Here's Episode 1 of Slow Burn Season 4: David Duke. Subscribe here.
In the late 1980s and early 1990s, a white supremacist became an American political phenomenon. David Duke’s rise to power and prominence—his election to the Louisiana legislature, and then his campaigns for the U.S. Senate and the governorship—was an existential crisis for the state and the nation. The fourth season of Slate’s Slow Burn will explore how a Nazi sympathizer and former Klansman fashioned himself into a mainstream figure, and why some voters came to embrace his message. It will also examine how activists, journalists, and ordinary citizens confronted Duke’s candidacy, and what it took to stop him.
The season is hosted by Josh Levin, host of The Queen and native Louisianian.
Slate Plus members get bonus episodes of Slow Burn every season, early access to episodes 2 and 3, plus zero ads. Sign up now to listen and support the show.
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If you have any school-aged children in your life, you know that lockdown and active shooter drills have become a routine part of their school experience. These drills now take place in 95 percent of American schools. What you’re about to hear is a collaboration between Slate and The Trace, a nonprofit newsroom covering gun violence in the United States. It’s an audio project featuring firsthand accounts from kids of all ages about what it’s like to go through these drills. We hear a lot about school shootings, but we’re only starting to have a larger conversation about how they affect even those kids who may never go through one.
You can hear more from the students at slate.com/lockdown.
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In this excerpt from the second bonus episode of The Queen, Dan Kois talks to Josh Levin about the process of writing the reporting-intensive book the podcast series is based on. They’re joined by a panel of three distinguished authors, who share their own lessons about what it takes to write a book-length investigation: David Grann, a New Yorker staff writer and the author of Killers of the Flower Moon; James Forman Jr., winner of the 2018 Pulitzer Prize for his book, Locking Up Our Own: Crime and Punishment in Black America; and Eliza Griswold, winner of the 2019 Pulitzer Prize for her book, Amity and Prosperity: One Family and the Fracturing of America. To hear the full episode, join Slate Plus.
Is it possible that Linda Taylor perpetrated one of the most infamous child abductions in American history? In this excerpt from the first bonus episode of The Queen, Josh Levin talks to Paul Joseph Fronczak about how Taylor could be connected to the April 1964 kidnapping of a 1-day-old boy born to Paul’s parents, Dora and Chester Fronczak. They also discuss Paul’s search for his true identity. To hear the full episode, join Slate Plus.
Linda Taylor had a tendency to emerge from out of nowhere, upend everything in her path, then vanish without leaving a forwarding address. The final episode of The Queen focuses on two different stories about the lives Taylor changed. In one case, she helped a vulnerable family escape the degradations of the Jim Crow South. In the other, she kidnapped a child and may have been responsible for her own husband’s death.This podcast is based on Josh Levin’s new book, The Queen: The Forgotten Life Behind an American Myth.
A decade before she became known as the “welfare queen,” Linda Taylor put herself at the center of a different Chicago scandal. Upon the death of gambling kingpin Lawrence Wakefield, Taylor posed as the heir to his sizable fortune. The ensuing court proceeding was full of lies and surprise witnesses. That heirship hearing would ultimately reveal Taylor’s real identity and offer a window into her troubled past.This podcast is based on Josh Levin’s new book, The Queen: The Forgotten Life Behind an American Myth.
In the 1970s, a pair of very different men fought to define Linda Taylor’s image. For presidential candidate Ronald Reagan, Taylor epitomized the brokenness of the federal bureaucracy and the broader trend of poor people getting rich off the public dime. Taylor’s defense lawyer, the civil rights attorney R. Eugene Pincham, believed she was a scapegoat, and that her actions were crimes of survival.This podcast is based on Josh Levin’s new book, The Queen: The Forgotten Life Behind an American Myth.
Linda Taylor became the “welfare queen” in 1974 when the Chicago Tribune publicized her outrageous exploits. The reporter who introduced her to the world was a Pulitzer Prize winner named George Bliss. He stumbled into the Taylor story while investigating waste and fraud in the public aid system, and his fixation on a single welfare recipient may have been more damaging than he ever realized.This podcast is based on Josh Levin’s new book, The Queen: The Forgotten Life Behind an American Myth.
