If Then

The Meme Midterms

Has misinformation on social media gotten better or worse since 2016? And just how hackable are our voting machines?

Listen to If Then by clicking the arrow on the audio player below, or get the show via Apple Podcasts, Overcast, Spotify, Stitcher, or Google Play.

Will Oremus and April Glaser bring you a special episode of If Then, all about the midterm elections and the role of Silicon Valley and online media in the democratic process. They start with a roundtable with two fellow tech journalists, Kevin Roose from the New York Times and Paris Martineau of Wired, who have been reporting on issues of online speech, misinformation, and election interference this year.


Then the hosts interview one of the country’s top experts on election security and voting systems. He’s former White House Deputy Chief Technology Officer Ed Felten. They’ll talk to him about the problems that could rear their heads this cycle—namely with the outdated tech that we use to cast our ballots. Some of the voting machines we rely on are well over a decade old and are extremely vulnerable to hacking. Felten breaks down what’s worth worrying about and why.


And we’ll end our show with a special Don’t Close My Tabs, where we take a look at the best—and worst—ways to watch the results come in on Tuesday night.

2:00 - Roundtable with Paris Martineau and Kevin Roose


31:22 - Interview with Ed Felten

49:01 - Don’t Close My Tabs

Stories discussed on the show:

• Wired: “Mail Bomb Suspect Cesar Sayoc Used Twitter to Threaten Targets

• The New York Times: “Spotting Disinformation Online Before the Midterm Elections

• Slate: How Apple—Yes, Apple—Is Covering the Midterm Elections

• Slate: Meet Three Dudes Who Earn a Living Making MAGA Stories Go Viral on Facebook

Podcast production by Max Jacobs

If Then plugs:

You can get updates about what’s coming up next by following us on Twitter @ifthenpod. You can follow Will @WillOremus and April @Aprilaser. If you have a question or comment, you can email us at ifthen@slate.com.