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GroundTruth

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From Syria to Staten Island, a new generation of journalists are reporting on the ground, documenting the most important stories of their time. Hosted by Charles Sennott, founder of The GroundTruth Project, in partnership with WGBH News.

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From Syria to Staten Island, a new generation of journalists are reporting on the ground, documenting the most important stories of their time. Hosted by Charles Sennott, founder of The GroundTruth Project, in partnership with WGBH News.

iTunes Ratings

93 Ratings
Average Ratings
82
3
3
2
3

Excellent

By mqmorrissey - Apr 29 2019
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Extremely enlightening in light of our current politics.

Great podcast

By JenniferKarchmer - Mar 27 2016
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Very good show about conflict reporters, esp. episode on Tracey Shelton. Well done.

iTunes Ratings

93 Ratings
Average Ratings
82
3
3
2
3

Excellent

By mqmorrissey - Apr 29 2019
Read more
Extremely enlightening in light of our current politics.

Great podcast

By JenniferKarchmer - Mar 27 2016
Read more
Very good show about conflict reporters, esp. episode on Tracey Shelton. Well done.
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GroundTruth

Latest release on Jan 17, 2020

The Best Episodes Ranked Using User Listens

Updated by OwlTail 4 days ago

Rank #1: Razia's Way: One School's Fight for Afghanistan's Girls

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How do you convince the conservative men of Afghanistan to get behind girls' education? This is the story of one determined, Afghan woman from Massachusetts who seems to have found a way...and one student her school tried to reach. The third and final part of our "Foreverstan" series, this episode is reported by Director of GroundTruth Films, Beth Murphy. 

Dec 30 2015

22mins

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Rank #2: The End of Days: How Christian Zionism is Transforming US Policy in the Middle East

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Twenty years ago, a movement known as Christian Zionism was on the furthest fringes in the land of Israel.

Back then, mainstream theologians — Christian and Jewish alike — dismissed Christian Zionism as a dangerous interpretation of biblical prophecies; the ideology was flawed at best, at its worst, inherently anti-Semitic.

Today, Christian Zionism has gone mainstream, with explosive growth in both fundraising and political power. Its journey is evident in today’s headlines in Israel-Palestine. When the United States announced a relocation of the American Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, many observers believed it was the Trump administration’s way of answering directly not only to the Israeli right but also to the American Christian evangelical base that supports Trump. Christian Zionists view the embassy move as a milestone on a prophetic timeline that aligns with an apocalyptic interpretation of scripture.

Similarly, Christian Zionists are squarely behind Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and celebrating his re-election this week. Last month, they applauded the Trump Administration’s backing Israeli sovereignty
over the disputed Golan Heights. They also praised Netanyahu’s promise to annex the West Bank Jewish settlements, a campaign pledge made in the waning days of a tight election.

To Christian Zionists, policy shifts are prophetic signs, and they are not content to wait for prophecy to unfold. Calling themselves “believers,” Christian Zionists are ushering apocalyptic scriptural prophecies into the here-and-now through political influence and dollars. Based on in-depth reporting over the last two years, The GroundTruth Project has found that over the past 20 years the top Christian Zionist organizations have raised over $2 billion to support Israel, with a steady stream going directly to Jewish settlements in the occupied West Bank.

The efforts of the Christian Zionists often work against the Palestinian Christian communities which see themselves as part of a 2,000-year continuum in the land where the Christian faith began.

Apr 17 2019

29mins

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Rank #3: The End of Days - Part 2 - The Armies of Heaven - Inside the Movement

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In the second chapter of this series, we go inside the Christian Zionist community in Jerusalem and the settlements in the West Bank. Micah Danney, our GroundTruth Fellow and guide for this episode, was a unique choice for this reporting assignment. He grew up steeped in Christianity. His father was a mainline Protestant preacher in Nyack, New York. As a teenager, he had gotten into some trouble. But he also really knew his scripture. Both of these parts of his past, his struggle with the law, and his familiarity with scripture, would prove to be critical in gaining access to this community.

Micah’s journey began with a laying of hands upon him, and ends with his being cast from the garden, quite literally.

(Listen for a cameo appearance from Pat Boone!)

