The New Yorker: Politics and More

By WNYC Studios and The New Yorker

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 Apr 8, 2021
More "both sides are bad" centrist horseshit

Alejandro
 Dec 12, 2020
Insightful journalism.

Joe DaSilva
 Mar 4, 2019
Outstanding, really good podcast!

awake
 Mar 3, 2019
More Political Propaganda. Disgusting.

Wesley boz
 Jul 22, 2018
no yelling, no name calling, just insightful, thoughtful reporting. Worth a listen.

Description

Join The New Yorker’s writers and editors for reporting, insight, and analysis of the most pressing political issues of our time. On Mondays, David Remnick, the editor of The New Yorker, presents conversations and feature stories about current events. On Wednesdays, the senior editor Tyler Foggatt goes deep on a consequential political story via far-reaching interviews with staff writers and outside experts. And, on Fridays, the staff writers Susan B. Glasser, Jane Mayer, and Evan Osnos discuss the latest developments in Washington and beyond, offering an encompassing understanding of this moment in American politics.

Episode Date
Can America’s Aging Leadership Deliver the Future?
30:51

Many of the most important and powerful people in Washington, D.C., are on the older side. Joe Biden turned eighty last week. Mitch McConnell is also eighty. Nancy Pelosi, who recently stepped away from a leadership position in her party, is eighty-two. All three of these leaders have delivered big victories for their respective parties. But there is a question of whether America is becoming a gerontocracy—a country ruled by the elderly. The staff writers Susan B. Glasser, Jane Mayer, and Evan Osnos gather for their weekly roundtable conversation to ask: Do age and experience impart wisdom for troubled times, or can they create an inability to confront new ways of thinking?

Nov 25, 2022
Hollywood’s Backlash to “Wokeness”
38:31

Supposedly, things in Hollywood have been changing for women and people of color. After the #MeToo, #OscarsSoWhite, and Black Lives Matter movements, leaders in the entertainment industry promised a lot: new kinds of stories were going to be told, by newly diverse writers, showrunners, and casts. In short, Hollywood’s long history of sexism and discrimination was going to be “reckoned” with. But, as studios have shifted with changing social expectations, there’s been talk of a backlash within Hollywood. Actors and studio execs, who were previously worried about getting “cancelled” by their progressive fans, have expressed feelings of “fatigue.” In a wide-ranging conversation about politics, entertainment, and social media, Doreen St. Félix, a staff writer who was previously The New Yorker’s television critic, offers some perspective on the current mood in Hollywood and what makes for good art. 

Nov 23, 2022
How Qatar Took the World Cup
20:46

No self-respecting sports fan is naïve about the role that money plays in pro sports. But, by any standard, the greed and cynicism behind the World Cup are extraordinary. The cloud of scandal surrounding FIFA, the international soccer organization, has led to indictments and arrests on charges of wire fraud, racketeering, and money laundering around the globe. Headlines have been filled with reports of the deaths of workers who constructed the facilities. “People are normally careful enough not to leave a paper trail,” the contributor Heidi Blake notes. But she says, of investigating FIFA, “I’ve never seen graft and corruption documented in this kind of detail.” Blake speaks with David Remnick about “The Ugly Game,” which she co-authored with Jonathan Calvert, and how Qatar came to host the World Cup.

Nov 21, 2022
Trump Tries to Return, and Nancy Pelosi Steps Aside
45:45

Donald Trump announced his third bid for the White House this week. But the landscape is very different from when he glided down the Trump Tower escalator in 2015. He has lost the popular vote twice. He has been impeached twice. He is facing numerous criminal investigations, including for his role in trying to overturn the 2020 election. Many of his hand-picked candidates lost key midterm races. The staff writers Susan B. Glasser, Jane Mayer, and Evan Osnos draw on their deep political reporting to break down the significance of this week’s announcement, along with the news that Nancy Pelosi is stepping down as the leader of the House Democrats.

 

**This conversation was recorded hours before Attorney General Merrick Garland announced the appointment of a special counsel in the investigations of the January 6, 2021, attack on the U.S. Capitol and the discovery of classified documents at Mar-a-Lago.

Nov 18, 2022
Are We In Denial About the End of Election Denialism?
33:24

​​Nearly four hundred election deniers ran in the midterms, and not only did the highest-profile among them lose their races, they even willingly conceded. Does this mean that Donald Trump’s “Stop the Steal” movement has run out of political steam? Or is it merely shapeshifting for a new era? Rachel Monroe, who has been reporting from conspiracy-ridden Maricopa County, Arizona, and Sue Halpern, who has written extensively about the fragility of our voting machines, join Tyler Foggatt to discuss the challenges of building public trust in our elections.

Nov 16, 2022
Introducing The Political Scene
16:14

Today we’re unveiling The Political Scene, an expanded and reimagined version of our flagship politics podcast, showcasing the great political journalism of The New Yorker. We’re thrilled to announce four new hosts and a new weekly show. Tyler Foggatt, a senior editor at the magazine, is now the permanent host of in-depth conversations about the most pressing story of the week, featuring The New Yorker’s deep bench of writers and thinkers. New episodes will be released on Wednesdays. On Fridays, the staff writers Susan B. Glasser, Jane Mayer, and Evan Osnos will anchor a new weekly roundtable. They’ll bring their vast expertise to bear on the biggest issues facing the country, providing an insider’s take on this perilous moment in American politics. And on Mondays, we’ll continue to bring you a politics-focussed segment from The New Yorker Radio Hour, presented by the magazine’s editor, David Remnick. As always, thank you for listening.

Nov 15, 2022
The Man Who Escaped from Auschwitz to Warn the World
33:21

Rudolf Vrba was sent to Auschwitz at the age of seventeen, and, because he was young and in good health, he was not killed immediately but put to labor in the camp. Vrba (originally named Walter Rosenberg) quickly discovered that the scale of the killing was greater than anyone on the outside knew or could imagine, and Jewish communities were being deported without understanding their fate. Jonathan Freedland chronicles Vrba’s story in his new book, “The Escape Artist.” The young Vrba had a “crucial realization, which is [that] the only way this machine is going to be stopped—this death machine—is if somebody gets the word out,” Freedland told David Remnick. Freedland recounts how, against terrible odds, Vrba managed to escape the camp, and provided direct testimony of the Holocaust that reached Allied governments. 

