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Feb 28, 2021
Interesting and skilled interviewer. She gives the guest a lot of space to talk about their field and she doesn't hesitate to press them for clarity.
Feb 24, 2021
Swisher's interview of Steve Huffman was stunningly bad. He's against paternalism towards retail investors. Done. MSM really were focused on infantilizing investors & seeking a way to punish them for beating them at their own crooked game.
Would You Give Up Google for This?
Call it a redemption narrative: After working to grow Google’s lucrative advertising business for 15 years, Sridhar Ramaswamy left the Silicon Valley Goliath to co-found Neeva, a subscription-based search engine that promises not to profit off its customers’ search data. It sounds good in theory; many companies have exploited user data under the guise of their free services. But whether Neeva can get users to care enough about their data to pay for privacy is a whole other story.
In this conversation, Kara Swisher asks Ramaswamy, Neeva’s chief executive, what makes his search engine any different from the litany of others that have tried to take on Google. (Remember Duck Duck Go, Bing and Yahoo?) She presses him on whether users, who have long been conditioned to expect search to be free, will be amenable to a subscription-based alternative. And they discuss Google’s antitrust suit, what incognito mode really does and why background location is “truly evil.”
|Jul 29, 2021|
‘It’s a Tough Time to Be Mayor’: Lori Lightfoot Responds to Her Critics
Mayors across the country are facing heat. Bill DeBlasio was New York’s default punching bag (perhaps deservedly) throughout the pandemic. Keisha Lance Bottoms decided to forgo seeking a second term as the mayor of Atlanta. And in Chicago, Lori Lightfoot faces critics at every turn. Lightfoot, who in describing herself says, “Roll it all up — I’m Black, I’m female, I’m a lesbian, and no one expected me to win,” is two years into a term that has been defined by a brutal pandemic, a deeply unequal economy and rising crime.
In this conversation, Kara Swisher asks Lightfoot to respond to the criticism she’s received — whether for her leadership style or for her recent move to grant one-on-one interviews marking her two years in office exclusively to journalists of color. They also discuss the challenges of rising crime in Chicago, why Lightfoot doesn’t support the defund-the-police movement and what would prompt her to consider reinstating a mask mandate.
|Jul 26, 2021|
Robot Therapists? Not So Fast, Says Talkspace C.E.O.
Talk therapy has seen a boom during the pandemic. And with mental health chat bots like Woebot on the market and text therapy platforms like Talkspace going public, the possibility of humans outsourcing our behavioral health to algorithmic healers is only growing — along with the ethical questions attached to it. So Kara Swisher turned to Oren Frank, a co-founder and the chief executive of Talkspace, to ask what the increasing technologization of therapy means for treatment efficacy and for privacy.
In this conversation, Kara asks Frank whether health care apps like Talkspace, which collect patient data, are offering meaningful insights or are privacy sieves waiting to be hacked. They also talk about how to measure treatment efficacy and who is accountable — the platform or the provider — when something goes wrong.
|Jul 22, 2021|
Kara Goes to the Olympics
People love the Olympics. But this year’s Games, which open on Friday, are plagued with controversial suspensions and public pushback, not to mention the pandemic. How did we get here?
That’s a question for Dick Pound. He’s a member of the International Olympic Committee and was the founding president of the World Anti-Doping Agency. In this conversation, Kara Swisher asks Pound to break down the I.O.C.’s decision to move forward with the Games as the Delta variant of the coronavirus threatens to surge, vaccination rates trickle and citizens of the host country express concerns about the event. She presses him on who he thinks should take responsibility if an outbreak happens. (Hint: He doesn’t think it’s the I.O.C.)
They also discuss American track star Sha’Carri Richardson’s recent one-month suspension after testing positive for marijuana and whether WADA’s policies on weed need to change.
|Jul 19, 2021|
The Ezra Klein Show: Sam Altman on the A.I. Revolution, Trillionaires and the Future of Political Power
Kara's on vacation this week, so we're bringing you an episode of another great Times Opinion podcast, 'The Ezra Klein Show.'
“The technological progress we make in the next 100 years will be far larger than all we’ve made since we first controlled fire and invented the wheel,” writes Sam Altman in his essay “Moore’s Law for Everything.” “This revolution will generate enough wealth for everyone to have what they need, if we as a society manage it responsibly.”
Altman is the C.E.O. of OpenAI, one of the biggest, most important players in the artificial intelligence space. His argument is this: Since the 1970s, computers have gotten exponentially better even as they’re gotten cheaper, a phenomenon known as Moore’s Law. Altman believes that A.I. could get us closer to Moore’s Law for everything: it could make everything better even as it makes it cheaper. Housing, health care, education, you name it.
But what struck me about his essay is that last clause: “if we as a society manage it responsibly.” Because, as Altman also admits, if he is right then A.I. will generate phenomenal wealth largely by destroying countless jobs — that’s a big part of how everything gets cheaper — and shifting huge amounts of wealth from labor to capital. And whether that world becomes a post-scarcity utopia or a feudal dystopia hinges on how wealth, power and dignity are then distributed — it hinges, in other words, on politics.
This is a conversation, then, about the political economy of the next technological age. Some of it is speculative, of course, but some of it isn’t. That shift of power and wealth is already underway. Altman is proposing an answer: a move toward taxing land and wealth, and distributing it to all. We talk about that idea, but also the political economy behind it: Are the people gaining all this power and wealth really going to offer themselves up for more taxation? Or will they fight it tooth-and-nail?
We also discuss who is funding the A.I. revolution, the business models these systems will use (and the dangers of those business models), how A.I. would change the geopolitical balance of power, whether we should allow trillionaires, why the political debate over A.I. is stuck, why a pro-technology progressivism would also need to be committed to a radical politics of equality, what global governance of A.I. could look like, whether I’m just “energy flowing through a neural network,” and much more.
|Jul 15, 2021|
The Argument: Not Everyone Is Worried About America's Falling Birthrates
Kara's on vacation this week, so we're bringing you an episode of another great Times Opinion podcast, The Argument.
U.S. birthrates have fallen by 4 percent, hitting a record low. And it’s not just America — people around the world are having fewer children, from South Korea to South America.
In some ways, this seems inevitable. From an economic standpoint, there’s the expensive trio of child rearing, education and health care in America. From a cultural perspective, women have more financial and societal independence, delaying the age of childbirth. What might be troubling are the consequences on our future economy and what an older population might mean for Social Security.
This week, Jane Coaston talks to two demographers who have differing levels of worry about the news of our falling birthrate. Lyman Stone is the director of research at the consulting firm Demographic Intelligence, an adjunct fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, a research fellow at the Institute for Family Studies, a Robert Novak Journalism fellow and a Ph.D. student in population dynamics at McGill University. Caroline Hartnett is a demographer and an associate professor of sociology at the University of South Carolina.
|Jul 12, 2021|
Chelsea Handler Has a Message for Straight Men
Chelsea Handler says men are “on probation” — at least the ones who don’t seem to grasp how the country’s social justice movement is reshaping how we talk about, well, everything. The female comic has crossed the line in her own career, including posting racially insensitive tweets. But she claims the current political climate, therapy (and cannabis) have led to a “kinder and gentler” persona that will be on the stage as she returns to the road this July in her new standup tour, titled “Vaccinated and Horny.”