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 poorest citizens. In The Queen, Josh Levin reveals the never-before-told story of a woman whose singular life was forgotten in the rush to create a vicious American stereotype. Each season of Slate Presents brings you a new narrative mini-series.
We check in with Tarari and others as they complete their time in the diversion program and look toward their futures. We hear from the people inside the Brooklyn District Attorney’s office about their plans to reshape their slice of the criminal justice system.
A standalone episode about one of the voices featured in our series who is introduced to listeners as an expert but who goes through his own harrowing experience with the system when he’s sent to Rikers a few days shy of completing his parole. We document his ordeal and its surprising aftermath.This episode is brought to you by SendPro Online from Pitney Bowes. For a free trial plus a free scale, go to pb.com/CHARGED.Additional music for this episode by Lee Rosevere.
Tarari enters a diversion program which saves him from jail but puts his life — and the lives of other defendants like him — on a knife’s edge. We hear from social workers who run the program about the many ethical quandaries of trying to help their clients inside of a system built to punish them.
Tarari faces a very long prison sentence before he’s offered the chance at mercy — with many strings attached. An episode from Eric’s past comes back to haunt him as he campaigns for D.A. and thinks through the consequences of extending mercy to people like Tarari. Additional music for this episode by Lee Rosevere.
As his family and friends hustle to come up with his bail money, Tarari ends up at one of the most infamous jails in the country: Rikers Island. Eric runs for his own term as district attorney just as the demands to close Rikers heat up.
This is a free preview of a Slate Plus bonus episode of Charged. Only Slate Plus members get an additional episode of Charged every week, diving deeper into the legal issues discussed on the show. To listen to the rest of the bonus episodes this season, join Slate Plus at slate.com/charged.In this first bonus episode of Charged, host Emily Bazelon talks to producers Veralyn Williams and Alvin Melathe. Williams worked with Bazelon in the early stages of the podcast, and then Melathe took over a few months in. They discuss what it’s like being producers of color, and the racial nuances of making a podcast about crime and punishment in New York.
The mayor of New York deals with a big political problem by creating a new court in Brooklyn. Two men, born 25 years and a few blocks apart in Brooklyn, take entirely different paths to meet at that court—one as a defendant and the other as the district attorney. This episode is sponsored by Audible. Start listening with a 30-day Audible trial and your first audiobook plus two Audible Originals are free. Visit audible.com/CHARGED or text CHARGED to 500-500
In the final episode of Standoff, our narrative miniseries on the story of Ruby Ridge, host Ruth Graham recaps the prosecution of Randy Weaver and Kevin Harris, and explores how the story of the standoff became legendary among the modern far right.Slate Plus members get a bonus episode of Standoff each week. Sign up for Slate Plus at slate.com/standoff.
Host Ruth Graham describes what happens for the bulk of the 11-day siege on the Weaver family property. As the surviving Weavers stayed holed up inside their cabin, their story attracted droves of supporters and rabble-rousers to rural Idaho.Slate Plus members get a bonus episode of Standoff each week. Sign up for Slate Plus at slate.com/standoff.
Sociologist James Aho offers more on the The Order, a white supremacist group that went on a violent crime spree in the 1980s, and historian Kathleen Belew describes the role women played within white power movements.To join Slate Plus, sign up at slate.com/standoff.
Randy and Vicki Weaver moved their family to a remote Idaho cabin. They feared their world would be destroyed in an apocalyptic confrontation with the federal government. They were right.In this first episode of our new narrative miniseries Standoff, host Ruth Graham explores the ideologies and influences that led to the deadly siege at Ruby Ridge in 1992.
In 1992, hundreds of armed federal agents surrounded a family of white separatists in a ramshackle mountaintop cabin. Eleven days later, three people were dead—and the story of Ruby Ridge was just beginning. Journalist Ruth Graham explores a tragedy that’s become a foundational myth for the modern right, and finds some frightening lessons about power and paranoia.