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Sight Unseen

Tuesday, April 28, 2015 - 03:50 PM

A moment of silence after the death of Lance Corporal Jonathan Taylor, Killed in Action December 1st, 2009, Afghanistan (Photo Credit: Lynsey Addario/ Getty Images Reportage)

In December of 2009, photojournalist Lynsey Addario was embedded with a medevac team in Afghanistan. After days of waiting, one night they got the call - a marine was gravely wounded. What happened next happens all the time. But this time it was captured, picture by picture, in excruciating detail. Horrible, difficult, and at times strikingly beautiful, those photos raise some questions: Who should see them, who gets to decide who should see them, and what can pictures like that do, to those of us far away from the horrors of war and those of us who are all too close to it?

Special thanks to Chris Hughes and Helium Records for the use of Shift Part IV from the album Shift


Lynsey Addario


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Comments [69]

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Nov. 16 2017 10:25 PM
Kelly R. Smith from Martinsburg, WV

Wait... this isn't "This American Life"?
Regardless, it was a GREAT piece.

Oct. 27 2016 02:57 PM
Jaimie from Kansas City

So many times people vote for war without any concept of the impact on families who lose loved ones. I feel that every person who votes to send troops into hostile environments should have to view something akin to what Lynsey brought to life through her photos. I'm so glad that the family was able to achieve a level of closure that most families do not get. Huge thanks to Jonathan and the ultimate sacrifice he made.

Apr. 22 2016 11:03 AM
Thomas from Pittsfield, ma

Maybe I'm seeing the wrong photos, cuz the ones I did look at were not at all"horrific, difficult"

Mar. 04 2016 08:50 AM

This is a very good story. Seriously good. Done with the style that makes Radiolab what it is.

I agree it is not the usual Radiolab subject matter.

Occasional detours are ok with me.


Feb. 22 2016 08:12 PM
Patrick O from Springfield IL

Probably the most moving podcast I've heard. I thought to myself, this is war. This what happens to young people. They die and are maimed. If I had to ask one question to the presidential candidates I would ask,'What are your plans to prevent us from going to war? What are your plans after you "destroy" ISIS to prevent another group from starting up and continuing this perpetual war? What value do you place on those lives that you send to war when your answer to these challenges we face is to send young men to their deaths?

Thank you for such a poignant, sincere look on the realities of war.

Feb. 21 2016 12:19 PM
Kelly from Middletown, NJ

Wow, what a powerful story. I just listened to this on my commute home from work, and it made me tear up. I came to the comment section to give thanks to Jonathan Taylor for his service, and his family for their sacrifice. I hope the family finds peace.

Dec. 10 2015 07:04 PM

It's pathetic to me that the majority of the comments are people complaining that this particular story isn't "Radiolab" enough. Very little to no empathy for the Lcpl or his family, just "You didn't spoon feed me the thing I wanted".

Some comments in this thread.

"Mark Kent from UK
Is that it for the science podcasts then? Shame. I'm signing off."

"James from U.K.
What happened to the science podcasts?
The quirk of Radiolab?
Incredibly disappointed."

"Lyn from Colorado
Sad story, and one worth telling. However, it feels like Radiolab is turning into another version of "This American Life." I really, really miss the science you used to tell us about."

Missin' the Science
The other day I was thinking back to a This American Life episode, and then I realized it WASN'T a This American Life episode, it was a recent Radiolab podcast. I truly, truly miss the Radiolab of yesteryear -- fanfares of science and exploration, bringing new discoveries and data to my ears. The new episodes of Radiolab simply sound like opinionated TAL stories.

Please bring back the science. Please."

I have to agree with some of the other commenters: Radiolab has really lost its way over the last year or so and needs to get back to producing stories related to science. I always used to look forward to a new Radiolab episode, but now that they no longer focus on science I generally only listen to them once I'm caught up on the other podcasts I listen to."

And especially, this guy, who knows the fathers kids better than he does.

