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The Experiment is coming to an end. For our final episode, we contemplate our strange, sometimes beautiful, often frustrating country. We go back to some of the people we met and fell in love with while making the show, and ask them how their version of the American experiment is going. A transcript of this episode is available.  Be part of The Experiment. Use the hashtag #TheExperimentPodcast, or write to us at theexperiment@theatlantic.com. This episode was produced by Alyssa Edes, Gabrielle Berbey, Julia Longoria, and Tracie Hunt, with editing by Michael May and Emily Botein. Fact-check by Sam Fentress. Sound design by David Herman. Transcription by Caleb Codding. Music by Water Feature (“Richard III (Duke of Gloucester)”), Naran Ratan (“Forever time Journeys”), H Hunt (“C U Soon”), Parish Council (“Heatherside Stores” and “Durdle Door”), and Ob (“Ghyll”), provided by Tasty Morsels.
In The Atlantic’s new series How To Start Over, Olga Khazan takes listeners on a journey of reinvention. How To Start Over is your guide to navigating life’s gray areas, whether knowing it’s time to make a career switch, repairing strained family ties, or forging new connections in a post-pandemic world.   Be part of The Experiment. Use the hashtag #TheExperimentPodcast, or write to us at theexperiment@theatlantic.com.
Deep in Yellowstone National Park, there’s a glitch in the U.S. Constitution where, technically, you could get away with murder. Lawmakers didn’t seem interested in fixing the problem until Mike Belderrain stumbled into the “Zone of Death” while hunting the biggest elk of his life. In a world with so many preventable deaths, The Experiment documents one attempt to avert disaster. This episode of The Experiment originally ran on February 4, 2021. A transcript of this episode is available. Be part of The Experiment. Use the hashtag #TheExperimentPodcast or write to us at theexperiment@theatlantic.com.  This episode was produced by Julia Longoria and Alvin Melathe, with editing by Katherine Wells and sound design by David Herman. Music by Water Feature (“In a Semicircle or a Half-Moon”), R McCarthy (“Big Game,” “She’s a Gift Giver, She’s a Giver of Gifts,” and “Melodi 2”), Ob (“Ell” and “Ere”), Parish Council (“Mopping”), H Hunt (“11e”), Column (“Quiet Song”), and Bwengo (“Première Mosrel”); catalog by Tasty Morsels. Additional audio from Montana State University Library’s Acoustic Atlas, the National Park Service’s Sound Library, C. J. Box, CNBC, C-SPAN, Vox, NPR’s All Things Considered, Idaho News 6, @ItsKeyes, and C-SPAN’s Book TV.
In June 1964, at the height of the civil-rights movement, the Ku Klux Klan burned a Black Methodist church to the ground in the town of Philadelphia, Mississippi, and murdered three civil-rights workers in cold blood. This crime became one of the most notorious of its era, shocking the nation on the eve of the passage of the Civil Rights Act and later inspiring a Hollywood blockbuster: Mississippi Burning. But when the reporter Ko Bragg started questioning how this history is being preserved in Philadelphia, she was confronted with a town that would much rather forget its violent past. Bragg finds a few Black residents taking it upon themselves to keep the story of this crime alive, and she asks where the burden of safeguarding history should lie.  A transcript of this episode is available. Further reading: “Who Will Remember the Mississippi Murders?”  Be part of The Experiment. Use the hashtag #TheExperimentPodcast, or write to us at theexperiment@theatlantic.com. This episode of The Experiment was produced by Gabrielle Berbey, with help from Salman Ahad Khan. Editing by Michael May and Julia Longoria. Reporting by Ko Bragg. Fact-check by Naomi Sharp. Sound design by Hannis Brown with additional engineering by Jennifer Munson. Transcription by Caleb Codding. Music by Naran Ratan (“East of Somewhere Else”) provided by Tasty Morsels. Additional music by Hannis Brown. Additional audio from Iowa PBS, HelmerReenberg, AP Archive, MGM, CBS Evening News, NBC News, C-SPAN.
At 19 years old, Aséna Tahir Izgil feels wise beyond her years. She is Uyghur, an ethnic minority persecuted in China, and few of her people have escaped to bear witness. After narrowly securing refuge in the United States, Aséna’s now tasked with adjusting to life in a new country and fitting in with her teenage peers.  This week on The Experiment, Aséna shares her family’s story of fleeing to the U.S., navigating newfound freedom, and raising her baby brother away from the shadows of a genocide.  This episode’s guests include Aséna Tahir Izgil and her father, Tahir Hamut Izgil, a Uyghur poet and author. This episode of The Experiment originally ran on August 19, 2021. A transcript of this episode is available. Further reading: “One by One, My Friends Were Sent to the Camps,” “Saving Uighur Culture From Genocide,” “‘I Never Thought China Could Ever Be This Dark,’” “China’s Xinjiang Policy: Less About Births, More About Control” Be part of The Experiment. Use the hashtag #TheExperimentPodcast, or write to us at theexperiment@theatlantic.com. This episode was produced by Julia Longoria, with help from Gabrielle Berbey and editing by Katherine Wells and Emily Botein. Fact-check by Yvonne Rolzhausen. Sound design by David Herman, with additional engineering by Joe Plourde. Translations by Joshua L. Freeman. Music by Keyboard (“Over the Moon,” “Mu,” “Water Decanter,” and “World View”), Laundry (“Lawn Feeling”), Water Feature (“Richard III (Duke of Gloucester)” and “Ancient Morsel”), Parish Council (“New Apt.”), and H Hunt (“C U Soon), provided by Tasty Morsels. A translation of Tahir Hamut Izgil’s poem “Aséna” is presented below.  Aséna By Tahir Hamut Izgil Translation by Joshua L. Freeman   A piece of my flesh torn away. A piece of my bone broken off. A piece of my soul remade. A piece of my thought set free.   In her thin hands the lines of time grow long. In her black eyes float the truths of stone tablets. Round her slender neck a dusky hair lies knotted. On her dark skin the map of fruit is drawn.   She is a raindrop on my cheek, translucent as the future I can’t see.   She is a knot that need not to be untied like the formula my blood traced from the sky, an omen trickling from history.   She kisses the stone on my grave that holds down my corpse and entrusts me to it.   She is a luckless spell who made me a creator and carried on my creation.   She is my daughter.
Judge Judy’s Law

