Reveal

Reveal

By The Center for Investigative Reporting and PRX

Reveal’s investigations will inspire, infuriate and inform you. Host Al Letson and an award-winning team of reporters deliver gripping stories about caregivers, advocates for the unhoused, immigrant families, warehouse workers and formerly incarcerated people, fighting to hold the powerful accountable. The New Yorker described Reveal as “a knockout … a pleasure to listen to, even as we seethe.” A winner of multiple Peabody, duPont, Emmy and Murrow awards, Reveal is produced by the nation’s first investigative journalism nonprofit, The Center for Investigative Reporting, and PRX. From unearthing exploitative working conditions to exposing the nation’s racial disparities, there’s always more to the story. Learn more at revealnews.org/learn.

Episodes

In Gaza, Every Pregnancy is Complicated

After six months of war in Gaza, the Palestinian medical infrastructure has collapsed, leaving tens of thousands of pregnant women without a safe place to deliver. Reporters Gabrielle Berbey and Salman Ahad Khan follow one mother over the final months of her pregnancy after she’s forced to leave behind her home, work and doctor in Gaza City. We begin with the reporters’ first call to Lubna Al Rayyes five weeks into the war, as she is seven months pregnant with her third child. Before the war’s start on Oct. 7, Al Rayyes ran a prestigious school in Gaza City and her husband owned a clothing store. After being forced to evacuate their home, they fled to Khan Younis, but that city soon came under attack by the Israeli military as well. After being in regular contact with Al Rayyes for more than a month, the reporters lost contact with her. Berbey and Khan then track down Al Rayyes’ sister, who was able to leave Gaza and relocate to Canada because of her husband’s Canadian citizenship. Canada’s Palestinian community lobbied the government to create an asylum program for displaced people in Gaza, but the program became mired in delays. Berbey and Khan eventually reconnect with Al Rayyes, who explains what happened with her delivery.Beyond the collapse of the medical system, the health of Palestinians in Gaza is threatened by food shortages. Khan speaks with Tessa Roseboom, a Dutch researcher who’s been looking at how famine affects the development of babies in their mothers’ womb. We then meet Dr. Ghassan Jawad, an OB-GYN from Gaza who was forced to deliver babies in cars, shelters and even on the street as the medical system stopped functioning. Jawad had worked at Al-Shifa hospital, which was heavily damaged in a recent attack by the Israeli military.  Support Reveal’s journalism at Revealnews.org/donatenow Subscribe to our weekly newsletter to get the scoop on new episodes at Revealnews.org/newsletter Connect with us on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram
13/04/2450m 36s

Escaping Putin’s War Machine

As the war in Ukraine grinds into a third year, more Russian soldiers are attempting to escape frontline deployment, supported by an underground network of fellow Russians. Associated Press investigative reporter Erika Kinetz follows the dramatic journey of one Russian military officer who deserted the army and fled Russia, guided by an anti-war group that has helped thousands of people evade military service or desert. The name of the group, Idite Lesom, is a play on words in Russian – a reference to the covert nature of its work but also a popular idiom that means "Get lost.” With help from the group, the officer made the perilous journey to Kazakhstan, but only after he had a friend and fellow soldier shoot him in the leg. “You can only leave wounded or dead,” he tells Kinetz. “No one wants to leave dead.” His act of desperation reflects the horrific conditions troops face in Ukraine. But life in exile is not what this officer and other deserters had hoped for. Some have had criminal cases filed against them in Russia, where they face 10 years or more in prison. And many are also waiting for a welcome from European countries or the United States that has never arrived. Instead, they live in hiding, fearing deportation back to Russia and persecution of themselves and their families. For Western nations grappling with Russia’s vast and growing diaspora, Russian military defectors present particular concern: Are they spies? War criminals? Or heroes? Next, Reveal host Al Letson talks with Kinetz and fellow reporter Solomiia Hera about why these military defectors are not finding sanctuary in Western Europe or the U.S. and how demographics and Russian President Vladimir Putin’s willingness to accept enormous casualties in Ukraine could give Russia an edge in an emerging war of attrition. In the final segment, we follow a Ukrainian man who knows all too well what a war of attrition really looks like. Oleksii Yukov is a martial arts instructor and leader of a team of volunteers who collect the remains of fallen soldiers, both Ukrainian and Russian. Yukov is on a spiritual quest to give these souls a final resting place. “We are not fighting the dead,” Yukov says. “Our weapon is humanity and a shovel.” Support Reveal’s journalism at Revealnews.org/donatenow Subscribe to our weekly newsletter to get the scoop on new episodes at Revealnews.org/newsletter Connect with us on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram
06/04/2450m 23s

Cashing in on Troubled Teens

The first time Trina Edwards was locked in a psychiatric hospital for children, she was 12 years old. She was sure a foster parent would pick her up the next day. But instead, Trina would end up spending years cycling in and out of North Star Behavioral Health in Anchorage, Alaska.  At times, she was ready to be discharged, but Alaska’s Office of Children’s Services couldn’t find anywhere else to put her – so Trina would stay locked in at North Star, where she would experience violent restraints and periods of seclusion. Then, shortly before her 15th birthday, Trina was sent to another facility 3,000 miles away: Copper Hills Youth Center in Utah.  Both North Star and Copper Hills are owned by Universal Health Services, a publicly traded Fortune 500 company that is the nation’s largest psychiatric hospital chain. Trina’s experience is emblematic of a larger problem: a symbiotic relationship between failing child welfare agencies, which don’t have enough foster homes for all the kids in custody, and large for-profit companies like Universal Health Services, which have beds to fill.  This hour, Mother Jones reporter Julia Lurie exposes how  Universal Health Services is profiting off foster kids who get admitted to its facilities, despite government and media investigations raising alarming allegations about patient care that the company denies.  This is an update of an episode that originally aired in October 2023. Support Reveal’s journalism at Revealnews.org/donatenow Subscribe to our weekly newsletter to get the scoop on new episodes at Revealnews.org/newsletter Connect with us on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram
30/03/2450m 37s

A Whistleblower in New Folsom Prison

When Valentino Rodriguez started his job at the high-security prison in Sacramento,  California, informally known as New Folsom, he thought he was entering into a brotherhood of correctional officers. What he found was the opposite. Five years later, Rodriguez’s  sudden death would raise questions from the FBI and his family. KQED reporters Sukey Lewis and Julie Small trace his story in their series On Our Watch. This episode opens with Lewis and her reporting team meeting Rodriguez's parents and his widow, Mimy. They talk through the early days of Rodriguez's career and early milestones, like when he got an opportunity to join an elite unit investigating crimes in the prison. But it’s there where his fellow officers in the unit began to undermine and harass him. Eventually, consumed with stress and fed up with how he was being treated, Rodriguez reached a breaking point at work. But even after he left the prison, his experiences there still haunted him. So he went in for a meeting with the warden of New Folsom. He didn’t know it would be his last. After his son’s death, Valentino Rodriguez Sr. began to look for answers and found his son’s story was part of something larger. In the final segment, Reveal host Al Letson sits down with Lewis and Small to discuss what this correctional officer’s story shows about how the second-largest prison system in the country is failing to protect the people who live and work inside of it. Listen to the whole On Our Watch series here: https://www.kqed.org/podcasts/onourwatch Support Reveal’s journalism at Revealnews.org/donatenow Subscribe to our weekly newsletter to get the scoop on new episodes at Revealnews.org/newsletter Connect with us on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram
23/03/2450m 35s

America Goes Psychedelic, Again

Psychedelic drugs have been illegal for 50 years, but they’re trickling back into the mainstream because they show promise in helping treat post-traumatic stress disorder and other mental health challenges. We begin the hour with reporter Jonathan A. Davis visiting Psychedelic Science 2023, the largest-ever conference on psychedelic drugs. It’s put on by the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies, an organization dedicated to legalizing MDMA (also known as ecstasy or molly) and other psychedelic drugs. Research shows that MDMA-assisted therapy can help treat depression and PTSD, and it’s moving toward approval by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. Psychedelics were studied in the 1950s and ’60s as mental health treatments, but the war on drugs put a stop to research. Now, these drugs are gaining bipartisan support from politicians looking for solutions to the mental health crisis among veterans.  Then Reveal’s Michael I Schiller visits a group of veterans who are not waiting for psychedelic-assisted therapy to be approved by the federal government. They’ve joined a church founded by an Iraq War veteran who uses psychedelics as religious sacraments. Schiller accompanies them on a retreat in rural Texas, where they share the depths of their post-traumatic stress and the relief they’ve felt after psychedelic treatments. He also explores the risks involved in taking these drugs.  We close with an intimate audio diary from a woman in Oakland, California, who’s going through therapy with the one psychedelic drug that can be legally prescribed currently in the U.S.: ketamine. Ketamine started out as an anesthetic, but researchers found it can help with treatment-resistant depression when used in tandem with talk therapy. Ketamine can be dangerous if abused, but it also has helped people find relief from mental health issues. This story was produced by Davis.  This is an update of an episode that originally aired in October 2023. Support Reveal’s journalism at Revealnews.org/donatenow Subscribe to our weekly newsletter to get the scoop on new episodes at Revealnews.org/newsletter Connect with us on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram Check out independent producer Jonathan A. Davis’s work here
16/03/2450m 58s

Blue State Barriers and the Messy Map of Abortion Access

As blue states try to shore up access to abortion and reproductive care, some are facing a threat they didn’t see coming: Catholic health care mergers. In the first segment, Reveal’s Nina Martin takes us to New Mexico, a blue state that’s been working hard since the U.S. Supreme Court struck down Roe v. Wade to strengthen its already sweeping protections for many forms of reproductive care. But those guarantees have been threatened by a local merger between Gerald Champion Regional Medical Center, the only hospital in rural Otero County, and a Catholic health care system out of Texas, CHRISTUS Health. Like all Catholic hospitals, the newly merged hospital will be subject to the Ethical and Religious Directives for Catholic Health Care Services, written by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. Known as ERDs, they limit or ban a number of reproductive services, including birth control, sterilization, abortion and gender-affirming care. Where will people go if they can’t get the care they need? The next closest hospital is an hour away. In the next segment, Martin travels to Alamogordo, where Gerald Champion is located, to try to find out how things are changing. Then she widens her lens, talking to a leading researcher on Catholic health care to see how ERDs play out in other hospitals around the country. She closes by talking to two Catholic experts about what ERDs require and how to improve transparency for patients. In the final segment, Reveal’s Laura C. Morel follows the story of Kelly Flynn, an abortion provider who has clinics in Florida and North Carolina, two states that had been abortion havens for women around the South before Roe fell. But now, lawmakers in North Carolina have imposed a 12-week ban on abortions, and the Florida Supreme Court is weighing a six-week ban. So Flynn has spent the last few months preparing for access to keep shrinking by quietly opening a new clinic in a state that still has relatively strong abortion protections – Virginia. Support Reveal’s journalism at Revealnews.org/donatenow Subscribe to our weekly newsletter to get the scoop on new episodes at Revealnews.org/newsletter Connect with us on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram
09/03/2450m 36s

The Suspect Detective

In 2010, Milique Wagner was arrested for a murder he says he had nothing to do with. The night of the shooting, Wagner was picked up for questioning and spent three days in the Philadelphia Police Department’s homicide unit, mostly being questioned by a detective named Philip Nordo.  Nordo was a star in the department, known for putting in long hours and closing cases – he had a hand in convicting more than 100 people. But that day in the homicide unit, Wagner says Nordo asked him some unnerving questions: Would he ever consider doing porn? Guy-on-guy porn?  Wagner would go on to be convicted of the murder in a case largely built by Nordo – and Wagner’s experience has led him to believe Nordo fabricated evidence and coerced false statements to frame him. For years, Philadelphia Inquirer reporters Chris Palmer and Samantha Melamed have dug into Nordo’s career, looking into allegations of his misconduct. In this episode, they follow the rumors to defense attorney Andrew Pappas, who subpoenas the prison call log between Nordo and one of his informants. It’s there where Pappas finds evidence that something is not right about the way Nordo is conducting his police work.  Pappas’ findings prompt the Philadelphia district attorney’s office to launch an investigation into Nordo. The patterns that prosecutors found by reviewing Nordo’s calls and emails with incarcerated men, examining his personnel file, and interviewing men who interacted with him showed shocking coercion and abuse. Almost 20 years after the first complaint was filed against Nordo, the disgraced detective’s actions became public. He was charged and his case went to trial. Palmer and Melamed analyze the fallout from the scandal and seek answers from the Police Department on how it addressed Nordo’s misconduct and how he got away with it for so long.   This is an update of an episode that originally aired in December 2022. Support Reveal’s journalism at Revealnews.org/donatenow Subscribe to our weekly newsletter to get the scoop on new episodes at Revealnews.org/weekly Connect with us on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram
02/03/2450m 56s

Listening in on Russia’s War in Ukraine

In this week’s episode, produced in collaboration with the Associated Press, reporters on the front lines take us inside Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and share never-before-heard recordings of Russian soldiers.  The day President Vladimir Putin ordered the invasion, Feb. 24, 2022, Russia unleashed a brutal assault on the strategic port city of Mariupol. That same day, a team of AP reporters arrived in the city. Vasilisa Stepanenko, Evgeniy Maloletka and Mstyslav Chernov kept their cameras and tape recorders rolling throughout the onslaught. Together, they captured some of the defining images of the war in Ukraine. Stepanenko and Maloletka talk with guest host Michael Montgomery about risking their lives to document blasted buildings, enormous bomb craters and the daily life of traumatized civilians. As Russian troops advanced on Mariupol, the journalists managed to escape with hours of their own material and recordings from the body camera of a noted Ukrainian medic, Yuliia Paievska. The powerful footage went viral and showed the world the brutalities of the war, as well as remarkable acts of courage by journalists, doctors and ordinary citizens.   Next, we listen to audio that’s never been publicly shared before: phone calls Russian soldiers made during the first weeks of the invasion, secretly recorded by the Ukrainian government. AP reporter Erika Kinetz obtained more than 2,000 of these calls. Using social media and other tools, she explores the lives of two soldiers whose calls home capture intimate moments with friends and family. The intercepted calls reveal the fear-mongering and patriotism that led some of the men to go from living regular lives as husbands, sons and fathers to talking about killing civilians.  In Bucha, a suburb of Kyiv, Russian soldiers left streets strewn with the bodies of civilians killed during their brief occupation. Kinetz shares her experiences visiting Bucha and speaking with survivors soon after Russian troops retreated. In the secret intercepts, Russian soldiers speak of “cleansing operations.” One soldier tells his mother: “We don’t imprison them. We kill them all.”  Will Russian soldiers and political leaders be prosecuted for war crimes? Montgomery talks with Oleksandra Matviichuk, a Ukrainian human rights lawyer who received a 2022 Nobel Peace Prize. She runs the Center for Civil Liberties in Kyiv, which has been gathering evidence of human rights abuses and war crimes in Ukraine since Russia’s first invasion in 2014. Matviichuk says it’s important for war crimes to be handled by Ukrainian courts, but the country’s legal system is overwhelmed and notoriously corrupt. She says there is an important role for the international community in creating a system that can bring justice for all Ukrainians.   Support Reveal’s journalism at Revealnews.org/donatenow Subscribe to our weekly newsletter to get the scoop on new episodes at Revealnews.org/weekly Connect with us on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram
24/02/2450m 48s

The Plague in the Shadows

HIV/AIDS changed the United States and the world. It has killed some 40 million people and continues to kill today. This week, reporters Kai Wright and Lizzy Ratner from the podcast Blindspot: The Plague in the Shadows take us back to the early years of the HIV epidemic in New York City and show how the virus tore through some of our most vulnerable communities while the wider world looked away.  Wright begins by looking at the initial media coverage of HIV, as well as the first health bulletins circulated by the medical community. Both focused on the spread of the virus within the gay men’s community, creating a feedback loop that resulted in other vulnerable groups being overlooked – including women, communities of color and children. Then Ratner tells the story of Katrina Haslip, a prisoner at a maximum-security prison in upstate New York in the 1980s. Haslip and other incarcerated women started a support group to educate each other about HIV and AIDS. The group was called ACE – for AIDS Counseling and Education – and it advocated for women, minorities and prisoners who were being overlooked in the nation's response to the epidemic. In the final segment, we learn how Haslip took her activism beyond prison walls after her release in 1990. She joined protests in Washington and met with leaders of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta. One of the main goals was to change the definition of AIDS, which at the time excluded many symptoms that appeared in HIV-positive women. This meant that women with AIDS often did not qualify for government benefits such as Medicaid and disability insurance.  The podcast series Blindspot: The Plague in the Shadows is a co-production of The History Channel and WNYC Studios. Support Reveal’s journalism at Revealnews.org/donatenow Subscribe to our weekly newsletter to get the scoop on new episodes at Revealnews.org/newsletter Connect with us on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram
17/02/2450m 47s

Alphabet Boys Revealed

The summer of 2020 was a hinge point in American history. The murder of George Floyd by Minneapolis police inspired racial justice demonstrations nationwide. At the time, the FBI was convinced that extreme Black political activists could cross the line into domestic terrorism – a theory federal agents had first termed “Black identity extremism.” That summer, Mickey Windecker approached the FBI. He drove a silver hearse, claimed to have been a volunteer fighter for the French Foreign Legion and the Peshmerga in Iraq, and had arrest records in four states that included convictions for misdemeanor sexual assault and menacing with a weapon, a felony. He claimed to the FBI that he had heard racial justice activists speak vaguely of training and violent revolution in Denver.  The FBI enlisted Windecker as a paid informant, gave him a recording device and instructed him to infiltrate Denver's growing Black Lives Matter movement. For months, Windecker spied on activists and attempted to recruit two Black men into an FBI-engineered plot to assassinate the state's attorney general. Windecker's undercover work is the first documented case of FBI efforts to infiltrate the 2020 racial justice movement. Journalist Trevor Aaronson obtained over a dozen hours of Windecker's secret recordings and more than 300 pages of internal FBI reports for season 1 of the podcast series Alphabet Boys.  This episode of Reveal is a partnership with Alphabet Boys and production company Western Sound.  This is an update of an episode that originally aired in September 2023. Support Reveal’s journalism at Revealnews.org/donatenow Subscribe to our weekly newsletter to get the scoop on new episodes at Revealnews.org/newsletter Connect with us on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram
10/02/2450m 40s

The 13th Step

Lauren Chooljian from New Hampshire Public Radio reports on a widespread culture of sexual misconduct in the addiction treatment industry. Across the country, women seeking treatment are being harassed and assaulted by men in positions of power. The problem is so pervasive that it has a name among those in the industry: the 13th Step. We begin with Chooljian explaining to host Al Letson the case that got her started on this investigation. It involved Eric Spofford, owner of New Hampshire’s largest addiction treatment network. After exposing allegations that Spofford was harassing patients, Chooljian, her sources and staff at New Hampshire Public Radio became the targets of intimidation and, in some cases, vandalism. Chooljian then chronicles another case, this one in California, that illustrates how difficult it is to bring to justice wealthy, powerful people in the industry. Chris Bathum owned a network of treatment centers in California and Colorado and was routinely sexually assaulting clients and offering them drugs. He was also submitting false billing claims to insurance companies. We meet two women, Rose Stahl and Debbie Herzog, who were separately investigating Bathum. Stahl started as a client at one of Bathum’s centers and later worked for him. She pursued evidence that he was assaulting women at the center, while Herzog was looking into insurance fraud.  Stahl blew the whistle about Bathum’s inappropriate behavior to leadership within the company, but the actions they took did not stop him. At the same time, Herzog was facing hurdles in convincing law enforcement to pay attention to the case she was building about insurance fraud. Then serendipitously, Herzog and Stahl learn of each other’s efforts and team up to try to bring Bathum to justice.   
03/02/2450m 38s

The Battle for Clean Energy in Coal Country

Montana has a long history of making money by extracting and exporting its natural resources, namely coal. State politicians and Montana’s largest electricity utility company seem set on keeping it that way.  Reveal’s Jonathan Jones travels to the town of Colstrip in the southeastern part of the state. It is home to one of the largest coal seams in the country – and one of the largest coal-fired power plants in the West. He learns that Montana’s largest power company, NorthWestern Energy, has expanded its stake in the plant, even though it’s the single biggest emitter of greenhouse gas in the state. Jones speaks with Colstrip’s mayor about the importance of coal mining to the local community. He also speaks to local ranchers and a tribal official who’ve been working for generations to protect the water and land from coal development.   Jones follows the money to the state’s capital, where lawmakers have passed some of the most extreme laws to keep the state from addressing climate change. He dives into lobbying records behind a flurry of bills that are keeping the state reliant on fossil fuels. He meets with one of the plaintiffs involved in a first-of-its-kind youth-led lawsuit. The group successfully sued Montana for violating their constitutional right to a “clean and healthful environment.” Jones also finds that NorthWestern is planning to build a new methane gas plant on the banks of the Yellowstone River, and the company is being met with resistance from people who live near the site.  Finally, Jones visits the state’s largest wind farm and speaks with a renewable energy expert, who says Montana can close its coal plants, never build a new gas plant and transition to 100% clean energy while reducing electricity costs for consumers. Jones also speaks with NorthWestern’s CEO and looks at other coal communities in transition.    This is an update of an episode that originally aired in June 2023. Support Reveal’s journalism at Revealnews.org/donatenow Subscribe to our weekly newsletter to get the scoop on new episodes at Revealnews.org/newsletter Connect with us on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram
27/01/2450m 31s

Black in the Sunshine State

Last summer, Reveal host Al Letson returned home to Jacksonville, Florida, to find a changed state. The Republican Legislature had passed a slate of laws targeting minority groups. Educators could now face criminal penalties over the material they teach regarding gender and sexuality, and schools across the state were banning books about queer families, transgender youth and Black history. There were also repeated instances of racist and anti-Semitic speech, including Nazis waving swastikas in front of Disney World. All of this contributed to the NAACP issuing a rare travel advisory stating that “Florida is openly hostile toward African Americans, people of color and LGBTQ+ individuals.” Then on Aug. 26, a White supremacist killed three Black people at a Dollar General in Jacksonville.  When Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis attended a vigil for the victims, he was met with boos and mourners shouting, “Your policies caused this.”  In this episode, Letson digs into the policies DeSantis and the Legislature have passed in recent years and their effects on Black Floridians and other people of color. He speaks with a history teacher who says the new laws have made it harder to educate students, as well as a mother who describes books being removed from her daughter’s classroom and rules barring students from sharing books with friends at school. Letson also interviews state Rep. Randy Fine, a Republican who championed many of the new policies, including the Stop WOKE Act, which restricts how racism and history are taught in schools.  In the final segment, Letson examines redistricting in the state. In 2022, DeSantis vetoed maps drawn by the Republican Legislature, and the governor’s office instead drew new maps that got rid of two Black-dominated districts and increased the number of Republican-leaning districts. Those maps, which were subsequently passed by lawmakers, are now being battled over in both state and federal court. To understand the debate, Letson speaks with reporter Andrew Pantazi of the Jacksonville news organization The Tributary, as well as lawmakers on both sides of the aisle. Fine defends the new maps, saying they’re designed to challenge Florida’s Constitution, which he argues requires “racial gerrymandering.” Democratic state Rep. Angie Nixon says the new maps violate Florida’s constitutional protections of racial minorities and their ability to “elect representatives of their choice.” Support Reveal’s journalism at Revealnews.org/donatenow Subscribe to our weekly newsletter to get the scoop on new episodes at Revealnews.org/newsletter Connect with us on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram
20/01/2450m 2s

The Double Life of a Civil Rights Icon

Some of the most enduring photos of the civil rights movement were taken by Ernest Withers. A native of Memphis, Tennessee, Withers earned the trust of Martin Luther King Jr. and other civil rights leaders. But as it turns out, he was secretly taking photos for the federal government as well. This week, Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter Wesley Lowery brings us the story of Withers in an adaptation of the podcast “Unfinished: Ernie’s Secret,” from Scripps News and Stitcher. Lowery starts by explaining how Withers earned his reputation as a chronicler of the civil rights movement. We tour a museum of Withers’ photographs with his daughter Roz, who deconstructs his famous “I Am a Man” photo of striking sanitation workers. Civil rights leader Andrew Young explains that without Withers’ photographs, they wouldn’t have had a movement. We then learn that after Withers’ death, a Memphis reporter named Marc Perrusquia followed up on an old lead about the photographer: that he was secretly working for the FBI. Perrusquia gained access to thousands of reports and photos taken for the FBI by Withers. We hear excerpts from several reports and meet the daughter of the agent who recruited Withers. During the 1950s, ’60s and ’70s, the bureau recruited thousands of informants as part of a covert program originally created to monitor communists in America but ended up targeting the civil rights movement, as well as other individuals and groups. We close with reflections on Withers by people who knew him. While some believe Withers betrayed the cause of civil rights, others are more forgiving. They say his actions were part of a larger narrative about the U.S. government’s unchecked power to spy on its own citizens and extinguish ideas and movements it felt were a threat. Support Reveal’s journalism at Revealnews.org/donatenow Subscribe to our weekly newsletter to get the scoop on new episodes at Revealnews.org/weekly Connect with us on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram
13/01/2450m 9s

Sunblocked: Resistance to Solar in Farm Country

For the U.S. to meet its clean energy goals by 2050, the Department of Energy projects that the country needs more than 10 million acres of solar development. Most of that is expected to be built in rural areas. Surveys show that the vast majority of Americans support renewable energy development, but projects planned in rural areas are meeting major resistance. Reveal’s Jonathan Jones travels to Copake, New York, in the Hudson River Valley. It’s the site of one of the most contentious fights over a proposed large-scale solar project in the United States. Jones looks at what’s driving support and opposition to the project, Shepherd’s Run. He starts with Bill and Nancy Rasweiler, the owners of land where the project is slated. For years, the Rasweilers have leased their land to local farmers to help offset the costs of maintaining it, but it’s not enough. So they signed a lease with Chicago-based solar developer Hecate Energy. When they brought their plan to the rest of the town in 2017, they met resistance from other residents. During the same meeting, Copake’s town board passed a new law to severely restrict the size of solar development. Jones finds that these kinds of local restrictions are being passed in rural communities across the country. Jones learns about the community concerns over the project: that it’s too big, takes over prime farmland and negatively affects the environment and nearby homeowners. Residents who support the project say some concerns are a product of misinformation and Shepherd’s Run is one of the many solar projects that has to happen to slow climate change. With the future of the project in question, Jones hears about a working group – a coalition of supporters and opponents of the project that came together to try to influence its design. Jones follows the group’s efforts and how they landed with Hecate. Finally, Jones looks at ways agricultural communities are trying to make solar work on their land. This takes him to the Corn Belt, where he looks at how the U.S. is already using millions of acres of farmland to produce a less efficient clean energy source: ethanol. Jones also looks at a landmark agreement between the solar industry and environmental groups convened by Stanford University, which calls for advancing large-scale solar development while championing land conservation and local community interests. Support Reveal’s journalism at Revealnews.org/donatenow Subscribe to our weekly newsletter to get the scoop on new episodes at Revealnews.org/newsletter Connect with us on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram
06/01/2450m 34s

Fancy Galleries, Fake Art

In the mid-’90s, two high-end New York art galleries began selling one fake painting after another – works in the style of Jackson Pollock, Andy Warhol, Mark Rothko and others. It was the largest art fraud in modern U.S. history, totaling more than $80 million. Our first story looks at how it happened and why almost no one ever was punished by authorities.  Our second story revisits an investigation into a painting looted by the Nazis during World War II. More than half a century later, a journalist helped track it down through the Panama Papers. Support Reveal’s journalism at Revealnews.org/donatenow Subscribe to our weekly newsletter to get the scoop on new episodes at Revealnews.org/newsletter Connect with us on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram
30/12/2350m 36s

It's Not Easy Going Green

When they were invented in the ’90s, renewable energy certificates were meant to stimulate the green energy market. Back then, building wind and solar farms was way more expensive than it is today. The idea was that renewable energy producers could sell certificates that represented the “greenness” of the energy they made. Anyone buying those certificates, or RECs, could claim that green power and also claim they were helping the environment. For years, corporations have bought RECs as a low-commitment way to claim they’re “going green” – all while using the same old fossil fuel-powered electricity. So how exactly do RECs help the climate crisis? This week, Reveal investigates RECs and finds that the federal government uses them to pad its environmental stats. Reveal’s Will Evans starts with Auden Schendler, the man in charge of sustainability at Aspen Skiing Co. Schendler initially convinced his company to buy RECs to go green, then realized he made a mistake. But even after he spoke out and evidence piled up showing that RECs were ineffective, other companies kept buying them – and the federal government did, too. Evans and Reveal’s Melissa Lewis determined that since 2010, more than half of what the government has claimed as renewable energy was just cheap RECs. Next, Reveal’s Najib Aminy takes us to Palm Beach County, Florida, to find out where some RECs are made: in a trash incinerator. Amid all the sounds and smells of burning garbage, Aminy looks into whether buying RECs actually helps the environment and where the money goes. He meets Andrew Byrd, who lives nearby and worries about the fumes. It turns out that federal agencies bought RECs from this incinerator in order to meet renewable energy mandates. Finally, we explore another place where the government buys  RECs: two biomass plants in Georgia, where residents complained of toxic pollution. Evans looks into where the government’s modest environmental goals come from and why federal agencies buy RECs in the first place. He also talks to a REC industry veteran and examines how a plan from the Biden administration could change things.  Support Reveal’s journalism at Revealnews.org/donatenow Subscribe to our weekly newsletter to get the scoop on new episodes at Revealnews.org/newsletter Connect with us on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram
23/12/2349m 59s

