The Score: Weird Science, Angry Jurors, Beale Street, Federal Spending, Fake News

This week on The Score – Can federal spending be reduced? What were the top science stories of 2018? Tim Hulsey reviews If Beale Street Could Talk. We hear the hidden story of the stage play, Twelve Angry Men, why 1979 was such a pivotal year, and how consumers of journalism can fight “fake news.” All this and more on The Score.

2018 in Science
The past twelve months have brought a lot of news in the world of science. Whether the headlines have featured climate change or CRISPR babies, the stories have given us plenty to talk about — even up to the last minute, as the New Horizons spacecraft will fly by Ultima Thule, past Pluto in the outer reaches of the solar system, at almost exactly 12 midnight on New Year’s Eve.

Jackson Landers science journalistOn Christmas Eve, I spoke with science journalist Jackson Landers about the stories of 2018 that he believes will have staying power and could affect our lives in years to come. Landers is author of The Beginner’s Guide to Hunting Deer for Food (2011) and Eating Aliens: One Man’s Adventures Hunting Invasive Animal Species (2012). He also wrote the 2017 documentary, Charlottesville: Our Streets, which premiered at the Virginia Film Festival just short of 90 days past the events of August 12.

12 Angry Men
On this week’s episode of The Score, I am relying heavily on our audio archives – although, as always, we have a mix of old and new.

Twelve Angry Men Henry FondaIn this recording from the archives, I talk to lawyer and legal ethicist Jack Marshall about the hidden, behind-the-scenes role he played in transforming 12 Angry Men from a classic film written by Reginald Rose and starring Henry Fonda into a successful stage production. Jack was one of the founders of the late, lamented American Century Theater in Arlington, Virginia. Our conversation took place during the run of that company’s final production in July 2015.  Marshall’s role in bringing the play to the stage from the screen has not been fully recognized (and he is suitably modest about it).  This information is not (yet) found on Wikipedia so future historians of theater will cite Bearing Drift as their source.

Notably, 12 Angry Men was both the first and last play produced by The American Century Theater and Jack Marshall was the director.

Just as a personal note, let me add that I have known Jack Marshall almost as long as I’ve known anyone in Virginia or D.C. He and I both performed in a production of A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum during my first month as a freshman at Georgetown University. I was a Protean; he was Senex. I won’t mention what year it was but you can look it up if you’re curious.

Beale Street
Critics and audiences are praising Barry Jenkins new film, If Beale Street Could Talk, based on a novel by James Baldwin. (Jenkins previously directed the 2016 Oscar-winning film, Moonlight.) Despite the lofty awards-season buzz, The Score’s film critic, Tim Hulsey, takes a contrary view.

Reducing Spending
Jonathan Bydlak is founder and president of the Coalition to Reduce Spending, a single-issue advocacy group in Washington whose mission is in its name. I spoke to Bydlak by telephone a few days before Christmas, just before the partial government shutdown began.

The Coalition to Reduce Spending is on Twitter, where you can also find @JBydlak.

1979 and All That
Christian Caryl 1979 Strange RebelsDuring 2019, we will be marking the fortieth anniversaries of multiple events that occurred in 1979. That year is the subject of Christian Caryl’s book, Strange Rebels: 1979 and the Birth of the Twenty First Century. I interviewed him in May 2013, shortly after the book was published. Toward the end of the interview, we discuss the Tsarnaev brothers, perpetrators of the then-recent Boston Marathon bombing. Convicted killer Dzhokhar Tsarnaev is in the news again as he appeals his death sentence.

Christian Caryl is on Twitter as @ccaryl.

“Fake News”
Our final interview drawn from the archives features Josh Wheeler, now the former president of the Thomas Jefferson Center for the Protection of Free Expression. In March 2017, we talked about the future of journalism in an era of “fake news.”

What comes to mind when he hears somebody say “fake news”?

“What comes to mind for me is satire, but that’s not how it’s being used,” he replied. “The way in which it’s being used by our current administration, which seems to have really coined the phrase, is claiming that news that they don’t like is ‘fake news.’”

That’s not the right way to use the term, he said.

