The News Beat podcast team took to Facebook Live to talk about its ground-breaking new podcast. Some of the topics we discussed are listed below. After you watch, make sure to subscribe to News Beat wherever you listen to your favorite podcasts.
The News Beat podcast came into existence early this year with the release of our pilot episode, “MLK, Jr. — Unfinished Business.” We spent several months finalizing our format and reaching out to independent hip-hop artists to gauge how interested they’d be in collaborating. News Beat podcast has since released six episodes challenging conventional narratives and commonly held beliefs.
Our second episode was a deep dive into the war on drugs, which many Americans believe was first instigated by Richard Nixon. As it turns out, the drug war predates Nixon by decades, yet its racist foundation still exists today.
Next we interviewed experts on the etymology of the Islamic term “Jihad,” which has been misinterpreted for years to mean solely a “holy war.”
We then focused on an under-reported issue in criminal justice, specifically the process by which wrongfully convicted people receive compensation after they’re exonerated. What we discovered is restitution isn’t always guaranteed because laws vary by state and some are far more generous than others.
An issue that some members of this team had been reporting on for years, the prosecution of whistleblower Chelsea Manning, enabled us to break into the national security realm. The episode tried to focus specifically on the content of Manning’s leaks and why these disclosures are so significant. To do that, we featured John Kiriakou, a former CIA officer-turned whistleblower, Trevor Timm, one of the premier advocates for press freedoms in the United States, and Kevin Gosztola, who spent months covering Manning’s military court martial.
With the United States in a constant state of war, we next delved into the legal justification for America’s many conflicts abroad. As we dub it in the headline of the episode, the latest “weapon” in America’s vicious cycle of perpetual warfare is the 2001 Authorization for Use of Military Force, which allowed then-President George W. Bush to wage war with the perpetrators of the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks, meaning al Qaeda. That law is still used today to justify more than a half-dozen military engagements across the globe.
And most recently, we took on the issue of extremism in America. The conventional narrative for years has been that Islamic extremism is the most serious threat to public safety in the United States. But what the government’s own figures clearly reveal is that there have been more right-wing extremist attacks in the United States since 9/11 than violent episodes by so-called “Islamic extremists.”
That’s not all. For each episode, we’ve released a behind-the-scenes bonus podcast called BackBeat, in which we expand on the issues discussed in News Beat. BackBeat is hosted by Michael Conforti, aka Manny Faces, Christopher Twarowski and Rashed Mian. Those are the guys you see in our impromptu Facebook Live.
Also playing a vital role in the production of News Beat are the featured artists who write and perform original verses for each episode. We are proud to have Silent Knight on board as our first Artist in Residence. Silent Knight is a prolific recording and performing artist, and the frontman of The Band Called FUSE.