Rank #1: #18 || The defection of a Roger Ailes warrior
"Very earlier on, Roger called me Ailes Junior. He told my dad, 'I've never met anyone more like me than Joe.'" As the protégé of Fox News chairman Roger Ailes, Joe Lindsley was closer to the man who built Fox News than any Fox executive. He helped write Ailes' speeches, sat next to him at executive meetings, and went to church with his family on Sundays. What moved the ambitious twenty-something to abandon the conservative media titan?
For a deeper dive into his epic odyssey, check out Joe's memoir — Fake News / True Story: www.inkshares.com/books/fake-news-true-story
Jan 04 2018
Rank #2: #13 || Navigating wealth within cross-class relationships
'I was taught that money is not something you talk about, because once people know you have it, you’ll get taken advantage of.' Like many young members of the 1%, Michelle inherited immense wealth at an early age. In a separate but parallel tale, so did Abe. For many years, they didn't talk about their wealth or know what to do with it, and ultimately denied its existence. Being involved in cross-class relationships only thickened the plot. Then Michelle and Abe discovered Resource Generation, an organization mobilizing young people with wealth around redistribution.
How is learning to talk about wealth essential to doing something with it? How do we navigate wealth disparity within the context of cross-class relationships? And how might that be a microcosm for alleviating wealth disparity in our country? Tune in for a rich, two-story episode.
CORRECTION: This episode mistakenly refers to Abe’s trust, which he doesn't have.
Sep 13 2016
Rank #3: #9 || Defecting from the Donald
"One of my co-workers said, 'Trump supporters are without exception the worst people I've ever met, they're almost sub-human.' And I'm standing there thinking, you know, we're friends, but I think I'll keep my mouth shut." That's Alex Mamach, a young white Chicago native who grew up in a poor and diverse suburb of Chicago. He gives voice to why millions of Americans support Donald Trump: because Trump speaks to his marginalized constituency in a way that neither party has done in decades. And when his co-worker, the political establishment, and the media accuse Trump supporters of being sub-human, ignorant, and racist, it only entrenches their support and reinforces the notion that only he cares about poor white Americans.
So why did Alex defect from the Donald, and who did he switch to? Tune in for that, but for now, a sneak peak into how Trump supporters might be moved in a new direction: by appealing to their nobler intentions.
Apr 26 2016
Rank #4: #11 || The fracture of a fundamentalist worldview
'I don't know if I can convey how comforting it is to believe that you possess the secret to how everything in the universe works. And as a consequence, we had this amazing bonus: we were going to heaven and everyone else was going to hell.' That's how Chris Ladd describes his upbringing in a fundamentalist Christian home in East Texas. But that sense that he possessed the secret to how everything in the universe worked? Well, it eventually cracked, shifting his views on women's rights, homosexuality, race, and everything else in the delicate mobile we call a "worldview." The cost of ideological transformation has been painfully high, but Chris concedes, it's been worth it.
May 24 2016
Rank #5: #17 || A paid climate skeptic switches sides
'I can say to climate skeptics on the right, 'I used to believe what you believe. Hell, I wrote your talking points, and for 20 years, I was there! But let me tell you why I'm not there anymore.'' As the head of the Cato Institute’s climate and environmental policy shop, Jerry Taylor was a leading spokesperson for climate skepticism. He waged TV battles against climate activists on the likes of CNN, NBC, and Fox, and says he won all of them. And yet, he's the only paid climate skeptic who's ever flipped. Why did he shift not just his views on climate change, but his relationship with his views more broadly?
This is a joint episode with Inquiring Minds, a podcast exploring where science, politics, and society collide (motherjones.com/topics/inquiring-minds). To hear our previous joint episode about worldview transformation in the 2016 presidential election, visit: www.reckonings.show/episodes/inquiring-minds
Oct 31 2017
Rank #6: #19 || How will we become majestic elephants?
‘I could have been a left-wing guerrilla in Columbia. Whatever would have grabbed me at the right time, I was ready for.’ What ended up grabbing Frank was neo-Nazism. What ended up grabbing Jesse was jihadi extremism. What do we see when we look beyond ideology?
This episode was produced with generous support from the Gen Next Foundation (www.gennext.com), which leverages a venture philanthropy framework to build paradigm-shifting social ventures with a wide footprint of impact. Their partnership with
Mar 24 2018
Rank #7: #10 || An unlikely friendship transforms the gun debate
"What really blinds people on both sides is thinking that it's either or: either we do nothing and put up with the horrendous tolls of firearm deaths and mass shootings, or we take all the guns away." That's public health expert and former CDC research director Mark Rosenberg, speaking to one of America’s most polarizing issues. Our country's fierce gun debate pits "both sides" against each other — proponents of stricter firearm regulation against gun rights advocates. But when it comes to finding solutions everyone can get behind, we have a major roadblock: there's been no federally funded scientific research on gun violence since 1996. That's when Republican Arkansas Congressman Jay Dickey, the NRA's so-called 'point man on the Hill,' spearheaded a bill that stripped the CDC of $2.6 million — the amount that had been funding Mark Rosenberg’s gun violence research.
Mark Rosenberg and Jay Dickey were on diametrically opposed sides of the gun debate, but fate took a twist. Their story a microcosm of what's so vitally needed in the arena of gun control, and our political arena beyond.
Friendly hint: listen til the very end.
May 03 2016
Rank #8: #21 || A survivor and her perpetrator find justice
Sameer met Anwen freshman year. He was into her, and they started seeing each other. Then one night, after a fraternity party, Sameer convinced Anwen to come home with him — which is when he coerced her into sexual activity. Their senior year, Anwen invited Sameer into a process of restorative justice.
This story features *both* Anwen and Sameer, talking about how they worked through sexual assault using restorative justice.
What does it sound like for a survivor to get her needs met? What does it sound like for a perpetrator to take responsibility for his sexual abuse of power?
Heartfelt thanks to the Friend Foundation, Varda Rabin, and David Karp at the Campus PRISM Project, which helps universities explore the possibility of applying restorative justice to sexual assault: www.skidmore.edu/campusrj/prism.php
Dec 03 2018
Rank #9: #16 || Two teens overcome bullying
'When I'm angry and I don't know how to get it out, I take it out on other people. I call people names, I say they're ugly, I talk about the way they dress. And when I get into fighting mode, I just start swinging.’ When she was in high school, Halley built a reputation for herself as a bully. So did Chris, who even bullied his teachers, going so far as to break one teacher's jaw. Why do we bully? And what moves us to stop?
Sep 10 2017
Rank #10: #8 || Transcending a lineage of violence
"I called myself a Karma King, because I was distributing the shit that had been given to me." The finale of Season 1 features Daniel Gallant, a former violent extremist turned anti-violence activist, counselor, and scholar. Violence is what he experienced growing up, what he became a perpetrator of, and what it has been a phenomenal feat for him to overcome.
Today, Daniel is the founder of anti-violence organization Exit Canada, and a J.D. candidate at Thompson Rivers University. May we take this story — albeit difficult — as an opportunity to understand what motivates extremist violence, and draw hope from one person's ability to transcend it.
Jan 21 2016