Judge Judy’s Law

2022-05-0549:125

Almost 30 years ago, a fed-up Manhattan-family-court judge named Judith Sheindlin was sitting in her chambers when she got a call from a couple of television producers. They pitched her the idea for a TV show with Judy at its center.  The result was Judge Judy, one of the most popular and influential television series ever made. Over its decades-long run, it beat out The Oprah Winfrey Show in ratings, led to the explosion of court TV, and influenced how large swaths of Americans think about crime and justice.  The Experiment’s Peter Bresnan has been watching Judge Judy with his mom ever since he was a kid. But recently, he began to wonder how the show managed to become such a force in American culture, and what impact it’s had on the thousands of litigants who stood before Judy’s TV bench. What he found was a strange story about what happens when the line between law and entertainment starts to blur.  A transcript of this episode is available. Be part of The Experiment. Use the hashtag #TheExperimentPodcast, or write to us at theexperiment@theatlantic.com. This episode of The Experiment was produced by Peter Bresnan with help from Salman Ahad Khan. Editing by Jenny Lawton, Julia Longoria, Emily Botein, and Michael May. Fact-check by Will Gordon. Sound design by Joe Plourde with additional engineering by Jen Munson. Transcription by Caleb Codding. Music by Naran Ratan (“East of Somewhere Else”), Ob (“Wold”), R McCarthy (“Big Game” and “Contemplation at Lon Lon”), Parish Council (“P Lachaise,” “Walled Garden 1,” and “New Apt.”), and Column (“A Year in Your Garden” and “Sensuela”) provided by Tasty Morsels. Additional music by Alex Overington. Additional audio from Judge Judy, CBS News, The People's Court, NBC4 News, ABC News, AP Archive, and The Roseanne Show.
The Experiment introduces WNYC colleague Nancy Solomon's new podcast: Dead End: A New Jersey Political Murder Mystery New Jersey politics is not for the faint of heart. But the brutal killing of John and Joyce Sheridan, a prominent couple with personal ties to three governors, shocks even the most cynical operatives. The mystery surrounding the crime sends their son on a quest for truth. Dead End is a story of crime and corruption at the highest levels of society in the Garden State.
There’s a common story about abortion in this country, that people have only two options to intentionally end a pregnancy: the clinic or the coat hanger. They can choose the safe route that’s protected by Roe v. Wade—a doctor in a legal clinic—or, if Roe is overturned, endure a dangerous back-alley abortion, symbolized by the coat hanger. But a close look at the history of abortion in this country shows that there’s much more to this story. As the Supreme Court prepares to hear a case that could overturn Roe v Wade in June, activists are once again preparing to take abortion into their own hands. Reporter Jessica Bruder explores the abortion underground to learn about the movement’s origins, and reveals how activists today are mobilizing around effective and medically safe abortion methods that can be done at home.  