All Things Considered

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All Things Consideredis a NPR radio newsmagazine that delivers in-depth reporting and transforms the way listeners understand current events and view the world. The program presents breaking news mixed with compelling analysis, insightful commentaries, interviews, and special -- sometimes quirky -- features.

Why People Believe Conspiracy Theories

Dec 11, 2016

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University of Vermont Medical Center
Fletcher Allen Health Care/University of Vermont Medical Center

A group of licensed nursing assistants and other employees at the University of Vermont Medical Center in Burlington are seeking permission from the hospital to establish a union.

If you live in Kenya there's a jingle you hear on television and radio a lot.

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St. Lawrence River-Great Lakes watershed map
Karl Musser/Wikimedia

The U.S. and Canada have adopted a plan designed to improve environmental conditions along Lake Ontario and the St. Lawrence River by letting water levels rise and fall more naturally.

Picture of a Vermont School Bus
Jared C. Benedict/Wikimedia Commons

The teachers' union affiliate in Rutland, Vermont, has filed a complaint with the state labor board, saying school administrators are ignoring concerns about student-on-staff violence.  But the superintendent of schools is disputing the teachers' union complaint.

Thirty years ago, a new face debuted on daytime television: Oprah Winfrey.

The new podcast, "Making Oprah," produced by member station WBEZ, chronicles Oprah's rise to stardom. Journalist Jenn White tells Oprah's story from her early days on her first talk show, AM Chicago, through to the biggest, most outrageous moments when 40 million people a week were watching her national show.

With Donald Trump's choices for secretaries of transportation and of housing and urban development — Elaine Chao and Dr. Ben Carson, respectively — there may be hints about the urban agenda Trump's administration may be shaping.

It's been nearly a year since Mayor Karen Weaver declared a state of emergency in Flint, Mich.

Before she became mayor, the city switched its water supply to the Flint River in a cost-cutting measure. The water wasn't properly treated, which caused corrosion in old pipes — leaching lead and other toxins into the city's tap water. People were afraid to drink or even bathe in the water.

Since then, a lot has happened.

Picture of marijuana plant
US Fish and Wildlife Service/Wikimedia Commons Public Domain

In the closing days of his administration, Governor Peter Shumlin is inviting Vermonters to apply for pardons if they were convicted of possessing up to an ounce of marijuana.

242 Main entrance
242 Main/Facebook

A popular Vermont punk music venue, established with the help of the wife of U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders, is closing after 32 years.

Police in Colchester, Vermont, say a student was caught with a gun at the local high school.

Vermont Air Guard F-16 Viper
Ken Mist/Flickr

Members of the Vermont Air National Guard are leaving Wednesday for an overseas deployment.

Fake news played a bigger role in this past presidential election than ever seen before. And sometimes it has had serious repercussions for real people and businesses.

That's what happened to a pizzeria in Washington, D.C., recently, when an armed man claiming to be "self-investigating" a fake news story entered the restaurant and fired off several rounds.

Smoke hung in the air for days in Oakland's largely Latino Fruitvale district after a deadly fire broke out late Friday night in an artists' warehouse, leaving 36 people dead.

Like so much of the city, it's a neighborhood facing ripples of gentrification created by the tech boom in the Bay Area, which now has some of the highest rents in the country.

President-elect Donald Trump said on the campaign trail that school choice is "the new civil rights issue of our time." But to many Americans, talk of school choice isn't liberating; it's just plain confusing.

Exhibit A: Vouchers.

Politicians love to use this buzzword in perpetual second reference, assuming vouchers are like Superman: Everyone knows where they came from and what they can do. They're wrong. And, as Trump has tapped an outspoken champion of vouchers, Betsy DeVos, to be his next education secretary, it's time for a quick origin story.

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The Senate gathered this afternoon to say goodbye to Vice President Joe Biden. Biden has been a presence there for more than 40 years. And NPR's Scott Detrow says it was a rare bipartisan moment in an increasingly partisan Capitol.

Downtown Historic District, Rutland, Vermont
Sfoskett/Wikimedia Commons

During the annual meeting Vermont Council on World Affairs this week the mayor of Rutland, Vermont, says he's committed to refugee resettlement.

Alex Jones has a following. His radio show is carried on more than 160 stations, and he has more than 1.8 million subscribers on YouTube.

And he claims to have the ear of the next president of the United States.

Jones is also one of the nation's leading promoters of conspiracy theories — some of which take on lives of their own. He has been a chief propagator of untrue and wild claims about a satanic sex trafficking ring run by one of Hillary Clinton's top advisers out of a pizzeria in Washington, D.C.

The head of a Vermont environmental group has complied with a mining company's demand that the group remove from its website the names of the company's owners. But a legal expert is questioning that decision.

We like to think our brains can make rational decisions — but maybe they can't.

The way risks are presented can change the way we respond, says best-selling author Michael Lewis. In his new book, The Undoing Project, Lewis tells the story of Daniel Kahneman and Amos Tversky, two Israeli psychologists who made some surprising discoveries about the way people make decisions. Along the way, they also founded an entire branch of psychology called behavioral economics.

He was a flamboyant, alpha-male billionaire who said things no career politician ever would — someone who promised to use his business savvy to reform the system and bring back jobs. Voters believed that his great wealth insulated him from corruption, because he couldn't be bought.

But his administration was marked by criminal investigations and crony capitalism.

Since her son Tommy went to jail, Dawn Herbert has been trying to see him as much as she can. He's incarcerated less than a 10-minute drive from her house in Keene, N.H. But he might as well be a lot farther.

"He's in that building and I can't get to him," Herbert says.

Dawn's visits probably don't look like what one might picture, where she's sitting across a table, or behind a pane of Plexiglas looking at and talking to her son.

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