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Introducing Failed State Update

It all began with an alliteration: failed state update. I couldn't get it out of my head. It suggested a particular type of news story, one that poses the question: "Is America falling apart, or does it just feel like it is?" Because that's what I'm constantly encountering when writing about cults, conspiracy theories, radical politics, and other fringe topics — the notion that this country is on its last legs. The playful alliteration took some of the sting out of a grim subject, and it had a ring to it.

After leaving The Verge, which I helped launch in 2011, I spent several years writing books and freelancing, but it wasn't until the dual disasters of 2020 — the widespread unrest following the murder of George Floyd and the COVID-19 pandemic — that I decided to launch the Failed State Update podcast/email newsletter.

Besides, I already had a name for the thing.

Failed State Update, in the first 19 months of its existence, has chronicled the culture of American decline through numerous feature articles and podcast interviews. For the next phase of the adventure, I will be working with the Roundtable Media Network to bring these stories to a much larger audience.

Thank you for checking out the site. If you have any questions or comments, feel free to connect with me at: failedstateupdate [at] gmail [dot] com or through my website: Or follow me on Twitter: @failedstatenews

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SUBSCRIPTIONS: For news updates and ad-free podcasts, subscribe for just $7/month on Patreon or Substack.

SUBMISSIONS:  I'm not accepting submissions at this time. I wish I could, but I don't have the budget and I would never ask someone to work for free. However, if you have something you're dying to say and won't take no for an answer, you can email me. But I can't pay you. Really.