A transcript of this episode is available. Further reading: “A Covert Network of Activists Is Preparing for the End of Roe” Be part of The Experiment. Use the hashtag #TheExperimentPodcast, or write to us at theexperiment@theatlantic.com. This episode was produced by Gabrielle Berbey and Alyssa Edes, with help from Salman Ahad Khan. Editing by Michael May and Julia Longoria. Reporting by Jessica Bruder. Fact-check by Michelle Ciarrocca. Sound design by Joe Plourde. Engineering by Jen Munson. Transcription by Caleb Codding. Music by R McCarthy (“Fine”), Ob (“Ere”), Parish Council (“Leaving the TV on at Night” and “Mopping”), Laurie Bird (“Detail Wash” and “Jussa Trip”), Safa Park (“Loose Yams”), Ceefax (“Dissolving Skull”), and Column (“「The Art of Fun」 (Raj)”), provided by Tasty Morsels. Additional music by Joe Plourde. Additional audio from CBS, Hope 2020 (Clip 1 and Clip 2), NBC News (Clip 1 and Clip 2), KCRG, WLKY, and KXAN.
The national-park system has been touted as “America’s best idea.” David Treuer, an Ojibwe historian and the author of The Heartbeat of Wounded Knee: Native America From 1890 to the Present, says we can make that idea even better—by giving national parks back to Native Americans. This episode of The Experiment originally ran on April 15, 2021. A transcript of this episode is available.  Be part of The Experiment. Use the hashtag #TheExperimentPodcast, or write to us at theexperiment@theatlantic.com. This episode was produced by Tracie Hunte and Gabrielle Berbey, with editing by Matt Collette and Katherine Wells. Fact-check by Jack Segelstein. Sound design by David Herman. Additional engineering by Joe Plourde.  Music by Laundry (“Films”), Parish Council (“Socks Before Trousers” and “Heatherside Stores”), h hunt (“11e” and “Journeys”), and naran ratan (“Trees etc.”), provided by Tasty Morsels. Additional music by John Charles Schroeder and Ross Taggart Garren (“Mournful Blues”) and Ken Anderson and Rebecca Ruth Hall (“Calliope - Underscore”). Additional audio from National Geographic, WNYC, PBS, and C-SPAN.
From the time she was a little girl, Marilyn Vann knew she was Black and she was Cherokee. But when she applied for citizenship in the Cherokee Nation as an adult, she was denied. What followed was a journey into a dark part of Cherokee history that not many people know about and even fewer understand: Vann and her family are descended from people who were enslaved by the Cherokee Nation. They were freed after the Civil War, but that wasn’t the end of their struggle. In 1866, the Cherokee Nation made a promise—a promise of citizenship for these “freedmen” and their descendants. But in the years that followed, that promise would be at the center of a battle between civil rights and sovereignty.  Related Viewing: Will Congress Fulfill a 184-Year-Old Promise? A transcript of this episode will soon be made available. Please check back.  Be part of The Experiment. Use the hashtag #TheExperimentPodcast, or write to us at theexperiment@theatlantic.com. This episode was produced by Tracie Hunte, with help from Gabrielle Berbey and Alyssa Edes. Editing by Jenny Lawton and Julia Longoria. Fact-check by Will Gordon. Sound design by Joe Plourde with additional engineering by Jen Munson. Transcription by Caleb Codding. Special thanks to Rebecca Nagle, Bryan Pollard, Sterling Cosper, and Gregory Smithers. Music by Parish Council (“Marmalade Day”), Keyboard (“Freedom of Movement,” “Over the Moon,” “Ojima,” “Being Darrell,” and “Only One”), and Water Feature (“Richard III (Duke of Gloucester”). Additional music by Alexander Overington. Additional audio from Bloomberg, Global News, and Fox News. 
The Helen Keller Exorcism

