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The Gist


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Slate's The Gist with Mike Pesca. A daily afternoon show about news, culture, and whatever else you'll be discussing with friends and family tonight.

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Al Letson Became A Human Shield

26:11 | Aug 29th, 2017

Al Letson was just trying to cover a demonstration – an anti-hate rally in Berkeley. When he saw a group of balaclava-clad men descend on an apparent right-wing agitator, he jumped into the fray, using his body to defend the man from kicks and punche...Show More

“Guest is God”

32:51 | Mar 30th

On The Gist, the next wave of start-ups should be like the tech companies we have now, but with a conscience.   In the interview, filmmaker Anthony Maras is more wedded to a theme—people in extremis—than a form, and his latest is a thriller based on ...Show More

Adam Schiff Is Not Okay

36:51 | Mar 29th

On The Gist, Mike Pesca, in true hipster fashion, laments the end of Wow Air. In the interview, much of the news media was guilty of hyping up the knockout blow that Mueller’s report would deliver president Trump. But a few journalists on the left we...Show More

The Boeing Lesson

32:50 | Mar 28th

On The Gist, Boeing is in a tight spot.   In the interview, the boxing match between Mike Tyson and Buster Douglas was one for the ages. Everyone so expected Tyson to win that people weren’t even placing bets until the odds were 42 to 1. In the new 3...Show More

Trump’s Post-Mueller Strategy

35:24 | Mar 27th

On The Gist, the latest gridlock facing the Green New Deal should clue in its backers in Congress. In the interview, Huwe Burton was 16 years old when detectives browbeat him into a false confession of murder. He spent about 20 years in prison as a r...Show More

The Mueller Report Report

35:30 | Mar 26th

On The Gist, we should be willing to accept that the Barr letter and Mueller report won’t lead to any indictments. In the interview, David Priess, former CIA staffer and daily intelligence briefer for Robert Mueller, is here to talk about the Mueller...Show More

The Real March Madness Upset

31:14 | Mar 22nd

On The Gist, ISIS may be defeated, but the people who made up its forces aren’t gone.  In the interview, novelist John Lanchester is here to discuss his new novel The Wall, the symbolic and practical use of walls, and how closely we should pay attent...Show More

The Past and Future Biden

33:19 | Mar 22nd

On The Gist, who paid for those two Chinese-born tech magnates to take photos with Trump?  In the interview, Vanderbilt professor Jonathan Metzl is here to discuss his new book Dying of Whiteness: How the Politics of Racial Resentment Is Killing Amer...Show More

Solving Maternal Mortality

28:51 | Mar 21st

On The Gist, have you heard about the mob hit that took place a few weeks ago? In the interview, journalist Sarah Kliff joins us to discuss maternal mortality rates in the United States, what California has done to fix it, and what the rest of the co...Show More

What Merchants of Truth Gets Right

38:23 | Mar 20th

On The Gist, it wouldn’t just be morally right for Trump to finally denounce white nationalism. It would be politically smart.In the interview, Jill Abramson’s Merchants of Truth: The Business of News and the Fight for Facts was released to glowing r...Show More

Beto Takes a Stand

31:57 | Mar 19th

On The Gist, Beto O’Rourke, the countertop candidate. In the interview, historian Rutger Bregman got in a spat with Fox host Tucker Carlson, but you wouldn’t know it if it weren’t for his own video of the incident. Fox never aired it, as Bregman accu...Show More

In New Zealand, the Internet at Its Worst

35:15 | Mar 16th

On The Gist, Senator Thom Tillis’ op-ed, now with moral fiber!            In the interview, no one’s ever had to wonder what was on tech journalist Kara Swisher’s mind (she’ll just tell you) and that includes the litany of Silicon Valley oligarchs sh...Show More

Manafort in Ostrich Court

29:33 | Mar 15th

On The Gist, Beto O’Rourke is running for president. But should he? In the interview, Tim Alberta, chief political correspondent for Politico,  recently wrote a piece about Reps. Ilhan Omar and Dean Phillips and the current divide in the Democratic p...Show More

How to Close the Justice Gap

33:30 | Mar 14th

On The Gist, three stray thoughts on the college admissions scandal. In the interview, Maria Konnikova is back to talk about those naïve millennials. Last year many of them were duped into paying thousands for tickets to Billy McFarland’s Fyre Festiv...Show More

The Fraud Squad

37:35 | Mar 13th

On The Gist, Bill de Blasio flapping his arms to R. Kelly. In the interview, Sal Gentile writes for late night television, but he lives in president Trump’s mind around the clock. Every day he writes insights and jokes about Trump’s latest ramblings ...Show More

Let the Sun Shine in 2020

33:28 | Mar 12th

On The Gist, much ado about a toothpick ban. In the interview, Wikipedia is famously edited by its own readers. And no one has made more contributions than Steven Pruitt. A third of English language pages on the site bear his mark! What goes into edi...Show More

American Carnage? It’s Real

34:12 | Mar 9th

On The Gist, Rep. Ilhan Omar and Israel. In the interview, the Guardian’s Chris McGreal covered the deadly toll opiates take on poor American communities "long before it became fashionable because of Trump." He speaks to Purdue Pharma’s zealous campa...Show More

The Endless Fact Check

30:03 | Mar 8th

On The Gist, Stormy is in the news (but not that Stormy).In the interview, Donald Trump speaks many untruths every day, and someone has to track them all. Somehow that task has fallen to a Canadian. The Toronto Star’s Daniel Dale is here to tell us w...Show More

The Unbelievably Bad Michael Jackson Defense

35:59 | Mar 7th

On The Gist, distracting Congress from H.R. 1. In the interview, sexual promiscuity is judged differently among men compared to women, and that goes double for sex addiction. Franco-Moroccan novelist Leïla Slimani’s latest protagonist, Adèle, knows t...Show More

Top Chef, the Anti-Reality TV?

36:23 | Mar 6th

On The Gist, Fox News isn’t distributing Trump’s talking points. Worse, it’s defining them. In the interview, reality TV typically thrives on drama and negativity. Top Chef isn’t necessarily an exception, but season 16 competitor David Viana says mor...Show More

The Incoherent Right

31:52 | Mar 5th

On The Gist, the White House PR machine. In the interview, John Carlin is a former Asst. Attorney General for the Dept. of Justice and former Chief of Staff to Robert Mueller, and his new book Dawn of the Code War tracks the rise of global cyber thre...Show More

Believing Jackson’s Accusers

29:34 | Mar 2nd

On The Gist, John Hickenlooper might be running for president. In the interview, Dan Reed reached out to Wade Robson and James Safechuck before #MeToo exploded, but its influence is clear. In the director’s documentary for HBO, Leaving Neverland, we ...Show More

Is AOC Post-Truth Too?

24:09 | Feb 28th

On The Gist, the empty political rhetoric that is “everyday people.”In the interview, fact-checking is big business in the age of Trump. But one politician diametrically opposed to the president—Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez—is playing fast and loose with...Show More

Michael Cohen Isn’t Smart

21:13 | Feb 27th

On the Gist, Michael Cohen is not a smart guy, and that makes his testimony all the more trustworthy. In the interview, Casey Burgat of R Street is here to talk about Sen. Amy Klobuchar’s staff turnover data. Does she seem to churn through staff more...Show More

The Spring Breaker Vote

28:28 | Feb 26th

On The Gist, corn syrup and beer. In the interview, what’s the difference between a 16-year-old and an 18-year-old? In terms of maturity, not so much. But only one of them has the right to vote. In Oregon, state Sen. Shemia Fagan is hoping to change ...Show More

Mayor for America

33:17 | Feb 26th

On The Gist, asymmetric warfare means America’s got some pretty lame enemies. In the interview, women aren’t the only demographic group making the 2020 race especially diverse. Pete Buttigieg, the 37-year-old mayor of South Bend, Indiana, is consider...Show More

Billionaire Bashing Is Just for Sport

35:09 | Feb 23rd

On The Gist, even with a genuinely good story, president Trump just can’t get his facts right. In the interview, his name is Mo Rocca, and he’s out with a new podcast of obituaries. So it’s only natural, of course, that it be called Mobituaries. His ...Show More

A Show, But a Riddle Too

36:38 | Feb 22nd

On The Gist, the deep state or a shallow president? In the interview, director Leslye Headland has been on The Gist before, and is back for more. But unlike the protagonist of Russian Doll, her new Netflix show, he isn’t likely to find herself stuck ...Show More

The Viability of Bernie Sanders

34:41 | Feb 21st

On The Gist, news should be new. In the interview, our resident vexillologist Ted Kaye is back to talk about San Francisco’s flag. Where does its design come from, and is it really the best modern representation of the city? Kaye’s book is Good Flag,...Show More

The Chinese Threat is Overblown

31:57 | Feb 20th

On The Gist, Bernie is in. Are billionaires out?In the interview, president Trump may be the chief saber-rattler when it comes to China, but acting tough against the world’s second biggest economy is a bipartisan pastime. With challenges like global ...Show More

New York’s Bad Math

37:36 | Feb 15th

On The Gist, racy names for missiles. In the interview, Chris Molanphy is here to talk about the Billboard hits of 1979, disco’s last hurrah, and how the year prepares for the coming wave of pop. Molanphy is the host of Hit Parade and writes the colu...Show More

Matt Braunger, Funny Dummy

31:48 | Feb 14th

On The Gist, sometimes Howard Stern can be helpful. In the interview, stand-up comedian and podcaster Matt Braunger is here to discuss his new special Finally Live in Portland, his podcast Advice From a Dipshit, and whether or not he would eat racist...Show More

How to Lose a Guy in 10 Seconds

33:28 | Feb 13th

On The Gist, Democratic leaders should slow down the next time a Virginia-sized fiasco comes along. In the interview, podcasters can storm off a set too—even if it’s their own. Words Matter host Adam Levine pressed his colleague Steve Schmidt on deta...Show More

Open Season For America’s Wars

34:49 | Feb 12th

On The Gist, if president Trump wanted to denounce bullying, he could have done better than inviting a boy named Trump (no relation) to the State of the Union address. In 2001, Congress gave president Bush a nearly blank check for command of an Ameri...Show More

Quoth the Maven

26:16 | Feb 9th

On The Gist, wise words from the mouth of Jeff Bezos… by way of Amazon’s Alexa. In the interview, green energy may be clean, but that doesn’t mean its infrastructure is any less garish. Energy reporter Amy Harder reminds us that one of the lesser-dis...Show More

The Green New Deal Is a Dream

34:33 | Feb 8th

On The Gist, don’t lick people you work with. In the interview, reading a whole book is great, but sometimes all you need is the introduction. Author Elisa Gabbert thinks so, and joins us to talk about intros and other “front matter”; a novel that un...Show More

The State of the Union is… Overrated

29:16 | Feb 7th

On The Gist, who oh who will govern the state of Virginia? In the interview, when Roger McNamee jumped in as an early investor in Facebook, he might not have figured he’d end up testifying about the company in front of Congress. McNamee charts Facebo...Show More

The Culture of Wealth

26:12 | Feb 6th

On The Gist, Gov. Andrew Cuomo still doesn’t understand puns. In the interview, Lauren Greenfield has been documenting the wealthy for the past 25 years and has finally turned that into her new film Generation Wealth, an exploration of the rise of we...Show More

To Russia With Love

34:18 | Feb 5th

On The Gist, parsing president Trump’s one-on-one press interviews may be a fool’s errand, but at least it’s a fun one.In the interview, the Washington Post’s Greg Miller has reported from the murkiest depths of the Trump swamp. He’s on The Gist to t...Show More

This Festival Was Fyre

30:40 | Feb 2nd

On The Gist, throwback to Mike Pesca's unnecessarily censored yearbook quote. In the interview, Seth Crossno, also known by his online persona William Needham Finley IV, thought it would be fun to go to the Fyre Festival with his buddies. And while t...Show More

Kids Are Weird. You Can Be Weird Too.