In this conversation with Kara Swisher, Handler discusses how the sensitivities of cancel culture square with edgy, boundary-pushing comedy; revisits how she thinks about apologies; and explains why she did her latest standup special for HBO after her Netflix deal. She also reveals how her crush on Andrew Cuomo flamed out.
This episode contains strong language.
|Jul 08, 2021|
What’s Keeping Biden’s Chief of Staff Up at Night?
Ron Klain tells Kara Swisher it’s “everything” — except, apparently, the midterms. As White House chief of staff, Klain helps determine how the president spends scarce resources like time and political capital.
He and Kara speak at a moment when the country is shy of President Biden’s July 4 vaccine target and the administration has just averted the unraveling of a bipartisan infrastructure deal that still has to crawl through a polarized Congress. Kara presses Klain on whether the president’s ambitious agenda and focus on bipartisanship will succeed — or whether infrastructure will be “Biden’s Obamacare,” costing Democrats their majority in the House and the Senate in 2022. Klain notes, “There’ll be obviously more of a time and a place for the focus on the politics of 2022,” but “the best way we can do well in 2022 is to get things done in 2021.”
The conversation also dives into the pandemic response, the Delta variant and how social media platforms are petri dishes of pandemic misinformation. And when Klain describes a recent conversation with Mark Zuckerberg and complains about Facebook and other platforms not doing more to combat misinformation, Kara is quick to press him on what the Biden administration plans to do to regulate tech giants. After all, she reminds him, “you’re the government.”
|Jul 01, 2021|
A Guy Fieri Pep Talk
Guy Fieri recently inked an $80 million deal with the Food Network, making him the highest-paid chef on cable TV. He did this on the heels of a brutal year for the restaurant industry, which, according to the National Restaurant Association, has lost approximately $290 billion since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic and seen insufficient relief from the federal government. While the airline industry received a big bailout in March 2020, as well as additional payroll support through the pandemic, it took almost a full year for Congress to earmark a grant program for American restaurants. Fieri’s take on why they got so little so late: It’s about “voice, power and money.”
In this conversation, Kara Swisher presses Fieri on how he’s using his own voice and power. They dig into how restaurants have adapted during the pandemic, why working conditions remain so bad in the industry and why he has gotten into ghost kitchens — a trend that, alongside food delivery apps, is reshaping the restaurant industry. Plus, she gets him to spill on his plans to join FoodTok someday.
|Jun 28, 2021|
Exercise, and Accept Your ‘Inevitable Demise’
The fitness industry has exploded into a nearly $100 billion sector, and Alison Bechdel is among the exercise-obsessed. Bechdel, the cartoonist whose comic strip inspired the Bechdel Test for female representation in Hollywood, says she has found transcendence in everything from yoga and karate to weight lifting and biking. Her new book, “The Secret to Superhuman Strength,” examines the exercise craze, and what it exposes about our attitudes around self-care, the booming fitness economy and even our mortality.
In this conversation, Kara and Bechdel discuss the evolution of workout culture (“yoga boom” included), the politics of art (especially during the Trump era) and how mainstream cultural norms have finally caught up to, as Bechdel puts it, “where lesbians were back in the ’80s.”
|Jun 24, 2021|
Dr. Fauci Claps Back
Anthony Fauci doesn’t have a Twitter account. But he does have a lot to say about the recent scrutiny following the release of his emails from 2020 — an especially busy time in his tenure as America’s chief immunologist. Republicans like Ron DeSantis have used the emails as fodder for criticism, accusing him of “faucism” (yes, that’s a play on fascism). Fauci’s response: “Here’s a guy whose entire life has been devoted to saving lives. And now you’re telling me he’s like Hitler? Come on, folks. Get real.”
In this conversation, Kara Swisher and Fauci parse the science from the politics. She presses him on the Wuhan lab leak theory, which critics claim Fauci and the media were too quick to dismiss. They discuss what went wrong with his early mask-wearing guidance and whether there is room for error or evolution of advice when it comes to public health in a social media age. And of course, they dig into some of the 4,000 or so pages of Fauci’s emails, including exchanges with Sylvia Burwell, the former Health and Human Services secretary, and Mark Zuckerberg. (No, he was not asking Zuck for help with his Instagram.)
|Jun 21, 2021|
Is This the Big Tech Breakup We’ve Been Waiting For?
Representative David Cicilline’s bipartisan package takes aim at tech companies and would be the biggest antitrust reform in decades. But is it too little, too fragmented and way too late? The tech-savvy Democrat is joining forces with Republicans like Ken Buck and Burgess Owens to push through a large suite of new antitrust legislation aimed at Amazon, Apple, Facebook and Google. If the five bills are passed (without being watered down), they will empower regulators, raise the bar for mergers and acquisitions, and make it a whole lot easier for enforcers to break up businesses. The power of Big Tech is not news, so Kara starts by asking Representative Cicilline: Why did it take so long for Congress to try and catch up?
In this conversation, they break down the bills and discuss why the timing for sweeping tech regulation is particularly ripe in the aftermath of the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol enabled by social media. Kara presses the lawmaker to respond to criticisms — including the notion that the proposed legislation robs the tech robber barons of the proceeds of their innovation and allows government to pick and choose winners in a way that feels more fit for China than the United States. And she asks Cicilline why he thinks Big Tech is the common enemy that can unite Democrats and Republicans.
|Jun 17, 2021|
Inside the I.R.S. Files of the Ultra-Wealthy
It’s an open secret that the uber-rich don’t pay their fair share in taxes. But Jesse Eisinger and his team at ProPublica have unearthed the numbers to back that up. In “The Secret I.R.S. Files,” they combed through more than 15 years of federal income tax records, revealing that Elon Musk, Jeff Bezos, George Soros and many more have paid as little as $0 in recent years. By amassing and borrowing off their wealth, while minimizing how much of it is treated as income, these billionaires live outside the tax system perfectly legally. It’s on top of that, Eisinger explains, that the rich have built “their power, their purchasing power, their political power, their influence.”
