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FROM THIS EPISODE

The claim that President Obama was born outside the country may appeal to the right-wing base of the Republican Party, but the repetition of a falsity could do more harm to Republicans than Democrats. Also, the bloody crackdown continues in Syria, and Chernobyl. After 25 years, the worst nuclear accident in history is far from over.

Banner image: Phil Wolf, owner of Wolf Automotive used car dealership, stands in front of a billboard on his auto lot on November 21, 2009 in Wheat Ridge, Colorado. Wolf paid $2,500 to have the billboard painted. Photo: John Moore/Getty Images

Conspiracy Theories

Mark Fenster

Producers:
Gary Scott
Christian Bordal
Karen Radziner

Reporter's Notebook Chernobyl 25 Years Later: Lessons for Fukushima 8 MIN, 23 SEC

Twenty-five years ago today, reactor number 4 at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant in what's now Ukraine melted down. Some 600,000 workers were exposed to massive amounts of radiation and the radioactive plume caused sickness and death elsewhere in the northern hemisphere. In the months after the disaster, a massive sarcophagus was built over the power plant. But the core is still molten, the sarcophagus is starting to crumble and there's concern that its collapse could release another radioactive cloud. Eben Harrell is a writer and reporter in the London bureau of Time magazine.

Guests:
Eben Harrell, Harvard University (@EbenHarrell)

Main Topic The Birthers and the Anatomy of a False Accusation 34 MIN, 32 SEC

Donald Trump is among those currently making the claim that Barack Obama is not a "natural born citizen," as the Constitution requires a President to be. Despite all evidence to the contrary, polls show that some percentage of Americans believe Obama was not born in Hawaii, but in another country. It turns out the contention was first made in 2004 by Illinois Democrats. But it's Republicans and some of their leaders who are repeating it today. We look at the history of a false report, why some people cling to it and its possible impact on next year's presidential campaign.

 



Guests:
Ben Smith, Politico.com
Gary Langer, ABC News (@LangerResearch)
Mark Fenster, University of Florida
Wayne Bennett, TheFieldNegro.com (@fieldnegro)
David Winston, Winston Group (@dhwinston)

Making News Bloody Crackdown Continues in Syria 7 MIN, 20 SEC

Yesterday, tanks and soldiers stormed the Syrian city of Dara'a and killed at least 25 people in efforts to stop a five-week long uprising with a death toll that now totals nearly 400. Western countries, including the US, are urging their citizens to leave the country and threatening sanctions. Anthony Shadid is Beirut Bureau Chief for the New York Time.

Guests:
Anthony Shadid, New York Times (@anthonyshadid)

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