congress, and to review the lessons America's history offers.


    - “America’s Forgotten History of Illegal Deportations” (Alex Wagner, March 6, 2017)
    - “The Diversity Visa Program Was Created to Help Irish Immigrants” (Priscilla Alvarez, November 1, 2017)
    - “'An Assault on the Body of the Church’” (Emma Green, January 22, 2018)
    - “The Ordeal of Immigration in Wausau” (Roy Beck, April 1994 Issue)
    - “To Be Both Midwestern and Hmong” (Doualy Xaykaothao, June 3, 2016)
    - "How Wausau's Immigration Fears Failed to Come True" (Robert Mentzer, Wausau Daily Herald, December 2014)
    - “Black Like Them” (Malcolm Gladwell, New Yorker, April 29, 1996 Issue)
    - Decade of Betrayal: Mexican Repatriation in the 1930s (Francisco E. Balderrama)
    - “Asians in the 2016 Race” (Alex Wagner, September 12, 2016)
  • Episode 28

    Bricks, Clicks, and the Future of Shopping

    The 'retail apocalypse' is upon us, they say. In the United States, 2017 saw emptied malls, shuttered department stores, and once-iconic brands falling into bankruptcy. Yet retail spending continues to grow, in strange new directions that could have significant effects. What will shopping look like in the future? How will these changes reverberate throughout the country? Atlantic editor Gillian White joins our hosts to discuss.

    If you listen to Radio Atlantic, we value your feedback. Please help us out by answering a quick survey. It should only take a few minutes. Just to go


    - “The 4 Reasons Why 2017 Is a Tipping Point for Retail” (Derek Thompson, November 16, 2017)
    - “All the Ways Retail’s Decline Could Hurt America’s Towns” (Alana Semuels, May 2017)
    - “The Future of Retail Is Stores That Aren’t Stores” (Joe Pinsker, September 14, 2017)
    - “How to Rebuild After the Retail Apocalypse” (Richard Florida, December 23, 2017)
    - “How Dollar General Became Rural America’s Store of Choice” (Sarah Nassauer, Wall Street Journal, December 15, 2017)
    - Futureface (Alex Wagner, 2018)
    - “The Appropriate Weight of Grief” (Michael Zadoorian, ART + marketing, May 6, 2016)
    - “The Lesson of the Moth” (Don Marquis)

  • Episode 27

    The Presidential Fitness Challenge

    As the anniversary of his inauguration nears, a new book filled with salacious claims about the Trump administration has become a bestseller. Faced with renewed questions about his mental and temperamental fitness for the office, President Trump has pushed back, declaring himself a “very stable genius” and attacking his critics.

    But no new claims or revelations, James Fallows wrote recently for The Atlantic, have been more telling than Trump's public behavior. If the stories presented in a book about the president constitute a scandal, Fallows asks, what does it mean that the scandal continues in public view? What dangers are courted by speculating about the president's mental acuity? What steps could be taken to make such speculation unnecessary? Fallows joins our hosts to discuss.

    If you listen to Radio Atlantic, we value your feedback. Please help us out by answering a quick survey. It should only take a few minutes. Just to go


    - “It's Been an Open Secret All Along” (James Fallows, January 4, 2018)
    - ”Is Something Neurologically Wrong With Donald Trump?” (James Hamblin, January 3, 2018)
    - “The Case for Hillary Clinton and Against Donald Trump” (The Editors, November 2016 Issue)
    - “A Time Capsule of the Unpresidential Things Trump Says” (James Fallows, May 23, 2016, to November 20, 2016)
    - Bush on the Couch: Inside the Mind of the President (Justin Frank, 2004)
    - “John Dean: Nixon ‘Might Have Survived If There’d Been a Fox News’” (Edward-Isaac Dovere, POLITICO Magazine, January 02, 2018)
  • Episode 26

    How Has America Changed Since 1968?

