You're Wrong About

You're Wrong About

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Mike and Sarah are journalists obsessed with the past. Every week they reconsider an event or person that’s been miscast in the public imagination.


Quarantine Deep Dive: Jessica Simpson’s “Open Book” (Week 2)
May 14 • 68 min
“Her parents’ financial success is dependent on her abdomen.” This week, Jessica moves to L.A., records a video and meets a boy. The celebrity cameos escalate. Digressions include overalls, werewolves and Judy Garland. This episode unfortunately contains…
Quarantine Deep Dive: Jessica Simpson’s “Open Book” (Week 1)
May 7 • 56 min
Our journey through late-’90s pop stardom begins with an intervention and ends with an audition. Digressions include Willie Nelson, Ozzy Osbourne, Jane Fonda and the cast of the Mickey Mouse Club. Sarah’s English degree and exercise habits make…
The Y2K Bug
May 4 • 58 min
Mike tells Sarah how an obscure technical glitch became a nationwide mobilization. Digressions include Twitter beefs, “The Net” and VHS pricing. We spend much of the episode roasting our own work from the relatively recent past. Correction: It seems the…
Quarantine Book Club: “Michelle Remembers” (Week 5)
Apr 30 • 74 min
We conclude our book club with Michelle’s escape from the dungeon. The dead baby trend continues; Jesus, the Virgin Mary and Satan’s fingernails make brief appearances. Digressions include Dustin Hoffman, “Total Eclipse of the Heart” and things that rhyme…
The O.J. Simpson Trial: When Kato Met Marcia
Apr 27 • 57 min
Sarah tells Mike about the clash of the titans, the fury at the grand jury. We follow Kato, the wise fool of the kingdom, for the week between the murders and the Bronco chase. Digressions include John Travolta, French kickboxing movies and “The Mummy.”…
Quarantine Book Club: “Michelle Remembers” (Week 4)
Apr 23 • 54 min
This week, our lithe psychiatrist takes his favorite patient hiking, a priest burns some furniture and Michelle tries to escape her remembering. This episode contains descriptions of kitten sacrifice, sexual abuse and three more dead babies.
Quarantine Book Club: “Michelle Remembers” (Week 3)
Apr 16 • 61 min
Sarah and Mike continue into the depths. With Dr. Pazder home from Mexico, he and Michelle continue their journey into her subconscious, and the stories continue to get weirder. This episode contains kitten sacrifice, and the first—but not the last—dead…
Marie Antoinette
Apr 13 • 73 min
“What’s sad about her has nothing to do with the content of her character.” Special guest Dana Schwartz tells Mike and Sarah how an Austrian princess became a French scapegoat. Digressions include Rubik’s Cubes, Taylor Swift and Tom Stoppard. The use of…
Quarantine Book Club: “Michelle Remembers” (Week 2)
Apr 6 • 67 min
Sarah and Mike continue their journey into the book that launched a thousand lawsuits. Michelle and Dr. Pazder’s relationship grows more troubling by the chapter. Digressions include orgy etiquette, sheepskin jackets and “Indiana Jones and the Temple of…
The Exploding Ford Pinto
Apr 2 • 56 min
Mike tells Sarah about a dying industry, a dangerous car and the Pulitzer Prize-winning article that misrepresented them both. Digressions include “Mission Impossible,” “Friday the 13th” and the naming conventions of academic articles. This episode…
Quarantine Book Club: “Michelle Remembers” (Week 1)
Mar 26 • 48 min
Sarah describes the spark that ignited the Satanic Panic. Our setting is a therapist’s office in 1976 Victoria, B.C., and our digressions include Sybil, scary paperbacks from the 80s and shouting “Fire!” on a crowded theater. This episode describes child…
D.C. Snipers Part 4
Mar 23 • 111 min
In the final chapter of our series on the D.C. sniper attacks, Mike finally tells Sarah about the D.C. sniper attacks. Digressions include “The Abyss,” Ed Rooney and Jack the Ripper. We begin the episode with an update on our quarantine plans. Sarah…
The O.J. Simpson Trial: Marcia Clark Part 2
Mar 9 • 59 min
Sarah tells Mike about a week in the life of Marcia Clark, who became America’s most famous prosecutor on June 13, 1994. Digressions include car phones, college group work and “Titanic” (as usual). In keeping with the theme of this episode, Sarah had a…
D.C. Snipers Part 3
Feb 24 • 95 min
Mike tells Sarah about the indoctrination of Lee Boyd Malvo and the beginning of the sniper attacks. Digressions include Jonestown, Greek tragedy and something called “creepy crawling.” The episode begins with a lengthy meta-discussion of true-crime…
Valentine’s Day Re-Release: Anna Nicole Smith
Feb 14 • 62 min
Valentine’s Day re-release! Sarah and Mike reflect on one of the only love stories they’ve ever covered on the show.
