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Slow Burn

129 EpisodesProduced by Slate PodcastsWebsite

Clarence Thomas is one of the most powerful figures in America today. Nearly every issue of national consequence has his fingerprints all over it, from voting rights to gun rights and from abortion access to affirmative action. But nothing about his journey from rural Georgia to the Supreme Court wa… read more

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129 Episodes | 2017 - 2023

Season 1 Trailer: Watergate

November 17th, 2017


It took two years for the Watergate scandal to unfold—for a break-in at the Democratic Party's headquarters to go from a weird little caper to a …


November 28th, 2017


People called her crazy, and to be fair she must have seemed crazy. But she was onto something. How Martha Mitchell, the celebrity wife of one of Nixon’s closest henchmen, tried to blow the whistle on Watergate—and …

S1 Ep. 2: The Defeat of Wright Patman

December 5th, 2017


In 1973, the Senate Watergate hearings gripped the nation. But the first congressional hearings on the scandal took place a year earlier—and featured an angry Texan shouting at four empty chairs.

Slate Plus members get a …

S1 Ep. 3: A Very Successful Cover-Up

December 12th, 2017


Woodward and Bernstein, Walter Cronkite, and a host of other journalists tried to make people care about Watergate in the run-up to the 1972 election. They totally failed.

Slate Plus members get a bonus episode of Slow …

S1 Ep. 4: Lie Detectors

December 19th, 2017


How a folksy segregationist senator, a team of young investigators, and a few whistleblowers staged the hearings that made Watergate must-see TV.

S1 Ep. 5: True Believers

January 2nd, 2018


At a bar in Queens, and in the Senate offices, Nixon's supporters stood with him long after it was clear his hands were dirty. How did they rationalize their position? And what, finally, made them waver?

Slate Plus

S1 Ep. 6: Rabbit Holes

January 9th, 2018


Why were so many Americans ready to believe conspiracy theories after Watergate? How did those beliefs help trigger Nixon‘s downfall? And given what we know about Watergate—what separates a conspiracy theory from just a …

S1 Ep. 7: Saturday Night

January 16th, 2018


What did Richard Nixon do when he felt the walls closing in? How did the country respond? And what did it feel like when people finally got to hear those tapes?

The last two episodes of this season are available only to …

Extra, Extra

January 23rd, 2018


Slate Plus members get a bonus episode of Slow Burn every week. This week, we're releasing some samples of those episodes—interviews with people with a unique perspective on Watergate.

Next week: The end. Find out more …

S1 Ep. 8: Going South

January 30th, 2018


What had to happen for the Watergate scandals to end Richard Nixon’s career? And was his downfall inevitable? In the final episode of Slow Burn’s first season, Leon Neyfakh assesses the president’s desperate final …

Live in New York

May 22nd, 2018


A special edition of Slow Burn features Leon Neyfakh live on stage in New York City. On April 19th, Leon was joined by Bob Woodward, Virginia Heffernan, Gail Sheehy, Mary DeOreo and Marc Lackritz to discuss Trump, …

Season 2 Trailer: The Clinton Impeachment

July 23rd, 2018


The saga of Bill Clinton’s impeachment is rich with forgotten characters, surprising subplots, and opportunities to reflect on just how much America has changed over the past 20 years. Whether you’re well-versed in the …

S2 Ep. 1: Deal or No Deal

August 8th, 2018


For 11 hours, Monica Lewinsky faced off against federal prosecutors who wanted her to help them take down the president and threatened her with decades in jail.

Slate Plus members get a bonus episode of Slow Burn every …

S2 Ep. 2: There There

August 15th, 2018


In 1993, Bill and Hillary Clinton moved into the White House on a swell of optimism. In less than a year, the new administration was mired in a sea of scandals: Travelgate, Filegate, Nannygate, and, most …

S2 Ep. 3: Cred

August 22nd, 2018


When Bill Clinton went to Washington, rumors and accusations from his Arkansas past went with him. But even his most dedicated political enemies …

S2 Ep. 4: Alone, Together

August 29th, 2018


What happened between Bill Clinton and Monica Lewinsky? Why did it happen? And what are we supposed to do about the fact that the whims and impulses …

S2 Ep. 5: Tell-All

September 12th, 2018


Aside from Bill Clinton and Monica Lewinsky, the most pivotal player in the Clinton impeachment saga may have been Linda Tripp—an ordinary person who made extraordinary choices that precipitated the entire crisis. In …