How foolish the father seems to me. His son's death could have meant something, made a difference.
His daughters can see the pictures when they're 21? 21 is an arbitrary age that is used for some laws because we can't take the trouble to evaluate everybody's maturity level individually. Can't the father evaluate his daughters' maturity level individually? The day before they turn 21 is too young? It just goes to show how good the father is at making decisions. Too bad he got to see the pictures."

As a fellow Marine to this young kid who gave his life you you bunch of losers, Sempter Fi.

The negative and complacent posters, in my own humble opinion, don't deserve to know this Lcpl's name.

Aug. 25 2015 12:25 AM
samuel from Grand Rapids

I believe this podcast is meant to evoke empathy. Listen to "Blame". Science is everything.

Aug. 04 2015 04:17 AM
Amy N from Upstate New York

My husband was killed in Iraq (April 8, 2004)- Listening to any piece like this is difficult and normally results in a spiral of "would've or should've" moments.

This is the first time that I have been able to pinpoint a lot of my difficulties in coping with my husband's death. This story points out to me that my inability to cope has a lot to do with being so disconnected from him at the time of his death. I did not know where he was - and even knowing the physical location he was in, I have no frame of reference or understanding of the area. There has never been a clear picture of what happened and why - to this day I am unclear about the actual timeline of events that killed him. I can't even seem to grasp the timing of it all because of the time difference between Iraq and New York.

Even the way in which his death was reported to me was no help - like everything else the military did to our lives, they really botched his death too. I never got to hear the report from the military because they casualty officers went to the wrong house.

I wish i had a visual account like this one. I wish there was some way for me to connect to him in those last moments. I commend the work done by Lynsey Addario, I wish there was more honest and complete documentation of the recent wars. I am also glad that Radiolab saw fit to do this story ('sciencey' or not) It has helped me to find some resolution in my life - so no matter the program, I am glad it got out there.

Thank you to Radiolab and thank you so much to Lynsey - your work (and I know how hard that work is) has had a profound impact on my life.

Jul. 07 2015 08:56 AM


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Jun. 21 2015 05:52 PM
Jayne from San Anselmo

It is an unusual space to stand in. As witness to these human traumas ,I like those in the photograph, try to find justification in the heart break of death. We hover like angels over the last moments of a life we know is soon lost. To grieve in whole is too much, so we separate the event into pieces. To look at his face and see his history, the love of his family,his boyhood memories ,we fall apart .So we step back into a space that allows us to move on and care for the next one for we too must survive . There is little suffering for those who die .The suffering is for those who live.
I have seen enough to know that we don't need to see more photographs . Yes ,my curiosity wants to see but then I am left with those images that are forever in my mind .
Our world is full of this ,so now I search for beauty to even out the sorrow..

Jun. 17 2015 01:52 PM

I agree with Russell from Marin County, a regrettable decision made by the father of John Taylor! This young wounded soldier was unconscious when the photographs were taken, so his suffering was over. This would have been a powerful story, but unfortunately, it was never told. What a loss. I can understand why the military has this policy about about war photos; all the red tape leads to people like Mr. Taylor making editorial decisions, and thus, many more young Americans will become cannon fodder for current and future armed conflicts.