    As 2018 begins, tensions and tumult in America are high. But before the end of 1968, Conor Friedersdorf reminded us in The Atlantic, "Martin Luther King Jr. and Robert F. Kennedy would be assassinated; U.S. troops would suffer their deadliest year yet in Vietnam—and massacre scores of civilians at My Lai; Richard Nixon would be elected president; the Khmer Rouge would form in Cambodia; humans would orbit the moon; Olympic medal winners in Mexico City would raise their fists in a black power salute; President Johnson would sign the Civil Rights Act of 1968; Yale University would announce that it intended to admit women; 2001: A Space Odyssey would premier; and Led Zeppelin would give their first live performance."

    What does that turbulent year have to tell us in this tumultuous moment? What forgotten history is worth revisiting? And in the past half-century, where has the nation made progress, and where has it struggled? Conor Friedersdorf joins us to discuss these questions with our hosts.

    If you listen to Radio Atlantic, we value your feedback. Please help us out by answering a quick survey. It should only take a few minutes. Just to go


    ”1968 and the Making of Modern America” (Conor Friedersdorf, January 1, 2018)
    –  ”Put Your Husband in the Kitchen” (Helen Keller, 1932 Issue)
    “Report: Washington” (Elizabeth Drew, April 1968 Issue)
    “Americans' Respect for Police Surges” (Gallup, October 24, 2016)
  • Episode 25

    Ideas of the Year, 2017 Edition

    Every year is impossible to synthesize. Yet 2017 was not just another year. To help us wrangle the chaotic, extraordinary events of the last 12 months into some sort of shape, we posed a question to journalists from across The Atlantic's staff, and to our listeners: What were the ideas of 2017?

    In this episode, Jeff and Matt discuss the many different responses to that question we collected, and share their own ideas of the year. Share yours: 202-266-7600. And here's to the year ahead.

    If you listen to Radio Atlantic, we value your feedback. Please help us out by answering a quick survey. It should only take a few minutes. Just to go


    The End of History and the Last Man (Francis Fukuyama, 1992)
    “It's Still Not the End of History” (Timothy Stanley and Alexander Lee, September 1, 2014)
    “This Article Won’t Change Your Mind” (Julie Beck, March 13, 2017)
    “The Challenge of Fighting Mistrust in Science” (Julie Beck, June 24, 2017)
    “Professor Smith Goes to Washington” (Ed Yong, January 25, 2017)
    “The Climate Scientist Who Became a Politician” (Ed Yong, February 2, 2017)
    “Do Scientists Lose Credibility When They Become Political?” (Ed Yong, February 28, 2017)
    “The Movement of #MeToo” (Sophie Gilbert, October 16, 2017)
    “How America Lost Faith in Expertise” (Tom Nichols, Foreign Affairs, March/April 2017 Issue)
    “A Political Opening for Universal Health Care?” (Vann R. Newkirk II, February 14, 2017)
    “The Fight for Health Care Has Always Been About Civil Rights” (Vann R. Newkirk II, June 27, 2017)
    “The Republican Lawmaker Who Secretly Created Reddit’s Women-Hating ‘Red Pill’” (Bonnie Bacarisse, The Daily Beast, April 25, 2017

  • Episode 24

    Putin, Russia, and the End of History

    Vladimir Putin just announced, to the surprise of no one, that he will run for reelection as President of Russia. In her January/February 2018 Atlantic cover story, Julia Ioffe writes that Americans misunderstand the man ruling the former Soviet empire: he’s not a master tactician playing three-dimensional chess, he’s a gambler who won big.

    "Over the past year, Russian hackers have become the stuff of legend in the United States," Julia writes. "But most Russians don’t recognize the Russia portrayed in this story." What do they see that we don't? How does America look right now from their vantage point? And what does Vladimir Putin ultimately want? Julia joins our hosts, along with Atlantic global editor Kathy Gilsinan, to discuss.