28:02 | Jan 31st

On The Gist, get off of your phone and out of my way when it’s snowing.  In the interview, there’s no one right way to raise a child, but a few hacks sure help. Podcaster, author, and mother Hillary Frank gives you permission to do what it takes to m...Show More

Medicare for All, Dissent From None

29:47 | Jan 31st

On The Gist, this one is brought to you by the letter T. In the interview, does using a stool really help your stool? Can the Squatty Potty offer any actual health benefits or is that smooth dookie all in your mind? Maybe the contraption’s popular ju...Show More

E Pluribus Unum, Still?

33:50 | Jan 30th

On The Gist, “the big game” is a dumb way to refer to the Super Bowl.If you were to pick a moment in U.S. history that put it on the path to polarization, you could do worse than Watergate. What followed were the blue and red bubbles staked out by CN...Show More

Stone Cold Weirdos

32:03 | Jan 29th

On The Gist, Nancy Pelosi is a skilled politician, sure… but she’s scoring her wins against an incompetent one in president Trump. In the interview, we obsess about the lives of stars, but what about their not-so-famous siblings? Comedy Central’s The...Show More

Big Tent Primaries

33:20 | Jan 26th

On The Gist, pairing 2020 candidates with this or that Oscar-nominated film.In the interview, don’t take a shot every time Donna Brazile calls herself one of the Democratic Party’s “original gangsters.” But it’s true: she’s been at the heart of its w...Show More

Digital Journalism, a Market Failure

31:34 | Jan 25th

On The Gist, Necco Wafers are out this Valentine’s Day, but don’t shed a tear. In the interview, some movies live for the twist. Steven Knight’s latest film, Serenity, is ostensibly about a sea captain’s Melvillian obsessions. Knight joins us to talk...Show More

The Dismissal of Kamala Harris

25:55 | Jan 24th

On The Gist, you can’t give Ann Coulter a win.  Rick Pitino is a former American basketball coach who experienced a number of scandals in the past few years, leading him to leave America for the Greek Basket League. But how did a renowned basketball ...Show More

Will #MeToo Face the Music?

28:48 | Jan 23rd

On The Gist, Joni Ernst’s divorce filing. When Jessica Hopper started out writing about music, trolls and affronted fans didn’t tweet at you; they wrote you a letter. The world’s move to digital has changed that, and helped bring about the #MeToo mov...Show More

For 2020, Steve King Is Dead Weight

33:20 | Jan 19th

On The Gist, BuzzFeed’s new report on Trump.  Earlier this week Rep. Steve King was denounced by much of his party because of remarks he gave to the New York Times about white supremacy. He may have misspoken or chosen to change his wording if given ...Show More

Know Your Memes, or Be Fooled by Them

30:33 | Jan 18th

On the Gist, the knife-wielding skills of Nancy Pelosi. In the interview, An Xiao Mina has tracked the meme from its goofy origins to its use in anti-authoritarian protest and (more recently) disinformation. What’s next, and how can we minimize the h...Show More

Tax Their Stuff, Not Their Money

30:35 | Jan 17th

On The Gist, Kirsten Gillibrand running for president. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez recently floated the idea of a 70 percent marginal tax rate on America’s highest earners. That’s bad for millionaires, but is it even that good for everyone else? The New...Show More

Stop Going Nuclear

34:38 | Jan 16th

On The Gist, ’twas an eventful news day (William Barr, opioid fatality statistics, Brexit … ), but Mike’s got a big Spiel to fry.In the interview, Greg Jaczko served as chairman of the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission under Obama—and soon grew disi...Show More

Against Steve King, Words Aren’t Enough

29:14 | Jan 15th

On The Gist, president Trump is far from tough on Russia, and too many news talk shows let his allies make that claim.In the interview, Jennifer Traig thought she knew what she was getting into when she became a parent, until “washing diarrhea out of...Show More

The Future (of A.I.) Is Chinese

33:53 | Jan 12th

On The Gist, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s star power isn’t something to fear. Especially if you’re a Democrat. “The world is a very dangerous place!” as a statement from President Donald Trump’s desk once put it. Eurasia Group president Ian Bremmer get...Show More

When Fact Meets Fiction

28:30 | Jan 11th

On The Gist, costs and benefits in the government. In the interview, Matthew Heineman is here to discuss his new film A Private War. Though usually a documentary filmmaker, this time around he tried his hand at a feature. Focused on the life of journ...Show More

The Kids Are Not All Right

31:00 | Jan 10th

On The Gist, the days are getting longer, the brand names shorter.In the interview, millennial whisperer (or, you know, just plain millennial) Anne Helen Petersen recently diagnosed “the burnout generation” in a viral feature for BuzzFeed. Student de...Show More

Addressing the Facts

32:13 | Jan 9th

On The Gist, do presidential addresses change anything? In the interview, NPR’s David Folkenflik joins us to talk about Donald Trump’s Oval Office address. Should the networks give airtime to someone so averse to facts, even if he is the president? I...Show More

The Likeability Illusion

33:27 | Jan 8th

On The Gist, news networks should do us a favor and not air Trump’s prime-time speech on Tuesday night.In the interview, Greg Sargent is an indispensable voice for anyone looking to grasp the inner workings of American democracy. In his new book, he ...Show More

What’s Wrong With Motherf---er?

27:22 | Jan 5th

On The Gist, works produced 75 years ago are now entering the public domain. And some are what 2019 would call “problematic.”David Bowie once sang that we can all be heroes … but villainy is where it’s really at. In the Ringer podcast Villains, host ...Show More

There’s Something in the Water

31:00 | Jan 4th

On The Gist, what do Kim Jong-un’s letters and Shaquille O’Neal sneakers have in common? In the interview, you’ve likely heard of microplastics, but are they something to worry about? Maria Konnikova is here with answers in another round of “Is That ...Show More

Impeachment Is a Real Crapshoot

34:46 | Jan 3rd

On The Gist, the government shutdown continues. In the interview, impeachment proceedings have never removed a president from office (in Bill Clinton’s case, they even offered a bump in approval ratings). So is it really the best route for those who ...Show More

Andy Serkis, Motion Capture Master

32:39 | Dec 28th, 2018

On The Gist, Mike Pesca is leaving Facebook, mostly. In the interview, Andy Serkis is here to discuss his newest movie, Mowgli: Legend of the Jungle, along with the film’s star Rohan Chand. They talk about the magic of working in motion capture, how ...Show More

The Babies Are Not All Right

29:45 | Dec 28th, 2018

On The Gist, why do daily news podcasts think they can take off for the holidays? In the interview, journalist Priska Neely has been writing about the rates of black infant mortality and why they’re so much higher than American infant mortality rates...Show More

The Same Old Mike, Plus The New One

32:14 | Dec 22nd, 2018

On The Gist, Donald Trump is to "wall" as zombies are to "braaaains."In his Broadway show (The New One) Mike Birbiglia tells you why procreation is a terrible idea, before waxing lyrical on the joys of raising a daughter—it’s complicated; he’s compli...Show More

Free Money for Everyone?

34:45 | Dec 21st, 2018

On The Gist, Amazon or marijuana? In the interview, Andrew Yang has declared his candidacy for the 2020 presidential election, and his platform is universal basic income. But how does that work? Is there room for that and other progressive platforms ...Show More

Adam Keeps Ruining Everything

34:53 | Dec 20th, 2018

On The Gist, the government shutdown and Santa. In the interview, Adam Conover joins us to discuss the latest season of Adam Ruins Everything, how they ruin things like guns and mattresses, the mistakes they’ve made along the way, and if there are an...Show More

The Alt-Right Downturn

36:18 | Dec 19th, 2018

On The Gist, why Mick Mulvaney’s trash talk didn’t cost him a job under Trump.In the interview, is the alt-right waning? An expert on the movement, George Hawley, says that de-platforming worked to counter hateful figures like Milo Yiannopoulos and A...Show More

Don’t Trust the Stars

28:52 | Dec 18th, 2018

On The Gist, maybe Rudy Giuliani isn’t deteriorating. Rather, his job now (defending Trump’s shenanigans) is tougher than any he’s had.Maria Konnikova is back to call bullshit on astrology. She walks us through its origins in ancient Chaldea, its pop...Show More

Decisions, Decisions, Decisions

32:49 | Dec 15th, 2018

On The Gist, the demise of the Weekly Standard. Then, going with your gut isn’t always best (despite what President Donald Trump may tell you). Writer Steven Johnson says making better decisions can be as simple as considering multiple options instea...Show More

One Quiet Leap for Mankind

30:41 | Dec 14th, 2018

On The Gist, Jeff Bezos is one rich man. That doesn’t make him (and Amazon) bad for New York City.In the interview, First Man is as much about Neil Armstrong the man as it is about Neil Armstrong the astronaut. Instead of depicting him planting a U.S...Show More

When the President Speaks …

29:57 | Dec 13th, 2018

On The Gist, President Trump interrupted Nancy Pelosi because he interrupts everyone.In the interview, the deputy executive director of U.N. Women, Åsa Regnér, knows how to bring more women into politics. Countries like Bolivia, Rwanda, and those in ...Show More

Halls of Fame Need Diversity, Too

39:06 | Dec 12th, 2018

On The Gist, it’s tough to find a host for the Oscars.In the interview, the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame can quickly become incestuous, since past winners get to vote on future inductees. But this year’s 15 nominees break the mold of guitar-slinging dude...Show More

They Can’t Hear You, Theresa

28:06 | Dec 11th, 2018

On The Gist, the bottomless Pinocchio. Americans are filled with anxiety in the pursuit of happiness, and social media isn’t making it any better. But how do we even define happy, and will changing our online habits actually change anything? Author R...Show More

High Time for Impeachment?

36:46 | Dec 8th, 2018

On The Gist, the GOP isn’t overtly racist. But it once was.In the interview, Liz Holtzman was the youngest woman to be elected to the House of Representatives, and she did it in 1973. She also served as a member of the House Judiciary Committee as th...Show More

The Walk of the Town

29:10 | Dec 7th, 2018

On The Gist, is Sherrod Brown annoying? In the interview, Matt Green is on a yearslong mission to walk all the streets of New York City—and Jeremy Workman filmed him doing many of them for a documentary, The World Before Your Feet. Alongside Workman ...Show More

The Eulogy Myth

29:56 | Dec 6th, 2018

On The Gist, stop wishing Jews happy holidays if Hanukkah has already passed. How do you explain wit? James Geary attempted to answer that question with his new book, Wit’s End: What Wit Is, How It Works, and Why We Need It, but quickly found that th...Show More

Sullying a Pup’s Good Name

24:53 | Dec 5th, 2018

On The Gist, a “tariff man” sing-along! Then, Maria Konnikova is back for another round of “Is That Bullshit?” She and Mike discuss the cigar-shaped space object (known as ‘Oumuamua) picked up by astronomers last year. Was it an alien vehicle, or jus...Show More

Wild Wild Story

30:49 | Dec 4th, 2018

On The Gist, in doing less than his son did in the Middle East, George H.W. Bush did better.In the interview, Wild Wild Country was one of the year’s most riveting documentaries. But one of its sources, journalist Les Zaitz, argues that it pulls punc...Show More

Very Legal, Very Cool

31:40 | Dec 1st, 2018

On The Gist, should people be let go for one bad idea? 30 for 30 has been a hugely successful documentary series in both video and audio form for ESPN. Jody Avirgan sits at its podcast helm with a new season covering stories like Jose Canseco’s stero...Show More

How to Shoot a Fight

31:05 | Nov 30th, 2018

On The Gist, cows are beef, even if they’ve reached internet fame.In the interview, Steven Caple Jr. watched everything from Jean-Claude Van Damme movies to street-fight videos before directing Creed II, the latest film in the Rocky franchise. He joi...Show More

The Parent Police

33:59 | Nov 29th, 2018

On The Gist, the Nancy Pelosi nonstory (spoiler alert: she’s going to win the speakership) is distracting us from the Trump administration’s latest misdeeds.In the interview, Kim Brooks received 100 hours of community service in 2011 for leaving her ...Show More

Would the U.S. Win World War III?