Jun. 14 2015 01:04 AM
Russell from Marin County CA

I think its terrible that you could not get through to the father that this story was bigger than him. He needed to THINK about how many lives he might have saved. I believe if this Time Magazine article could have been published the way they wanted to with John Tayor's face, maybe some parent, some kid looking to join up with the military would have thought twice and not done it. I TRULY believe that John Taylor's father cost the life of at least one young man who might have been dissuaded from joining the military, and if not that, saved the life an Iraqi or Afganistani civilian (or child). That article in a small way might have helped end the war a few minutes, days, weeks, maybe even more than than that sooner. So yes, what I'm saying is harsh but to keep his daughters from seeing a few photos that Page and Mckenzie, 2 of the 3 girls said they would not have looked at anyway to me was a selfish act on his part. Also, a side note is simply that the military should not have the right to keep information about the harsh reality of war from the public. In that Mr. Taylor the father in my eyes needs to know he is to blame for the deaths of more not just US soldiers, but countless other human beings caught up and eventually killed in Mr. Bush's war. Bush in my opinion is responsible for more death than any other human being in the 21st century so far. John Taylor's contribution to his country and the value of his life might have been increased exponentially if his father would have let his death mean more than it did. He took that right away from his son who I believe if he remained conscious just a few minutes longer, he would have allowed those photos of himself to be published.

Jun. 03 2015 09:16 PM
Kim from Australia

I liked the story, though I found it surprising that the episode so quickly became about the minutiae of image ownership rather than death, war, the role of media in modern warfare, et. I'm sure some people are interested in copyright law, but I'm much more interested in how wars are fought, or even how death tolls, medical setups and grieving different whether you're fighting on the American or Afghani side.

May. 24 2015 08:49 PM
Shilpa Patel from Washington

I was intrigued by something in the story that seemed a little incongruous. We are told that the night was pitch dark, and that it was impossible to see without night vision goggles. But there was moonlight just outside the morgue?

May. 22 2015 07:48 AM

Hey Mark, I read and like your comment. I agree, mostly, except I think the bass problem might have more to do with your local NPR affiliate. No heavy bass in my area, though I like the idea of getting irritated with the guy next to me whose trunk is rattling with the heavy duty tones of Steve Inskeep. But, Hey Radiolab!, put some science out there. I used to proudly inflict my customers (I drive taxi) with knowledge, whether they want it or not. Now it feels like an unusually well written self help audiobook.

May. 20 2015 08:17 PM

Well produced story, but I was waiting for that Radiolab twist where they tie it in to something curious, scientific, unexplained, etc. Whic they could have done... Studied the brain's response to photographic stimuli, or some sort of statistical correlation to these types of journalistic stories and their effect on readers. At this point, I's like to see some sort of radiolab show investigating the comments on's website. I guess once you explain physics, string theory, pet emotions, and death, there is nothing else left to explore. As others have said, it was more like a This American Life episode. The problem is that I stopped listening to This American Life because it became too morbid, scary, and or depressing. Now I'll stop listening to Radiolab. I only came back because Scott Mosier mentioned a few interesting sounding episodes on SModcast, but it looks like the classic episodes are the exception, not the norm. Invisibelia was good... for it's run of 6 episodes. If you're going to produce 6 episodes, space them out... or don't. I'm not your boss. Serial was boring, repetitive, and depressing. Why stretch out a story for 12 episodes when you have no new information, then stop before the story is concluded. This is becoming a rant. Ok, while I'm at it, why the exact same advertisements and donor information every day worded the exact same way every time. I've heard the exact same copy for Edutopia spoken the exact same way for what seems like 7 years. Same Scion commercial, same everything. Also, why can't NPR turn down the bass a little. I have a nice radio in my car. I have to turn down the bass all the way because NPR boosts the bass in their interviews do give it that distinctive NPR sound. The problem is that the also conduct horrible sound quality telephone interviews. So I have Steve Inskeep rattling my hatchback with his bassmaster voice, then I have an unintelligible phone interview with someone in Egypt (I'm not sure it was Eypt, because I couldn't make out what they were saying). Shall I go on? Is Radiolab even officially affiliated with NPR. Nobody's going to read this anyway. I like cheeseburgers and beer.

May. 18 2015 04:04 PM
Simon Smith from Auckland

Utterly baffled by all the whiners. Brilliant episode. Loved listening again with my fiancee.

May. 17 2015 04:29 AM
Tyson Miracle from Jacksonville, FL

To the folks at Radiolab, great episode! I found the story both enjoyable and educational. However, I am bummed that Jad visited Jacksonville, without stoping by and saying hello. Though I can't blame him for leaving ASAP.