    If you listen to Radio Atlantic, we value your feedback. Please help us out by answering a quick survey. It should only take a few minutes. Just to go


    “What Putin Really Wants” (Julia Ioffe, January/February 2018 Issue)
    “Vladimir Putin, Action Man” (Alan Taylor, September 13, 2011)
    “How the Kremlin Tried to Rig the Olympics, and Failed” (Julia Ioffe, December 6, 2017)
    “It Took Two to Make Russian Meddling Effective” (Julia Ioffe, June 23, 2017)
    “Putin’s Inauguration: Satire and Violence” (Julia Ioffe, The New Yorker, May 7, 2012)
    "Why Do They Stay?" (Hilzoy, Obsidian Wings, April 10, 2009)

  • Episode 23

    The Manifest Destiny of Mike Pence

    That Pence is the vice president of the United States is "a loaves-and-fishes miracle," writes McKay Coppins in the latest issue of The Atlantic. It's remarkable enough that "an embattled small-state governor with underwater approval ratings, dismal reelection prospects, and a national reputation in tatters" would be chosen as a presidential running mate at all. But unlikelier still is the fact that Pence, known for his devotion to Christ, would become the most prominent character witness for President Donald Trump.

    How did Pence reconcile his deeply held Christian values with his defense of Donald Trump after the revelation of the Access Hollywood recording? Would he support Trump if the presidency were within his own reach? And what do his decisions illuminate about evangelical Christians' attachment to the president? In this conversation, McKay shares what he's learned about Pence from reporting on his stints as governor, radio host, and frat snitch.


    “God’s Plan for Mike Pence” (McKay Coppins, January/February 2018 Issue)
    “The Odds of Impeachment Are Dropping” (Peter Beinart, December 3, 2017)
    “Jared Kushner Responds (Very Briefly) to Flynn's Plea Deal” (Uri Friedman, December 3, 2017)“Should Christian Bakers Be Allowed to Refuse Wedding Cakes to Gays?” (Conor Friedersdorf, February 25, 2014)
    “If Indiana's Religious-Freedom Law Isn't Discriminatory, Why Change It?” (David A. Graham, March 31, 2015)
    Adiós Utopia: Dreams and Deceptions in Cuban Art Since 1950
    “Terry McAuliffe’s Dead-Serious Advice For Democrats: Have Some Fun!” (Ruby Cramer, BuzzFeed News, December 3, 2017)
  • Episode 22

    The Great Recession, One Decade Later

    In December 2007, the U.S. marked the beginning of its longest recession since World War II. Now the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, an agency born in the ashes of the nation's economic downturn, is under new leadership that promises big changes. Meanwhile, a tax plan speeding through Congress could have far-reaching effects on the economy, well beyond taxes. On paper, the U.S. economy looks robust. But for whom, and for how long?

    This week, Annie Lowrey and Alana Semuels join our hosts to look at what's happened in the decade since the Great Recession, and what's happening now. What lessons have we learned from the crisis? And which are we doomed to repeat?

    "The Never-Ending Foreclosure" (Alana Semuels, December 1, 2017)
    - "The Great Recession Is Still With Us" (Annie Lowrey, December 1, 2017)
    - “The GOP Targets America’s Most Loved and Hated Tax Break” (Alana Semuels, November 2, 2017)
    - “The U.S. Isn’t Prepared for the Next Recession” (Annie Lowrey, October 31, 2017)
    - ”Mick Mulvaney Is Pretending Everything's Totally Normal at Work” (Gillian B. White, November 28, 2017)
    - “Could a Tax Fix the Gig Economy?” (Alana Semuels, November 6, 2017)
    - “Trump Says His Tax Plan Won't Benefit the Rich—He's Exactly Wrong” (Annie Lowrey, September 29, 2017)
    - "Could a Memo by Christina Romer Have Saved the Economy?" (John Hudson, February 22, 2012)
    - “The Fight Over the CFPB Reveals the Broken State of American Politics” (David A. Graham, November 28, 2017)
    - "The Shadow of the Stimulus" (Ross Douthat, February 1, 2009)
    - "Return of the Shopping Avenger" (Jeffrey Goldberg, December 1, 2009)
    - The Half Has Never Been Told  (Edward Baptist)
    - The Unwinding (George Packer)
    - "The Nutshell Studies" (Katie Mingle, 99 Percent Invisible)
    - "The Reason This 'Racist Soap Dispenser' Doesn't Work on Black Skin" (Max Plenke,, September 9, 2015)