Gaza: A War of Weapons and Words

This episode focuses on the Israeli and Palestinian conflict and its ripples throughout the world. First, Reveal host Al Letson has a conversation with members of the Parents Circle, Israeli and Palestinian parents who have lost children to the long-standing conflict and continue to work together for peace. We look at the human toll of the decades-old struggle and what it means to work for peace in a time of war. Next, reporter Shaina Shealy looks at U.S. weapons transfers to Israel. Hamas’ Oct. 7 attack prompted a rush to send arms to the Israeli military, but some experts say that important safeguards meant to prevent weapons from being used on civilians are being ignored. We examine a policy introduced by the Biden administration earlier this year, which some argue is being bypassed, and a recently proposed weapons package that waives standard oversight provisions.  We end with a story from Reveal’s Najib Aminy about student protests at Columbia University in New York and the heated debate over free speech on college campuses. Soon after the Oct. 7 attack, university officials and student groups issued a series of statements about the Hamas attack and Israel’s response. This led to an escalation of tensions between student protesters and the school’s administration. Columbia and other universities have come under increasing pressure from students, politicians and donors about how they’ve responded to student demonstrations.  Support Reveal’s journalism at Revealnews.org/donatenow Subscribe to our weekly newsletter to get the scoop on new episodes at Revealnews.org/newsletter Connect with us on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram
16/12/2350m 12s

Hidden Confessions of the Mormon Church

In this week’s episode, produced in collaboration with The Associated Press, secret audio recordings expose a legal playbook used by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints that keeps evidence of sex abuse out of reach of authorities. AP reporters Michael Rezendes and Jason Dearen investigate the case of a former Mormon bishop, John Goodrich, who was accused of sexually abusing his daughter Chelsea.  The story opens in Hailey, Idaho, with Chelsea Goodrich and her mother, Lorraine, locked in discussions with the director of the Mormon church’s risk management division, Paul Rytting. One of Rytting’s jobs is to protect the church from legal liability, including sexual abuse lawsuits. The women had come to the meeting with one clear request: Would the church allow a local Idaho bishop, which in the Mormon church is akin to a Catholic priest, to testify at John Goodrich’s trial? Bishop Michael Miller, who accompanied Rytting to the meeting, had heard John Goodrich’s confession before he was arrested on charges of lewd behavior with a minor. Audio recordings of the meeting and others show how Rytting, despite expressing concern for what he called John Goodrich’s “significant sexual transgression,” would discourage Miller from testifying, citing an Idaho law that exempts clergy from having to divulge information about child sex abuse that is gleaned in a confession. In the episode’s final segment, Rezendes and Dearen sit down with guest host Michael Montgomery to discuss why states across the country exempt clergy from mandatory reporting laws that are meant to protect children from abuse. Support Reveal’s journalism at Revealnews.org/donatenow Subscribe to our weekly newsletter to get the scoop on new episodes at Revealnews.org/newsletter Connect with us on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram
09/12/2349m 27s

Havana Syndrome

A sharp sound. Followed by body numbness. Difficulty speaking. Extreme head pain. Since 2016, U.S. officials across the world – in Cuba, China and Russia – have reported experiencing the sudden onset of an array of eerie symptoms. Reporters Adam Entous and Jon Lee Anderson try to make sense of this confusing illness that has come to be called Havana syndrome. This episode is built from reporting for an eight-part VICE World News podcast series by the same name.   The reporters begin by tracking down one of the first people to report Havana syndrome symptoms, a CIA officer working in Cuba. This “patient zero” explains the ways Cuban intelligence surveil and harass American spies working on the island and his own experience of suddenly being struck with a mysterious, painful condition. When he reports the illness to his bosses at the CIA, he learns that other U.S. officials on the island are experiencing the same thing.   A CIA doctor sees reports from the field about this strange condition happening in Cuba. He’s sent to Havana to investigate the cause of the symptoms and whether they may stem from a mysterious sound recorded by patient zero. But during his first night on the island, the CIA doctor falls ill with the same syndrome he is there to investigate. In the third segment, the reporters head to Havana to visit the sites where people reported the onset of their symptoms, looking for answers. The team shares reporting-informed theories about who and what could be causing Havana syndrome.  This is an update of an episode that originally aired in April 2023. Support Reveal’s journalism at Revealnews.org/donatenow Subscribe to our weekly newsletter to get the scoop on new episodes at Revealnews.org/weekly Connect with us on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram
02/12/2350m 20s

Locked Up: The Prison Labor That Built Business Empires

After the Civil War, a new form of slavery took hold in the U.S. and lasted more than 60 years. Associated Press reporters Margie Mason and Robin McDowell investigate the chilling history of how Southern states imprisoned mainly Black men, often for minor crimes, and then leased them out to private companies – for years, even decades, at a time. The team talks with the descendant of a man imprisoned in the Lone Rock stockade in Tennessee nearly 140 years ago, where people as young as 12 worked under inhumane conditions in coal mines and inferno-like ovens used to produce iron. This system of forced prison labor enriched the Tennessee Coal, Iron & Railroad Co. – at the cost of prisoners’ lives.  At the state park that sits on the former site of the Lone Rock stockade, relics from the hellish prison are buried beneath the soil. Archeologist Camille Westmont has found thousands of artifacts, such as utensils and the plates prisoners ate off. She has also created a database listing the names of those sent to Lone Rock. A team of volunteers are helping her, including a woman reckoning with her own ancestor’s involvement in this corrupt system and the wealth her family benefited from.    The United States Steel Corp. helped build bridges, railroads and towering skyscrapers across America. But the company also relied on forced prison labor. After U.S. Steel took over Tennessee Coal, Iron & Railroad in 1907, the industrial giant used prison labor for at least five more years. During that time, more than 100 men died while working in its massive coal mining operation in Alabama. U.S. Steel has misrepresented this dark chapter of its history. And it has never apologized for its use of forced labor or the lives lost. The reporters push the company to answer questions about its past and engage with communities near the former mines.  This is an update of an episode that originally aired in September 2022. Support Reveal’s journalism at Revealnews.org/donatenow Subscribe to our weekly newsletter to get the scoop on new episodes at Revealnews.org/newsletter Connect with us on Twitter,Facebook and Instagram
25/11/2349m 58s

In Bondage to the Law

On a summer night in 1995, a sheriff’s deputy was shot and killed in a hotel parking lot in Birmingham, Alabama. When investigators arrived at the scene, they found no eyewitnesses and almost no evidence pointing to the shooter.  Detectives ultimately zeroed in on a man named Toforest Johnson, who on that same night was with friends at a nightclub miles away. Johnson was tried twice for the murder and eventually convicted on the testimony of an “earwitness” – a woman who claimed to have overheard Johnson confessing to the crime. He was sentenced to death and has spent more than 25 years on Alabama’s death row. In 2019, investigative journalist Beth Shelburne began covering the case, finding details that cast major doubts about Johnson’s guilt. This week, in partnership with Lava for Good and the Earwitness podcast, hosted by Shelburne, we tell the story of Johnson’s case. First, Shelburne digs into the night of the murder and speaks to the lead investigator on the case.  Then, in conversation with host Al Letson, Shelburne walks through how Johnson was convicted, despite a lack of evidence and a solid alibi. She also shares the latest turn in Johnson’s case: Questions about the credibility of the earwitness have surfaced in the last few years, leading many Alabama politicians and attorneys to call for a new trial.   Alabama's prison system doesn't allow people on death row to talk to journalists, so Shelburne visits the people closest to Johnson: his kids. They share memories and their hopes for their father’s case. She also has a conversation with an unlikely supporter of a new trial: one of the people who had a hand in sending Johnson to death row.  Click here to hear the full Earwitness podcast. Support Reveal’s journalism at Revealnews.org/donatenow Subscribe to our weekly newsletter to get the scoop on new episodes at Revealnews.org/newsletter Connect with us on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram
18/11/2350m 39s

We Regret to Inform You

Bruce Praet is a well-known name in law enforcement, especially across California. He co-founded a company called Lexipol that contracts with more than 95% of police departments in the state and offers its clients trainings and ready-made policies. In one of Praet’s training webinars, posted online, he offers a piece of advice that policing experts have called inhumane. It’s aimed at protecting officers and their departments from lawsuits. After police kill someone, they are supposed to notify the family. Praet advises officers to use that interaction as an opportunity. Instead of delivering the news of the death immediately, he suggests first asking about the person who was killed to get as much information as possible.  Reporter Brian Howey started looking into this advice when he was with the Investigative Reporting Program at UC Berkeley’s Graduate School of Journalism. He found that officers have been using this tactic across California, and the information families disclosed before they knew their relative was killed affected their lawsuits later. In this hour, Howey interviews families that have been on the receiving end of this controversial policing tactic, explaining their experience and the lasting impact. Howey travels to Santa Ana, where he meets a City Council member leading an effort to end Lexipol’s contract in his city. And in a parking lot near Fresno, Howey tracks down Praet and tries to interview him about the consequences of his advice.  Support Reveal’s journalism at Revealnews.org/donatenow Subscribe to our weekly newsletter to get the scoop on new episodes at Revealnews.org/newsletter Connect with us onTwitter, Facebook and Instagram
11/11/2349m 53s

The Welfare-to-Work Industrial Complex

“Get a job!” That sums up our current cash welfare system in a nutshell. Ever since so-called welfare reform in the 1990s, the system has been based on the idea that welfare recipients must be doing some kind of work or job-readiness activity to receive government assistance. It’s a system that plays on what Americans have long wanted to believe – that all it takes to move out of poverty is a can-do attitude and hard work. Now, there is a growing chorus of politicians who argue that even more programs that help people in need should have more and tougher work requirements attached. In June, Republicans successfully fought to create new work requirements for food assistance under the debt ceiling deal. In this episode, Reveal partners with The Uncertain Hour podcast from Marketplace to explore the lucrative industry built on welfare-to-work policies. Critics say these for-profit welfare companies have cultivated their own cycle of dependency on the federal government. Krissy Clark from The Uncertain Hour takes listeners into America’s welfare-to-work system. We meet a struggling mother of two in Milwaukee who hits hard times and turns to a local welfare office for help – a welfare office outsourced to a private for-profit company. Inside, staff preach the power of work, place people into unpaid “work experience” and enforce work requirements for welfare recipients, all in the name of teaching self-sufficiency. But who’s set to benefit most, that struggling mother or the for-profit company she turned to? Then, Clark has a frank conversation with the founder of America Works, one of the first for-profit welfare-to-work companies in the country. Support Reveal’s journalism at Revealnews.org/donatenow Subscribe to our weekly newsletter to get the scoop on new episodes at Revealnews.org/newsletter Connect with us on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram
04/11/2350m 51s

America Goes Psychedelic, Again

Psychedelic drugs have been illegal for 50 years, but they’re trickling back into the mainstream because they show promise in helping treat post-traumatic stress disorder and other mental health challenges. We begin the hour with reporter Jonathan A. Davis visiting Psychedelic Science 2023, the largest-ever conference on psychedelic drugs. It’s put on by the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies, an organization dedicated to legalizing MDMA (also known as ecstasy or molly) and other psychedelic drugs. Research shows that MDMA-assisted therapy can help treat depression and PTSD, and it’s moving toward approval by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. Psychedelics were studied in the 1950s and ’60s as mental health treatments, but the war on drugs put a stop to research. Now, these drugs are gaining bipartisan support from politicians looking for solutions to the mental health crisis among veterans.  Then Reveal’s Michael I Schiller visits a group of veterans who are not waiting for psychedelic-assisted therapy to be approved by the federal government. They’ve joined a church founded by an Iraq War veteran who uses psychedelics as religious sacraments. Schiller accompanies them on a retreat in rural Texas, where they share the depths of their post-traumatic stress and the relief they’ve felt after psychedelic treatments. He also explores the risks involved in taking these drugs.  We close with an intimate audio diary from a woman in Oakland, California, who’s going through therapy with the one psychedelic drug that can be legally prescribed currently in the U.S.: ketamine. Ketamine started out as an anesthetic, but researchers found it can help with treatment-resistant depression when used in tandem with talk therapy. Ketamine can be dangerous if abused, but it also has helped people find relief from mental health issues. This story was produced by Davis. Support Reveal’s journalism at Revealnews.org/donatenow Subscribe to our weekly newsletter to get the scoop on new episodes at Revealnews.org/newsletter Connect with us on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram Check out independent producer Jonathan A. Davis’s work here
28/10/2350m 50s

Cashing in on Troubled Teens

The first time Trina Edwards was locked in a psychiatric hospital for children, she was 12 years old. She was sure a foster parent would pick her up the next day. But instead, Trina would end up spending years cycling in and out of North Star Behavioral Health in Anchorage, Alaska.  At times, she was ready to be discharged, but Alaska’s Office of Children’s Services couldn’t find anywhere else to put her – so Trina would stay locked in at North Star, where she would experience violent restraints and periods of seclusion. Then, shortly before her 15th birthday, Trina was sent to another facility 3,000 miles away: Copper Hills Youth Center in Utah.  Both North Star and Copper Hills are owned by Universal Health Services, a publicly traded, Fortune 500 company that is the nation’s largest psychiatric hospital chain. Trina’s experience is emblematic of a larger problem: a symbiotic relationship between failing child welfare agencies, which don’t have enough foster homes for all the kids in custody, and large for-profit companies like Universal Health Services, which have beds to fill.  This hour, Mother Jones reporter Julia Lurie exposes how  Universal Health Services is profiting off foster kids who get admitted to its facilities, despite government and media investigations raising alarming allegations about patient care that the company denies. This hour deals with child abuse, sexual assault and suicide – and may not be appropriate for all listeners. Support Reveal’s journalism at Revealnews.org/donatenow Subscribe to our weekly newsletter to get the scoop on new episodes at Revealnews.org/newsletter Connect with us on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram
21/10/2350m 25s

From Victim to Suspect

Nicole Chase was a young mom with a daughter to support when she took a job at a local restaurant in Canton, Connecticut. She liked the work and was good at her job. But the place turned out to be more like a frat house than a quaint roadside sandwich spot. And the crude behavior kept escalating – until one day she says her boss went too far and she turned to the local police for help. What happened next would lead to a legal battle that dragged on for years. The U.S. Supreme Court would even get involved. Reveal reporter Rachel de Leon spent years taking a close look at cases across the country in which people reported sexual assaults to police, only to find themselves investigated. In this hour, we explore one case and hear how police interrogated an alleged perpetrator, an alleged victim and each other.  De Leon’s investigation is also the subject of a documentary, “Victim/Suspect,” now streaming on Netflix.   Support Reveal’s journalism at Revealnews.org/donatenow Subscribe to our weekly newsletter to get the scoop on new episodes at Revealnews.org/weekly Connect with us on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram
14/10/2350m 49s

How Teaching Kids to Read Went So Wrong

Corinne Adams’ son Charlie came home from school with notes from his teacher saying he was doing great in reading. But during the pandemic, Adams had to give him a reading test at home, and she realized her son couldn’t read. He’d been memorizing books that were read to him, but he didn’t know how to read new words he’d never seen before.  It’s a surprisingly common story. And kids who aren’t on track by the end of first grade are in danger of never becoming good readers. Two-thirds of fourth graders in the United States are not proficient readers. The problem is even worse when you look beyond the average and focus on specific groups of children: 83% of Black fourth graders don’t read proficiently.    American Public Media reporter Emily Hanford digs into a flawed theory that has shaped reading instruction for decades. The theory is that children can learn to read without learning how to sound out words, because there are other strategies they can use to figure out what the words say – strategies like “look at the picture” or “think of a word that makes sense.” But research by cognitive scientists has demonstrated that readers need to know how to sound out words. And some teacher training programs still emphasize the debunked theory, including books and classroom materials that are popular around the world.  Hanford looks at the work of several authors who are published by the same educational publishing company. One, Lucy Calkins, is a rock star among teachers. Her books and training programs have been wildly popular. Calkins has now decided to rewrite her curriculum in response to “the science of reading.” But other authors are sticking to the idea that children can use other strategies to figure out the words.  This is an update of an episode that originally aired in February 2023. Since then, Teachers College at Columbia University announced that the teacher training project founded by Calkins would be “dissolved.” The word “dissolved” was later removed from the statement, and the college instead characterized the move as a “transition” to ensure its “programs are informed by the latest research and evidence.” Since Sold a Story was first released, at least 22 states have introduced bills to overhaul reading instruction, and several have banned curricula that include cueing strategies.
07/10/2350m 24s

Alphabet Boys Revealed

The summer of 2020 was a hinge point in American history. The murder of George Floyd by Minneapolis police inspired racial justice demonstrations nationwide. At the time, the FBI was convinced that extreme Black political activists could cross the line into domestic terrorism – a theory federal agents had first termed “Black identity extremism.” That summer, Mickey Windecker approached the FBI. He drove a silver hearse, claimed to have been a volunteer fighter for the French Foreign Legion and the Peshmerga in Iraq, and had arrest records in four states that included convictions for misdemeanor sexual assault and menacing with a weapon, a felony. He claimed to the FBI that he had heard racial justice activists speak vaguely of training and violent revolution in Denver.  The FBI enlisted Windecker as a paid informant, gave him a recording device and instructed him to infiltrate Denver's growing Black Lives Matter movement. For months, Windecker spied on activists and attempted to recruit two Black men into an FBI-engineered plot to assassinate the state's attorney general. Windecker's undercover work is the first documented case of FBI efforts to infiltrate the 2020 racial justice movement. Journalist Trevor Aaronson obtained over a dozen hours of Windecker's secret recordings and more than 300 pages of internal FBI reports for season 1 of the podcast series Alphabet Boys.  This episode of Reveal is a partnership with Alphabet Boys and production company Western Sound. Support Reveal’s journalism at Revealnews.org/donatenow Subscribe to our weekly newsletter to get the scoop on new episodes at Revealnews.org/newsletter Connect with us on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram
30/09/2350m 14s

The Spy Inside Your Smartphone

Around the globe, journalists, human rights activists, scholars and others are facing digital attacks from Pegasus, military-grade spyware originally developed to go after criminals. Some of the people targeted have been killed or are in prison. In this episode, Reveal partners with the Shoot the Messenger podcast to investigate one of the biggest Pegasus hacks ever uncovered: the targeting of El Faro newspaper in El Salvador. In the opening story, hosts Rose Reid and Nando Vila speak with El Faro co-founder Carlos Dada and reporter Julia Gavarrete. El Faro has been lauded for its investigations into government corruption and gang violence. The newspaper is no stranger to threats and intimidation, which have increased under the administration of President Nayib Bukele. Reid and Vila also speak with John Scott-Railton of Citizen Lab, a Toronto-based digital watchdog group. Scott-Railton worked to identify the El Faro breach, and it was one of the most obsessive cases of spying Citizen Lab has ever seen. Over the course of one year, 22 members of the newspaper’s staff had their phones infected with Pegasus and were surveilled by a remote operator. Researchers suspect Bukele’s government was behind the spying, though officials have denied those allegations. The breach forced El Faro’s journalists to change the way they work and live and take extreme measures to protect sources and themselves. Then Reid talks with Reveal’s Al Letson about growing efforts to hold the NSO Group, the company behind Pegasus, accountable for the massive digital attacks. Support Reveal’s journalism at Revealnews.org/donatenow Subscribe to our weekly newsletter to get the scoop on new episodes at Revealnews.org/newsletter Connect with us on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram
23/09/2350m 47s

Mississippi Goddam Chapter 7: Reasonable Doubt

The final episode of Mississippi Goddam shares new revelations that cast doubt on the official story that Billey Joe Johnson Jr. accidentally killed himself.  Our reporting brought up questions that the original investigation never looked into. Host Al Letson and reporter Jonathan Jones go back to Mississippi to interview the key people in the investigation, including Johnson’s ex-girlfriend – the first recorded interview she’s ever done with a media outlet. The team also shares its findings with lead investigator Joel Wallace and the medical examiner who looked into the case.  Finally, after three years of reporting, we share what we’ve learned with Johnson’s family and talk to them about the inadequacy of the investigation and reasons to reopen the case.  This episode was originally broadcast in December 2021.
16/09/2353m 42s

Mississippi Goddam Chapter 6: Mississippi Justice

Black communities around Mississippi have long raised concerns about suspicious deaths of young Black men, especially when law enforcement is involved.  Curley Clark, vice president of the Mississippi NAACP at the time of Reveal’s reporting, called Billey Joe Johnson Jr.’s case an example of “Mississippi justice.”  “It means that they still feel like the South should have won the Civil War,” Clark said. “And also the laws for the state of Mississippi are slanted in that direction.” Before Johnson died during a traffic stop with a White sheriff’s deputy, friends say police had pulled him over dozens of times. And some members of the community raised concerns that police had been racially profiling Black people.   Reveal investigates Johnson’s interactions with law enforcement and one officer in particular.   This episode was originally broadcast in November 2021.
09/09/2350m 25s

Mississippi Goddam Chapter 5: Star Crossed

Billey Joe Johnson Jr. and Hannah Hollinghead met in their freshman year of high school. Hollinghead says Johnson was her first love, and in many ways, it was a typical teen romance. Friends say they would argue, break up, then get back together again. Some people were far from accepting of their interracial relationship. On Dec. 8, 2008, they were both dating other people. According to Hollinghead and her mother, Johnson made an unexpected stop at her house, moments before he died of a gunshot wound during a traffic stop on the edge of town.  But it appears that investigators failed to corroborate statements or interview Johnson’s friends and family to get a better idea of what was going on in his life on the day he died. Reveal exposes deep flaws in the investigation and interviews the people closest to Johnson, who were never questioned during the initial investigation.  This episode was originally broadcast in November 2021.
02/09/2350m 25s

Mississippi Goddam Chapter 4: The Investigator

Special Agent Joel Wallace of the Mississippi Bureau of Investigation was called in to investigate the death of Billey Joe Johnson Jr. He worked alongside two investigators from the George County district attorney’s office.  Wallace said that arrangement didn’t happen very often. And he now questions why they were assigned. “If you've got me investigating the case, then I’m an independent investigator,” he said. “But why would I need the district attorney investigator to oversee me investigating a case?” The Johnson family was initially relieved because Wallace had experience investigating suspicious deaths. As a Black detective, he had dealt with racist backlash to his work.  Reveal host Al Letson and reporter Jonathan Jones visit Wallace, now retired, to talk about what happened with the investigation. When Wallace finds out what Reveal has uncovered, he begins to wonder whether the case should be reopened. This episode was originally broadcast in November 2021.
26/08/2350m 25s

Mississippi Goddam Chapter 3: The Autopsy

After Billey Joe Johnson Jr. died in 2008, the state of Mississippi outsourced his autopsy. Al Letson and Jonathan Jones travel to Nashville, Tennessee, to interview the doctor who conducted it. Her findings helped lead a grand jury to determine Johnson’s death was an accidental shooting. However, Letson and Jones share another report that raises doubts about her original conclusions.  This episode was originally broadcast in October 2021.
19/08/2350m 45s

Mississippi Goddam Chapter 2: The Aftermath

On the morning of Billey Joe Johnson’s death, crime scene tape separates the Johnsons from their son’s body. Their shaky faith in the criminal justice system begins to buckle. As Johnson’s family tries to get answers about his death, they get increasingly frustrated with the investigation. They feel that law enforcement officials, from the lead investigator to the district attorney, are keeping them out of the loop. While a majority-White grand jury rules that Johnson’s death was accidental, members of the family believe the possibility of foul play was never properly investigated.  This episode was originally broadcast in October 2021.
12/08/2350m 33s

Mississippi Goddam Chapter 1: The Promise

Billey Joe Johnson Jr. was a high school football star headed for the big time. Then, early one morning in 2008, the Black teenager died during a traffic stop with a White deputy. His family’s been searching for answers ever since. More than a decade ago, Reveal host Al Letson traveled to Lucedale, Mississippi, to report on the Deepwater Horizon oil spill. While there, locals told him there was another story he should be looking into: Johnson’s suspicious death.   During that traffic stop, police say Johnson died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound. But for Johnson’s family, that explanation never made sense.  In the first episode of this seven-part series, Letson returns to Mississippi with reporter Jonathan Jones to explore what happened to Johnson – and what justice means in a place haunted by its history.  This episode was originally broadcast in October 2021.
05/08/2350m 27s

The Great Arizona Water Grab

A Saudi-owned farm in the middle of the Arizona desert has attracted national attention and criticism since Reveal’s Nate Halverson and Ike Sriskandarajah first broke this story eight years ago. The farm is using massive amounts of water to grow hay and export it to Saudi Arabia in the midst of a water crisis in the American West.  Since then, megafarms have taken hold here. And the trend isn’t fueled just by foreign companies. Many people have no idea that their retirement funds are backing massive land deals that result in draining precious groundwater. Halverson uncovers that pension fund managers in Arizona knew they were investing in a local land deal, which resulted in draining down the aquifer of nearby communities. So even as local and state politicians have fought to stop these deals, their retirement fund has been fueling them. And it’s not just happening in Arizona. Halverson takes us to Southern California, where retirement money also was invested in a megafarm deal. This time, the farm was tapping into the Colorado River to grow hay and ship it overseas. And it was happening as the federal and state governments have been trying to conserve river water. Halverson’s investigation into water use in the West is just one slice of his reporting into a global scramble for food and water, which is featured in an upcoming documentary, “The Grab” by director Gabriela Cowperthwaite. “The Grab” will be coming soon to a theater or screen near you.   Support Reveal’s journalism at Revealnews.org/donatenow Subscribe to our weekly newsletter to get the scoop on new episodes at Revealnews.org/newsletter Connect with us on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram
29/07/2350m 27s

It's Not Easy Going Green

When they were invented in the ’90s, renewable energy certificates were meant to stimulate the green energy market. Back then, building wind and solar farms was way more expensive than it is today. The idea was that renewable energy producers could sell certificates that represented the “greenness” of the energy they made. Anyone buying those certificates, or RECs, could claim that green power and also claim they were helping the environment. For years, corporations have bought RECs as a low-commitment way to claim they’re “going green” – all while using the same old fossil fuel-powered electricity. So how exactly do RECs help the climate crisis? This week, Reveal investigates RECs and finds that the federal government uses them to pad its environmental stats. Reveal’s Will Evans starts with Auden Schendler, the man in charge of sustainability at Aspen Skiing Co. Schendler initially convinced his company to buy RECs to go green, then realized he made a mistake. But even after he spoke out and evidence piled up showing that RECs were ineffective, other companies kept buying them – and the federal government did, too. Evans and Reveal’s Melissa Lewis determined that since 2010, more than half of what the government has claimed as renewable energy was just cheap RECs. Next, Reveal’s Najib Aminy takes us to Palm Beach County, Florida, to find out where some RECs are made: in a trash incinerator. Amid all the sounds and smells of burning garbage, Aminy looks into whether buying RECs actually helps the environment and where the money goes. He meets Andrew Byrd, who lives nearby and worries about the fumes. It turns out that federal agencies bought RECs from this incinerator in order to meet renewable energy mandates. Finally, we explore another place where the government buys  RECs: two biomass plants in Georgia, where residents complained of toxic pollution. Evans looks into where the government’s modest environmental goals come from and why federal agencies buy RECs in the first place. He also talks to a REC industry veteran and examines how a plan from the Biden administration could change things.  Support Reveal’s journalism at Revealnews.org/donatenow Subscribe to our weekly newsletter to get the scoop on new episodes at Revealnews.org/newsletter Connect with us onTwitter,Facebook andInstagram
22/07/2350m 2s

Guatemala’s War on Journalists

Reveal revisits a story produced in collaboration with a Guatemalan journalist who is now in prison. José Rubén Zamora was jailed last summer after his newspaper, elPeriódico, published more than 100 stories about corruption within Guatemala’s government. Corruption is a longstanding problem in Guatemala, and it’s intertwined with U.S. policy in Central America. At times, the U.S. has had a corrupting influence on Guatemalan politics; at others, it has supported transparency. This week’s show looks at the root causes of corruption and impunity in Guatemala and how they have prompted generations of Guatemalans to flee their country and migrate north. Veteran radio journalist Maria Martin takes us to Huehuetenango, a province near Guatemala’s border with Mexico. For decades, residents have been migrating to the U.S. to help support families struggling with poverty. We then connect the migration outflow to U.S. policy during the Cold War and its support of brutal dictatorships in Guatemala that were plagued by corruption. Then Reveal’s Anayansi Diaz-Cortes introduces us to a crusading prosecutor named Iván Velásquez. In the early 2000s, Velásquez was tasked with running an international anti-corruption commission in Guatemala, known by its Spanish acronym, CICIG. Its mandate was to root out corruption and improve the lives of Guatemalans so they wouldn’t feel compelled to leave their homes. Velásquez had a reputation for jailing presidents and paramilitaries, but met his match when he went after Jimmy Morales, a television comedian who was elected president in 2015. Morales found an ally in then-U.S. President Donald Trump, whose administration helped Morales dismantle CICIG. With CICIG gone, journalists were left to expose government corruption – journalists like Zamora, who was arrested last summer on trumped-up charges. Diaz-Cortes speaks with Zamora’s son about his father’s arrest and the state of journalism in Guatemala. This is an update of an episode that originally aired in September 2020. Support Reveal’s journalism at Revealnews.org/donatenow Subscribe to our weekly newsletter to get the scoop on new episodes at Revealnews.org/newsletter Connect with us on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram
15/07/2350m 38s

The Pentagon Papers: Secrets, Lies and Leaks

Before Jeffrey Wigand blew the whistle on the tobacco industry and Edward Snowden showed the National Security Agency could spy on all of us, there was Daniel Ellsberg, one of the original champions of free speech. He died last month at 92, and this week’s episode revisits a historic event along with our CEO and editor in chief, Robert “Rosey” Rosenthal.  In 1971, then-22-year-old Rosenthal got a call from his boss at The New York Times. He was told to go to Room 1111 of the Hilton Hotel, bring enough clothes for at least a month and not tell anyone. Rosenthal was part of a team called in to publish the Pentagon Papers, an explosive history of the United States’ political and military actions in Vietnam that shattered the government’s narratives about the war. Ellsberg, a former military analyst, leaked the secret papers to the press. We hear the experiences of both Ellsberg and Rosenthal.  When Ellsberg leaked the Pentagon Papers, he was turning his back on a long career close to power, immersed in government secrets. His work as a nuclear war strategist made him fear that a small conflict could erupt into a nuclear holocaust.  When the Vietnam War flared, Ellsberg worried his worst fears would be realized. He wonders if leaking the top-secret report he’s read could help stop the war. Soon, he was secretly copying the 7,000-page history that would come to be known as the Pentagon Papers and showing them to anyone he thought could help. President Richard Nixon wakes up to the biggest leak in American history. But his first reaction is a little surprising: The Pentagon Papers might make trouble for the Democrats – this instinct starts a chain reaction that helps bring down his presidency. This episode originally aired in May 2016.
08/07/2350m 31s

They Followed Doctors’ Orders. The State Took Their Babies.