Oh, and to those COMPLAINING that Radiolab is turning into This American Life, go back and listen to their older episodes, there are plenty of good old fashioned stories void of science.

May. 14 2015 08:48 PM

"III. Value-Based Asymmetrical Strategy
The United States has already seen how an enemy can carry out a value-based asymmetrical strategy. For example, one of the things that America’s enemies have learned in the latter half of the 20th century is to manipulate democratic values. Consider the remarks of a former North Vietnamese commander: “The conscience of America was part of its war-making capability, and we were turning that power in our favor. America lost because of its democracy; through dissent and protest it lost the ability to mobilize a will to win.”#28 By stirring up dissension in the United States, the North Vietnamese were able to advance their strategic goal of removing American power from Southeast Asia. Democracies are less-resistant to political machinations of this sort than are the totalitarian systems common to neo-absolutists."

A Virtuous Warrior in a Savage World

May. 13 2015 05:53 PM

Stick to science please +1

The reason so many of us post this comment is not that this was a bad's that the original format and subject material of Radiolab was unique and filled a special place among podcasts. This episode could have been produced by number of different podcasts.

May. 13 2015 04:56 AM
James McCarthy from New York

There is no selfish act in a father trying to protect his daughters. I can see how the topic can be controversial, but ultimately I agree with the father's decision. To people who saw his face in the more graphic images it could give a shock factor. But to his sisters, that was their older brother and it's not something they would soon forget.

On another note, it's pieces like these that humanize this tragedy. Where the unreleased photos cannot, this podcast was the perfect solution (in my opinion, much stronger than the photos would have been) to telling Lance Corporal Taylor's story. I'm happy the photos weren't released. If they were, I would have never heard this moving piece.

May. 13 2015 12:50 AM
Lindley from Wyoming

Omer I'm god you brought that up. I feel it's very selfish of the father to not allow the world to be affected by his sons death. Such a sad loss for media. The article sounds like it would've been deeply moving as it was before he denied them the rights to the images.

May. 12 2015 07:46 PM
Bertis Braden

“A Message From Home!”

To thee, who serve’s so gallantly; we must let it be known.
About the way we feel for you, and the thoughts we have at home!
We love you, and honor you, and know you are so brave.
Because of the things you’ve done for us, and the sacrifices you’ve made!
And although, some of you may lose your lives, we hope this is not true.
And so we set aside this thought, and have total faith in you!
You are the best, there is no doubt, the best that could ever be.
No one could ever come close to you, this is what we all see!
The world has been alerted, of what these people have done.
With little regards for life itself, or even for anyone!
Some thousands of lives have been lost, and all because of them.
If you are to leave those murders there, we hope you leave them with them!
More important are our prayers for you, to tell you that you’re not alone.
And should you ever become depressed, you’ll read “A Message From Home!”

All copywrites reserved since 2006 by Bertis F. Braden Sr.

May. 12 2015 03:51 PM
Logan from Portland

Thank you Radiolab for this story. This was my first Radiolab piece that I listened to and it was deeply moving.

These are the kinds of stories that need to be told and heard and seen. I feel like if more of our leaders would hear stories like this they might be a little more hesitant to send hundreds of men and women into war.

And im sorry that the story of life and death isnt complex enough for the few of you out there who wrote that this isnt a fitting piece for this podcast.

May. 11 2015 06:54 PM
Lillian from Los Angeles

Thank you for bringing such a moving story. Love your work.

May. 10 2015 11:53 AM
maria from United States

This belongs to This American Life, Radiolab is no longer about science?

May. 08 2015 01:57 PM
Alec from United States

While I found this to be an interesting story, I didn't think that it really fit Radiolab's style. The piece seems like it would have worked much better if it was primarily the participants in the story telling this.