  • Episode 21

    John Wayne, Donald Trump, and the American Man

    For generations, Hollywood has defined what masculinity means in the U.S., with iconic screen figures such as John Wayne. But Wayne's stoic, taciturn image was the product of a complicated relationship with the director John Ford, one that offers different lessons about masculinity and its constraints. As scandals about men and their behavior fill the news, we discuss the legacy of John Wayne and other male screen icons. Our cohosts are joined by Atlantic staff writer Megan Garber and Stephen Metcalf, author of the story "How John Wayne Became a Hollow Masculine Icon."


    - "How John Wayne Became a Hollow Masculine Icon" (Stephen Metcalf, December 2017 Issue)- "Masculinity Done Well and Poorly" (James Hamblin, September 25, 2017)- "The End of Men" (Hanna Rosin, July/August 2010 Issue)- "Angry White Boys" (Kevin D. Williamson, National Review, August 16, 2017) - "Toxic Masculinity and Murder" (James Hamblin, June 16, 2016)- "Does Masculinity Need To Be 'Reimagined'?" (Erik Hayden, September 21, 2010)- "How Hollywood Whitewashed the Old West" (Leah Williams, October 5, 2016)- "Hollywood Has Ruined Method Acting" (Angelica Jade Bastién, August 11, 2016) 
  • Episode 20

    How an American Neo-Nazi Was Made

    Andrew Anglin spent his formative years flirting with hippie progressivism, then tried his hand at becoming a tribal hunter-gatherer. But he only achieved notoriety after he founded the Daily Stormer, the world's biggest website for neo-Nazis. Anglin and his mob of followers have terrorized people around the world, and their influence has been cited by the perpetrators of fatal violence.

    What lessons should be learned from Anglin's radicalization? And what is society's best response to his ideas? Luke O'Brien and Rosie Gray join Jeff and Matt to discuss these questions, and how far-right extremism is evolving.

    - "The Making of an American Nazi" (Luke O'Brien, December 2017)
    - "The Lost Boys" (Angela Nagle, December 2017)
    - "How 2015 Fueled The Rise Of The Freewheeling, White Nationalist Alt-Movement" (Rosie Gray, BuzzFeed, 12/27/2015)
    - "Behind the Internet's Anti-Democracy Movement" (Rosie Gray, 2/10/2017)
    - "The Alt-Right's Rebranding Effort Has Failed" (Rosie Gray, 8/13/2017)
    - "What Gwen Ifill Knew About Race in America" (Jeffrey Goldberg, 11/18/2016)
    - "Joan Didion Doesn't Owe the World Anything" (Megan Garber, 10/29/2017)
    - NoSleep Subreddit | Podcast
  • Episode 19

    The Press and the Election of 2016: One Year Later

    It’s a year after Donald Trump's upset election victory. Before and after the 2016 election, President Trump referred to journalists as enemies to himself and to the American people. But his victory wasn’t just a success in vilifying the media, it was a success in manipulating it. Trump was a media figure, skilled at drawing attention. And news organizations were unused to being so squarely part of the story.

    What lessons have journalists taken from the 2016 campaign and President Trump’s election? What’s changed since then? And what should change going forward? In this episode of Radio Atlantic, Adrienne LaFrance, the editor of, and Yoni Appelbaum, the magazine's politics and policy editor, join Matt and Jeff to look back and look ahead one year after the Trump Era began.