This interview was recorded at a live event at the Museum of Jewish Heritage—A Living Memorial to the Holocaust.

Nov 14, 2022
How New York Became the Democrats’ Weak Link
26:06

On Tuesday, as results from the midterms came in, Democrats were pleased to see that a predicted red wave had not come to pass. That is, with one exception: in the bright blue state of New York. So far, Republicans have taken ten of New York’s twenty-six congressional districts, flipping four seats away from Democrats. The significance of this number can’t be overstated in an election where Republicans only needed to flip five seats, nationwide, in order to take control of the House of Representatives. Eric Lach, a staff writer at The New Yorker, joins Tyler Foggatt to discuss the legacy of Andrew Cuomo, the state’s redistricting saga, and how the Republicans secured this unlikely electoral victory.

Nov 10, 2022
The Theologian Russell Moore on Christian Nationalism
18:03

Until recently, the Reverend Russell Moore held a leading position—president of the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission—in the Southern Baptist Convention, the largest Protestant denomination in the country. He left the S.B.C. last year after criticizing the Church’s response to scandals around sexual abuse and ongoing racism, which Moore describes as a sin. Moore, who now serves as the editor of Christianity Today, sits down with David Remnick to reflect on his connection with his faith, as well as the current state of Christianity in American politics. He has written that Christian nationalism is “liberation theology for white people,” and it is a danger to Christians—another form of secularization that makes religion an instrument. “Jesus always refused to have his gospel used as a means to an end,” he tells Remnick. “People who settle for Christianity or any other religion as politics are really making a pitiful deal.”

Nov 07, 2022
Judgment Day Appears Close for Affirmative Action
37:04

This week, the Supreme Court heard two cases—against Harvard and U.N.C.—that may very well bring about the end of affirmative action at American colleges and universities. The practice rests on the Fourteenth Amendment: equal protection under the law. But the conservative John Roberts court is reëvaluating what “equal protection” really means, raising the idea that current methods of affirmative action are actually a thinly veiled form of racism. Jeannie Suk Gersen, a New Yorker contributing writer and a professor at Harvard Law School, was in attendance for Monday’s oral arguments. She joins Tyler Foggatt to discuss whether a more holistic admissions process is the best way to create diversity, and whether diversity is really the best ideal for universities to aspire to.

Nov 03, 2022
Mayor Francis Suarez’s View from Miami
16:55

Francis Suarez, the Republican mayor of Miami, is popular in the city he governs, and increasingly prominent beyond it. Conservative voices as disparate as Kanye West and George Will have floated him as a 2024 Presidential candidate. Suarez is a proudly dissident Republican: he loves tech companies, welcomes migrants, and thinks his party can lead the fight against climate change. He’s no culture warrior, and, though he shares a state with Donald Trump and Ron DeSantis, he has kept both at arm’s length. So is he, Kelefa Sanneh wonders, a Republican at all? Suarez seems to be taking a long view. “Leadership,” he says, depends on whether “you have the talent to articulate a message, a vision, and a plan to get people to a place where people will follow—even if maybe they’re not so sure, maybe they’re not that comfortable with it.”

Oct 31, 2022
Are the Midterms Still Anyone’s Game?
25:26

We are two weeks from the midterms, and things aren’t looking good for the Democrats. It’s a difficult political environment to campaign in; inflation and gas prices are high, and President Biden’s approval rating is low. Far-right candidates are polling better than expected in races at every level of the government. Because the Democrats’ majority in Congress was already narrow, even a few flipped seats could dictate the future of reproductive choice, and of public trust in the electoral system—as many Republican candidates still deny Biden’s victory in 2020. Some of the most crucial races are extremely tight, with the leading candidates ahead by a percentage point or less. Benjamin Wallace-Wells, who has been covering the midterms for The New Yorker, joins Tyler Foggatt to discuss a few key races and what’s at stake in November.

Oct 27, 2022
The Vulnerabilities of our Voting Machines, and How to Secure Them
16:11

The security of voting has become a huge topic of concern. That’s especially true after 2020, when it became an article of faith for Donald Trump supporters that the election was somehow stolen by President Joe Biden. J. Alex Halderman, a professor of computer science and engineering at the University of Michigan, has been studying voting machines and software for more than a decade. “We made a number of discoveries, including that [voting machines] had vulnerabilities that basically anyone could exploit to inject malicious software and change votes,” he tells the staff writer Sue Halpern. Conspiracy theories aside, he says, we must address those vulnerabilities in computerized voting. But hand counting ballots, advocated by some election skeptics, is not a plausible solution. “Perhaps as time goes on we’ll get Republicans and Democrats to agree that there are some real problems in election security that we would all benefit from addressing. ”

Oct 24, 2022
Can Kanye West Buy Free Speech?
33:23

Earlier this month, the House G.O.P. account tweeted, “Kanye. Elon. Trump.”—a declaration of the Party’s new mascots. Since then, Kanye West has cemented this role, with a series of bizarre publicity stunts. First, he appeared at Paris Fashion Week wearing a T-shirt that read “White Lives Matter.” Then he started making incendiary comments on social media and in interviews. On one podcast, West alleged that George Floyd died of a fentanyl overdose—a claim that prompted the Floyd family to announce a $250-million lawsuit against him. On “Tucker Carlson Tonight,” West made anti-Semitic comments, some of which were so explicit that they were cut from the interview before it aired. When his social-media accounts were frozen, West, who now goes by the name Ye, declared his intention to buy Parler, a conservative alternative to Twitter. In a statement, Parler said that West’s support would help the platform “create a truly non-cancelable environment.” Andrew Marantz, a staff writer for The New Yorker and a tortured Kanye fan, joins the guest host Tyler Foggatt to discuss the radicalization of a hip-hop icon, which he wrote about this week, and the dilemmas of free speech online.