Radiolab's style is very good for complex ideas that need explaining, but this was not one of them. I just wanted to listen to the story and I thought that Jad and Robert's banter took away from the story. I really think this would have been a better story if they had someone else produce it or if they just didn't try to mold it to fit the Radiolab style.

May. 08 2015 12:36 AM

Re: the sisters' age: Maybe the father decided to choose an arbitrary number to avoid sibling conflict. If he decided P is mature enough at 17, but M isn't mature enough at 19, it could cause some real family conflict.

Also, it's just about the only part of his son's tragic story over which he has some control. He may have latched on to it for that reason.

As for whether the family should have let Time use the photos, this guy doesn't owe us anything. He already lost his son. Maybe he doesn't want every person who ever knew his son to remember him that way from now on. I know that you think it could have made a difference, but to what? It may have educated a few people, but I really doubt it would have resulted in much more than more pain for the family.

May. 07 2015 10:20 PM
John from OH

Omer, thank you for bringing that up. I was worried that I was the only one thinking it.

May. 07 2015 12:37 PM
Jens Peter from Denmark(Europe)

A very fine piece of radio!
Covering the horror of war, the pain and the relatives that has to carry the sadness and meaninglessness of a loss.

May. 07 2015 11:48 AM
Tim from Colorado

Thank you to all the people who were a part of this episode. Very moving, powerful, and a needed insight into the reality of war. One of the best Radiolab episodes.

May. 06 2015 10:44 AM
Tim from Pittsburgh

This was one of the most powerful and moving Radiolab stories you've ever done. Thank you for sharing this with us.

May. 05 2015 02:22 PM

How foolish the father seems to me. His son's death could have meant something, made a difference.
His daughters can see the pictures when they're 21? 21 is an arbitrary age that is used for some laws because we can't take the trouble to evaluate everybody's maturity level individually. Can't the father evaluate his daughters' maturity level individually? The day before they turn 21 is too young? It just goes to show how good the father is at making decisions. Too bad he got to see the pictures.

May. 05 2015 02:05 PM

Wholeheartedly agree with the comments that Radiolab has veered into This American Life territory recently. That's not to say there isn't some overlap, but the last several stories have had no "Lab", but have been focused on the human perspective. There are lots of podcasts out there that do this already - I listen to Radiolab because of the science involved. This story, while touching and emotional, could have been a jumping off point for research on how journalistic tehniques skew public perception, etc. Or, this could have been produced in collaboration with TAL and broadcast there. Either way, please get back to science.

May. 05 2015 01:23 PM
Nicholas Emerson from Portland, Or

This was an amazing episode. I was crying the whole time. was a Navy Corpsman (medic) with Marines in Afghanistan for all of 2011, I lived this for a year.
Wonderful job of bringing to light that these wars really do not make any sense and we never should have been there, while at the same time honoring the service and sacrifice of LCPL Taylor and his family.


Nicholas Emerson

May. 04 2015 11:58 AM

Medical advancements aside, not much has changed since M*A*S*H........

May. 04 2015 11:03 AM
Marcus from Maryland

That one photo says a lot. My wife is a medical service corps officer in the Army. Medics and medical care providers see the worst of combat. After a 15 month tour in Ramadi we were both kind of spent. She managed the aid station in Ramadi while I was running convoys. I was under strict instructions from her to never tell her when I was doing convoys. She didn't want to stay up worrying that I would be rolling the through aid station with the worst of what she had seen. We went on to do another 15 months in Iraq and another 9 in Afghanistan a piece. Now, I'm a public affairs officer so I really appreciated the explanation of the ground rules and the measures that are taken to protect the families of wounded and killed service members.

May. 03 2015 05:34 PM
Mason from B.C., Canada

Setting aside the implications for the military and journalism (photojournalism in particular), it's odd how similar the last two episodes have been. The Living Room and Sight Unseen are remarkably similar in content and structure.