    - "How Trump Diagnosed American Politics" (Andy Kroll,  Nov 7, 2016)
    - "Zuckerberg 2020?" (Adrienne LaFrance, Jan 19,  2017)
    - 'We Thought You'd Like to Look Back on This Post from 1 Year Ago’ (Julie Beck, Nov 8, 2017)
    - The Atlantic Interview
    - "The Battle Hymn of the Republic" (as interpreted by Jon Batiste) 

  • Episode 18

    Khizr Khan on What Patriotism Requires

    Since the 2016 election heightened America's deep political divides, the mantle of patriotism has become fodder for a bitter tug-of-war. Is it patriotic to leak a presidential secret? To voice dissent during a national rite? Should a general running the White House be deferred to or defied?

    In this episode, Atlantic journalists Krishnadev Calamur and Sigal Samuel talk with Khizr Khan, the Gold Star father whose stirring speech at the 2016 Democratic National Convention touched off a famous feud with the President-to-be, about what sacrifice means to him, and why America is worth it. We also hear from a couple veterans who offer their own perspectives on patriotism and military service.

    To share thoughts, feedback, and questions on the show, leave us a voicemail with your contact info: (202) 266-7600.

    - "The Anguish of John Kelly" (David Graham, 10/19/2017)
    - "Kneeling for Life and Liberty Is Patriotic" (Conor Friedersdorf, 9/25/2017)
    - "Why Cede the Flag to Donald Trump?" (David Frum, 9/24/2017)
    - "The Tragedy of the American Military" (James Fallows, January/February 2015)
    - "Mine Eyes Have Seen the Glory" (Radio Atlantic, episode one)
    - "My Parents' Country, in the Grip of the Shabab" (The New York Times Sunday Review)
    - "Look at Tiny Baby Hank" (Vlogbrothers)
  • Episode 17

    Reporting on Open Secrets, with Jodi Kantor and Katie Benner

    Allegations of sexual harassment (and more) by powerful men in numerous industries have been leading news reports across America. On-the-record accounts of disturbing behavior are proliferating. Several leaders of prominent companies have been forced out of their positions. Does this represent a lasting shift in attitudes toward scandalous conduct, or will the public's interest in these matters subside? Is this a tipping point, in other words, or a flash point?

    The journalism of Jodi Kantor, Katie Benner, and their colleagues at The New York Times has been a major catalyst for putting this issue at the top of the national agenda. Kantor and her reporting partner Megan Twohey shared a byline on the October 5 investigation revealing three decades of sexual harassment allegations against Harvey Weinstein. As a technology reporter based in Silicon Valley, Benner has chronicled numerous reports of predatory behavior by investors, founders, and other influential figures in the tech industry. In this episode of Radio Atlantic, Kantor and Benner join Alex and Matt to discuss what they've discovered in their reporting, and where they think it will lead.

    - "Harvey Weinstein Paid Off Sexual Harassment Accusers for Decades" (Jodi Kantor and Megan Twohey, The New York Times, 10/5/2017)
    - "How the Harvey Weinstein Story Has Unfolded" (Daniel Victor, The New York Times, 10/18/2017)
    - "Women in Tech Speak Frankly on Culture of Harassment" (Katie Benner, The New York Times, 6/30/2017)
    - "'It Was a Frat House': Inside the Sex Scandal That Toppled SoFi's C.E.O." (Katie Benner and Nathaniel Popper, The New York Times) | SoFi's response
    - “The ‘Harvey Effect’ Takes Down Leon Wieseltier’s Magazine” (Adrienne LaFrance, The Atlantic, 10/24/2017)
    - "Harvey Weinstein and the Economics of Consent" (Brit Marling, The Atlantic, 10/23/2017)
    - "Girl at a Bar" (Saturday Night Live)
    - Startup, especially seasons two and four
    - The Burning Girl (Claire Messud)
    - The Color of Law(Richard Rothstein)
    - Uncivil
    Scene on Radio: Seeing White
  • Episode 16

    Why Do Happy People Cheat?

    "Infidelity," Esther Perel writes in the October issue of The Atlantic, "happens in bad marriages and in good marriages. It happens even in open relationships where extramarital sex is carefully negotiated beforehand. The freedom to leave or divorce has not made cheating obsolete." Adultery is as ancient as marriage, and as contemporary relationships have evolved, Perel writes, the causes and consequences of infidelity have much to teach us about the nature of commitment.  In this conversation, Perel talks with our hosts about some of those lessons, culled from numerous sessions counseling couples as a psychotherapist.

