14 episodes

Bedrock, USA is a podcast about political extremism, small town life and the fight for democracy, hosted by Laura Bliss, a reporter at Bloomberg CityLab. 

In a super-divided, pandemic-era America awash in conspiracies and misinformation, it’s about a group of people who didn’t like what they saw happening in their local governments, and decided to get involved - whether that meant holding a rally, running for office, recalling an official or storming their government with bullhorns and threats. 

Their stories show how far-right ideologies enter into local politics - sometimes quietly, other times at full volume - and what it takes for regular people to fight back. They show the beauty as well as the risks, struggles and pitfalls of being an active participant in democracy today. And together they create a human-level portrait of a democracy that is fracturing, and the role that extremist ideologies are playing. (And they’re not going away.)

Where do their stories point us as a country? 

Bedrock, USA Bloomberg

    • Society & Culture
    • 3.9 • 231 Ratings

Bedrock, USA is a podcast about political extremism, small town life and the fight for democracy, hosted by Laura Bliss, a reporter at Bloomberg CityLab. 

In a super-divided, pandemic-era America awash in conspiracies and misinformation, it’s about a group of people who didn’t like what they saw happening in their local governments, and decided to get involved - whether that meant holding a rally, running for office, recalling an official or storming their government with bullhorns and threats. 

Their stories show how far-right ideologies enter into local politics - sometimes quietly, other times at full volume - and what it takes for regular people to fight back. They show the beauty as well as the risks, struggles and pitfalls of being an active participant in democracy today. And together they create a human-level portrait of a democracy that is fracturing, and the role that extremist ideologies are playing. (And they’re not going away.)

Where do their stories point us as a country? 

    The School Board Queen: Chapter 3

    The School Board Queen: Chapter 3

    In the final chapter of “The School Board Queen” we dig in with Bridget Ziegler. Her opponents have called her names – transphobic and racist. But she says she’ll take “the arrows of being called whatever” for what she believes in. She’s a champion of the Florida Parental Rights in Education Act – that’s the so-called Don’t Say Gay bill, which critics call unsupportive of the LGBTQ community. We want to know what it’s like to be a student living with the bill, and we spend time with a trans teenager, an eleventh grader, who surprises us with their clear-eyed perspective.
    “The School Board Queen” is reported, produced and hosted by Kathleen Quillian and Samantha Storey. For more information visit bloomberg.com/bedrock-usa. Have a suggestion or comment? We’d love to hear from you: kquillian@bloomberg.net or samanthastoreywrites@gmail.com. 
    See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.

    • 30 min
    The School Board Queen: Chapter 2

    The School Board Queen: Chapter 2

    Bridget Ziegler is against the teaching of CRT and gender identity. She believes parents should have ultimate control over their children’s education. In chapter two of “The School Board Queen” we explore where these stances come from. We hear from a Republican woman who fought against communism in her kids’ schools in the 1950s. We hear some of the first instructional videos made for sex ed classes, including one on how to groom yourself and another on whether or not to go steady. Two historians, Michelle Nickerson and Natalia Mehlman Petrzela who studied the era, take us on a tour, drawing a through-line from the mothers of yesterday to Bridget Ziegler today.  
    “The School Board Queen” is reported, produced and hosted by Kathleen Quillian and Samantha Storey. For more information visit bloomberg.com/bedrock-usa. Have a suggestion or comment? We’d love to hear from you: kquillian@bloomberg.net or samanthastoreywrites@gmail.com. 
    See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.

    • 29 min
    The School Board Queen: Chapter 1

    The School Board Queen: Chapter 1

    Ever since the pandemic saw school boards explode into shouting matches over mask mandates, nothing has been the same. And Florida has been the epicenter of some of those battles. Leading the charge is Bridget Ziegler, mother of three, and chair of the Sarasota school board. She is against the teaching of CRT and gender identity, but she is pro protecting the rights of parents. And Governor Ron DeSantis endorses her. Bloomberg spent several days with Ziegler, and over the course of three episodes we got to know her – and her opponents. 
    In chapter one of “The School Board Queen” we meet Ziegler and her family, and we learn her origin story. There were mean girls in high school. She didn’t finish college. And it was a surprising suggestion from her husband that set her on the school board path. We also talk to a former school board member who was so put off by Ziegler’s “shenanigans” that she left the Republican party and registered as a Democrat. 
    “The School Board Queen” is reported, produced and hosted by Kathleen Quillian and Samantha Storey. For more information visit bloomberg.com/bedrock-usa. Have a suggestion or comment? We’d love to hear from you: kquillian@bloomberg.net or samanthastoreywrites@gmail.com. 
    See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.

    • 23 min
    Why School Boards Had the Toughest Political Races

    Why School Boards Had the Toughest Political Races

    This week on Bedrock, USA, hosts Kathleen Quillian and Samantha Storey speak to Doug Kronaizl, a senior staff writer for Ballotpedia, a nonprofit that tracks elections and ballot measures. Kronaizl studies conflicts on school board elections. For this episode, he breaks down what the education landscape looks like in the wake of pandemic mandates. He describes how conservatives are making inroads on education boards, pushing “parental rights” and issues on race and gender. 
    For more information visit bloomberg.com/bedrock-usa. Have a suggestion or comment? We’d love to hear from you: kquillian@bloomberg.net or sstorey17@bloomberg.net. 
    See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.

    • 18 min
    How Secure Are America’s Midterm Elections?

    How Secure Are America’s Midterm Elections?

    Bedrock, USA returns with an interview about election security. New hosts Kathleen Quillian and Samantha Storey talk to the editorial director of VoteBeat, Jessica Huseman, about what to expect at the polls. Going into the midterms, cybersecurity is top of mind, so is physical security for both the paper ballots and the people handling them. Huseman breaks down why the American election system is one of the most secure in the world, but with misinformation running rampant across the internet, will it stay that way?
    For more information visit bloomberg.com/bedrock-usa. Have a suggestion or comment? We’d love to hear from you: kquillian@bloomberg.net or sstorey17@bloomberg.net. 
    See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.

    • 31 min
    What’s On Your Mind Ahead of the US Midterms?

    What’s On Your Mind Ahead of the US Midterms?

    There are five more episodes of “Bedrock, USA” in the works — and we want to hear from you. With the midterm elections coming up, we're wondering, what’s at stake in your town? Are you getting politically involved? What are you worried about? Do you have questions about how local politics work? 
    Please go to bloomberg.com/bedrockusa and send us your stories and questions. Or email us a voice memo at bedrockusa@bloomberg.net.
     
    See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.

    • 2 min

Customer Reviews

3.9 out of 5
231 Ratings

231 Ratings

Consdemo ,

Excellent if a bit slanted reporting

The series highlights a strain of far right extremism that is popping up around the country. I thought they correctly characterized the Shasta County folks as extreme, but missed the market a bit with Bridget Ziegler.

Regarding Shasta County, it appears the political revolt is driven by folks to don't believe in the law and threaten violence unless they get their way. However, whatever one thinks of Bridget Ziegler, she seems to operate very much within the political system and I don't think all her concerns can be completely dismissed. The science on medical transitions for youth isn't quite as settled as the hosts implied.

Overall, I appreciated the podcast for highlighting some concerning events that don't necessarily make national headlines.

WKB86 ,

Five stars

Great podcast.

tartarsauce1 ,

A must listen!

If you want to know that the reporting is accurate, look at why people are giving this show one star. This podcast is excellent. Cannot recommend it enough!

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