Medications like Suboxone help pregnant women safely treat addiction. But in many states, taking them can trigger investigations by child welfare agencies that separate mothers from their newborns. This week, we tell the story of one young mother who thought she was doing the right thing by taking her prescription, only to be reported to the state of Arizona and investigated for child abuse and neglect.  Reveal’s Shoshana Walter starts off by introducing us to Jade Dass, who was taking Suboxone to treat her addiction to opioids before she became pregnant. Scientific studies and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention say that taking addiction treatment medications, such as Suboxone and methadone, during pregnancy leads to the best outcomes for both mothers and babies. But after Dass delivered a healthy daughter, the hospital reported her to the Arizona Department of Child Safety.  Next, Walter explores why women like Dass are being investigated for using addiction-treatment medications during pregnancy. In response to the crack and opioid epidemics, state and federal legislators enacted laws that inadvertently created a dragnet for women like Dass who are following a doctor’s orders to treat addiction. To understand the scope of the dragnet, Walter, data reporter Melissa Lewis and a team of Reveal researchers and lawyers filed 100 public records requests, putting together the first-ever tally of how often women are reported to child welfare agencies for taking prescription drugs during pregnancy.  We close the hour by rejoining Dass as she grapples with a judge’s decision to put her baby in foster care. Dass and her boyfriend make a desperate move to try and keep their family together.  For more about Jade Dass and other mothers facing investigation for taking medication assisted treatment, read Shoshana Walter’s investigation in collaboration with the New York Times Magazine. Support Reveal’s journalism at Revealnews.org/donatenow Subscribe to our weekly newsletter to get the scoop on new episodes at Revealnews.org/newsletter Connect with us on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram
01/07/2351m 13s

The Culture War Goes to College

From book bans to uproar over critical race theory, American classrooms have been on the front lines of the culture war. And there’s one state that’s leading the charge. In Florida, Gov. Ron DeSantis has championed several laws affecting education, from prohibitions on classroom instruction about sexual orientation or gender identity to blocks on funding for diversity, equity and inclusion initiatives at state colleges. He’s also targeted one the state’s most liberal and academically rigorous institutions: New College of Florida. In January, DeSantis’ chief of staff told National Review, “It is our hope that New College of Florida will become Florida’s classical college, more along the lines of a Hillsdale of the South.” The comment sparked widespread controversy because Hillsdale College is a private Christian school in Michigan, and New College is the state’s public honors college. That same month, DeSantis appointed multiple new trustees to the board, who began seizing control of New College almost immediately. In their first meeting, trustees ousted the college’s president and legal counsel and selected a new board chair, a DeSantis appointee. And they set in motion a plan to terminate the school’s diversity officer. Since then, a pitched battle has been playing out, with DeSantis and his appointees on one side and students and faculty on the other. In this episode of Reveal, we partner with freelance reporter and filmmaker Sam Greenspan, who is a graduate of New College, to examine the changes taking place there. Greenspan follows journalists at the Catalyst, the student newspaper, as they cover the rapid-fire changes that are throwing the future of the college into uncertainty.  To close the show, host Al Letson interviews Democratic Florida Rep. Angie Nixon about her opposition to many of the governor’s recent policies and the effects she thinks they’ll have on students and educators in the state. Support Reveal’s journalism at Revealnews.org/donatenow Subscribe to our weekly newsletter to get the scoop on new episodes at Revealnews.org/newsletter Connect with us on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram
24/06/2351m 0s

The Welfare-to-Work Industrial Complex

“Get a job!” That sums up our current cash welfare system in a nutshell. Ever since so-called welfare reform in the 1990s, the system has been based on the idea that welfare recipients must be doing some kind of work or job-readiness activity to receive government assistance. It’s a system that plays on what Americans have long wanted to believe – that all it takes to move out of poverty is a can-do attitude and hard work.  Now, there is a growing chorus of politicians who argue that even more programs that help people in need should have more and tougher work requirements attached. Recently, Republicans successfully fought to create new work requirements for food assistance under the debt ceiling deal.   In this episode, Reveal partners with The Uncertain Hour podcast from Marketplace to explore the lucrative industry built on welfare-to-work policies. Critics say these for-profit welfare companies have cultivated their own cycle of dependency on the federal government. Krissy Clark from The Uncertain Hour takes listeners into America’s welfare-to-work system. We meet a struggling mother of two in Milwaukee who hits hard times and turns to a local welfare office for help – a welfare office outsourced to a private for-profit company. Inside, staff preach the power of work, place people into unpaid “work experience” and enforce work requirements for welfare recipients, all in the name of teaching self-sufficiency. But who’s set to benefit most, that struggling mother or the for-profit company she turned to? Then, Clark has a frank conversation with the founder of America Works, one of the first for-profit welfare-to-work companies in the country.
17/06/2349m 51s

The Post-Roe Health Care Crisis

It’s been nearly one year since the U.S. Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade, the landmark ruling that protected abortion rights for half a century. Many states have passed laws severely restricting or banning abortion. And in states like Texas, pregnant patients are being put in peril.  Freelance journalist Sophie Novack reports on the hard decisions Texas doctors and nurses are making in the aftermath of the state’s ban. Providers are facing impossible choices when it comes to caring for pregnant patients with medical complications. Some fear that performing an abortion, even to save the life of a mother, could lead to criminal prosecution.  Reveal reporter Laura C. Morel has spent the last year investigating anti-abortion crisis pregnancy centers. Now that abortions are severely restricted or banned in much of the country, these centers are trying to fill some of the health care gap that’s emerged in conservative areas. In states that continue to allow abortions, crisis pregnancy centers have doubled down on their mission to discourage patients from terminating their pregnancies – often using deceptive practices to lure them into their facilities. Morel talks to a Florida woman who describes her experience at a Jacksonville crisis pregnancy center, where a volunteer deceived her into thinking it was an abortion clinic. As Morel and episode host Nadia Hamdan discover, deceiving pregnant women is part of these centers’ long history.  Finally, we explore how a 2018 U.S. Supreme Court decision has made it harder to regulate anti-abortion centers – and how the lack of regulation harms clients. Morel tells the story of an anti-abortion nurse in Kentucky who reported infection control problems at the crisis pregnancy center where she volunteered, only to find that the facility is allowed to operate in a regulatory gray zone. Support Reveal’s journalism at Revealnews.org/donatenow Subscribe to our weekly newsletter to get the scoop on new episodes at Revealnews.org/newsletter Connect with us on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram
10/06/2350m 45s

The Battle for Clean Energy in Coal Country

Montana has a long history of making money by extracting and exporting its natural resources, namely coal. State politicians and Montana’s largest electricity utility company seem set on keeping it that way.  Reveal’s Jonathan Jones travels to the southeastern part of the state, to a town called Colstrip. It is home to one of the largest coal seams in the country – and one of the largest coal-fired power plants in the West. He finds the state’s single largest power company, NorthWestern Energy, recently expanded its share in the Colstrip power plant and is planning to build a new methane gas plant on the banks of the Yellowstone River. Meanwhile, in the state capital of Helena, lawmakers have passed a flurry of bills to ensure the state’s continued reliance on fossil fuels. NorthWestern supports many of these bills, including one of the most extreme laws to keep the state from addressing climate change. Jones follows the money behind the coal expansion in Montana and the local and statewide resistance efforts to push the state toward clean energy.  Support Reveal’s journalism at Revealnews.org/donatenow Subscribe to our weekly newsletter to get the scoop on new episodes at Revealnews.org/newsletter Connect with us on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram
03/06/2350m 19s

Weapons With Minds of Their Own

The future of warfare is being shaped by computer algorithms that are assuming ever-greater control over battlefield technology. The war in Ukraine has become a testing ground for some of these weapons, and experts warn that we are on the brink of fully autonomous drones that decide for themselves whom to kill.      This week, we revisit a story from reporter Zachary Fryer-Biggs about U.S. efforts to harness gargantuan leaps in artificial intelligence to develop weapons systems for a new kind of warfare. The push to integrate AI into battlefield technology raises a big question: How far should we go in handing control of lethal weapons to machines?  In our first story, Fryer-Biggs and Reveal’s Michael Montgomery head to the U.S. Military Academy at West Point. Sophomore cadets are exploring the ethics of autonomous weapons through a lab simulation that uses miniature tanks programmed to destroy their targets. Next, Fryer-Biggs and Montgomery talk to a top general leading the Pentagon’s AI initiative. They also explore the legendary hackers conference known as DEF CON and hear from technologists campaigning for a global ban on autonomous weapons. We close with a conversation between host Al Letson and Fryer-Biggs about the implications of algorithmic warfare and how the U.S. and other leaders in machine learning are resistant to signing treaties that would put limits on machines capable of making battlefield decisions.  This episode originally aired in June 2021. Support Reveal’s journalism at Revealnews.org/donatenow Subscribe to our weekly newsletter to get the scoop on new episodes at Revealnews.org/newsletter Connect with us on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram
27/05/2350m 31s

The Long Campaign to Turn Birth Control Into the New Abortion

When the Supreme Court’s decision undoing Roe v. Wade came down in June, anti-abortion groups were jubilant – but far from satisfied. Many in the movement have a new target: hormonal birth control. It seems contradictory; doesn’t preventing unwanted pregnancies also prevent abortions? But anti-abortion groups don’t see it that way. They claim that hormonal contraceptives like IUDs and the pill can actually cause abortions. One prominent group making this claim is Students for Life of America, whose president has said she wants contraceptives like IUDs and birth control pills to be illegal. The fast-growing group has built a social media campaign spreading the false idea that hormonal birth control is an abortifacient. Reveal’s Amy Mostafa teams up with UC Berkeley journalism and law students to dig into the world of young anti-abortion influencers and how medical misinformation gains traction on TikTok, Instagram and YouTube, with far-reaching consequences. Tens of millions of Americans use hormonal contraceptives to prevent pregnancy and regulate their health. And many have well-founded complaints about side effects, from nausea to depression – not to mention well-justified anger about how the medical establishment often pooh-poohs those concerns. Anti-abortion and religious activists have jumped into the fray, urging people to reject hormonal birth control as “toxic” and promoting non-hormonal “fertility awareness” methods – a movement they’re trying to rebrand as “green sex.” Mother Jones Senior Editor Kiera Butler explains how secular wellness influencers such as Jolene Brighten, who sells a $300 birth control “hormone reset,” are having their messages adopted by anti-abortion influencers, many of them with deep ties to Catholic institutions. The end of Roe triggered a Missouri law that immediately banned almost all abortions. Many were shocked when a major health care provider in the state announced it would also no longer offer emergency contraception pills – Plan B – because of a false belief that it could cause an abortion. While the health system soon reversed its policy, it wasn’t the first time Missouri policymakers have been roiled by the myth that emergency contraception can prevent a fertilized egg from implanting and cause an abortion. Reveal senior reporter and producer Katharine Mieszkowski tracks how lawmakers in the state have been confronting this misinformation campaign and looks to the future of how conservatives are aiming to use birth control as their new wedge issue. Support Reveal’s journalism at Revealnews.org/donatenow Subscribe to our weekly newsletter to get the scoop on new episodes at Revealnews.org/weekly Connect with us on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram
20/05/2350m 41s

The Border Patrol’s Fearless 5%

The Border Patrol is one of the largest federal law enforcement agencies in the U.S., with roughly 19,000 officers. It also has one of the largest gender disparities – for decades, the number of women on the force has held steady around 5%. Despite years of demands for reform, the Border Patrol hasn’t managed to substantially increase the number of women in the agency. Reporter Erin Siegal McIntyre set out to examine why this number has remained so low. She spoke with more than two dozen current and former Border Patrol agents and reviewed hundreds of pages of complaints and lawsuits in which agents allege sexual harassment or assault. Those interviews and documents reveal a workplace where a wide range of sexual misconduct is pervasive: from stale sex jokes to retaliation for reporting sexual misconduct and assault and rape. Siegal McIntyre starts with the first class of women who were allowed to become Border Patrol agents in 1975. We hear from Ernestine Lopez, a member of that class. Days before graduation, she is raped by a classmate and reports it. She’s abruptly fired, leading her on a 12-year legal battle against the government. This is the first time Lopez, now 85, has told her story publicly. Next, we hear from a young woman who loved working as an agent but left the Border Patrol at the peak of her career. Her supervisor had targeted her and other women on her team by hiding a camera in the floor drain in the women’s restroom. This is the first time she has spoken to a news outlet about her experience of reporting her supervisor and pursuing a case in court against him and the Border Patrol. Then we follow the story of Kevin Warner, a Border Patrol probationary agent who was abruptly fired months after participating in a sex game along with a dozen other agents, including his superiors. Warner alleges that he was wrongfully discharged. Then Siegal McIntyre takes her reporting to a former chief of the Border Patrol, Mark Morgan. She asks about workplace culture, the low number of women in the agency and the lack of transparency around investigations of sexual misconduct in the patrol. Support for Erin Siegal McIntyre’s work was provided by the International Women’s Media Foundation, the Economic Hardship Reporting Project and The Harnisch Foundation. Special thanks to Ruth Ann Harnisch, Deborah Golden and the Gumshoe Group for their legal support and to John Turner and Gary Kirk from the Hussman School of Journalism and Media at UNC Chapel Hill. Support Reveal’s journalism at Revealnews.org/donatenow Subscribe to our weekly newsletter to get the scoop on new episodes at Revealnews.org/newsletter Connect with us on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram
13/05/2350m 22s

No Retreat: The Dangers of Stand Your Ground

The killing of Trayvon Martin in 2012 marked the beginning of a new chapter of the struggle for civil rights in America. A mostly White jury acquitted George Zimmerman of the teen’s murder, in part because Florida’s stand your ground law permits a person to use deadly force in self-defense – even if that person could have safely retreated. Nationwide protests after the trial called for stand your ground laws to be repealed and reformed. But instead, stand your ground laws have expanded to 38 states.  Reveal reporter Jonathan Jones talks with Byron Castillo, a maintenance worker in North Carolina who was shot in the chest after mistakenly trying to get into the wrong apartment for a repair. While Castillo wound up out of work and deep in debt, police and prosecutors declined to pursue charges against the shooter, who said he was afraid someone was trying to break into his apartment. Researchers have found that states that enacted stand your ground laws have seen an increase in homicides – one study estimated that roughly 700 more people die in the U.S. every year because of stand your ground laws.  Opponents of stand your ground laws call them by a different name: “kill at will” laws. Jones speaks to lawmakers like Stephanie Howse, who fought against stand your ground legislation as an Ohio state representative, saying such laws put Black people's lives at risk. Howse and other Democratic lawmakers faced off against Republican politicians, backed by pro-gun lobbyists, intent on passing a stand your ground bill despite widespread opposition from civil rights groups and law enforcement. Modern-day stand your ground laws started in Florida. Reveal reporter Nadia Hamdan explores a 2011 road rage incident that wound up leading to an expansion of the law. She looks at how one case led Florida lawmakers, backed by the National Rifle Association, to enact a law that spells out that prosecutors, not defendants, have the burden of proof when claiming someone was not acting in self-defense when committing an act of violence against another individual.  This episode originally aired in July 2022. Support Reveal’s journalism at Revealnews.org/donatenow Subscribe to our weekly newsletter to get the scoop on new episodes at Revealnews.org/weekly Connect with us on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram
06/05/2350m 49s

The COVID Tracking Project Part 3

This is the third episode in our three-part series taking listeners inside the failed federal response to COVID-19. Series host Jessica Malaty Rivera and reporters Artis Curiskis and Kara Oehler bring us the conclusion of The COVID Tracking Project story and an interview with the current CDC director, Dr. Rochelle Walensky.  We look at the myth that COVID-19 was “the great equalizer,” an idea touted by celebrities and politicians from Madonna to then-New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo. Ibram X. Kendi and Boston University’s Center for Antiracist Research worked with The COVID Tracking Project to compile national numbers on how COVID-19 affected people of color in the U.S. Their effort, The COVID Racial Data Tracker, showed that people of color died from the disease at around twice the rate of White people. The COVID Tracking Project’s volunteer data collection team waited months for the CDC to release COVID-19 testing data. But when the CDC finally started publishing the data, it was different from what states were publishing – in some instances, it was off by hundreds of thousands of tests. With no clear answers about why, The COVID Tracking Project’s quest to keep national data flowing every day continued until March 2021.  Lastly, Rivera talks with the director of the CDC, Walensky, to try to understand what went wrong in the agency’s response to the pandemic and ask whether it’s prepared for the next one. Check out our whole COVID Tracking Project series here.  Support Reveal’s journalism at Revealnews.org/donatenow Subscribe to our weekly newsletter to get the scoop on new episodes at Revealnews.org/newsletter Connect with us on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram
29/04/2350m 24s

The COVID Tracking Project Part 2

This is the second episode in our three-part series taking listeners inside the failed federal response to COVID-19. In episode two, series host Jessica Malaty Rivera, along with reporters Artis Curiskis and Kara Oehler, asks a profound question: Why was there no good U.S. data about COVID-19?  In March 2020, White House Coronavirus Task Force coordinator Dr. Deborah Birx had a daunting task for healthcare technologist Amy Gleason, a new member of her data team. Her job was to figure out where people were testing positive for COVID-19 across the country, how many were in hospitals and how many had died from the disease. Accounting for national numbers about the disease was extremely difficult, because when COVID-19 hit, the federal government had no system set up to get data from each state.  Gleason was shocked to find that data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention wasn’t reflecting the immediate impact of the coronavirus. At the same time, the country was suffering from another huge shortfall: a lack of COVID-19 tests. As a congressional hearing in March 2020 clearly exposed, the CDC had created only 75,000 tests and had no plans to create the millions needed to make testing available nationwide. Dr. Birx and the Task Force also faced national shortages of medical supplies like masks and ventilators and lacked basic information about COVID-19 hospitalizations that would help them know where to send supplies.  Realizing that the federal government was failing to collect national data, reporters at The Atlantic formed The COVID Tracking Project. Across all 50 states, hundreds of volunteers began gathering crucial information on the number of cases, deaths and hospitalizations. Each day, they compiled the state COVID-19 data in a massive spreadsheet, creating the nation’s most reliable picture of the spread of the deadly disease. Check out our whole COVID Tracking Project series here.  Support Reveal’s journalism at Revealnews.org/donatenow Subscribe to our weekly newsletter to get the scoop on new episodes at Revealnews.org/newsletter Connect with us on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram
22/04/2350m 17s

The COVID Tracking Project Part 1

The United States has 4% of the world’s population but 16% of COVID-19 deaths. This series investigates the failures by federal agencies that led to over 1 million Americans dying from COVID-19 and what that tells us about the nation’s ability to fight the next pandemic. Epidemiologist Jessica Malaty Rivera is the host for this three-part series.   The first episode takes us back to February 2020, when reporters Rob Meyer and Alexis Madrigal from The Atlantic were trying to find solid data about the rising pandemic. They published a story that revealed a scary truth: The U.S. didn’t know where COVID-19 was spreading because few tests were available. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention also didn’t have public data to tell citizens or federal agencies how many people were infected or where the outbreaks were happening.   Their reporting led to a massive volunteer effort by hundreds of people across the country who gathered the data themselves. The COVID Tracking Project became a de facto source of data amid the chaos of COVID-19. With case counts rising quickly, volunteers scrambled to document tests, hospitalizations and deaths in an effort to show where the virus was and who was dying. Support Reveal’s journalism at Revealnews.org/donatenow Subscribe to our weekly newsletter to get the scoop on new episodes at Revealnews.org/newsletter Connect with us on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram
15/04/2350m 35s

Havana Syndrome

A sharp sound. Followed by body numbness. Difficulty speaking. Extreme head pain. Since 2016, U.S. officials across the world – in Cuba, China and Russia – have reported experiencing the sudden onset of an array of eerie symptoms. Reporters Adam Entous and Jon Lee Anderson try to make sense of this confusing illness that has come to be called Havana syndrome. This episode is built from reporting for an eight-part VICE World News podcast series by the same name.   The reporters begin by tracking down one of the first people to report Havana syndrome symptoms, a CIA officer working in Cuba. This “patient zero” explains the ways Cuban intelligence surveil and harass American spies working on the island and his own experience of suddenly being struck with a mysterious, painful condition. When he reports the illness to his bosses at the CIA, he learns that other U.S. officials on the island are experiencing the same thing.   A CIA doctor sees reports from the field about this strange condition happening in Cuba. He’s sent to Havana to investigate the cause of the symptoms and whether they may be caused by a mysterious sound recorded by patient zero. But during his first night on the island, the CIA doctor falls ill with the same syndrome he is there to investigate.  In the third segment, reporters Entous and Anderson head to Havana to visit the sites where people reported the onset of their symptoms, looking for answers. The team shares reporting-informed theories about who and what could be causing Havana syndrome.  Support Reveal’s journalism at Revealnews.org/donatenow Subscribe to our weekly newsletter to get the scoop on new episodes at Revealnews.org/weekly Connect with us on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram
08/04/2350m 45s

The Suspect Detective

In 2010, Milique Wagner was arrested for a murder he says he had nothing to do with. The night of the shooting, Wagner was picked up for questioning and spent three days in the Philadelphia Police Department’s homicide unit, mostly being questioned by a detective named Philip Nordo.  Nordo was a rising star in the department, known for putting in long hours and closing cases – he had a hand in convicting more than 100 people. But that day in the homicide unit, Wagner says Nordo asked him some unnerving questions: Would he ever consider doing porn? Guy-on-guy porn? Wagner would go on to be convicted of the murder in a case largely built by Nordo — and Wagner’s experience has led him to believe Nordo fabricated evidence and coerced false statements to frame him. For years, Philadelphia Inquirer reporters Chris Palmer and Samantha Melamed have dug into Nordo’s career, looking into allegations of his misconduct. In this episode, they follow the rumors to defense attorney Andrew Pappas, who subpoenas the prison call log between Nordo and one of his informants. It’s there he finds evidence that something is not right about the way Nordo is conducting his police work.  It’s Pappas’ findings that prompted the Philadelphia district attorney’s office to launch an investigation into Nordo. The patterns that prosecutors found by reviewing Nordo’s calls and emails with incarcerated men, examining his personnel file, and interviewing men who interacted with him showed shocking coercion and abuse. Almost 20 years after the first complaint was filed against Nordo, the disgraced detective’s actions became public. He was charged and his case went to trial. Palmer and Melamed analyze the fallout from the scandal, and seek answers from the Philadelphia Police Department on how they addressed Nordo’s misconduct and how he got away with it for so long.   This is an update of an episode that originally aired in December 2022.
01/04/2350m 35s

Buried Secrets: America’s Indian Boarding Schools Part 2

In the second half of our two-part collaboration with ICT (formerly Indian Country Today), members of the Pine Ridge community put pressure on the Catholic Church to share information about the boarding school it ran on the reservation.  Listen to part 1 here. ICT reporter Mary Annette Pember, a citizen of the Red Cliff Band of Ojibwe, visits Red Cloud Indian School, which has launched a truth and healing initiative for former students and their descendants. A youth-led activist group called the International Indigenous Youth Council has created a list of demands that includes financial reparations and the return of tribal land. The group also wants the Catholic Church to open up its records about the school’s past, especially information about children who may have died there.  Pember travels to the archives of the Bureau of Catholic Indian Missions, which administered boarding schools like Red Cloud. She discovers that many records are redacted or off-limits entirely, but then comes across a nuns’ diary that ends up containing important information. Buried in the diary entries is information about the school’s finances, the massacre at Wounded Knee and children who died at the school more than a century ago.  Pember then returns to Red Cloud and attends the graduation ceremony for the class of 2022. In its early years, the school tried to strip students of their culture, but these days, it teaches the Lakota language and boasts a high graduation rate and rigorous academics. Pember presents what she’s learned about the school’s history to the head of the Jesuit community in western South Dakota and to the school’s president.   Support Reveal’s journalism at Revealnews.org/donatenow Subscribe to our weekly newsletter to get the scoop on new episodes at revealnews.org/weekly Connect with us on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram
25/03/2350m 30s

Buried Secrets: America’s Indian Boarding Schools Part 1

In a two-part collaboration with ICT (formerly Indian Country Today), we expose the painful legacy of boarding schools for Native children. These schools were part of a federal program designed to destroy Native culture and spirituality, with the stated goal to “kill the Indian and save the man.” ICT reporter Mary Annette Pember, a citizen of the Red Cliff Band of Ojibwe, explores the role the Catholic Church played in creating U.S. policy toward Native people and takes us to the Red Cloud Indian School on the Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota. Under pressure from the community, the school has launched a truth and healing program and is helping to reintroduce traditional culture to its students. Next, Pember visits 89-year-old boarding school survivor Basil Brave Heart, who was sent to the Red Cloud School in the 1930s. He vividly remembers being traumatized by the experience and says many of his schoolmates suffered for the rest of their lives. We also hear from Dr. Donald Warne from Johns Hopkins University, a citizen of the Oglala Lakota tribe who studies how the trauma of boarding schools is passed down through the generations. We close with what is perhaps the most sensitive part of the Red Cloud School’s search for the truth about its past: the hunt for students who may have died at the school and were buried in unmarked graves. The school has brought in ground-penetrating radar to examine selected parts of the campus, but for some residents, that effort is falling short. They want the entire campus scanned for potential graves. This is a rebroadcast of an episode that originally aired in October 2022. Support Reveal’s journalism at Revealnews.org/donatenow Subscribe to our weekly newsletter to get the scoop on new episodes at revealnews.org/weekly Connect with us on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram
18/03/2350m 13s

From Victim to Suspect

Nicole Chase was a young mom with a daughter to support when she took a job at a local restaurant in Canton, Connecticut. She liked the work and was good at her job. But the place turned out to be more like a frat house than a quaint roadside sandwich spot. And the crude behavior kept escalating – until one day she says her boss went too far and she turned to the local police for help. What happened next would put a detective on the hot seat and lead to a legal battle that would drag on for years. The United States Supreme Court would even get involved. Reveal reporter Rachel de Leon spent years taking a close look at cases across the country in which people reported sexual assaults to police, only to find themselves investigated. In this hour, we explore one case and hear how police interrogated an alleged perpetrator, an alleged victim and each other.  De Leon’s investigation is also the subject of a forthcoming documentary, “Victim/Suspect,” which debuts May 23 on Netflix.   Support Reveal’s journalism at Revealnews.org/donatenow Subscribe to our weekly newsletter to get the scoop on new episodes at Revealnews.org/weekly Connect with us on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram
11/03/2350m 49s

Baseball Strikes Out

In the early 2000s, rampant steroid use across Major League Baseball became the biggest scandal in the sport’s history. But fans didn’t want to hear the difficult truth about their heroes – and the league didn’t want to intervene and clean up a mess it helped make.  We look back at how the scandal unraveled with our colleagues from the podcast Crushed from Religion of Sports and PRX. Their show revisits the steroid era to untangle its truth from the many myths, examine the legacy of baseball’s so-called steroid era and explore what it tells us about sports culture in America. We start during the 1998 MLB season, when the home run race was on. Superstar sluggers Mark McGwire and Sammy Sosa battled to set a new single-season record, and McGwire, the St. Louis Cardinals first baseman, was portrayed as the hero baseball needed: part humble, wholesome, working man and part action hero, with his brawny build and enormous biceps. So when a reporter spotted a suspicious bottle of pills in his locker in the middle of the season, most fans plugged their ears and refused to acknowledge that baseball might be hooked on steroids. Joan Niesen, a sportswriter and host of the podcast Crushed, takes us on a deep dive into an era that dethroned a generation of superstars, left fans disillusioned and turned baseball’s record book on its head. The story takes us from ballparks and clubhouses to the halls of Congress to explain how baseball was finally forced to reckon with its drug problem. This is a rebroadcast of an episode that originally aired in July 2021.  Support Reveal’s journalism at Revealnews.org/donatenow Subscribe to our weekly newsletter to get the scoop on new episodes at Revealnews.org/weekly Connect with us on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram
04/03/2350m 39s