    Perel is the author of Mating in Captivityand the host of "Where Should We Begin?"—an Audible original series entering its second season on October 24th. Her new book, The State of Affairs: Rethinking Infidelity, is now available in bookstores.

    - "Why Happy People Cheat" (Esther Perel)
    - "You Need Help to Help Her" (Esther Perel, "Where Should We Begin?")
    - "Muto" (Matt Thompson, Snarkmarket)
  • Episode 15

    Derek Thompson and the Moonshot Factory

    Few journalists have gotten a peek inside X, the secretive lab run by Google's parent company Alphabet. Its scientists are researching cold fusion, hover boards, and stratosphere-surfing balloons. Derek Thompson, staff writer at The Atlantic, spent several days with the staff of X. In this episode, he tells Matt and Alex all about what he found, and what it suggests about the future of technological invention.

    Have thoughts or questions? Leave us a message! (202) 266-7600. Don't forget to leave us your contact info.

  • Episode 14

    The Miseducation of Ta-Nehisi Coates

    In his new book, We Were Eight Years in Power, The Atlantic's national correspondent Ta-Nehisi Coates writes about the past eight years of his career—his pursuit of an understanding of America, and his route to becoming a celebrated author. In this episode of Radio Atlantic, our cohosts Matt, Jeff, and Alex each conduct an interview with Ta-Nehisi about what he's found.

    This is a longer episode than our usual, so if you'd like to skip around, here are the three segments, for easy fast-forwarding:

    [00:00] Matt's interview, focused on the questions that infused Ta-Nehisi's early writing at The Atlantic, and the answers that he's found
    [32:46] Jeff's interview, focused on the two administrations Ta-Nehisi has chronicled, and his political outlook
    [59:52] Alex's interview, focused on Ta-Nehisi's community, family, and life

    - The Mis-Education of the Negro(Carter G. Woodson, 1933)
    - “Black People, Culture and Poverty” (Ta-Nehisi Coates, 2009)
    - "The Math on Black Out-of-Wedlock Births" (Ta-Nehisi Coates, 2009)
    - “The Radical Critique of Obama” (Ta-Nehisi Coates, 2009)
    - “On Jewish Racism” (Ta-Nehisi Coates, 2009)
    - “Still More…” (Ta-Nehisi Coates, 2009)
    - “Why Do So Few Blacks Study the Civil War?” (Ta-Nehisi Coates, 2012)
    - "The End of White America?" (Hua Hsu, 2009)
    - "The Issues: Race" (Hua Hsu & Ta-Nehisi Coates, 2009)
    - “A Plea for Straight Talk Between the Races” (Benjamin Mays, 1960)
    - "The First White President" (Ta-Nehisi Coates, 2017)
    - "This Is What European Diplomats Really Think About Donald Trump" (Alberto Nardelli, Buzzfeed, 2017)
    - "Donald Trump's Race Wars" (Jonathan Chait, 2017)
    - "Tyranny of the Minority" (Michelle Goldberg, 2017)
    - Elizabeth Kolbert's author archive (The New Yorker)
  • Episode 13

    Russia! Live with Julia Ioffe and Eliot A. Cohen

    According to the U.S. intelligence community, this much is settled fact: Russia intervened in the 2016 presidential election in favor of Donald Trump. But beyond that basic consensus, much remains unknown, the subject of multiple investigations by FBI director Robert Mueller and Congressional intelligence committees.

    In this episode of Radio Atlantic, recorded before a live audience at the Sixth and I Historic Synagogue, Atlantic staff writer Julia Ioffe and contributing editor Eliot Cohen join hosts Jeffrey Goldberg and Matt Thompson for a wide-ranging conversation about what Russia has wrought.
    We’d like to hear your questions about Russia: Call us up at (202) 266-7600 and leave us a voicemail. Don't forget to leave your contact info.