31:06 | Nov 28th, 2018

On The Gist, Cindy Hyde-Smith is on the MAGA wagon. In the interview, the U.S. has long been the global leader in military spending. But is that enough to guarantee victory in a war against Russia, China, or both? Aaron Mehta covers the Pentagon for ...Show More

Make Voting Rights Sexy Again

36:06 | Nov 27th, 2018

On The Gist, Danielle Pletka’s thoughts on climate change and Saudi Arabia.In the interview, the Republican Party’s voter suppression isn’t the result of philosophy or values—it just helps them win. In making the fight over voting rights public, Demo...Show More

Obesity, and You, and Me!

35:22 | Nov 21st, 2018

On The Gist, the state of the runoff Senate election down in Mississippi.Fat shaming is inexcusable. But so is denying some of the health problems that come with being obese. Maria Konnikova gives us a pre-Thanksgiving report on the latest science an...Show More

The Many, Many Ways to Think About Running

33:31 | Nov 21st, 2018

On The Gist, a historian at the White House Correspondents’ Dinner? Why not?When a young Peter Sagal was labeled “not great at sports,” it didn’t sit well with him. But if that drove him to running in the first place, he now has plenty of reasons to ...Show More

Uncle Verne Pulls Up a Chair

32:51 | Nov 20th, 2018

On The Gist, violent, vicious, and terrible. These are a few of Trump’s favorite words.In the interview: Verne Lundquist announced sports games for decades. But in retirement, he has more time for classical music than whatever game is on TV. “I’m not...Show More

Ben Stiller’s Big Prison Break

32:50 | Nov 17th, 2018

On The Gist, President Donald Trump has finally made a nomination for ambassador to South Africa. And it is a terrible one.It’s hard to make comedy when your story, like Ben Stiller’s latest direction, is based on a state inspector general’s report. ...Show More

Cult Classic

30:14 | Nov 15th, 2018

On The Gist, Nancy Pelosi and new House leadership.Then, the self-help organization known as NXIVM had thousands of paying customers, but only some were involved in the cultish operations that, once exposed, brought it crashing down. In Uncover: Esca...Show More

Priming New York for Amazon

35:03 | Nov 15th, 2018

On The Gist, who’s running in 2020? Should we even speculate yet? Time for another segment of Mike debates Slate. Staff writer Henry Grabar is here to discuss Amazon’s choice of New York City, why people seem to keep misunderstanding what subsidies a...Show More

More Show Than Showdown

32:40 | Nov 14th, 2018

On The Gist, when will everyone stop walking and chewing gum at the same time? In the interview, it may have been a political stunt ahead of the midterms, but president Trump’s deployment of U.S. service members to the border continues. What are they...Show More

The Love of the (Basketball) Game

32:26 | Nov 13th, 2018

On The Gist, what kind of sped-up sports replays is Kellyanne Conway watching?The simplicity of basketball is also its genius, allowing players to exercise skill, heart, genius and passion in endlessly creative ways. Dan Klores embraces just that in ...Show More

Two Countries, at the Cost of One

30:35 | Nov 10th, 2018

On The Gist, by any previous standard, we’d be saying that President Donald Trump lost the midterms, plain and simple.In the interview, Tuesday’s midterms saw red states get redder and blue ones bluer. If results like those keep repeating themselves,...Show More

In a Political Bind? Call Bradley Tusk

36:37 | Nov 9th, 2018

On The Gist, the Democrats’ big win.Bradley Tusk has been in the background everywhere. His hand guided the rise of big political and tech brands, from advising Rod Blagojevich not to extort Rahm Emanuel to facilitating Uber’s explosive growth. He jo...Show More

A Congresswoman Speaks

32:11 | Nov 8th, 2018

On The Gist, was last night a wave or not? If congresswoman Jackie Speier still kept a gratitude journal (“I don’t have time to do it!”), it would include an entry about the Democratic Party reclaiming the House in Tuesday’s midterms. Instead she’s o...Show More

Just Ask Mimi

31:46 | Nov 7th, 2018

On The Gist, who gets to vote? Mimi Sheraton, the first female food critic at the New York Times, has had a prolific career sharing her opinion on everything like ladyfinger sellers, hope chests and china patterns, and why we’re all eating kale wrong...Show More

What Newt Gingrich Wrought

35:22 | Nov 6th, 2018

On The Gist, live, from Slate, it’s a post-apocalyptic skit that just might come to pass if you don’t vote on Tuesday.In the interview, for decades, there was no need to hope for (or fear) a blue wave; until 1994, the Democratic Party enjoyed a 40-ye...Show More

Root for the Dummy

33:30 | Nov 2nd, 2018

On The Gist, the Republican tax bill and insurance premiums.In the interview: a third-century monk, Paul Revere’s horse, and Death himself … all are characters in humorist Simon Rich’s latest book, Hits and Misses: Stories—and none are in on the joke...Show More

Political Parties, American Tribes

36:00 | Nov 1st, 2018

On The Gist, Pew’s analysis of European opinion surveys is out. Let’s look at Greece!In the interview, the American electorate has come to sort itself not just on political issues, but by worldview. Life is either a gauntlet of hazards (say Republica...Show More

Hate Counts

31:50 | Oct 31st, 2018

On The Gist, Trump’s xenophobic campaign, with a Spooktacular twist!In the interview, hate is hard to measure, but the Southern Poverty Law Center paints a picture of growing prejudice in America. Heidi Beirich and the organization’s Intelligence Pro...Show More

Signed, Sealed, Forgotten

33:22 | Oct 31st, 2018

On The Gist, Mike’s bottom five causes. In the interview, we rewind to the story of the mail bomber, which was quickly eclipsed by a massacre in Pittsburgh and one loud president. Steve Johnson, who directs Cranfield University’s Forensic Explosive a...Show More

For Every Brand, a Backstory

32:31 | Oct 30th, 2018

On The Gist, surprise surprise, right-wing commentators aren’t apologizing for getting the mail bomber story totally wrong.In the interview, brands don’t make it big by mistake. Behind the success of Starbucks’ pumpkin spice latte and Jell-O are stor...Show More

The Blue Blizzard

33:22 | Oct 26th, 2018

On The Gist, the man in the van is a sad man indeed.  Harry Enten is a senior writer and analyst for CNN Politics and steeped in the polling data for the election. Will Beto O’Rourke beat Ted Cruz?  Is the blue wave cresting early? And why do Democra...Show More

Et Tu, NBC?

30:10 | Oct 25th, 2018

On The Gist, Georgia’s exact match law is an extra hurdle for those with hyphenated last names, which, let us speculate, may be more common among black Americans.In the interview, CNBC contributor Ron Insana on Dow drops, market swings, and the uncer...Show More

Blame It on the Mailer

29:54 | Oct 24th, 2018

On The Gist, Megyn Kelly’s take on blackface was obviously wrong … and wrong for NBC’s messaging.Sleep isn’t for the weak; it’s for those who want their brains flushed of misfolded proteins and fatigue-inducing adenosine. If that sounds like mumbo-ju...Show More

Something in the Water

31:58 | Oct 24th, 2018

On The Gist, first we’ve got misleading statistics.  In 2016, Art Cullen wrote a series of editorials for the Storm Lake Times, a small newspaper in Iowa, uncovering the murky depths of a fight between local and state governments about water pollutio...Show More

The NFL Mafia

33:23 | Oct 23rd, 2018

On The Gist, ’tis the season (elections!) for baseless political analysis, courtesy of big network news.Americans spend countless hours watching football, but what do they know about the owners of their favorite teams? In Big Game: The NFL in Dangero...Show More

Prison Guard Confidential

33:27 | Oct 20th, 2018

On The Gist, Europeans are fighting over daylight saving time, which is way better than having a World War.Mother Jones reporter Shane Bauer has been on both sides of a prison’s bars. After spending two years as a political prisoner in Iran, he retur...Show More

Land of (Only Some) Opportunity

35:09 | Oct 18th, 2018

On The Gist, Democrats might actually be winning. Supporters of open immigration policy—and immigrants themselves—often have a rosy view of what awaits them in the United States. National Review executive editor (and Slate alumnus) Reihan Salam says ...Show More

Myth Management

31:26 | Oct 18th, 2018

On The Gist, bone saws and Jamal Khashoggi. When Joe Hagan began working on the story of Jann Wenner and Rolling Stone, Wenner was on board. But as Wenner slowly realized Hagan was writing the true story rather than Wenner’s story, things got a bit r...Show More

Between a Rock and a Funny Place

30:02 | Oct 17th, 2018

On The Gist, Saudi Arabia, Trump, and Jamal Khashoggi. Comedy Cellar owner Noam Dworman has had a post-scandal Louis C.K. take to his stage six times now. Why does he welcome him, and if he doesn’t draw the line at Louis, is it somewhere else? In the...Show More

Bare Necessities? Not in Alaska.

29:55 | Oct 16th, 2018

On The Gist, unpacking CNN’s list of top Democratic challengers ahead of 2020.Katmai National Park and Preserve’s publicity stunt worked: For one week (that’s Fat Bear Week), the internet delighted in the tournament bracket that would crown the plump...Show More

Olive Branch, Turkey Leg

30:48 | Oct 13th, 2018

On The Gist, how coverage of bisexuality has changed (for the better).Thanksgiving approaches, and with it all the tension that comes with mixing family and politics in the age of Trump. In that setting, Ike Barinholtz saw grist for a political comed...Show More

Going to The Good Place

31:38 | Oct 12th, 2018

On The Gist, Beto O’Rourke and Ted Cruz. At first The Good Place on NBC appears to be a light and easy sitcom about a bad apple accidentally dropped into heaven, but look at little deeper and you’ll find a smart and dense comedy about moral philosoph...Show More

And What About Yemen?

