At the height of the Vietnam War, a government insider named Daniel Ellsberg leaked 7,000 pages of classified documents to American newspapers. The Pentagon Papers revealed that Americans had been lied to for decades about the war. Fifty years later, Ellsberg reveals his evolution from Cold Warrior to Whistleblower in the GroundTruth Podcast series The Whistleblower: Truth, Dissent and the Legacy of Daniel Ellsberg. Based at GBH in Boston, the award-winning GroundTruth Podcast has covered global affairs from the War in Afghanistan to rising populist nationalism through shoe-leather, on-the-ground reporting.


November 21, 2021 1 min

After 10 seasons of the award-winning GroundTruth Podcast, we’re excited about what might come next. 

But to find the best way forward, we want to hear from listeners like you: What stories do you feel are under-reported and need to be told? What questions do you have about the podcast?

Give us your feedback and ask us questions about the GroundTruth podcast, about our mission and our vision and our service programs in the field ...

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In war, truth is the first casualty.

It's a military maxim attributed to Aeschylus, the father of Greek tragedy. In the lead up to the 20th anniversary of 9/11 and ahead of the withdrawal from a war that became the longest in American history, GroundTruth's founder Charlie Sennott returns to Afghanistan and revisits a conflict he has covered on the ground since its first battles and its first casualties.

Two decades later...

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A class of college students at UMass Amherst became the first group of researchers to take on Daniel Ellsberg's vast archive. For two students, it's more than a history project: It's a family story.

We’d like to hear your thoughts about the podcast. Call us and leave a voice message with your feedback at ‪(339) 365-3754. We listen to everything you send us and we might even share some of them on this podcast.

As we lo...

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Before he was helping plan the Vietnam War, Ellsberg was working at Rand Corporation as a nuclear war planner. In the late 1950’s and early 60’s, he came across a classified policy document that called for killing a fifth of the human population. “This, to me, was pure evil.” When he was facing trial for releasing the Pentagon Papers, he held another trove of secret documents on the Pentagon’s plans for nuclear war. His plan was to...

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Now facing a possible 115 years in prison, Daniel Ellsberg awaits his federal espionage trial. Meanwhile, Nixon unleashes his Plumbers in an attempt to silence Ellsberg, and Barbra Streisand sings for the defense! In this episode we trace the series of events that tied Daniel Ellsberg’s espionage trial to the fate of Richard Nixon’s presidency.

This podcast series is part of a wider collaboration with UMass Amherst and GBH, includ...

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On September 30, 1969, Daniel Ellsberg opened his newspaper to a story out of Vietnam that would act as the trigger for copying the Pentagon Papers. We pick up on this wild ride when he offers the papers to members of Congress, who shrugged him off. He then went to the New York Times, the first publication of the papers landed on the front page on June 13th, 1971. Over the next 13 days, an FBI manhunt swept the Boston area for Ells...

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Daniel Ellsberg leaked the Pentagon Papers to the press knowing he could face the rest of his life in prison. But what turned this Cold War hawk into an anti-war dove? What were the motivating events and people who influenced his transformation? At 15, a tragic car accident would shape his sense of responsibility to the wider world. His time in the Marine Corps strengthened his dedication to serving his country. But in 1968 he woul...

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In the series premiere, we pick up on Ellsberg’s first day at the Pentagon, the day he became acquainted with what he came to call the “lying machine.” It was August 4, 1964. Contradicting accounts of an attack in The Gulf of Tonkin would give President Johnson the green light to lead the country into war in Vietnam based on a lie. We follow this thread, and the deception, through his time in the field in Vietnam, where he saw how ...

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Americans across the country opened their newspapers to the first reports based on classified documents leaked by a government insider, Daniel Ellsberg. Consisting of 7,000 pages of top secret documents, the Pentagon Papers revealed in cold, analytical detail how four presidential administrations lied to the American public: the reasons for entering the war, the failures of their policies, the low chances of success, and the reason...