Listening in on Russia’s War in Ukraine

In this week’s episode, produced in collaboration with the Associated Press, reporters on the front lines take us inside Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and share never-before-heard recordings of Russian soldiers.  The day President Vladimir Putin ordered the invasion, Feb. 24, 2022, Russia unleashed a brutal assault on the strategic port city of Mariupol. That same day, a team of AP reporters arrived in the city. Vasilisa Stepanenko, Evgeniy Maloletka and Mstyslav Chernov kept their cameras and tape recorders rolling throughout the onslaught. Together, they captured some of the defining images of the war in Ukraine. Stepanenko and Maloletka talk with guest host Michael Montgomery about risking their lives to document blasted buildings, burned-out cars, enormous bomb craters and the daily life of traumatized civilians. As Russian troops advanced on Mariupol, the journalists managed to escape with hours of their own material and recordings from the body camera of a noted Ukrainian medic, Yuliia Paievska. The powerful footage went viral and showed the world the shocking brutalities of the war, as well as remarkable acts of courage by journalists, doctors and ordinary citizens.   Next, we listen to audio that’s never been publicly shared before: phone calls Russian soldiers made during the first weeks of the invasion, secretly recorded by the Ukrainian government. AP reporter Erika Kinetz obtained more than 2,000 of these calls. Using social media and other tools, she explores the lives of two soldiers whose calls home capture intimate moments with friends and family. The intercepted calls reveal the fear-mongering and patriotism that led some of the men to go from living regular lives as husbands, sons and fathers to talking about killing civilians.  In Bucha, a suburb of Kyiv, Russian soldiers left streets strewn with the bodies of civilians killed during their brief occupation. Kinetz shares her experiences visiting Bucha and speaking with survivors soon after Russian troops retreated. In the secret intercepts, Russian soldiers tell their families about being ordered to take no prisoners and speak of “cleansing operations.” One soldier tells his mother: “We don’t imprison them. We kill them all.”  Will Russian soldiers and political leaders be prosecuted for war crimes? Montgomery talks with Oleksandra Matviichuk, a Ukrainian human rights lawyer who received a 2022 Nobel Peace Prize. She runs the Center for Civil Liberties in Kyiv, which has been gathering evidence of human rights abuses and war crimes in Ukraine since Russia’s first invasion in 2014. Matviichuk says it’s important for war crimes to be handled by Ukrainian courts, but the country’s legal system is overwhelmed and notoriously corrupt. She says there is an important role for the international community in creating a system that can bring justice for all Ukrainians.   Support Reveal’s journalism at Revealnews.org/donatenow Subscribe to our weekly newsletter to get the scoop on new episodes at Revealnews.org/weekly Connect with us on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram
25/02/2350m 49s

How a 7-Year Prison Sentence Turns Into Over 100

WBEZ reporter Shannon Heffernan brings us the story of Anthony Gay, who was sentenced to seven years in prison on a parole violation but ended up with 97 years added to his sentence. Gay lives with serious mental illness, and after time in solitary confinement, he began to act out. He was repeatedly charged with battery – often for throwing liquids at staff.  Gay acknowledges he did some of those things but says the prison put him in circumstances that made his mental illness worse – then punished him for the way he acted. With help from Chicago-based lawyers, Gay appealed to the local state’s attorney. What happens when a self-described “law and order” prosecutor has to decide between prison-town politics and doing what he believes the law requires?  Finally, host Al Letson speaks with Ear Hustle co-creator and co-host Earlonne Woods about the power of local prosecutors and the complicated politics of prison towns. This episode is a partnership with the podcast Motive from WBEZ Chicago.  Support Reveal’s journalism at Revealnews.org/donatenow Subscribe to our weekly newsletter to get the scoop on new episodes at Revealnews.org/weekly Connect with us on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram
18/02/2350m 34s

How Teaching Kids to Read Went So Wrong

Corinne Adams’ son Charlie came home from school  with notes from his teacher saying he was doing great in reading. He seemed to be able to read the little books he was getting at school. But during the pandemic, Corinne had to give him a reading test at home, and she realized her son couldn’t read. He’d been memorizing books that were read to him but he didn’t know how to read new words he’d never seen before. Corinne decided to teach him herself. It’s a surprisingly common story. And kids who aren’t on track by the end of first grade are in danger of never becoming good readers. Two thirds of fourth graders in the United States are not proficient readers. The problem is even worse when you look beyond the average and focus on specific groups of children: 83% of Black fourth graders don’t read proficiently. American Public Media reporter Emily Hanford digs into a flawed theory that has shaped reading instruction  for decades. The theory is that children can learn to read without learning how to sound out words, because there are other strategies they can use to figure out what the words say. Strategies like “look at the picture” or “think of a word that makes sense.” Research by cognitive scientists has demonstrated that readers need to know how to sound out words. But some teacher training programs still emphasize this debunked theory, including books and classroom materials that are popular around the world. Scientists say these strategies are teaching children the habits of struggling readers. Kids learn to skip letters and words and struggle to understand what they’re reading. Hanford looks at the work of several authors who are all published by the same educational publishing company. One, Lucy Calkins, is a “rock star” among teachers. Her books and training programs are wildly popular. Calkins has now decided to rewrite her curriculum in response to “the science of reading.” But other authors are sticking to the idea that children can use other strategies to figure out the words.  Their teaching materials are in classrooms all over the country. Reporter Christopher Peak also contributed to this story. Support Reveal’s journalism at Revealnews.org/donatenow Subscribe to our weekly newsletter to get the scoop on new episodes at Revealnews.org/weekly Connect with us on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram
11/02/2350m 42s

Inside the Global Fight for White Power

From Russia to Sweden and the United States, there’s a growing network of White nationalist groups that stretches around the world. The reporting team at Verified: The Next Threat investigates how these militant groups are helping each other create propaganda, recruit new members and share paramilitary skills. We are updating this episode, which first aired in July, to reflect recent activities by the Russian Imperial Movement and other white supremacist groups around the world.  We start with a group called the Russian Imperial Movement, or RIM. Its members are taking up arms in Russia’s war against Ukraine, which they say is a battle in a much larger “holy war” for White power. Scripps News senior investigative reporter Mark Greenblatt interviews a leader of the group who says RIM’s goal is to unite White nationalists around the world. The group even runs training camps where White supremacists can learn paramilitary tactics. Russia’s White nationalists are making connections with extremists in the United States. Greenblatt talks with a neo-Nazi named Matt Heimbach, who was a major promoter of the deadly 2017 Unite the Right rally in Charlottesville, Virginia. Soon after Charlottesville, Heimbach invited members of RIM to the U.S. and connected them to his network of American White power extremists.  We end with a visit by Greenblatt to the State Department in Washington, where he interviews two top counterterrorism officials. They say they’re aware of the growing international network of White supremacists, but explain that White power groups are now forming political parties, which makes it more difficult for the agency to use its most powerful counterterrorism tools.   Support Reveal’s journalism at Revealnews.org/donatenow Subscribe to our weekly newsletter to get the scoop on new episodes at Revealnews.org/newsletter Connect with us on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram
04/02/2350m 51s

A Miracle Cure for AIDS or Snake Oil?

Dr. Gary Davis, an Ivy League-trained Black physician from Tulsa, Oklahoma, had a literal dream that the cure for AIDS would come from a goat. In the new podcast Serum, a reporting team at WHYY and Local Trance Media delve into the unusual story of a Davis’ quest to develop the cure. At the height of the AIDS epidemic in the early ’90s, Davis derived a serum from goat blood that he believed could help cure HIV, the virus that causes AIDS. He brought his research to the FDA to start a clinical trial – but just hours before it was supposed to start, it was shut down. Davis had powerful critics and ardent supporters. Some sued in court to be allowed to try Davis’ treatment, while others chose to ask for forgiveness rather than permission to get their hands on it. What was the true potential of Davis’ serum – and who are the people who say it saved their lives? Support Reveal’s journalism at Revealnews.org/donatenow Subscribe to our weekly newsletter to get the scoop on new episodes at Revealnews.org/weekly Connect with us on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram
28/01/2349m 27s

Locked Up: The Prison Labor That Built Business Empires

After the Civil War, a new form of slavery took hold in the US and lasted more than 60 years. Associated Press reporters Margie Mason and Robin McDowell investigate the chilling history of how Southern states imprisoned mainly Black men, often for minor crimes, and then leased them out to private companies – for years, even decades, at a time. The team talks with the descendant of a man imprisoned in the Lone Rock stockade in Tennessee nearly 140 years ago, where people as young as 12 worked under inhumane conditions in coal mines and inferno-like ovens used to produce iron. This system of forced prison labor enriched the Tennessee Coal, Iron & Railroad company – at the cost of prisoners’ lives.  At the state park that sits on the former site of the Lone Rock stockade, relics from the hellish prison are buried beneath the soil. Archeologist Camille Westmont has found thousands of artifacts, such as utensils and the plates prisoners ate off. She has also created a database listing the names of those sent to Lone Rock. A team of volunteers are helping her, including a woman reckoning with her own ancestor’s involvement in this corrupt system and the wealth her family benefited from.    The United States Steel Corporation helped build bridges, railroads and towering skyscrapers across America. But the company also relied on forced prison labor. After US Steel took over Tennessee Coal, Iron & Railroad in 1907, the industrial giant used prison labor for at least five more years. During that time, more than 100 men died while working in their massive coal mining operation in Alabama. U.S. Steel has misrepresented this dark chapter of its history. And it has never apologized for its use of forced labor or the lives lost. The reporters push the company to answer questions about its past and engage with communities near the former mines.  This is an update of an episode that originally aired September 2022. Support Reveal’s journalism at Revealnews.org/donatenow Subscribe to our weekly newsletter to get the scoop on new episodes at Revealnews.org/weekly Connect with us on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram
21/01/2350m 35s

The Double Life of a Civil Rights Icon

Some of the most enduring photos of the civil rights movement were taken by Ernest Withers. A native of Memphis, Tennessee, Withers earned the trust of Martin Luther King Jr. and other civil rights leaders. But as it turns out, he was secretly taking photos for the federal government as well. This week, Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter Wesley Lowery brings us the story of Withers in an adaptation of the podcast “Unfinished: Ernie’s Secret,” from Scripps News and Stitcher. Lowery starts by explaining how Withers earned his reputation as a chronicler of the civil rights movement. We tour a museum of Withers’ photographs with his daughter Roz, who deconstructs his famous “I Am a Man” photo of striking sanitation workers. Civil rights leader Andrew Young explains that without Withers’ photographs, they wouldn’t have had a movement. We then learn that after Withers’ death, a Memphis reporter named Marc Perrusquia followed up on an old lead about the photographer: that he was secretly working for the FBI. Perrusquia gained access to thousands of reports and photos taken for the FBI by Withers. We hear excerpts from several reports and meet the daughter of the agent who recruited Withers. During the 1950s, ’60s and ’70s, the bureau recruited thousands of informants as part of a covert program originally created to monitor communists in America but ended up targeting the civil rights movement, as well as other individuals and groups.  We close with reflections on Withers by people who knew him. While some believe Withers betrayed the cause of civil rights, others are more forgiving. They say his actions were part of a larger narrative about the U.S. government’s unchecked power to spy on its own citizens and extinguish ideas and movements it felt were a threat.  Support Reveal’s journalism at Revealnews.org/donatenow Subscribe to our weekly newsletter to get the scoop on new episodes at Revealnews.org/weekly Connect with us on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram
14/01/2350m 30s

Drilling Down on Fossil Fuels and Climate Change

The United States has pledged to reduce its reliance on fossil fuels, but Russia’s war in Ukraine set off a bonanza for liquefied natural gas, or LNG. Today, we look at how energy companies and the Biden administration are backsliding on promises to move away from oil and gas.   In response to Europe’s need for natural gas as it lost access to Russian supplies, America’s largest exporter of liquefied natural gas, Cheniere Energy, is expanding its facilities in Corpus Christi, Texas. Reporter Elizabeth Shogren talks with local residents who are organizing to fight the expansion and discovers that many LNG contracts are not with Europe after all.   During the 2020 presidential campaign, Joe Biden promised to end drilling for oil and gas on federal land and offshore waters. And on his first day in office, he froze new drilling leases. But the administration backtracked and instead has increased the number of leases it’s offering to oil and gas companies. Host Al Letson gets a report card on Biden’s climate policy from two experts who are tracking his environmental record. For many years, prominent Republicans disputed the existence of climate change and fought against environmental policies. That didn’t sit well with a young conservative college student, who in 2016 tried to put climate change on his party’s agenda. Reveal reporter Jonathan Jones talks with the founder of the American Conservation Coalition and tracks how successful the group has been in getting Republican legislators to address climate change.  Republicans and Democrats may struggle to find common ground on addressing climate change. But for a tiny, predominantly Indigenous community in Alaska, it’s already too late. Reporter Emily Schwing went to Chevak to report on the damage from a recent storm and soon discovered a problem with the federal government’s response. Many residents don’t speak English as their first language, and the Federal Emergency Management Agency is required to translate disaster relief notices into local languages. But FEMA bungled the translations, delaying much-needed aid and sowing distrust.  Support Reveal’s journalism at Revealnews.org/donatenow Subscribe to our weekly newsletter to get the scoop on new episodes at Revealnews.org/weekly Connect with us on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram 
07/01/2350m 40s

‘Traitors Get Shot’

The bipartisan Congressional committee investigating the January 6th insurrection recommended that former president Donald Trump face criminal charges for sparking the attempted coup. We look back at the case of Guy Reffitt, the first person to be prosecuted for his role in the violent insurrection.  On Jan. 6, 2021, teenager Jackson Reffitt watched the Capitol riot play out on TV from his family home in Texas. His father, Guy, had a much closer view: He was in Washington, armed with a semiautomatic handgun, storming the building.  When Guy Reffitt returned home, Jackson secretly taped him and turned the recordings over to the FBI. His father bragged about what he did, saying: “I had every constitutional right to carry a weapon and take over the Congress.” Guy Reffitt was the first person to stand trial for his role in the riot, and the case has divided his family.  This week, Reveal features the story of the Reffitt family by partnering with the podcast Will Be Wild from Pineapple Street Studios, Wondery and Amazon Music. Hosted by Andrea Bernstein and Ilya Marritz, Will Be Wild’s eight-part series investigates the forces that led to the Jan. 6 insurrection and what comes next. Support Reveal’s journalism at Revealnews.org/donatenow Subscribe to our weekly newsletter to get the scoop on new episodes at Revealnews.org/weekly Connect with us on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram
31/12/2250m 50s

A Young Doctor Reflects on COVID

The pandemic isn’t past tense. While COVID-19 vaccines have made it possible to gather with friends and hug loved ones again, the world is still living with the virus – and too many people are still dying because of it. More than a million people in the United States have died from COVID-19 since the pandemic began, including about 250,000 people in 2022. To reflect on the lives the world has lost, we’re revisiting an episode that follows a young doctor through her first year of medical residency during the height of the pandemic.  Kaiser Health News reporter Jenny Gold spent eight months following Dr. Paloma Marin-Nevarez, who graduated from the Stanford University medical school in June 2020, right before the virus began its second major surge. She was one of more than 30,000 new doctors who started residencies in 2020. Just weeks after graduating, Marin-Nevarez began training as an ER doctor at Community Regional Medical Center in Fresno, one of the areas in California hardest hit by the pandemic.  Marin-Nevarez faces the loneliness and isolation of being a new doctor, working 80 hours a week in the era of masks and social distancing. She also witnesses the inequality of the pandemic, with Latino, Black and Native American people dying of COVID-19 at much higher rates than White people. Marin-Nevarez finds herself surrounded by death and having to counsel families about the loss of loved ones. We view the pandemic through the eyes of a rookie doctor, finding her footing on the front lines of the virus.  This is an update of an episode that originally aired in February 2021.  Support Reveal’s journalism at Revealnews.org/donatenow Subscribe to our weekly newsletter to get the scoop on new episodes at Revealnews.org/weekly Connect with us on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram
24/12/2250m 1s

The Suspect Detective

In 2010, Milique Wagner was arrested for a murder he says he had nothing to do with. The night of the shooting, Wagner was picked up for questioning and spent three days in the Philadelphia Police Department’s homicide unit, mostly being questioned by a detective named Philip Nordo.  Nordo was a rising star in the department, known for putting in long hours and closing cases – he had a hand in convicting more than 100 people. But that day in the homicide unit, Wagner says Nordo asked him some unnerving questions: Would he ever consider doing porn? Guy-on-guy porn?  Wagner would go on to be convicted of the murder in a case largely built by Nordo — and Wagner’s experience has led him to believe Nordo fabricated evidence and coerced false statements to frame him. For years, Philadelphia Inquirer reporters Chris Palmer and Samantha Melamed have dug into Nordo’s career, looking into allegations of his misconduct. In this episode, they follow the rumors to defense attorney Andrew Pappas, who subpoenas the prison call log between Nordo and one of his informants. It’s there he finds evidence that something is not right about the way Nordo is conducting his police work.  It’s Pappas’ findings that prompted the Philadelphia district attorney’s office to launch an investigation into Nordo. The patterns that prosecutors found by reviewing Nordo’s calls and emails with incarcerated men, examining his personnel file, and interviewing men who interacted with him showed shocking coercion and abuse. Almost 20 years after the first complaint was filed against Nordo, the disgraced detective’s actions became public. He was charged and his case went to trial. Palmer and Melamed analyze the fallout from the scandal, and seek answers from the Philadelphia Police Department on how they addressed Nordo’s misconduct and how he got away with it for so long.   Support Reveal’s journalism at Revealnews.org/donatenow Subscribe to our weekly newsletter to get the scoop on new episodes at Revealnews.org/weekly Connect with us onTwitter,Facebook andInstagram
17/12/2250m 35s

No Retreat: The Dangers of Stand Your Ground

The killing of Trayvon Martin in 2012 marked the beginning of a new chapter of the struggle for civil rights in America. A mostly White jury acquitted George Zimmerman of the teen’s murder, in part because Florida’s stand your ground law permits a person to use deadly force in self-defense – even if that person could have safely retreated. Nationwide protests after the trial called for stand your ground laws to be repealed and reformed. But instead, stand your ground laws have expanded to 38 states. Reveal reporter Jonathan Jones talks with Byron Castillo, a maintenance worker in North Carolina who was shot in the chest after mistakenly trying to get into the wrong apartment for a repair. While Castillo wound up out of work and deep in debt, police and prosecutors declined to pursue charges against the shooter, who said he was afraid someone was trying to break into his apartment. Researchers have found that states that enacted stand your ground laws have seen an increase in homicides – one study estimated that roughly 700 more people die in the U.S. every year because of stand your ground laws. Opponents of stand your ground laws call them by a different name: “kill at will” laws. Jones speaks to lawmakers like Stephanie Howse, who fought against stand your ground legislation as an Ohio state representative, saying such laws put Black people's lives at risk. Howse and other Democratic lawmakers faced off against Republican politicians, backed by pro-gun lobbyists, intent on passing a stand your ground bill despite widespread opposition from civil rights groups and law enforcement. Modern-day stand your ground laws started in Florida. Reveal reporter Nadia Hamdan explores a 2011 road rage incident that wound up leading to an expansion of the law. She looks at how one case led Florida lawmakers, backed by the National Rifle Association, to enact a law that spells out that prosecutors, not defendants, have the burden of proof when claiming someone was not acting in self-defense when committing an act of violence against another individual. This episode originally aired in July 2022. Support Reveal’s journalism at Revealnews.org/donatenow Subscribe to our weekly newsletter to get the scoop on new episodes at Revealnews.org/weekly Connect with us on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram
10/12/2250m 24s

The Bitter Work Behind Sugar

Sugar is a big part of Americans’ daily diet, but we rarely ask where that sweet cane comes from.   In November, the United States announced that it will block all imports of raw sugar from one of those sources: the cane fields owned by the Central Romana Corp. in the Dominican Republic. U.S. Customs and Border Protection cited labor abuses in its decision. Sugar from Central Romana feeds into the supply chains of major U.S. brands, including Domino and Hershey.  The federal government’s action follows a two-year investigation by Reveal and Mother Jones. Reporters Sandy Tolan and Euclides Cordero Nuel visited Haitian migrants in the Dominican Republic who do the backbreaking work of cutting sugarcane for little pay. Central Romana is the Dominican Republic’s largest private employer and has strong links to two powerful Florida businessmen, Alfonso and Pepe Fanjul. The reporters speak to workers who have no access to government pensions, so they’re forced to work in the fields into their 80s for as little as $3 a day. In the 1990s, Tolan reported on human trafficking and child labor in the Dominican sugar industry. Conditions improved following pressure on the government from local activists, human rights groups and the U.S. Labor Department. But major problems have persisted.   After Reveal’s story first aired in fall 2021, Congress took action. Fifteen members of the House Ways and Means Committee called on federal agencies to formulate a plan to address what they called the “slave-like conditions” in the Dominican cane fields. Central Romana also took action: It bulldozed one of the worker camps our reporters visited, claiming it was part of an improvement program. Residents say that with very little warning, they were told to pack up their lives. Central Romana denies the U.S. government’s recent findings that its cane cutters are working under forced labor conditions. This is an update of an episode that originally aired in September 2021.  Support Reveal’s journalism at Revealnews.org/donatenow Subscribe to our weekly newsletter to get the scoop on new episodes at Revealnews.org/weekly Connect with us on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram
03/12/2250m 45s

A Reckoning at Amazon

After years of growth, Amazon is now laying off thousands of employees. But with the holiday season underway, the company’s warehouse workers still have to race to fill gift orders. This week, Reveal revisits Amazon’s safety record. Host Al Letson speaks with Reveal’s Will Evans, who’s been reporting on injuries at Amazon for years. By gathering injury data and speaking with workers and whistleblowers, he has shown that Amazon warehouse employees are injured on the job at a higher rate than at other companies. Evans’ reporting has focused national attention on the company’s safety record, prompting regulators, lawmakers and the company itself to address the issue more closely. This November, members of Congress scrutinized Amazon’s working conditions—and at the state level, lawmakers and safety regulators are taking action against Amazon in ways they never have before.   Then, we bring back a story by Jennifer Gollan that looks at the most common type of injury at Amazon and other workplaces, repetitive motion injuries. Gollan reports that decades ago, the federal government decided to impose safety regulations to try and prevent these injuries, then abruptly changed its mind.  We end with a reprise of a story from reporter Laura Sydell about online reviews of products and businesses and how many of them are not what they seem.  Support Reveal’s journalism at Revealnews.org/donatenow Subscribe to our weekly newsletter to get the scoop on new episodes at Revealnews.org/weekly Connect with us on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram
26/11/2250m 36s

How Democracy Survived the Midterm Elections

Reveal host Al Letson talks with leading academics and journalists to take the temperature of American democracy: What did we expect from the midterms, what did we get, and what does that mean for 2024? Reveal’s Ese Olumhense and Mother Jones senior reporter Ari Berman discuss how gerrymandering, abortion rights, election denial and fear of voting crimes played out in contentious states like Arizona, Wisconsin and Florida. Next, Andrea Bernstein and Ilya Marritz, who report on threats to democracy for ProPublica and are hosts of the podcast WIll Be Wild, join Letson to discuss how the violence and disinformation that sparked the Jan. 6 insurrection continues to shape the country’s political landscape. The reporters tell the story of how the Department of Homeland Security backed off efforts to identify and combat false information after Republican pundits and politicians accused the Biden administration of stomping on the free speech rights of anyone who disagrees with them. Then, reporter Jessica Pishko delves into the world of a group called the constitutional sheriffs. This association of rogue sheriffs claims to be the highest law in the land and has increasingly come to see themselves as election police. Pishko attends a meeting in Arizona where Richard Mack, a leader of the movement who has also been involved with the far-right Oath Keepers, extols the rights of sheriffs to get involved in monitoring elections. In recent years, this right-wing group has grown from a fringe organization to one with national power and prominence. Pishko discusses the chilling effect these sheriffs have on voting. In his time as president, Donald Trump bucked the norms and mixed presidential duties with personal business, refused to release his tax returns and pardoned his political allies.This week, he announced he’s running for president again in 2024. Letson speaks with two lawyers who have spent the past two years identifying how to rein in presidential power and close loopholes Trump exposed: Bob Bauer, former White House counsel for President Barack Obama, and Jack Goldsmith, former assistant attorney general in President George W. Bush’s Office of Legal Counsel. They’re also co-authors of the 2020 book “After Trump: Reconstructing the Presidency.” Support Reveal’s journalism at Revealnews.org/donatenow Subscribe to our weekly newsletter to get the scoop on new episodes at Revealnews.org/newsletter Connect with us on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram
19/11/2250m 36s

The City (Revealed)

Robin Amer of USA Today’s investigative podcast The City shares the story behind a massive illegal dump that appeared in Chicago’s North Lawndale neighborhood in the ’90s. Local kids remember playing on the 21-acre, six-story mountain of debris, and adults recall the seemingly endless stream of dump trucks that rumbled down the street to the formerly vacant lot at all hours of the day and night. Wind blowing over the dump covered the neighborhood in thick dust, affecting the health of nearby residents. When community leaders confronted the man responsible for the dump, they found he was just one part of a larger operation.  The FBI was using the North Lawndale dump and the man who created it as part of an investigation into political corruption called Operation Silver Shovel. The operation would bring down politicians and city officials who accepted bribes for allowing things like the illegal dump to happen in their districts. But after the indictments and the operation’s end, no one wanted to take responsibility for cleaning up the dump – not the FBI, not the City of Chicago and not the man who created it. The debris sat for years, leaving North Lawndale residents feeling angry and used. The civic neglect and institutional racism that allowed the dump to happen in the first place has continued, long after the last truck of debris was carted away.  Support Reveal’s journalism at Revealnews.org/donatenow Subscribe to our weekly newsletter to get the scoop on new episodes at revealnews.org/weekly Connect with us on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram
12/11/2250m 28s

Climate Makers and Takers

Sea levels are rising – and the United States has a lot to learn from countries that are already adapting. Reporter Shola Lawal of the podcast Threshold explores how two communities in Nigeria are dealing with it.  Lagos, the booming coastal city of Nigeria, is growing even as rising water levels threaten its future. Lawal visits the informal community of Makoko, where people have learned to live with water: Many homes are built on stilts. In a community where many people make a living fishing, small houses rise above the water, vendors sell vegetables and goods from floating markets, and locals ferry people to destinations in canoes. A lack of dry land has forced residents to innovate in creative ways. But the government has threatened to destroy Makoko, declaring the neighborhood an eyesore.   Next, Lawal visits Eko Atlantic City, an “ultra-modern” luxury city that a development company is building on sand dredged up from the ocean floor. In contrast to the scrappy adaptations Makoko residents have made to live on water, the million-dollar apartments of Eko Atlantic are protected by an enormous seawall.  Each year, global leaders gather to discuss the climate crisis at COP, the United Nations climate conference. Threshold Executive Producer Amy Martin talks with Reveal host Al Letson about this year’s COP27. While nearly every country on the planet attends these annual conferences, a much smaller number – about 20 economies – are responsible for 80% of global greenhouse gas emissions. That’s left more vulnerable countries asking – what are the richest countries going to do to pay for the damage they’ve caused?  Support Reveal’s journalism at Revealnews.org/donatenow Subscribe to our weekly newsletter to get the scoop on new episodes at Revealnews.org/weekly Connect with us on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram
05/11/2250m 42s

The Ballot Boogeymen

In August 2020, Guillermina Fuentes was trying to get out the vote in her small Arizona community. Outside a polling place, she handed a few absentee ballots to another volunteer to drop off. A conservative activist secretly filmed her and reported her to local authorities. In the eyes of the law, she’d just committed a felony.  Dropping off someone else’s mail-in ballot, known as ballot collecting, became a crime in Arizona in 2016, and Fuentes would become the first person prosecuted for it. Reveal reporter Ese Olumhense travels to San Luis to report on Fuentes’ case and finds she has gone from being a well-known local politician in her community to the face of right-wing campaigns against voter fraud.  Fuentes’ arrest and prosecution show the beginnings of an alarming trend shaping the future of how elections are surveilled and policed. Olumhense and Reveal’s Melissa Lewis built a database to track all election-crimes-related bills introduced in the country since the 2020 election. They found a national push to punish what is considered in many states to be typical voting practices. Fueled in part by politicians who falsely claim voter fraud stole the 2020 election from Donald Trump, bills are being introduced that create new election crime investigation agencies, establish criminal penalties for election offenses or empower law enforcement officials to investigate such crimes.  While there was no proof of anything resembling widespread voter fraud in the 2020 election, there is one way in which elections are rigged: gerrymandering. Mother Jones senior reporter Ari Berman delves into how Republicans redrew voting maps in Wisconsin, helping them cement control of the state Legislature. Republicans’ strong hold on power has allowed them to keep in place deeply unpopular laws like an abortion ban that dates back to 1849. But this isn’t about just state politics: It’s also about the next election for president in 2024.  Support Reveal’s journalism at Revealnews.org/donatenow Subscribe to our weekly newsletter to get the scoop on new episodes at revealnews.org/weekly Connect with us on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram
29/10/2250m 28s

