All Episodes

Episode 8

Sex ed; a crime myth; Ryan White’s legacy; napster; Andy Borowitz on bullying.

The Controversy Over Teaching Teens About Sex

A decades-old battle is re-emerging over how sex is presented in the classroom.

Correcting the Myth of the Superpredator

Flawed research predicting remorseless teen killers led to life sentences.

The Forgotten History of AIDS

H.I.V. rates have fallen in many places, but the AIDS crisis persists in parts of the U.S.

How Napster Stirred Up Entertainment

After Napster, many consumers got used to media on demand. There was no turning back.

The Bullying Industry | Andy Borowitz

New Yorker magazine humorist Andy Borowitz takes a look at a thriving industry: bullying.

Episode 7

Immigration; hot coffee lawsuit; special ops; Challenger legacy; Borowitz on Anita Bryant.

Exploring the Recent History of U.S. Immigration Backlashes

Today's immigration policies echo an anti-immigration movement 25 years ago in California.

The Truth About the Lawsuit Over Hot McDonald’s Coffee

Her complaint sounded frivolous. But the facts told another story.

How the U.S. Came to Rely on Special Ops Forces

The rise of special operations units today can be traced to two past operations.

Lessons From the Space Shuttle Challenger Tragedy

A new understanding of risk emerged from the study of a NASA disaster.

Anita Bryant, Gay Rights Icon | Andy Borowitz

Andy Borowitz examines how Anita Bryant inadvertently energized the gay rights movement.

Episode 6

Public housing, the bubble boy, boxing, overpopulation and  Borowitz on Space Force.

The ZIP Code Advantage

A new approach to reducing poverty has its roots in a 1970s public housing experiment.

A Life in a Bubble

The surprising medical legacy of David Vetter, the boy in the bubble.

Hard Risks for Athletes

As concussions plague football, are there lessons from earlier concerns about boxing?

What Happened to the Population Bomb?

In the 1960s, fears of overpopulation sparked talk of population control. What happened?

May The Space Force Be With You | Andy Borowitz

Andy Borowitz takes a look at the sci-fi origins of Donald Trump’s Space Force program.

Episode 5

Reducing suicide; Baby M; Lead perils; climate help from Cold War science; Andy Borowitz.

Could a Simple Intervention Fight a Suicide Crisis?

An intervention to reduce suicides showed promise in the 60s, but was overlooked.

Born by Surrogate: Pathways to Parenthood

Parenthood by surrogacy is accepted across the U.S., but it's not closely regulated.

Lingering Peril From Paint

Half a million American children have high lead levels, but who should clean it up?

Engineering Earth’s Climate?

Is geo-engineering the climate an answer to global warming?

Smoke On The Water | Andy Borowitz

Andy Borowitz investigates why America’s water supply seems to keep bursting into flames.

Episode 4

Presidents vs. press; measles cases soar; free agency; wild horses, “apologies.”

Trump's War Against the Press

President Trump’s efforts to clamp down on White House leaks have echoes of Nixon.

How Fears Over the Measles Vaccine Took Hold

Vaccine skepticism was fed by a discredited 1998 study which still has repercussions today

The Birth of Free Agency

Today’s superstar athletes reaping the benefits of free agency owe a debt to Curt Flood.

Horses: Wild, But Not Free

Wild horses are caught in a battle between the government, ranchers and environmentalists.

Sorry/Not Sorry | Andy Borowitz

Andy examines the tropes and clichés politicians use to cling to power after a scandal.

Episode 3

Bystander behavior; a Navy scandal; psychedelic drugs; wayward trash barge; zany theories

The Modern Bystander Effect | Full Report

Why don’t people intervene when they encounter violence streaming live online?

She Rocked the Pentagon | Full Report

How the 1991 Tailhook sexual assault scandal is still shaking up the military today.

LSD Gets Another Look | Full Report

Psychedelic drugs, associated with the 1960s, are now treating depression and anxiety.

The Garbage Barge That Helped Fuel a Movement | Full Report

The 1987 garbage barge was a fiasco, but it helped raise public awareness about recycling.

Were the Moon Conspiracy Theories Faked? | Andy Borowitz

Andy Borowitz looks at the evolution of the myth that the moon landing was faked.

Episode 2

DNA clues; thalidomide; robot ambivalence; obsessive gamers; Borowitz on no news.

New Clues From Old Evidence | Full Report

DNA information available on genealogy websites is today being used to solve crimes.

Return of an Infamous Pill | Full Report

How a pill that led to drug safety guidelines became a case study for rising drug prices.

Could D&D Help Fight Screen Addiction? | Full Report

D&D, once at the center of a moral panic, is now seen as an antidote to screen addiction.

Are Robots Really Taking Over? | Full Report

Exploring fears about A.I. by revisiting a 1997 chess match between man and machine.

Where Did The News Go? | Andy Borowitz

We hear a lot about fake news, but Andy Borowitz examines another horrible tend: no news.

Episode 1

Social media loops, athlete protests, Wall Street harassment; pet threat; Andy Borowitz

Online All the Time? Researchers Predicted It. | Full Report

Our social media addiction is explained by theories pioneered by B.F. Skinner decades ago.

Athletes vs. Injustice | Full Report

The #TakeAKnee movement has ties to a protest at the 1968 Olympics.

Sexual Misconduct at Work, Again | Full Report

How a decades-old Wall Street sexual harassment battle is affecting today’s workplace.

Warning: These Ads Contain Politicians | Andy Borowitz

Humorist Andy Borowitz has found a solution to the problem of political ads on TV.

About Retro Report on PBS

Retro Report makes sense of the present by revealing the past. Join journalists Celeste Headlee and Masud Olufani as they connect the present to the past through four distinct and varied stories, and New Yorker humorist Andy Borowitz adds his signature wit.

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