Background Briefing: November 1, 2022


The Party of Trolls Makes Fun of an 82 Year-Old Man Who Was Beaten Over the Head With a Hammer in a Home Invasion

We begin with a Republican Party without plans, policies or a platform now running on trolling an 82 year-old man who just got beaten over the head by an intruder in a home invasion. Joining us is Michael D’Antonio and we discuss our mean culture and the leading GOP figures who traffic in cruel jokes at the expense of victims and the vulnerable. He won the Pulitzer Prize for his reporting at Newsday before going on to write many acclaimed books, including Atomic Harvest, The Truth About Trump, Never Enough: Donald Trump and the Pursuit of Success, and most recently, co-authored with Peter EisnerHigh Crimes: The Corruption, Impunity, and Impeachment of Donald Trump.  A contributor to CNN, we discuss his latest article at CNN “Donald Trump Jr. is his father’s son.


Conspiracy Theories Have Entered the Mainstream of Republican Discourse

Then we examine how conspiracy theories are entering the mainstream in the Republican discourse as we count down to a critical election a week away and speak with Anne Nelson, a research scholar who previously taught journalism and public affairs at Columbia University. Her books include Red Orchestra: The Berlin Underground and the Circle of Friends Who Resisted Hitler and Suzanne’s Children: A Daring Rescue in Nazi Paris, and her latest book is Shadow Network: Media, Money, and the Secret Hub of the Radical Right, now out in an updated paperback version. Her recent article at The New Republic is “A Rare Peek Inside the Vast Right-Wing Conspiracy” and we discuss how we could be living through an moment similar to Germany in the 1930’s when fascism was just around the corner and a passive public did not awaken to the danger until it was too late.


An Update on the Israeli Election Trending For a Netanyahu Comeback

Then finally we get an update on today’s election in Israel which is trending towards a victory for Benjamin Netanyahu to reclaim power and preside over one of the most right-wing governments in the country’s history. Joining is Dr. Guy Ziv, a professor at American University’s School of International Service where he teaches courses on U.S.-Israel relations, and Israeli-Palestinian peacemaking. He has worked in the U.S. Department of State, on Capitol Hill, and for leading non-profit organizations that promote American involvement in Israeli-Palestinian peacemaking and is the author of Why Hawks Become Doves: Shimon Peres and Foreign Policy Change in Israel.