Why Didn’t Anyone Go to Prison for the Financial Crisis?
Feb 10 • 63 min
“Every big fish you catch, you end up with a hole in the net.” Mike tells Sarah how America’s white-collar crime spree got so bad. Digressions include self-checkout kiosks, Barbie dolls and moonshine. Homeless shelters and teacher pay feature prominently.…
D.C. Snipers Part 2
Feb 3 • 98 min
Mike tells Sarah how a nice Jamaican kid became the disciple of a mean American adult. Digressions include Tonya Harding (of course), “Sliding Doors” (again) and Anne of Green Gables (Sarah has an English degree). Mildred re-appears just after the hour…
The O.J. Simpson Trial: Kato Kaelin Part 2
Jan 20 • 83 min
Sarah tells Mike the ending to the story of the mimbo and the alibi. Digressions include O. Henry, Nigerian e-mail scams and Dave Coulier. Mike wildly over-simplifies the Brexit vote.
D.C. Snipers Part 1
Jan 6 • 110 min
“If you’re black, you can’t get work as a serial killer even if you’re manifestly qualified.” Mike tells Sarah how a military veteran became an abuser, a murderer and, eventually, a footnote in his own crime spree. Digressions include Jim Jones, the…
The O.J. Simpson Trial: Kato Kaelin Part 1
Dec 16, 2019 • 68 min
Sarah tells Mike how an aspiring actor protected and then betrayed Nicole Brown Simpson without knowing he was doing either. Digressions include ’80s movie tropes, ski-resort etiquette and the need for a process of “un-faming.” Unfortunately, this episode…
The O.J. Simpson Trial: Paula Barbieri Part 2
Dec 2, 2019 • 85 min
“There’s no precedent for women in this family being treated like they matter.”
Human Trafficking
Nov 25, 2019 • 97 min
Mike tells Sarah how NGOs, activists and George W. Bush resurrected the ‘stranger danger’ panic for the modern era. Digressions include Reply All, muffins and Yelp for massage parlors. Mike’s vocal fry is even worse than usual.
The O.J. Simpson Trial: Marcia Clark Part 1
Nov 14, 2019 • 80 min
Sarah tells Mike how Marcia Clark got the slam-dunk case that ended her career as a trial lawyer. Digressions include string cheese, “Inception” and what calling women “difficult” means in 2019. We go on the record in favor of a wide range of frivolous…
The O.J. Simpson Trial: Paula Barbieri Part 1
Nov 1, 2019 • 82 min
“Centering conversations around blame is not the most useful thing for us to be doing.” Sarah tells Mike about the woman who broke up with O.J. Simpson on the morning of the murders — then stayed by his side through the trial. Michael Bolton makes an…
The O.J. Simpson Trial: Nicole Brown Simpson Part 2
Oct 17, 2019 • 96 min
“You can’t expect people to know the exact kind of help they need.” We continue our deep dive into the O.J. Simpson case with the history of Nicole Brown Simpson’s marriage to O.J., their 1992 divorce and the last weeks of Nicole’s life. Digressions…
The O.J. Simpson Trial: Nicole Brown Simpson Part 1
Oct 3, 2019 • 63 min
Mike and Sarah begin their epic journey into O.J. Simpson’s trial for the murders of Nicole Brown Simpson and Ron Goldman, beginning with the story of Nicole’s life with O.J. until their marriage in 1985. This episode contains descriptions of violence and…
The Wardrobe Malfunction
Sep 19, 2019 • 44 min
Our first live show! Mike tells Sarah about Janet Jackson, the 2004 Super Bowl Halftime show and the 9/16ths of a second that destroyed her career. Digressions include Puff Daddy, Jessica Simpson and Edward James Olmos. Like all positive developments…
‘Yoko Ono Broke Up The Beatles’
Sep 10, 2019 • 79 min
Mike tells Sarah how the myth of meddling wives serves to exonerate terrible husbands. Digressions include “50 Shades of Grey,” Marie Antoinette and the end of the 1960s. This episode, we’re sorry to say, contains descriptions of domestic abuse.