Oct 20, 2022
After Roe, a New Abortion Underground
24:49

Since the reversal of Roe v. Wade, the contributor Stephania Taladrid has been following a network of women who are secretly distributing abortion pills across the United States. The group has its roots in Mexico, where some medications used for at-home abortions are available at a lower cost over the counter. Volunteers—they call themselves “pill fairies”—are sourcing the medications at Mexican pharmacies and bringing them over the border. The work is increasingly perilous: in states like Texas, abetting an abortion is considered a felony, carrying long prison sentences. But, to Taladrid’s sources, the work is imperative. “I mean, there’s nothing else to do, right?” one woman in Texas, who had an abortion using the medication she received from a pill fairy, said. “You can’t just lie down and accept it. You can’t.”

Note: The interview excerpts featured in this story (with the exception of Verónica Cruz’s) are not the actual voices of Taladrid’s subjects. To protect their anonymity, the excerpts were re-recorded by actors.

Read Stephania Taladrid’s full reporting here.

Oct 17, 2022
The Political Scene Live with Jamie Raskin: January 6th and Accountability for Donald Trump
47:24

Tomorrow marks the last expected public hearing of the Congressional January 6th Committee. The eight previous hearings have already revealed extraordinary information about just how close American democracy came to being overturned during the insurrection. But what has yet to be revealed? Will we learn what Trump was doing while the Capitol was stormed? Will action be taken? The New Yorker’s Washington bureau—Evan Osnos, Jane Mayer, and Susan B. Glasser—are joined at the New Yorker Festival by Representative Jamie Raskin, who is both a congressman and a constitutional scholar, to discuss the legal theory of the many possible cases against Donald Trump. “Trump is a one-man crime wave,” Raskin says. “Like, he personally affects the crime rate.”

Oct 12, 2022
Major Decisions Ahead for the Supreme Court
6:26

In its last term, the Supreme Court dropped bombshell after bombshell. We saw major conservative advances on gun rights, separation of church and state, environmental protection, and reproductive rights. “The Court is not behaving as an institution invested in social stability,” the contributor Jeannie Suk Gersen wrote in July. She joins David Remnick to preview the Court’s fall term, highlighting the likely end of affirmative action and a notable case on gerrymandering.

Oct 10, 2022
Pro-Life, with One Exception—for Herschel Walker
30:15

Herschel Walker, the Trump-endorsed Republican Senate candidate in Georgia, encountered not one but two “October surprises” this week, after an ex-girlfriend of his claimed that Walker quietly paid for her to get an abortion in 2009. Walker, who has called for a national ban on abortions, called his ex-girlfriend’s claim a “flat-out lie,” even though she provided both a receipt from the clinic and a personal check that Walker issued to her. Meanwhile, Walker’s son, Christian Walker, denounced his father in two viral video rants. The Senate race in Georgia—between Walker and the incumbent, Raphael Warnock—is widely seen as one of the most important in the midterms, and in the aftermath of the allegations the Republican Party stood by its candidate. The New Yorker staff writer Charles Bethea joins the guest host Tyler Foggatt to discuss the scandal, the state of the race, and what it could mean for the balance of power in Washington.

Oct 06, 2022
Joshua Yaffa on What’s Next for Ukraine
13:14

The contributor Joshua Yaffa, who was based in Moscow for years and has been reporting from Ukraine since the start of the war, speaks to David Remnick from Kyiv. There, Yaffa says, the latest news from Russia—including threats of nuclear attack and reports of political upheaval—has been treated with near-indifference. “Ukraine has been in the fight for its survival since the end of February, fully aware that Russia is ready to throw any and all resources at the attempted subjugation of the Ukrainian state,” he says. “And after things like the massacre in Bucha and other areas outside of Kyiv, earlier this spring, there’s not much that can surprise or shock or scare the Ukrainian public about what Russia is ready to do.”

Oct 03, 2022
Is Biden’s Student-Debt Relief Plan the Worst of Both Worlds?
25:00

Nearly two years into his Presidency, Joe Biden, with an executive order, announced a plan to forgive up to twenty thousand dollars in student debt for millions of borrowers. This plan, the first mass student-debt cancellation of its kind, will come at a big cost: an estimated four hundred billion dollars. This figure, released by the Congressional Budget Office, has fired up opponents, and, earlier this week, the first legal challenge to the policy was filed: a suit from a conservative law firm representing a plaintiff who claims that the plan will force borrowers in some states to pay undue taxes on the forgiven amount. And that may only be the beginning. Republican lawmakers have pledged to keep the challenges coming, to chip away at the policy, and perhaps even take it to the Supreme Court. The New Yorker staff writer Andrew Marantz has written about the politics of debt cancellation for newyorker.com. He speaks with the guest host Tyler Foggatt about populism in a polarized political environment, the triumphs of Occupy Wall Street, and the practical challenges of enacting centrist Democrats’ watered-down progressive reforms.

Sep 29, 2022
Andy Borowitz on Our Age of Ignorance
13:20

Not only are we living in a time where people are proud of their ignorance, argues the writer and comedian Andy Borowitz, but some of our most educated politicians are now playing down their intelligence as a strategy to get elected. Borowitz, the author of the long-running satirical column The Borowitz Report, examines this phenomenon in his new book, “Profiles of Ignorance: How America’s Politicians Got Dumb and Dumber.” “When Trump was elected, a lot of us supposedly knowledgeable people were taken by surprise,” he tells David Remnick. “But the more I researched the past fifty years, the more likely and plausible—and maybe even inevitable—his election was, because he actually had a great deal in common with his forebears.”