Buried Secrets: America’s Indian Boarding Schools Part 2

In the second half of our two-part collaboration with ICT (formerly Indian Country Today), members of the Pine Ridge community put pressure on the Catholic Church to share information about the boarding school it ran on the reservation.  Listen to part 1 here. ICT reporter Mary Annette Pember, a citizen of the Red Cliff Band of Ojibwe, visits Red Cloud Indian School, which has launched a truth and healing initiative for former students and their descendants. A youth-led activist group called the International Indigenous Youth Council has created a list of demands that includes financial reparations and the return of tribal land. The group also wants the Catholic Church to open up its records about the school’s past, especially information about children who may have died there.  Pember travels to the archives of the Bureau of Catholic Indian Missions, which administered boarding schools like Red Cloud. She discovers that many records are redacted or off-limits entirely, but then comes across a nuns’ diary that ends up containing important information. Buried in the diary entries is information about the school’s finances, the massacre at Wounded Knee and children who died at the school more than a century ago.  Pember then returns to Red Cloud and attends the graduation ceremony for the class of 2022. In its early years, the school tried to strip students of their culture, but these days, it teaches the Lakota language and boasts a high graduation rate and rigorous academics. Pember presents what she’s learned about the school’s history to the head of the Jesuit community in western South Dakota and to the school’s president.  Support Reveal’s journalism at Revealnews.org/donatenow Subscribe to our weekly newsletter to get the scoop on new episodes at Revealnews.org/newsletter Connect with us onTwitter,Facebook andInstagram
22/10/2250m 30s

Buried Secrets: America’s Indian Boarding Schools Part 1

In a two-part collaboration with ICT (formerly Indian Country Today), we expose the painful legacy of boarding schools for Native children.   These schools were part of a federal program designed to destroy Native culture and spirituality, with the stated goal to “kill the Indian and save the man.” ICT reporter Mary Annette Pember, a citizen of the Red Cliff Band of Ojibwe, explores the role the Catholic Church played in creating U.S. policy toward Native people and takes us to the Red Cloud Indian School on the Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota. Under pressure from the community, the school has launched a truth and healing program and is helping to reintroduce traditional culture to its students.  Next, Pember visits 89-year-old boarding school survivor Basil Brave Heart, who was sent to the Red Cloud School in the 1930s. He vividly remembers being traumatized by the experience and says many of his schoolmates suffered for the rest of their lives. We also hear from Dr. Donald Warne from Johns Hopkins University, a citizen of the Oglala Lakota tribe who studies how the trauma of boarding schools is passed down through the generations. We close with what is perhaps the most sensitive part of the Red Cloud School’s search for the truth about its past: the hunt for students who may have died at the school and were buried in unmarked graves. The school has brought in ground-penetrating radar to examine selected parts of the campus, but for some residents, that effort is falling short. They want the entire campus scanned for potential graves.  Support Reveal’s journalism at Revealnews.org/donatenow Subscribe to our weekly newsletter to get the scoop on new episodes at revealnews.org/weekly Connect with us on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram
15/10/2250m 16s

The Long Campaign to Turn Birth Control Into the New Abortion

When the Supreme Court’s decision undoing Roe v. Wade came down in June, anti-abortion groups were jubilant – but far from satisfied. Many in the movement have a new target: hormonal birth control. It seems contradictory; doesn’t preventing unwanted pregnancies also prevent abortions? But anti-abortion groups don’t see it that way. They claim that hormonal contraceptives like IUDs and the pill can actually cause abortions. One prominent group making this claim is Students for Life of America, whose president has said she wants contraceptives like IUDs and birth control pills to be illegal. The fast-growing group has built a social media campaign spreading the false idea that hormonal birth control is an abortifacient. Reveal’s Amy Mostafa teams up with UC Berkeley journalism and law students to dig into the world of young anti-abortion influencers and how medical misinformation gains traction on TikTok, Instagram and YouTube, with far-reaching consequences. Tens of millions of Americans use hormonal contraceptives to prevent pregnancy and regulate their health. And many have well-founded complaints about side effects, from nausea to depression – not to mention well-justified anger about how the medical establishment often pooh-poohs those concerns. Anti-abortion and religious activists have jumped into the fray, urging people to reject hormonal birth control as “toxic” and promoting non-hormonal “fertility awareness” methods – a movement they’re trying to rebrand as “green sex.” Mother Jones Senior Editor Kiera Butler explains how secular wellness influencers such as Jolene Brighten, who sells a $300 birth control “hormone reset,” are having their messages adopted by anti-abortion influencers, many of them with deep ties to Catholic institutions. The end of Roe triggered a Missouri law that immediately banned almost all abortions. Many were shocked when a major health care provider in the state announced it would also no longer offer emergency contraception pills – Plan B – because of a false belief that it could cause an abortion. While the health system soon reversed its policy, it wasn’t the first time Missouri policymakers have been roiled by the myth that emergency contraception can prevent a fertilized egg from implanting and cause an abortion. Reveal senior reporter and producer Katharine Mieszkowski tracks how lawmakers in the state have been confronting this misinformation campaign and looks to the future of how conservatives are aiming to use birth control as their new wedge issue. Support Reveal’s journalism at Revealnews.org/donatenow Subscribe to our weekly newsletter to get the scoop on new episodes at Revealnews.org/newsletter Connect with us on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram
08/10/2250m 59s

Minor League Pay

From the Frisco RoughRiders to the Dayton Dragons, minor league baseball teams are a classic American tradition. But their players are not covered by some classic American laws: Players can earn less than the equivalent of minimum wage and don’t get paid overtime. We explore how that’s even possible with the podcast The Uncertain Hour from our colleagues at Marketplace. This season, they’re looking at how certain companies – and whole industries – maneuver around basic worker protections. Support Reveal’s journalism at Revealnews.org/donatenow Subscribe to our weekly newsletter to get the scoop on new episodes at Revealnews.org/weekly Connect with us on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram
01/10/2250m 34s

After Ayotzinapa: Arrests and Intrigue

Eight months after Reveal’s three-part series about the disappearance of 43 Mexican college students in 2014, the government’s investigation is in high gear. But parents of the missing still don’t have the answers they want. There have been arrests and indictments of high-profile members of the military, and even the country’s former attorney general. But no one has been convicted, and the remains of only a handful of students have been identified.  In the first segment, we relive the night of the attack on the students, and chronicle the previous government’s flawed investigation into the crime. We meet independent investigators who succeeded in getting close to the truth, then fled the country for their safety.  Then we explore how the election of a new Mexican government led to a new investigation led by Omag Gomez Trejo, a young lawyer who pledged to expose the truth about the crime.  We end with a conversation with Reveal’s Anayansi Diaz Cortes and Kate Doyle, from the National Security Archive. They bring us up to date on what’s happened with the investigation since we aired our three-part series, After Ayotzinapa.  Support Reveal’s journalism at Revealnews.org/donatenow Subscribe to our weekly newsletter to get the scoop on new episodes at Revealnews.org/weekly Connect with us on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram
24/09/2250m 58s

Locked Up: The Prison Labor That Built Business Empires

After the Civil War, a new form of slavery took hold in the US and lasted more than 60 years. Associated Press reporters Margie Mason and Robin McDowell investigate the chilling history of how Southern states imprisoned mainly Black men, often for minor crimes, and then leased them out to private companies – for years, even decades, at a time. The team talks with the descendant of a man imprisoned in the Lone Rock stockade in Tennessee nearly 140 years ago, where people as young as 12 worked under subhuman conditions in coal mines and inferno-like ovens used to produce iron. This system of forced prison labor enriched the Tennessee Coal, Iron & Railroad company – at the cost of prisoners’ lives.  At the state park that sits on the former site of the Lone Rock stockade, relics from the hellish prison are buried beneath the soil. Archeologist Camille Westmont has found thousands of artifacts, such as utensils and the plates prisoners ate off. She has also created a database listing the names of those sent to Lone Rock. A team of volunteers are helping her, including a woman reckoning with her own ancestor’s involvement in this corrupt system and the wealth her family benefited from.    The United States Steel Corporation helped build bridges, railroads and towering skyscrapers across America. But the company also relied on forced prison labor. After U.S. Steel took over Tennessee Coal, Iron & Railroad in 1907, the industrial giant used prison labor for at least five years. During that time, more than 100 men died while working in their massive coal mining operation in Alabama. U.S. Steel has misrepresented this dark chapter of its history. And it has never apologized for its use of forced labor or the lives lost.The reporters push the company to answer questions about its past and engage with communities near the former mines.  Support Reveal’s journalism at Revealnews.org/donatenow Subscribe to our weekly newsletter to get the scoop on new episodes at Revealnews.org/weekly Connect with us on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram
17/09/2250m 41s

The Big Grift Behind the Big Lie

This episode explores two stories of fights over the right to vote.  Texas-based nonprofit True the Vote claims to have evidence of widespread voter fraud in the 2020 election—an idea Trump loudly echoes as part of “the big lie.” But True the Vote has never shown any proof. The lack of evidence hasn’t stopped the group from netting millions of dollars in donations. As reporter Cassandra Jaramillo explains, True the Vote founder Catherine Engelbrecht and board member Gregg Phillips took home hundreds of thousands of dollars in personal loans and payments to companies they’re associated with. Despite this grift, True the Vote’s influence is still expanding. The group provided “research” for a new film called 2000 Mules that promises to expose widespread voter fraud—with no evidence to back it up.  The big lie sparked the insurrection at the Capitol on January 6th, 2021, an event that is now part of the nation’s election history. But this was not the first time that a violent mob tried to challenge election results. In 1898, a group of armed white supremacists carried out a coup in Wilmington, North Carolina, and seized power from legally elected Black leaders. The Wilmington coup created a blueprint for taking voting rights away from people of color—a legacy of voter suppression that the country is still grappling with today. Host Al Letson pieces together the story with help from the grandson of a prominent member of the Black community in Wilmington.  Support Reveal’s journalism at Revealnews.org/donatenow Subscribe to our weekly newsletter to get the scoop on new episodes at Revealnews.org/newsletter Connect with us onTwitter, Facebook and Instagram
10/09/2250m 18s

American Rehab: Shadow Workforce

Picture stepping into a drug rehab. You’re looking for treatment, but instead, you get hard work for no pay. For decades, this type of rehab has quietly spread across the country. How are rehabs allowed to do this?  Some organizations argue that participants can work without pay as long as they’re provided with housing and treatment. This issue was raised by a cultish organization that recruited dropouts from the hippie movement and had them sew bedazzled designer jean jackets. The clothes became a Hollywood fashion trend, and the unpaid labor propelled a case all the way to the Supreme Court.  The federal government doesn’t track work-based rehabs, so reporter Shoshana Walter spent a year counting them herself. She learned that work-based rehabs are present across the entire country. And the coronavirus pandemic has made the opioid epidemic even more deadly. As one crisis slams into another, we look at how work-based rehabs are turning participants into unpaid essential workers.  Support Reveal’s journalism at Revealnews.org/donatenow Subscribe to our weekly newsletter to get the scoop on new episodes at Revealnews.org/newsletter Connect with us onTwitter,Facebook andInstagram
03/09/2250m 22s

American Rehab: A Venomous Snake

By the end of the 1960s, Synanon was a widely respected drug rehab with a celebrated treatment program. It had intake centers and commune-style rehabs all over the country.  It subsisted by turning members into unpaid workers who hustled donations and ran Synanon businesses. As the money poured in, Synanon’s founder, Charles Dederich, transitioned the group from a rehab into an “experimental society.”   Dederich instituted a series of increasingly authoritarian rules on members: He banned sugar, dissolved marriages, separated children from their parents and forced vasectomies. Synanon ultimately became a religion, with Dederich as its violent and vengeful leader. Synanon descended into madness. But before it crumbled, the group inspired an entire generation of rehabs. By one researcher’s count in the 1970s, there were 500 programs in the United States stemming from Synanon. Many of those rehabs still exist today, including Cenikor.  This is a rebroadcast of an episode that was originally aired in 2020.  Support Reveal’s journalism at Revealnews.org/donatenow Subscribe to our weekly newsletter to get the scoop on new episodes at Revealnews.org/newsletter Connect with us on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram
27/08/2250m 45s

American Rehab: A Desperate Call

Reporter Shoshana Walter gets a message from a stranger: Penny Rawlings has just read one of Walter’s stories about Cenikor, a drug rehab with a facility in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. Rawlings is desperate to learn more because her brother Tim Roe is a participant there. Rawlings helped send him to Cenikor — but didn’t realize getting him out of treatment was going to be the bigger problem. Cenikor’s model has its roots in Synanon: a revolutionary, first-of-its-kind rehab that started in the 1950s on a California beach. Its charismatic leader, Charles Dederich, mesmerized the nation by claiming to have developed a cure for drug addiction. But as it spread across the country, Dederich wanted the rehab to turn into something else: a business. This is the first episode in our series American Rehab, which we first broadcast in 2020. Listen to the whole series here. Support Reveal’s journalism at Revealnews.org/donatenow Subscribe to our weekly newsletter to get the scoop on new episodes at Revealnews.org/newsletter Connect with us on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram
20/08/2250m 38s

Afghanistan's Recognition Problem

There isn’t a single country in the world that recognizes the Taliban as a legitimate government. And neither do many Afghans. One year after the U.S. pulled out of Afghanistan, reporter Najib Aminy checks back in with a teacher from Kabul named Aysha, who fled to the U.K. She was one of the 120,000 people airlifted out of the country as the Taliban took control. Like many other Afghan refugees, she’s frustrated that the Taliban’s leadership has resulted in having to leave her home country behind. While the Biden administration has claimed to welcome refugees from both Afghanistan and Ukraine, the process for people fleeing the two countries has been unequal. To gain temporary entry to the United States, more than 66,000 Afghans applied through a process called humanitarian parole. But the hurdles for Afghans are huge, including monthslong wait times, piles of paperwork and a steep cost ($575 per person). In contrast, after Russia invaded Ukraine, the United States created a special humanitarian parole process for Ukrainians caught in the conflict – it can be filed online and has no application fee. Government records reveal that only 123 Afghan humanitarian parole applicants have been approved, compared with 68,000 Ukrainian applicants. Guest host Ike Sriskandarajah and Aminy then head to the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, where $7 billion in assets belonging to Afghanistan has sat frozen since the Taliban took control of the country last year. Aminy talks with Shah Mehrabi, an economist who sits on the governing board of the Afghan central bank, who says that without access to those assets, the country’s economy is headed toward collapse. The Biden administration is in a complicated position as it considers whether to release the money – and how to do it without aiding the Taliban. Obaidullah Baheer is a lecturer at the American University of Afghanistan who is trying to bring the Taliban and its critics together to chart a future for the country. For Baheer, Afghan politics is personal – his grandfather served as prime minister of the country and is accused of committing war crimes that killed thousands of civilians. With that weight of personal history, Baheer is organizing Afghans to figure out how to resolve the conflicts at the heart of the country today. Support Reveal’s journalism at Revealnews.org/donatenow Subscribe to our weekly newsletter to get the scoop on new episodes at Revealnews.org/newsletter Connect with us on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram
13/08/2250m 2s

My Neighbor, the Suspected War Criminal

In July, a popular uprising in Sri Lanka forced the country’s president, Gotabaya Rajapaksa, to step down and flee the country. Rajapaksa is accused of carrying out massive atrocities more than a decade ago.  Reveal reporter and host Ike Sriskandarajah looks into why powerful people suspected of committing war crimes often walk free. Sriskandarajah spent six months investigating the U.S. government's failure to charge accused perpetrators of the worst crimes in the world. The federal government says it is pursuing leads and cases against nearly 1700 alleged human rights violators and war criminals. Victims of international atrocities sometimes even describe running into them at their local coffee shop or in line at Walgreens.   After the end of Sri Lanka’s civil war, families seeking accountability for state-sanctioned violence filed a suit against a man they say is a war criminal. A private eye was tasked with hunting down Gota, Sri Lanka’s former defense minister. The P.I.  found the alleged war criminal in Southern California, shopping at Trader Joe’s.  At the close of World War II, dozens of former Nazi leaders came to the United States. After decades of inaction, in 1979, President Jimmy Carter created a special unit within the Department of Justice dedicated to hunting down Nazi war criminals. Decades after passing the first substantive human rights statutes that make it possible to prosecute war criminals for crimes like torture and genocide, the U.S. has successfully prosecuted only one person under the laws. Sriskandrajah talks to experts about why prosecutors often take an “Al Capone” strategy to going after war criminals, pursuing them on lesser charges like immigration violations rather than human rights abuses.  With little action from the government to prosecute war criminals, victims of violence are instead using civil lawsuits to try to seek accountability. Lawyers at the Center for Justice & Accountability have brought two dozen cases against alleged war criminals and human rights violators – and never lost at trial. But when the lawyers share their evidence with the federal government, it often feels like the information disappears into a black box.  This is a rebroadcast of an episode originally released on April 22, 2022.
06/08/2250m 47s

No Retreat: The Dangers of Stand Your Ground

The killing of Trayvon Martin in 2012 marked the beginning of a new chapter of the struggle for civil rights in America. A mostly White jury acquitted George Zimmerman of the teen’s murder, in part because Florida’s stand your ground law permits a person to use deadly force in self-defense – even if that person could have safely retreated. Nationwide protests after the trial called for stand your ground laws to be repealed and reformed. But instead, stand your ground laws have expanded to 38 states.  Reveal reporter Jonathan Jones talks with Byron Castillo, a maintenance worker in North Carolina who was shot in the chest after mistakenly trying to get into the wrong apartment for a repair. While Castillo wound up out of work and deep in debt, police and prosecutors declined to pursue charges against the shooter, who said he was afraid someone was trying to break into his apartment. Researchers have found that states that enacted stand your ground laws have seen an increase in homicides – one study estimated that roughly 700 more people die in the U.S. every year because of stand your ground laws.  Opponents of stand your ground laws call them by a different name: “kill at will” laws. Jones speaks to lawmakers like Stephanie Howse, who fought against stand your ground legislation as an Ohio state representative, saying such laws put Black people's lives at risk. Howse and other Democratic lawmakers faced off against Republican politicians, backed by pro-gun lobbyists, intent on passing a stand your ground bill despite widespread opposition from civil rights groups and law enforcement. Modern-day stand your ground laws started in Florida. Reveal reporter Nadia Hamdan explores a 2011 road rage incident that wound up leading to an expansion of the law. She looks at how one case led Florida lawmakers, backed by the National Rifle Association, to enact a law that spells out that prosecutors, not defendants, have the burden of proof when claiming someone was not acting in self-defense when committing an act of violence against another individual.  Support Reveal’s journalism at Revealnews.org/donatenow Subscribe to our weekly newsletter to get the scoop on new episodes at Revealnews.org/newsletter Connect with us on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram
30/07/2250m 32s

Inside the Global Fight for White Power

From Russia to Sweden and the United States, there’s a growing network of White nationalist groups that stretches around the world. The reporting team at Verified: The Next Threat investigates how these militant groups are helping each other create propaganda, recruit new members and share paramilitary skills. We start with a group called the Russian Imperial Movement, or RIM. Its members are taking up arms in Russia’s war against Ukraine, which they say is a battle in a much larger “holy war” for White power. Newsy senior investigative reporter Mark Greenblatt interviews a leader of the group who says RIM’s goal is to unite White nationalists around the world. The group even runs training camps where White supremacists from around the world can learn paramilitary tactics. Russia’s White nationalists are making connections with extremists in the United States. Greenblatt talks with a neo-Nazi named Matt Heimbach, who was a major promoter of the deadly 2017 Unite the Right rally in Charlottesville, Virginia. Soon after Charlottesville, Heimbach invited members of RIM to the U.S. and connected them to his network of American White power extremists. We end with a visit by Greenblatt to the State Department in Washington, where he interviews two top counterterrorism officials. They say they’re aware of the growing international network of White supremacists, but explain that White power groups are now forming political parties, which makes it more difficult for the agency to use its most powerful counterterrorism tools. Support Reveal’s journalism at Revealnews.org/donatenow Subscribe to our weekly newsletter to get the scoop on new episodes at Revealnews.org/newsletter Connect with us on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram
23/07/2250m 18s

All the President’s Pardons

When he was president, Donald Trump used the pardon power to help friends and political allies. Now we’ve learned from the Jan. 6 committee hearings that members of his inner circle asked for pardons to shield themselves from prosecution, before they were even charged with a crime. But what about the people who applied for pardons through the official process and are still waiting for answers? We go beyond the headlines and tell the story of a pardons system that’s completely broken down.  We begin our show by looking at the rarest of pardons: when the person receiving a pardon is the president. When in office, Trump tweeted that he had the authority to pardon himself, a concept that first was discussed during the Nixon administration. In that case, former President Richard Nixon eventually was pardoned by the next president, Gerald Ford. In this story, we hear some rare archival tape in which Ford explains in his own words why he decided to pardon his predecessor. In the next story, we look at the case of Charles “Duke” Tanner, a boxer who was sentenced to life in federal prison after being convicted of drug trafficking. His arrest came during the war on drugs, which started in the 1980s, disproportionately putting tens of thousands of Black men in prison for decades. Tanner applied for clemency twice; his application was just one among 13,000 others waiting for a decision at the federal Office of the Pardon Attorney when this show first aired in 2019. That number has grown to nearly 17,000 as of today. We end with a heartwarming update in the Tanner story. Support Reveal’s journalism at Revealnews.org/donatenow Subscribe to our weekly newsletter to get the scoop on new episodes at Revealnews.org/newsletter Connect with us on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram
16/07/2250m 50s

Can Our Climate Survive Bitcoin?

Bitcoin is a novel form of currency that bypasses banks, credit card companies and governments. But as Elizabeth Shogren reports, the process of creating bitcoin is extremely energy intensive, and it’s setting back efforts to address climate change. Already, bitcoin has used enough power to erase all the energy savings from electric cars, according to one study. Still, towns across the United States are scrambling to attract bitcoin-mining operations by selling them power at a deep discount.  Bitcoin’s demand for electricity is so great that it’s giving new life to the dirtiest type of power plants: ones that burn coal. In Hardin, Montana, the coal-fired power plant was on the verge of shutting down until bitcoin came to town. The coal that fuels the bitcoin operation is owned by the Crow Nation, so some of the tribe’s leaders support it. But in just one year, the amount of carbon dioxide the plant puts into the air jumped nearly tenfold. After our story first aired, the company that owns the computers that mine bitcoin in Hardin announced that it would move them to a cleaner source of power. The generating station is negotiating with other companies to take its place.  Bitcoin’s huge carbon footprint has people asking whether  cryptocurrency can go green. Bitcoin advocates say it can switch to renewable energy. Others are instead developing entirely new types of cryptocurrency that are less energy hungry. Guest host Shereen Marisol Meraji talks with Ludwig Siegele, technology editor at The Economist, who gives his assessment of the challenges of making cryptocurrency environmentally friendly.  Support Reveal’s journalism at Revealnews.org/donatenow  Subscribe to our weekly newsletter to get the scoop on new episodes at Revealnews.org/newsletter Connect with us on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram
09/07/2251m 9s

Lost in Transplantation

Quickly delivering donated organs to patients waiting for a transplant is a matter of life and death. Yet transportation errors are leading to delays in surgeries, putting patients in danger and making some organs unusable. This week, we look at weaknesses in the nation’s system for transporting organs and solutions for making it work better.  More than any other organ, donated kidneys are put on commercial flights so they can get to waiting patients. In collaboration with Kaiser Health News, we look at the system for transporting kidneys and how a lack of tracking and accountability can result in waylaid or misplaced kidneys. We then look at the broader issues affecting organ procurement in the U.S. with Jennifer Erickson, who worked at the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy under the Obama administration. She says one of the system’s weaknesses is that not enough organs are recovered from deceased people – not nearly as many as there could be. We end with an audio postcard about honor walks, a new ritual that hospitals are adopting to honor the gift of life that dying people are giving to patients who will receive their organs. We follow the story of one young man who was killed in a car accident. This episode originally was broadcast Feb. 8, 2020.  Support Reveal’s journalism at Revealnews.org/donatenow Subscribe to our weekly newsletter to get the scoop on new episodes at Revealnews.org/newsletter Connect with us on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram
02/07/2250m 21s

The Religious Right Mobilized to End Roe. Now What?

Roe v. Wade, the landmark decision that gave women in the U.S. the legal right to an abortion, has now been officially overturned. The Supreme Court rarely reverses itself. The ruling means states can set their own laws around abortion. Many plan to ban it outright. How did we get to this point?  For decades, mostly White Evangelicals and Catholics joined forces to put political pressure on Republicans to oppose abortion access – which has serious implications for communities of color. Reporter Anayansi Diaz-Cortes talks with Jennifer Holland, a history professor and author of the book “Tiny You: A Western History of the Anti-Abortion Movement,” and Khiara Bridges, a reproductive justice scholar at the University of California, Berkeley, about the racial dynamics of the fight over abortion.  Most abortions now happen with pills rather than a surgical procedure at a clinic. The ability to get the pills via mail and telehealth appointments has helped expand access to abortions. Now, religious anti-abortion activists are promoting the unproven idea that medication abortions can be reversed. Reporters Amy Littlefield and Sofia Resnick investigate the science and history of this controversial treatment called abortion pill reversal. But there’s another religious voice that often gets drowned out by the anti-abortion movement. Reveal's Grace Oldham visits the First Unitarian Church of Dallas, which back in the late ’60s was part of a national hotline for people seeking an abortion. Callers could be connected with clergy members who would counsel them and give a referral to a trusted doctor who would safely perform abortions. We hear how the church is continuing its legacy of supporting abortion access today, helping people in Texas who want abortions get them out of state. Support Reveal’s journalism at Revealnews.org/donatenow Subscribe to our weekly newsletter to get the scoop on new episodes at Revealnews.org/newsletter Connect with us on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram
25/06/2251m 23s

Abortion in the Crosshairs

Dr. Barnett Slepian was a conservative doctor and family man with strong religious beliefs. But he didn’t think doctors should pick and choose which services to provide, so he performed abortions at a clinic in Buffalo, New York. The anti-abortion organization Operation Rescue made him a target, harassing him and calling him a “murderer” at his home in Amherst, New York, as well as at his private practice and the Buffalo clinic. In 1998, Slepian was the victim of a sniper attack.  In this episode, in partnership with the CBC podcast “Someone Knows Something,” reporters David Ridgen and Amanda Robb – Slepian’s niece – look into the network of anti-abortion extremists who targeted doctors and clinics in the 1990s.    Support Reveal’s journalism at Revealnews.org/donatenow Subscribe to our weekly newsletter to get the scoop on new episodes at Revealnews.org/newsletter Connect with us on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram
18/06/2250m 27s

Baseball Strikes Out

In the early 2000s, rampant steroid use across Major League Baseball became the biggest scandal in the sport’s history. But fans didn’t want to hear the difficult truth about their heroes – and the league didn’t want to intervene and clean up a mess it helped make. We look back at how the scandal unraveled with our colleagues from the podcast Crushed from Religion of Sports and PRX. Their show revisits the steroid era to untangle its truth from the many myths, examine the legacy of baseball’s so-called steroid era and explore what it tells us about sports culture in America. We start during the 1998 MLB season, when the home run race was on. Superstar sluggers Mark McGwire and Sammy Sosa battled to set a new single-season record, and McGwire, the St. Louis Cardinals first baseman, was portrayed as the hero baseball needed: part humble, wholesome, working man and part action hero, with his brawny build and enormous biceps. So when a reporter spotted a suspicious bottle of pills in his locker in the middle of the season, most fans plugged their ears and refused to acknowledge that baseball might be hooked on steroids. Joan Niesen, a sportswriter and host of the podcast Crushed, takes us on a deep dive into an era that dethroned a generation of superstars, left fans disillusioned and turned baseball’s record book on its head. The story takes us from ballparks and clubhouses to the halls of Congress to explain how baseball was finally forced to reckon with its drug problem. This is a rebroadcast of an episode that originally aired in July 2021.  Support Reveal’s journalism at Revealnews.org/donatenow Subscribe to our weekly newsletter to get the scoop on new episodes at Revealnews.org/newsletter Connect with us onTwitter, Facebook and Instagram
11/06/2250m 38s

Fighting Fire with Fire

Year after year, wildfires have swept through Northern California’s wine and dairy country, threatening the region’s famed agricultural businesses. . Evacuation orders have become a way of life in places like Sonoma County, and so too have exemptions to those orders. Officials in the county created a special program allowing agricultural employers to bring farmworkers into areas that are under evacuation and keep them working, even as wildfires rage. It’s generally known as the ag pass program. Reporter Teresa Cotsirilos investigates whether the policy puts low-wage farmworkers at risk from smoke and flames. This story is a partnership with the nonprofit newsroom the Food & Environment Reporting Network and the podcast and radio show World Affairs. Then KQED’s Danielle Venton introduces us to Bill Tripp, a member of the Karuk Tribe. Tripp grew up along the Klamath River, where his great-grandmother taught him how controlled burns could make the land more productive and protect villages from dangerous fires. But in the 1800s, authorities outlawed traditional burning practices. Today, the impact of that policy is clear: The land is overgrown, and there has been a major fire in the region every year for the past decade, including one that destroyed half the homes in the Karuk’s largest town, Happy Camp, and killed two people. Tripp has spent 30 years trying to restore “good fire” to the region but has faced resistance from the U.S. Forest Service and others. Twelve years ago, the Forest Service officially changed its policy to expand the use of prescribed burns, one of the most effective tools to mitigate massive, deadly wildfires. But Reveal’s Elizabeth Shogren reports that even though the agency committed to doing controlled burns, it hasn’t actually increased how much fire it’s using to fight fire. The Forest Service also has been slow to embrace another kind of good fire that experts say the West desperately needs: managed wildfires, in which fires are allowed to burn in a controlled manner to reduce overgrowth. To protect the future of the land and people – especially with climate change making forests drier and hotter – the Forest Service needs to embrace the idea of good fire.   This is a rebroadcast of an episode that originally aired in September 2021.  Support Reveal’s journalism at Revealnews.org/donatenow Subscribe to our weekly newsletter to get the scoop on new episodes at Revealnews.org/weekly  Connect with us onTwitter,Facebook andInstagram
04/06/2250m 39s

