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Slate's The Gist


A daily afternoon podcast about news, culture, and whatever else you'll be discussing with friends and family tonight.

A daily afternoon podcast about news, culture, and whatever else you'll be discussing with friends and family tonight.
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Washington, DC




A daily afternoon podcast about news, culture, and whatever else you'll be discussing with friends and family tonight.




Polarization Nation

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 middle of a shift, and it won’t be over anytime soon: “What happened to conservative southern Democrats after the Civil Rights Act passed? They didn’t like it. … It took an entire generation for conservative Southern Democrats to become...


Oh, Stephen

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 with the argument that Obama’s legacy is mostly intact—at least on the domestic front. Grunwald’s latest book is The New New Deal: The Hidden Story of Change in the Obama Era. In the Spiel, lookism be damned, it’s time to make fun of Stephen...


The Heisenberg Presidency

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 show, and says it’s had one real impact: making television smarter and faster. Reiss’ book, co-written with Mathew Klickstein, is Springfield Confidential: Jokes, Secrets, and Outright Lies From a Lifetime Writing for The Simpsons. In the Spiel,...


When Border Policy Crosses the Line

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 more places to detain children separated from their parents. In the Spiel, the nasty things celebrities say—and their supposedly enormous power to get people to vote stupidly. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit


Cup of Corruption

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 thoroughgoing sleaziness. There are, around the world, multiple criminal probes around FIFA, and BuzzFeed’s Ken Bensinger says “more shoes will fall.” Bensinger is the author of Red Card: How the U.S. Blew the Whistle on the World's Biggest Sports...


Summit Skeptical

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 known to track al-Shabaab adherents on Twitter. Watts returns to The Gist to explain how the U.S. government underestimated Russia, and how he himself fell for fake news when trying to protect his daughter. Watts’ new book is Messing with the...


G-7 Hangover

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, and epilepsy? We find out in the latest round of “Is That Bulls—t?” Konnikova is a New Yorker contributor and author of The Confidence Game. In the Spiel, the White House’s handling of the G-7 fallout was clueless, thin-skinned, and petty. In...


Comedians Can Be Well-Adjusted, Too

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 jokes at Minnesota Public Radio’s Live From Here and his new book, Your Dad Stole My Rake: And Other Family Dilemmas. In the Spiel, ’tis time for a Lobstar of the Antentwig (right after a response to some sexist tweets). Learn more about your...


#MeToo and McYoga

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 than quirkiness, as sexual assault allegations beginning in 2013 basically expelled Choudhury from the United States. ESPN’s Julia Henderson practiced Bikram Yoga, before capturing the rise and fall of its founder in a five-part podcast:...


James Clapper: Yeah, Russia Swung the Election

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 Trump of Russian interference in the 2016 election. Now, as a private citizen, Clapper says he believes Russia actually swung the vote. “That’s why you write books,” says Clapper. “Because you can express your opinions freely. And I did.” His...


So You Think You Know About Race

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,” according to our guest, making known just how much needed to be done to address racial inequality. Michael Eric Dyson wrote a book about the encounter and its relevance to race issues today. Dyson’s book is What Truth Sounds Like. In the Spiel, Miss...


Shots Fired, but Not Really

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 at bird sex shows us what’s really going on with adaptation and natural selection. Prum’s book is The Evolution of Beauty. In the Spiel, yes, “unindictable” would mean the president could commit any crime he wants, even the colorful ones. But...


It's Not Just You

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 having one. Lipska is the author of The Neuroscientist Who Lost Her Mind: My Tale of Madness and Recovery. In the Spiel, let’s hear it for the ancillary news. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit


Folks, We’re Talking About the C-Word

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 famous first black citizen, Hans Jonathan, who escaped slavery and became a war hero. In the Spiel, the Nobel Peace Prize? All President Trump wants are apologies and thank-you’s. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit


Our Trade Snore With China

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, Ibiza. Who said men have to star in all the movies about hedonistic sprees? In the Spiel, does anyone believe we have a coherent trade policy right now? Learn more about your ad choices. Visit


Chris Gethard Can't Fake It

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 ever been, the larger platforms that we get to,” says Gethard. “But … it’s me, it’s really me and I’m letting my guard down.” The season finale of The Chris Gethard Show airs Tuesday on TruTV. In the Spiel, the mysterious name of a famous Russian...


Ratatouille Got It Wrong

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 a creative laboratory for movies like Animal House and Caddyshack. Chief among them was Doug Kenney, the subject of Netflix biopic A Futile and Stupid Gesture, which Wain directs. In the Spiel, the nostalgia we feel around meals and dishes is...


Deal With Fake News Yourself, Facebook

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 explains how the dominant narrative of the case was warped by an amateur crime blogger and a protective football team, despite the efforts of local prosecutors. John and Anders Kelto reported the story for Gamebreaker[NP1], a podcast by...


Thanks for Protesting … Now Stop

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), argues that Roth’s “radical candor” was sharply original before becoming a model to imitate. In the Spiel, there are a lot of “peripheral rogues” in Trump’s orbit (how about those “taxi king” headlines?), but their public reckonings don’t...


Girls Rule, and Boys Think They Rule More

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 students’ perceptions of their own intelligence. Brownell is an assistant professor at Arizona State University. In the Spiel, consider the “no shit” factor in Trumpian news cycles these days. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit...