“You’re Wrong About” stands as a testament to how once widely accepted misinformation can shape public perceptions for years if not decades. Hosted by journalists Sarah Marshall and, previously, Michael Hobbes (more on this later), the podcast explores topics and events from the past, dispelling popular myths and misconceptions that have persisted over time. With a unique blend of wit, copious research, and candid and often funny conversation, Marshall and Hobbes shed new light on stories many of us thought we knew. The entire purpose of the show is to give listeners a perspective on why they had perceived something from the past may actually be different from the way it was.
Around October 2021, co-host Michael Hobbes decided to step away from the show. His reasoning was pretty complicated, but he felt that he had creatively run his course with the “You’re Wrong About” format. Since then, Sarah Marshall has soldiered on with the show by bringing on various co-hosts for each new episode. And while the general essence of the show remains, some critics and reviewers say the show hasn’t been the same since Hobbes’s departure.
Each episode takes on a different topic – from misunderstood figures and events in pop culture to more significant societal misconceptions. Whether they’re exploring the O.J. Simpson trial, the Satanic Panic of the ’80s and ’90s, or the misrepresentation of “welfare queens,” the hosts have always been more than willing to inject their opinions, often informed by in-depth research.
Speaking of research, the show seems to take a pretty serious approach to discovering little-known facts about the day’s topic, providing listeners with a rich tapestry of history, culture, and the often-overlooked details that shift one’s perspective on a given topic.
Here’s a sampling of the topics the show has covered:
- Bonnie and Clyde
- Beanie Babies
- The Donner Party
- The Dyatlov Pass Incident
- Catherine the Great
- The McDonald’s Hot Coffee Case
- The O.J. Simpson Trial
- Cancel Culture
- The Stanford Prison Experiment
- Princess Diana
- Courtney Love
- D.C. Snipers
What truly sets “You’re Wrong About” apart from other podcasts in the genre is its human touch. Marshall and Hobbes, and even the new rotating set of co-hosts, approach topics with a journalist’s eye for detail, empathy, and sensitivity. They strive to understand the individuals at the heart of these stories, reframing them as real people rather than just historical footnotes. This focus on humanizing often maligned or misunderstood figures allows for a more nuanced conversation and challenges listeners to question their preconceived notions.
As I said before, the show is not without its criticisms. Some episodes can feel a tad long-winded, with the hosts occasionally veering off into tangents. While these moments often add depth and colour to the discussion, they can sometimes make it challenging to follow the core thread of the episode. Additionally, some listeners might find that specific topics are covered with a noticeable bias, which, while unavoidable to some extent in any journalistic endeavour, can sometimes detract from the podcast’s objective of dispelling myths. In particular, some reviewers have pointed out that since Hobbes’s departure, the show has taken on a more activist feel.
At the end of the day, however, I still believe that “You’re Wrong About” is a much-needed part of the podcast landscape, filling a niche for those eager to challenge their perceptions and learn about the intricacies of past events and figures. While not without its flaws, the podcast remains a compelling exploration of history, culture, and the human stories that lie beneath the surface.