“I believe they have every right to find fault with journalism that they disagree with, that they think is not being correct, but,” he averred, “to call it fake news is very disturbing to me because it’s an attack on the institution of the press more than just any particular news outlet.”

The Thomas Jefferson Center for the Protection of Free Expression is on Twitter as @tjcenterorg.

Many Thanks
As I reviewed each week’s episode of The Score since I inherited the host’s chair and producer’s job in March, I discovered — to my great surprise — that we have featured at least 130 guests, not counting repeat appearances and interviews from the archives. I appreciate the openness of the many experts, political scientists, historians, economists, political candidates, Members of Congress, other elected officials, and authors (among others) to appear on a podcast that was still finding its footing. Media-relations teams at the Cato Institute, Mercatus Center, Miller Center, Virginia Film Festival, and Young Voices have been particularly helpful to me as I programmed each week’s episode.

Here’s what I hope is a complete list of The Score’s guests from March 17 through December 29, 2018:

Aaron Rhodes, Adam Kimelman, Adella Toulon-Foerster, Amanda Frisk, Andrew Tisch, Andrew Ward, Anne Philpot, Barbara Perry, Ben Cline, Ben Mankiewicz, Berin Szóka, Bill Sizemore, Bo Brown, Bob Goodlatte, Bob MacNamara, Bryce Reeves, Buddy Weber, Casey Given, Chip Harding, Chris Edwards, Chris Farina, Christine McDaniel, Chuck Lollar, Claire Gastañaga, Colin Grabow, Corey DeAngelis, Corey Stewart, Coy Barefoot, Creigh Deeds, Daniel Griswold, David Toscano, Denver Riggleman, Doug Fine, Doug Hornig, E.W. Jackson, Elliott Harding, Emily Dufton, Emily Hamilton, Eric Xu, Flint Engleman, Garrett Peck, Gene Healy, Geoffrey Skelley, Guion McKee, Harrison Premen, Hawes Spencer, Hugh Dugan, Jackson Landers, Jake Grant, Jake Washburne, James Kidd, Jamie Kirchick, Jason Altmire, Jennifer Huddleston Skees, Jerry Stenger, Jesse Kelley, Jim Heilman, Jim Lark, Jody Kielbasa, Joe Bishop-Henchman, Joe Tone, Joe Walton, John Aristotle Phillips, John Farrell, John Munchmeyer, John Vaught LaBeaume, John Whitehead, Jon Bright, Jonathan Bydlak, Jonathan Rauch, Joshua Meservey, Julian Sanchez, Kayla Stetzel, Keith Whittington, Kemba Smith, Kevin Erdmann, Leslie Cockburn, Leslie Greene Bowman, Louis Michael Seidman, Madieu Williams, Marc Selverstone, Mark Herzog, Mark Obenshain, Mark Rozell, Mary Skafidas, Maryn McKenna, Matt Waters, Matthew Feeney, Maurice McTigue, Melvyn Leffler, Michael Farren, Michael Shindler, Michael Tanner, Nadine Strossen, Nick Freitas, Nicole Hemmer, Patrick Hauf, Paul Karem, Paul Wagner, Pete Wells, Phil Kerpen, Phyllis Leffler, Radley Balko, Randal O’Toole, Randolph Byrd, Rasmus Beck, Rob Bell, Roben Farzad, Robert Bruner, Robert Royal, Robert Toplin, Ronald Collins, Rosanna Bencoach, Ryan Snow, Sally Hudson, Sharon Weinberger, Stephen Farnsworth, Steve Landes, Thomas Oh, Tim Hulsey, Tim Johnson, Tim Kaine, Todd Sechser, Tom Garrett, Tracy C. Miller, Tyler Grant, Walter Olson, Wesley Harris, Will Lyster, and William Hitchcock. If you see your name has been omitted inadvertently, please know we are still grateful for your participation.

For all the listeners and readers of The Score from Bearing Drift, I offer my wishes for a peaceful, prosperous, and truly terrific 2019.

We’ll be back next week with more news, reviews, and interviews. Be sure to tell your friends where to find us and take part in the conversation. You can always leave comments in the space below.

See you next year!