S2 Ep. 6: God Mode

September 19th, 2018


Some of the most withering criticism of Clinton came from a coalition of conservative activists whose political views were bound up with their faith. …

S2 Ep. 7: Bedfellows

September 26th, 2018


Today it’s conventional wisdom that all feminists hypocritically turned their backs on Monica Lewinsky. In fact, the scandal provoked an intense debate within the feminist movement about sex, power, and consent. For …

Secret Tracks

October 3rd, 2018


Every week, Slate Plus members get a special episode of Slow Burn in which Leon Neyfakh talks to people connected with the Clinton impeachment saga. This week, we’re presenting excerpts from those bonus episodes, …

S2 Ep. 8: Move On

October 10th, 2018


Juanita Broaddrick told Ken Starr’s team of prosecutors that Bill Clinton had raped her in 1978. Her story wasn’t included in the Starr Report—but …

Slow Burn Live: Keyholes

November 28th, 2018


A special edition of Slow Burn features Leon Neyfakh live on stage. In the first of two episodes, Leon was joined in by Ruth Marcus and Rick Perlstein to explore lingering questions about the Clinton legacy. Plus, a …

Slow Burn Live: The Kingdom and the Power

December 5th, 2018


A special edition of Slow Burn features Leon Neyfakh live on stage. In the second of two episodes, Leon was joined in by Emily Bazelon, Wesley Morris, Dan Savage, and Andi Zeisler to explore lingering questions about …

Introducing The Queen

June 4th, 2019


Linda Taylor was a con artist, a kidnapper, maybe even a murderer. She was also America’s original “welfare queen,” the villain Ronald Reagan needed to create a vision of a country being taken advantage of by its …

Season 3 Trailer: Biggie and Tupac

October 24th, 2019


In its first two seasons, Slow Burn looked back at two of the biggest stories of the late 20th century—the Watergate scandal and the impeachment of Bill Clinton. Season three of the show tackles another: the murders of …

S3 Ep. 1: Against the World

October 30th, 2019


On the first episode of Slow Burn’s third season: How a violent robbery severed Tupac’s friendship with Biggie Smalls and sparked a bicoastal beef …

S3 Ep. 2: Cops on My Tail

November 6th, 2019


In 1992, Ronald Ray Howard shot and killed Texas state trooper Bill Davidson. His lawyer argued he’d been driven to murder by the music he’d been playing in his car: a dubbed copy of Tupac Shakur’s first album,

S3 Ep. 3: What's Beef?

November 13th, 2019


In this episode: Biggie releases “Who Shot Ya,” an instant hip-hop classic that Tupac takes as a personal affront. Tupac calls out Biggie and Puffy in a jailhouse interview. And the Death Row and Bad Boy crews start …

S3 Ep. 4: Against Those Thugs

November 20th, 2019


In this episode: Gangsta rap becomes a huge money maker. Civil rights activist C. Delores Tucker and conservative culture warrior Bill Bennett launch …

S3 Ep. 5: Wrath of a Menace

November 27th, 2019


In this episode: Tupac claims—loudly, publicly, and with very little evidence—that he’s been sleeping with Faith Evans, Biggie’s estranged wife.

Slate Plus members get bonus episodes of Slow Burn and ad-free podcast …

S3 Ep. 5 Plus: "East vs. West"

November 30th, 2019


Slate Plus members get a bonus episode of Slow Burn every week. To listen to the rest of the bonus episodes this season, sign up for Slate Plus now.

In this Slow Burn bonus episode, host Joel Anderson and producer …

S3 Ep. 6: Til Somebody Kills You

December 4th, 2019


In this episode: In the summer of 1996, Tupac Shakur seemed to be on the verge of a decision—about what kind of career he wanted to have, and what kind of life he wanted to live. And then he went to Las Vegas.

The last …

S3 Ep. 7: To Live and Die in LA

December 11th, 2019


In this week's episode: After Tupac’s murder: Revenge killings in Compton, a day of atonement in Harlem, and Biggie Smalls risks everything by going back to Cali.