Apr 26 2019

24mins

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Rank #4: The Authoritarian's Playbook: Weaponizing Fear in Brazil

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Since taking office in January, Brazil’s President Jair Bolsonaro has weaponized the fear of widespread crime, and tapped into the country’s anger with the rampant corruption. The former army captain has given the police carte blanche to fight violence with violence. But his policy of “the only good criminal is a dead criminal” has also taken the lives of innocents in some of the poorest neighborhoods in the country.

GroundTruth Fellow Leticia Duarte walked with the victims of police violence through the favelas of Rio de Janeiro to the places where their loved ones were gunned down. She also traveled to Virginia, to the home of Olavo de Carvalho, the “Steve Bannon” of Brazil, whose ideas helped Bolsonaro become president. Streaming from his home office, he commands an online army of trolls who intimidate anyone who raises their voice against the government policies.

ABOUT THE SERIES
In a six-month reporting project titled Democracy Undone: The Authoritarian’s Playbook, GroundTruth reporting fellows in India, Brazil, Colombia, Hungary, Poland, Italy and the United States chronicled how seven nationalist leaders in each of these countries seem to be working from the same playbook. It is a playbook that can be pieced together from the speeches and techniques in use by an interconnected web of populist leaders and their strategists as a way to gain power, impose their values and implement their agenda. Scholars on democracy say they seem eager to join China, Russia, Saudi Arabia and other leading authoritarian states in stamping out democratic protections and reshaping the global order.

Democracy Undone: The Authoritarian’s Playbook, A GroundTruth Podcast/Atlantic Magazine Collaboration

Oct 31 2019

36mins

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Rank #5: War Reporting: A Love Story

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Conflict reporter Tracey Shelton has been willing to risk her life to tell the stories of ordinary people in war zones. But now that she's found love, is her work still worth the risk? GroundTruth Producer Nathan Tobey tells the story.

Nov 12 2015

21mins

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Rank #6: The Eleventh Hour

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After four years of fighting, 20 million soldiers and civilians dead, and three collapsed empires, World War One ended and a new world order emerged. But the armistice held only temporarily and the promise to end all wars was repeatedly broken over the last 100 years. Charlie Sennott has been tracing how this war is the source of so many modern conflicts, many of them he’s covered as a correspondent over the last three decades. We look at the circumstances that led to that war, and how those circumstances are eerily similar to today.

Dec 07 2018

39mins

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Rank #7: The End of Days - Part 3 - A New Jerusalem - Shaping Mideast Policy

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The Dead Sea lies at the lowest elevation on earth. And in the arid valley that stretches to the salt lake's western shore sits Ein Gedi, a nature preserve and oasis that ranges from lush, spring fed gardens, to parched craggy rock, dotted with palm trees. Here, among this barren but beautiful landscape, a massive stage is perched amid the dusty rocks, complete with giant video screens and dazzling light displays. It looks more like a docked spaceship than a concert venue. What is normally a peaceful desert scene is now blanketed by the rumbling of a tour bus convoy, and a bank of electricity generators droning in the background.

It’s late September, 2018, and the searing heat of day has given way to chilling breezes. As a full moon rises across the blue waters of the Dead Sea that separates Israel from Jordan, a blast from the shofar signals the festival has begun. This is the opening night of Sukkot, the Jewish harvest festival, when the Bible calls for an "ingathering" of Jews to make a pilgrimage to Jerusalem. These days, Christian Zionists believe this biblical ingathering also includes them.

Christian Zionists from over 100 countries are here as the International Christian Embassy Jerusalem hosts the 6-day celebration. And , as we are learning on this reporting journey, if you really want to follow the global movement of Christian Zionism, follow the money.

For this report, we’ve reviewed dozens of US tax returns from Christian Zionist organizations. Over the last 20 years, a handful of nonprofits has raised over 2 billion dollars in support of Israel. In this episode we navigate these financial streams, and the burgeoning political alliance between the far right in Israel and Christian Evangelicals in the United States, and increasingly around the world.

May 03 2019

24mins

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Rank #8: Unheard in Appalachia

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In beautiful, mountainous Eastern Kentucky, local economies are struggling, coal jobs continue to disappear, and people are frustrated by decades of failed government programs that have done little to help with problems connected to poverty, hazardous work conditions and poor nutrition. On a reporting road trip across America, we hear from those who feel unheard.