36:03 | Oct 11th, 2018

On The Gist, should we continue to trust Facebook with our data? Saudi Arabia’s disastrous war with rebel tribes in Yemen is 3½ years deep, as is America’s support for it. Michael Knights, senior fellow at the Washington Institute for Near East Polic...Show More

Guarding the Court

28:44 | Oct 10th, 2018

On The Gist, it would be cynical to view the Supreme Court as illegitimate.Brett Kavanaugh has done it. But how will the other members of the Supreme Court treat him? And does his promotion affect the American people’s faith in the nation’s highest c...Show More

Take Down the Poll

28:12 | Oct 6th, 2018

On The Gist, after all of that, not a single senator changed his or her vote to back (or stop) Kavanaugh.In the interview, Jill Lepore’s new book focuses in part on the marginalized groups forgotten by other American histories. It also denounces the ...Show More

Sitting President, Standing Anger

27:50 | Oct 5th, 2018

On The Gist, the hippocampus has its moment.Tom Arnold believes incriminating tapes of Donald Trump are out there, and he wants to find them. In his new series for Viceland, The Hunt for the Trump Tapes, he’s looking for anything from more Access Hol...Show More

Reignited (and It Feels So Good)

36:44 | Oct 3rd, 2018

On The Gist, Brett Kavanaugh’s high school and college buddies had some weird nicknames, and it’s not helping his case.Rebecca Traister is angry, and she knows other women are too. Events from Trump’s election through the #MeToo movement inspired her...Show More

Mueller on the Mind

31:19 | Oct 3rd, 2018

On The Gist, Beto O’Rourke has the momentum but also a mountain to climb. In the interview, Neal Katyal has argued 37 cases before the Supreme Court, and (better yet!) joined Mike Pesca on stage at Slate Day in Austin, Texas. Our condensed version of...Show More

College-Aged Coddling

28:54 | Oct 1st, 2018

On The Gist, guest host John McWhorter considers campus safe spaces.  In the past few years, college campuses have been shifting away from havens for free speech to safe spaces that bar divisive speakers from campus. But is this the right move, or ar...Show More

The Kavanaugh Conspiracy

30:42 | Sep 29th, 2018

On The Gist, guest host Isaac Butler talks about all the news we forgot about thanks to the Kavanaugh hearing. The Constitution is a sacred text in America, but should it be? Heidi Schreck’s play What the Constitution Means to Me tackles that questio...Show More

Losing Hate

28:24 | Sep 27th, 2018

On The Gist, the Kavanaugh hearing. By all accounts, Derek Black was supposed to become the next David Duke. He was the man’s godson, after all, and his father, Don Black, had founded Stormfront, the world’s first and biggest white nationalist websit...Show More

The Land of Steady Filmmaking

27:35 | Sep 27th, 2018

On The Gist, the GOP hired a woman!Nicole Holofcener’s films have centered women for more than two decades, but her latest one, The Land of Steady Habits,focuses on a man’s tumultuous story arc. She joins us to talk about adaptations (it was a novel ...Show More

Generation Anxiety

32:04 | Sep 26th, 2018

On The Gist, Trump gets laughs at the United Nations. After a few eccentric comedy specials, Bo Burnham next turned to his sympathy for the anxieties of middle school girls, and made a movie. If Eighth Grade (starring Elsie Fisher) seems to imitate l...Show More

That’s the First Straw

31:49 | Sep 25th, 2018

On The Gist, how the breaking news machine bungled the Rod Rosenstein story.In the interview, California is set to ban certain restaurants from serving straws unless customers ask for one. But given that straws represent a tiny fraction of the plasti...Show More

Tight Countries, Loose Countries

33:27 | Sep 21st, 2018

On The Gist, National Review has one good take on the Brett Kavanaugh confirmation story … and a lot of bad ones.In the interview, we’re used to thinking of societies along the “liberal/conservative” spectrum, but cultural psychologist Michele Gelfan...Show More

What Is … a Podcast, Alex?

28:07 | Sep 20th, 2018

On The Gist, Christine Blasey Ford deserves a hearing on her own terms, and that’s all we can say for now. Bert Kreischer is a comic who started out as just the biggest college partier in America according to Rolling Stone magazine in 1997. Since the...Show More

Coal Over Climate

31:21 | Sep 20th, 2018

On The Gist, the latest in inane Trump statements.Climate change is bigger than any one of us, including the president of the United States. Given his backward policies and denials of scientific fact, he deserves his share of criticism in the afterma...Show More

Owe Me the Money

29:09 | Sep 19th, 2018

On The Gist, taking issue with the sloppy headlines about the support (or lack thereof) for Brett Kavanaugh.In the interview, Stacey Abrams’ run for governor in Georgia has been criticized because of her huge outstanding debt. That got report...Show More

Ethan Hawke’s Earnest Art

30:36 | Sep 18th, 2018

On The Gist, Hurricane Florence. Ethan Hawke has stunned us with his earnest, moving performances on-screen, but he’s also a talent behind the camera. His new directorial feature Blaze explores the life and love of the largely forgotten musician Blaz...Show More

Democratic Socialists of America, for the Win?

31:13 | Sep 15th, 2018

On The Gist, Vladimir Putin, RT, and the Salisbury poisoning.  Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez might have scary values to conservatives. But to the national director of the Democratic Socialists of America, she’s a moderate. Maria Svart calls the DSA a “big...Show More

After Family Separations, a Settlement

27:52 | Sep 14th, 2018

On The Gist, John Hockenberry’s piece in Harper’s. Donald Trump is no stranger to settlements, and the latest of these come between his administration and hundreds of asylum-seekers. They were rejected after making their cases under the duress of bei...Show More

Billionaires Don’t Know Best

33:26 | Sep 12th, 2018

On The Gist, Vladimir Putin’s “private citizen” excuse doesn’t hold water.In the interview, philanthropic billionaires are better than villainous ones, but Anand Giridharadas argues they could do better. Instead of insisting on the superiority of pri...Show More

DeRay Mckesson Makes the Case for Hope

35:12 | Sep 12th, 2018

On The Gist, Mike is thinking he’ll vote Andrew Cuomo—but he’s open to you changing his mind.The 2014 shooting of Michael Brown upheaved many things in the U.S., including the career of DeRay Mckesson, who quit his job as an educator to become a full...Show More

Stylometry for Dummies

30:03 | Sep 11th, 2018

On The Gist, are we having a national crisis?The New York Times’ publication of an anonymous op-ed has sparked rounds of speculation as to who’s behind it—and the deep-state trappings it describes. Some see the word “lodestar” as signature Mike Pence...Show More

If You Want Power, Sell It

30:02 | Sep 7th, 2018

On The Gist, Lincoln, Kennedy, and Lincoln Kennedy could all speak better than President Trump.If you’re old enough to remember November 2016, you know that telling a good story—even an untrue one—wins elections. Author Yuval Noah Harari worries that...Show More

The DoD Payroll Just Got Smaller

26:32 | Sep 6th, 2018

On The Gist, Brett Kavanaugh’s confirmation hearing. The Pentagon’s third-in-command is reportedly losing his job, and it’s hardly making news. As the Defense Department’s first-ever chief management officer, John Gibson is in charge of saving billio...Show More

Hedging Your Bets With Lake Success

26:45 | Sep 5th, 2018

On The Gist, Bob Woodward’s good intentions.Wealth and road trips are two of America’s favorite obsessions. In his new novel, Lake Success, Gary Shteyngart explores these themes through the story of a hedge fund manager who, after a crisis, takes a t...Show More

Farming for Red Herring

23:56 | Sep 4th, 2018

On The Gist, Brett Kavanaugh’s Supreme Court confirmation is all but certain.A recent Donald Trump tweet gave credence to a bogus (and dangerous) claim: that South Africa’s white farmers are the first targets in a looming genocide. Quartz reporter Ly...Show More

Bright Gays, Big City

27:57 | Sep 1st, 2018

On The Gist, Democrats, Republicans, and the N-word.Facebook now has television shows. While it might be surprising for viewers, for creators it’s an exciting new avenue to find an audience for shows not necessarily meant for the mainstream. Stranger...Show More


28:21 | Aug 30th, 2018

On The Gist, there’s no use sugarcoating Starbucks’ Frappuccino.And in the interview… unprecedented! Preposterous! Unimaginable! Trump’s presidency and the GOP’s machinations actually do have antecedents, says historian Heather Cox Richardson. They’r...Show More

Fake News Is Nothing New

24:15 | Aug 30th, 2018

On The Gist, war games are back.Hoaxes have fooled us at least since the era of P.T. Barnum, but they’re especially prevalent in our era of political disinformation. Kevin Young is the author of Bunk: The Rise of Hoaxes, Humbug, Plagiarists, Phonies,...Show More

Gerrymandering and You

27:05 | Aug 29th, 2018

On The Gist, Louis C.K. isn’t as despised as Twitter makes it seem, which is why an eventual comeback is likely.In the interview, Maria Konnikova breaks down the science of fasting, and why it’s currently associated with cancer treatments. Can it rea...Show More

#AbolishICE … and Then What?

27:24 | Aug 28th, 2018

On The Gist, the news media reveres John McCain because he failed with grace—and wasn’t too conservative.Chances are you’ve heard #AbolishICE before. Journalist and activist Sean McElwee kick-started it and argues it’s not just the agency that needs ...Show More

Crazy Rich Asians Is Important

21:32 | Aug 25th, 2018

On The Gist, guest host Stephanie Foo dives into Crazy Rich Asians, speaking with friend and fellow producer Kat Chow about Asian representation in media, the inspiration to create, and a hope that this film will lead to more Asian-centered media. Th...Show More

Sweep the Left

24:41 | Aug 23rd, 2018

On The Gist, nobody move or the economy gets it, Trump says. The guys behind the left’s most irreverent podcast (Chapo Trap House) want the Democratic Party to forget about Robert Mueller and set their sights on 2020. But in the short term? They’re r...Show More

Don’t Touch The “I” Word

25:31 | Aug 22nd, 2018

On The Gist, guest host Alex Roarty thinks Sen. Elizabeth Warren has a way better message than simply “impeach Trump.”    #NeverTrump Republicans are a vanishing breed. Crooked Media’s Tim Miller is one of them, and he tells Alex that the news media’...Show More

Trolls and Trump's Lies

21:33 | Aug 21st, 2018

On The Gist, guest host Max Kerman considers why politicians are getting duped by Sacha Baron Cohen.Trump has lied so many times since he took office that it’s difficult for the normal person to focus on them. Luckily we’ve got Daniel Dale at the Tor...Show More

What Happened to “America’s Mayor”?

32:35 | Aug 20th, 2018

On The Gist, how will Rudy Giuliani go down in history, and in public memory?The midterm elections are looming, and the big question is how far the Democrats will go. Are they really likely to retake the House of Representatives? And how would that a...Show More

Listening to Inanimate Objects

34:04 | Aug 17th, 2018

On The Gist, if Trump weren’t so repulsive, would we judge his murky dealings a little more kindly?And we don’t much think about the inanimate objects in our lives, never considering the rich inner life of the lamppost, the can of Coke, or the humble...Show More

Goodbye to the Queen of Soul

29:46 | Aug 17th, 2018

On The Gist, the free press.Aretha Franklin has died at 76, and she was much more than a golden voice. Slate’s Chris Molanphy recalls her talents at the piano and in the composition room, where she wrote timeless music and, with her covers, transform...Show More

The Heart of Reality Television

24:53 | Aug 15th, 2018

On The Gist, autocracy isn’t always bad for an economy. But as Turkey shows, idiocy definitely is.Reality television has a reputation for uninhibited narcissism, ruthless competition, and terrible business pitches. But when Jon Murray created The Rea...Show More

Democracy Needs a Reboot

29:52 | Aug 15th, 2018

On The Gist, should news outlets halt election coverage on Election Day?“Usually, if you look at American history, we’ve kind of taken a relook at our democracy every 50 years.” And now we’re overdue, according to Jason Kander, an Army veteran and De...Show More

Trump’s Pyrite Touch

26:51 | Aug 14th, 2018

On The Gist, Trump is a racist? That’s not much of a scoop, Omarosa.There were plenty of Republicans standing against Donald Trump—before he won the White House. After the 2016 election, many of them traded in their values for a seat on the bandwagon...Show More

Gist Presents: Slow Burn

46:10 | Aug 11th, 2018

Mike Pesca talks with Leon Neyfakh, host of the Slate podcast Slow Burn, about season two of the hit show. Subscribe to Slow Burn here. 

Venturing Into Obscurity

25:43 | Aug 10th, 2018

On The Gist, “the so-called chairman of the Intelligence Committee,” Devin Nunes. Superheroes and comic books may seem ripe for parody nowadays with the constant onslaught of nerd media, but The Venture Bros. has been doing it for years. Part Jonny Q...Show More

On Bended Knee

27:51 | Aug 10th, 2018

On The Gist, Trump’s lack of income disclosures. Colin Kaepernick took a stand in 2016 by taking a knee during the national anthem at a football game, sparking a debate about racial injustice that continues to roil. But he’s just the latest in a long...Show More

Regulate Me

26:00 | Aug 9th, 2018

On The Gist, Jay Sekulow and Rudy Giuliani. The financial crisis of 2008 wasn’t just an American phenomenon. It was felt all across the globe, with other Western countries suffering the same pain, but enough hasn’t been done about our banks to ensure...Show More

The Egyptian Seesaw

33:01 | Aug 8th, 2018

On The Gist, Trump’s lies and steel mills.The Arab Spring caused a major shift in Egypt in 2011, and the politics only got murkier during the military coup in 2013. But are autocrats really the best allies for the United States, or just for our curre...Show More

The Smart Drug

26:25 | Aug 7th, 2018

On The Gist, Turkey and Trump.We’ve got another round of Is That Bullshit? Drugs treating cognitive malfunctions like narcolepsy, ADHD, and Alzheimer’s disease, are useful for people with those conditions—but what about the rest of us? Can ADHD medic...Show More

Where Is Space?