The last two episodes of this season are available only …

S3 Ep. 8: Dead Wrong

December 18th, 2019


Questions have swirled around the murders of Tupac Shakur and Biggie Smalls ever since their deaths. Who killed them, and why? How come no one was ever charged in either case? Is Tupac still alive and hiding out …

S3 Epilogue: Got a Story to Tell

December 20th, 2019


Slate Plus members get a bonus episode of Slow Burn every week. This is a preview of the bonus episodes released this season:—interviews with Slow Burn host Joel Anderson and producer Christopher Johnson about the …

Introducing: Broken Record

December 27th, 2019


Hey Slow Burn listeners. We have something special for you this week. It's an episode of Broken Record, a music podcast from Pushkin Industries, …

Announcement: Slow Burn's Watergate Season on TV

February 14th, 2020


Slow Burn's Watergate season is now a TV docu-series, premiering Feb. 16 on Epix. Read more about it in this interview with host Leon Neyfakh.

Learn …

S3 Live: Party & Bullshit

March 18th, 2020


Slate Plus members get bonus episodes of Slow Burn every season, plus zero ads. Sign up now to listen and support the show.

A special edition of Slow Burn features Joel Anderson live on stage, with legendary producers …

Season 4 Trailer: David Duke

June 8th, 2020


In the late 1980s and early 1990s, a white supremacist became an American political phenomenon. David Duke’s rise to power and prominence—his …

S4 Ep. 1: White Knight

June 10th, 2020


In the first half of the 1980s, it looked like David Duke’s career as a professional racist was over.

But the former Ku Klux Klan leader had a …

S4 Ep. 2: Robe and Ritual

June 17th, 2020


David Duke dreamed of becoming the charismatic leader who’d bring racism to the masses. He

tried to make that dream a reality by seizing on America’s …

S4 Ep. 3: The Nazi and the Republicans

June 24th, 2020


In 1989, David Duke got a foothold in American politics. To build on that victory, he’d have to

fend off a Republican official determined to bring him …

Cold Call

July 1st, 2020


In 1989, a Black 12-year-old girl in New Orleans found the David Duke phenomenon, and Duke himself, hard to comprehend. So she called Duke on the …

S4 Ep. 4: A Silent Army

July 8th, 2020


David Duke wasn’t content being a state representative. He wanted to go national, and in 1990 he expanded his base of white voters to try to attain that goal.

In Episode 4 of Slow Burn: How David Duke made himself a …

S4 Ep. 5: The Road to Hell

July 15th, 2020


Edwin Edwards was a towering force in Louisiana politics. Buddy Roemer dethroned him and promised to modernize the state. In 1991, David Duke …

S4 Ep. 6: A Concerned Citizen

July 22nd, 2020


In the fall of 1991, David Duke looked like a real threat to become the governor of Louisiana.

On the sixth and final episode of Slow Burn's fourth season: What arguments did David Duke's opponents make? Who did they …

S4 Extra: What We Can Learn From 1991

October 29th, 2020


A few excerpts from Season 4's bonus interviews, and a special Slow Burn announcement.

Slate Plus members get bonus episodes of Slow Burn and ad-free episodes of all Slate podcasts. Sign up now.

Learn more about your ad …

Introducing: I Spy

January 29th, 2021


We're excited to introduce you to I Spy, a production of Foreign Policy. Each week on I Spy, a former intelligence operative from somewhere around …

Season 5 Trailer: The Road to the Iraq War

April 15th, 2021


In 2003, the United States invaded Iraq without provocation. Most Americans supported the war—as did most politicians and intellectuals, both liberal …

S5 Ep. 1: The Exile

April 21st, 2021


Eighteen years have passed since the United States invaded Iraq. It’s a war that killed hundreds of thousands of people and destroyed America’s credibility on the world stage. How much can that war be traced to one …

S5 Ep. 2: Terror

April 28th, 2021


Just hours after 9/11, American decision makers had already started thinking about attacking Iraq. When the anthrax attacks began a month later, those ideas went into overdrive. Did Iraq have anything to do with mailing …

S5 Ep. 3: Mushroom Clouds

May 5th, 2021


To start a war of choice, you need a casus belli—a case for war. Why did the Bush administration settle on weapons of mass destruction as their case for war? And how did they make that case to the American people?

Season …

S5 Ep.4: Fighting Words

May 12th, 2021


In the year leading up the invasion, George W. Bush sketched his justification for the war: good vs. evil, us vs. them. The president wasn’t interested in fleshing out the details beyond that, but lots of other people …

S5 Extra: More on the Road to Iraq

May 19th, 2021


This week, we're highlighting a few excerpts from this season's Slate Plus episodes—interviews with Ann Curry, Slate writers and editors who blogged about the war in 2003, and people who personally knew Ahmad Chalabi.