The Helen Keller Exorcism

2022-03-2401:06:387

The fantasy writer Elsa Sjunneson has been haunted by Helen Keller for nearly her entire life. Elsa is Deafblind, and growing up, she couldn’t escape the constant comparisons. Then, a year ago, an online conspiracy theory claiming that Keller was a fraud exploded on TikTok, and suddenly, Sjunneson found herself drawing her sword and jumping to Keller’s defense, setting off a chain of events that would bring her closer to the disability icon than she’d ever dreamed she would be. For more than a year, Sjunneson, Lulu Miller, and the Radiolab team dug through primary sources, talked with experts, even visited Keller’s birthplace, Ivy Green, and discovered that the real story of Helen Keller is far more complicated, mysterious, and confounding than the simple myth of a young deaf-blind girl rescued by her teacher. This story originally ran on Radiolab. Further reading: “The Three Things Helen Keller Wished She Could See,” “Helen Keller’s Depression-Era Business Advice: ‘Put Your Husband in the Kitchen’” A transcript of this episode is available in text and braille-ready format. An ASL translation of the episode can be viewed here. Be part of The Experiment. Use the hashtag #TheExperimentPodcast, or write to us at theexperiment@theatlantic.com.
James Sulzer has always loved building things. As a rehabilitation engineer, he spent years creating devices that he hoped would help patients recover from serious brain trauma such as strokes. And he believed strongly in the potential of rehab technology—that with the right robot, he could relieve a whole array of brain injuries.  But then, one spring day in 2020, there was a horrible accident. And suddenly James had to apply everything he knew about science and rehabilitation to help fix his own family. The Atlantic senior editor Daniel Engber spent months talking to James, following him as he used his scientific knowledge to try to find meaning in tragedy.  Further reading: “A Peer-Reviewed Portrait of Suffering” A transcript of this episode is available.  Apply for The Experiment’s summer internship. Applications will be accepted through March 25, 2022. Be part of The Experiment. Use the hashtag #TheExperimentPodcast, or write to us at theexperiment@theatlantic.com. This episode was produced by ​Peter Bresnan with help from Julia Longoria and Alyssa Edes. Editing by Emily Botein. Reporting by Daniel Engber. Fact-check by Yvonne Rolzhausen. Sound design by Joe Plourde. Transcription by Caleb Codding.
As Putin invaded Ukraine last month, the Atlantic writer Franklin Foer found the Russian leader’s justification for violence uncanny. Putin referred to the “Nazification” of Ukraine—a distortion of history at best. But Franklin was told a similar story his whole life from his grandmother. This week, The Experiment tells the story of the Holocaust survivor Ethel Kaplan, and traces Franklin Foer’s own journey—how he once came to believe Putin’s myth, and his journey to Ukraine to debunk it. Further reading: “It’s Not ‘The’ Ukraine,” I Want You to Know We’re Still Here: A Post-Holocaust Memoir. A transcript of this episode is available.  If you or someone you know is considering suicide or self-harm, please get help. The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is 800-273-8255. And if you’re outside the U.S., you can visit findahelpline.com to find resources for your country. Be part of The Experiment. Use the hashtag #TheExperimentPodcast, or write to us at theexperiment@theatlantic.com. This episode was produced by Salman Ahad Khan and Julia Longoria, with editing by Emily Botein. Reporting by Franklin Foer and Esther Foer. Fact-check by Sam Fentress. Sound design by Joe Plourde. Transcription by Caleb Codding. Special thanks to Andy Lanset and Roberto De La Noval.
The Experiment host Julia Longoria has always had a special relationship with Vicks Vaporub—the scent transports her right back to childhood, to days in bed with the flu at her grandmother’s house in South Florida. Julia and her cousins all knew not to tell grandma when they were sick, or they’d risk being slathered with “Vickicito.” Julia never had a reason to wonder why grandma loved Vicks so much, but this week’s episode reveals that grandma’s love for the product is deeper than Julia imagined. And while investigating grandma’s (and the world’s) Vicks obsession, Julia is pulled into her family’s past, back to Cuba, before the revolution. This story originally aired on Only Human, a show about health that we all can relate to. Because every body has a story.  Be part of The Experiment. Use the hashtag #TheExperimentPodcast, or write to us at theexperiment@theatlantic.com.
El Sueño de SPAM

