“The Tower of Babel” by Pieter Bruegel the Elder, 1563

We are living through a crisis of historic proportions. The stakes could not be higher.

Here’s the problem: we can’t agree as a society about what is true and false. I’m not talking about the deeper questions of life or the mysteries of the universe or matters of religious faith. I’m talking about matters of basic fact.

Here’s what’s at risk: well, pretty much everything. Personal freedom, American democracy, peace & prosperity for the country and much of the world, the lives and futures of our children and their children, the welfare of the powerless and vulnerable.

So that’s the…


“Elijah is consistently saying, ‘I don’t know,’” Russell Moore told me. Yeah? Then this is perfect.

The first thing I noticed were the colors: the brilliant, vibrant red contrasted with the deep, oceanic blue. Hot and cold. Fire and ice. The flames were actually coming off the painting, reaching to its upper borders and leaping up and out. In front of them stood a man who looked, well, uncertain about whether he wanted to be there. His arms were raised at the elbow, in a vague gesture. Was he calling fire down from heaven, or was he surrendering? If so, to what or whom?

***

Earlier this year I read a book about this figure: the…


I had not been back to the U.S. Capitol for a year, since the last impeachment trial. I parked my car a few blocks away and walked to a checkpoint. A handful of national guardsman in camouflage, shouldering assault rifles, stood by as I showed my credential to the Capitol Police officers manning the gate, and then passed through the gap in the razor-wire-topped fencing.

I made a point each day of saying hello to the soldiers. I figured they might be missing home. It was a way to signal to each other — a form of trying to reassure…


It takes so damn long!

to figure out what’s right

what’s up, what’s down

but I don’t trust other people’s data or opinions

my dentist told me I had a cavity

maybe he just wants some extra cash

you can get a mouth mirror on Amazon

stainless steel — only $4.90!

I took a look inside

didn’t see much

found a video on YouTube

to see what real cavities look like

a week later my mouth hurt

but that dentist isn’t trustworthy

so I shelled out some real money

bought a drill — I could do this myself

ended up…


Beginning in March of 2020, we sought to help American citizens understand how the COVID-19 pandemic would affect their ability to cast votes in the primary and general elections. We were among the first outlets to alert the public that the election results might not be known for several days or weeks. We took allegations of voter fraud and cheating seriously, and looked in depth at the ways that election officials sought to prevent this. We also looked at the history of known fraud cases over the last few decades, and compared what is known about incidents of cheating with…


If you’ll be around relatives or friends — physically or virtually — who are still clinging to conspiracies about the election, Andrew Romano and I have an article that can be a resource for you. (We also did a video and written piece on the tell-tale signs of real conspiracies versus conspiracy theories, which you can read or watch here.)

The first section of this piece on election conspiracies — which discusses the way that bad actors have persuaded many people that there must be fire because they have blown so much smoke — is most important to understanding the…


If you or those you know are wondering about the technical details of how elections are run, how votes are counted, and what is done to make sure every vote is counted fairly, without cheating, I’ve done lengthy podcast interviews with three Republicans who run and oversee the elections in their state. And remember, every state runs its own election, and has different rules. But the best practices shared in these interviews will give you a sense of what is generally done.

Here’s my interview with Kentucky’s Secretary of State Michael Adams.

Here’s my interview with Ohio’s Secretary of State…


Will Ferrell is a funny Sherlock Holmes, but you don’t want to be the punchline to a joke. Aim to be the kind of person who is more like the real Sherlock: wise, discerning, and not easily manipulated.

Three years ago I wrote a survival guide for normal people, because I knew that many people were feeling overwhelmed by two things. First, we already lived in an Information Age that bombards us with too much to process. And second, in 2017 the pace of news was too fast, too breathless, and just too much.

So I advised a few things: wait 24 hours to let a story play out before even beginning to make up your mind about it; become an expert on one issue or topic, and be a student on the rest; and make time for…


I interviewed Jonathan Karl about his new book for one reason. It turned into something much bigger.

There has been a lot of debate over the president’s coronavirus briefings at the White House. Some say TV networks shouldn’t air them because of all the misinformation and confusing things the president says. Then Trump indicated he might pull back from them. So far he hasn’t.

Anyway, I realized that someone who sits in the front row of the White House briefing room almost every day just published a book about covering the Trump White House. And I’ve known him for years.


I’ll admit it: the first time I heard John Prine’s voice was only two years ago. It was a glorious Sunday afternoon in late May, and I was pulling out of the driveway of a barbecue joint in Virginia. I’d eaten so well: fantastic pulled pork with mustard sauce, and brisket cooked in massive outdoor ovens. The blessed sun had poured down on me while I pulled on a beer.

I was on that high you get when you’re just starting out on a trip that you’ve looked forward to: nothing but anticipation and open road in your future. …

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