Gangs
Aug 22, 2019 • 77 min
“Isn’t it amazing how we can only imagine our monsters capitalistically?” Mike tells Sarah how police, prosecutors and journalists accidentally conspired to invent the perfect suburban menace. Digressions include IKEA, the “Godfather” trilogy and…
The Victims’ Rights Movement
Aug 16, 2019 • 53 min
“When you allow emotion into the courtroom, bias rushes in alongside it.” Special guest Rachel Monroe tells Mike and Sarah how a good-faith critique of the justice system led to a decades-long crackdown. Digressions include Charles Manson, Ronald Reagan…
Sex Offenders
Aug 7, 2019 • 63 min
“Things are not going to get better if we make the people who scare us seem more powerful.” Mike tells Sarah about the myths of sex crimes, the reality of child abuse and the importance of unsympathetic protagonists. Digressions include frozen pizza,…
Tonya Harding Part 2
Jul 26, 2019 • 75 min
“The story that did the most damage to the people in it was the one that made the most money.” Sarah tells Mike about the low-rent conspiracy that sparked a ratings bonanza. Digressions include “Out of Sight,” Robert De Niro and the ancient sexting…
Tonya Harding Part 1
Jul 18, 2019 • 72 min
Sarah tells Mike the story of a world-class figure skater who worked at a mall potato restaurant. Digressions include “Sleepless in Seattle,” mall walkers, synchronized diving and the difficulty of skating a perfect pentagram. This episode unfortunately…
The Stonewall Uprising
Jun 27, 2019 • 79 min
“Humans aren’t good at remembering what got us where we are.” Mike tells Sarah how a turning point in the gay rights movement became an immediate controversy, a lasting inspiration and a never-ending debate. Digressions include “Newsies” (of course),…
Kitty Genovese and “Bystander Apathy”
Jun 20, 2019 • 66 min
“Once you tell a story incorrectly once, you can’t control where it goes.” Sarah tells Mike how The New York Times turned a suburban murder into an urban legend. Digressions include Billy Joel, the World’s Fair and “Ferngully.” This episode marks a…
Sexting
Jun 11, 2019 • 40 min
“We’re uncomfortable with the evidence that teen girls have sexual agency.” Special guest Amy Hasinoff tells Mike and Sarah how a moral panic became a legal nightmare. Digressions include Cosmo advice columns, Grindr etiquette and the revolutionary…
The American Taliban
Jun 5, 2019 • 71 min
“He’s been punished even more than the American prison system can aspire to punish anyone”: Mike tells Sarah how John Walker Lindh became a terrorist in the media, a freedom fighter in his own mind and something between the two in reality. Digressions…
Exorcism
May 28, 2019 • 41 min
“It just seems like capitalism masquerading as religion”: Sarah tells Mike how a horror movie resurrected a ritual and established an industry. Digressions include “Avatar,” the NFL and the ethics of book publishing. The final five minutes are an…
Homelessness
May 16, 2019 • 69 min
“We want stories that don’t exist in systems”: Mike tells Sarah what happened when Utah set out to solve one of America’s most intractable problems. Digressions include the Paleo diet, the planet Mars and the inadequacy of the term “up the river.” Jimmy…
Dan Quayle v. Murphy Brown
May 9, 2019 • 51 min
“Why did we make fun of Dan Quayle for misspelling the word ‘potato’ when we should have made fun of him for arguments like this?” Mike tells Sarah how a real vice president blamed a fictional single mom for causing one of the most divisive events of the…
Elián González
Apr 25, 2019 • 60 min
Mike tells Sarah how a 5-year-old kid transformed a city, divided a political party and (maybe) determined a presidential election. Digressions include World War II, Clarence Darrow and something called “Like, News with Skeeter.” Both co-hosts conclude…
The Preppy Murder
Apr 18, 2019 • 54 min
Sarah tells Mike how an aspiring rich kid became an emblem of a world he didn’t belong to. Digressions include drill teams, prep schools and eating disorders. The p-pops are worse than usual.