30:12 | Aug 3rd, 2018

On The Gist, guest host Jeffrey Lewis fills in for Mike and talks about trying to solve big problems.Regulating space is tough because it surrounds the whole world, and people can’t even agree where the Earth’s atmosphere stops and space begins. Jona...Show More

My Life as a Sitcom

29:48 | Aug 2nd, 2018

On The Gist, QAnon and sound design.Comedian Guy Branum is a hilarious intellect with an intimidating amount of pop culture knowledge. In his new book, My Life as a Goddess: A Memoir Through (Un)Popular Culture, Branum explores things like his love o...Show More

Quarter for Carter

30:38 | Aug 2nd, 2018

On The Gist, who makes the CNN Sucks onesie?Jimmy Carter’s reputation is that of an ineffective president. But his chief domestic policy adviser, Stuart Eizenstat, argues that Carter fought for America’s energy independence, doubled the size of the n...Show More

Courting Politics

27:13 | Jul 31st, 2018

On The Gist, let’s face it: A.I. and robots are going to take jobs from us humans.Brett Kavanaugh’s Supreme Court nomination has restarted the debate on how we vet candidates and whether the Supreme Court is too easy to game. Lori Ringhand, a profess...Show More

They’re More Bad Than We Are Good

36:37 | Jul 31st, 2018

On The Gist, sorry, not every product gets to be a lifestyle brand.A few decades ago, it wasn’t uncommon for voters to support the presidential candidate from one party and the senator from another. “Ticket-splitting” is pretty rare now, and as Alan ...Show More

The Pushback Artist

42:27 | Jul 28th, 2018

On The Gist, do we really have to give up plastic straws?Then, and more seriously: a look back on a recent episode.On Wednesday, The Gist ran an interview with Allison Yarrow about 90s Bitch, her book about sexism in the age of 24-7 news coverage. An...Show More

The Real Deep State

26:08 | Jul 27th, 2018

On The Gist, the glee of seeing Facebook stock take a dive. Imran Khan is poised to lead Pakistan as its next prime minister. The former cricket star campaigned on a promise of transparency, but his focus “is only on anti-corruption when it comes to ...Show More

Lights, Camera, Sexism

33:52 | Jul 26th, 2018

On The Gist, let’s imagine what’s in that “enhanced” Michael Cohen tape.Born in the 1990s, the 24-hour news cycle was especially unkind to women. The media of the age consistently bashed women’s sexuality, ambition, and presentation of women such as ...Show More

The BS! It’s Everywhere!

29:55 | Jul 25th, 2018

On The Gist, President Trump’s high approval ratings aren’t as significant as they seem.America is a playground for the rich, and that’s in good part because of the expansion of lobbying that started in the 1970s. Steven Brill lays out the many ways ...Show More

When Death Row Stalls

25:54 | Jul 23rd, 2018

On The Gist, we’re proposing a 2018 Housing and Urban Development festival in Sonoma, California.Convicted killer Scott Dozier was scheduled to become Nevada’s first executed inmate since 2006, until the procedure was canceled with just hours to go. ...Show More

Bobcat Revival

22:48 | Jul 20th, 2018

On The Gist, ideals are better when kept as general as possible because the more specific the get, the more exclusive they become.Bobcat Goldthwait made a name for himself with an oddball stand-up act complete with shrieks, grunts, and experimental j...Show More

Democracy Dies in Dark Money

28:14 | Jul 19th, 2018

On The Gist, about those outlandish celebrity baby names.When the Supreme Court’s Citizens United decision made unlimited campaign contributions legal, one state put up a fight. In Dark Money, documentary filmmaker Kim Reed and journalist John Adams ...Show More

A Piece of Pai

31:15 | Jul 19th, 2018

On The Gist, Girl Scouts are earning cybersecurity merit badges.Sinclair Broadcast Group is trying to acquire Tribune Media so it can extend its television reach, but Federal Communications Commission Chairman Ajit Pai is throwing up roadblocks, whic...Show More

The Schoolyard President

26:57 | Jul 18th, 2018

On The Gist, the crocodile massacre in Indonesia that got no attention.Work-life balance gets a lot of lip service, but we rarely pull it off. Brigid Schulte, host of the Better Life Lab podcast, is looking for solutions in a world of late-night work...Show More

Are You Being Servered?

26:44 | Jul 16th, 2018

On The Gist, Trump’s press conference with Putin and the red herrings involved.Silicon Valley is steeped in self-made mythology, with stories about giants like Mark Zuckerberg, Steve Jobs, and Marissa Mayer. But how did Silicon Valley really come int...Show More

Pardon the Arson

29:17 | Jul 13th, 2018

On The Gist, it turns out your ethnicity is really easy to guess.AnneMarie Sgarlata got rid of her TV months ago, but she still heard about President Trump’s pardon of Dwight and Steven Hammond this week—and she wasn’t happy. Sgarlata was among the l...Show More

A Cancer on the Court

30:19 | Jul 13th, 2018

On The Gist, the biases of Peter Strzok and the need to connect accusations with actual evidence.President Trump’s first appointment to the Supreme Court, Neil Gorsuch, benefited from anonymous donations worth millions. To Rhode Island Sen. Sheldon W...Show More

Gridiron Man

32:45 | Jul 11th, 2018

On The Gist, “Brett” has got to be the lamest name among Supreme Court justices (or nominees).“If Jim Brown’s the past, Michael Bennett’s the future.” So says sports writer Dave Zirin, who recently published both a biography of Brown and co-authored ...Show More

Don't Forget About Sex

31:53 | Jul 11th, 2018

On The Gist, Trump isn’t strategic or defiant, he’s just rapacious. When discussing #MeToo, the focus is often on the power that men exerted when sexually harassing women, but are their sexual motivations getting left out of the conversation? Emily Y...Show More

The Hole Picture

27:36 | Jul 10th, 2018

On The Gist, comparing Trump’s antics to a reality show is no longer a scarlet letter.Yes, there are storytelling competitions, and Matthew Dicks wins a lot of them. His secret? Keep it visual, and forget about the tangents. Dicks’ new book is Storyw...Show More

Just Use My Data, People

26:43 | Jul 7th, 2018

On The Gist, the shamelessness of the Wall Street Journal editorial board on Scott Pruitt leaving the Environmental Protection Agency.Advertisements are a pain, interrupting our television programs and distracting us while we play games on our phones...Show More

How Quickly We Forget

29:32 | Jul 6th, 2018

On The Gist, Scott Pruitt is out as the head of the Environmental Protection Agency because it turns out someone really can be too corrupt for Trump.Let us next turn to the Supreme Court—not in America, but Poland, where the rightwing government is f...Show More

Song, Dance, and Confirmation

28:07 | Jul 3rd, 2018

On The Gist, let’s watch the latest viral video from the conservative right.A certain group of Sherlock fans were convinced that John Watson and Sherlock would fall in love. When they didn’t, those fans turned on the showrunners. But what responsibil...Show More

Shameless Mitch

27:04 | Jul 3rd, 2018

On The Gist, Mitch McConnell’s values have changed—again!Lounging around in the heat of a sauna might feel nice, but is it good for you, too? Maria Konnikova has gone through the studies (most of them from Finland, where you can’t throw a hot rock wi...Show More

In 12,000 Words

34:37 | Jun 30th, 2018

On The Gist, President Trump’s demonization of journalists is awful, but it’s not the first thing to blame for the Capital Gazette shooting.The Atlantic recently ran a lengthy article about kids who consider the process of gender transition. Many cri...Show More

Does Authenticity Matter?

24:49 | Jun 29th, 2018

On The Gist, the return of In Search Of hosted by Zachary Quinto, which used to be hosted by Leonard Nimoy, made us notice all the times actors have filled the shoes of others through multiple different reboots. The FIFA World Cup is great, but only ...Show More

The Self-Sufficiency Court

28:59 | Jun 28th, 2018

On The Gist, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s primary victory was thanks to low voter turnout. She still deserves it!Lawfare’s executive editor Susan Hennessey says Trump’s SCOTUS-approved travel ban is more dangerous in how it changes norms than how it ch...Show More

The Unpopular Vote and a Few Justices

27:14 | Jun 27th, 2018

On The Gist, what a Trump tweet can teach us about wine.The latest school shootings have galvanized an already politically minded generation. Harvard’s John Della Volpe studies the voting habits of millennials, and how they could swing election resul...Show More

The New Rules of Civility

29:29 | Jun 26th, 2018

On The Gist, why is the Democratic National Committee being held responsible for Hollywood and the media?Calvin Buari dealt crack in the Bronx, but that doesn’t make him a killer. Buari was convicted of a double murder in 1995 and started a campaign ...Show More

Who Needs Subtext, Anway

31:20 | Jun 22nd, 2018

On The Gist, Rep. Jim Jordan’s underwhelming attention to detail.  Franchesca Ramsey burst onto the YouTube scene with her viral video, “Shit White Girls Say… to Black Girls.” Ramsey’s latest video project, MTV News’ Decoded, is similar: fun, earnest...Show More

A Song You Can Graduate To

28:31 | Jun 21st, 2018

On The Gist, those beacons of honesty—retiring Republican members of the Congress. Cremation has the carbon footprint of a 1,000-mile road trip, your average bee has nearly 1 million brain cells, and only 3 to 4 percent of gossip is actually “malicio...Show More

Quitters Can’t Be Leaders

22:54 | Jun 20th, 2018

On The Gist, how President Trump made not breaking up families look like his idea. Why are the U.S.’s political parties weak? Is the “job guarantee” policy smart? Do voters perceive the economy accurately? Dan Pfeiffer has all the answers. He’s a for...Show More

Polarization Nation

32:29 | Jun 19th, 2018

On The Gist, the inaugural edition of “whoah there, girl!”Political parties are like people: They grow and change, their values shift, and sometimes they become downright belligerent. Lilliana Mason says America’s two political parties are in the mid...Show More

Oh, Stephen

25:32 | Jun 19th, 2018

On The Gist, if we can’t pronounce Peter Strzok’s name right, how will we remember his newfound infamy?If you consider yourself progressive, chances are Trump’s presidency feels like a nightmare. But Politico’s Michael Grunwald returns to the Gist wi...Show More

The Heisenberg Presidency

29:50 | Jun 15th, 2018

On The Gist, why he lies: a new theory. “I’ve hit rock bottom. I’m writing for a cartoon.” Such were the thoughts of Mike Reiss when he joined the writers’ room for The Simpsons in 1989. Thirty years later, he’s worked on all but two seasons of the s...Show More

When Border Policy Crosses the Line

30:11 | Jun 15th, 2018

On The Gist, McClatchy White House correspondent Franco Ordoñez explains the ramifications of the Trump administration’s “zero tolerance” policy to prosecute migrants who cross the border illegally. One early consequence: The U.S. government needs mo...Show More

Cup of Corruption

28:43 | Jun 13th, 2018

On The Gist, some fun facts about U.S. Senate candidate Corey Stewart.In 2010, a certain Christopher Steele was hired to look into Russia’s bid to host the World Cup in 2018. What he found ultimately led to a U.S. investigation into FIFA’s thoroughgo...Show More