Sep 27, 2022
The “Cynical, Disgusting” Migrant Flights to Martha’s Vineyard
30:43

Last week, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis flew roughly fifty migrants from San Antonio, Texas, to Martha's Vineyard, Massachusetts. Some of these migrants said that they were actively misled about where they were being sent and what would await them when they arrived. They have since filed a lawsuit, accusing DeSantis and other state officials of executing “a premeditated, fraudulent, and illegal scheme” in which vulnerable people were used as political props. The New Yorker staff writer Jonathan Blitzer has written extensively about the politics and policy of the southern border. He speaks with the guest host Tyler Foggatt about the rogue practices of Border Patrol, the surge of asylum seekers from Venezuela, and why Republican governors are “calling the shots” on the Biden immigration agenda.

Sep 22, 2022
The Legal Fight for Democracy
18:56

Now seven weeks away, the midterms are often cast as a referendum on the President and his party. But, this year, some see democracy itself on the ballot. One of those people is the attorney Marc Elias, who has made the fight for voting rights his mission. The Supreme Court will hear two of his cases in its upcoming term, which starts next month. Earlier this year, the staff writer Sue Halpern profiled Elias for The New Yorker, and she spoke with him again recently about the legal fight ahead. “I really believe that when the history books are written,” says Elias, “what they write about our generation will be whether or not we were able to preserve democracy.”

Sep 19, 2022
Can King Charles III Capture the Queen’s Popularity?
24:31

Three quarters of a million people are expected to file past Queen Elizabeth II’s casket this week. After seven decades on the throne she was the only monarch most Britons have ever known. In that time she saw tremendous change within the United Kingdom and great turmoil within her own family. And yet, support for her among the British public barely wavered. In decades of polling, opposition to the monarchy in the U.K. has not risen above twenty per cent. The Queen accomplished something few political figures ever have: consistent, sustained popularity. But will King Charles III enjoy similar goodwill? John Cassidy is a New Yorker staff writer and a British expatriate. He joins the guest host Tyler Foggatt to discuss what the death of Queen Elizabeth II means for the U.K. and what he thinks the British public can expect from their new royal figurehead.

Sep 15, 2022
Keeping Score: A Year Inside a Divided Brooklyn High School
47:57

Nearly seventy years after the Brown v. Board of Education decision, our public schools effectively remain segregated. And, by some measures, New York City has the most segregated system in the country. For a group of high schools in Brooklyn, change has long seemed impossible. But now those schools are putting their hopes in an unlikely place: sports.

The John Jay Educational Campus in Park Slope, Brooklyn, houses four public high schools. Three of them have a student body with a Black-and-Latino majority; the fourth is disproportionately white and Asian. For a decade, students from all four schools shared a cafeteria and a gym but played on two separate sports teams—sometimes even competing against one other. Last year, the athletics programs merged, and the hope is that this change will break down some of the divisions between students. Angelina Sharifi, a student who plays volleyball, said that a team has to mesh in order to win. “And meshing is, like, the best feeling ever—having a pass, set, swing, that fits perfectly with one another,” she said. “That kind of unspoken connection that comes with volleyball is super-satisfying for me.

This is a story of how students and adults grapple with enduring inequities, and how the merger is playing out on the girls’ varsity volleyball team. “I want this to work. I really do,” the student Mariah Morgan said, “because it has the potential to be incredibly anti-racist.”

This reporting originally aired as part of the podcast “Keeping Score,” a co-production of WNYC Studios and The Bell.

Sep 12, 2022
How Will Liz Truss Govern a Britain in Crisis?
26:13

This week, Liz Truss became the United Kingdom’s newest Prime Minister. She comes into office following a string of scandals in the Conservative Party under her predecessor, Boris Johnson, and faces a nation in the midst of a bleak economic forecast, including talk of a recession. Although she has proven popular with her party’s most loyal members, that doesn’t insure success with the wider British public. Sam Knight joined the guest host Susan B. Glasser on Wednesday—before Queen Elizabeth II passed, intensifying the mood of alarm in the United Kingdom—to discuss Johnson’s legacy, Truss’s political style, and how she might address the state of the economy.

Sep 08, 2022
Jill Lepore on Why Biden Is No F.D.R.
30:19

Joe Biden has had a remarkable reversal of fortune this summer. He signed three bi-partisan bills, and the Inflation Reduction Act, a multi-billion-dollar combination of climate and healthcare legislation, was surprisingly revived and passed by Congress. That was accompanied by a drop in gas prices and a slowdown in inflation.  Suddenly it seems like the Democrats could hold onto the Senate, and even the House, in the upcoming midterms. But, according to the Harvard historian and New Yorker staff writer Jill Lepore, these successes do not make Biden the equivalent of Franklin Delano Roosevelt or Lyndon Baines Johnson, as some—the President among them—have suggested. Lepore speaks with the guest host Evan Osnos about this turning point in the Biden Administration, and about the inextricability of a President and their historical moment. The two also discuss the looming question of whether the Justice Department should prosecute Donald Trump, whether over the hoarding of classified documents at Mar-a-Lago or the insurrection. Of January 6th, Lepore says: “the crime is much more dire than Watergate, which just looks goofy and low rent compared to this.”

Sep 01, 2022
The Risk of a New American Civil War
25:50

Since the F.B.I. raid on former President Donald Trump’s home, Mar-A-Lago, the phrases “civil war” and “lock and load” have trended on right-wing social media. The F.B.I. and the Department of Homeland Security are taking the threats seriously, and issued an internal warning that detailed specific calls for assassinating the judge and the agents involved in authorizing and carrying out the search. Where could this all be headed? David Remnick talks with Barbara F. Walter, the author of the new book “How Civil Wars Start: And How to Stop Them.” Walter is a political scientist and a professor at the University of California, San Diego, and a co-director of the online magazine Political Violence at a Glance. She has studied countries that slide into civil war for the C.I.A., and she says that the United States meets many of the criteria her group identified. In particular, anti-democratic trends such as increased voting restrictions point to a nation on the brink. “Full democracies rarely have civil wars. Full autocracies rarely have civil wars,” she says. “It’s the ones that are in between that are particularly at risk.”

This segment was originally aired January 7, 2022.