The “Ebonics” Controversy
Apr 4, 2019 • 61 min
Mike tells Sarah how a simple idea in a single school district became a nationwide racial panic. Digressions include slasher movies, Space Invaders and homeschooling. The taglines are becoming more esoteric.
Terri Schiavo
Mar 5, 2019 • 73 min
Mike tells Sarah how the media, the president and the Pope turned a simple medical story into a complicated legal one. Digressions include canine loyalty, unionized space-workers and polyamory logistics. Both co-hosts recorded in tiny rooms, but with very…
Anna Nicole Smith
Feb 20, 2019 • 57 min
Sarah tells Mike how a poor Texas girl made herself into an icon and America made her into a punchline. Digressions include massage technique, “Death Becomes Her” and (obviously) “The Godfather.” Mike sounds even sicker than he did last week.
Acid Rain
Feb 15, 2019 • 45 min
Mike tells Sarah how an environmental problem became a national rallying cry, a sticky diplomatic issue and, eventually, a conspiracy theory. Digressions include “Alien,” Field & Stream and NRA public service announcements. Both hosts are recovering from…
Gary Hart
Feb 7, 2019 • 49 min
Sarah tells Mike how a sex scandal ruined a rising star and established a new template for American elections. Digressions include “Good Will Hunting,” People Magazine and Linda Ronstadt. Michael Dukakis is described, for the first time ever, as “the…
Tammy Faye Bakker and Jessica Hahn
Jan 25, 2019 • 67 min
“She only said one thing her whole life”: Sarah tells Mike how two decent women became scapegoats for the actions of one terrible man. Digressions include Larry Flynt, NPR tote bags and Playboy back issues. The co-hosts discover they have wildly different…
Enron
Jan 16, 2019 • 77 min
Mike tells Sarah how a “bad apples” explanation kept us from seeing the real scandal at the heart of America’s largest corporate bankruptcy. Digressions include “Casino,” Thanksgiving economics and corruption catchphrases. Neither co-host truly…
The Challenger Disaster
Jan 3, 2019 • 66 min
It wasn’t an accident. Mike tells Sarah how the infamous space shuttle disaster came to be seen as a white-collar crime. Digressions include the Donner Party, George Lucas and “Jurassic Park.” Both co-hosts are audibly recovering from colds.
“A Dingo’s Got My Baby”
Dec 19, 2018 • 58 min
Sarah tells Mike how a tragic story became a hacky catchphrase. Digressions include raccoon anarchists, flu remedies and late-night Arby’s. Sarah’s Google Alerts will surprise none of our listeners.