Summit Skeptical

35:31 | Jun 12th, 2018

On The Gist, a brief review of President Trump’s roster of losers (and winners). Clint Watts is a man of many strengths. He’s a former FBI agent and a cybersecurity expert. He can break down information warfare to bleary-eyed U.S. senators. He’s been...Show More

G-7 Hangover

28:26 | Jun 12th, 2018

On The Gist, if the Trump-Kim summit goes as poorly as the president’s business ventures, we’re doomed.Maria Konnikova is here to smoke out false claims about cannabidiol, or the CBD oil extracted from cannabis. Can it help with insomnia, depression,...Show More

Comedians Can Be Well-Adjusted, Too

30:55 | Jun 8th, 2018

On The Gist, president Trump raised the bar on what’s considered a gaffe, and EPA head Scott Pruitt is taking advantage of that.Very few comedians have never been to therapy. Jerry Seinfeld is one. Tom Papa is another. Papa tells us about cracking jo...Show More

#MeToo and McYoga

31:43 | Jun 8th, 2018

On The Gist, comparing Bill Clinton to basketball great Michael Jordan.Bikram Choudhury’s status as a star yoga guru gave him license to be odd (spiritual but with a soft spot for luxury cars, and always wearing a Speedo). But there was more to it th...Show More

James Clapper: Yeah, Russia Swung the Election

26:58 | Jun 6th, 2018

On The Gist, IHOP is changing its name to IHOb. And Mike is here to make fun of that.James Clapper was a senior intelligence adviser for both Republican and Democratic administrations. He was also part of the team that informed President-elect Donald...Show More

So You Think You Know About Race

27:32 | Jun 6th, 2018

On The Gist, at this point, whatever the Trump administration doesn’t say under oath is very possibly untrue.In 1963, Robert F. Kennedy met with black America’s greatest artists and intellectuals to talk about race. “And they lit his ass up,” accordi...Show More

Shots Fired, but Not Really

31:18 | Jun 5th, 2018

On The Gist, no matter how well the economy goes, pundits can always tell a scary story.What do we get wrong about Darwinism? Evolutionary ornithologist Richard O. Prum says the theory was distorted by Victorian prudes. He explains why a closer look ...Show More

It's Not Just You

28:03 | Jun 1st, 2018

On The Gist, an appreciation of the man who invented Pong. Barbara Lipska’s career as a neuroscientist did not prepare her to identify the dark effects of her own brain tumors diagnosed in 2015.  There’s studying a damaged brain, and then there’s hav...Show More

Folks, We’re Talking About the C-Word

28:24 | Jun 1st, 2018

On The Gist, Samantha Bee said it first, so let us meditate on the C-word.In defense of Googling your own name: Kirsten Pflomm is a white woman from Connecticut who did an online search 15 years ago and discovered she was the descendant of Iceland’s ...Show More

Our Trade Snore With China

26:54 | May 30th, 2018

On The Gist, have you heard the one about the journalist who faked his own death to dodge Russian assassins?It’s boom times for female buddy comedies. Mike talks to director Alex Richanbach and screenwriter Lauryn Kahn about their new Netflix comedy,...Show More

Chris Gethard Can't Fake It

33:19 | May 29th, 2018

On Tuesday’s Gist, Roseanne gets run out on a rail.Comedian Chris Gethard reflects on how things have changed for his madcap live show, starting from its days on a public access channel to its current home on TruTV. “It’s more a TV show than it’s eve...Show More

Ratatouille Got It Wrong

30:26 | May 26th, 2018

On The Gist, we here at Slate take GDPR compliance very seriously … just not in this monologue.Before SNL, David Wain says, the countercultural comedy torch belonged to National Lampoon. The laugh magazine was created by Harvard graduates and became ...Show More

Deal With Fake News Yourself, Facebook

30:58 | May 24th, 2018

On Thursday’s Gist, tips for avoiding fake news? Thanks but no thanks, Facebook.There’s a new documentary out about the Steubenville, Ohio, rape case, and it got us thinking about the flaws in the public’s perception of that saga. Reporter Derek John...Show More

Thanks for Protesting … Now Stop

30:32 | May 23rd, 2018

On The Gist, the NFL can’t give a decent explanation for its kneeling ban.Philip Roth’s novels about Jewish life earned him every accolade short of, famously, the Nobel Prize. Mark Oppenheimer, the host of the podcast on all things Jewish (Unorthodox...Show More

Girls Rule, and Boys Think They Rule More

31:38 | May 23rd, 2018

On today’s Gist, whatever happens in the governor’s primary in Georgia Tuesday night, it will be a big step forward for women named Stacey.Neuroscientist and education researcher Sara Brownell explains what she found studying how gender affects stude...Show More

Two-Party Problems

26:30 | May 22nd, 2018

On The Gist, Hawaii’s “laze” is some seriously bad branding.In the interview, our two-party system may seem inevitable, but political scientist Sam Rosenfeld digs into its engineered history, including the 1950 government report that pushed the count...Show More

Breaking Up Comedy's Boys Club

46:10 | May 18th, 2018

On The Gist, our attempt to track the new scoops that affected the Mueller investigation. We’re not playing “Is That Bulls--t” on the show today, but if we were, comedy writer Nell Scovell would probably say, “Yes.” Yes, the dearth of women in late-n...Show More

Becky Hammon's Next Big Shot

30:12 | May 18th, 2018

On today’s Gist, the Alex, Inc. drinking game you can play with the whole family.Becky Hammon is an assistant coach for the San Antonio Spurs and is a leading candidate to become the first female head coach in the NBA. Hammon got passed over this wee...Show More

Disconnecting the Dots in Israel

34:18 | May 17th, 2018

On today’s Gist: laurel or yanny? We have questions about the protests in Israel. Daniel Shapiro is here to answer them. Shapiro was the U.S. ambassador to Israel for most of the Obama administration. He is now a visiting fellow at the Institute for ...Show More

Introducing Upon Further Review

28:43 | May 15th, 2018

On today’s Gist, we’re tearing up the playbook. We’re playing the first episode of our new limited-run podcast, Upon Further Review, based on the book of the same name. In this episode, Slow Burn host Leon Neyfakh imagines how American history might ...Show More

Does Your Face Need a Workout?

32:13 | May 14th, 2018

On today’s Gist, is Sen. John McCain really the greatest political leader of all time?Have you heard of face gyms? Beauty gurus are rushing to recommend exercises for the forehead, chin, and cheeks to look younger and healthier. Our expert bullshitol...Show More

Why Putin Matters

34:25 | May 12th, 2018

On The Gist, the mainstream media is too buttoned-up when describing the Trump administration’s shenanigans.There is no Russian Federation as we know it without Vladimir Putin. Former Ambassador to Russia Michael McFaul explains how parts of Russian ...Show More

The Long, Long Road of Tiger Woods

28:23 | May 10th, 2018

On The Gist, torture is torture, and the news media should call it that.Tiger Woods dominated his sport like perhaps no other athlete. But that success came at a price. Woods’ almost military upbringing as a golfing machine lead to a lack of interper...Show More

Some Interrogation

31:04 | May 9th, 2018

On today’s Gist, Michael Cohen has weaved a tangled web, but the mere fact that it’s confusing doesn’t mean we can assume he’s a criminal. Tim Weiner wrote the definitive book on the CIA in 2008 with his Legacy of Ashes. Today, he helps decipher the ...Show More

Donald and the Don

36:13 | May 9th, 2018

On Tuesday’s Gist, the undoing of the Iran deal. Democrats are tense. 2018 is supposed to be a banner year for the left, but the party is struggling to balance an energized base and an unpredictable general electorate. As a result, there have been a ...Show More

Jake Tapper's Very Particular Kind of Escapism

34:23 | May 8th, 2018

On today’s Gist, there’s a special place in hell for women who don’t want Gina Haspel to run the CIA. Jake Tapper’s latest book is The Hellfire Club. It’s a work of historical fiction; a political thriller set in the 1950s, when Washington was grippe...Show More

The Dangerous Hits of 1991

32:41 | May 4th, 2018

On The Gist, a movie pitch: Kushner family racket. Returning champion Chris Molanphy takes us back to 1991 and its chart toppers: Mariah Carey's explosive debut, the Swedish group that topped the charts for a fourth time (it wasn't ABBA!), and the Mi...Show More

Call of Rudy 2

25:57 | May 4th, 2018

On today’s Gist, what’s this about a Tony Award–winning dry cleaner?Presidential inexperience does not always lead to failed presidencies. Some traits can temper inexperience—like the depressive realism of Abraham Lincoln or Lyndon B. Johnson. Other ...Show More

Gen. Michael Hayden

32:39 | May 3rd, 2018

On today’s Gist, a fond farewell to Ty Cobb. Gen. Michael Hayden was running the National Security Agency and then the CIA, he couldn’t talk about our national security risks. If he could have, most people would have listened to him. But things are d...Show More

How We Screwed Over Puerto Rico

31:38 | May 2nd, 2018

On today’s Gist, thick-as-bricks Lego thieves come a-tumbling down.Hurricane recovery has been a disaster in Puerto Rico. NPR’s Laura Sullivan wanted to know why. So she found documents revealing a FEMA in shambles. She traced Puerto Rico’s economic ...Show More

A Wolf in Wolf's Clothing

28:30 | May 1st, 2018

On today’s Gist, President Trump’s Nobel in the making. There is no market quite like the boomers—that was true when they were young, and it remains true as they enter their 60s and 70s. So how do you market to the olds? The answer lies in a few bust...Show More

ISIS Isn't Done With

23:05 | Apr 27th, 2018

On The Gist, when your sympathy for the poor goes beyond platitudes, Paul Ryan fires you.In the interview, the New York Times’ Rukmini Callimachi has a new podcast. Caliphate lays out how she knows what she knows about ISIS. Through her reporting in ...Show More

Old Man Donald

31:46 | Apr 27th, 2018

On Thursday’s Gist, EPA chief Scott Pruitt’s behavior is too plainly unethical to sweep under the rug.What does a Malaysian party boy have to do with President Trump’s potential breach of the Emoluments Clause? Reveal’s Amy Walters and WAMU’s Patrick...Show More

Korematsu, Revisited?