    For links and other show notes, go here.
  • Episode 12

    What Are Public Schools For?

    The idea that public schools are failing is one of the most commonly heard complaints in American society. But what are they failing to do? Surveys of American parents—and the history of the nation's public education system—tell a more complicated story. In this episode, The Atlantic's education editor Alia Wong joins Jeff, Matt, and Alex for a conversation about how we define and measure success in public education.

    We’d like to hear your stories about education: public, private, school-of-hard-knocks, you name it. Call us up at (202) 266-7600 and leave us a voicemail with your story and your answer to the question, “What is public education for?” Don't forget to leave your contact info.

    For links and other show notes, go here.
  • Episode 11

    Will America's Institutions Survive President Trump?

    Eight months into the Trump administration, we're taking stock: What is shaping up to be President Trump's effect on America’s institutions? Will subsequent presidents preserve or disregard the norms he's tossed aside? What are his political allies and opponents learning from his actions?

    Jack Goldsmith, author of The Atlantic's October cover story, explores these and many other questions with editor-in-chief Jeffrey Golberg. Then, Matt Thompson and Alex Wagner discuss Trump's impact on the GOP with longtime Republican strategist Mindy Finn and The Atlantic's politics and policy editor, Yoni Appelbaum.

    For links and other show notes, go here.
  • Episode 10

    A Memo to the Huddled Masses

    Immigrants flock to the U.S. in pursuit of the American Dream. But does the end of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program mean a wake-up call for millions of undocumented Americans? In this episode of Radio Atlantic, reporter Jeremy Raff and editor Priscilla Alvarez join Jeffrey Goldberg and Matt Thompson to discuss what the suspension of DACA means for those directly affected ... and what it means for America as a whole.

    For links and show notes, go here.
  • Episode 9

    News Update: The Questions After Harvey

    If history is any guide, the biggest problems for residents of the Houston area will come into focus only after the nation's attention has already turned elsewhere. In this Radio Atlantic extra, Matt Thompson talks with Atlantic staff writer David Graham about the questions we should be asking now, while Harvey remains in the headlines. As the recovery gets under way, what should we be watching? Plus, a Houston-area resident talks about what she's seen over the last week that she wants to hold on to in the months and years ahead.
  • Episode 8

    What Game of Thrones Has Taught Us About Politics

    "Winter is coming," they warned us, and the seventh season of Game of Thrones might have proved them right. But no one mentioned that winter in Westeros would coincide with so many troubling events in real-world politics. In this episode, Megan Garber, staff writer for The Atlantic, joins Radio Atlantic cohosts Alex Wagner and Matt Thompson for a conversation about lessons from the show, and other recent pop culture.

    - If you're not a Game of Thrones fan, or don't want to be spoiled, worry not: the second segment of our conversation (around the 16:30 mark) turns beyond the show to discuss recent movies, books, and TV shows with political lessons to offer.
    - If you are a Game of Thrones fan, be forewarned: we discuss spoilers up to and including the final episode of season 7.

    For links and other show notes, go here.
  • Episode 7

    Are Smartphones Harming Our Kids?

    It's been ten years since the iPhone came out, and now the first generation to grow up with smartphones is coming of age. Jean Twenge, a psychologist who has studied generational behaviors, has found troubling signals that these devices seem to be taking a visible toll on the mental health of post-Millennials. In the September 2017 issue of The Atlantic, Twenge shares her findings in a story adapted from her new book, iGen: Why Today’s Super-Connected Kids Are Growing Up Less Rebellious, More Tolerant, Less Happy—and Completely Unprepared for Adulthood—and What That Means for the Rest of Us.

    In this episode, we talk with Twenge about her findings, hear from a few members of the post-Millennial generation about their relationships with their devices, and discuss what the research means for parents.