Aug 31, 2022
Could Engaging the Taliban Help Afghan Women?
23:08

This August marks the one year anniversary of American military withdrawal from Afghanistan and the Taliban’s swift return to power in Kabul. It has been an excruciating year for the war-torn nation, marked by economic collapse, famine, and drought. Yet much of the aid that Afghanistan used to depend on has been blocked by sanctions aimed at pressuring the Taliban into a less repressive rule. As a result, nearly half of the country is at risk of going hungry. The journalist Rozina Ali travelled to Kabul in the spring, and spent time wicth former clients and staff of the largest network of women’s shelters in the country, which shut down so as not to legitimize the new régime. Ali joins the guest host Susan B. Glasser, who also reported from Afghanistan in 2001 and 2002, on the other end of the American intervention, to discuss the lives of the vulnerable women she met and the dilemma of negotiating with the Taliban. “We have to think about the very real scenario here, and actually the very real fact that girls can’t go to school and women can’t go to jobs if they are starving,” she says. 

Aug 25, 2022
What’s Driving Black Candidates to the Republican Party?
18:04

The Republican Party is clearly no place for Black activism as most of us know it. Members of the Party inveigh against what they call critical race theory, and oppose efforts to redress racial discrimination in everything from school admissions to policing and public safety; in some quarters, simply acknowledging that racism exists is considered unpatriotic. And yet the Republican Party has recently attracted an almost unprecedented number of Black candidates to its fold—more than at any time since the Reconstruction era. “In a moment where the Party . . . has really wholeheartedly embraced white-grievance politics,” Leah Wright Rigueur tells David Remnick, “they are endorsing more Black candidates than they have in the past twenty-five years.” Wright Rigueur is a historian at Johns Hopkins University and the author of “The Loneliness of the Black Republican,” which covers the period from the New Deal through the Reagan Administration. The G.O.P., she argues, is exploiting a moment when the long-standing relationship between Black Americans and the Democratic Party is weakening, and it aims to capitalize on an “everyday conservatism” among voters. “It actually makes sense that in the aftermath of Barack Obama—with Black people’s levels of support and warmth for the Democratic Party in decline and the belief among a small sect of African Americans that [it] is just as racist as the Republican Party—that actually frees some people up to actually vote Republican.”

Aug 22, 2022
Uncovering Biden Family Secrets
36:10

President Joe Biden’s political talents are inseparable from his folksy persona. In speeches, he emphasizes his modest upbringing and quotes aphorisms from his car-salesman father about dignity and honest labor. But this rendition of Biden’s upbringing, as Adam Entous puts it in this week’s magazine, is “woefully incomplete.” Entous has done a deep and groundbreaking investigation into the President’s family history, uncovering a previously untold rags-to-riches-to-rags story of how the Bidens landed in Scranton. It’s a very different story from the one that Biden usually shares with the public, complete with mansions, yachts, and war profiteering. Entous joins Tyler Foggatt to discuss the Biden family’s finances, its history with addiction and scandal, and its influence on the President.

Aug 18, 2022
Is the Historic Climate Bill Enough to Save the Planet?
19:09

Last week, after more than a year of drama and deal-cutting, the Senate passed a complicated piece of legislation called the Inflation Reduction Act. Its name notwithstanding,  it’s being celebrated as the most important piece of climate legislation in the history of this country. And that is “a pretty low bar,” the staff writer Elizabeth Kolbert tells David Remnick, “because they’ve never really passed a piece of legislation on climate change.” While far smaller than the proposed Build Back Better legislation, Kolbert says, the bill includes significant tax credits that will incentivize the adoption of lower-carbon technologies. But the name of the bill, which seems to recognize that the mass of voters care more about the price of oil than a habitable planet, suggests that the political headwinds have not slackened. “George Bush famously said back in the early nineties [that] our way of life is not up for negotiation,” Kolbert notes. “Well… our way of life may not be compatible with dealing with climate change.” She mentions the recent devastating floods in Kentucky, a red state; “Is Kentucky now going to go vote for people who are firmly committed to climate action? I sadly don’t expect that to happen.”  

Kolbert is the author of books including “The Sixth Extinction” and “Under a White Sky.”

Aug 15, 2022
Trump’s and Biden’s Reversals of Fortune
36:30

The Senate’s passage of the Inflation Reduction Act this week marks a turning point in the Biden Presidency. After more than a year of negotiations, the Democratic caucus agreed on a sweeping package, worth hundreds of billions of dollars, which includes many of the Party’s long-sought climate and healthcare initiatives. This was followed by the news that the F.B.I. executed a search warrant to look for classified documents at Mar-a-Lago, Donald Trump’s primary residence. The staff writer Evan Osnos and Michael Luo, the editor of newyorker.com, break down these two momentous stories. They’re also joined by staff writer Susan B. Glasser, who along with Peter Baker, published a major story about Trump’s antagonism toward the military in the waning days of his Administration. “Were they contemplating using the military in the effort to overturn the election results?” Glasser says. “Your rational self wants to say, ‘No way, that’s crazy.’ But, in fact, the record that’s still being assembled suggests that they were considering doing so.”

Aug 11, 2022
Jane Mayer on Ohio’s Lurch to the Right
24:00

Last month, the story of a 10-year-old rape victim captured national headlines. The young girl was forced to travel out of state because of Ohio’s draconian abortion ban with no exceptions for rape or incest, which would have been nearly unthinkable until very recently. Jane Mayer took a deep dive into statehouse politics to learn how a longtime swing state—Ohio voted twice for President Barack Obama—ended up legislating like a radically conservative one. Its laws, she says, are increasingly out of step with the state’s voters, and this is owing to a sweeping Republican effort at gerrymandering. While familiar, gerrymandering “has become much more of a dark art,” Mayer tells David Remnick, “thanks to computers and digital mapping. They have figured out ways now to do it that are so extreme, you can create districts [in which the incumbent] cannot be knocked out by someone from another party.” Mayer also speaks with David Pepper, an Ohio politician and the author of “Laboratories of Autocracy,” who explains how, when a district is firmly controlled by one party, the representative is driven by the primary process inexorably toward extremism, until you have “a complete meltdown of democracy.”

