40 episodes

Each week, we tell the story of what happens when individual people confront deeply held American ideals in their own lives. We're interested in the cultural and political contradictions that reveal who we are.

The Experiment WNYC

    • Society & Culture

Each week, we tell the story of what happens when individual people confront deeply held American ideals in their own lives. We're interested in the cultural and political contradictions that reveal who we are.

    In Between Pro-life and Pro-choice

    In Between Pro-life and Pro-choice

    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.

    • 37 min
    Protecting the Capitol One Year After January 6

    Protecting the Capitol One Year After January 6

    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.

    • 33 min
    Is There Justice in Felony Murder?

    Is There Justice in Felony Murder?

    This week, The Experiment takes a look at the charge that sent Anissa Jordan to prison for a crime she didn’t even know had been committed. We consider how the felony-murder rule disproportionately punishes youth of color and women, and the debate over whether the same rule is key to holding police officers responsible in the killings of civilians.

    This episode of The Experiment originally ran on April 29, 2021.

    A transcript of this episode is available.

    Further reading: “What Makes a Murderer?” 


    This episode is part of  The Atlantic’s project “The Cycle,” which is supported by a grant from the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation’s Safety and Justice Challenge.

    Be part of The Experiment. Use the hashtag #TheExperimentPodcast, or write to us at theexperiment@theatlantic.com.

    This episode was produced by Alvin Melathe and Julia Longoria, with editing by Katherine Wells. Fact-check by Will Gordon. Sound design by David Herman. Special thanks to Adam Harris and John Swansburg. 

    Music by Water Feature (“With Flowers,” “Richard III (Duke of Gloucester),” and “A Paradise”), Keyboard (“Being There” and “My Atelier”), H Hunt (“C U Soon” and “Having a Bath”), and R McCarthy (“Home/Home”), provided by Tasty Morsels. Additional music by Bruce Wiley McKinnon Jr. (“Are You a Freak”) and Tyler O. Sterrett and Jason Trotta (“The Hamlet”). Additional audio from KQED and MPR News.

    • 43 min
    The Wandering Soul

    The Wandering Soul

    As the Vietnam War dragged on, the U.S. military began desperately searching for any vulnerability in its North Vietnamese enemy. In 1964, it found one: an old Vietnamese folktale about a ghost, eternal damnation, and fear—a myth that the U.S. could weaponize. And so, armed with tape recorders and microphones, American forces set out to win the war by bringing a ghost story to life. Today, The Experiment examines those efforts and the ghosts that still haunt us.

    This story originally aired on “Mixtape,” a special series from Radiolab about how the cassette tape allowed us to record, reshuffle, and reimagine our lives.

    A transcript of this episode is available.


    Be part of The Experiment. Use the hashtag #TheExperimentPodcast, or write to us at theexperiment@theatlantic.com.

    • 40 min
    How ‘Passing’ Upends a Problematic Hollywood History

    How ‘Passing’ Upends a Problematic Hollywood History

    Hollywood has a long history of “passing movies”—films in which Black characters pass for white—usually starring white actors. Even as these films have attempted to depict the devastating effect of racism in America, they have trafficked in tired tropes about Blackness. But a new movie from actor-writer-director Rebecca Hall takes the problematic conventions of this uniquely American genre and turns them on their head. Hall tells the story of how her movie came to life, and how making the film helped her grapple with her own family’s secrets around race and identity.

    A transcript of this episode is available. 

    Further reading: “Netflix’s ‘Passing’ Is an Unusually Gentle Movie About a Brutal Subject”


    Apply for The Experiment’s spring internship. Applications will be accepted through November 29, 2021.

    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, Julia Longoria, and Jenny Lawton. Special thanks to B.A. Parker. Fact-check by Will Gordon. Sound design by David Herman with additional engineering by Joe Plourde. Transcription by Caleb Codding.

    • 31 min
    A Friend in the Execution Room

    A Friend in the Execution Room

    Was anybody willing to be a spiritual adviser to a Muslim man on death row? That’s the question that went out by email to a local group of interfaith leaders in Indiana. Nobody answered. 

    After a week without responses, the management professor Yusuf Ahmed Nur stepped forward. A Somali immigrant who volunteered at his local mosque, Nur would counsel Orlando Hall in the weeks leading up to his execution. But Nur didn’t expect he’d end up standing beside Hall in the execution chamber as he was put to death.

    “That’s when it hit me,” Nur says. “You feel like you’re complicit, that you are cooperating with the system. They assign you a role to play in this execution.”

    This week on The Experiment: One man finds himself at the center of our legal system, and witnesses what gets sacrificed in the pursuit of justice.

    This episode of The Experiment originally ran on March 18, 2021.

    Further reading: “Trump Is Putting the Machinery of Death Into Overdrive”

    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 Alvin Melathe, Gabrielle Berbey, and Julia Longoria, with editing by Matt Collette and Katherine Wells. Fact-check by William Brennan. Sound design by David Herman. Special thanks to Katie Bishop and Najib Aminy.

    Music by water feature (“double blessing ii”), Keyboard (“Being There,” “More Shingles,” “My Atelier,” “Small Island”), and Parish Council (“Heatherside Stores”) provided by Tasty Morsels.

    • 27 min

Top Podcasts In Society & Culture

iHeartPodcasts
Parcast Network
@DailyRapUpCrew
More Sauce & Shan Boodram
Krew Season
Ashley and Jessica

You Might Also Like

WNYC Studios
NPR
This American Life
NPR
The Center for Investigative Reporting and PRX
WNYC Studios

More by WNYC

WNYC Studios
WNYC Studios
WNYC Studios and The New Yorker
WNYC, New York Public Radio
Science Friday and WNYC Studios
WNYC Studios and KCRW