    For links and other show notes, go here.
  • Episode 6

    Ta-Nehisi Coates and Yoni Appelbaum on Charlottesville's Aftermath

    After white supremacists and neo-Nazis rallied in Virginia, resulting in the deaths of three Americans, President Trump's equivocating responses shocked Republicans and Democrats alike. Did this represent a major breakpoint in American politics? Why have Confederate symbols and ideas suddenly returned to the public sphere, not to mention HBO? And how should Americans comprehend the relationship between these extremist currents and the Trump administration? Ta-Nehisi Coates and Yoni Appelbaum explore these questions with Jeffrey Goldberg, Alex Wagner, and Matt Thompson.

    For links and other show notes, go here.
  • Episode 5

    Kurt Andersen on How America Lost Its Mind

    When did the reality-based community start losing to reality show celebrity? Why are "alternative facts" and fake news suddenly ubiquitous features of the landscape? The spread of American magical thinking isn't, in fact, sudden, argues Kurt Andersen in the September 2017 Atlantic. It was rooted in the very origins of the nation, and started to blossom in the '60s. Andersen explores how these forces made their way to the White House in conversation with our Radio Atlantic cohosts, Jeffrey Goldberg, Alex Wagner, and Matt Thompson.

    For links and other show notes, go here
  • Episode 4

    News Update: Mark Bowden on North Korea

    Given new revelations about North Korea's nuclear capabilities—and newly harsh rhetoric from President Trump—Jeffrey Goldberg and Matt Thompson talk with Mark Bowden, author of The Atlantic's July/August cover story on how to deal with North Korea. In that story, Bowden laid out the four options a U.S. administration has for handling North Korea's nuclear ambitions—trying to prevent its progress, turning the screws on the country's leadership, decapitating its leaders, and accepting that a nuclear North Korea is inevitable—and why all of those options are bad. In this conversation, he talks about how this week's news affects that calculus, and whether any one of those paths has grown more likely.

    This is a bonus episode. In our August 11 episode, our co-host Alex Wagner will rejoin us, and our guest will be Kurt Anderson, the author of our September cover story.
  • Episode 3

    Ask Not What Your Robots Can Do For You

    Our increasingly smart machines aren’t just changing the workforce, they’re changing us. Already, algorithms are directing human activity in all sorts of ways, from choosing what news people see to highlighting new gigs for workers in the gig economy. What will human life look like as machine learning overtakes more aspects of our society?

    Alexis Madrigal, who covers technology for The Atlantic, shares what he’s learned from his reporting on the past, present, and future of automation with our Radio Atlantic co-hosts, Jeffrey Goldberg (editor-in-chief), Alex Wagner (contributing editor and CBS anchor), and Matt Thompson (executive editor).

    For links and other show notes, go here.
  • Episode 2

    One Nation Under God?

    America prides itself on pluralism and tolerance, but how far does that tolerance extend when it comes to religious expression? Could faith in general be on the decline?

    Radio Atlantic cohosts Jeffrey Goldberg (editor-in-chief), Alex Wagner (contributing editor and CBS anchor), and Matt Thompson (executive editor) explore those questions with Emma Green, who covers religion and politics for The Atlantic.

    For links and other show notes, visit this page.
  • Episode 1

    'Mine Eyes Have Seen the Glory'

    The Atlantic was founded on the eve of the Civil War to advance the American idea. But as we approach the magazine's 160th anniversary, has that idea taken an unprecedented turn?

    In this inaugural episode, our cohosts — Jeffrey Goldberg, editor-in-chief; Alex Wagner, contributing editor and CBS anchor; and Matt Thompson, executive editor — explore that question with Atlantic writers David Frum, and Molly Ball. And we present the world premiere of Jon Batiste's Battle Hymn of the Republic, reimagined for the magazine that first published it.

    For links and other show notes, visit this page.
  • Trailer

    Coming July 21: A weekly conversation about what's happening in our world, how things got the way they are, and where they're heading next. Don't miss this sneak preview, for a taste of what's to come, including a teaser of the Battle Hymn of the Republic, recorded for The Atlantic by legendary jazz musician Jon Batiste.