The 2000 Election
Dec 12, 2018 • 72 min
Mike tells Sarah how a close election and an even closer Supreme Court decision established the political template we’re still living with today. Digressions include quarks, Ouija Boards and (sorry) moral philosophy. The “lemonade theory” turns out to be…
Amy Fisher
Dec 3, 2018 • 63 min
Sarah tells Mike about the sad reality — and the terrible man — behind the infamous Long Island Lolita. Digressions include software terms of service, the rise of beepers and Monica Lewinsky’s LinkedIn profile. Mike, a 36-year-old man, appears not to…
Roe v. Wade
Nov 21, 2018 • 54 min
Special guest Megan Burbank tells us about the history, limitations and loopholes of a landmark court ruling. Digressions include Betty Ford, “Maude” and naming conventions for anonymous defendants. The glories of Washington State politics are examined in…
The Duke Lacrosse Rape Case
Nov 14, 2018 • 70 min
Mike tells Sarah how a false rape allegation became a right-wing rallying cry and a left-wing conspiracy theory. Digressions include JonBenet Ramsay, “24” and “The Vagina Monologues.” Mike regrets not commenting on the metaphorical significance of being…
Lorena Bobbitt
Nov 7, 2018 • 49 min
Sarah tells Mike how a case of marital rape and spontaneous mutilation became a national punchline. Digressions include Ron Jeremy, Alan Dershowitz, Motörhead and the tortures of self-reflection. Sarah reviews John Wayne Bobbitt’s later works.
Stranger Danger
Oct 31, 2018 • 73 min
How inflated statistics, cultural anxieties and moral crusaders turned a tiny number of missing children into a decade-long political project. Digressions include 1870s parenting, “E.T.” and the lack of parks in Los Angeles. Both co-hosts secretly believe…
Urban Legends Spectacular!
Oct 24, 2018 • 75 min
Razorblades in apples, babysitters on acid, killers in backseats and “rainbow parties”: In this episode, Mike and Sarah investigate the scary stories Americans tell each other and discover the actual anxieties behind them. Turn on your high beams for this…
Halloween Special! Ed Gein and Slasher Movies
Oct 17, 2018 • 50 min
Sarah tells Mike how Ed Gein became one of America’s most famous serial killers despite not actually being one. Plus, the cinematic villains Gein inspired and what the slasher movies of the 1980s were really about. Digressions include Freud, summer camp…
Shaken Baby Syndrome
Oct 8, 2018 • 57 min
Mike tells Sarah how an over-simplified diagnosis, over-confident doctors and over-zealous prosecutors combined to get thousands of innocent parents thrown in prison. Digressions include food poisoning, Sherlock Holmes and 1950s medical ethics. Mike…
Multiple Personality Disorder
Oct 1, 2018 • 61 min
Sarah tells Mike how pop culture created a two-decade-long obsession with multiple personality disorder and repressed memories. Digressions include Dead Poets Society, restless leg syndrome and the low editorial standards of the American publishing…
The Obesity Epidemic
Sep 19, 2018 • 65 min
Mike tells Sarah that America has sent the wrong messages and done the wrong things about obesity for more than half a century. Digressions include height (again), sweatshops and Julianne Moore. Sarah and Mike’s mothers both make extended appearances.
Columbine
Sep 17, 2018 • 70 min
Special guest Rachel Monroe (re-)joins Mike and Sarah to talk about all the myths surrounding the second-biggest news event of the 1990s. Digressions include car crashes, September 11, Diane Sawyer and the terrors of teenage journaling.
Iran-Contra
Sep 10, 2018 • 56 min
Mike tells Sarah why the biggest scandal of Reagan’s presidency provides more (depressing) lessons about current politics than Watergate. Digressions include Mormons, Top Gun and the X-Files. Both co-hosts have considered what they will name their…
Jeffrey Dahmer
Sep 1, 2018 • 58 min
Sarah tells Mike that shoddy policing (and Milwaukee generally) are responsible for one of America’s most prolific serial killers. Digressions include panel vans, Anita Bryant, early man and Hannibal Lector. Mike struggles, as usual, not to cry during the…
D.A.R.E.
Aug 18, 2018 • 57 min
Mike tells Sarah that the D.A.R.E. program did not, in fact, keep kids off drugs. But that’s just the beginning of the debunking. Digressions include Martin Scorsese, Iceland and control groups. Neither co-host was cool enough to be offered drugs in high…
Alpha Males
Aug 4, 2018 • 49 min
Sarah tells Mike that animal behavior is an imperfect template for human society. Digressions include rabbits, Bob’s Burgers and online dating. Mike makes an awkward observation about locker rooms.