In this conversation, Kara Swisher gets a play by play of the investigation into the “secret IRS files.” Eisinger breaks down the investigative team’s decision to use an anonymous source and says whether he fears the Biden administration will loop ProPublica into an investigation into that source (in which case, he’d “raise bloody hell”). They discuss why the Biden administration’s efforts to increase the marginal tax rate from 37 percent to 39.6 percent is “irrelevant” for the ultrawealthy (or as Kara puts it, “using a fly swatter to kill a bear”). And they go through the billionaires’ responses to the investigation, including a question mark from Elon Musk, privacy concerns from Michael Bloomberg and confusion from Carl Icahn, who was “incredibly charming” but also “totally perplexed by the concept of needing to pay taxes.”
|Jun 14, 2021|
Meet Big Tech’s Tormenter-in-Chief
Margrethe Vestager and Kara Swisher have something in common: They both have made it their job to keep watch on Jeff Bezos, Tim Cook, Mark Zuckerberg and the other titans of tech. Vestager does this from her post as the head of the European Commission’s antitrust division. And while Swisher may regularly opine on what drives tech C.E.O.s, Vestager isn’t interested in “soul-searching” their motives. She’s focused on catching them in the act — whether it’s companies sliding from “aggressive tax planning into tax avoidance” or moving from content moderation into censorship.
In this conversation, Swisher and Vestager trade notes on the power of tech. They discuss the G7’s recent agreement to work toward a global corporate tax rate. (Vestager thinks she’ll be 150 years old by the time there’s a global tax authority.) They discuss Facebook’s two-year ban of Donald Trump. (Vestager admits that she’s not an active Facebook user, but even she was surprised that “one could express oneself as the former president did without any consequences until the very last minutes.”) And they talk about antitrust — where Vestager is quick to clarify that her point is “not to say that they should be smaller,” but instead that these companies “should take the responsibility that comes with the kind of power you have when you are this size.”
|Jun 10, 2021|
Silicon Valley’s Thin Skins and Giant Egos
From allegations that Bill Gates had been coming on to Microsoft employees to the $22.5 million settlement of a gender discrimination suit against Pinterest, women in Silicon Valley are speaking out against what is still a male-dominated culture.
Ellen Pao was one of the first to do that. In 2012, she sued the venture capital firm Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers for gender discrimination. Back then, she says, she was met with skepticism at the very idea that the industry suffered from sexism at all. Pao ultimately lost the case, but it raised a question that hangs almost a decade later: What will it take for Silicon Valley to become less sexist?
In this conversation, Kara Swisher talks to Pao about the “thin skins” and “giant egos” of powerful people in tech, how these attributes define the work culture of Silicon Valley and why it may take a “perp walk” from a venture capitalist or a C.E.O. to see real change.
|Jun 07, 2021|
Women’s Basketball Is on the Rise. Is Anyone Paying Attention?
LeBron James and Steph Curry are household names and brand magnates, but Diana Taurasi and A’ja Wilson haven’t quite reached that level. That’s despite being, respectively, the W.N.B.A.’s career top scorer and reigning MVP. And it’s despite the average viewership for the 2020 women’s basketball finals shooting up 15 percent from the previous year — while the men’s finals saw a 49 percent drop. In a sport that’s beloved and at a time when female athletes are raising their profiles (think Naomi Osaka and Megan Rapinoe), why isn’t the W.N.B.A. minting superstars?
That’s a question Cathy Engelbert, the league’s commissioner, is grappling with. Since joining the W.N.B.A. in 2019, she has settled a collective bargaining agreement to increase player compensation and has overseen the W.N.B.A.’s recent push into sports betting. In this conversation, Kara Swisher and Engelbert discuss why women’s sports are underwatched and undervalued, what that means for pay equity and whether the women’s league will ever be financially independent from their parent organization and male counterpart: the N.B.A.
|Jun 03, 2021|
Is Jake Tapper for Sale?
AT&T owns CNN — for now. But one day Netflix and Apple could be in a bidding war for the CNN anchor Jake Tapper. That’s Kara's take, anyway. It could be the next step in the streaming wars, and a natural evolution for an increasingly personality-driven cable news business that is under pressure to compete with the 24/7 engagement — and enragement — of social media.
In this conversation, Kara and Tapper discuss the potential spinoff of CNN’s parent company, WarnerMedia, from AT&T, what the post-Trump slump of cable news ratings means for the future of broadcast journalism and how Tapper intends to cover Kevin McCarthy and other Republican leaders who who are doubling down on Donald Trump’s big lie.
They also discuss Tapper’s new novel, a political thriller called “The Devil May Dance” — though the author is quick to clarify that the real world, especially in these past four years, has been stranger than fiction.
|May 27, 2021|
How Online Sleuths Pantsed Putin
It turns out you can use a prank call to expose suspected poisoners, mole patterns to identify a violent demonstrator at a white nationalist rally and online videos to reveal a weapons-smuggling operation to Syrian rebels.
At least, Eliot Higgins and the online sleuths at the open source investigative operation Bellingcat can. Since Higgins founded the organization in 2014, his team has helped break major stories, from unearthing evidence that ties Russia to the downing of Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 to revealing the identities of Russian agents suspected of poisoning the opposition leader Aleksei Navalny.
In this conversation, Kara Swisher asks Higgins about the perils of taking on Vladimir Putin and how Bellingcat’s work, which Kara calls “gumshoe journalism,” differs from online vigilantism. She presses Higgins on the ethics of paying for data, partnering with political figures like Navalny and building a company that benefits from the shaky relationship Big Tech has with user privacy.
|May 24, 2021|
Can Snapchat Win the War Against TikTok?
Snap Inc. lost nearly $40 million when it introduced its first pair of camera-laden Spectacles in 2016. But the company’s C.E.O., Evan Spiegel, is trying again. He announced on Thursday that Snap is launching a new version of its Spectacles with augmented-reality capabilities. While it will take years for the technology to be in the hands of most consumers, it will allow them to view their physical surroundings with visual overlays. It’s one of several innovations Spiegel announced — alongside new revenue models for creators — in a quest to win the social media wars.
In this conversation, Kara Swisher presses Spiegel on how he will compete with augmented-reality technology from Apple and Amazon, and whether glasses and creator gifting will help him win a war with TikTok or Instagram. They also discuss content moderation in a world where anyone can create their own reality.
|May 20, 2021|
We're Running a Little Late!
|May 20, 2021|
Algorithms Make Fewer Mistakes Than Humans. Why Don't We Trust Them?
|May 17, 2021|
Inside the Republican Anti-Transgender Machine
|May 13, 2021|
Who Wins in a Meme Stock World?
|May 10, 2021|
Inside the Decision on Trump’s Facebook Fate
Alan Rusbridger led The Guardian through the Snowden revelations and WikiLeaks. Now, he's on the Facebook Oversight Board. He explains how the decision went down.
|May 07, 2021|
‘It’s His Own Damn Fault,’ Frank Luntz Says of Trump and Facebook
|May 06, 2021|
Can Pete Buttigieg Deliver Joe Manchin?
|May 03, 2021|
Why is So Much Money Moving to Miami?
|Apr 29, 2021|
Why Does the C.I.A. Need Puppets?