Shooting in the Dark: Why Gun Reform Keeps Failing

As the nation reels from the recent mass shootings in Uvalde, Texas, and Buffalo, New York, we look at why efforts to enact comprehensive laws to reduce gun violence are failing.  Reveal’s Najib Aminy tells the story of a former lobbyist for the NRA, who explains how another school shooting years ago polarized the political debate about guns and all but eliminated the chances for compromise. Then, host Al Letson speaks with reporter Alain Stephens from The Trace. Stephens has been tracking how technology is making guns more lethal and says one of the most troubling inventions is something called an auto sear. These tiny devices can turn pistols and rifles into machine guns. He also brings us up to date on his effort to force the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives to share data about police guns that end up being used in crimes. Reveal sued the ATF on his behalf, and the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals recently came down with a decision.   We end with a discussion with Reveal’s Jennifer Gollan, who last fall completed a groundbreaking investigation about homicides by intimate partners convicted of domestic abuse. Her reporting led to a rare moment of consensus on Capitol Hill and new provisions in the recently reauthorized Violence Against Women Act.  Support Reveal’s journalism at Revealnews.org/donatenow Subscribe to our weekly newsletter to get the scoop on new episodes at Revealnews.org/newsletter Connect with us on Twitter,Facebook and Instagram
28/05/2251m 55s

‘Traitors Get Shot’

On Jan. 6, 2021, Jackson Reffitt watched the Capitol riot play out on TV from his family home in Texas. His father, Guy, had a much closer view. He was in Washington, armed with a semiautomatic handgun, storming the building.  When Guy Reffitt returned home, Jackson secretly taped him and turned the recordings over to the FBI. His father bragged about what he did, saying: “I had every constitutional right to carry a weapon and take over the Congress.” Guy Reffitt was the first person to stand trial for his role in the riot, and the case has divided his family.  This week, Reveal features the story of the Reffitt family by partnering with the podcast Will Be Wild from Pineapple Street Studios, Wondery and Amazon Music. Hosted by Andrea Bernstein and Ilya Marritz, Will Be Wild’s eight-part series investigates the forces that led to the Jan. 6 insurrection and what comes next. Support Reveal’s journalism at Revealnews.org/donatenow Subscribe to our weekly newsletter to get the scoop on new episodes at Revealnews.org/newsletter Connect with us onTwitter,Facebook andInstagram
21/05/2250m 34s

A Reckoning at Amazon

The past few years have brought profits and growth to Amazon, but it’s come at a cost to many workers. Amazon warehouse employees are injured on the job at a higher rate than at other companies, even as the company has claimed to prioritize safety. Host Al Letson speaks with Reveal’s Will Evans, who’s been reporting on injuries at Amazon for years. By gathering injury data and speaking with workers and whistleblowers, he has focused national attention on the company’s safety record, prompting regulators, lawmakers and the company itself to address the issue more closely. Then, we bring back a story by Reveal’s Jennifer Gollan that looks at the most common type of injury at Amazon and other workplaces and why the government chose not to try to prevent it. We end with a reprise of a story from reporter Laura Sydell about online reviews of products and businesses and how many of them are not what they seem. Support Reveal’s journalism at Revealnews.org/donatenow Subscribe to our weekly newsletter to get the scoop on new episodes at Revealnews.org/newsletter Connect with us on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram
14/05/2250m 47s

Crossing the Line: The Fight Over Roe

As the Supreme Court is poised to overturn Roe v. Wade, Florida is a case study in what can happen in states where abortion is easy to access.  Florida is an unexpected safe haven for people seeking abortions in the South. The state has 55 abortion clinics – more than seven other Southeastern states combined. But Florida is also increasingly an abortion battleground. Reveal found that calls to police from Florida abortion clinics for disturbances, harassment and violence have doubled since 2016. Reporter Laura C. Morel spent months investigating the anti-abortion movement there and observed what it’s like to be an abortion provider in Jacksonville, where one particular clinic is under siege by a local anti-abortion group that has figured out a way to be near the clinic’s front door. Protesters rented a room in the same office park as A Woman’s Choice and now can legally, without trespassing, hold daily protests and even religious ceremonies on the private driveway that leads to the clinic. “As abortion providers, we should not have to be harassed going to work every day,” clinic owner Kelly Flynn told Morel. “I mean, no one's picketing the urologist that's doing vasectomies.”  For doctors who perform abortions, threats of violence are not new. In the 1980s and ’90s, anti-abortion extremists bombed and blockaded clinics and murdered doctors. We hear from David Gunn Jr., whose father performed abortions and was murdered by a fundamentalist Christian in Pensacola in 1993. His death led to the passage of the Freedom of Access to Clinic Entrances Act, which makes it illegal to intimidate patients and staff at abortion clinics through force, threat of force or physical obstruction. But Morel found that this federal law, known as the FACE Act, does little to protect against the kind of harassment and intimidation providers face today. At A Woman’s Choice, only one person – a man who called in a bomb threat – has been prosecuted under the FACE Act.  What qualifies as “intimidation” varies by state. In California, it’s illegal to photograph patients and staff outside abortion clinics. But at A Woman’s Choice, protesters regularly photograph and film videos of patients, which staffers say makes them feel frazzled and afraid. If Roe v. Wade crumbles, abortion rights advocates warn that  this kind of anti-abortion activism will spread, especially in places where abortion will remain legal.
07/05/2250m 35s

How a 7-Year Prison Sentence Turns Into Over 100

WBEZ reporter Shannon Heffernan brings us the story of Anthony Gay, who was sentenced to seven years in prison on a parole violation but ended up with 97 years added to his sentence. Gay lives with serious mental illness, and after time in solitary confinement, he began to act out. He was repeatedly charged with battery – often for throwing liquids, like urine, at staff.  Gay acknowledges he did some of those things but says the prison put him in circumstances that made his mental illness worse – then punished him for the way he acted. With help from Chicago-based lawyers, Gay appealed to the local state’s attorney. What happens when a self-described “law and order” prosecutor has to decide between prison-town politics and doing what he believes the law requires?  Finally, host Al Letson speaks with Ear Hustle co-creator and co-host Earlonne Woods about the power of local prosecutors, including an upcoming recall election in the San Francisco Bay Area, and a recent episode from the Ear Hustle podcast that tackles the complicated politics of prison towns. This episode is a partnership with the podcast Motive from WBEZ Chicago.  Support Reveal’s journalism at Revealnews.org/donatenow Subscribe to our weekly newsletter to get the scoop on new episodes at Revealnews.org/newsletter Connect with us onTwitter,Facebook andInstagram
30/04/2252m 3s

My Neighbor, the Suspected War Criminal

This month, atrocities in Ukraine have triggered new allegations of war crimes. While people around the world call for accountability, we look into why those who are suspected of committing war crimes in the past often walk free. Reporter and host Ike Sriskandarajah spent the past six months investigating the U.S. government's failure to charge accused perpetrators of the worst crimes in the world. The federal government says it is pursuing leads and cases against nearly 1700 alleged human rights violators and war criminals. Victims of international atrocities sometimes even describe running into them at their local coffee shop or in line at Walgreens.   After the end of Sri Lanka’s civil war, families seeking accountability for state-sanctioned violence filed a suit against a man they say is a war criminal. A private eye was tasked with hunting down Gotabaya Rajapaksa (better known as Gota), Sri Lanka’s defense minister. The P.I. found the alleged war criminal in Southern California, shopping at Trader Joe’s.  At the close of World War II, dozens of former Nazi leaders came to the United States. After decades of inaction, in 1979, President Jimmy Carter created a special unit within the Department of Justice dedicated to hunting down Nazi war criminals.  Decades after passing the first substantive human rights statutes that make it possible to prosecute war criminals for crimes like torture and genocide, the U.S. has successfully prosecuted only one person under the laws. Sriskandrajah talks to experts about why prosecutors often take an “Al Capone” strategy to going after war criminals, pursuing them on lesser charges like immigration violations rather than human rights abuses.  With little action from the government to prosecute war criminals, victims of violence are instead using civil lawsuits to try to seek accountability. Lawyers at the Center for Justice & Accountability have brought two dozen cases against alleged war criminals and human rights violators – and never lost at trial. But when the lawyers share their evidence with the federal government, it often feels like the information disappears into a black box. Support Reveal’s journalism at Revealnews.org/donatenow  Subscribe to our weekly newsletter to get the scoop on new episodes at revealnews.org/weekly Connect with us on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram
23/04/2251m 8s

Handcuffed and Unhoused

Up and down the West Coast, cities are struggling with homelessness. Here's a hidden side: arrests. In Portland, Oregon, unhoused people made up at most 2% of the population in recent years, but over the same time, they accounted for nearly half of all arrests. Cities have long turned to police as the answer to make homelessness disappear. But arrests often lead back to the streets – or worse.  Reveal looked at six major West Coast cities and found that people living on the streets are consistently more likely to be arrested than their neighbors who live in houses. And places including Portland, San Francisco and Los Angeles are grappling with a major court decision. In 2019, the Supreme Court let a ruling stand that says it's cruel and unusual punishment to arrest people who are sleeping or camping in public places if there is no shelter available for them. In Portland, the city is building what it calls "villages" where people who are unhoused can stay temporarily. But there is pushback from residents who don’t want a shelter in their neighborhood, and do expect police to be part of the response to homelessness. Reporter Melissa Lewis tells the story of all these intersecting parts.   She follows one man’s journey through the criminal justice system as he tries to disentangle himself from arrest warrants that keep accumulating. She talks with locals who are trying to build trust and connection with their houseless neighbors and others who are tired of seeing tents and call the police for help. And we learn the commitment that it takes to move off the street, one person at a time.   This is an update of an episode that first aired in December 2021. Support Reveal’s journalism at Revealnews.org/donatenow  Subscribe to our weekly newsletter to get the scoop on new episodes at Revealnews.org/newsletter Connect with us on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram
16/04/2250m 45s

Losing Ground

In 2021, the Biden administration approved $4 billion in loan forgiveness for Black farmers and other farmers of color, as part of the $1.9 trillion pandemic relief package. The aid was supposed to make up for decades of discrimination. However, White farmers have sued, and that aid has yet to be paid out as the issue makes it way through the courts.  Eddie Wise is one farmer who claimed to face discrimination. He was the son of a sharecropper. In 1996, he and his wife, Dorothy, bought a farm with a loan from the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Twenty years later, the USDA foreclosed on the property and evicted him.  John Biewen of “Scene on Radio” teamed up with Reveal to investigate Wise’s claim of race-based discrimination. Wise’s story is one piece of the puzzle explaining how Black families went from owning nearly a million farms in 1920 to now fewer than 36,000. The federal government has admitted it was part of the problem. In 1997, a USDA report said discrimination by the agency was a factor in the decline of Black farms. A landmark class-action lawsuit on behalf of Black farmers, Pigford v. Glickman, was settled in 1999. But advocates for Black farmers say problems persist. This episode was originally broadcast in July 2017.  Support Reveal’s journalism at Revealnews.org/donatenow Subscribe to our weekly newsletter to get the scoop on new episodes at Revealnews.org/newsletter Connect with us onTwitter, Facebook and Instagram
09/04/2250m 23s

Campaigning on the Big Lie

More than a year after the 2020 election, roughly a third of Americans continue to believe, without evidence, that the results of the election were illegitimate. And now, GOP candidates are tapping into the “Big Lie,” campaigning for office on the promise to change how future elections are run. We zero in on Michigan, a key swing state where Republicans are aiming to shape the future of elections. Reporter Byard Duncan talks with the Antrim County clerk, who was flooded with ugly calls and threats after her office accidentally assigned votes meant for Donald Trump to Joe Biden. While the error was quickly fixed, many in the GOP, including Trump, have used the county to sow doubt about the entire election’s results. Duncan reports on the race for secretary of state, Michigan’s top election official, and how the leading GOP candidate has repeatedly referenced Antrim County to question the integrity of elections. The Trump-endorsed candidate has outraised her Republican opponents by at least tenfold.  There was no meaningful election fraud in Michigan in 2020. But some local election officials who voted to certify the election have paid a price. Reporter Trey Bundy tells the story of Wayne County official Monica Palmer, a Republican who was kicked off the local canvassing board after certifying the election. And she’s just one of many: Republicans have now placed new election officials on boards in eight of Michigan’s largest counties. At least half of them have cast doubt on the integrity of the 2020 election. Finally, looking to the future, Republicans in Michigan are making it harder to vote. Since the 2020 election, the Michigan Senate, led by Republicans, has introduced nearly 40 bills to change its election laws, all of which propose new barriers to voting. Guest host Shereen Marisol Meraji talks with Branden Snyder, co-executive director of Detroit Action, a local activist group that organizes working-class Detroiters, about how his group is mobilizing against efforts to undermine the vote. Support Reveal’s journalism at Revealnews.org/donatenow  Subscribe to our weekly newsletter to get the scoop on new episodes at Revealnews.org/newsletter Connect with us on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram
02/04/2248m 59s

Can Our Climate Survive Bitcoin?

Bitcoin is a novel form of currency that bypasses banks, credit card companies and governments. But as Reveal’s Elizabeth Shogren reports, the process of creating bitcoin is extremely energy intensive, and it’s setting back efforts to address climate change. Already, bitcoin has used enough power to erase all the energy savings from electric cars, according to one study. Still, towns across the United States are scrambling to attract bitcoin-mining operations by selling them power at a deep discount. Bitcoin’s demand for electricity is so great that it’s giving new life to the dirtiest type of power plants: ones that burn coal. In Hardin, Montana, the coal-fired power plant was on the verge of shutting down until bitcoin came to town. The coal that fuels the bitcoin operation is owned by the Crow Nation, so some of the tribe’s leaders support it. But in just one year, the amount of carbon dioxide the plant puts into the air jumped nearly tenfold. Bitcoin’s huge carbon footprint has people asking whether cryptocurrency can go green. Bitcoin advocates say it can switch to renewable energy. Others are instead developing entirely new types of cryptocurrency that are less energy hungry. Guest host Shereen Marisol Meraji talks with Ludwig Siegele, technology editor at The Economist, who gives his assessment of the challenges of making cryptocurrency environmentally friendly. Support Reveal’s journalism at Revealnews.org/donatenow  Subscribe to our weekly newsletter to get the scoop on new episodes at Revealnews.org/newsletter Connect with us on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram
26/03/2250m 56s

A Racial Reckoning at Doctors Without Borders

For decades, Doctors Without Borders has been admired for bringing desperately needed medical care to crises around the globe and pioneering modern-day humanitarian aid. It’s an organization with radical roots, promising to do whatever it takes to deliver life-saving care to people in need. But now, it’s struggling to address institutional racism. The organization, also known by its French acronym MSF, has about 63,000 people working in 88 countries. While foreign doctors parachuting into crisis zones get most of the attention, 90 percent of the work is being done by local health workers.  In the summer of 2020, more than 1,000 current and former staffers wrote a letter calling out institutional racism at MSF. They say that MSF operates a two-tiered tiered system that favors foreign doctors, or expat doctors, over local health workers.  Reporters Mara Kardas-Nelson, Ngozi Cole and Sean Campbell talked to about 100 current and former MSF workers to investigate how deep these issues run. We meet Dr. Indira Govender, a South African doctor who in 2011 accepted what she thought was her dream job with MSF in South Africa, only to get a front-row seat to the organization’s institutional racism. Even though she’s officially the second-in-command of her project, she says it feels like a select group of European expats and White South Africans are running the show.   Then, Kardas-Nelson and Cole take us inside the inequities MSF staffers experienced during the 2014 Ebola outbreak in Sierra Leone. While expat doctors had their meals together and socialized, local health workers were left out. But inequities ran deeper. If expat doctors got sick, they would be evacuated out of the country, while local workers didn’t get that care – they were treated at the same center where they worked. Kardas-Nelson and Cole reported the story from Sierra Leone in the Spring of 2021 and spoke to former National MSF clinicians. Finally, we talk about what can change in humanitarian aid. Govender is part of a group of current and former MSF workers called Decolonize MSF. While she and others are pushing the organization to commit to changes that address racial inequities, some are skeptical about what will actually change.  This week’s episode was created in partnership with the global news site Insider. This is an update of an episode that originally aired in September 2021. Support Reveal’s journalism at Revealnews.org/donatenow  Subscribe to our weekly newsletter to get the scoop on new episodes at Revealnews.org/newsletter Connect with us on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram
19/03/2251m 3s

‘To Shoot and Fight for My Home’

The war in Ukraine is not new. Ukrainians have been living through “the long war” of a threatened – and brutally real – Russian invasion for decades. We hear from 60-year-old Irina Dovgan, who refused to leave her home, with its blooming garden and many pets, when separatist fighters took over her region in 2014. She became an international symbol of the invasion after Russian-backed forces arrested, abused and publicly humiliated her. Now, Dovgan is living through a second invasion.   Reporting from Ukraine, Coda Story’s Glenn Kates explains what it’s been like to live in Kyiv as Russian President Vladimir Putin threatened to invade. While many Ukrainians speak Russian and have deep ties to the country, Kates talks to Kyiv residents about how Putin’s threats of invasion and violence have shifted their sense of identity. As the invasion approaches, each person has to weigh the nearly impossible question of what they will do to survive.   To understand what it’s like to be a journalist in Ukraine and Russia right now, host Ike Sriskandarajah speaks with propaganda expert Peter Pomerantsev. Born in Ukraine and now a fellow at Johns Hopkins University and contributing editor at Coda Story, Pomerantsev describes how challenging Putin’s official version of events can land journalists in prison. Under a new law, even calling the invasion an “invasion” could lead to a 15-year prison sentence.  Finally, Reveal’s Elizabeth Shogren takes listeners back to a time when Russia was charting a different course. In 1989, Shogren was a Moscow-based reporter covering the Soviet Union’s first freely elected legislature. She talks with Russian reporter Sergey Parkhomenko about how, since Putin’s election in 2000, the Russian president has consolidated power by systematically squashing dissent inside the country. This month, Parkhomenko’s radio show and the whole independent Echo of Moscow network was taken off the air. The Kremlin’s harsh new censorship law, punishable by 15 years in prison, makes it illegal to call the war in Ukraine a “war.”  Support Reveal’s journalism at Revealnews.org/donatenow  Subscribe to our weekly newsletter to get the scoop on new episodes at Revealnews.org/newsletter Connect with us on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram
12/03/2250m 50s

Behind the Blue Wall

A nanny in Nashville was having a picnic on a bike path with the kids she was caring for when a man emerged from his house and started cursing at them. The woman began recording and threatened to call the police. But it turned out the angry man wasn’t afraid because he was part of the police – a captain with the Metropolitan Nashville Police Department. The nanny’s video went viral. It put a cop in the spotlight, cracked a hole in the “blue wall of silence” and sparked a “Me Too” moment that inspired women in the force to speak up about the captain and other high-ranking officers.  Monica Blake-Beasley was one of the few Black women on the force and one of those who spoke out. When she came forward to report that another officer had sexually assaulted her, she says her colleagues closed ranks and protected not her, but the officer she had accused. Soon, Blake-Beasley began to feel like the department was retaliating against her. As Samantha Max of WPLN News reports, Nashville officers who dare to rock the boat are often disciplined, passed over for assignments or forced to leave altogether. Records show that Black female employees who were investigated for policy violations were suspended, demoted or terminated at more than twice the rate of White employees. — Support Reveal’s journalism at Revealnews.org/donatenow  Subscribe to our weekly newsletter to get the scoop on new episodes at Revealnews.org/newsletter Connect with us on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram
05/03/2250m 33s

The Bitter Work Behind Sugar

Sugar is a big part of Americans’ daily diet. But who harvests some of that sweet cane?  Reporters Sandy Tolan and Euclides Cordero Nuel visit Haitian migrants in the Dominican Republic who do the backbreaking work of cutting sugarcane for little pay. They live in work camps, or “bateyes,” that are part of a vast sugar plantation owned by the Central Romana Corp. The company is the Dominican Republic’s largest private employer and has strong links to two powerful Florida businessmen, Alfonso and Pepe Fanjul. The reporters speak to workers who have no access to government pensions, so they’re forced to work in the fields into their 80s for as little as $3 a day. Through its sugar exports to the U.S. and other businesses, Central Romana generates an estimated $1.5 billion a year – but some workers are so poor they can’t afford doctors’ visits.  In the 1990s, Tolan reported on human trafficking and child labor in the Dominican sugar industry. Conditions improved following pressure on the government from local activists, human rights groups, and the U.S. Labor Department. But major problems persist. And cane cutters say they must go into deep debt just to survive, leaving them trapped.   After Reveal’s story aired in fall 2021, Congress took action. Fifteen members of the House Ways and Means Committee called on federal agencies to formulate a plan to address what they called the “slave-like conditions” in the Dominican cane fields. Central Romana also took action: It bulldozed one of the bateyes our reporters visited. The company contends it was part of an improvement program, but residents say that with very little warning, they were told to pack up their lives. They were loaded onto trucks and moved to other bateyes, as their settlement was wiped off the map. This is an update of an episode that originally aired in September 2021.  Support Reveal’s journalism at Revealnews.org/donatenow  Subscribe to our weekly newsletter to get the scoop on new episodes at Revealnews.org/newsletter Connect with us on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram
26/02/2250m 55s

Who Has Power and How Do They Wield It?

Washington, D.C.: The Difficulties of Firing Police Officers A group of hackers attacked the Metropolitan Police Department in 2021, leaking 250 gigabytes of data and confidential files. Buried in tens of thousands of records, Reveal reporter Dhruv Mehrotra found a disturbing pattern. Records of disciplinary decisions showed that an internal panel of high-ranking officers kept some troubled officers on the force – even after department investigators substantiated allegations of criminal misconduct and recommended they be fired. Aurora, Colorado: ‘Excited Delirium’ and Ketamine in Police Confrontations  When Elijah McClain was stopped by police in Aurora, Colorado, in 2019, he was injected with a powerful sedative, ketamine, and died after suffering cardiac arrest. His death sparked widespread protests. KUNC reporters Michael de Yoanna and Rae Solomon covered McClain’s case, and it made them wonder how often paramedics and law enforcement use ketamine and why. What they found led to real change. St. Louis: The History of Prisoner Disenfranchisement Laws in Missouri Prisoner disenfranchisement laws have been on the books since the founding of our nation and disproportionately affect voters of color.  Reveal Investigative Fellow and St. Louis Public Radio journalist Andrea Henderson reports from Missouri, where about 63,000 formerly incarcerated people could not vote in the last presidential election. She speaks to a community activist who credits getting his right to vote restored as the start of putting him on his current path. Support Reveal’s journalism at Revealnews.org/donatenow  Subscribe to our weekly newsletter to get the scoop on new episodes at Revealnews.org/newsletter Connect with us on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram
19/02/2250m 11s

A Strike at the Heart of Roe

To see what the future of abortion could be in the United States, look to Texas. Across the country, conservative foes of abortion rights have pushed “heartbeat bills” that would ban abortion after about six weeks of pregnancy, when an embryo's cardiac activity can be detected. Journalist Amy Littlefield and a team of law and journalism students from UC Berkeley investigate how this law went from being dismissed as a fringe idea, even by traditional right-to-life groups, to getting enforced in Texas.  We hear the backstory of right-wing activists who have been pushing toward this moment for more than a decade by embracing an approach that uses science over religion to justify abortion restrictions. But the science is often skewed and misleading. To rally support for a ban on abortion, activist Janet Porter filled press conferences with red heart balloons and sent lawmakers teddy bears that play the sound of heartbeats. Mark Lee Dickson drove across Texas in his Ford pickup getting small towns to pass ordinances that create “Sanctuary Cities for the Unborn.” It was all a precursor for what was to come.  Now, the consequences of restricting abortion are playing out in the crowded waiting room of an abortion clinic in Wichita, Kansas, where staff are being overwhelmed by patients from Texas. To get an abortion after about six weeks of pregnancy, Texas patients not only must leave their state, but also navigate the rules of a different state with its own set of laws designed to make abortion hard to access.   Donate to support Reveal’s journalism. Subscribe to our weekly newsletter to get the scoop on new episodes.
12/02/2250m 21s

Emission Control

If we want to quickly combat climate change, we need to deal with “the other” greenhouse gas: methane. Methane leaks are heating up the planet and harming people who live where gas drilling takes place.  Reporter Elizabeth Shogren introduces us to a NASA scientist who’s devoting his career to hunting down big methane leaks. Riley Duren and his team have figured out how to spot methane pollution from airplane flyovers, and in an experiment, his data was used to make polluters plug their leaks. Scientists have answers to the methane problem. The question is whether governments will step up to fund a comprehensive methane monitoring system.  Next, Shogren zooms in on Arlington, Texas, a community that bet heavily on drilling for methane, the main ingredient in natural gas. There are wells all over Arlington, next to homes and shopping centers, even day cares and schools. Arlington’s children have unwittingly been part of an experiment to see what happens when gas wells and people mix. We follow one preschool that is trying to stand up to a large drilling company. Last year, the City Council voted to block new natural gas wells near the school’s playground, then reversed its vote. After protests, gas drilling has been blocked once again – if only for a year.  We end the show with a story from Reveal’s Brett Simpson about a serious source of methane that is often overlooked. Cows and other livestock produce 14% of the world’s methane emissions, in many places belching more of the gas than oil and gas wells. We meet a scientist who’s figured out how to reduce methane emissions from cows by 80%.  This is an update of an episode that originally aired in June 2021.
05/02/2250m 18s

After Ayotzinapa Chapter 3: All Souls

The final chapter of our three-part investigation into the abduction of 43 Mexican students in 2014 looks at how an unexpected turn in Mexico’s politics leads to a new investigation with Omar Gómez Trejo as special prosecutor. With the election of Andrés Manuel López Obrador as president, Mexico’s investigation into the missing students is reopened, and Gómez Trejo gathers evidence to indict members of the previous government for manipulating evidence and forcing confessions. We hear an exclusive interview with a man who was the victim of torture and learn that a former top official in the original investigation is under indictment. Reveal’s Anayansi Diaz-Cortes and our partner Kate Doyle look at what current investigators are learning about the attack on the buses and what happened to the students who were taken away by local police. They visit Cristi Bautista, the mother of one of the missing students. Seven years after her son Benjamin disappeared, she continues to pray that she will one day know the truth about what happened to him. Donate today to support Reveal’s journalism.
29/01/2250m 32s

After Ayotzinapa Chapter 2: The Cover-Up

The second chapter of our three-part investigation into the abduction of 43 students from the Ayotzinapa Rural Teachers’ College in 2014 digs into the government cover-up of the crime. Weeks after the disappearance, the Mexican government released its official story: Corrupt police had taken the students and handed them to members of a local gang. The gang had killed the students, then incinerated their bodies at a garbage dump. But parents of the students had their doubts. International experts begin to dismantle the government’s explanation of what happened to the young men. One question hanging over the families is why their sons were taken. Thousands of miles away from where the attack took place, a U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration agent thinks he knows why the students were targeted. The disappearance of the 43 students is part of a larger pattern of violence in Mexico, connected to the U.S. war on drugs. By the time the Ayotzinapa students were ambushed and taken, some 30,000 people had gone missing in Mexico, collateral damage in the war on drugs. Almost no one was prosecuted—instead, Mexican institutions were becoming a part of the corrupt narco system. Donate today to support Reveal’s journalism.
22/01/2250m 28s

After Ayotzinapa Chapter 1: The Missing 43

It has been over seven years since 43 students from the Ayotzinapa Rural Teachers’ College in Guerrero, Mexico, were taken by armed men in the middle of the night. They were never seen again. Their disappearance sparked mass protests, as the 43 became symbols of Mexico’s unchecked human rights abuses. In recent decades, tens of thousands of people have gone missing in Mexico, and almost no one has been held accountable. The culture of impunity is so ingrained that families often don’t go to police for help, believing they’re either corrupt or too afraid to investigate. In a three-part investigation of the Ayotzinapa case, Reveal’s Anayansi Diaz-Cortes and Kate Doyle from the National Security Archive take us inside the investigation into the attack on the students. They have help from Omar Gómez Trejo – the man the Mexican president tapped to prosecute the crime. For more than a year, he kept audio diaries and had regular conversations with Diaz-Cortes and Doyle, giving them insight into a massive coverup by the previous Mexican administration and efforts by current investigators to piece together the details of the attack and bring to justice those responsible.
15/01/2250m 33s

Take No Prisoners

In December 1944, Frank Hartzell was a young soldier pressed into fierce fighting during the Battle of the Bulge. He was there battling Nazi soldiers for control of the Belgian town of Chenogne, and he was there afterward when dozens of unarmed German prisoners of war were gunned down in a field.  Reporter Chris Harland-Dunaway travels to Belgium to tour Chenogne with Belgian historian Roger Marquet. Then he sits down with Bill Johnsen, a military historian and former dean of the Army War College in Carlisle, Pennsylvania, to ask why the Patton Papers don’t accurately reflect Gen. George S. Patton’s diary entries about Chenogne.  The massacre at Chenogne happened soon after the Malmedy massacre, during which Nazi troops killed unarmed American POWs. The German soldiers responsible were tried at Dachau, but the American soldiers who committed the massacre at Chenogne were never held accountable. Harland-Dunaway interviews Ben Ferencz, the last surviving lawyer from the Nuremberg Trials, about why the Americans escaped justice. And finally, Harland-Dunaway returns to Hartzell to explain what he’s learned and to press Hartzell for a full accounting of his role that day in Chenogne.  This episode was originally broadcast July 28, 2018.  Don’t miss out on the next big story. Get the Weekly Reveal newsletter today.
08/01/2251m 1s