Sep 20 2018

28mins

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Rank #9: The Authoritarian's Playbook: Targeting Outsiders in Italy

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Matteo Salvini is one of Italy’s most popular politicians. His harsh rhetoric against migrants, the media, and cultural integration has resonated with Italians, especially the youth.

His party is the Lega, or league in English, and in the last 6 years, their support among Italians under 35 has grown from 8% to over 20%. And even more broadly, Lega is now the second most popular party across Italy.

In this episode, targeting outsiders in Italy, our global fellows Alessia Cerantola and Lorenzo Bagnoli spoke with young Italians who are joining right-wing movements. They say that Italy’s white, Christian identity is under threat from the influx of arriving migrants.

ABOUT THE SERIES
In a six-month reporting project titled Democracy Undone: The Authoritarian’s Playbook, GroundTruth reporting fellows in India, Brazil, Colombia, Hungary, Poland, Italy and the United States chronicled how seven nationalist leaders in each of these countries seem to be working from the same playbook. It is a playbook that can be pieced together from the speeches and techniques in use by an interconnected web of populist leaders and their strategists as a way to gain power, impose their values and implement their agenda. Scholars on democracy say they seem eager to join China, Russia, Saudi Arabia and other leading authoritarian states in stamping out democratic protections and reshaping the global order.

Democracy Undone: The Authoritarian’s Playbook, A GroundTruth Podcast/Atlantic Magazine Collaboration

Nov 14 2019

32mins

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Rank #10: Democracy Undone: Series Intro

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The hallmarks of populist nationalism are gaining ground in many of the world’s largest democracies, from Modi’s India to Bolsonaro’s Brazil and Trump’s America. In these, and many other countries, elected leaders are flirting with aspects of authoritarianism in an extreme era of mass migration, digital disruption and the looming threat of climate change.

In a six-month reporting project titled Democracy Undone: The Authoritarian’s Playbook, GroundTruth reporting fellows in India, Brazil, Colombia, Hungary, Poland, Italy and the United States chronicled how seven nationalist leaders in each of these countries seem to be working from the same playbook. It is a playbook that can be pieced together from the speeches and techniques in use by an interconnected web of populist leaders and their strategists as a way to gain power, impose their values and implement their agenda. Scholars on democracy say they seem eager to join China, Russia, Saudi Arabia and other leading authoritarian states in stamping out democratic protections and reshaping the global order.

Democracy Undone: The Authoritarian’s Playbook, A GroundTruth Podcast/Atlantic Magazine Collaboration

Oct 17 2019

3mins

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Rank #11: Dispatch: Drowned Out In Paris

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Are young people being shut out of the world's response to climate change? 

GroundTruth climate fellows Justine Calma and Chris Bentley kick off our new series of reports on global warming with this dispatch from the historic COP21 conference in Paris. 

Mar 24 2016

13mins

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Rank #12: Unheard in Appalachia

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Crossing the Divide is a collaboration with WGBH that brought together a team of five reporters from red states and blue states to travel across the country in a van, exploring issues that divide us and stories that unite us.

In this episode, Unheard in Appalachia, we take you through beautiful, mountainous Eastern Kentucky, where local economies are struggling, coal jobs continue to disappear, and people are frustrated by decades of failed government programs that have done little to help with problems connected to poverty, hazardous work conditions and poor nutrition. During our reporting road trip across America, we heard from those who feel unheard.

Aug 15 2019

31mins

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Rank #13: Living Proof: Storms, Sex And Survival In The Philippines

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After covering the devastation of Typhoon Haiyan in 2013, GroundTruth's Aurora Almendral investigates how typhoons are driving waves of human trafficking in the Philippines. This is a coproduction with KCRW's UnFictional. Explore the reporting

Dec 02 2016

27mins

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Rank #14: The New American Songbook: Nuevo Mariachi

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For Omar Naré, mariachi is in his blood. His grandfather, a Mexican farm laborer, brought the music with him to California’s Central Valley, where he settled his family. Omar grew up hearing mariachi at family get-togethers and had a childhood career as a mariachi singer. After a hiatus and period of disillusionment with the music of his childhood, Omar returned to mariachi. He realized, to make mariachi that felt honest to his experience, he had to break the rules. But if you break the rules of mariachi, is it still “mariachi”? Explore photos and more

Nov 16 2017

23mins

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Rank #15: The Dancing Ghosts of Duffy's Cut

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When Bill and Frank Watson were kids, their grandfather told them a ghost story. Decades later, the brothers discovered the source of that story in their grandfather’s old railroad company documents. It raised questions about what happened to 57 Irish migrant workers in Pennsylvania in 1832, and it sent the Watson brothers on a search for a mass grave.