And where does it get them? The agency’s top technologist Dawn Meyerriecks talks spy gear and why Hollywood and Silicon Valley play a critical role in national security.
|Apr 26, 2021|
The Evolution of Desus & Mero
|Apr 22, 2021|
She's Taking Jeff Bezos to Task
|Apr 19, 2021|
CNN Is in a Post-Trump Slump. What Does That Mean for Don Lemon?
|Apr 15, 2021|
A Public Health Lesson for Ron DeSantis, From Harvard
|Apr 12, 2021|
A 5 O’Clock Shuttle to Mars?
|Apr 08, 2021|
Is Apple's Privacy Push Facebook's Existential Threat?
|Apr 05, 2021|
Why It's Taken Us So Long to Talk About Anti-Asian Racism
|Apr 01, 2021|
Amy Klobuchar vs. Silicon Valley
|Mar 29, 2021|
The Spiritual Teacher Biden’s Campaign Called for Help
|Mar 25, 2021|
What the Heck are NFTs? Let's Ask Beeple.
The artist, whose real name is Mike Winklemann, just sold an encrypted digital collage for $69 million. So are non-fungible tokens the next new asset class, or is it all hype?
|Mar 22, 2021|
Airbnb Has a Hate Group Problem Too
|Mar 18, 2021|
Stop Whining About Big Government
|Mar 15, 2021|
Spike Lee Predicts the Future
|Mar 11, 2021|
I Asked the Head of Space Force What the Agency Has Done for Me Lately
Gen. John Raymond has put up with plenty of mockery. But, he says, there’s nothing funny about protecting U.S. interests from Russian and Chinese anti-satellite technology.
|Mar 08, 2021|
Stacey Abrams on American Idealism and American Betrayal
After she helped win major Democratic victories in Georgia, the right is retaliating, and it’s getting personal. But Abrams says she doesn’t mind; it’s all about the long game.
|Mar 04, 2021|
If Government Did Its Job We Might Not Need GoFundMe
The crowdfunding platform helps people pay their rent and medical bills. Its chief executive, Tim Cadogan, says it was never meant to be a social safety net.
|Mar 01, 2021|
Sacha Baron Cohen Has a Message for Mark Zuckerberg
The actor who, as Borat, drew our attention to racism, misogyny and autocratic propaganda calls out the social media companies who profit off these trends.
You can find transcripts (posted midday) and more information for all episodes at nytimes.com/sway, and you can find Kara on Twitter @karaswisher.
|Feb 25, 2021|
Lessons on Resilience From Dogs and Dog Sledders
The adventurer Blair Braverman has led a team of sled dogs over a 900-mile race in Alaska, seen her skin dissolve in the desert and overcome Covid-19. What makes it all less terrifying? Accepting the unknown.
|Feb 22, 2021|
Bonus: Is Kara a Chump?
Kara’s conversation yesterday with Oberlin College’s president, Carmen Twillie Ambar, touched on the cost of a college education and why “sticker prices” are so high. She called up Ron Lieber, who writes the “Your Money” column for The Times, to discuss.
You can find transcripts (posted midday) and more information for all episodes at nytimes.com/sway, and you can find Kara on Twitter @karaswisher.
|Feb 19, 2021|
No Parties. No Sports. How Oberlin College Is Surviving the Pandemic.
Colleges across the country are figuring out how Covid has changed the college experience, while parents are struggling to understand why schools haven’t changed their price tag.
|Feb 18, 2021|
Innovation, Not Trees. How Bill Gates Plans to Save the Planet
|Feb 15, 2021|
Fran Lebowitz Isn’t Buying What Jack Dorsey Is Selling
|Feb 11, 2021|
Bonus: Kara and Nicole Perlroth Debrief on Brad Smith
Kara’s conversation on Monday with Microsoft’s president, Brad Smith, touched on Russia, the attack on SolarWinds software and how the U.S. government deals with hacks. She hopped on a call with the Times cybersecurity reporter Nicole Perlroth to discuss.
|Feb 09, 2021|
Should Big Tech Stay Out of Politics?
The president of Microsoft says "absolutely not" — at least when it comes to his company. Brad Smith discusses Microsoft's new guidelines for political contributions, the six stages of antitrust grief and how corporations — and the U.S. government — missed the SolarWinds Hack.
|Feb 08, 2021|
Why GameStop Reminds Mark Cuban of the ’90s
|Feb 04, 2021|
Is it Investing or Cliff Jumping? Reddit C.E.O. on the Forum Shaking Up Wall Street
Shares of GameStop shot up 400 percent last week, egged on by the Reddit forum r/WallStreetBets. The online community rallied to drive up the stock price and put the squeeze on big hedge funds who had bet against the struggling video game retailer. Reddit chief executive Steve Huffman — who calls r/WallStreetBets one of his “guilty pleasures” — described this as “the online stock-betting equivalent of, like, jumping off a cliff into a river.”
On this episode of “Sway,” Kara speaks to Huffman about the ethos behind the online movement, whether Reddit may have been used for market manipulation and if he fears an investigation by the S.E.C. She also presses him on the narrative that this is a David vs. Goliath story of Main Street beating Wall Street — after all, who will be left holding the bag when GameStop’s stock eventually comes crashing?
|Feb 01, 2021|
What if the ‘Karate Kid’ Isn’t the Hero?
The “Karate Kid” was a hero of the 1980s. Now he’s back, with the actor Ralph Macchio reprising the role for the series “Cobra Kai.” The story is ostensibly a classic battle between a hero and a villain. But as Mr. Macchio notes, it’s actually more complex. Audiences, he says, “recognize the good and bad in both these guys and are rooting for both with their two separate types of shortcomings and problems and demons.”
On this episode of “Sway,” Kara and Mr. Macchio discuss how “Cobra Kai” got from YouTube to Netflix, and explore the show’s underlying themes of toxic masculinity, bullying and polarized politics.
|Jan 28, 2021|
Bonus: Kara and Kevin Roose Debrief on Chris Best
Kara’s conversation on Monday with Chris Best, the chief executive of Substack, hit on echo chambers, extremism and the future of journalism. Afterward, she called up the Times tech columnist Kevin Roose to discuss.
|Jan 26, 2021|
The Site Trump Could Run to Next
Facebook and Twitter have kicked Donald Trump off their platforms and Amazon Web Services removed Parler from its cloud. But there’s another popular platform that markets itself as the destination for free speech: Substack.
With more than 250,000 unique individuals paying for the newsletters on its platform, Substack is a lot smaller than Twitter or Facebook. Still, it’s a rapidly growing space for big media personalities who want to reach their audience directly. Glenn Greenwald, Andrew Sullivan, Hunter Harris and Anne Helen Petersen have all left their legacy media publications to start their own Substack newsletters. So should media companies be worried about the competition?
On this episode of “Sway,” Kara Swisher speaks to Chris Best, the chief executive and a co-founder of Substack, about content moderation on his platform and asks whether Substack is going to destroy media gatekeepers or just turn into one of them.
|Jan 25, 2021|
A Black and Asian Female V.P. Doesn’t Mean We’ve Escaped Caste
At the inauguration on Wednesday, Kamala Harris became vice president — the nation’s first Black person, the first Asian person and the first woman to do so — and President Biden spoke of “a cry for racial justice some 400 years in the making,” adding that “the dream of justice for all will be deferred no longer.”