El Sueño de SPAM

2022-02-1749:432

Who are the people who make modern-day SPAM possible? You can find clues on the streets of downtown Austin, Minnesota. On weekend nights, across the street from the SPAM Museum, a Latin dance club fills with Spanish-speaking patrons. A taco truck is parked outside the Austin Labor Center. There’s a Sudanese market and an Asian food store. A new generation of workers has flooded the town for the chance to package some of America’s most iconic meat, and for many the town is a model of the American dream. But soon a mysterious disease spreads through the slaughterhouse where SPAM is made, complicating this idyllic picture of new immigrants in the American heartland.  A transcript of this episode is available. This episode is the last in a new three-part miniseries from The Experiment—“SPAM: How the American Dream Got Canned.” Be part of The Experiment. Use the hashtag #TheExperimentPodcast, or write to us at theexperiment@theatlantic.com. This episode was produced by Gabrielle Berbey and Julia Longoria. Editing by Kelly Prime, Emily Botein, and Katherine Wells, with help from Scott Stossel. Special thanks to Alina Kulman.  Fact-check by Will Gordon. Sound design by David Herman with additional engineering by Joe Plourde. Transcription by Caleb Codding. This episode was produced by Gabrielle Berbey and Julia Longoria. Editing by Kelly Prime, Emily Botein, and Katherine Wells, with help from Scott Stossel. Special thanks to Alina Kulman.  Fact-check by Will Gordon. Sound design by David Herman with additional engineering by Joe Plourde. Transcription by Caleb Codding. Music by Parish Council (“If of As,” “Socks Before Trousers,” “St. Peter Port/Wiltshire/Cooking Leeks,” and “Mopping”), Keyboard (“Freedom of Movement”), Column (“Quiet Song” and “Sensuela”), Water Feature (“Richard III (Duke of Gloucester)”), Laurie Bird (“Detail Wash”), and H Hunt (“Journeys”), provided by Tasty Morsels. Additional music by Alexander Overington. Additional audio from United Newsreel, PBS, and NBC.
Cram Your SPAM

Cram Your SPAM

2022-02-1048:162

SPAM is at the center of one of the longest and most contentious labor battles in U.S. history. In 1985, workers at the Hormel Foods plant in Austin, Minnesota, went on strike, demanding better working conditions and stable wages. Generations of meatpackers had worked at the plant, some for most of their lives—and that gruesome, difficult work afforded them a sustainable, middle-class life. So when that way of life was threatened, they fought back. SPAM boycotts spread to cities and towns around the world. The strike went on for almost two years, pit neighbor against neighbor, and turned violent; the National Guard was called in to protect those who crossed the picket line. In the end, the strike is a Rorschach test: either a lesson in what is possible when workers unite, or a cautionary tale about biting the SPAM that feeds.  This episode is the second in a new three-part miniseries from The Experiment—“SPAM: How the American Dream Got Canned.” A transcript of this episode is available.  Be part of The Experiment. Use the hashtag #TheExperimentPodcast, or write to us at theexperiment@theatlantic.com. This episode was produced by Gabrielle Berbey and Julia Longoria. Editing by Kelly Prime, Emily Botein, and Katherine Wells with help from Jenny Lawton and Scott Stossel. Fact-check by Michelle Ciarrocca. Sound design by David Herman with additional engineering by Joe Plourde. Transcription by Caleb Codding. Special thanks to Peter Rachleff and Philip Dawkins. Music by R Mccarthy (“Maria, Just,” “Big Game,” “Fine,” and “Melodi 2”), Parish Council (“Museum Weather” and “Marmalade Day”), Column (“「THE ART OF FUN」 (Raj)”), and Keyboard (“Ojima,” “Only One,” and “World View”); provided by Tasty Morsels. Additional music by Alexander Overington. Additional audio from CBS, CNBC (Clip 1, Clip 2, and Clip 3), NBC, Al Jazeera, Reagan Foundation, WCCO-TV, PBS (Clip 1, Clip 2, Clip 3, Clip 4, Clip 5, Clip 6, Clip 7, and Clip 8), and New Jersey Network.   
Uncle SPAM

