MPR News with Kerri Miller In-depth conversations on news and culture, with host Kerri Miller.
MPR News with Kerri Miller

MPR News with Kerri Miller

From MPR News

In-depth conversations on news and culture, with host Kerri Miller.

Most Recent Episodes

Should we lift the crushing burden of student loan debt?

Forgiving student loan debt has moved from fringe to mainstream. President Joe Biden supports erasing up to $10,000 in debt and some Democrats want more. On Wednesday, host Kerri Miller talks to two experts about why student debt has surged and how to help those who need it most.

How to help a loved one who is caught in a web of conspiracy theories

Conspiracy theories flourished in 2020. Between a pandemic, protests over the police killing of George Floyd and a fraught election that the president himself falsely claimed he won, a growing number of people believe things that simply aren't true. If losing a shared sense of reality is difficult for democracy, it's even harder on personal relationships. Those who've lost a loved one to a conspiracy theory like QAnon say it's almost impossible to combat. Psychologists agree. Conspiracy theories are especially attractive during uncertain times, and multifaceted ideas like QAnon also function like an "unusually absorbing alternate-reality game," which makes it especially hard for adherents to break free. Tuesday, MPR News host Kerri Miller tackled the second show in a series about disinformation. Earlier this month, she talked to two experts about how disinformation is spreading so rapidly. This week, she investigated how to help a loved one who is immersed in disinformation. Guests: Steven Hassan is an expert in cults and deprogramming and is the founding director of the Freedom of Mind Resource Center. Mick West is a science communicator who debunks conspiracy theories online and is the author of "Escaping the Rabbit Hole: How to Debunk Conspiracy Theories using Facts, Logic and Respect." To listen to the full conversation you can use the audio player above. Subscribe to the MPR News with Kerri Miller podcast on: Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Spotify or RSS

Minn.'s top public health officials answer your questions about the initial vaccine rollout

Beginning Tuesday, older Minnesotans will have a 24-hour window to register for a chance to get a COVID-19 vaccine appointment. It will be random selection rather than first come, first served. The web and telephone queues opened up last week to a widening pool of candidates. Minnesotans ages 65 and over, child care providers and teachers are now eligible to get vaccinated alongside front-line health care workers and people who live or work at long-term care facilities. Even though eligibility is growing, the number of doses available remains limited. Minnesota's expanded COVID vaccination rollout Here's what you need to know First day of pilot program Thousands of vaccine slots for older Minnesotans fill quickly, demand swamps phone lines, website The slow rollout is a source of contention among Minnesota lawmakers, but state officials point to bottlenecks within the federal government which doles out vaccines to each state. Right now, Minnesota's share is about 60,000 doses per week. Minnesota's top public health officials spoke with MPR News host Kerri Miller about the state's initial vaccine rollout and when Minnesotans can expect vaccination rates to ramp up. Guests: Jan Malcolm is the commissioner of the Minnesota Department of Health. Kris Ehresmann is the director of the Minnesota Department of Health's Infectious Disease Epidemiology, Prevention and Control Division. Correction (Jan. 26, 2021): A previous version of this story misstated the time of day the web and telephone queues would open for vaccine appointments in Minnesota. The story has been updated. Subscribe to the MPR News with Kerri Miller podcast on: Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Spotify or RSS

Minn.'s top public health officials answer your questions about the initial vaccine rollout

White nationalism and the GOP

When Donald Trump declined to explicitly condemn white supremacy during the presidential debate last fall, it was the latest in the president's long pattern of placating white supremacist groups. And during that same debate, Trump told the far-right Proud Boys to "stand back and stand by" — which quickly became the group's new slogan. White supremacists led the Jan. 6 assault on the U.S. Capitol, after being incited by Trump. In 2017, when a white supremacist rally turned violent in Charlottesville, Va., Trump said there were "very fine people on both sides." The Center for Strategic and International Studies found that attacks by far-right groups more than quadrupled between 2016 and 2017. But many experts say the seeds of white supremacy in the GOP were planted long before Trump — and some of it can be tied back to white Christians, a large base within the Republican Party. Friday, host Kerri Miller talked with two experts in white supremacy within the GOP. How did it get this bad, and is it possible to extricate the two? Guests: Robert P. Jones is founder of the Public Religion Research Institute and the author of "White Too Long: The Legacy of White Supremacy in American Christianity" Simon Clark is a senior resident at the Center for American Progress studying far-right extremism and white supremacy. To listen to the full conversation you can use the audio player above. Subscribe to the MPR News with Kerri Miller podcast on: Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Spotify or RSS

What's next for the 'Never Trumpers'?