But according to Isabel Wilkerson, a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist and historian, change may not come so easily. Her reporting reveals that the systems of power in America are deeply defined by caste. On this episode of “Sway,” she explains how she saw an invisible ranking system play out in the raid at the U.S. Capitol, and argues that rushing to move on would be a mistake.
|Jan 21, 2021|
Bryan Cranston Won’t Play Donald Trump
Bryan Cranston has built his reputation playing powerful men, from President Lyndon B. Johnson to Walter White in "Breaking Bad" to Michael Desiato in "Your Honor." On this episode of "Sway," the Tony and Emmy-winning actor breaks down his method, the motivations behind the larger-than-life men he plays and why he draws the line at playing the Scarecrow in "The Wizard of Oz" or the President currently in the White House.
|Jan 19, 2021|
Food Delivery Is Keeping Uber Alive. Will It Kill Restaurants?
Uber’s chief executive, Dara Khosrowshahi, is charging toward a world in which food is delivered through apps like Uber Eats and “a driver may be human or may be software.” On the way, he acknowledges, “the human consequences can be painful.” Uber is not profitable yet, but its deep pockets and vast infrastructure give it power over independent restaurants and individual drivers. He says, “Do I feel guilty about it? No.”
On this episode of “Sway,” Kara Swisher asks Mr. Khosrowshahi about the plight of drivers and restaurant owners, and whether Uber is part of the “menace economy.”
|Jan 14, 2021|
Anna Wintour on the Kamala Harris Vogue Cover
The February cover of Vogue featuring Vice President-elect Kamala Harris kicked off a controversy involving the most powerful woman in fashion and the soon-to-be most powerful woman in the White House. In a multiday social media maelstrom, a leaked cover photo that Anna Wintour originally described as “joyful,” “casual” and “accessible” was deemed “disrespectful” by Twitter. According to people familiar with the matter on both sides, although there had been no contractual cover approval agreement in place, the cover image was not what the vice president-elect’s team had expected. The day after the first photo leaked, a second — more formal — digital exclusive cover was also released.
Ms. Wintour said in a follow-up statement to "Sway," “Obviously we have heard and understood the reaction to the print cover and I just want to reiterate that it was absolutely not our intention to, in any way, diminish the importance of the vice president-elect’s incredible victory.”
In an exclusive interview on this episode of "Sway," Ms. Wintour discusses the magazine cover, diversity concerns at Condé Nast, the future of the fashion industry — and whether Jeff Bezos could be the next Anna Wintour.
|Jan 12, 2021|
Inside the Billion-Dollar War Against Right-Wing Conspiracists
Dominion Voting Systems has filed a $1.3 Billion defamation suit against former Trump lawyer Sidney Powell. Chief Executive John Poulos says it’s the “first step” in the voting machine company’s efforts to counter a “malicious campaign of lies” spread by right wing media outlets and members of Donald Trump's inner circle.
|Jan 11, 2021|
If You Were on Parler, You Saw the Mob Coming
Update: Jan. 11, 2020
Parler went offline Monday after Amazon stopped providing it with web-hosting services. This followed Apple and Google’s removal of Parler’s app from their app stores. In notices to Parler about these decisions, both Apple and Amazon cited chief executive John Matze’s statement in this episode of “Sway” that “I don’t feel responsible for any of this and neither should the platform.”
A mob stormed Washington and Twitter locked the account of a president who helped incite this violence. But Donald Trump and his supporters still have an effectively unregulated safe space: Parler. Chief executive John Matze calls his social media platform a “neutral town square.” Kara Swisher disagrees. On today’s episode of “Sway,” she challenges Matze on the neutrality of a site whose users, investors, advertisers and “community jury” skew right. And she presses him on the role Parler has played in our current national crisis.
|Jan 07, 2021|
What’s Next in Your Netflix Queue?
Bela Bajaria has an unprecedented job at Netflix. In an executive shake-up this year, she was elevated from head of “local language” (read: non-English) productions to a newly created role, head of global television (read: all TV, everywhere). Her promotion signals how much Netflix is banking on international markets and diverse content to help it win the streaming wars.
Ms. Bajaria previously ran Universal Television, the studio arm of NBC. She was behind many of the shows the world has been watching, including “Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt,” “Master of None,” and “The Mindy Project.” On the way, she hit pushback from executives who thought unconventional shows would be small and play only for niche audiences. Bela had other plans: “I want to do big shows that have underrepresented voices and people. They can be big, and they can be commercial.”
In this episode of “Sway,” the Netflix executive discusses how change happens in Hollywood, why she got fired from NBC-Universal and which shows you might be bingeing next.
|Jan 04, 2021|
This Astrologer Has Some Things to Tell Kara Swisher
Astrology has been around for thousands of years, so why are “Mercury in retrograde” memes and horoscopes still so popular in 2020? “We all need, at some point or another, to have someone say: ‘Yeah, that’s how you were made, and that’s perfect. Now, go do your thing,’” says Chani Nicholas, one of the internet era’s most prominent astrologers. In this episode, she demystifies the $2.2 billion industry of astrology — and reads Kara's birth chart.
|Dec 28, 2020|
Bonus: Kara and Nick Kristof Debrief on Ajay Banga
On yesterday’s episode of Sway, the chief executive of Mastercard spoke about why the company blocked subscription payments on Pornhub. Was it too little too late? Kara asks Nicholas Kristof, the journalist whose reporting on child pornography forced the payment company’s hand.
|Dec 22, 2020|
Your Card Payment Has Been Declined
Ajay Banga has spent a decade as chief executive of Mastercard. Last year, he oversaw $6.5 trillion in transactions. That means he knows what we’re spending right now (aggregated and anonymized, of course) and how long it might take to get us out of our current economic funk. It also means Mr. Banga has leverage over virtually any business that relies on credit card payments.For example, following recent reporting from New York Times columnist Nicholas Kristof on the scale of child pornography on PornHub, Mastercard announced that it would terminate payments on that site.
Mr. Banga departs as chief executive at the end of this year, transitioning to the post of executive chairman. In this “exit interview,” Kara Swisher presses him on whether the company he’s helped build can keep up with Silicon Valley — and with the social consciousness of the next consumer generation.
|Dec 21, 2020|
Can Kara be Vulnerable?
Brené Brown’s best-selling books and TED talks about embracing vulnerability and shame have made her a cultural phenomenon. Silicon Valley executives often invite her to speak to their companies, though she is skeptical about their intentions to follow through on her advice. “For some people, I am the kombucha shake of the month,” she says.
