Stories

The IRE Resource Center is a major research library containing more than 27,000 investigative stories.

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Search results for "Smithsonian Magazine" ...

  • "The Costs of the Confederacy" / "Monumental Lies"

    Reporters Brian Palmer and Seth Freed Wessler, along with a team of Type Investigations researchers, spent more than a year investigating public funding for sites—monuments, statues, parks, libraries, museums—and Confederate “heritage” organizations that promote an inaccurate “Lost Cause” version of American history. According to scholars, that ideology distorts the nation’s collective past by venerating Confederate leaders and the common Confederate soldier; framing of the Civil War as a struggle for Southern states’ rights against “northern aggression”; denying Southern culpability and slavery itself for any role in precipitating the war; and presenting chattel slavery as a humane, Christianizing institution. This is more than mere Confederate myth-making, it is a century-and-half old strategy that was historically deployed to terrorize and disenfranchise African American citizens and to reinstall white supremacy across the South in the wake of Reconstruction. The historic sites that perpetuate these myths have been central to racial violence in recent years, from the Dylann Roof shooting at the AME Zion Church — he had visited Confederate sites before his attack — to the deadly violence in Charlottesville, Virginia, centered around the defense of a Confederate monument.
  • Smithsonian Magazine and Reveal, in partnership with The Investigative Fund: The Costs of the Confederacy

    Defenders of Confederate memorials often speak of them as history to be preserved. But a project from Smithsonian Magazine and Reveal, in partnership with The Investigative Fund, found that many of these monuments, created by Jim Crow governments, receive substantial taxpayer support in the present. Lead reporters Brian Palmer and Seth Freed Wessler found at least $40 million in public monies over the past decade directed to Confederate sites and organizations that embrace white-supremacist ideologies and suppress or whitewash slavery.
  • The Case of the Purloined Pots

    The Smithsonian magazine reveals that "in the deserts of the Southwest, pothunters are stealing a priceless heritage of native American art." The story describes how in February 2000 Cathy Van Camp, a Forest Service cop, found signs of looting at the prehistoric ruins along the remote East Fork of the New Mexico's Gila River. The author analyses the lawsuit against the arrested looters, and reports the final verdict: "guilty on all counts."