Retro Report Poster

(2013– )

Episode List



6 May 2013
Voyage of the Mobro 4000
The 1987 voyage of a barge loaded with New York garbage became a sensational fiasco, but it ended up fueling the modern recycling movement.
13 May 2013
The Legacy of Tailhook
Military sexual assault is not a new phenomenon. A second look at the Tailhook scandal in 1991 reveals what happened then. And what it all means now.
20 May 2013
Crack Babies: A Tale from the Drug Wars
Retro Report goes back to the 1980s and examines how government officials, journalists, and medical professionals warned the country of the growing danger of a generation of 'crack babies'. It turns out they were wrong. Scientists have discovered that there are no severe development problems associated with prenatal cocaine exposure.
27 May 2013
Y2K: Much Ado About Nothing?
Retro Report looks at the Y2K bug and the threat it posed to computers and modern society at the end of the twentieth century. Although there was a great deal of doomsday hype, government programmers managed to prevent any great disasters.
3 Jun. 2013
The Tawana Brawley Story
Retro Report examines the controversial 1988 alleged rape of Tawana Brawley in New York City. Her story becomes a lightning rod of tension between city officials and the black community. Eventually, the district attorney concludes that her story was a fabrication though some supporters of Brawley like Al Sharpton still suggest otherwise.
10 Jun. 2013
Biosphere 2: An American Odyssey
Retro Report examines Biosphere 2 Project in which eight people sealed themselves into an artificial biosphere to investigate the possibility of colonizing space. The Project ran into numerous difficulties and many wondered whether it was really a worthwhile scientific investigation.
17 Jun. 2013
Wild Horse Wars
Retro Report looks at past efforts to conserve wild horses from hunter bent on killing them for dog food. When Congress passes a bill that outlaws the killing of wild horses, the population explodes causing grass shortages for ranchers all across the plains.
24 Jun. 2013
Seeing Red: The Flavr Savr Tomato
Retro Report goes back to the 1990s when entrepreneurs and scientists at Calgene introduced the first genetically engineered food to market. The Flavr Savr tomato was clearly labeled as a genetically modified food. Other companies, however, were reluctant about labeling and this eventually lead to a backlash against genetically modified food.
2 Sep. 2013
Yellowstone 1988: An Education in Fire
Retro Report goes back to the summer of 1988 when wild fires burned nearly one third of Yellowstone National Park. The Park Service is heavily criticized in the media for its handling of the fires. What was learned from the experience has helped shape how the Park Service handles wild fires across the West today.
9 Sep. 2013
The Battle for Busing
Retro Report looks back at the integration of American high schools focusing on Charlotte, North Carolina. Studies show that integration for the most part was a success. In the 1990s, judicial rulings lead to the repeal of mandatory busing laws and schools have become less integrated.
16 Sep. 2013
What Happened to Willy?
Retro Report looks at the life of Keiko the killer whale who starred in the 1993 hit movie "Free Willy". With the help of donors and philanthropists, activists work diligently to reintroduce him to the while. Unfortunately twenty years of captivity could not be forgotten.
23 Sep. 2013
The Shadow of Thalidomide
Retro Report looks at the 1950 medical crisis caused by the drug thalidomide which left behind thousands of deformed infants. The drug was eventually banned around the world. The ban, however, was lifted after the drug was discovered to useful in the treatment of cancer.
30 Sep. 2013
Walter Reed: The Battle for Recovery
Retro Report goes back to 2007 and examines the scandalous treatment of wounder veterans at Walter Reed Army Medical Center. The neglect of the injured solders outrages the nation and spurns reform. Years after these reforms, it is unclear whether anything has gotten better.
7 Oct. 2013
The Wrong Man: The Richard Jewell Story
Retro Report looks at the investigation into 1996 Olympic Park bombing in Atlanta and the media firestorm surrounding security guard and suspect Richard Jewell. Although investigators later clear him of the crime, his life and reputation is seriously damaged by the media scrutiny. Years later, false accusations remain common in media and it remains unclear whether lessons has been learns from the Jewell case.
14 Oct. 2013
Send in the Clones
Retro Report goes back to 1997 when Scottish scientists revealed that they successfully cloned a sheep named Dolly. Their success sent waves of future shock throughout the world though much that ended up being overblown. Nowadays the techniques used to create Dolly are used in stem cell medical research.
21 Oct. 2013
Liebeck v. McDonald's: The Big Burn
Retro Report examines the case of Stella Liebeck who was severely burned by a cup of scalding hot McDonald's coffee and successfully sued the fast food restaurant for several million dollars. Although the court award was well reasoned given the severe injuries suffered, the media spins the story into a punchline which attracts extremely negative attention. Ultimately politicians use the case to argue in favor of tort reform.
28 Oct. 2013
The Lessons of Katrina
Retro Report looks back at the devastation wrought by Hurricane Katrina along the Gulf Coast in 2005. Louisiana attempted to create programs to assist in housing recovery, but their efforts left people mired in litigation and red tape. Ultimately lessons learned in the the wake of Katrina have helped to shape the response to every major disaster since including Hurricane Sandy.
4 Nov. 2013
The War on Cancer
Retro Report looks back at the story behind President Nixon's signing of the National Cancer Act. In the years that follow some argue that the War on Cancer has been a costly failure. Scientists argue that it was naive to expect a quick cure given the difficulties associated with cancer research. Cancer rates do go down, but only after society embraces prevention and early screening.
2 Dec. 2013
Crime and Punishment: Three Strikes and You're Out
After the 1993 murder of a California child, many states passed laws to lock up repeat offenders for life, but today those laws are raising questions about how crime is handled in America.
9 Dec. 2013
Exxon Valdez: In the Wake of Disaster
On a cold March night in 1989, the tanker Exxon Valdez ran aground off the coast of Southern Alaska, spilling 11 million gallons of crude oil into the waters of Prince William Sound, creating one of the worst oil spills in American history. This episode of Retro Report examines how the spill happened and follows its impact.

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