Aug 08, 2022
Can Suing Gun Manufacturers Reduce Gun Violence?
34:34

Gun manufacturers are the only industry explicitly protected by federal statute from liability lawsuits. Carmakers and cigarette companies can be taken to court if their products or marketing endanger the public. But a 2005 law called the Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act (P.L.C.A.A.) has made it very difficult to sue a gunmaker. Jonathan Lowy has. He’s the chief counsel and vice-president of legal at Brady, one of the country’s oldest advocacy groups against gun violence. Faced with a hostile Supreme Court and a Senate filibuster, Lowy believes civil litigation is a path forward for gun-control advocates. Speaking with Michael Luo, who is this week’s guest host and the editor of newyorker.com, Lowy explains his strategy of slowly chipping away at the P.L.C.A.A. to change how guns are made, marketed, and sold. 

Aug 04, 2022
Did the U.S. Miss the Chance to Stop Monkeypox?
31:20

The World Health Organization has declared the monkeypox outbreak a global health emergency. There have been nearly twenty thousand cases worldwide and nearly thirty-five hundred in the United States, with New York City a major hot spot. As cases continue to rise, there are questions about whether the Biden Administration has missed a critical window to contain the virus. The New York Times recently reported that shipments of more than three hundred thousand vaccine doses were delayed for weeks in the early days of the outbreak because of the government’s “wait and see” approach. (After this conversation was recorded, on Wednesday, the Food and Drug Administration announced that eight hundred thousand more doses of monkeypox vaccine had been cleared for distribution.) The New Yorker contributing writer and practicing physician Dhruv Khullar joins the Political Scene guest host Michael Luo to talk about the monkeypox virus and what can be done to stem the exponential rise in cases. “The level of urgency and rapidity with which we should have addressed this outbreak did not seem to be there,” Khullar says. “[But] I don’t think we should give up hope. It’s still early days. . . . We eradicated monkeypox’s cousin smallpox. We know that we can do this with a forceful response.”

Jul 28, 2022
New Mexico Is a “Safe Haven” for Abortion Between Texas and Arizona
13:19

In New Mexico, Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham has declared the state a “reproductive safe haven” between Arizona to the west, and Texas to the east. Already, she says, New Mexico’s few abortion clinics are seeing an influx of patients from outside its borders. “When you are a safe-haven state,” she says, “you put real stress on [the] current provider system.” Lujan Grisham speaks with David Remnick about her executive order—issued days after the Supreme Court decision in Dobbs—to prevent the extradition of abortion providers, a request that she expects to see from Texas law enforcement. Dobbs puts states at odds over one of the contentious issues of our time. “They’ve invited states now to fight with each other, sue each other,” she says; this is “the most despicable and horrible aspect, frankly, of this particular decision.”

Jul 27, 2022
Trump’s Hundred and Eighty-seven Minutes of Inaction on January 6th
32:09

On Thursday evening, the committee charged with investigating the January 6th attack on the Capitol presented what it has learned so far about President Trump’s behavior on that eventful day. As members of the President’s staff and family urged him to do something about the rioters, he watched television in the White House dining room. “He chose not to act,” as Representative Adam Kinzinger, a member of the committee, put it. The hearing featured testimony from military and security officials and the President’s legal counsel, and it included an outtake from an address on January 7th in which Trump admitted, “I don’t want to say the election’s over.” In the fourth installment of a special series for the Politics and More podcast, three members of The New Yorker’s Washington bureau—Evan Osnos, Susan B. Glasser, and Jane Mayer—take us through the revelations from this week’s hearing, the last of the summer.

Jul 22, 2022
How White Christian Nationalists Seek to Transform America
29:17

The past few weeks have been full of unsettling indicators of the fragile state of our democracy. The January 6th committee has assembled a frightening account of how near the 2020 election came to being violently overturned. The Supreme Court has lurched rightward, striking down the constitutional right to abortion and issuing a series of momentous decisions on guns, environmental regulation, and the separation of church and state. Researchers have begun to view these  disparate political currents as part of a broader cultural, religious, and political phenomenon—one that is rooted in a specific reading of American history and, in particular, Christianity’s role in it. They call this concept “white Christian nationalism.” Samuel Perry, an associate professor at the University of Oklahoma and the co-author of “The Flag and the Cross: White Christian Nationalism and the Threat to American Democracy,” joins the guest host Michael Luo to discuss the contours of this belief system, and the roles that guns and voting restrictions play in its implementation in U.S. politics 

Jul 21, 2022
The Queer Children’s Books Targeted By the “Don’t Say Gay” Bill
33:25

Florida’s so-called “Don’t Say Gay” bill took effect this month. Signed into law by Governor Ron DeSantis, it limits the discussion of sexual orientation or gender identity in grade school classrooms, in some cases banning it completely. It threatens the ability of teachers to affirm of the existence of LGBTQ students, and to share materials, including books, that depict or discuss queer lives. The legislation has inspired a number of copycat laws across the country, including in Texas, South Dakota, Indiana, Tennessee, and Alabama. For a special digital-only issue about the notion of family, Jessica Winter, a New Yorker writer and editor, has taken an in-depth look at the history of queer children’s literature, and the threats it faces in today’s political climate. She joins guest host Tyler Foggatt to discuss what these books mean to LGBTQ families, why the right finds them so dangerous, and how their banning will affect the lives and education of young people.

Jul 14, 2022
What Precedents Would Clarence Thomas Overturn Next?
22:38

Justice Clarence Thomas once was an outlier for his legal views. But Thomas is now the heart of the Court’s conservative bloc, and his concurring opinion in the recent abortion ruling calls out some other precedents the Court might overturn. Jeannie Suk Gersen teaches constitutional law at Harvard Law School and clerked for former Justice David Souter on the Supreme Court; she has been covering the end of Roe v. Wade for The New Yorker, and she spoke with David Remnick about Thomas’s concurrence. It articulates a view more extreme than Justice Alito’s majority opinion, saying that other rights derived from privacy—such as contraception and same-sex intimacy—are not constitutional rights at all. “We have to remember he’s been saying it out loud for quite some time,” Suk Gersen says. “This is not a new thing from Justice Thomas. It’s just that we normally—over decades—didn’t pay that much attention to him, because he was alone in his dissents and concurrences.”