Uncle SPAM

2022-02-0327:564

During World War II, wherever American troops spread democracy, they left the canned meat known as SPAM in its wake. When American GIs landed overseas, they often tossed cans of SPAM out of trucks to the hungry people they sought to liberate. That’s how producer Gabrielle Berbey’s grandfather first came to know and love SPAM as a kid in the Philippines. But 80 years later, SPAM no longer feels American. It is now a staple Filipino food: a  beloved emblem of Filipino identity. Gabrielle sets out on a journey to understand how SPAM made its way into the hearts of generations of Pacific Islanders, and ends up opening a SPAM can of worms. This episode is the first in a new three-part miniseries from The Experiment—“SPAM: How the American Dream Got Canned.” A transcript of this episode is available. Be part of The Experiment. Use the hashtag #TheExperimentPodcast, or write to us at theexperiment@theatlantic.com. This episode was produced by Gabrielle Berbey and Julia Longoria with help from Peter Bresnan and Alina Kulman. Editing by Kelly Prime, with help from Emily Botein, Jenny Lawton, Scott Stossel, and Katherine Wells. Fact-check by William Brennan and Michelle Ciarrocca. Sound design by David Herman with additional engineering by Joe Plourde. Transcription by Caleb Codding. This episode was produced by Gabrielle Berbey and Julia Longoria with help from Peter Bresnan and Alina Kulman. Editing by Kelly Prime, with help from Emily Botein, Jenny Lawton, Scott Stossel, and Katherine Wells. Fact-check by William Brennan and Michelle Ciarrocca. Sound design by David Herman with additional engineering by Joe Plourde. Transcription by Caleb Codding. Music by Parish Council (“A Painting of a Frog” and “The Grey Around It”), Keyboard (“More Shingles”), Ob (“Mog”), and Laurie Bird (“Jussa Trip”) provided by Tasty Morsels. Additional music by Alexander Overington. Additional audio from U.S. National Archives, Paramount News, gilbertoy69, PublicDomainFootage. Special thanks to Noella Levy and Craig Santos Perez.
SPAM on the Range