To …

S5 Ep.5: Four Dicks (and Vice President Cheney)

May 26th, 2021


Four men in Congress—two from each party—helped determine whether President George W. Bush would be given the authority to invade Iraq. All of them …

S5 Ep.6: Big, if True

June 2nd, 2021


On Feb. 5, 2003, Secretary of State Colin Powell went to the United Nations to make the Bush administration’s closing argument for war with Iraq. …

S5 Ep. 7: Judy

June 9th, 2021


In the months before the invasion of Iraq, the media mostly backed the Bush administration’s narrative about weapons of mass destruction. No reporter was more influential on that beat than the New York Times' Judith …

S5 Ep. 8: Shock and Awe

June 16th, 2021


The Bush administration didn’t just fail to plan for post-war Iraq. Before and during the invasion, they made choices that compounded the mistake of going to war. Those decisions had lasting consequences for the world …

One Year: Anita Bryant's War on Gay Rights

July 9th, 2021


Slate's new podcast One Year and will introduce you to people and ideas that changed American history--one year at a time. The show is hosted by Josh Levin, Slate's national editor and host of Slow Burn Season 4. And …

Decoder Ring: The Sign Painter

July 22nd, 2021


Decoder Ring is Slate's show about cracking cultural mysteries. In each episode, host Willa Paskin takes a cultural question, object, or habit, …

One Year: Mary Shane's Rookie Season

July 29th, 2021


Mary Shane made history with the Chicago White Sox, becoming the first woman hired as a legitimate major-league baseball announcer. But in 1977, she had to fight to be taken seriously in one of America’s most sexist …

One Year: The Miracle Cure

August 2nd, 2021


Medical authorities said that Laetrile was dangerous quackery. It became a sensation anyway. Diana Green saw this drug made from apricot pits as her son Chad’s best chance to survive leukemia. Her shocking actions, and …

One Year: Elvis, the Pledge, and Extraterrestrials

August 5th, 2021


Three stories from one day in August 1977. Elvis Presley dies, and the National Enquirer goes after the ultimate tabloid scoop: a photo of the King …

One Year: Mr. Marijuana and the Drug Czar

August 10th, 2021


America’s top weed evangelist and the nation’s drug czar shared the same goal: to loosen up the country’s marijuana laws. In 1977, everything was trending their way—until a blowout Christmas party destroyed their plans, …

One Year: Roots: The Saga of Alex Haley

August 12th, 2021


Alex Haley’s Roots displayed the brutal realities of slavery to more than 100 million Americans. The book and mini-series also made a bold claim: …

One Year: Jesus on a Tortilla

August 20th, 2021


After Maria Rubio saw Jesus on a tortilla, her family got besieged by believers and gawkers and the national press. But for the Rubios, the tortilla wasn’t just a public spectacle. It was the miracle that changed their …

Season 6 Trailer: The L.A. Riots

October 26th, 2021


In 1992, a jury failed to convict the four Los Angeles police officers who'd been captured on videotape beating Rodney King. The city erupted into …

S6 Ep. 1: The Tape

November 3rd, 2021


On the night of March 2nd, 1991, at a remote intersection just outside of L.A., four police officers surrounded an unarmed Black man. They struck him …

S6 Ep. 2: No Justice

November 10th, 2021


In March 1991, the video of the Rodney King beating was national news. The LAPD was under intense scrutiny and many white Americans were seeing a …

S6 Ep. 3: The Chief

November 17th, 2021


In 1991, Daryl Gates was the face of the LAPD. Over the course of his 13-year tenure as chief, he had built his police department into a …

S6 Ep. 4: Glen

November 24th, 2021


Rodney King never asked to be famous. The video that captured his beating at the hands of four LAPD officers plunged an ordinary man into an extraordinary situation. So how did he navigate his new life in the public …

SB6 Extra: Leading Up to the Riots

December 1st, 2021


This week, we're highlighting a few excerpts from this season's Slate Plus episodes—interviews with George Holliday, professor Edward Chang, L.A. …

S6 Ep. 5: The System

December 8th, 2021


A year after they were caught on tape beating Rodney King, four LAPD officers went on trial. None were convicted. 