May. 03 2015 03:44 PM
Noah from Chicago

Few images like these are ever seen, and rarely talked about. This is by design. Out of sight, out of mind. You don't need to do anything to fight the "war on terror" except shut up and go shopping. Would the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan still be going on if they were both photographed with the fervor and intensity that Vietnam was? Would they still be going on if we didn't have a "volunteer" armed forces?

Maybe rl is becoming more like TAL, maybe there will be some lackluster (to your subjective gaze), but episodes like this prove how powerful investigative spoken word, or whatever you want to call this, can be.

The best part about TAL is the rare, glorious episode that really, really hits the nail on the head -- repeatedly. This, sir, and with just a few deft strokes, drove the nail through the drywall, the 2x4, the ply, and the friggin' siding.

I shared it with my students in my history of photography course in a discussion about the Gardner Sketchbook of the Civil War, got some excellent responses from students:

"The photographs of the civil war certainly provide a fascinating time capsule about the war. This is still a vital and fascinating issue to this day. The viral images of the war on terror are the ISIS execution videos -- so effectively circulated by the digital tools we've valued in the billions. On our side, images are censored. Consider the current state of war photojournalism -- we live in a much more restrictive atmosphere now. For most of the Iraq war, photographs of coffins coming back to the states could not be photographed. Photographers were granted a tiny amount of the access that photojournalists had in previous wars, and the regulations for releasing images with distinguishing features of soldiers is very serious now. It is also harder and harder for professional photojournalists to get institutional support, with so much photography being digitally farmed out, taken from stock databases, or simply stolen. As it seems in many professions these days, a tiny number of photojournalists at the very top have more power and access than ever before, while everyone else barely has a job!

A response from a student:
"Thank you very much for sharing this story. Listening to the events leading up to and around that photograph was amazing. Lindsey Adario's insights into not only the events but the emotions definitely brought the picture to life. Listening to Todd Taylor and Jonathan's family brought definition to and a profound sense of loss for the solider under the flag. The emotions of Todd Taylor when he discusses the photos and his feeling that the photo captured was his treasure because he knew hi son meant something to the folks who were there. Their discussion about the picture not having he same effect without seeing (knowing) what led up to it was very much like the sharpshooter's story. Thank you very much!"

May. 03 2015 12:54 PM

Solid episode- I feel for the family and am not going to weep for Time losing a story on the back of a death, but I'm ultimately in with the crowd that does not believe kin should have much say in these matters. I do wonder though how much influence graphic photo spreads would have in post-Vietnam America.

May. 03 2015 01:49 AM
JRH from Austin, TX

That was a beautiful piece that was also enlightening about journalistic ethics. Thanks.

May. 02 2015 11:07 AM
Doc's Mom

I applaude the journalism aspect. Taylor should be remember for the joy and friend ship. Not by his last moments. He was a wonderful son and soldier
Let him family, friends, Rachel,and Doc have peace. I beg you... Remember him I'm laughter. I beg u

May. 01 2015 07:40 PM
Bill from Canada

Utterly riveting. I had a short highway drive this morning and didn't realize until a few minutes after the podcast ended that I was two-thirds of the way through my trip and had no recollection of stop lights or traffic. It was disconcerting. My mind had been cleared of everything other than the story I had just heard. I felt like I could hear a pin drop in my head. In the end I was hoping the family wouldn't hold back the photos only because I have a naive belief that something, somewhere, someday will be profound enough to help put an end to the zero-sum madness. I understand the families decision to withhold consent and truly admire the strength and grace they have shown.

May. 01 2015 02:35 AM

I'm sorry, but why on earth are you complaining about a lack of science of content? That's just an utterly bizarre complaint. Have you actually LISTENED to this podcast? Try listening. You might just realize that your whining is not only annoying but so utterly deaf to the content of this podcast that it's almost offensive. I think it's time for you guys to start your own Facebook group or something.