SPAM on the Range

2022-01-2702:043

America, shall I compare thee to a can of SPAM? Thou art more decadent, salty and sweet, container of even greater mystery. In this three-part series, some of the meatiest questions the United States faces about how we work for the food we eat play out in the story of special processed American meat. The Experiment embarks on a remarkable journey to the heart of SPAM—from remote Philippine provinces, where American GIs disseminated the American dream through cans of SPAM, to Austin, Minnesota, SPAMtown U.S.A., where SPAM employed generations of meatpackers, and tore the town apart. SPAM inspired aspirations and opened wounds in the American worker’s psyche that we still yearn for and ache from today.  SPAM: How the American Dream Got Canned. New weekly episodes start February 3. A transcript of this episode is available.  Be part of The Experiment. Use the hashtag #TheExperimentPodcast, or write to us at theexperiment@theatlantic.com.
Rebecca Shrader had always thought that abortion was morally wrong. As a devout Baptist Christian, she volunteered at a clinic designed to discourage women from getting abortions. And when she got pregnant for the first time, she knew she would carry the baby to term, no matter what.  But when Rebecca’s pregnancy didn’t go as planned, she started to question everything she had always believed about abortions, and about the people who choose to have them. This episode of The Experiment was reported by Emma Green in collaboration with This American Life, and originally aired as a part of This American Life’s episode “But I Did Everything Right.”  Further reading: “The Dishonesty of the Abortion Debate,” “What Roe Could Take Down With It,” “The Court Invites an Era of Constitutional Chaos” A transcript of this episode is available. Be part of The Experiment. Use the hashtag #TheExperimentPodcast, or write to us at theexperiment@theatlantic.com. This episode was produced by Miki Meek and Diane Wu with additional production by Peter Bresnan and Julia Longoria, and help from Alina Kulman. Reporting by Emma Green. Editing by Laura Starcheski. Fact-check by Jessica Suriano. Special thanks to Emily Patel and Aimee Baron.  Sound design by Joe Plourde. Transcription by Caleb Codding.
On January 6, 2021, William J. Walker was head of the D.C. National Guard. He had buses full of guardsmen in riot gear ready to deploy in case Donald Trump’s “Stop the Steal” rally turned dangerous. But when rioters violently stormed the Capitol building, the Guard was nowhere to be found. Walker says he was forced to wait for three hours before his superiors allowed him to send in his troops. “My soldiers were asking me, ‘Sir, what the hell is going on?’” Walker says. “‘Are they watching the news? Are they watching what’s going on at the Capitol?’ And I had no answer. I don’t recall ever being in that position, where I did not have an answer for my soldiers.” Now, almost one year later, Walker is the sergeant-at-arms of the U.S. House of Representatives—the first Black man to ever hold that office. The Experiment’s correspondent Tracie Hunte and producer Peter Bresnan visit Walker in his new office at the Capitol to ask him about what happened on January 6, and what he’s doing to make sure it never happens again. Further reading: “The Man Who Could Have Stopped an Insurrection,” “Trump’s Next Coup Has Already Begun,” “Are We Doomed?,” and “What the GOP Does to Its Own Dissenters” A transcript of this episode is available. Be part of The Experiment. Use the hashtag #TheExperimentPodcast, or write to us at theexperiment@theatlantic.com. This episode was produced by Tracie Hunte and Peter Bresnan with help from Alina Kulman. Editing by Emily Botein and Jenny Lawton with help from Julia Longoria. Fact-check by William Brennan. Sound design by David Herman with additional engineering by Joe Plourde. Transcription by Caleb Codding. Music by Keyboard (“Over the Moon,” “Water Decanter,” “Mu,” and “Small Island”), Arabian Prince in a UK World (“The Feeling of Being on a Diet”), Water Feature (“Ancient Morsel”), Laundry (“Laundry”), and Column (“Aerolove”) provided by Tasty Morsels. Additional audio from C-SPAN, The Untouchables, the FBI, and Forbes.
Comments (53)

Mae Arant

thanks for the education!

Jun 8th
Reply

NoahArkwright

They've become a Christo-fascist, white supremacist apocalyptic death cult. No one is harming or bothering them, no one is discriminating against or persecuting them, and no one owes them anything. They're very sick people.

Apr 24th
Reply

little red book

Maybe conservatives share Babylon Bee headlines think they're funny? Have you ever shared an Onion headline? I don't find The Onion funny often anymore, but I get what the joke is. No serious person thinks the Babylon Bee's headlines are real. Sure, crazies think all sorts of things, but satire doesn't make tin foil hat Alex Jones folks, tin foil hat wearers will always exist.

Oct 15th
Reply

D big G studios

wow, such an impactful story. Athena is so wise. i wonder what the poem said.

Aug 20th
Reply

Mae Arant

This was disappointing in that there was very little discussion about the blatant racism that was the etilology of the conspiracy theories. It was gently walked around while you were handing get out of jail cards to the perpetrators. Get a little more real.

Aug 14th
Reply

Sara Peracca

Would have loved inclusion of discussion of lack of power/rights of females in U.S. We afterall are 1 of 5 nations worldwide who have not ratified CEDAW.

Aug 13th
Reply

Alex Mercedes

so much giggling and laughter. I feel like maybe I need to start my own quest to learn why talking about orgasm is so funny.

Jun 3rd
Reply (1)

dok dicer

Would have been nice to get some critical appreciation. Knowing the American religious right, I would bet that there is quite a seedy tale of racism and greed behind Reed's self mythologizing that sadly goes completely unchecked in this episode.