Kurt Cobain and “Copycat Suicide”
Jul 28, 2018 • 69 min
Special guest Candace Opper tells Mike and Sarah about how the death of a rock star changed the field of suicidology (which is a thing). Digressions include eating disorders, car crashes and the insane grimness of the term “family annihilation.” The…
“The Godfather”
Jul 21, 2018 • 55 min
Sarah tells Mike about how America’s favorite gangster movie is really its favorite killing-the-American-Dream movie. Digressions include the Mona Lisa, Bruce Springsteen and the tyranny of height-ism. The sound quality continues to worsen. Continue…
10th Episode Spectacular!
Jul 14, 2018 • 35 min
Sarah and Mike take a break from debunking to reflect on the first 10 episodes and tell the secret history of how they met. Digressions include “Portlandia,” Snapchat and the The New York Post. The recording quality, as usual, is wildly inconsistent.
The Exxon Valdez Oil Spill
Jun 30, 2018 • 61 min
Mike tells Sarah that America’s most devastating oil spill was not, in fact, a DUI. Digressions include “Titanic” (obviously), the Cuyahoga River, Jennifer Lopez and marshmallows. Punitive damages make a triumphant return. Mike, a professional writer,…
Snuff Films
Jun 25, 2018 • 58 min
Sarah tells Mike about how snuff films don’t exist but lots of near-snuff films do. Digressions include “Basic Instinct,” gymnastics and YouTube’s righthand bar. Mike is palpably grossed out for at least two-thirds of the episode. Continue reading →
The Jonestown Massacre
Jun 16, 2018 • 64 min
Special guest Rachel Monroe tells Mike and Sarah what’s really behind the phrase “drinking the Kool-Aid.” Digressions include David Koresh, East Germany and how flower children were the first millennials. Mike inadvertently reveals his prejudice against…
The Clinton Impeachment
Jun 9, 2018 • 60 min
Part two of our epic dissection of the Clinton impeachment scandal. This week: The story breaks, the House indicts, the Senate demurs and Mike rants more than usual about the media. Digressions include Mark Fuhrman, “Broadcast News” and gay porn.
Monica Lewinsky
Jun 2, 2018 • 74 min
Sarah and Mike talk about what America forgot — and never learned — about history’s most famous intern. Digressions include generational resentments, 1990s fashion and off-brand colleges. Also, Mike’s microphone breaks about 25 minutes in, so he sounds…
Anita Hill
May 26, 2018 • 72 min
Mike tells Sarah about the complicated legacy of Anita Hill and the not-particularly-complicated facts of her case. Digressions include “Tootsie,” Garrison Keillor and the Donner party. Mike, for reasons unknown, seems to believe that one flies “down”…
Stockholm Syndrome
May 20, 2018 • 56 min
It’s not a real thing! … OR IS IT? Sarah tells Mike about the convoluted history of a contested term. Digressions include James Bond, Charlie Manson and rat poison. Continue reading →
Matthew Shepard
May 12, 2018 • 79 min
But not how you think! Special guest Mike Owens tells Sarah and Mike about the (attempted) debunking of the gay-bashing victim. Digressions include Leopold and Loeb, Basic Instinct and Rolling Stone. The sound quality is even worse than usual. Continue…
Afterschool Specials
May 5, 2018 • 64 min
Mike tells Sarah that the TV movies of her childhood were both less and more problematic than she remembers. Continue reading →
Crack Babies
May 4, 2018 • 46 min
Sarah tells Mike about the long history of white anxiety over black motherhood. Continue reading →
Going Postal
May 3, 2018 • 49 min
Mike tells Sarah about the rash of mass shootings carried out by postal workers in the ’80s and ’90s, then brings out the debunkin’ turducken. Continue reading →
The Satanic Panic
May 2, 2018 • 43 min
The 1980s were real but the Satanists weren’t. Sarah tells Mike about why America spent a decade worried about witches running daycare centers.