27:34 | Apr 26th, 2018

On Wednesday’s Gist, you didn’t think Trump’s latest political nominee was scandal-free, did you?And as the Supreme Court weighs Trump’s travel ban on Muslim-majority countries, one of its most notorious decisions still stands. Korematsu v. United St...Show More

The Plain Prince

36:06 | Apr 24th, 2018

On Tuesday's Gist, Donald Trump’s win has inspired a whole bunch of down-ballot Republicans, and boy, are they lame.What is retroactive classification, and is it going to get former FBI Director James Comey in trouble? Bradley P. Moss specializes in ...Show More

The State of State

34:05 | Apr 24th, 2018

On The Gist, Sen. Bob Corker’s definition of a “gotcha question” is a bad sign for public discourse these days.Before his Pulitzer Prize-winning investigation into the rampant sexual abuse allegations against Harvey Weinstein, Ronan Farrow worked in ...Show More

The Zen of Cohen

34:05 | Apr 21st, 2018

On today’s Gist, the retroactively classified memos of James Comey. New Yorker writer Adam Davidson says the raids on Michael Cohen’s offices signal the beginning of the end for the Trump presidency. Here’s why: Cohen is the key to learning about Tru...Show More

Comey Can't Confess

21:20 | Apr 19th, 2018

On The Gist, if Chuck Schumer gets his way with decriminalizing marijuana, we can finally say goodbye to the lowest-hanging fruit: pot jokes.Crooked Media founder Jon Lovett finds the James Comey book deeply frustrating—to read, to hear about, to con...Show More

A Fuller Obituary for Barbara Bush

30:03 | Apr 18th, 2018

On today’s Gist, don’t all these senators know the depths of CIA Director Mike Pompeo’s patriotism?Plus, why are chemical weapons useful to Bashar al-Assad? “They’re really weapons of terror,” explains Aaron Stein, co-host of the Arms Control Wonk po...Show More

The Taint Team Cometh

27:05 | Apr 17th, 2018

On Tuesday’s Gist, that old Watergate maxim, “the cover-up is worse than the crime,” should be revised to recognize the Michael Cohen effect. Plus, we take a closer look at the vertical merger of AT&T and Time Warner, and why the Justice Department h...Show More

James Comey's Ego Trip

31:30 | Apr 17th, 2018

On Monday’s Gist, we’re counting Pulitzers and powering up. Jeremy Heimans and Henry Timms sort power into two categories: old and new. Old power is like Congress: top-down, official. New power is like Facebook: decentralized, crowd-sourced. What is ...Show More

Chemistry No More

30:11 | Apr 14th, 2018

On The Gist, have you heard? Chemistry has been debunked. Thank Russia.Ed Helms is best known for comedic roles—see Andy Bernard on The Office. But in the drama Chappaquiddick, Helms plays Joseph Gargan, the cousin and lawyer of Sen. Ted Kennedy. Gar...Show More

"I Never Said That"

25:41 | Apr 12th, 2018

On The Gist, Zuckerberg’s hearings got crowded out by bigger news. Too bad.Facts are facts, even in the greatly polarized year that is 2018. Holmes Lybrand writes the Weekly Standard’s “Fact Check” series, and even though it isn’t all about Trump’s l...Show More

Tax Cut Conundrum

25:14 | Apr 12th, 2018

On The Gist, Paul Ryan cared about just one thing: cutting taxes.Word choice is not always the most stimulating place to start an interview with an author, but it works when you’re talking to Sloane Crosley. The essayist defends metaphors like “Holoc...Show More

It's Regulation Time

28:21 | Apr 10th, 2018

On The Gist, beware the rise of the despot’s son-in-law.In the interview, media scrutinizer Brooke Gladstone wrote a graphic novel about the “Influencing Machines” that we often blame modernity’s problems on. Facebook is the latest of these, but this...Show More

Zuck Everlasting

27:51 | Apr 9th, 2018

On The Gist, president Trump just doesn’t have the ambition to tackle a problem like Syria.It’s a critical week for Facebook. Mark Zuckerberg has two dates with Congress, where he’ll be answering questions on the company’s loss of millions of its use...Show More

Andrew Cuomo's Pun Problem

30:07 | Apr 6th, 2018

On today’s show, we don’t need a whole shadow Cabinet—we just need a shadow Trump. Comedian Hari Kondabolu is back—and this time, he brought his brother. Hari came to comedy after working as a community activist, but his younger brother, Ashok, was a...Show More

Kevin Williamson Dies by the Sword

36:25 | Apr 5th, 2018

On today’s Gist, London’s enviable crime wave. Plus, what will we think of the Obama presidency in 50 years? Julian Zelizer set out to get really smart people to “take a first cut” at the Obama legacy on an array of issues. One person from his brain ...Show More

Oh Good, It Was Just a Handgun

28:53 | Apr 4th, 2018

On today’s Gist, why the YouTube shooter’s use of a handgun doesn’t take anything away from arguments to outlaw the AR-15.Plus, Radley Balko tells the story of two men who put innocent Mississippians behind bars using junk science and pseudo-expert t...Show More

Shulkin Be Sulkin'

22:27 | Apr 3rd, 2018

On Tuesday’s Gist, an ode to the end of March Madness. Plus, Maria Konnikova returns to play our favorite game. Are parabens really bad for you? Konnikova is a contributing writer to the New Yorker and author of The Confidence Game. In the Spiel, why...Show More

Clinging to Guns Is Our Religion

33:00 | Apr 2nd, 2018

On Monday’s Gist, the White House press corps needs a break. And guest host Mary Wilson knows who should take their place in the interim.Plus, editor Charles C. W. Cooke explains why he thinks repealing the Second Amendment would b...Show More

In Defense of the Pun

27:30 | Mar 31st, 2018

On The Gist, Good Friday is actually pretty great, from a cosmic perspective.In the interview, Aparna Nancherla tells us how to go from introverted kid (“my mom was very afraid of how unassertive I was”) to making it in comedy.In the Spiel, a deep di...Show More

On Conservative Voices

26:47 | Mar 30th, 2018

On The Gist, the Department of Energy has a chief creative officer? Let’s roll with it.In the interview, upstanding Pennsylvanian Amanda Holt updates us on the state’s new congressional district lines.In the Spiel, some hyperlinks are all hype, espec...Show More

Know Thy Enemy

26:20 | Mar 29th, 2018

On The Gist, Sean Hannity doesn’t like this podcast.In the interview, Korea expert Bruce Bechtol tells us what might be going on in Kim Jong-un’s mind and how to set it on denuclearization.In the Spiel, president Trump might be acting tough on Russia...Show More

Corruption Just Isn't Telegenic

27:36 | Mar 28th, 2018

On The Gist, forget Stormy Daniels. The Kushners’ massive loan deals are where the real dirt is at.In the interview, the world’s growing complexity can be measured in dusty cables, useless features, and lines of code. Chris Clearfield and András Tilc...Show More

Hitler's Art Dealer

28:28 | Mar 27th, 2018

On The Gist, “affair” is too rich a word to describe anything Donald Trump is emotionally capable of.In the interview, arts reporter Mary M. Lane tells us about the art collection looted by Hitler’s art dealer, inherited by that dealer’s son, and fin...Show More

Spies Are People Too

35:56 | Mar 24th, 2018

On The Gist, Donald Trump’s presidency brings race relations, at best, to a standstill. Case in point: the police shooting in Sacramento, California.   The Americans is back for its final season next week. Showrunners Joel Fields and Joe Weisberg tal...Show More

As Statues Fall, Racism Stays

22:21 | Mar 23rd, 2018

On The Gist, what to make of yet another round of White House reshuffling.    As mayor of New Orleans, Mitch Landrieu has used his office to take down four of the city’s Confederate monuments. His new book reckons with race relations in his city, the...Show More

This Storm Ain't Brewing

31:01 | Mar 22nd, 2018

On The Gist, even if we get a law to make Robert Mueller unfireable, President Trump could trample all over it.  In the interview, sports journalist Mary Pilon tells the story of Olympic sailor Kevin Hall’s struggle with the Truman Show delusion (whe...Show More

Will Democracy Survive Trump?

25:37 | Mar 21st, 2018

On The Gist, before Donald Trump’s headline-hogging presidency, things like bridge collapses made news for more than a few days.  In the interview, Cass Sunstein’s new book asks if the U.S. is fundamentally immune to authoritarianism, or whether pres...Show More

Are Receipts Toxic?

19:03 | Mar 19th, 2018

On today’s Gist, we’re nixing the Spiel to go on a Slate Podcasts retreat! Shouldn’t the White House staff have their own officewide retreat day? Plus, Maria Konnikova considers receipt paper toxicity: Is it BS? Konnikova writes for the New Yorker an...Show More

The Year Groove Went Mainstream

30:24 | Mar 17th, 2018

On The Gist, “meddling” is too weak a word to describe what Russia did during in the U.S. election. In the interview, Chris Molanphy walks us through the No. 1 hits of 1969, the year flower power and psychedelic pop went fully mainstream. Chris is th...Show More

Hot or Not: Presidents' Edition

25:30 | Mar 15th, 2018

On The Gist, the Trump administration walks back a line about U.S. trade with Canada. And which American president was the studliest? Kate and J.D. Dobson are out with a book that considers Ulysses S. Grant’s quiet charisma, Franklin Pierce’s youthfu...Show More

The Rogue at State

29:31 | Mar 15th, 2018

Well, it’s a tough day to be Fox News. On today’s Gist, a closer look at the Department of State. It’s not that Rex Tillerson was wrong to want to reform how we do diplomacy—it’s that he utterly failed to deliver. Tom Hill, a visiting fellow at the B...Show More

The Heroes of Colombia

33:37 | Mar 14th, 2018

On today’s Gist, the lesser-known story of Colombia: Maria McFarland Sanchez-Moreno has written a moving account of Colombia’s post–Pablo Escobar years, when the illegal drug trade was taken up by one of the factions in the country’s long-running civ...Show More

Russian Doping, Revisited

31:58 | Mar 12th, 2018

On The Gist, is it OK to ape a Russian accent when saying Russian names?And we revisit an interview with filmmaker Bryan Fogel, whose documentary, Icarus, recently won an Academy Award.In the Spiel, a short conversation with author Steven Pinker abou...Show More

North Korea Is Setting the Table

32:11 | Mar 10th, 2018

On The Gist, if sitting down with North Korea wasn’t a good idea for past U.S. presidents, how is it a good idea for our current one?       In the interview, Slate’s Fred Kaplan and former Ambassador to the U.N. Bill Richardson are both cautiously op...Show More

No Rules for the Wicked

22:57 | Mar 9th, 2018

On The Gist, it’s a Jon Favreau–flavored mash-up: Swing Wars. In the interview, the walls cave in, the props catch fire, the actors stammer and forget … and it’s all part of the plan. Kevin McCollum, one of the producers of Broadway’s longest-running...Show More

Guns, Controlled

29:52 | Mar 8th, 2018

On The Gist, who’s left to work for Trump when even the nincompoops are quitting?   In the interview, Richard Aborn has helped get gun control laws on the books. As president of the Citizens Crime Commission of New York City, he has the data on what ...Show More

The Scapegoat in Chinatown

30:30 | Mar 7th, 2018

On The Gist, Lego business is hurting.  In Steve James’ latest documentary, the bank is the good guy. New York’s district attorney brought charges against a Chinatown-based bank after the 2008 financial crisis, even though the bank had little to do w...Show More

Ben Carson's Not Worth the Outrage

29:48 | Mar 6th, 2018

On The Gist, if iHeart Media wants to do better, they really ought to change their name.   Did you watch the Oscars? Did you think they were a little lame? Writer Catie Lazarus provides a safe space for your Academy Awards–related shade. Lazarus is h...Show More

Rejecting Jared

28:16 | Mar 3rd, 2018

Well, what do you know? In 2016, Trump tweeted that he wasn’t trying to get a top security clearance for his son-in-law, Jared Kushner. A year later, he’s finally right. On The Gist, what’s so special about an octopus? Slate’s Daniel Engber has a tak...Show More

Watching for a Backtrack

27:51 | Mar 2nd, 2018

Today on The Gist, a unified theory of Donald Trump. Plus, Trump dragged his fellow Republicans and made his Democrats grin like Cheshire cats at the televised meeting on gun control. What are the chances that the White House lets Trump’s comments st...Show More

Heal Thyself, Dana Loesch

35:36 | Mar 1st, 2018

Quick, who’s the Federal Reserve chairman? If you can’t remember, take heart: Our minds are filled to capacity with the flotsam and jetsam of the Trump White House.On The Gist, are you as virtuous as you think? Likely not. Christian Miller delved int...Show More

The Abbreviated Highlight Reel of Stacey Dash

34:16 | Feb 28th, 2018

Hang onto your skirts: Clueless co-star Stacey Dash is running for Congress. On The Gist, returning champion Maria Konnikova is back to sum up the social science on poker tells: Are they BS? Konnikova writes for the New Yorker and is the author of Th...Show More

Dissing Dianne Feinstein

32:26 | Feb 27th, 2018

On The Gist, President Trump’s latest poetry reading. Last week on the show, we talked about the manifold reasons for optimism in the world. This week, Harvard cognitive scientist Steven Pinker builds on that argument, adding that we’ve had a roughly...Show More

Don't Fall for It

30:40 | Feb 23rd, 2018

On The Gist, Trump boosted an empty idea at CPAC: arming teachers to stop mass shooters. In the interview, Derek DelGaudio is the magician of our time. His one-man show, In & of Itself, questions identity in a political atmosphere that’s consumed by ...Show More

Who Can Check Big Tech?