In this episode of Sway, she’s taking on the toughest case of all: the self-proclaimed “vulnerability skeptic” Kara Swisher.
|Dec 17, 2020|
Bonus: Kara and Maggie Haberman Debrief on Brad Raffensperger
Kara's interview with Georgia’s Secretary of State was a doozy. This episode refers back to yesterday’s episode, “Georgia’s Secretary of State on Standing Up to Trump."
|Dec 15, 2020|
Georgia's Secretary of State on Standing Up to Trump
Georgia begins early voting today in two runoffs that will decide the composition of the next U.S. Senate. If Democrats win both seats, the Senate will be split 50-50 (with Vice President-elect Kamala Harris acting as tiebreaker). If they don’t, it will be controlled by Republicans who stand ready to block most actions of a Biden presidency.
Brad Raffensperger is the man overseeing Georgia’s critical race. As secretary of state, his role is to ensure that the election is fair and — he hopes — drama-free. “My job is to have fair and honest elections, but also I’d love to have elections get back to being boring again.” He does not want “everything flamed up.”
That’s because Mr. Raffensperger is still dealing with the flames of last month’s presidential election. Donald Trump called the secretary of state “an enemy of the people” as he certified (and then recertified) Joe Biden’s victory in Georgia. Mr. Raffensperger has faced pressure — and death threats — from members of his own party.
In this episode of Sway, Kara Swisher presses the secretary of state on how he’s managing the ire of his party, why — if elections were free and fair — he and fellow Republicans continue to champion voting restrictions, and how wrong Mr. Raffensperger was to compare Donald Trump to Stacey Abrams.
|Dec 14, 2020|
Bonus: Kara Swisher and Ben Smith Debrief on Jason Kilar
This week, Kara Swisher interviewed WarnerMedia’s chief executive, Jason Kilar, fresh on the heels of the announcement that Warner Bros. will release its 2021 film slate in theaters and on its streaming site, HBO Max, simultaneously. (If you missed that episode — scroll back and hit play! Or click here if you’re on the World Wide Web).
In this bonus episode of “Sway,” Kara Swisher and the New York Times media columnist Ben Smith discuss what the news means for the future of the film industry, and whether this move will establish Mr. Kilar as the streaming king of Hollywood or leave his “head on a platter.” As Mr. Smith puts it, “A huge piece of the studio business — and of Warner’s business — are these relationships with directors who they just burned the hell out of."
|Dec 11, 2020|
Movie Theaters Are Dying. Did Jason Kilar Deal the Final Blow?
If you want to be the first to watch “Dune,” “Godzilla vs. Kong” or the new “Matrix” movie this year (yes, there’s a fourth one) — you won’t have to line up at a movie theater. That’s because Jason Kilar, the C.E.O. of WarnerMedia, announced last week that the full slate of Warner Bros. films will be simultaneously released in theaters and on the company’s streaming service, HBO Max.
Mr. Kilar is only seven months into the job, and he just unleashed one of the biggest industry shake-ups in recent history. Movie theater executives and filmmakers are reeling. As director Christopher Nolan told The Hollywood Reporter, “some of our industry’s biggest filmmakers and most important movie stars went to bed the night before thinking they were working for the greatest movie studio and woke up to find out they were working for the worst streaming service.”
In this episode of “Sway,” Kara Swisher questions Mr. Kilar on whether he just delivered the final death blow to struggling theaters, how he’ll make good with Hollywood’s top talent, and what films will look like when — as Mr. Kilar predicts — blockbuster budgets surpass a billion dollars.
|Dec 10, 2020|
Lifestyles of the ‘More Famous Than Rich’
Steven Galanis is helping celebrities get into the gig economy. He launched his company, Cameo, three years ago as a marketplace for the famous (and not-so-famous) to sell personalized shout-outs.
For $500, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar may wish you a happy birthday. For $200, Ian Ziering (a.k.a. Steve Sanders from the original “Beverly Hills, 90210”) can send your mom a Happy Mother’s Day greeting. And for $10, the company’s chief executive, Mr. Galanis, will wish your kid’s team good luck on its next hockey game.
The company is facilitating fan requests, gag gifts and even political pranks. (The former New Jersey governor Chris Christie was a recent target.) But the point, says Mr. Galanis, is to bridge the gap for people who are “more famous than rich” — aging athletes, faded pop idols, out-of-work supporting actors and even artists whose inappropriate actions have led them to be “canceled.”
In the process, Mr. Galanis is taking on Hollywood power houses. Cameo is cutting agents, managers and publicists out of the equation, compressing the distance between celebrities and, well, the rest of us.
|Dec 07, 2020|
They Made the ‘Pfizer Vaccine’
Dr. Ozlem Tureci and Dr. Ugur Sahin, the co-founders of BioNTech, are behind the first coronavirus vaccine to be approved in the West. Starting next week, the “Pfizer vaccine” will be available in Britain.
While Pfizer is financing and distributing the vaccine, the science behind it was actually spearheaded by the couple’s lesser-known company. When Drs. Tureci and Sahin, along with their BioNTech team, embarked on this mission, the record for the fastest vaccine creation was four years. They did it in less than one.
BioNTech started working on a vaccine in January. By early November, the company shared the results of its Phase 3 trials: over 90 percent efficacy. The announcement was made days after the presidential election was called for Joe Biden, and Donald Trump claimed the timing was politically motivated.
In this episode of “Sway,” the couple dismiss that accusation and speak instead to the science. “Clinical trials are highly regulated,” Dr. Tureci says. “And this is something which you cannot really delay or stop or expedite.”
|Dec 03, 2020|
In Hollywood, Women Are Seen as ‘a Risk’
Marielle Heller had her big acting break in “The Queens Gambit,” a chess drama that has already been viewed on Netflix by over 60 million households. But prior to her performance as Alma Wheatley, Ms. Heller was already a big name — off the screen.
She directed award-winning films like 2019’s “A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood” and 2018’s “Can You Ever Forgive Me?” Female directors remain a minority in the U.S. film industry, and Ms. Heller has spent her career navigating what she describes as a male-dominated Hollywood “machine.”
“I do think there’s a weird stigma where people probably think that female directors are a risk,” Ms. Heller says, explaining that people “watch a male director make one little indie that comes out of Sundance and they go, ‘I see potential in that kid.’ And then they watch a female director come out of Sundance and make one little indie and they go: ‘That was excellent. I’ll wait to see her next movie to see if she gets a job.’”
In this episode of “Sway,” Ms. Heller and Kara Swisher discuss what it’s like to be “difficult” women, why Hollywood lets Tony Soprano get away with murder but worries that female characters are “unlikable,” and how Ms. Heller — despite all her directorial acclaim — still gets offered 30 to 40 percent less pay than men who do the same job.
|Nov 30, 2020|
Jane Goodall on Chimps, Presidents and Other Alpha Males
Jane Goodall is an expert on alpha males — for decades, she’s been studying them in chimpanzee communities. She’s also inspired leaders in business, politics and culture to change their approach to animals and the environment.
It’s been 60 years since Dr. Goodall’s first excursion to observe primates in Africa. Her discoveries there, which transformed our understanding of animals, continue to inspire generations of scientists and environmental activists.
