Taking a Bow

Read This, Skip That: The Best of The Daily Beast in 2013

We outed a White House mole, broke bad news for Bachmann, hacked your iPhone, talked to a repentant radical, mourned a polar bear, and much more. See how The Daily Beast roared in 2013.

12.29.13 11:45 AM ET

The Hindenburg. The Titanic. Michele Bachmann. When The Daily Beast uncovered a previously unreported Congressional ethics investigation into the former presidential candidate’s alleged campaign improprieties, it was pretty much the final straw in the once-bright politico’s diminishing fortunes. Two months later, Bachmann announced she would not run for re-election.

Is your iPhone making decisions about what kind of language you use without you even realizing? According to a Daily Beast analysis, iPhones running Apple’s latest software will not suggest corrections for even slight misspellings of such hot-button words as “abortion,” “rape,” “ammo,” and “bullet.” For example, if a user types “abortiom” with an “m” instead of an “n,” the software won’t suggest a correction, as it would with nearly 150,000 other wordsApple wouldn’t comment.

In an interview that sparked a huge fight between director Abdellatif Kechiche and actress Léa Seydoux, The Daily Beast’s Marlow Stern spoke to the buzzy film’s two onscreen lovers about “that scene”—and why they’ll never work with Kechiche again. The pair’s 10-minute graphic lesbian sex scene in the masterful French Drama ‘Blue is the Warmest Color,’ winner of the Palme d’Or, stunned Cannes and titillated audiences everywhere this fall.

The Reluctant Racist
by Caitlin Dickson

His father founded the white-supremacy forum Stormfront. His mother was once married to David Duke. The Daily Beast’s Caitlin Dickson reveals the fascinating story of Derek Black, who was born to lead the white-power movement—until he defected. The article even inspired Black to write a letter in response, his first public statement about his shocking split from the life he was born into.

Ukrainian model Valeria Lukyanova developed a massive this year following for her doll-like appearance and wild teachings about “out-of-body” travel. In an interview conducted in Russian and translated to English, Lukyanova talked to The Daily Beast’s Anna Nemtsova about communicating with aliens, her plastic surgery—and why she will never have children.

Could it be that one of the most moving obituaries of the year was written for a polar bear? Just read it.

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As the U.S. government pressed Moscow to extradite former National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden this summer, The Daily Beast’s Eli Lake reported that America’s most wanted leaker had a plan B: he had already given encoded files containing an archive of the secrets he lifted from his old employer to several people.

As a Reddit thread ignited a new debate over unconventional black names, The Daily Beast’s Jamelle Bouie deflated the myth of the “weird” black name with some facts that are hard to argue with. “The popular Netflix show Orange is the New Black, written by a Jenji Kohan (a white woman), was based on the experiences of a Piper Kerman (also a white woman),” Bouie writes. “And in last year’s presidential election, nearly 61 million people voted for a Willard Mitt Romney, at the same time that the current head of the Republican National Committee was (and is) a Reince Priebus.”

Remember Dianne Riedy? She was the House stenographer who stole the hearts of C-SPAN viewers everywhere when she launched a Bible-thumping tirade on the floor of the House of Representatives just moments after legislators voted to end the government shutdown. In a scoop worth reading again (and again), The Daily Beast’s Michael Daly talked to Riedy’s husband about how the Holy Spirit that had been visiting his wife in the weeks before her outburst.

SNL’s New Kristen Wiig
By Kevin Fallon

Spoofing everyone from Ellen to Ann Romney, Kate McKinnon proved herself to be the funniest new cast member on Saturday Night Live this year. An intimate talk with the star more than confirmed she’s ready for prime time.

In a scoop that lit up the Internet and rocked the White House, The Daily Beast’s Josh Rogin revealed the identity of @NatSecWonk, a formerly anonymous tweeter who had been torturing the foreign policy community with insulting comments and revealing internal Obama administration information for over two years. A day later, Rogin revealed that the tweeter, Jofi Joseph, stood accused of leaking classified information related to the U.S. intelligence operations against Iran.

When Nelson Mandela died on December 5, he was honored as a saint by public figures across the political spectrum. But not long ago—in Washington’s highest circles—he was considered an enemy of the United States. Unless we remember why, writes The Daily Beast’s Peter Beinart, we won’t truly honor his legacy.

To mark the first anniversary of the massacre in Newtown, Connecticut, The Daily Beast took a look at one of the most undercovered stories of 2013—the continuing epidemic of school shootings. An exhaustive investigation uncovered some 24 such events over the last year, or about one every two weeks on average. With details on every incident and graphics that painfully illustrate the toll, this one is not to be missed.

The Repentant Radical
By Michael Moynihan

After a Danish newspaper published cartoons satirizing the Muslim Prophet Muhammad, Ahmed Akkari spearheaded protests that ultimately cost the lives of 200 people. But a few months ago, he told The Daily Beast’s Michael Moynihan he was sorry. What made him change his mind?

West Virginia ‘Heathers’
By Caroline Linton

Skylar, Rachel, and Shelia were the best of friends—until one of them went missing and the other two were implicated in a grisly murder case that has upended their idyllic town. Did these two teenagers murder 16-year-old Skylar Neese?