How did the prosecution make its …

S6 Ep. 6: No Peace

December 15th, 2021


In March 1991, Black people in Los Angeles had seen the videotape of Rodney King being beaten. In November, they’d seen Soon Ja Du sentenced to …

S6 Ep. 7: Into Ashes

December 22nd, 2021


On April 29, 1992, Los Angeles had erupted into chaos. Over the following days, thousands of people took to the streets. Some were unleashing their …

S6 Ep. 8: Damages

December 29th, 2021


After the largest civil disturbance in American history, Los Angeles faced a daunting task. Dozens of people had been killed and thousands injured. …

S7 Ep. 1: Get Married or Go Home

June 1st, 2022


In 1970, 22-year-old Shirley Wheeler got an illegal abortion in Florida. When she refused to tell the police who performed the procedure, she was …

S7 Ep. 2: Life or Death

June 8th, 2022


Jack and Barbara Willke got their start on the Catholic speaking circuit talking about the pleasure of sex within marriage. Their daughter would …

S7 Ep. 3: Women vs. Connecticut

June 15th, 2022


Soon after Ann Hill arrived at Yale Law School in 1968, she realized she was pregnant. Her options were limited: she could give birth—or get an …

S7 Ep. 4: Roe Against Wade

June 22nd, 2022


Harry Blackmun wasn’t Richard Nixon’s first choice to fill a vacancy on the Supreme Court. But after Blackmun was confirmed, he got the assignment of a lifetime: writing the majority opinion in Roe v. Wade. His approach …

Slow Burn presents: Decoder Ring - The Mall is Dead (Long Live the Mall)

July 26th, 2022


(While we work on the next season of Slow Burn we're showcasing Slate's other narrative podcasts, starting with a new season of Decoder Ring.)

What do we lose if we lose the mall? 70 years into their existence, these …

Decoder Ring: The Most Famous Poet No One Remembers

August 2nd, 2022


Rod McKuen sold multiple millions of poetry books in the 60s and 70s. He released dozens of albums, was a regular on late night, and was even …

Decoder Ring: The First Alien Abductees

August 9th, 2022


When you think of an alien abduction, what do you picture? Humanoid creatures, medical experiments, lost memories retrieved through hypnosis? That narrative was largely unknown until Betty and Barney Hill went public …

Decoder Ring: The “Sex” Scandal That Made Mae West

August 16th, 2022


In the early 1930s, Mae West’s dirty talk and hip swiveling walk made her one of the biggest movie stars in America. But before West hit the big-screen, she was prosecuted for staging not one, but two scandalous plays. …

Slow Burn presents: One Year - 1986: No Crime Day

August 18th, 2022


Basketball star Isiah Thomas had an audacious plan to transform Detroit: asking criminals to stay on the good side of the law for 24 hours. Would “No …

One Year - 1986: The Ultimate Field Trip

August 25th, 2022


This week, Evan Chung tells the story of the American teachers who competed for an unprecedented prize: a spot on the January 1986 launch of the Space Shuttle Challenger. Three of the finalists describe the grueling …

One Year - 1986: The Mystery of Al Capone’s Vaults

September 1st, 2022


Rumors about the legendary gangster Al Capone’s buried treasure transform an abandoned Chicago hotel into the center of the entertainment universe. Will Geraldo Rivera’s excavation on live TV turn up money, skeletons, …

One Year - 1986: A Boycott in Mississippi

September 8th, 2022


Black residents of Indianola, Mississippi, were fed up with decades of separate-and-unequal classrooms. When a white outsider got hired as school …

One Year - 1986: Herschel vs. the Blubber Busters

September 15th, 2022


In Seattle, a pack of voracious sea lions decimates the local fish population. When fireworks and an underwater air horn don’t scare away the …

One Year - 1986: The Miracle of Cokeville

September 22nd, 2022


On May 16, 1986, a man with a bomb held an entire elementary school hostage in the tiny town of Cokeville, Wyoming. Yet instead of becoming victims …

One Year - 1986: The Man From Fifth Avenue

September 29th, 2022


After Joe Mauri gets evicted from his New York apartment, he becomes a star in the USSR, the subject of a documentary about the injustices of …

Decoder Ring: McGruff Takes a Bite Out of Crime Pt. 1

October 4th, 2022


McGruff the Crime Dog arrived on the scene at the dawn of the 1980s, just as a firehose of anti-drug PSAs was inundating the youth of America. These messages didn’t always work as intended—but they did work their way …