33:08 | Feb 23rd, 2018

On The Gist, NBC’s coverage of Olympic athletes’ backstories is a little too obvious. Slate tech writers April Glaser and Will Oremus examine the most plausible methods for reining in our tech overlords. Glaser and Oremus are the hosts of Slate’s If ...Show More

The World Is Coming Up Roses

33:58 | Feb 22nd, 2018

On The Gist, Jeopardy! host Alex Trebek will be moderating a gubernatorial debate in Pennsylvania. Mike says no thanks.  In the interview, Gregg Easterbrook is ever the optimist. Despite what your push alerts and Facebook news feed are telling you, t...Show More

Free Money City

29:53 | Feb 21st, 2018

On The Gist, Team USA’s low medal count would be a bummer if these Winter Olympics weren’t so goofy.     In the interview, Stockton Mayor Michael Tubbs didn’t campaign on universal basic income, but he’s bringing it to his city. Later this year, some...Show More

Ban the AR-15

29:33 | Feb 17th, 2018

On The Gist, the market for “how to survive a shooting spree” videos shows how far we’ve strayed in dealing with gun violence.   Interracial marriage on a national level has only been legal for 50 years, after the landmark Supreme Court decision Lovi...Show More

Which Side Are You On?

31:27 | Feb 16th, 2018

Filling in for Mike Pesca today is Leon Neyfakh, still smoldering after his first season as host of Slate’s hit podcast, Slow Burn. Leon is indulging in a new fascination lately: the latest “left Twix vs. right Twix” ad campaign and its insistence th...Show More

Runaway Military Spending

24:36 | Feb 15th, 2018

On The Gist, names are stupidly important when it comes to getting elected.  The Trump administration is proposing a boost in military spending, but the country’s defense budget actually peaked under President Obama during the troop surge for the war...Show More

Spoon-Fed by the Feds

26:36 | Feb 14th, 2018

On The Gist, on the White House budget’s effort to replace half of food-stamp funding with crappy meal boxes. How do you fix one of the most gerrymandered states in the country? It helps to have a tireless amateur mapmaker in your ranks. Mike talks t...Show More

Don’t Call It a White House Shake-Up

26:58 | Feb 13th, 2018

On today’s Gist, we get metaphysical. The White House is always in chaos. But can chaos be a permanent condition? Maria Konnikova returns to play our favorite game and answer the question: Does an athletic uniform’s color affect the athlete’s perform...Show More

Dumb About Deficits

27:36 | Feb 10th, 2018

On The Gist, it’s The $10,000 Pyramid with a budget deal twist. Is it possible we don’t know enough about national debt to call our politicians when they’re peddling nonsense? New Yorker staff writer Adam Davidson addresses some common misconceptions...Show More

Is the Iran Deal a Dud?

25:54 | Feb 9th, 2018

On The Gist, the “When did you stop beating your wife?” question in the White House press briefing. In the interview, Iran may have shelved its nuclear ambitions, but the Middle East is still in trouble. Slate’s Joshua Keating wonders if the Iran dea...Show More

The Longest War Is Lost

29:02 | Feb 8th, 2018

Trump wants a parade. On The Gist, America's longest war, in Afghanistan, rumbles on under a third U.S. president. There is still no exit plan. Steve Coll’s new book explores the covert side of America’s campaign in Afghanistan and the secretive Paki...Show More

America Adrift

31:34 | Feb 7th, 2018

Listen, chattering classes: Let’s at least chatter correctly. We take a minute on the proper name pronunciation for the scandals of the day. Today on The Gist, U.S. foreign policy is a mess. But U.S. foreign policy has been a mess for decades. Ian Br...Show More

Phil Rosenthal Eats the World

31:36 | Feb 6th, 2018

On The Gist: Dow goes down, Trump gets mad.  In the interview, comedian Phil Rosenthal went to six cities across the globe to eat everything they had to offer and put it on Netflix. He tells Mike about his new show, Somebody Feed Phil, and the creati...Show More

Philly vs. Boston

31:42 | Feb 3rd, 2018

On The Gist, Super Bowl LII is an occasion to ask the age-old question: Who’s more obnoxious, people from Philadelphia or Boston? Plus, Another Period takes the Gilded Age as its setting to satirize the worst of reality TV: extravagant wealth, petty ...Show More

LBJ, Reconsidered

27:24 | Feb 1st, 2018

Lyndon B. Johnson doesn’t always get the consideration he deserves as one of America’s great presidents. On today’s Gist, historian Joshua Zeitz says LBJ’s fight for welfare reform and civil rights redefined the country, even as those legal achieveme...Show More

We Still Have No U.S. Ambassador to South Korea

33:43 | Feb 1st, 2018

On The Gist, Trey Gowdy bows out. Fred Kaplan explains why foreign policy experts are concerned by the Trump administration’s move to renege on its choice of ambassador to South Korea at the last minute. Kaplan writes the War Stories column for Slate...Show More

When All the Jobs Are Gone

30:06 | Jan 31st, 2018

On The Gist, the pomposity and circumstantial evidence of the State of the Union. Janesville, Wisconsin, had the oldest operating GM assembly plant in the country until 2008. The factory’s closure left thousands of employees in the lurch. Amy Goldste...Show More

The Scholarly Kareem Abdul-Jabbar

28:05 | Jan 30th, 2018

On The Gist, get your clutching pearls ready. Russia alleges that the U.S. is trying to interfere in its election. Kareem Abdul-Jabbar has been politically precocious since well before his own sports scholarship at UCLA. His latest column for the Gua...Show More

Good Night, Portlandia

34:33 | Jan 27th, 2018

On The Gist, the Doomsday Clock would be scary if it weren’t so bogus.In the interview, after years of gently poking fun at Portland, Oregon’s chill-but-not vibe, Portlandia is on its final season. Series co-star Carrie Brownstein unpacks the show’s ...Show More

He Got Trump’s Taxes

31:28 | Jan 26th, 2018

From the annals of monkey research, how 10 primates were gassed in the service of a bad study.Today on The Gist, investigative reporter David Cay Johnston, who has been reporting on President Trump long enough to simply call him Donald. Johnston has ...Show More

Odds, Ends, and Senators

34:47 | Jan 25th, 2018

On The Gist, Devin Nunes probably doesn’t know squat.  In the interview, Democrats hold most of the Senate seats up for grabs in this year’s midterms, which means they have a lot to lose. But importantly, mathematician Jordan Ellenberg says election ...Show More


33:29 | Jan 24th, 2018

On The Gist, more details come out about Garrison Keillor.In the interview, it turns out something can be good for your taste buds without being bad for your health. Monosodium glutamate has gotten a bad rap since 1968, when a medical journal suggest...Show More

The Dems Have a Bad Hand

28:03 | Jan 23rd, 2018

On The Gist, what just happened? And are Democrats sniveling losers or Machiavellian savants?  McClatchy reporter Alex Roarty explains why the animating force driving both Democrats and Republicans right now is a loud conservative minority. In the Sp...Show More

One Year Down

33:45 | Jan 20th, 2018

Up first on The Gist: It appears the Stormy Daniels story checks out.  Plus, Saturday marks the first anniversary of President Trump’s inauguration. The hosts of Slate’s Trumpcast join Mike to revise old predictions, make new ones, and consider wheth...Show More

Busted: A Gist Productions Parody

29:53 | Jan 19th, 2018

On The Gist, how about those Fake News Awards, huh?  Alan Jacobs questions your ability to think for yourself. Can you really rid yourself of your biases, or do you just develop better biases? Are you really any better than your estranged friends at ...Show More

Wait and CR

28:48 | Jan 18th, 2018

On The Gist, the bad news from Freedom House. U.S. Air Force officer Edward Lansdale promoted a “hearts and minds” approach to diplomacy in the Philippines and Vietnam, only to be steamrolled by America’s elite class of policymakers. Max Boot tells u...Show More

Nukes and Crannies

33:09 | Jan 17th, 2018

On The Gist, the press is too squeamish to clarify that “shithouse” isn’t much better than “shithole.” In the interview, more on fire and fury—nuclear fire, rhetorical fury, and the consequences of both. Jeffrey Lewis and Aaron Stein, hosts of Arms C...Show More

Teenage Brains Are Just Different

25:00 | Jan 13th, 2018

On The Gist, Mike examines Trump’s bottom-of-the-barrel statements on immigration. In the interview, Dina Temple-Raston explains how she became fascinated by the teenage brain. After years of covering terrorism for NPR, she was stunned to see so many...Show More

Is Trump Insane? Does It Matter?

31:25 | Jan 12th, 2018

On The Gist, Mike skewers a columnist for concluding that President Trump is sane.In the interview, comedian Judah Friedlander wants to let you know that his new comedy special is all him, even though it’s got Netflix’s name on it. The 30 Rock alum t...Show More

A Cry for Self-Help

29:11 | Jan 11th, 2018

On The Gist, a brief look at what Norway is doing right.  In the interview, we turn to self-help experts Kristen Meinzer and Jolenta Greenberg about the “new you” books that are good, bad, and absolute nonsense. Meinzer and Greenberg are hosts of the...Show More

Radio Reconciliation

33:25 | Jan 10th, 2018

On The Gist, Joe Arpaio’s life after pardon.   In the interview, MacArthur “genius” award winner Betsy Levy Paluck tells us about her research into mass media and public opinion. We might have the impression that our beliefs are based on reason. But ...Show More

What to Make of Fire and Fury

29:15 | Jan 9th, 2018

On The Gist, Sen. Lindsey Graham is defending the president extra hard on television … because he knows Trump’s watching. In the interview, NPR’s media correspondent David Folkenflik tells us what to make of Fire and Fury, the book that claims to rev...Show More

Going for Gridiron

37:42 | Jan 6th, 2018

On The Gist, third-party voters should answer for Donald Trump’s terrible policies at home and warmongering around the world. In the interview, fields don’t get much more male-dominated than those of the NFL. Our guest Jen Welter made history as the ...Show More

Move to the Center or Keep on Losing

34:35 | Jan 5th, 2018

On The Gist, Mike wonders whether the “winner picked out of a bowl” antics in Virginia’s House of Delegates will really matter much. In the interview, former Democratic Rep. Jason Altmire has straightforward advice for candidates in blue-collar Ameri...Show More

Killed, Then Counted

30:04 | Jan 4th, 2018

On The Gist, Mike calls foul on the mashup terms used to describe big weather events, such as the latest: bombogenesis.  In the interview, police shootings regularly make headlines, but what does the big picture look like? Sam Sinyangwe is a data ana...Show More

Behind the Scenes of Slow Burn

30:40 | Jan 3rd, 2018

On The Gist, Mike tips his hat to the musical talents of Utah Sen. Orrin Hatch, who announced his retirement Tuesday. In the interview, it took a perfect storm to bring down Richard Nixon’s presidency, and it’s not guaranteed that another will come f...Show More

It’s Fan Service or Bust

31:54 | Dec 30th, 2017

On The Gist, Mike is down with feminism but argues that woke should be Merriam-Webster’s word of the year instead. In the interview, Anjelah Johnson was living off grocery store gift cards in L.A. before a new thing called YouTube launched her comedy...Show More

Your Brain Is Bad With Money

37:07 | Dec 29th, 2017

On The Gist, Mike says goodbye to Roy Moore yet again, after an Alabama judge rejected Moore’s lawsuit to contest his opponent’s Senate win. In the interview, Dan Ariely tells us “how we misthink money and how to spend smarter.” That’s the subtitle o...Show More