Now, at the age of 86, she reflects on her legacy. On this episode of “Sway,” she reveals how she rose to celebrity status, how she uses her platform to persuade world leaders and which politicians (like President Trump) she wouldn’t even bother trying to persuade.
|Nov 23, 2020|
Why 3rd Grade Matters
Harvard economist Raj Chetty believes that there’s a way to push past America’s political divide: data.
Mr. Chetty, head of the Harvard-based research group Opportunity Insights, has amassed a powerhouse of information drawing on everything from I.R.S. tax filings to credit card spending. Armed with that data, he’s able to understand whether meritocracy — or inequality — determines the economic fate of Americans. He’s also able to translate datapoints into accessible visualizations and concrete policy proposals.
In this episode of Sway, Mr. Chetty draws on data to answer questions like what age a person’s future has been largely determined (around 23), which ZIP codes provide the most economic opportunity (including some in rural Iowa), and what stands between a third-grader who will grow up to become an inventor and one who will not.
Mr. Chetty’s own trajectory was shaped by a move his parents made when he was 9 years old — from India to the U.S. — to pursue the American dream. His datasets reveal that this American dream is fading for future generations. But Mr. Chetty is determined to revive it. And given his influence on the future president, the economist may finally have his chance.
|Nov 19, 2020|
At-Home Covid Tests and Other Powers of a Tech Billionaire
Chamath Palihapitiya is one of Silicon Valley’s most successful tech investors. He’s also among the most candid. “I aspire to be a Koch brother before I aspire to be an under secretary,” he tells Kara Swisher on this episode of “Sway.” His definition of power has little to do with politics — it’s profits, he says, that empower you to “control the resources.”
Mr. Palihapitiya made his first fortune as an early executive at Facebook. He has since multiplied his wealth as an investor, with big bets and bold forecasts about the future. These days, he’s behind one of the most lucrative and controversial trends — SPACs, the acronym for blank check or special purpose acquisition companies, which some call the next bubble.
On this episode of “Sway,” Mr. Palihapitiya shares his predictions for American economic recovery and the return of centrism — and his prescriptions for what the Biden administration should do first.
|Nov 16, 2020|
Math Lessons From Pennsylvania
In the postelection uncertainty, all eyes were on Pennsylvania. And John Fetterman, the state’s Twitter-famous lieutenant governor, held court. He rallied Democrats with one-liners and taunted President Trump with arithmetic lessons on Twitter. Mr. Trump can try to challenge the election result, he said, but “you can’t litigate math.”
Mr. Fetterman, the former mayor of a Rust Belt town, is 6-foot-8, with tattoos, a shaved head and a graduate degree in public policy from Harvard. He’s not your standard politician. And that’s helped him sell progressive politics to working-class voters and become a powerful voice of the left.
In this interview with Kara Swisher, Mr. Fetterman explains the “purple churn” in Pennsylvania and why Mr. Trump’s increasingly desperate pleas for a recount won’t reverse a Biden victory. “There is no enchanted village in Pennsylvania full of 50,000 Trump voters that we haven’t heard from already,” he says. “It doesn’t exist.”
|Nov 12, 2020|
Post-Election Therapy With Esther Perel
With a divisive election, an economy in a tailspin and a global pandemic, we could all use a little healing. Enter Esther Perel, an author and psychotherapist with the power to help mend relationships. “We have a screaming match, but we have a foundation underneath that,” she says.
In this episode of Sway, the couples counselor offers some advice: to Kara Swisher — on how to handle her Trump-loving mother, to Nancy Pelosi — on why she might be wise to surprise Donald Trump with a hug — and to all of us — on how we love and work through tumultuous times.
|Nov 09, 2020|
‘Some Version of the Apocalypse Is Inevitable’
Jeff VanderMeer has built his career imagining weird futures in best-selling books like “Annihilation” and “Borne.” He says an apocalypse doesn’t have to mean the end of the world, but a reimagining of how we live on it.
He’s doing just that in his own backyard, making homes for raccoons and “rewilding” the land with native species. “We spend a lot of time keeping the outside, outside,” says VanderMeer, who sees his writing as a form of activism. But “there’s less divide between our bodies and the world than we recognize.”
|Nov 05, 2020|
Sarah Cooper Is Tired of Being Donald Trump
As the most powerful man in the country peddled hydroxychloroquine and disinfectant snake oil as cures for the coronavirus, the comedian Sarah Cooper scoured her kitchen cabinet for props, scouted her lockdown apartment for locations and angled her iPhone. The result: a series of lip-sync videos posted on TikTok and Twitter — and viewed by millions.
The viral clips starred her facial expressions and the president’s voice.
But Ms. Cooper’s voice quickly followed. She soon nabbed a headliner spot at the Democratic National Convention. Months later, she’s the star of the celebrity-packed Netflix special “Everything’s Fine.”
Ms. Cooper says, “My success is forever linked to this person that I absolutely hate.” But she hopes that after Nov. 3, she can put Trump behind her.
|Nov 02, 2020|
She’s Bursting Big Tech’s Bubble
It finally looks as if Big Tech may face some breakups. Lawmakers are interrogating tech C.E.O.s on Capitol Hill while the Justice Department pursues a landmark antitrust case against Google. For decades, tech giants have avoided such scrutiny — hiding behind the idea that their products are free, beneficial, even beloved.
Lina Khan says this is no excuse for a monopoly.
As a 28-year-old law student, Ms. Khan published a single scholarly article that greatly shifted America’s antitrust debate. Three years later, she remains an existential threat to companies like Amazon, Facebook, Google and Apple.
Ms. Khan served as counsel to the House Judiciary antitrust subcommittee in this summer’s investigation, helping expose how Silicon Valley’s most revered companies use data and power to undercut, threaten and swallow up their competition.
In this episode of “Sway,” she tells Kara Swisher that Big Tech’s practices have had a “chilling effect” on the American economy, and that it’s time to drag the nation’s antitrust thinking out of the “ice age.”
|Oct 29, 2020|
Hillary Clinton Says It’s Different This Time
“We are advantaged — unfortunately — by four years of a record from Trump,” Hillary Clinton says as she predicts big wins for Democrats in 2020. The former candidate has been a lightning rod for the right, and has been called a lizard, a murderer and a human trafficker.
But she believes that President Trump’s leadership — or lack thereof — has left American voters more engaged and less susceptible to disinformation. Or so she hopes.
In this interview with Kara Swisher, Mrs. Clinton shares the moments that still haunt her four years later and her priorities for a post-Trump future.
|Oct 26, 2020|
Should You Choose Your Baby’s Eye Color?
CRISPR-Cas9 is the kind of scientific breakthrough that could change human evolution. Scientists call it “genetic scissors” — a tool that snips DNA with powerful and scary precision. As Dr. Jennifer Doudna, the co-developer of the gene-editing technology, explains, scientists can now edit the genomes of living organisms “like you might edit a Word document.”