Decoder Ring: McGruff Takes a Bite Out of Crime Pt. 2

October 12th, 2022


McGruff the Crime Dog arrived on the scene at the dawn of the 1980s, just as a firehose of anti-drug PSAs was inundating the youth of America. These messages didn’t always work as intended—but they did work their way …

One Year: 1942 - The Most Hated Man in America

October 20th, 2022


At the beginning of World War II, the greatest threat to the American war effort wasn’t the Nazis or the Japanese—it was runaway inflation. The man in charge of stopping it was the country’s “price czar,” Leon …

One Year: 1942 - The Year Everyone Got Married

October 27th, 2022


There were 1.8 million weddings in 1942, the most that had ever been recorded in a single year in American history. But how many of them would last? …

One Year: 1942 - The Day the Music Stopped

November 3rd, 2022


On Aug. 1, 1942, the nation’s recording studios went silent. Musicians were fed up with the new technologies threatening their livelihoods, so they …

One Year - 1942: The Info Wars of World War II

November 10th, 2022


In March 1942, a new nightly radio show hit the American airwaves. The stated goal of Station Debunk was to correct all the lies getting tossed …

Decoder Ring: The Truth About #TheDress

November 15th, 2022


In the history of viral images, #TheDress has got to be in the top 10. This unassuming photo of a party dress kicked off a global debate when people realized they were seeing it completely differently. Is it black and …

One Year: 1942 - When Internment Came to Alaska

November 17th, 2022


Six months after Pearl Harbor, Japan launched another attack on the United States. This time, Axis forces actually invaded, turning the Aleutian Islands into a battleground. What the country did next, in the name of …

Decoder Ring: The Butt and the Bustle

November 22nd, 2022


For about two decades towards the end of the Victorian era, in the 1870s and 1880s, a large bustle-enhanced bottom was the height of fashion. In this episode we explore how it’s connected to today’s big booty craze. We …

One Year: 1942 - The Black-Japanese Axis

November 23rd, 2022


In 1942, federal officials targeted a group of Black Americans who were allegedly hoping for a Japanese invasion. They uncovered a plot that included stockpiles of weapons and secret passwords—but was any of it true? …

S7 Ep. 5: Creating a Winning Show

November 29th, 2022


The team who made Slow Burn: Roe v. Wade tells the story that unfolded behind the scenes of Apple Podcasts Show of the Year, from the original pitch …

Slow Burn: Roe v. Wade special announcement

November 29th, 2022


Slow Burn: Roe v. Wade has been named Apple Podcasts Show of the Year!

We’re so honored by this award and want to thank everyone who has listened and supported the show. On this season, we looked to the past to …

Decoder Ring: The New Age Hit Machine

December 20th, 2022


For this episode, a story from Slate senior producer Evan Chung about how Yanni, John Tesh and a number of other surprising acts made it big in the 1990s. It’s a throwback to a simpler time—when musicians struggled to …

Decoder Ring: How Preppy Became Streetwear

December 23rd, 2022


We bring you a special episode from the Articles of Interest podcast hosted by Avery Trufelman about the incredible reach and adaptability of preppy clothes. It’s a story about the great modernizer of Ivy style, Ralph …

Decoder Ring: Cellino & Barnes, Injury Attorneys, 800-888-8888

December 27th, 2022


Ross Cellino and Steve Barnes were two Buffalo-based lawyers who became the literal poster-men for personal injury advertising. They poured millions …

Decoder Ring: ‘You’ve Got Mail’ Got It Wrong

December 30th, 2022


(This episode originally aired in March 2020.)

The 1998 romantic comedy You’ve Got Mail, starring Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan, is about the brutal fight between a beloved indie bookstore, the Shop Around the Corner, and Fox …

Decoder Ring: The Mailbag Episode

January 3rd, 2023


We’re really lucky to get a lot of listener emails, suggesting topics for the show. In this episode, we’re going to dig into a handful of the most …

Announcing Slow Burn Season 8

February 24th, 2023


Hosted by Joel Anderson. Coming in May 2023.