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The turmoil of the 2020 presidential election campaigns has raised questions about just what it means to vote.

Who gets to pull the lever? How can someone cast their ballot? Will all of the votes be counted in time?

GroundTruth’s Voting Rights Fellows share local stories of voters, activists and election officials working to preserve the process this Nov. 3.

Explore our Election 2020 reporting:

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October 29, 2020 12 mins

When you think about Kentucky's deep red politics today, it's likely the face of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and his laconic drawl that comes to mind. But one northern corner of this solidly Republican state is streaked blue by its state house representation.

Covering local government in northern Kentucky through our Report for America program, reporter Julia Fair with the Cincinnati Enquirer has been following ...

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October 2, 2020 23 mins

The origins of Blues music is a complex weave of traditions, and the genre echoes suffering and endurance through centuries of hardship. Evolving from blended musical forms brought to the United States by enslaved Africans, then taking on the rhythm of work in the fields and heart of spirituals, the oppressive environment of the Jim Crow South ultimately shaped the Blues as we know it today.

Today, the Blues are more often romanti...

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For most of us, it's hard to ignore the rising threat of climate change. But the sheer magnitude of the devastation it could cause is daunting. For those journalists trying to convey the sense of urgency to the public, it can become overwhelming. Living on Cape Cod, where towns and residents are trying to beat back rising tides with seawalls and sand, WCAI climate change reporter Eve Zuckoff is finding it difficult to build bar...

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For many growing up in Chicago, the barber shop is a refuge. Raised on the Windy City's West Side, Report for America corps member Manny Ramos knows that fact well.

"Barbers do more than just cut hair," he says, "they record history."

They hear about the aspirations of the people whose hair they trim, and whose major life events they mark together. Ramos' reporting shows us how the barber shop has come to ...

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In August 2018, well before any thought of a pandemic sweeping the country, Mississippi’s prison system saw a spike in inmate deaths. Correctional officials attributed many of these to “natural causes.” But these deaths aren't the only concerns for inmates and their families. Conditions in some of these prisons – men sleeping five to a cell or the sparse and unappetizing meals they get on a day to day basis or what the showers ...

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Bird Singing is an oral tradition that has been passed down for centuries among the tribes across the American Southwest. These stories are sung by male members of tribes – from young boys to elders – whose only accompaniment is a gourd fashioned into a shaker. But the threat of COVID-19 has forced these traditions online, in isolation. See video of Bird Singers performing here:

We’d like to hear your t...
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“Deadly Force,” a new podcast series from Report for America host newsroom WPLN in Nashville, focuses on the trial of the first Nashville police officer to be charged with murder for shooting someone in the line of duty. Through newly uncovered documents, original interviews and audio footage, Deadly Force gets a glimpse into the mind of a police officer struggling to make sense of when to use his gun and the culture in Nashville s...

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July 3, 2018. It was almost Independence Day.

Lee Eric Evans straightened a flag pole on his aunt’s front porch. He carefully unfurled an American flag so that it hung properly, making sure it didn’t touch the ground.

Lee, who is 26 years old, was fussing over the flag for the 4th of July celebrations in the Farish Street Historic District which would happen the next day.

I was working on a story about the importance of the Dist...

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Report for America corps member Chris Ehrmann continues on his road trip across America, picking up in St. Louis, where economic recovery depends on where you live. Chris listens to protesters from Denver to Los Angeles, in the wake of the killing of George Floyd, who are wondering, is this a tipping point?

We’d like to hear your though...
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Report for America corps member Chris Ehrmann embarked on a road trip across America, literally, from Times Square to Los Angeles, California. He traced the new landscape of COVID-19 across time zones and state lines. He spoke to those whose loved ones have been directly impacted by the virus, squaring off against those impacted by a devastated economy. In the wake of the killing of George Floyd, his journey to witness a nation und...

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