It’s been amazing to watch you join our budding community -- especially those of you who I don’t know. (Although of course, no less love for my family and friends out there :)
With that, I'm taking your requests on the next episode. It will weave together the stories of a former jihadi extremist and a former white supremacist. The idea is to go beyond specific ideologies and more clearly see the human stories — which are strikingly similar. The intention is also to probe what we label as “terrorism,” and dispel disillusions about the threat posed by different forms of violent extremism (white supremacists kill more than twice as many Americans as jihadi extremists).
I’m in the process of interviewing the former jihadi extremist, and for the former white supremacist, I was going to interview Christian Picciolini -- who has recently BLOWN UP. He was already a prominent former white supremacist (<-- yup, there’s a tension there, I’ll probe that too), but after Charlottesville, he’s now given a TED talk and been on 60 Minutes, Fresh Air, and a bunch of other high-profile outlets. And he’s canceled interviews on me three times! It’s not entirely clear if he’ll be available before summer.
So: are you most interested in hearing from Christian, because he has an enormous story, is an incredibly articulate speaker, and he and the former jihadi extremist were *both* major propagandists, which makes their stories interesting to combine? Or would you go for another former white supremacist, who’s less prominent but will get the episode out sooner? Options include Shannon Martinez, who works with and was interviewed with Christian on Megyn Kelly Today, or Arno Michaelis, who shall we say has A LOT to reckon with. (If I wait for Christian, I'll shift to another episode in the meantime.)
What do y’all think?