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Playlist: Stephanie Lepp's Portfolio

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The defection of a Roger Ailes warrior

From Stephanie Lepp | Part of the Reckonings series | 40:13

Joe Lindsley was the protégé of Fox News chairman Roger Ailes. What moved the ambitious twenty-something to abandon the conservative media titan?

Prx_logo_small "Very earlier on, Roger called me Ailes Junior. He told my dad, 'I've never met anyone more like me than Joe.'" As the protégé of Fox News chairman Roger Ailes, Joe Lindsley was closer to the man who built Fox News than any Fox executive. He helped write Ailes' speeches, sat next to him at executive meetings, and went to church with his family on Sundays. What moved the ambitious twenty-something to abandon the conservative media titan? 

The only paid climate skeptic who ever flipped

From Stephanie Lepp | Part of the Reckonings series | 41:51

For over 20 years, Jerry Taylor was a leading spokesperson for climate skepticism. He waged TV battles against climate activists on the likes of CNN, NBC, and Fox. As the only paid climate skeptic who’s ever switched sides, why did he flip?

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'I can say to climate skeptics on the right, I used to believe what you believe. Hell, I wrote your talking points, and for 20 years, I was there! But let me tell you why I'm not there anymore.' As the head of the Cato Institute’s climate and environmental policy shop, Jerry Taylor was a leading spokesperson for climate skepticism. He waged TV battles against climate activists on the likes of CNN, NBC, and Fox, and says he won all of them. And yet, he's the only paid climate skeptic who's ever flipped. Why did he shift not just his views on climate change, but his relationship with his views more broadly? 

A health insurance executive has a crisis of conscience

From Stephanie Lepp | Part of the Reckonings series | 32:37

What happens when the executive spin doctor for one of the biggest health insurance companies in the country confronts the consequences of his spin? Dive into one man’s odyssey from health insurance spin doctor to truth teller.

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'I was getting people to make decisions based on misleading information that could have life or death consequences.' That’s Wendell Potter, the former head of public relations for CIGNA, one of the biggest health insurance companies in the country. He was responsible for devising PR campaigns to help CIGNA deny coverage, discredit critics, and cast the corporate health insurance industry in a positive light. That was until he had three transformative experiences within the span of one year, which transformed the numbers in his spreadsheets into actual people with real lives. 
 
What happens when a health insurance spin doctor confronts the consequences of his spin? That's the surprising — and surprisingly hopeful — odyssey we're diving into.

Two teens overcome bullying

From Stephanie Lepp | Part of the Reckonings series | 30:58

Why do kids bully? And what moves them to stop?

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'When I'm angry and I don't know how to get it out, I take it out on other people. I call them names, I say they're ugly, I talk about the way they dress. How I come up with what to say, it's stuff that's been said to me before, so I just use it on other people.' When she was in high school, Halley built a reputation for herself as a bully. So did Chris, who even bullied his teachers, going so far as to break one teacher's jaw. This is the story of how Halley and Chris overcame bullying. Through experiences that allowed them to 'reckon' with their bullying behavior, they were able to see that it wasn't helping them relieve their anger and choose a different way of being. 
 
Halley's story features Challenge Day, a national anti-bullying workshop where students explore the impact of bullying and express their feelings in a safe environment.

In a moment of heightened discord, this is a hopeful tale about our capacity to choose compassion — and how little it can take to do so.

When her daughter became her son (and vice versa)

From Stephanie Lepp | Part of the Reckonings series | 33:37

What happens when the person you thought was your daughter becomes your son, and vice versa? Two mothers struggle to accept their transgender children, and provide a hopeful window into how we might expand our understanding of gender.

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'You have all these plans, all these dreams, and then it hits you: my daughter's no longer a daughter, she's a son.' In struggling to accept her daughter as a transgender man, Rita DiNicola had to surrender dreams of wedding dress shopping and biological grandchildren. Similarly, in accepting her son as a trans woman, Catherine Hyde had to reckon with the fact that — as a tomboy from a young age — she'd always wanted, and believed she'd gotten, a son as her only child. Together, Rita's and Catherine's stories provide a hopeful window into what might help other parents, and other people more broadly, overcome transphobia and expand our understanding of gender.

Transformations of a white supremacist and a jihadi extremist

From Stephanie Lepp | Part of the Reckonings series | 59:45

Frank was a white supremacist. Jesse was a jihadi extremist. What do we see when we look beyond ideology?

Prx_logo_small 'I could have been a left-wing guerrilla in Columbia. Whatever would have grabbed me at the right time, I was ready for.' That’s Frank Meeink, who became a top neo-Nazi leader and recruiter. The same goes for Jesse Morton, who became one of the most prolific jihadi propagandists in the US. What do we see when we look beyond ideology?

A journalist reckons with truth

From Stephanie Lepp | Part of the Reckonings series | 44:42

Alternative facts.

Fake news.

How are journalists grappling with this moment?

Dive into one journalist’s reckoning with truth.

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Lewis Wallace was a reporter at Marketplace. You may have heard his voice on the Marketplace Morning Report with David Brancaccio.
That was until he publicly questioned the role of objectivity in a Medium post. “We need to let go of idea that objectivity is dying. A more useful framework is that objectivity is a mythology that we’re urgently debunking to figure out what can stand in its place. That doesn’t lessen our pursuit of truth – it just reveals the complexity that was always there, which is that subjectivity informs that pursuit.”
This line of questioning ultimately got him fired from Marketplace.

Dive into one journalist's reckoning with truth.

A survivor and her perpetrator find justice

From Stephanie Lepp | Part of the Reckonings series | 56:15

What does it sound like for a perpetrator to take responsibility for sexual abuse? What does it sound like for a survivor to get her needs met? Hear the story that's missing from our #MeToo conversation -- the story of a survivor and perpetrator who managed to work through it using restorative justice.

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Anwen and Sameer started making out freshman year. One night after a party, she went home with him, and he coerced her into sexual activity. Afterwards, she felt disgusted, while he thought it was an awkward hookup. It took time and introspection for each of them to realize what had happened that night: sexual assault. Senior year, Anwen invited Sameer into a restorative justice process, which was transformative for both of them. 

What does it sound like for a perpetrator to gracefully take responsibility for sexual abuse?

What does it sound like for a survivor to get her needs met? 

Anwen and Sameer offer some extraordinary salve for this #MeToo moment: they show us how we might work through sexual violence in a way that achieves healing and justice.

An imaginary reckoning with Pope Francis

From Stephanie Lepp | Part of the Reckonings series | 06:44

If the Pope had a reckoning with the sex abuse crisis, what would it sound like?

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If the Pope had a reckoning with the sex abuse crisis, what would it sound like? 

Reckonings episode #22 attempts to answer that question. The script was written by Reckonings producer Stephanie Lepp in collaboration with clergy abuse survivor Susan Pavlak, Spiritual Director Mary Lou Logsdon, and radio producer Helena de Groot, and performed by voice actor Nat Jones. The piece distills the crisis down to its most elemental themes: mercy, justice, power, and the possibility that the clergy abuse crisis might be an opportunity to evolve the Church.