Jul 11, 2022
Abortion and the Potential “Criminalization of Pregnancy” in the U.S.
39:09

Last week, the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade, the 1973 landmark decision that established a constitutional right to abortion. Although this outcome had been anticipated for months—for years, even—it has had an immediate, visceral effect on abortion providers, those seeking abortions, and the nation at large. In some states, abortions stopped overnight; in others, there’s widespread confusion over what qualifies as legally acceptable circumstances for having an abortion. As states move to either outlaw abortion or codify it, the larger political question of “What next?” looms. The New Yorker contributing writer Stephania Taladrid and staff writer Jia Tolentino have both reported extensively on abortion access in the United States. They join the New Yorker senior editor and Politics and More guest host Tyler Foggatt. “Flat out, women will die in the course of ordinary pregnancy because of physician fears of doing anything that might make them liable for felony changes of performing an abortion,” Tolentino says. “It will make pregnancy significantly more dangerous for many, many people.”

Jun 29, 2022
Why Do Conservatives Love Hungary’s Viktor Orbán?
19:34

When the New Yorker staff writer Andrew Marantz first heard that the Conservative Political Action Conference, the flagship event of the American conservative movement, was being held in Hungary, he thought it might be a joke. “A lot of people have worried for a few years now that the Republican Party is becoming more ambivalent about certain bedrock norms of American democracy,” Marantz told David Remnick. “To openly state, ‘We’re going to this semi-authoritarian country’ . . .  I thought it was maybe a troll.” But C.P.A.C. Hungary was very real, and the event demonstrated an increasingly close relationship between American conservatives and authoritarians abroad. Viktor Orbán wins elections and claims a democratic mandate, but his legislative maneuvers and rewrites to the constitution have rendered political opposition increasingly powerless. Marantz finds the admiration for him by many in America unsettling. “I couldn’t really imagine a Putin-style takeover” of power in America, Marantz says; but “this kind of technical, legalistic Orbán model” seems all too plausible.

Jun 27, 2022
What the January 6th Committee Uncovered This Week
30:43

Two hearings this week laid out the stark implications of President Trump’s efforts to stay in office. On Tuesday, members of the House Select Committee on January 6th heard testimony about attempts to deliver “fake” slates of electors to Congress. State election officials and poll workers spoke, in powerful terms, about the intense vitriol and harassment they were subjected to by Trump supporters, simply for doing their jobs. On Thursday, the Committee explored President Trump’s pressure campaign at the Justice Department to get top officials to go along with false claims of voter fraud in the 2020 election. As Evan Osnos wrote for The New Yorker, “Trump’s political formula has rested on a dark genius at leveraging the powerful against the vulnerable, a tribe against a dissenter, the mob against the foe—and he nearly succeeded in using that recipe to overturn the election that he lost.” In the third installment of a special series for the Politics and More podcast, three members of The New Yorker’s Washington bureau—Osnos, Susan B. Glasser, and Jane Mayer—take us through the big developments at the hearings this week.

Jun 24, 2022
Dexter Filkins on the Rise of Ron DeSantis
18:59

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis has shown himself uniquely skilled at attracting attention beyond the borders of his home state. Just this month, DeSantis blocked state funds for the Tampa Bay Rays’ stadium after players voiced support for gun control in the wake of the mass shooting in Uvalde, Texas. He’s also continuing a fight to punish the Disney corporation for criticizing Florida’s so-called “Don’t Say Gay” law. An Ivy League-educated anti-élitist firebrand, he is willing to pick a fight with anyone—reporters, health officials, teachers, Mickey Mouse—to grab a headline. DeSantis “practically radiates ambition,” the staff writer Dexter Filkins tells David Remnick. “He sounds like Trump, except that he speaks in complete sentences. . . . He’s very good at staking out a position and pounding the table and saying, I’m not giving in to the liberals in the Northeast.” Yet, despite having been anointed by Donald Trump in his primary election, DeSantis has refused to “kiss the ring,” and many see DeSantis as a possible opponent to Trump in a 2024 Republican primary.

Jun 21, 2022
The Bombshell Moments at the Second Week of the January 6th Hearings
26:24

This week, the House select committee held two more hearings to review its astonishing findings on the events of January 6, 2021, featuring testimony from onetime enablers of President Donald Trump: Bill Barr, the former Attorney General, and Bill Stepien, Trump’s former campaign manager. These hearings are revealing the extraordinary drama that was unfolding that day, not just on the Capitol lawn but also in the top ranks of the government, where Vice-President Mike Pence was being coerced to overturn the election. As Susan B. Glasser put it in her column for newyorker.com this week, “On Thursday, the House committee devoted its hearing to attempting to explain Trump’s scheme to pressure Pence—which unfolded in a series of inflammatory Presidential tweets, angry phone calls, and bizarre White House meetings that were a mix of constitutional-law seminars and live reënactments of ‘The Godfather.’ ” In the second installment of a special series for the Politics and More podcast, three members of The New Yorker’s Washington bureau—Glasser, Evan Osnos, and Jane Mayer—take us through the big developments at the hearings this week.

Jun 17, 2022
Putting the Backlash Against Progressive Prosecutors in Perspective
31:52

A widespread view that cities have become less safe in recent months is transforming local politics. Eric Adams became Mayor of New York City on a tough-on-crime platform. Anxiety about public safety has also played a significant role in the ongoing Los Angeles mayoral race. In San Francisco, Chesa Boudin—a reform-minded district attorney—was recalled by voters by a significant margin last week. Boudin had instituted a number of progressive reforms, from liberalizing bail policies to reducing jail populations through diversion programs. But those changes were buried by the perception that the city had descended into a state of chaos. His recall has been cast as a referendum on crime and on the public’s attitudes toward progressive criminal-justice policies. What were the voters in San Francisco blaming on Boudin? The New Yorker staff writer Benjamin Wallace-Wells recently wrote about Boudin’s recall. He speaks with the New Yorker senior editor Tyler Foggatt.

