Us & Them Podcast: We tell stories from the fault lines that separate Americans. Peabody award-winning public radio producer Trey Kay listens to people on both sides of the divide.
“We now live in a giant feedback loop. Hearing our own thoughts about what’s right and wrong bounced back to us by the television shows we watch, the newspapers and books we read, the blogs we visit online, the sermons we hear and the neighborhoods we live in.”

Bill Bishop, The Big Sort: Why the Clustering of Like-Minded America Is Tearing Us Apart.

“When it gets so that your opponents are not just people you disagree with, … when it gets to the mental state in which I am fighting for good, and you are fighting for evil, it’s very difficult to compromise. Compromise becomes a dirty word.”

Jonathon Haidt, The Righteous Mind: Why Good People are Divided by Politics and Religion

Americans are as divided as they’ve ever been. A recent Pew Research Center study found that “Republicans and Democrats are more divided along ideological lines – and partisan antipathy is deeper and more extensive – than at any point in the last two decades.” The report found the percentage of Americans who express consistently conservative or consistently liberal opinions has doubled over that period, to 21%, and that “ideological overlap between the two parties has diminished.”

The Us & Them podcast will focus on the fault lines that divide Americans. From fights over same-sex marriage or whether humans cause climate change to immigration and whether or not President Obama should identify ISIS militants as Muslim terrorists, we’ll the explore issues, disputes or ideas that divide people into longstanding, entrenched camps. In each episode, we’ll give a good listen to passionate people on either side of the culture war divide – from conservative, God-fearing Christian preachers and creationism advocates to moderate Muslim imams and campy flamboyant drag queens – not to determine who is right or wrong, but rather to access their humanity. Shows may include some expert voices, but in essence an Us and Them program is an intimately told story, focused on real people with deeply held core beliefs. It’ll provide insight as to how and why people come by these strong beliefs.

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People

Trey Kay

Trey is host and producer of the Us & Them podcast. For years, he has reported on how culture war battles have affected education in America. In 2009, he produced the radio documentary The Great Textbook War, which was honored with Peabody, Murrow, and duPont-Columbia Awards. In 2013, he produced The Long Game: Texas’ Ongoing Battle for the Direction of the Classroom, which he researched as a Spencer Fellow for Education Reporting at the Columbia School of Journalism. In 2005, he shared in another Peabody for his contribution to Studio 360’s “American Icons: Moby Dick.” He has also produced for Marketplace, Weekend America, Day to Day, American RadioWorks, Morning Edition and PBS Frontline. He lives with his wife and son in the Hudson Valley of New York and frequently visits his friends and family in West Virginia.

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Mitch Hanley

A Peabody Award-winning radio producer, Mitch has spent more than 13 years in public radio. He began as an engineer/producer with A Prairie Home Companion, and The Writer’s Almanac, and in 2003 he launched Speaking of Faith with Krista Tippett, serving as Senior Producer/Technical Director before leaving in 2010 to attend Harvard Divinity School. He has produced for American Radio Works, The Splendid Table, We Knew JFK, AntigayViolence.com, Minnesota Public Radio News, among others. He is the Creative Director for China Personified’s forthcoming podcast about Chinese American Millennials. Mitch mixes and scores the Us and Them podcasts, and writes some of the transitional music.

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Catherine Winter

Catherine is the editor of the Us & Them podcast. She’s been a radio producer and editor since 1987, and has also done some stints teaching college. Her radio work has won dozens of national awards, including two ABA Silver Gavels and the Unity Award. She worked on projects honored with the DuPont/Columbia and Peabody Awards. Her documentary Wanted: Parents, about teenagers searching for a family to adopt them, won the Casey Medal. No Place for a Woman, about women working in Minnesota’s iron mines, won the Gracie Allen Award. She writes for and edits the Ask a Master Gardener column for the Duluth News Tribune.

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