Oct 25 2018

26mins

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Rank #16: Memorial Day Special - The Eleventh Hour

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In honor of Memorial Day, we’re looking back at World War 1, the Great War. It’s been a century since the world powers gathered in Paris to hammer out terms for peace. No Germans were present. In fact, they were not invited to participate in the deliberations. But their worst fears were realized in the punishing terms of the treaty: Germany would pay dearly for its role in the war.

There was great expectation that this would be the War to End all Wars. But the Treaty of Versailles came to be known as the peace to end all peace. This treaty forged a new global order of alliances that attempted to guard against a repeat of such a catastrophic war. But the treaty failed, and some believe exacerbated the grievances, laying the groundwork for an even deadlier, second world war. This episode, we look at the circumstances that led to the Great War, and how those circumstances are similar to today.

May 23 2019

39mins

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Rank #17: What Ever Happened to Zika?

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Before Hurricane Maria, the Zika crisis was already pushing Puerto Rico’s health care system to the limit. Then the storm came and crippled it completely — no more testing pregnant mothers for Zika, and no more tracking babies born to Zika-infected mothers. A year later, things are still not back to normal. And it’s becoming clear that many babies that seem fine may not be.

Nov 08 2018

32mins

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Rank #18: War Children

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A year after the city of Mosul was liberated from ISIS rule, kids across Iraq are not alright. The most vulnerable are often overlooked: orphans, the wounded, the kidnapped and returned, and those who fought for ISIS — whether by force or by choice. Boys are most at risk for future violence and recruitment to extremist groups.

Nov 22 2018

25mins

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Rank #19: The Authoritarian's Playbook: Undermining Institutions in Colombia

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In September, 2016, Juan Manuel Santos, the President of Colombia, and Timochenko Jimenez, the rebel leader of the FARC--the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia--signed a historic agreement that formally ended more than 50 years of conflict.

It was a remarkable scene. Guests were dressed in white to symbolize peace, and a childrens’ choir sang Beethoven’s* Ode to Joy.*

Timochenko spoke first. Near the end of his 30 minute speech, he made a plea to the entire country.

“I would like to ask for forgiveness for all the pain that we have caused during this war.”

Santos spoke next. With great anticipation, he said that the entire planet celebrates because there is one less war in the world. He also addressed FARC members directly, on their new role in Colombian society:

“Today as you rejoin society, as you become a political party, without weapons, following the rules of justice, truth and reparation that are part of the agreement, as head of state of this country that we all love, I would like to welcome you to democracy.”

It seemed this historical event would unite the country. But today, Colombia has yet to enjoy the promises of this peace treaty. Opponents of the accord’s implementation are assassinating social activists across Colombia, and some members of FARC have rearmed. Colombia’s political leaders, whose actions, or non-actions, are hurting the very people this peace deal was supposed to help.

ABOUT THE SERIES
In a six-month reporting project titled Democracy Undone: The Authoritarian’s Playbook, GroundTruth reporting fellows in India, Brazil, Colombia, Hungary, Poland, Italy and the United States chronicled how seven nationalist leaders in each of these countries seem to be working from the same playbook. It is a playbook that can be pieced together from the speeches and techniques in use by an interconnected web of populist leaders and their strategists as a way to gain power, impose their values and implement their agenda. Scholars on democracy say they seem eager to join China, Russia, Saudi Arabia and other leading authoritarian states in stamping out democratic protections and reshaping the global order.

Democracy Undone: The Authoritarian’s Playbook, A GroundTruth Podcast/Atlantic Magazine Collaboration

Nov 28 2019

30mins

Play

Rank #20: Refugees Lost in Translation

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*Refugees Lost in Translation *

Three refugees — from Syria, Afghanistan and Iraq — are working as interpreters for other refugees coming into Europe. With a foot in both worlds, they see things that refugees and Western media don’t: what’s being lost in translation, the profound consequences, and how the biggest barrier for refugees often isn’t a physical border, but language itself.

Sep 27 2018

33mins

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