May. 01 2015 12:10 AM
Rachael from Florida

The pain, turmoil, and tide wave of emotion my boyfriend and others who served with Lance Corporal Taylor in the 2/2 are feeling due to the incredibly insensitive release of this picture and podcast are immeasurable. You and Ms. Addario would have been wise to put even a little thought into how this would affect not only those who knew and served with him, but also his family. Shame on you.

Apr. 30 2015 11:11 PM
Using this broadcast to whine about Radiolab's content shows you did not understand the gravity of the story nor Radiolab's intent. It also shows a monumental lack of empathy. It's a shame this country needs photos of dying solders to wake up to the cost of war.

Apr. 30 2015 06:59 PM
Clara from Atlanta

Thank you so much for doing a piece with Lynsey Addario. I just read her book, It's What I Do, and it was an amazing read. Highly recommended for everyone to swing by their local independent and pick up a copy.

Apr. 30 2015 03:55 PM
Justin from Tennessee

I have to disagree with those who have commented that radiolab has drifted from their original "science" message. I've listened to just about every episode in the archives in about a season now--I've been slightly obsessed--and I like how organic the show seems to be. I am always trying to figure out, "What's their formula? What's their method?" As far as I can tell, the show has never been strictly science. They usually just start with a concept like "loops," "truth," "blood," etc. and then they unpack that idea in multiple directions. A lot of times, yes, it's strictly scientific in nature, but just as often the stories just deal with plain old life. Like this one.

Apr. 30 2015 12:15 PM
Jeff from Utah

To me Radiolab has always been about telling a compelling story where it is often very difficult to tell—teasing curiosity and empathy out of the most difficult subjects: diseases, bugs, metaphysics, math, war. I think the folks behind Radiolab do it better than anyone and this story is a masterpiece. Radiolab continues to get better every time I listen. I look forward to every episode whatever the subject. This story and the respectful, beautiful way it was told, left me floored.

Apr. 30 2015 11:31 AM
Jamie York from NYC

Thank you Cruz, that was my mistake, Taylor's rank has been changed in the photo caption.

Thanks for listening,
Jamie York
Senior Producer, Radiolab

Apr. 30 2015 11:22 AM
Cruz Cabral

This was a very touching story and I am currently serving in the United States Marine Corps. I wanted to make a correction to the photo credit. This Marine was a "Lance Corporal" instead of a "Lieutennat Corporal" which is a non- existent rank. Thank you.

Apr. 30 2015 10:27 AM
Dave S from Oregon

I liked the story. And it did get a little dusty while I was listening to it. But I have to agree with the sentiment others have expressed -- this isn't really the Radiolab I remember. I felt like I was listening to This American Life. I *do* listen to TAL, don't get me wrong, but I don't want Radiolab to *become* another TAL.

Apr. 30 2015 09:27 AM
Jeb from NY

Another wonderful piece of journalism and storytelling from RadioLab. But I will throw my hat in with some other posters and say that I too miss the "Lab" in RadioLab. A lot of what Jad and Robert have been doing lately is good stuff that appeals to me, but I think stories like this should be the exception, not the new rule. The depth and variety of the science pieces were what got me hooked on RadioLab in the first place, and made it stand out. So, while the non-sciency stories may be good - I already get a lot of that from other podcasts and would really love to hear more in-depth science stories, which I don't get to hear elsewhere.

Apr. 30 2015 08:23 AM

I have to agree with some of the other commenters: Radiolab has really lost its way over the last year or so and needs to get back to producing stories related to science. I always used to look forward to a new Radiolab episode, but now that they no longer focus on science I generally only listen to them once I'm caught up on the other podcasts I listen to.

Apr. 30 2015 02:39 AM

I used to learn about fascinating ideas from your show. I used to be so excited to hear there was a new episode, or short. I would tell everyone I know: You NEED to listen to this podcast!

I always follow the comments. I sometimes felt a bit pissed off by folks who mourned the lack of science, and compared you to TAL.

But, now I'm one of them: Where is the science, and just what are we learning?