Viral Lies

From anti-vaxxers to QAnon, we look at how misinformation spreads online – and the lives it disrupts.  Reporter Stan Alcorn digs into the origins of “Stop the Steal.” In 2016, it was the name of a right-wing activist group that spread the idea that the United States’ democratic institutions were rigged against Donald Trump. In 2020, it re-emerged as a hashtag attached to baseless Republican claims of voter fraud, gained huge audiences on social media and became a rallying cry among the violent mob that stormed the U.S. Capitol building on Jan. 6, 2021.  Next, reporter and guest host Ike Sriskandarajah looks into one reason people aren’t getting the COVID-19 vaccine: conspiracy theories. The World Health Organization calls it “an infodemic,” where dangerous medical misinformation sows chaos and mistrust. So how do conspiracy theories spread? Sriskandarajah unravels the history of the lie that there is a tiny microchip in each vial of the COVID-19 vaccine.  We close the show with a conversation between a mother and son who are divided over conspiracy theories. Lucy Concepcion is one of roughly 75 million Americans who believe the results of the 2020 presidential election were illegitimate. She also believes in QAnon. Her son, BuzzFeed reporter Albert Samaha, believes in facts. Samaha describes what it’s like when someone you love believes in an elaborate series of lies, and we listen in as he and his mom discuss their complicated and loving relationship.   This episode was originally broadcast June 5, 2021. 
01/01/2250m 48s

When Lighting the Voids

Donate now to support Reveal’s journalism. ••• An audio drama inspired by Reveal’s 2017 investigation into a deadly explosion at a Mississippi shipyard, produced by our partners at documentary theater company StoryWorks. This deconstructed mystery is based on real accounts, real events and real people. This episode was originally broadcast in December 2019.
25/12/2151m 0s

Handcuffed and Unhoused

Donate now to support Reveal’s nonprofit journalism.  In Portland, Oregon, unhoused people make up at most 2% of the population, but they account for nearly half of all arrests. Cities have long turned to police as the mechanism for making homelessness disappear. But arrests don’t solve a housing crisis.  Reveal looked at six major cities up and down the West Coast and found that people living on the streets are consistently more likely to be arrested than their neighbors who live in houses. At the same time, places such as Portland, San Francisco and Los Angeles are now grappling with a major court decision. In 2019, the Supreme Court let a ruling stand that says it's cruel and unusual punishment to arrest people who are sleeping or camping in public places if there is no shelter for them to stay. In Portland, the city is trying to build more shelters, but there is pushback from residents who don’t want a shelter in their neighborhood. People are growing frustrated, and they want the problem to go away. Reporter Melissa Lewis tells the story of these intersecting parts after spending months talking to unhoused people who go to weekly dinners at a neighborhood park.   Lewis follows one man’s journey through the criminal justice system as he tries to disentangle himself from arrest warrants that keep accumulating after he misses court dates and fails to check in with his probation officer. We also hear from locals who are trying to build trust and connection with their houseless neighbors and others who are tired of seeing tents and call the police for help. We also hear what it takes to move someone off the street, one person at a time.  
18/12/2151m 6s

Fancy Galleries, Fake Art

Donate now to support Reveal’s journalism. ••• In the mid-’90s, two high-end New York art galleries began selling one fake painting after another – works in the style of Jackson Pollock, Andy Warhol, Mark Rothko and others. It was the largest art fraud in modern U.S. history, totaling more than $80 million. Our first story looks at how it happened and why almost no one ever was punished by authorities. Our second story revisits an investigation into a painting looted by the Nazis during World War II. More than half a century later, a journalist helped track it down through the Panama Papers. This episode originally aired January 25, 2020.
11/12/2151m 10s

Mississippi Goddam Chapter 7: Reasonable Doubt

Donate now to support Reveal’s journalism. ••• The final episode of Mississippi Goddam shares new revelations that cast doubt on the official story that Billey Joe Johnson accidentally killed himself. This week marks the 13th anniversary of Johnson’s death. His family is still seeking justice. Our reporting brought up questions that the original investigation never looked into. Host Al Letson and reporter Jonathan Jones go back to Mississippi to interview the key people in the investigation, including Johnson’s ex-girlfriend – the first recorded interview she’s ever done with a media outlet. The team also shares its findings with lead investigator Joel Wallace and the medical examiner who looked into the case. Finally, after three years of reporting, we share what we’ve learned with Johnson’s family and talk to them about the inadequacy of the investigation and reasons to reopen the case.
04/12/2154m 2s

Mississippi Goddam Chapter 6: Mississippi Justice

Donate now to support Reveal’s journalism. ••• Black communities around Mississippi have long raised concerns about the suspicious deaths of young Black men, especially when law enforcement is involved. Curley Clark, vice president of the Mississippi NAACP, calls Billey Joe Johnson Jr.’s case an example of “Mississippi justice.” “It means that they still feel like the South should have won the Civil War,” Clark said. “And also the laws for the state of Mississippi are slanted in that direction.” Before Johnson died during a traffic stop with a White sheriff’s deputy, friends say police had pulled him over dozens of times. And some members of the community raised concerns that police had been racially profiling Black people. Reveal investigates Johnson’s interactions with law enforcement and one officer in particular.
27/11/2150m 24s

Amazon Leaks

Donate now to support Reveal’s journalism. ••• Amazon gathers a lot of information about its customers, from what they read and watch to what they search for and buy. And the company says customers trust it to keep their data safe. But internal memos and people who have worked inside Amazon paint a different picture. Reveal found Amazon’s intense focus on growth left the company vulnerable to serious security risks. Amazon couldn’t track where all of its data was, according to a former executive. Customer service employees had the ability to look up the shopping history of celebrities, and some shady companies went through a back door to take the personal information of millions of Amazon shoppers. When Amazon found out, it kept it a secret from its customers. Customer data wasn’t the only thing at risk. As a result of the company’s security struggles, corruption spread and independent sellers on Amazon’s marketplace have suffered attacks. Reveal explores the cutthroat world of Amazon sellers.
20/11/2151m 25s

Mississippi Goddam Chapter 5: Star Crossed

Donate now to support Reveal’s journalism. ••• Billey Joe Johnson Jr. and Hannah Hollinghead met in their freshman year of high school. Hollinghead says Johnson was her first love, and in many ways, it was a typical teen romance. Friends say they would argue, break up, then get back together again. Some people were far from accepting of their interracial relationship. On Dec. 8, 2008, they were both dating other people. According to Hollinghead and her mother, Johnson made an unexpected stop at her house, moments before he died of a gunshot wound during a traffic stop on the edge of town. But it appears that investigators failed to corroborate statements or interview Johnson’s friends and family to get a better idea of what was going on in his life on the day he died. Reveal exposes deep flaws in the investigation and interviews the people closest to Johnson, who were never questioned during the initial investigation.
13/11/2150m 24s

Mississippi Goddam Chapter 4: The Investigator

Donate now to support Reveal’s journalism. ••• Special Agent Joel Wallace of the Mississippi Bureau of Investigation was called in to investigate the death of Billey Joe Johnson. He worked alongside two investigators from the George County district attorney’s office. Wallace said that arrangement didn’t happen very often. And he now questions why they were assigned. “If you've got me investigating the case, then I’m an independent investigator,” he said. “But why would I need the district attorney investigator to oversee me investigating a case?” The Johnsons were initially relieved, because Wallace had experience investigating suspicious deaths. As a Black detective, he had dealt with racist backlash to his work. Reveal host Al Letson and reporter Jonathan Jones visit Wallace, now retired, to talk about what happened with the investigation. When Wallace finds out what Reveal has uncovered, he begins to wonder whether the case should be reopened.
06/11/2150m 44s

Mississippi Goddam Chapter 3: The Autopsy

Donate now to support Reveal’s journalism. ••• After Billey Joe Johnson Jr. died in 2008, the state of Mississippi outsourced his autopsy. Al Letson and Jonathan Jones travel to Nashville, Tennessee, to interview the doctor who conducted it. Her findings helped lead the grand jury to determine Johnson’s death was an accidental shooting. However, Letson and Jones share another report that raises doubts about her original conclusions.
30/10/2150m 41s

Mississippi Goddam Chapter 2: The Aftermath

Donate now to support Reveal’s journalism. ••• On the morning of Billey Joe Johnson’s death, crime scene tape separates the Johnsons from their son’s body. Their shaky faith in the criminal justice system begins to buckle. As Billey Joe Johnson’s family tries to get answers about his death, they get increasingly frustrated with the investigation. They feel that law enforcement, from the lead investigator to the district attorney, are keeping them out of the loop. While a majority White grand jury rules that Johnson’s’s death was accidental, members of the family believe the possibility of foul play was never properly investigated.
23/10/2150m 35s

Mississippi Goddam Chapter 1: The Promise

Billey Joe Johnson Jr. was a high school football star headed for the big time. Then, early one morning in 2008, the Black teenager died during a traffic stop with a White deputy. His family’s been searching for answers ever since. Ten years ago, Reveal host Al Letson traveled to Lucedale, Mississippi, to report on the Deepwater Horizon oil spill. While there, locals told him there was another story he should be looking into: Johnson’s suspicious death. During a traffic stop with a White deputy, police say Johnson died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound. But for Johnson’s family, that explanation never made sense. In the first episode of this seven-part series, Letson returns to Mississippi with reporter Jonathan Jones to explore what happened to Johnson – and what justice means in a place haunted by its history.
16/10/2150m 36s

When Abusers Keep Their Guns

Reveal’s Jennifer Gollan leads an investigation that exposes the consequences of passing gun laws with no teeth. For the first time, Reveal tallies the number of intimate partners, children and bystanders whose lives are shattered by abusers who fail to give up their firearms. Our analysis of 21 states finds that from 2017 through 2020, at least 110 intimate partners, children and bystanders were killed by suspects using guns they weren’t allowed to have under federal law and, in some cases, state law as well. This is likely a massive undercount because the federal government does not track the number of people killed by intimate partners who are prohibited from possessing guns.  We meet Chad Absher, who even as a young man could not control his rage. He was convicted of shooting at an ex-girlfriend's house, which meant he could never have a gun again. Absher’s story with guns should have ended there, but it didn’t.  Gollan picks up his story years later when Absher starts dating another young woman, Ashlee Rucker. It isn’t long before he becomes controlling and abusive, and Rucker wants out of the relationship. But Absher won’t let go and, once again, threatens violence. Despite the law, he has a firearm.  In the final segment, Gollan tracks the law enforcement failures that make it possible for felons such as Absher to possess guns. From the local sheriff to the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives and a member of Congress, Gollan discovers that laws that have been on the books for decades have very few enforcement mechanisms. She also speaks with a prosecutor in King County, Washington, which is trying to make the laws work as they were originally intended.
09/10/2151m 16s

Preview Mississippi Goddam: The Ballad of Billey Joe

Sometimes one story can tell you everything about race and justice in America. Reveal’s new series, “Mississippi Goddam: the Ballad of Billey Joe” is that story. With a title inspired by Nina Simone’s civil rights anthem, Reveal weaves the history of the criminal justice system with the case of a Black high school football star who died during a traffic stop with a white deputy. Hear this exclusive preview of Reveal's new seven-part series, dropping weekly starting October 16, 2021.
07/10/214m 24s

Preview Mississippi Goddam: The Ballad of Billey Joe

Sometimes one story can tell you everything about race and justice in America. Reveal’s new series, “Mississippi Goddam: the Ballad of Billey Joe” is that story. With a title inspired by Nina Simone’s civil rights anthem, Reveal weaves the history of the criminal justice system with the case of a Black high school football star who died during a traffic stop with a white deputy. Hear this exclusive preview of Reveal's new seven-part series, dropping weekly starting October 16, 2021.
07/10/214m 24s

Weapons with minds of their own

The future of warfare is being shaped by computer algorithms that are assuming ever greater control over battlefield technology. Will this give machines the power to decide who to kill?     The United States is in a race to harness gargantuan leaps in artificial intelligence to develop new weapons systems for a new kind of warfare. Pentagon leaders call it “algorithmic warfare.” But the push to integrate AI into battlefield technology raises a big question: How far should we go in handing control of lethal weapons to machines? We team up with The Center for Public Integrity and national security reporter Zachary Fryer-Biggs to examine how AI is transforming warfare and our own moral code.  In our first story, Fryer-Biggs and Reveal’s Michael Montgomery head to the U.S. Military Academy at West Point. Sophomore cadets are exploring the ethics of autonomous weapons through a lab simulation that uses miniature tanks programmed to destroy their targets. Next, Fryer-Biggs and Montgomery talk to a top general leading the Pentagon’s AI initiative. They also explore the legendary hackers conference known as DEF CON and hear from technologists campaigning for a global ban on autonomous weapons. Machines are getting smarter, faster and better at figuring out who to kill in battle. But should we let them?
02/10/2150m 26s

A Racial Reckoning at Doctors Without Borders

For decades, Doctors Without Borders has been admired for bringing desperately needed medical care to crises around the globe and pioneering modern-day humanitarian aid. It’s an organization with radical roots, promising to do whatever it takes to deliver life-saving care to people in need. But now, it’s struggling to address institutional racism. The organization, also known by its French acronym MSF, has about 63,000 people working in 88 countries. While foreign doctors parachuting into crisis zones get most of the attention, 90 percent of the work is being done by local health workers.  In the summer of 2020, more than 1,000 current and former staffers wrote a letter calling out institutional racism at MSF. They say that MSF operates a two-tiered tiered system that favors foreign doctors, or expat doctors, over local health workers.  On the eve of MSF’s 50th anniversary, reporters Mara Kardas-Nelson, Ngozi Cole and Sean Campbell talked to about 100 current and former MSF workers to investigate how deep these issues run. We meet Dr. Indira Govender, a South African doctor who in 2011 accepted what she thought was her dream job with MSF in South Africa, only to get a front-row seat to the organization’s institutional racism. Even though she’s officially the second-in-command of her project, she says it feels like a select group of European expats and White South Africans are running the show.   Then, Kardas-Nelson and Cole take us inside the inequities MSF staffers experienced during the 2014 Ebola outbreak in Sierra Leone. While expat doctors had their meals together and socialized, local health workers were left out. But inequities ran deeper. If expat doctors got sick, they would be evacuated out of the country, while local workers didn’t get that care – they were treated at the same center where they worked. Kardas-Nelson and Cole reported the story from Sierra Leone in the Spring of 2021 and spoke to former National MSF clinicians. Finally, we talk about what can change in humanitarian aid. Govender is part of a group of current and former MSF workers called Decolonize MSF. While she and others are pushing the organization to commit to changes that address racial inequities, some are skeptical about what will actually change.  This week’s episode was created in partnership with the global news site Insider.
25/09/2150m 47s

The Bitter Work Behind Sugar

Sugar is a big part of Americans’ daily diet. But who harvests some of that sweet cane?   Reporters Sandy Tolan and Euclides Cordero Nuel visit Haitian migrants in the Dominican Republic who do the backbreaking work of cutting sugarcane for little pay. They live in work camps, or “bateyes,” that are part of a vast sugar plantation owned by the Central Romana Corp. The company is the Dominican Republic’s largest private employer and has strong links to two powerful Florida businessmen, Alfonso and Pepe Fanjul. The reporters speak to workers who have no access to government pensions, so they’re forced to work in the fields into their 80s for as little as $3 a day. Through its sugar exports to the U.S. and other businesses, Central Romana generates an estimated $1.5 billion a year – but some workers are so poor they can’t afford doctors’ visits.  In the 1990s, Tolan reported on human trafficking and child labor in the Dominican sugar industry. Conditions improved following pressure on the government from local activists, human rights groups and the U.S. Labor Department. But major problems persist. And cane cutters say they must go into deep debt just to survive, leaving them trapped. 
18/09/2151m 14s

Forever Wars

Since 9/11, the power of the U.S. military has been felt around the world in the name of rooting out terrorism. But at what cost? From Fallujah in Iraq to tiny villages in Afghanistan and Yemen, Reveal reporter Anjali Kamat talks to three journalists about how America’s so-called war on terror has shaped an entire generation.  Anand Gopal is a foreign journalist who traveled across the Afghan countryside, meeting with Taliban commanders and trying to understand how people understood the war. He says when U.S. President George W. Bush divided the world into those who are “with us” and those who are “with the terrorists,” it was an oversimplification and had tragic consequences for Afghanistan. Within months of the invasion, the Taliban wanted to surrender, but 9/11 was fresh and the U.S. said no. Instead, the military allied with anti-Taliban warlords and incentivized them to hunt down “terrorists.” Gopal says thousands of innocent people were arrested, tortured and killed – which only galvanized the Taliban and drew more recruits to their ranks.  To many Americans, Fallujah is remembered as the site of two brutal battles where many Americans died during the invasion of Iraq. But to journalist Feurat Alani, it’s also his parents’ hometown. While American TVs filled with images of the city as a jihadist stronghold, Alani knew it was a bustling city full of regular people whose lives would be forever changed by the invasion. Alani recounts precious memories of Fallujah, like swimming in the Euphrates River with his cousins and seeing football matches with his uncles. But after the invasion, his family fell apart and the city was reduced to rubble. The football stadium turned into a cemetery, and joyful moments there became somber walks through gravestones.    Finally, journalist and filmmaker Safa Al Ahmad talks about what America’s post-9/11 wars have done to Yemen, where drone strikes became part of everyday life for civilians. Al Ahmad recounts what it felt like to ride in a pickup truck, wondering if she would be targeted as the sound of a drone buzzed overhead. She saw on the ground how the tactics of the war on terror in Yemen led to resentment and hostility among people whose lives were upended. While the 9/11 attacks happened 20 years ago, Al Ahmad says that for people in other places, bombings, airstrikes and drone attacks have never stopped. “They're still living the nightmare that people in New York lived for the day,” she says.
11/09/2151m 41s

Fighting Fire with Fire

Year after year, wildfires have swept through Northern California’s wine and dairy country, threatening the region’s famed agricultural businesses. . Evacuation orders have become a way of life in places like Sonoma County, and so too have exemptions to those orders. Officials in the county created a special program allowing agricultural employers to bring farmworkers into areas that are under evacuation and keep them working, even as wildfires rage. It’s generally known as the ag pass program. Reporter Teresa Cotsirilos investigates whether the policy puts low-wage farmworkers at risk from smoke and flames. This story is a partnership with the nonprofit newsroom the Food & Environment Reporting Network and the podcast and radio show World Affairs. Then KQED’s Danielle Venton introduces us to Bill Tripp, a member of the Karuk Tribe. Tripp grew up along the Klamath River, where his great-grandmother taught him how controlled burns could make the land more productive and protect villages from dangerous fires. But in the 1800s, authorities outlawed traditional burning practices. Today, the impact of that policy is clear: The land is overgrown, and there has been a major fire in the region every year for the past decade, including one that destroyed half the homes in the Karuk’s largest town, Happy Camp, and killed two people. Tripp has spent 30 years trying to restore “good fire” to the region but still faces resistance from the U.S. Forest Service and others. Twelve years ago, the Forest Service officially changed its policy to expand the use of prescribed burns, one of the most effective tools to mitigate massive, deadly wildfires. But Reveal’s Elizabeth Shogren reports that even though the agency committed to doing controlled burns, it hasn’t actually increased how much fire it’s using to fight fire.The Forest Service also has been slow to embrace another kind of good fire that experts say the West desperately needs: managed wildfires, in which fires are allowed to burn in a controlled manner to reduce overgrowth. To protect the future of the land and people – especially with climate change making forests drier and hotter – the Forest Service needs to embrace the idea of good fire. 
04/09/2150m 37s

The Jail Tapes in the Dumpster

Sixteen-year-old Myon Burrell was sent to prison for life after a stray bullet killed an 11-year-old girl in Minneapolis in 2002. Amy Klobuchar, who was Minneapolis’ top prosecutor, brought first-degree murder charges as part of a national crackdown on gang violence – a crackdown that engulfed young men of color.   Burrell maintained his innocence for 18 years in prison. Associated Press reporter Robin McDowell spent a year looking into his case and found that multiple people had lied about Burrell’s involvement in the shooting and that police didn’t talk to his alibi witnesses. In December 2020, the state commuted Burrell’s sentence, allowing him to walk free.  This end to a prison sentence is rare: Burrell’s case was the first time in at least 28 years that Minnesota commuted a sentence for a violent crime case. But the factors that put Burrell in prison are not rare at all. According to The Sentencing Project, over 10,000 people are serving life sentences in the U.S. for crimes committed when they were juveniles. Half of them are Black. Burrell’s long shot reveals just how difficult it is to right a wrong in our criminal justice system. How many others like Burrell are there?  This episode was originally aired on April 17, 2021.
28/08/2150m 14s

For 20 years, I saw no peace

We open with a story from Aysha, a Kabul resident in her mid-twenties, who we’ve been checking in with over the past few months. Aysha was born in Pakistan. Her parents fled Afghanistan after the Taliban rose to power in the mid 90’s. Then, after the 2001 invasion by the U.S. and other allies, her family returned to Afghanistan. They saw the war as an opportunity to reclaim their country. Now though, 20 years later, Aysha feels betrayed. She likens it to a doctor leaving in the middle of surgery: “I opened your heart. I fixed your heart bleeding. Now you stitch back yourself.” Our story follows Aysha throughout the final U.S. withdrawal and the Taliban’s return to power.  Then, Al talks with Fariba Nawa, an Afghan journalist based in Turkey, who is fielding calls from desperate people who are trying to flee Afghanistan. She talks about the uncertain future women face under the Taliban and the moral responsibility the U.S. has to accept refugees from the war we’ve waged for 20 years.   Since the U.S. first invaded Afghanistan, more than 800,000 Americans served in the war. James LaPorta is a former Marine who first arrived in Afghanistan in 2009. He describes the fighting, fear, and uncertainty he faced during two tours of duty and how after coming home, he has “the burden of memory.” He notes war doesn’t end with the signing of a treaty or the last day of combat, as everyone affected by the violence is still dealing with its aftermath.   Reveal producer Najib Aminy watched the fall of Kabul on TV, sitting next to his parents, who left Afghanistan for New York in the 1970s. Najib talks with one of Afghanistan’s most treasured poets, Abdul Bari Jahani, who wrote the country’s national anthem. Jahani says the anthem carries a message of unity and justice for the  Afghan people.  
21/08/2151m 11s

Minor violations

Shelter staff have called 911 on migrant kids for minor offenses. In some cases, police have arrested, jailed and even tased those kids.  When unaccompanied children arrive alone at the U.S. border and seek asylum, they get sent to cells, then to government-funded shelters, where they wait to be released to family members or sponsors. Kids can spend months, sometimes years, at these shelters, and they can be secretive places. It’s hard for reporters and even government officials to get access to the shelters. But Reveal reporters Aura Bogado and Laura C. Morel found that one group sometimes entering shelters is police.  Reveal had to sue the federal government to get the records on migrant children in shelters run by the Office of Refugee Resettlement. The documents show that since 2014, at least 84 children held in shelters have been turned over to law enforcement.  First, Bogado and Morel share the story of a 16-year-old asylum seeker from Honduras who was tased by a Texas sheriff’s deputy. The incident was caught on the deputy’s body camera, which also captured the deputy’s partner as he insulted the teenager, calling him “El Stupido.” Then, we hear another disturbing story of a 17-year-old boy who briefly grabbed another teenager – and wound up being arrested for assault, held in jail and deported.  These are cases of overpolicing in a place where there are no bystanders to record, a place that is supposed to be taking care of vulnerable children. With a new administration, will anything change?
14/08/2149m 47s

Juvenile (In)justice

Larissa Salazar grew up in Wyoming, and when she was in eighth grade, she got in a fight on a school bus. That snowballed into her spending 16 months in a state juvenile facility.  Reporter Tennessee Watson follows Larissa’s experience in the juvenile justice system in Wyoming, which locks up kids at one of the highest rates in the nation. Larissa’s mom says that instead of helping her daughter, the system made things worse. Then Watson explores why Wyoming is clinging to its “get tough” approach to juvenile justice, even as many other states are moving away from punishing kids – especially for low-level or nonviolent offenses. Research shows that locking kids up doesn’t change their behavior and often creates a new set of problems.  We end with Watson visiting South Dakota, a state that in the past few years has changed how it deals with kids who get in trouble. South Dakota’s juvenile justice system recognizes that kids who are incarcerated are more likely to get in trouble again, whereas kids who are held accountable and receive support close to home are not. This show originally aired March 20, 2021.
07/08/2150m 46s

The teen reporter, the evictions and the church

Three stories from local reporters who uncovered injustice and inequality in their hometowns, from an eviction crisis in Ohio to a Hitler-quoting state police training in Kentucky.  Louisville high schooler Satchel Walton knew something was off about the PowerPoint presentation used by the Kentucky State Police to train new recruits. The slides urged officers to be “ruthless killers” and quoted both Robert E. Lee and Adolf Hitler. Walton reached out to Reveal to ask about our past reporting on police officers in White supremacist Facebook groups, then co-wrote a story with his brother about the training presentation for his high school newspaper, the Manual RedEye. After Walton broke the story, the state police commissioner resigned. Guest host Ike Sriskandarajah talks with Walton about how he reported the story and the change it’s brought to the state.  Then, Reveal reporting fellow Noor Hindi documents an overlooked part of the housing crisis. In the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, the federal government issued a ban on evictions. But as Hindi reports, in Akron, Ohio, evictions kept happening despite the ban. She watched 132 housing hearings this past fall – and found that many renters at those hearings were evicted. Hindi follows the story of mother and nursing-home worker Amber Moreland, who lost her rental home during the pandemic, despite being an essential worker who tried to apply for federal aid.  Next, CapRadio reporter Sarah Mizes-Tan looks into the racial disparities around the Paycheck Protection Program, or PPP. Earlier this year, Reveal found that in major cities across the country, the rate of PPP lending was higher in majority-White neighborhoods than in neighborhoods of color. We shared our data with local reporters around the country, and Mizes-Tan found something else: In Sacramento, California, the disparity was even more pronounced for places of worship. There, three times as much money went to places of worship in White neighborhoods compared with those in neighborhoods where people of color are the majority.  Reporters featured on this episode worked with Reveal’s local reporting networks. If you’re a journalist, learn more about Reveal’s Reporting Networks.
31/07/2150m 20s

Into the COVID ICU

Dr. Paloma Marin-Nevarez graduated from medical school during the pandemic. We follow the rookie doctor for her first months working at a hospital in Fresno, California, as she grapples with isolation, anti-mask rallies and an overwhelming number of deaths.  Don’t miss out on the next big story. Get the Weekly Reveal newsletter today.
24/07/2150m 43s

Baseball Strikes Out

In the early 2000s, rampant steroid use across Major League Baseball became the biggest scandal in the sport’s history. But fans didn’t want to hear the difficult truth about their heroes – and the league didn’t want to intervene and clean up a mess it helped make.  We look back at how the scandal unraveled with our colleagues from the podcast Crushed from Religion of Sports and PRX. Their show revisits the steroid era to untangle its truth from the many myths, examine the legacy of baseball’s so-called steroid era and explore what it tells us about sports culture in America. We start during the 1998 MLB season, when the home run race was on. Superstar sluggers Mark McGwire and Sammy Sosa battled to set a new single-season record, and McGwire, the St. Louis Cardinals first baseman, was portrayed as the hero baseball needed: part humble, wholesome, working man and part action hero, with his brawny build and enormous biceps. So when a reporter spotted a suspicious bottle of pills in his locker in the middle of the season, most fans plugged their ears and refused to acknowledge that baseball might be hooked on steroids. Joan Niesen, a sportswriter and host of the podcast Crushed, takes us on a deep dive into an era that dethroned a generation of superstars, left fans disillusioned and turned baseball’s record book on its head. The story takes us from ballparks and clubhouses to the halls of Congress to explain how baseball was finally forced to reckon with its drug problem.
17/07/2150m 12s

Timber Wars

Thirty years ago, activists and scientists turned a fight over the spotted owl and ancient trees into one of the biggest environmental conflicts of the century. The process transformed the way we see – and fight over – the natural world. Don’t miss out on the next big story. Get the Weekly Reveal newsletter today.
10/07/2150m 16s

The Ticket Trap

Sports, theater and concert fans are excited venues are opening up again. So are clever ticket sellers who’ve figured out ways to cash in on unsuspecting customers shopping online.  Reveal’s Byard Duncan starts with an examination of the tricks and traps that await fans who try to buy tickets online, at the hands of some of the largest companies in what’s known as the secondary ticket market.  Then Reveal’s Ike Sriskandarajah visits his favorite theater in Oakland, California, which went dark in March because of the pandemic. Like venues across the country, the Paramount Theatre plans to reopen its doors later this year, and we find out what it will look like.   We end with an essay from reporter Yoohyun Jung, who’s been a fan of K-pop music for most of her life. But when she went from being a fan to working in the business, she saw some disturbing things that gave her a new perspective on this international phenomenon.  This is an update of an episode that originally aired February 6, 2021.
03/07/2150m 8s