Learn more about your ad choices. Visit

Decoder Ring: The Curious Case of Columbo's Message to Romania Part 1

April 12th, 2023


Not too long ago an old clip surfaced of Peter Falk on David Letterman, in which he told an intriguing tale about recording a special Cold War …

Decoder Ring: The Curious Case of Columbo's Message to Romania Part 2

April 19th, 2023


Last week, we put on the proverbial raincoat and made like Columbo to investigate Peter Falk’s claim that he recorded a special Cold War message …

Decoder Ring: The Artist Who Was Both Loved and Disdained

April 26th, 2023


We bring you a special episode from Sidedoor, a podcast about the treasures that fill the vaults of the Smithsonian. This story is inspired by “Big …

Decoder Ring: Why You Can’t Find a Damn Parking Spot

May 3rd, 2023


Parking is one of the great paradoxes of American life. On the one hand, we have paved an ungodly amount of land to park our cars. On the other, it seems like it’s never enough. 

Slate’s Henry Grabar has spent the last …

Decoder Ring: Who Owns the Tooth Fairy?

May 10th, 2023


We pride ourselves on being grounded, rational beings, but flitting amongst us is a mystery: the Tooth Fairy. This flying piece of folklore is alive …

Season 8 Trailer: Becoming Justice Thomas

May 17th, 2023


Clarence Thomas is one of the most powerful figures in America today. Nearly every issue of national consequence has his fingerprints all over it, …

S8 Ep. 1: America’s Blackest Child

May 31st, 2023


Growing up in Georgia, Clarence Thomas wanted to make his mark. His goal was to become his hometown’s first Black Catholic priest. But in the 1960s, …

S8 Ep. 2: Smiling Faces

June 7th, 2023


Clarence Thomas went to Yale Law School because he thought it was a good fit for his left-wing politics. But when he arrived, it seemed like all the …

S8 Ep. 3: I’m Their Guy

June 14th, 2023


When Clarence Thomas got nominated to the Supreme Court, his behavior during the 1980s would get put under a microscope. To understand who Thomas was …

S8 Ep. 4: A National Disgrace

June 21st, 2023


Anita Hill’s accusations launched urgent and heated conversations about racism and sexual harassment. They also stoked an anger in Clarence Thomas that’s never stopped raging.

Season 8 of Slow Burn is produced by Joel …

S8 Live Announcement & Bonus Conversation

July 15th, 2023


Join host Joel Anderson and special guests for Slow Burn: Becoming Justice Thomas LIVE in D.C. (July 25, 2023 at 7:30 p.m.)

You’ll see a live …

Decoder Ring: What's Really Going On Inside a Mosh Pit?

July 19th, 2023


The mosh pit has a reputation as a violent place where (mostly) white guys vent their aggression. There’s some truth to that, but it’s also a place …

Decoder Ring: The Great Parmesan Cheese Debate

July 26th, 2023


Parmesan is a food—but it’s not just a food. Italy’s beloved cheese is often paired with a deep craving for tradition and identity. But its history …

Decoder Ring: A Brief History of Making Out

August 2nd, 2023


Kissing—the romantic, sexual, steamy kind—is so ingrained in us that it just seems like a fact of life. Like breathing or eating, we just do it. But what if it’s not like that at all? 

In this episode, we’re going to …

Decoder Ring: The Quest for a Homemade Hovercraft

August 9th, 2023


When Slate’s Evan Chung was a kid, he was obsessed with a mysterious advertisement that ran for decades in the scouting magazine Boys’ Life. Under the enticing headline “You Can Float on Air,” the ad assured Evan—and …

Decoder Ring: Think Catchphrases Are Dead? Eat My Shorts.

August 16th, 2023


Once you start listening for catchphrases in everyday life—you can’t stop hearing them. From the radio era’s “Holy mackerel!” to Fonzie’s “Ayyy!” to …

One Year: 1955 - The Team Nobody Would Play

August 31st, 2023


The Cannon Street All-Stars dreamed of playing in the 1955 Little League World Series. Their biggest obstacle didn’t come on the field. In the year that Rosa Parks refused to give up her seat on a public bus, these …

One Year: 1955 - The Crockett Craze

September 7th, 2023


In 1955, the frontiersman Davy Crockett became the most famous man in America, more than a century after his death at the Alamo. This week, Evan …

One Year: 1955 - The Weather Girls

September 14th, 2023


In the early days of television, women struggled to find their place. In 1955, they got it: forecasting the weather, on stations all across the country. But as these “weather girls” transformed the airwaves, a group of …

One Year: 1955 - Siberia, USA

September 21st, 2023


When Alaskans wanted their own mental-health facility, a rumor took hold all over America. This week, Evan Chung traces the origins of that far-right …

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