Alex Jones spread the idea that Sandy Hook was a hoax, on his radio show and website for years after the shooting. He's probably the country's most famous conspiracy theorist. He's even had Donald Trump on his show.
Jon Ronson has been working on a podcast for over a year that traces how one man changed the porn business, when he applied modern internet technology — keywords, search-term optimization — to porn. One big obvious consequence of this is that so much pornography is given away for free, people who make porn videos have a much harder time making a living.
When we started putting together this week's show, we assumed we'd be using the phrase "tarred and feathered" as a metaphor for when someone is publicly shamed. We didn't think we'd find a story about someone being literally tarred and feathered, especially not recently.
If you ever think about assuming a secret identity, you may want to take a little time to consider the possible consequences. Jon Ronson tells the tale of a bank robber who absolutely does not take that advice.
Ira Glass speaks with Paul Davies, chair of the Post-Detection Task Force of SETI. That stands for the search for extra-terrestrial intelligence, and Paul’s task is to figure out what to say to space aliens if we find them.
From London, TAL contributor Jon Ronson tells the story of a man who has spent more than a decade trying to convince doctors that he's not mentally ill. But the more he argues his case, the less they believe him.
Rachel North was on a train that got blown up during the London subway bombings. After writing a very popular blog about her experience and her recovery afterward, Rachel became a spokeswoman for a survivors' group.
Jon Ronson goes to his high school reunion to try to figure out why his schoolmates—his friends!—threw him in a lake when he was sixteen. The only trouble is, no one at the reunion seems to remember it quite the way he does.
Jon Ronson tells the story of how his parents decided to commission a family portrait, and how things went awry because of the brilliant but troubled local artist they hired for the job. In the story, Jon circles in a reluctant orbit around his parents, and his parents are in a rather energetic orbit of their own.
Reporter Jon Ronson tells the story of how, in the immediate wake of September 11, he became convinced that a man he'd done a story on was responsible for the Anthrax attacks in America. So he did something he'd never done before, he ratted out his source to the FBI.
Several years ago, before most of us paid much attention to the name Osama bin Laden, Reporter Jon Ronson spent a year following around a Muslim activist named Omar Bakri, who called himself bin Laden's "man in London." At first Ronson thought Bakri was on the "them" side of "us and them." But then Ronson got to know him, and changed his mind. After September 11th, he had to change his mind again.