Weapons with minds of their own

The future of warfare is being shaped by computer algorithms that are assuming ever greater control over battlefield technology.  Will this give machines the power to decide who to kill? The United States is in a race to harness gargantuan leaps in artificial intelligence to develop new weapons systems for a new kind of warfare. Pentagon leaders call it “algorithmic warfare.” But the push to integrate AI into battlefield technology raises a big question: How far should we go in handing control of lethal weapons to machines? We team up with The Center for Public Integrity and national security reporter Zachary Fryer-Biggs to examine how AI is transforming warfare and our own moral code.  In our first story, Fryer-Biggs and Reveal’s Michael Montgomery head to the U.S. Military Academy at West Point. Sophomore cadets are exploring the ethics of autonomous weapons through a lab simulation that uses miniature tanks programmed to destroy their targets. Next, Fryer-Biggs and Montgomery talk to a top general leading the Pentagon’s AI initiative. They also explore the legendary hackers conference known as DEF CON and hear from technologists campaigning for a global ban on autonomous weapons. Machines are getting smarter, faster, and better at figuring out who to kill in battle. But should we let them?
26/06/2150m 10s

Monumental Lies

The murder of George Floyd by a Minneapolis Police officer last year sparked a wave of social justice protests, including ones targeting monuments that celebrate segregationists, slave-owners, conquistadors and Confederate leaders. Since then, about 160 monuments have come down, but roughly 2,000 remain standing.  We teamed up with Type Investigations to visit dozens of Confederate monuments and found that for devoted followers, they inspire a disturbing – and distorted – view of history: Confederate generals as heroes. Slaves who were happy to work for them. That twisted history is also shared with schoolchildren on class trips. And you won’t believe who’s funding these sites to keep them running.  Then, reporter Stan Alcorn follows the story of New Mexico’s great monument controversy. In 1998, the state was set to celebrate its cuarto centenario: the 400th anniversary of the state’s colonization by the Spanish. But a dramatic act of vandalism would turn the making of a monument in Albuquerque into a fight over history the city didn’t expect. This show is an update from a 2020 episode that was based on reporting originally broadcast Dec. 8, 2018.
19/06/2150m 24s

Emission control

If we want to quickly combat climate change, we need to deal with “the other” greenhouse gas: methane. Methane leaks are heating up the planet and harming people who live where gas drilling takes place.  Reporter Elizabeth Shogren introduces us to a NASA scientist who’s devoting his career to hunting down big methane leaks. Riley Duren and his team have figured out how to spot methane pollution from airplane flyovers, and in an experiment, his data was used to make polluters plug their leaks. Scientists have answers to the methane problem. The question is whether governments will step up to fund a comprehensive methane monitoring system.  Next, Shogren zooms in on Arlington, Texas, a community that bet heavily on drilling for methane, the main ingredient in natural gas. There are wells all over Arlington, next to homes and shopping centers, even day cares and schools. Arlington’s children have unwittingly been part of an experiment to see what happens when gas wells and people mix. We end the show with a story from Reveal’s Brett Simpson about a serious source of methane that is often overlooked. Cows and other livestock produce 14% of the world’s methane emissions, in many places belching more of the gas than oil and gas wells. We meet a scientist who’s figured out how to reduce methane emissions from cows by 80%.
12/06/2150m 35s

Viral Lies

From anti-vaxxers to QAnon, we look at how misinformation spreads online – and the lives it disrupts.  There are lots of reasons people give for not getting a COVID-19 vaccine – lack of access, personal choice or general distrust. Then there are the conspiracy theories, which have spiked during the pandemic. The World Health Organization calls it “an infodemic,” where dangerous medical misinformation sows chaos and mistrust. So how do conspiracy theories spread? Reporter and episode host Ike Sriskandarajah unravels the history of the lie that there is a tiny microchip in each vial of the COVID-19 vaccine.  Then reporter Stan Alcorn digs into the origins of “Stop the Steal.” In 2016, it was the name of a right-wing activist group that spread the idea that the United States’ democratic institutions were rigged against Donald Trump. In 2020, it re-emerged as a hashtag attached to baseless Republican claims of voter fraud, gained huge audiences on social media and became a rallying cry among the violent mob that stormed the U.S. Capitol building Jan. 6.  We close the show with a conversation between a mother and son who are divided over conspiracy theories. Lucy Concepcion is one of roughly 75 million Americans who believe the results of the presidential election were illegitimate. She also believes in QAnon. Her son, BuzzFeed reporter Albert Samaha, believes in facts. Samaha describes what it’s like when someone you love believes in an elaborate series of lies, and we listen in as he and his mom discuss their complicated and loving relationship. 
05/06/2150m 47s

The Mystery of Mountain Jane Doe

In the summer of 1969, a young woman was found dead off a remote mountain trail in Harlan, Kentucky. She’d been stabbed multiple times. Her identity was a mystery, so locals referred to her as Mountain Jane Doe. Decades later, a woman from the area takes up the cause of identifying the murdered woman, and her quest for answers leads investigators to a hillside grave and a DNA lab, bringing some long-awaited answers.  Mountain Jane Doe is one of more than 13,000 in a national database of unidentified dead. There are no national laws requiring coroners or law enforcement to use the database, and as a result, cases fall through the cracks and family members are left in the dark about their loved ones.  An exhumation leads to a series of unexpected revelations about who Mountain Jane Doe was and why she might have been killed. Her case speaks to the complexity – and importance – of opening cold cases and using DNA science to try to solve them.  But as one mystery is solved, another remains unanswered: Who killed her? This episode originally was broadcast April 1, 2017. We updated this show Jan. 26, 2019.
29/05/2150m 8s

The Pentagon Papers: Secrets, Lies and Leaks

In 1971, a 22-year-old named Robert Rosenthal got a call from his boss at The New York Times. He was told to go to Room 1111 of the Hilton Hotel, bring enough clothes for at least a month and not tell anyone. Rosenthal was part of a team called in to publish the Pentagon Papers, an explosive history of the United States’ political and military actions in Vietnam that shattered the government’s narratives about the war. Former military analyst Daniel Ellsberg leaked the secret papers to the press. In this episode, we hear the experiences of both Ellsberg and Rosenthal.  When Ellsberg leaked the Pentagon Papers in 1971, he was turning his back on a long career close to power, immersed in government secrets. His work as a nuclear war strategist made him fear that a small conflict could erupt into a nuclear holocaust. When the Vietnam War flared, Ellsberg worried his worst fears would be realized. He wonders if leaking the top-secret report he’s read could help stop the war. Soon, he was secretly copying the 7,000-page history that would come to be known as the Pentagon Papers and showing them to anyone he thought could help. President Richard Nixon wakes up to the biggest leak in American history. But his first reaction is a little surprising: The Pentagon Papers might make trouble for the Democrats – this instinct starts a chain reaction that helps bring down his presidency. This episode was originally aired in May 2016.
22/05/2149m 52s

The Bad Place

The graffiti says it all: “This is a bad place.” Why do states send children to facilities run by Sequel, after dozens of cases of abuse? The vacant building that once housed the Riverside Academy in Wichita, Kansas, was covered in haunting graffiti: “Burn this place.” “Youth were abused here … systematically.” “This is a bad place.” The facility, run by the for-profit company Sequel Youth & Family Services, promised to help kids with behavioral problems. But state officials had cited the facility dozens of times for problems including excessive force by staff, poor supervision and neglect.   Riverside was just one residential treatment center run by Sequel. In a yearlong investigation, APM Reports found the company profited by taking in some of the most difficult-to-treat children and providing them with care from low-paid, low-skilled employees. The result has been dozens of cases of physical violence, sexual assault and improper restraints. Despite repeated scandals, many states and counties continue to send kids to Sequel for one central reason: They have little choice. For much of its 20 year history, Sequel was able to avoid public scrutiny. But that changed recently in Oregon, when State Senator Sara Gesler began to investigate the conditions of kids the state placed under the company’s care. What she found led to Oregon demanding change and eventually severing ties with Sequel.  This is an update of an episode that originally aired on 11/21/20.
15/05/2150m 9s

Why Police Reform Fails

Six years after Ferguson, St. Louis hasn’t seen a single substantive police reform. A group of young Black leaders have instead set their sights higher: taking control of city politics. In 2014, then-Ferguson police Officer Darren Wilson shot and killed Michael Brown. His death sparked reports, blue-ribbon commissions and countless police reform efforts. But so many of those reforms fell short of their stated goals. Today, St. Louis leads the nation in police killings per capita.  As the nation continues to grapple with how to save Black lives from police violence, we’re partnering with The Missouri Independent to examine why police reform efforts so often fail. We follow a new generation of leaders who, as a part of the Ferguson movement, are finding new ways to change policing in the St. Louis region. Reporters Trey Bundy and Rebecca Rivas follow local activist Kayla Reed, who went from attending protests to organizing them. After years of frustratingly slow progress toward reform, Reed transformed herself into a political powerbroker who is upending city politics. And there’s no way to talk about police reform without talking about the power of police unions. We look how the St. Louis Police Officers Association, the city’s main union, formed to protect white police officers from accountability after beating a Black man. And we talk with James Buchanan, one of the city’s few Black police officers in the 1960s, who went on to help start the Ethical Society of Police, a union founded by Black officers to fight for racial equity in the department and community. This show is guest hosted by Kameel Stanley, executive producer of Witness Docs, a documentary podcast network from Stitcher and SiriusXM.  Don’t miss out on the next big story. Get the Weekly Reveal newsletter today.
08/05/2150m 23s

Banking on Inequity

Congress spent hundreds of billions of dollars to rescue small businesses hurt by the pandemic. But Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) money disproportionately went to White neighborhoods, leaving communities of color behind. Small businesses are the heart of Los Angeles’ many neighborhoods. Reporter Laura C. Morel talks with business owners around Los Angeles who either received PPP money or faced insurmountable hurdles to get one of the forgivable loans. Morel talks with a Latinx barber in the Florence neighborhood, where just 10% of businesses got PPP loans. In a predominantly Black area of Inglewood, we meet clothing store owner Annie Graham, who couldn’t get a PPP loan last year, even from a lender who hooked up with Magic Johnson to specifically help minority- and women-owned businesses access the government lending program. In Graham’s neighborhood, 32% of businesses got PPP loans. Meanwhile, in the majority-White neighborhood of Playa del Rey, 61% of businesses got PPP loans. The disparity among neighboring communities is striking. We end with an interview with reporter Gabriel Thompson about fast food franchises that received PPP money. One McDonald’s owner in Chicago got half a million dollars, but workers there filed multiple complaints with OSHA because they felt they were not protected from COVID-19. This show is guest hosted by Sarah Gonzalez of Planet Money. Don’t miss out on the next big story. Get the Weekly Reveal newsletter today.
01/05/2150m 59s

The Rise and Fall of Madoff's Ponzi Scheme

After Bernie Madoff’s death, we dig into how he pulled off one of the biggest Ponzi schemes in history. Reporter Steve Fishman explores what lessons the fallen financier’s story holds for today. Madoff duped thousands of investors out of tens of billions of dollars, and his scam rocked Wall Street for years.   Fishman, who spent years interviewing investors, regulators and even Madoff himself from inside federal prison, traces the rise and fall of his scheme. We learn how Madoff pulled it off and why nobody caught on for decades. We also hear from experts who say investors still are vulnerable to financial fraud, especially in the era of bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies. This show was originally broadcast Feb. 3, 2018.
24/04/2149m 32s

The Jail Tapes in the Dumpster

Sixteen-year-old Myon Burrell was sent to prison for life after a stray bullet killed an 11-year-old girl in Minneapolis in 2002. Amy Klobuchar, who was Minneapolis’ top prosecutor, brought first-degree murder charges as part of a national crackdown on gang violence – a crackdown that engulfed young men of color.   Burrell maintained his innocence for 18 years in prison. Associated Press reporter Robin McDowell spent a year looking into his case and found that multiple people had lied about Burrell’s involvement in the shooting and that police didn’t talk to his alibi witnesses. In December 2020, the state commuted Burrell’s sentence, allowing him to walk free.  This end to a prison sentence is rare: Burrell’s case was the first time in at least 28 years that Minnesota commuted a sentence for a violent crime case. But the factors that put Burrell in prison are not rare at all. According to The Sentencing Project, over 10,000 people are serving life sentences in the U.S. for crimes committed when they were juveniles. Half of them are Black. Burrell’s long shot reveals just how difficult it is to right a wrong in our criminal justice system. How many others like Burrell are there?
17/04/2150m 37s

The Robert Mueller of Latin America

Guatemala sends more migrants to the U.S. than anywhere in Central America. What is driving so many people to leave? Crusading prosecutor Iván Velásquez has been called the Robert Mueller of Latin America. He’s known for jailing presidents and paramilitaries. But Velásquez met his match when he went after Jimmy Morales, a television comedian who was elected president of Guatemala. Morales found an ally in then-U.S. President Donald Trump. Like the alleged quid pro quo with Ukraine that prompted Trump’s impeachment, the details can seem confusing – but, ultimately, Velásquez says, both parties got what they wanted: Morales got Trump to pull U.S. support for an international anti-corruption force that was going after his family. And he says Trump secured Guatemala’s support for some of his most controversial policies, both in the Middle East and on immigration. Veteran radio journalist Maria Martin teams up with Reveal’s Anayansi Diaz-Cortes for this week’s show. Martin takes us to Huehuetenango, a province near Guatemala’s border with Mexico that sends more migrants to the U.S. than anywhere in Central America. There, she shows that Trump’s hard-line immigration policies did nothing to slow the movement of people from Guatemala to the southern border of the U.S. This is an update of an episode that originally aired Aug. 29, 2020. Don’t miss out on the next big story. Get the Weekly Reveal newsletter today.
10/04/2151m 32s

Sick on the Inside

For decades, the United States has operated a system of private “shadow prisons” to house noncitizens convicted of federal crimes. Now, President Joe Biden has ordered these contracts to be wound down. We revisit an investigation with Type Investigations and The Nation Magazine into these prisons – and ask what will happen to them now. This show has been updated with new reporting, based on a show that originally aired Feb. 6, 2016. Don’t miss out on the next big story. Get the Weekly Reveal newsletter today.
03/04/2150m 34s

Minor League Pay

From the Frisco RoughRiders to the Dayton Dragons, minor league baseball teams are a classic American tradition. But their players are not covered by some classic American laws: Players can earn less than the equivalent of minimum wage and don’t get paid overtime. We explore how that’s even possible with the podcast The Uncertain Hour from our colleagues at Marketplace. This season, they’re looking at how certain companies – and whole industries – maneuver around basic worker protections. Don’t miss out on the next big story. Get the Weekly Reveal newsletter today.
27/03/2151m 13s

Juvenile (In)justice

Larissa Salazar grew up in Wyoming, and when she was in eighth grade, she got in a fight on a school bus. That snowballed into her spending 16 months in a state juvenile facility.  Reporter Tennessee Watson follows Larissa’s experience in the juvenile justice system in Wyoming, a state that locks up kids at the highest rate in the nation. Larissa’s mom says that instead of helping her daughter, the system made things worse. Don’t miss out on the next big story. Get the Weekly Reveal newsletter today.
20/03/2150m 24s

Protecting Kids from Abuse

For years, the Pentagon mishandled sexual assault cases involving kids living on military bases, until an Associated Press investigation jolted lawmakers into action. Reporter Holly McDede brings us to Berkeley High School in California, where students were fed up with what they saw as a culture of sexual harassment and assault among their peers.  Don’t miss out on the next big story. Get the Weekly Reveal newsletter today.
13/03/2138m 33s

The Unpaid Cost of Elder Care

Residential care homes seem like the perfect place for Mom or Grandpa to live out their golden years, but their home-like facades are hiding rampant wage theft and exploitation of caregivers. Reveal’s Jennifer Gollan takes us into her investigation of the care-home industry. Don’t miss out on the next big story. Get the Weekly Reveal newsletter today.
06/03/2151m 3s

Remember Me This Way

In this special episode of the podcast, we hear the story of one of more than 500,000 Americans who’ve died from COVID-19. David León was a father of six; a small-business owner in Fresno, California; and a leader in the city’s Latino community. His death left a hole in that community and with the family he left behind.    Don’t miss out on the next big story. Get the Weekly Reveal newsletter today.
03/03/2112m 7s

Into the COVID ICU

Dr. Paloma Marin-Nevarez graduated from medical school during the pandemic. We follow the rookie doctor for her first months working at a hospital in Fresno, California, as she grapples with isolation, anti-mask rallies and an overwhelming number of deaths.  Don’t miss out on the next big story. Get the Weekly Reveal newsletter today.
27/02/2150m 58s

An American Murder in Istanbul: Justice for Halla

An American journalist and her mom are found murdered in Istanbul. Police say they caught the killer. Friends and family say the investigation was incomplete. In collaboration with ABC News and freelance reporter Fariba Nawa, we dig into the investigative files against the convicted killer and learn that the U.S. government chose not to get involved in the investigation. This show was originally released on Oct. 10, 2020. Don’t miss out on the next big story. Get the Weekly Reveal newsletter today.
20/02/2151m 18s

Timber Wars

Thirty years ago, activists and scientists turned a fight over the spotted owl and ancient trees into one of the biggest environmental conflicts of the century. The process transformed the way we see – and fight over – the natural world. Don’t miss out on the next big story. Get the Weekly Reveal newsletter today.
13/02/2150m 30s

The Ticket Trap

Sports, theater and concert fans are itching for events to start happening again. So are clever ticket sellers who’ve figured out ways to cash in on unsuspecting customers shopping online. Don’t miss out on the next big story. Get the Weekly Reveal newsletter today.
06/02/2150m 27s

How the Pandemic Changed Us

Racial justice, police accountability, mutual aid, climate activism and warp-speed vaccines – we examine the ways our COVID-19 year changed American society.  Don’t miss out on the next big story. Get the Weekly Reveal newsletter today.
30/01/2150m 0s

A Transfer of Power

Rage, chaos and conspiracies defined Donald Trump’s last days as president. As the nation swears in Joe Biden, we look at the long shadow cast by the White supremacist and anti-immigrant forces that brought Trump to power. Don’t miss out on the next big story. Get the Weekly Reveal newsletter today.
23/01/2149m 27s

The Evolution of All-American Terrorism (rebroadcast)

Long before the attempted coup by his supporters, Trump fanned the flames of white supremacy & domestic terrorism. This week on Reveal, we track the increase in right-wing domestic terrorist attacks since 2016—and ask whether law enforcement has taken these violent threats seriously enough. This is a rebroadcast of a show that originally aired June 27, 2020.  Don’t miss out on the next big story. Get the Weekly Reveal newsletter today.
16/01/2150m 26s

Democracy Under Siege

A mob of Trump supporters stormed the U.S. Capitol, aiming to block the certification of Joe Biden’s election victory. How did we get here? We examine President Donald Trump’s rhetoric over the last four years, as he stoked conspiracy theories, coddled White supremacists and laid the groundwork for inciting violence.  Don’t miss out on the next big story. Get the Weekly Reveal newsletter today.
09/01/2148m 56s

Take No Prisoners (Rebroadcast)

This episode originally was broadcast July 28, 2018.  In December 1944, Frank Hartzell was a young soldier pressed into fierce fighting during the Battle of the Bulge. He was there battling Nazi soldiers for control of the Belgian town of Chenogne, and he was there afterward when dozens of unarmed German prisoners of war were gunned down in a field.  Reporter Chris Harland-Dunaway pieces together what led up to that event, who was responsible and why no Americans were held accountable for this war crime. Don’t miss out on the next big story. Get the Weekly Reveal newsletter today.
02/01/2150m 32s

When Lighting the Voids (Rebroadcast)

This week, we present a special episode of Reveal produced by our partners at StoryWorks, a documentary theater company. “When Lighting The Voids” is an audio drama inspired by Reveal’s investigation into a deadly explosion at a Mississippi shipyard. This deconstructed mystery is based on real accounts, real events and real people. Don’t miss out on the next big story. Get the Weekly Reveal newsletter today.
26/12/2050m 51s

Policing Pregnancy

If the Supreme Court reverses Roe v. Wade, states could set their own rules about abortion.  Some states have already closed clinics, and for those that remain they’ve added obstacles—like collecting personal data about people who get abortions and declaring that fetuses have civil rights from conception. Don’t miss out on the next big story. Get the Weekly Reveal newsletter today.
19/12/2050m 34s

All the President’s Pardons (Update)

President Donald Trump has granted clemency to several controversial people, including former national security adviser Michael Flynn and Trump’s friend and political operative Roger Stone. But what about the people who have applied through the official process and are waiting for answers? We go beyond the headlines and tell the story of a pardons system that’s completely broken down. In 2019, we focused on the case of Charles “Duke” Tanner, a former boxer who was sentenced to life in federal prison after being convicted of drug trafficking. His arrest came during the war on drugs, which started in the 1980s, disproportionately putting tens of thousands of Black men in prison for decades. Tanner applied for clemency twice, his application just one among 13,000 others waiting for a decision at the federal Office of the Pardon Attorney when our show first aired. In this episode, we learn what happened after the president heard about Tanner’s case. Next, we look at why the mechanism for granting pardons has stopped functioning. We meet a pardons advocate and a former staff member of the pardon attorney’s office and learn that the system stalled after then-President Barack Obama attempted to reduce mass incarcerations from the war on drugs. The pardon attorney’s office has been without leadership for more than four years, and the Trump White House is largely ignoring its recommendations.  We end our show by looking at the rarest of pardons: when the person receiving a pardon is the president. Trump has tweeted that he has the authority to pardon himself, a concept that first was discussed during the Nixon administration. In that case, former President Richard Nixon eventually was pardoned by the next president, Gerald Ford. In this story, we hear Ford explain in his own words why he decided to pardon his predecessor. Don’t miss out on the next big story. Get the Weekly Reveal newsletter today.
12/12/2051m 0s

Reproducing Racism (Rebroadcast)

As racial disparities in health come into the spotlight amid COVID-19, we explore how the legacy of racism affects maternal health in the U.S. Plus, we hear from doctors working hard to turn things around. Don’t miss out on the next big story. Get the Weekly Reveal newsletter today.
05/12/2050m 32s

Fancy Galleries, Fake Art (Rebroadcast)

The story of how two well-respected New York art galleries sold more than $80 million in fake art, and why almost no one ever was punished by authorities. Don’t miss out on the next big story. Get the Weekly Reveal newsletter today.
28/11/2050m 44s

The Bad Place

The vacant building that once housed the Riverside Academy in Wichita, Kansas, was covered in haunting graffiti: “Burn this place.” “Youth were abused here … systematically.” “This is a bad place.” The facility, run by the for-profit company Sequel Youth & Family Services, promised to help kids with behavioral problems. But state officials had cited the facility dozens of times for problems including excessive force by staff, poor supervision and neglect.  Don’t miss out on the next big story. Get the Weekly Reveal newsletter today.
21/11/2050m 57s

Trump’s Global Echoes

The United States has traditionally been a leader of democracy internationally, taking a big role in establishing institutions such as the United Nations. But President Donald Trump’s “America First” priorities have left a leadership vacuum in important international organizations. What will it take to turn that around? Don’t miss out on the next big story. Get the Weekly Reveal newsletter today.
18/11/208m 37s

United, We’re Not

Where does America go from here?  We talk with an asylum-seeking family, a Georgia woman on abortion access, and West Virginians on the impact of Black Lives Matter. Don’t miss out on the next big story. Get the Weekly Reveal newsletter today.
14/11/2051m 23s

The American Divide

Unborn babies' hearts are at risk as EPA caves to chemical companies’ 20-year effort to whitewash the science on the risks of an extremely dangerous and prevalent chemical, TCE.  Don’t miss out on the next big story. Get the Weekly Reveal newsletter today.
07/11/2050m 59s

Stopping a Movement

In what may be the largest protest movement in the nation’s history, millions of Americans have taken to the streets this year to protest racism and police brutality. In response, the federal government cracked down, filing charges against protesters in 31 states. We also learn how Austin, Texas, voted to slash its police budget. Don’t miss out on the next big story. Get the Weekly Reveal newsletter today.
31/10/2050m 16s

Remembering a White Supremacist Coup

On the eve of a contentious election, Reveal looks back to the nearly forgotten election of 1898 in Wilmington, North Carolina. A coup d’etat gave birth to much of the structural racism that still plagues our nation today. This suppressed history left a deep scar that the local community is still working to overcome.  Don’t miss out on the next big story. Get the Weekly Reveal newsletter today.
24/10/2050m 42s

An Adolescence, Seized

A 10-year-old Honduran girl came to the United States seeking asylum. Instead, she was detained – away from her family – for nearly seven years. Reporter Aura Bogado follows her story. After a lawsuit against the U.S. government, we discover that tens of thousands of children have been held in custody for months, instead of days. And nearly 1,000 have spent more than a year in shelters.  Don’t miss out on the next big story. Get the Weekly Reveal newsletter today.
17/10/2050m 6s

An American Murder in Istanbul: Justice for Halla

An American journalist and her mom are found murdered in Istanbul. Police say they caught the killer. Friends and family say the investigation was incomplete. In collaboration with ABC News and freelance reporter Fariba Nawa, we dig into the investigative files against the convicted killer and learn that the U.S. government chose not to get involved in the investigation. Don’t miss out on the next big story. Get the Weekly Reveal newsletter today.
10/10/2051m 48s

Whose Vote Will Count?

From problems with vote-by-mail systems to voter suppression, we travel to Wisconsin and Florida to examine the potential for chaos in the 2020 elections. Then we hear from postal workers about handling the huge number of mail-in ballots. Don’t miss out on the next big story. Get the Weekly Reveal newsletter today.
03/10/2050m 46s

Catching Amazon in a Lie

Amazon says its warehouses are safe for workers, but we’ve obtained numbers that show they’re getting hurt much more often than the company claims. Don’t miss out on the next big story. Get the Weekly Reveal newsletter today.
26/09/2050m 44s

COVID-19 in Confinement

At a time when self-isolation is the best way to avoid the pandemic, we examine two places where people have no choice but to live with strangers: nursing homes and prisons.  Don’t miss out on the next big story. Get the Weekly Reveal newsletter today.
19/09/2050m 36s

America's Ring of Fire (Rebroadcast)

Wildfires are getting bigger, more expensive to fight and closer than ever to where people live. The consequences can be deadly. We examine how wildfires got so dangerous – and how some are fighting back. Parts of this episode originally were broadcast Oct. 8, 2016.  Don’t miss out on the next big story. Get the Weekly Reveal newsletter today.
12/09/2050m 5s

The Robert Mueller of Latin America

Crusading prosecutor Iván Velásquez has been called the Robert Mueller of Latin America. He’s known for jailing presidents and paramilitaries. But Velásquez met his match when he went after Jimmy Morales, a television comedian who was elected president of Guatemala. Morales found an ally in Donald Trump. Don’t miss out on the next big story. Get the Weekly Reveal newsletter today.
05/09/2051m 14s

The Refuge Revealed (Rebroadcast)

The 40-year fight over drilling for oil in one of the world’s wildest places, Alaska’s Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, is coming to a head. The Department of the Interior has just removed the final hurdle to allow oil industry bids for the right to drill in the refuge. Opponents say climate change is warming the Arctic twice as fast as the rest of the planet, and the plants, animals and people living there are struggling to adapt. In this episode, we examine the future of the refuge for the people who live there. It’s a collaboration with the award-winning podcast Threshold, which was supported by the Pulitzer Center.  This episode originally was released March 7, 2020.  Don’t miss out on the next big story. Get the Weekly Reveal newsletter today.
29/08/2050m 56s

Lost in Transplantation (Rebroadcast)

Quickly delivering donated organs to patients waiting for a transplant is a matter of life and death. Yet transportation errors are leading to delays in surgeries, putting patients in danger and making some organs unusable.  This episode originally was broadcast Feb. 8, 2020.  Don’t miss out on the next big story. Get the Weekly Reveal newsletter today.
22/08/2050m 39s

Monumental Lies (Update)

The Civil War ended more than 150 years ago, but the Confederacy didn't completely die with it. Monuments, shrines and museums are found throughout the South. We teamed up with Type Investigations to visit dozens of them and found that for devoted followers, they inspire a disturbing – and distorted – view of history: Confederate generals as heroes. Slaves who were happy to work for them. That twisted history is also shared with schoolchildren on class trips. And you won't believe who's funding these sites to keep them running.  Plus, the story of New Mexico’s great monument controversy. In 1998, the state was set to celebrate its cuarto centenario: the 400th anniversary of the state’s colonization by the Spanish. But a dramatic act of vandalism would turn the making of a monument in Albuquerque into a fight over history the city didn’t expect. This show has been updated with new reporting, based on a show that originally was broadcast Dec. 8, 2018.   Don’t miss out on the next big story. Get the Weekly Reveal newsletter today.
15/08/2051m 55s

American Rehab Chapter 8: Shadow Workforce

For decades, work-based rehabs have spread across the country. No one knows how many are out there, so we counted them ourselves. Don’t miss out on the next big story. Get the Weekly Reveal newsletter today.
08/08/2052m 56s

American Rehab Chapter 7: The Work Cure

One man’s journey into Cenikor leads to almost two years of backbreaking labor. The program will change him. But can it help Chris Koon with his addiction? Don’t miss out on the next big story. Get the Weekly Reveal newsletter today.
01/08/2050m 28s

American Rehab Chapter 6: The White Vans

Before sunrise, a line of passenger vans heads to job sites across Baton Rouge, Louisiana. Cenikor didn't want to show us where they were sending rehab participants to work. So we followed the vans to find out. Don’t miss out on the next big story. Get the Weekly Reveal newsletter today.
29/07/2023m 39s

American Rehab Chapter 5: Reagan with the Snap

Cenikor rises from the ashes, thanks to the inventor of NFL football pads, the war on drugs and the endorsement of an American president. Don’t miss out on the next big story. Get the Weekly Reveal newsletter today.
25/07/2034m 3s
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Heart UK
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