Retro Report on PBS
A common refrain about news cycles dominated by the click-share immediacy of the Twitterverse is the dramatic loss in context. Posts shared on Facebook or RT’ed (ReTweeted) are often not only untethered from their original source, but to contextualize a news event with related facts and history typically requires some time-consuming Internet rabbit-hole diving.
Retro Report on PBS, a new one-hour magazine series, aims to widen the discussion by revealing the story behind the story and providing new insights into how today’s events have been shaped by the past.
Hosted by journalist Celeste Headlee, artist Masud Olufani and featuring New Yorker humorist Andy Borowitz, each episode of Retro Report explores four distinct stories, closing with “Now It All Makes Sense,” a special segment featuring the wit and wisdom of author and comedian Borowitz.
“Today, more information is available than ever before, and it’s coming from countless sources — with varying degrees of credibility,” said Perry Simon, Chief Programming Executive and General Manager, PBS. “Retro Report on PBS takes viewers on a journey into the most important stories of the day, looking at them through the lens of their often surprising historical roots, providing new insights while correcting the record and exposing myths along the way.”
Retro Report on PBS airs Monday and Tuesday evenings on SDPB1.
Episode 1 - SDPB1: Monday, October 7, 8pm (7 MT)
Explore how social media’s addictive power today might be explained by psychological experiments from the 1950s. Discover how recent NFL protests have ties to 1968. See how Wall Street women fought harassment before #MeToo, and learn why pythons are invading the Everglades. Andy Borowitz compares political ads to cigarettes.
Episode 2 - SDPB1: Tuesday, October 8pm (7 MT)
See how data pulled from DNA websites is solving cold cases and how drug rules stem from one pill’s side effects. Learn how a screen addiction cure is rooted in the past and why Americans are ambivalent about robots. Andy Borowitz objects to “no news.”
Episode 3 – SDPB1: Monday, October 14, 8pm (7 MT)
Dig into bystander behavior and learn how a decades-old murder can shed light on how we react to online violence. Explore the surprising connection between the Navy’s 1990s Tailhook scandal and the decision to open combat roles to women today. See why psychedelic drugs like LSD, which sparked fear in the 1960s, have now become a promising treatment for depression. Follow the voyage of a trash barge in the 1980s that persuaded us to recycle. Andy Borowitz highlights lunar hoaxes.
Episode 4 – SDPB1: Tuesday, October 15, 8pm (7 MT)
President Trump’s strategy for dealing with the press may seem new, but it’s strikingly similar to the path taken decades ago by a previous president. Learn the origin of vaccine fears and why measles cases are soaring. Discover the origins behind free agency in sports, which date back to a baseball pioneer, and the unintended consequences of a law intended to rescue wild horses. Andy Borowitz bemoans the no-apology apology.
SDPB1: Sunday, Oct. 6, 9pm (8 MT)
In a past riven by hacking scandals, a present at the mercy of the digital age and the 24-hour news cycle, and an uncertain future, this razor sharp and observant drama explores the current, turbulent media landscape and the ethical dilemmas that journalists and editors face each day. Charlotte Riley (Peaky Blinders) and Ben Chaplin star, alongside Priyanga Burford (King Charles III) and David Suchet (Poirot).