May 24th
Reply (3)

dok dicer

something something cancel culture

May 23rd
Reply

Alex Mercedes

A chilling report. my heart stopped with his answer to what he was thinking when signed on to back Trump. a religious, born again man attracted to the project by Trump's wealth and fame...and apparently blind to the horrific irony.

May 19th
Reply (22)

Alex Mercedes

waaaaaauyyu too much giggling. yeah, there are amusing aspects to the story but in light of the substantial number of serious and sad and misogynistic and racist and tragic aspects... the giggling contrasted badly with the sensitive issues discussed. I had the feeling the reporter was too young to appreciate the risks and vulnerabilities that love, marriage, immigration, deportation, and divorce involve for many people.

May 6th
Reply

Alex Mercedes

"Is it different when it's applied to police?" is the wrong question. It's "different" depending on the circumstances of the incident.

May 5th
Reply

Andi-Roo Libecap

Heartbreaking and hopeful all in one. ❤️ I really love this podcast.

Apr 16th
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Andi-Roo Libecap

The guy hit on a very important piece that I hope isn't overlooked -- self identity is so important to how we view our collective history, and how our "tribes" interact. Southerners don't seem to self identify as Americans first, which kind of explains a lot of their behaviors and beliefs. For many, their hierarchy tends toward Christian, then Southerner, then American. FULL STOP. I was born overseas, grew up a military brat, moved around a lot, and never really felt at home any particular place. That has deeply impacted how I relate to other people -- I self identify as "child of the Earth" more than anything else. I don't belong to any religion, and I've lived enough places to feel no particular allegiance to America above any other country. I've lived with my husband in Ohio for twenty years, and while he actually was born and grew up here, neither of us feels particularly Ohioan (particularly as it's swiftly tilted Red over the last two decades!). Our combined self-identity evolved from entirely different situations, yet we arrived at the same place. I'm not sure any other "All American, Small Town USA, Cornfield Ohio, Boy Scout" could (or would) overcome this Southern-seeming background to develop into the Progressive Liberal he is today, without a lot of external input, so I can't exactly recommend his path as one that leads toward a hope for equality. He's definitely special. My path, on the other hand, more closely resembles the path the guy in this episode took: We both saw a bit of the world beyond our respective upbringings and expanded our horizons. The more new places and faces you see, the easier it is to nurture empathy for the olive if others. You stop seeing people in other countries as "them" and "over there" and "those aliens" and "that weird place" -- you start recognizing that people are just people, and we all want the same things, and we are all connected. That probably sounds hippy-dippy but I'm okay with that.

Apr 15th
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Andi-Roo Libecap

This was so interesting! I appreciate the research into this topic as it definitely was not covered in history class.

Apr 14th
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Andi-Roo Libecap

My ex was against sweatpants to the point that seeing them made him angry. Whatever. I've been wearing sweatpants for the last twenty years and IDGAF what people think. I'm not worried about the message I'm sending, or what my sweats say about my status. I'm not here on this planet to make other people happy about what I'm wearing. Being physically comfortable is one of my Personal Commandments, as it's a way to respect my body. Wearing sweatpants is, for me, one of the best and easiest acts of self care.

Apr 14th
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Andi-Roo Libecap

I absolutely love this podcast. This episode really helped me understand that we are still in the middle of the story... this all happened so, so recent! The word "history" does these kinds of stories a grave injustice because when I hear that word I think of the far distant past which has no personal bearing on my life today. This story -- these issues -- our continuing struggle for equality -- it's not history. It's happening right now. There are people alive today who experienced the fight, and there are people alive today continuing that fight. When we say things like "Never forget" and "Learn from history" it's almost like lip service... an easy way to sweep things under the rug. BLACK LIVES MATTER. Voting should be easily available to all american citizens. We absolutely must make these statements true. 🤎

Apr 12th
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Andi-Roo Libecap

This podcast is off to a roaring start! I'm super impressed and looking forward to catching up.

Apr 9th
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BillyBlazko

I'm loving this podcast so far. Keep up the good work!

Apr 1st
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Alex Mercedes

excellent program! I knew nothing about any of this. fascinating new information.

Mar 12th
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