Dr. Doudna and her collaborator, Dr. Emmanuelle Charpentier, won the Nobel Prize in Chemistry this year. Their pioneering research could pave the way for a cure for cancer. Some fear it could be used to create designer babies.
So what does this technology mean for how we live — and die? How will potential profit complicate the incentives of scientists? And just because we can more precisely “edit” life, should we?
|Oct 22, 2020|
The Election Isn’t Doomed … Yet
In part two of Sway’s two-part election integrity series, Kara Swisher speaks to Trevor Potter, a former chairman of the Federal Election Commission and an expert on the dark money and opaque laws that define modern American democracy.
From witness or notary public requirements in Rhode Island to a double-envelope mandate in Pennsylvania and a single dropbox per county in Texas, Mr. Potter and the nonpartisan Campaign Legal Center are on a legal spree to fight voter suppression and voting restrictions. Millions of ballots are at stake. These court cases will help determine whose vote counts — and which candidate wins — in 2020.
|Oct 19, 2020|
Can Big Tech Make Sure That 2020 Is Not 2016?
In part one of Sway’s two-part election integrity series, Kara Swisher speaks to Alex Stamos, former Facebook chief information security officer and current director of the Stanford Internet Observatory, about what went wrong in 2016 and what Big Tech can do better in 2020.
Mr. Stamos — known in Silicon Valley for his willingness to speak truth to power — rose to national prominence when he departed Facebook amid disagreement about the tech giant’s handling of Russian interference in the last presidential election.
As Election Day draws nearer, social media platforms are amending their policies around political advertising, disinformation warnings and moderation of online groups like QAnon. But how do these decisions get made? What do these platforms plan to do if there is a contested presidential election? And whom can we really trust?
|Oct 15, 2020|
Planned Parenthood’s Plan for Amy Coney Barrett
Roe v. Wade is under threat. As Republican senators scramble to fill Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s seat with a conservative justice who would tilt the court six to three, the nation’s largest abortion and reproductive rights provider has its own power playbook. In this episode of Sway, Kara Swisher speaks to Planned Parenthood’s president and C.E.O., Alexis McGill Johnson.
While Ms. Johnson has little sway over the judicial appointment, she is in a powerful position to preserve women’s rights at the state level, even if protections are rolled back nationally. And she is braced for the fight.
|Oct 12, 2020|
Killer Mike Says He Has a Choice to Make
You might know Michael Render, a.k.a. Killer Mike, from a speech he made that went viral four days after George Floyd’s death. Protests in Atlanta were escalating and so was the damage and violence. The mayor needed help turning the temperature down.
“I’m mad as hell,” he said, in near tears. “I woke up wanting to see the world burn down yesterday because I’m tired of seeing Black men die.”
You might also know Killer Mike as Grammy-winning rapper and one-half of the hip-hop duo Run the Jewels, whose music has been described by The New York Times as “the most politically timely hip-hop act of the day.”
Both his lyrics and his rhetoric speak to an urgent political moment. Killer Mike has a platform, a microphone and a blistering message about racial justice. Now, he also has his own bank — part of a push to empower the Black community.
Killer Mike sat down with Kara Swisher to talk about his power as a protest musician and entrepreneur, the temptation to burn it all down — and lasting lessons from the X-Men.
|Oct 08, 2020|
The Man Behind America’s Race for a Vaccine
Dr. Moncef Slaoui is the chief scientific adviser for Operation Warp Speed, and arguably the most powerful force in the mission to vaccinate America from the coronavirus. The scientist, a 30-year pharmaceutical industry veteran and registered Democrat, says he doesn’t “want to get into the politics” even though everything about the United States’ coronavirus response — from mask-wearing to President Trump’s illness — seems to have been politicized.
Dr. Slaoui says he’s an adviser with “significant influence” — not a decision maker. And while he makes no guarantee about vaccine timelines, he does stand by a commitment to quit if politics interferes with science, saying, “I can guarantee that I will say what I think, and I am saying what I think.”
|Oct 05, 2020|
Alexander Vindman Knew Trump Would End His Career
Alexander Vindman — war hero, European affairs expert, lieutenant colonel in the Army — had lofty dreams of serving the United States. But a call he heard between President Trump and Ukraine’s president, Volodymyr Zelensky, gave him pause. Little more than a year after taking a job at the White House, Colonel Vindman testified before Congress regarding the Ukraine scandal, and was a key witness in the impeachment inquiry into Mr. Trump.
Now retired, citing bullying by the White House, Colonel Vindman tells Kara Swisher he doesn’t regret testifying. But what drew him to the White House in the first place? Why did he speak up when so many others haven’t?
|Oct 01, 2020|
Elon Musk: ‘A.I. Doesn’t Need to Hate Us to Destroy Us’
Elon Musk has a vision of the future, and — as one of the world’s richest men with four corporations under his reign — the means to try to manifest it. In a conversation with Kara Swisher, he outlines his theory of, well, everything.
“I do not think this is actually the end of the world,” say Musk. But at the same time, we need to hurry up. “The longer we take to transition to sustainable energy, the greater the risk we take.” But is relocating to Mars really necessary? Is our species ready to live with chips in our brains? And who’s Musk voting for, anyway?
|Sep 28, 2020|
Gavin Newsom: ‘We Decided to Pull the Band-Aid Off’
On this episode of “Sway,” Kara Swisher speaks to Gavin Newsom, a governor who is, by some measures, running a country. California is the world’s fifth-largest economy. And yesterday, the state joined the ranks of Britain, Denmark and Germany with an ambitious environmental order banning the sale of new gasoline-powered cars by 2035.
Governor Newsom is making big moves, even in the midst of a pandemic and a wildfire crisis. He’s leading California as the state takes on the federal government — “We’d be in the hall of fame if this was a sporting event.” But how does the governor choose his battles? What goes through his mind when he sits opposite a president who once called climate change a hoax? And how will the governor salvage California’s environment, economy and morale after a brutal year?
|Sep 24, 2020|
Nancy Pelosi: ‘If The Election Were Held Today, We Would Win It All’
In the inaugural episode of Kara Swisher’s new podcast, “Sway,” she interviews House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. When it comes to presidential succession, Ms. Pelosi is second in line. And when it comes to taking on President Trump, she’s usually first.
“The power of the speaker is awesome,” says Ms. Pelosi. But how is she actually using that power? Why not accept a compromise (to the tune of $1.5 trillion) that may help quell a national crisis? What progress is possible when the speaker hasn’t spoken directly to the president in months? And with the passing of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg leaving a looming conservative court, can Ms. Pelosi maximize the power of a Democratic-controlled House?
|Sep 21, 2020|
Coming Soon: Sway
Power, unpacked. “Sway” is a new interview show hosted by Kara Swisher, “Silicon Valley’s most feared and well liked journalist.” Now taking on Washington, Hollywood and the world, Kara investigates power: who has it, who’s been denied it, and who dares to defy it. Every Monday and Thursday, from New York Times Opinion. Premiering September 21.
|Sep 09, 2020|