I've become apathetic when I hear about a new episode.
PLEASE bring the science back! There is a serious dearth of science reporting out there.

Apr. 29 2015 05:37 PM
Missin' the Science

The other day I was thinking back to a This American Life episode, and then I realized it WASN'T a This American Life episode, it was a recent Radiolab podcast. I truly, truly miss the Radiolab of yesteryear -- fanfares of science and exploration, bringing new discoveries and data to my ears. The new episodes of Radiolab simply sound like opinionated TAL stories.

Please bring back the science. Please.

Apr. 29 2015 04:58 PM

I've got to say I agree with Mark Kent and Lynn from Colorado. Radiolab used to be one of my favorite podcasts -- because it used to consist of very engrossing multi-layered stories about profound scientific or philosophical subjects... color, language, emergent properties, identity, goodness, badness, etc. etc. Going deep into the mysteries of the world. There always used to be an element of real wonder involved. Now the content has radically shifted and I think you're going to start alienating long time fans like us. While the content you produce may still contain good storytelling and good journalism (as in this case) this show has lost its niche. Covering sociological and political stories -- on moral dilemmas relating to war, the history of football, AIDS patients/social activists in Cuba -- is frankly not unique in the podcast world, and not what a lot of people expect from this show. Moreover you've really shortened your episodes, and started using content from other podcasts -- which frankly feels really lazy.

Apr. 29 2015 04:40 PM
Lyn from Colorado

Sad story, and one worth telling. However, it feels like Radiolab is turning into another version of "This American Life." I really, really miss the science you used to tell us about.

Apr. 29 2015 02:20 PM

Great show guys. Once again, thank you so much.

Apr. 29 2015 01:45 PM
Billie from Dallas, Texas

A haunting piece that had me in tears on several occasions. It certainly highlights the sacrifice that many families make on a daily basis. I commend the family for choosing not to share the photos of their son, that was definitely their decision to make. So I therefore commend the journalist and her integrity for giving them the opportunity to refuse, and then keeping her word. The Time article is still a powerful piece with or without the pictures of Jonathan.

Thank you to all branches of the military for their service and sacrifice.

Apr. 29 2015 12:42 PM
James from U.K.

What happened to the science podcasts?
The quirk of Radiolab?
Incredibly disappointed.

Apr. 29 2015 11:53 AM
Megan Sheehan from Atlanta, GA

I think it is so important for the American public to be able to see the brutality of this war. I just wish photographers and journalists didn't have to jump through so many legalistic hoops to get it out there. It ends up getting watered down like with this story.

Apr. 29 2015 10:06 AM
Patrick from New York

Almost broke down at a couple of different points on my train ride this morning. Beautiful piece.

Apr. 29 2015 09:36 AM
Richard from Austin, Texas

This is a really interesting piece because it also sparks a conversation about how we get our news about any war. There are dark macabre websites out there which catch many of these realities directly and upload for the public's viewing. We usually hear about it through extremely edited and sugared stories from articles or TV. Our opinions about violence at home and elsewhere can be greatly influenced by showing or not showing the actual graphic nature of these events (Freddie Gray anyone?). I think a great number of Americans live very sheltered from what a war torn life really looks like, and it is truly shocking to be exposed to it by images or in streaming videos. "That's why the American public, I think, rose up against the war in Vietnam" thoughts exactly. Thanks Radiolab!

Apr. 29 2015 09:20 AM
Kristen from Cincinnati, Oh

Beautiful and emotional piece. Glad that you were able to display the impact of war on American families in such a powerful way. Even though we cannot see the pictures I feel like the folks at Radiolab painted a one for the listener. Love all of your work.

Apr. 29 2015 08:52 AM
Mark Kent from UK

Is that it for the science podcasts then? Shame. I'm signing off.

Apr. 29 2015 07:09 AM

Lovely piece

Apr. 29 2015 12:49 AM

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