The goal was simple, if unexpected: Keep Donald Trump from winning a second term. By that account, a group of prominent Republicans who worked to defeat Donald Trump in the 2020 election were successful. But their party is gutted. The GOP lost power in Congress. Trump remains widely popular with the average Republican voter and is threatening to take his base and start a third party — even as his final job approval rating from the American public fell to 29 percent. What happens next? The GOP appears poised to fight an internal battle between the Republicans who remain loyal to Trump and the so-called "Never Trumpers," who would like to move on without him. MPR News host Kerri Miller spoke with two prominent voices of the movement about what they think the future holds for the GOP. Guests: Liam Donovan is a Republican strategist and consultant. Oliva Troye is a former Homeland Security official and COVID advisor to Vice-President Mike Pence and the current director of the Republican Accountability Project.

What is the Democratic Party's mandate?

After a tumultuous few weeks, President-elect Joe Biden will officially take the oath of office on Wednesday. Congress confirmed his Electoral College victory just hours after pro-Trump rioters broke into the Capitol building, temporarily delaying proceedings. His administration's ability to pass legislation opened up drastically, when Democrats Raphael Warnock and Jon Ossoff won Senate seats in Georgia's runoff elections. Their victories gave the Democratic caucus 50 seats in the Senate, which splits the chamber evenly with the Republican caucus. The tie-breaker vote will go to Vice President-elect Kamala Harris, garnering Democrats slight control so long as they can keep their party united. Democrats also held onto their majority in the House of Representatives, despite losing seats. The lackluster results for Democrats down the ticket spurred debates over what issues the party needs to focus on and whose votes they should be courting. Two political scientists joined MPR News host Kerri Miller for a conversation about the Democratic mandate for the Biden administration's first 100 days. Guests: Seth Masket is director of the Center on American Politics at the University of Denver. He is also the author of "Learning from Loss: The Democrats, 2016-2020." Andrea Benjamin is an associate professor of African and African American studies at The University of Oklahoma and author of "Racial Coalition Building in Local Elections: Elite Cues and Cross-Ethnic Voting." Subscribe to the MPR News with Kerri Miller podcast on: Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Spotify or RSS

COVID-19's growing death toll reflects persistent health disparities

Monday at 9 a.m., two physicians join MPR News host Kerri Miller for a conversation about the structural issues that exacerbate racial disparities in medicine as well as solutions for closing those gaps.

Did the pandemic give you new habits you want to break or keep?

Friday at 9 a.m., host Kerri Miller talks with two experts about how the pandemic changed routines and how we can take advantage of the disruption to shape new habits for the better.

President Trump impeached again. What happens next?

The majority of the U.S. House voted Wednesday to impeach President Donald Trump for a second time — making him the first U.S. president to be impeached twice. The vote was affirmed by every Democratic member and 10 Republicans. There were 197 Republicans who voted against impeachment, including all four of Minnesota's GOP members. This unprecedented vote came exactly one week after lawmakers were forced to evacuate their proceedings to affirm the votes of the November election when a throng of armed pro-Trump rioters descended on the Capitol. Five people died as a result of the attack. Thousands of troops have already arrived in Washington and the National Guard says they'll have 20,000 troops in D.C. for President-elect Biden's inauguration. Outgoing Senate majority leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky has hinted that he might vote in favor of impeaching the President, but has said that a trial in the Senate won't start until after inauguration. Thursday, a historian and a politician spoke with MPR News host Kerri Miller about the events leading up to this moment and what is likely to happen next. Guests: Jeffrey Engel is founding director of the Center for Presidential History at Southern Methodist University and co-author of "Impeachment: An American History." He also co-hosts a podcast called "The Past, The Promise, The Presidency." Khalilah Brown-Dean is associate professor of political science at Quinnipiac University and host of Disrupted on Connecticut Public Radio.

How years of disinformation led to an insurrection at the Capitol

A pandemic of disinformation overwhelmed America in 2020, some of it culminating in armed, pro-Trump extremists taking over the U.S. Capitol. How did we get here? And what can we do about it? Tuesday, MPR News host Kerri Miller began a two-part series taking a hard look at the disinformation deluge and its consequences. Up first — a dissection of how disinformation spreads so easily. Coming soon — how to talk to a loved one caught in the web of conspiracy theories.

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