The past four years have cracked open the heart of the American experiment. Norms were flouted, laws were broken, and our democracy was pushed to the edge—revealing the fractures and blind spots in the ideals and stories we tell ourselves about the United States.
Today, WNYC Studios and The Atlantic introduce The Experiment: Stories From an Unfinished Country, a weekly podcast that will give listeners the context they need to understand our country right now. In each episode, released every Thursday, host Julia Longoria is joined by The Atlantic’s writers and editors to explore America’s promise through riveting, surprising, and even surreal stories that uncover powerful and sometimes invisible forces of history.
The Experiment debuts with a tale that illuminates the gap between the ideals of our country and its often messy reality. The story begins with an elk hunter capturing a trophy bull. He takes the shot on a stretch of land in Yellowstone Park where it’s possible to get away with murder, and a fretful scholar finds himself on a quest to close the legal loophole within the U.S. Constitution’s Sixth Amendment that allows this to happen. The challenge, however, isn’t as straightforward as it seems. The episode features the Atlantic staff writer Ed Yong—known most recently for his coverage of the coronavirus pandemic—making a connection between this Sixth Amendment loophole and the COVID-19 crisis in the United States.