Jun 16, 2022
Jane Mayer and Evan Osnos on the New January 6th Revelations
26:14

For months, the House Select Committee on January 6th has examined Donald Trump’s efforts to overturn the results of the 2020 election and cling to power. Roughly a thousand witnesses have been interviewed—including Jared Kushner and Ivanka Trump. Tens of thousands of documents have also been reviewed, such as text messages from the former White House chief of staff Mark Meadows. The committee held its first public hearing last night and presented some of what it has learned. Representative Jamie Raskin had promised that the findings would “blow the roof off the House.” The New Yorker’s Washington correspondents Jane Mayer and Evan Osnos join guest host Susan Glasser to discuss the revelations.

Jun 10, 2022
Sara Nelson on the Drive to Unionize Delta Flight Attendants
13:41

Before the pandemic, Sara Nelson had emerged as one of the most visible leaders in the labor movement. The Association of Flight Attendants represents some fifty thousand workers and nearly twenty airlines, and, as the union’s international president, Nelson made regular appearances on CNN, MSNBC, CNBC, and Fox Business. During the pandemic, she became a critical voice amid reports of unruly and abusive passengers, urging Congress to pass greater protections for airline staff and pushing for restrictions on the sale of alcohol in airport terminals. “We’ve got a lot more work to do to get things under control,” Nelson tells Jennifer Gonnerman, who profiled her last month, “and make sure that people don’t think that when you get on a plane you get to punch the flight crew.” Organized labor is newly resurgent, with recent drives at Amazon making headlines. Nelson speaks about the push to unionize flight attendants of Delta Air Lines, which—if successful—would be one of the largest union wins in recent history, covering almost twenty-four thousand workers.

Jun 06, 2022
Why a Weakened N.R.A. Still Gets What it Wants
24:49

The National Rifle Association has been one of the most feared groups in Washington, D.C., for decades. It profoundly reshaped the conversation around guns in America through a combination of financial prowess, lockstep messaging, and an ability to motivate its membership. But, in recent years, multiple lawsuits—including one from the New York State attorney general—have drained the organization's finances, and membership and revenue have declined precipitously. In light of this, and in the wake of several horrific mass shootings, the guest host and New Yorker staff writer Susan B. Glasser seeks out the root of our political gridlock on gun violence. She talks with Mike Spies, a reporter for The Trace and a contributor to The New Yorker who has reported extensively on the N.R.A. He argues that it’s time to stop attributing the Republican Party’s stance on the Second Amendment to the gun lobby. “I don’t think there is anything the N.R.A. can do to any federal lawmaker right now,” Spies says. “They don’t have the money to spend, they don’t have the contractors who are responsible for the messaging to help them carry out the rhetoric and campaigns that would have previously resonated with voters.”

Jun 02, 2022
What Makes a Mass Shooter?
19:01

In America, unthinkable violence has become routine.  In the wake of the Buffalo and Uvalde mass shootings, David Remnick speaks with the researchers Jillian Peterson and James Densley, whose book “The Violence Project” is the most in-depth study of mass shooters. Pro-gun politicians may continue to block any measures to reduce violence, but we can understand better a different side of the equation: what motivates these crimes. David Remnick speaks with two criminal-justice researchers who have studied mass killers, James Densley, of Metropolitan State University, and Jillian Peterson, of Hamline University. They point out that mass shootings have risen alongside deaths of despair, including overdoses and suicide.  “The perpetrator goes in with no escape plan,” Peterson points out.  “What we can learn from suicide prevention can teach us how to prevent some of these mass shootings.  We haven’t connected these two things.” We also hear from a 70-year-old resident of Uvalde, Texas, about the aftermath of the killings in a tight-knit community.

May 31, 2022
Normalcy Returns to Kyiv as Russia Doubles Down in Eastern Ukraine
28:01

Russia’s invasion of Ukraine grinds on into its third brutal month, with no end in sight. But, in ways large and small, the conflict has shifted. At the start of the war, the Russian military hoped to seize Kyiv and decapitate the Ukrainian government—but then quickly retreated in the face of sustained resistance. The fiercest fighting is now in the eastern Donbas region, but Russian troops have also occupied the southern Ukrainian city of Melitopol since February, upending civilian life in other ways. The New Yorker contributing writer Joshua Yaffa, formerly the magazine’s Moscow correspondent, has been reporting from Ukraine throughout the war. He spoke to the guest host Susan Glasser from Kyiv about the state of the conflict. “This is a war against the totality of a country, against the totality of a people, and, even if there is a moment of relative peace in the capital, that doesn’t mean that Russia’s aims have in any way narrowed in their ambition, narrowed in their scope,” Yaffa says. “And if Russia is able to cleave off the Donbas, as seems to be its major or central military goal at the moment, that doesn’t mean the war ends there.”

May 26, 2022
The Attack on Gender-Affirming Medical Care
27:16

Across the United States, conservative politicians are leading a backlash against L.G.B.T.Q. identity, framing legal restrictions as protection of children. Several states have introduced laws to ban medical treatments known as gender-affirming care—including hormones and puberty blockers—prescribed to adolescents. Major medical organizations have approved the treatments, but Rachel Monroe, who has been following efforts to ban gender-affirming care in Texas, found that doctors wouldn’t speak out about the political furor because the resulting attention could endanger themselves, their clinics, and their patients. One specialist, however, was willing to go on the record: Dr. Gina Sequeira, a co-director of the Gender Clinic at Seattle Children’s. “I was growing so frustrated seeing the narrative around gender-affirming care provision for youth so full of misinformation and so full of blatant falsehoods that I couldn't in good conscience continue to stay quiet,” Sequeira told her. Doctors cite a body of data that gender-affirming care reduces the risk of suicide, which is high among trans youth. Sequeira’s Seattle clinic has been fielding calls from Texas families looking to relocate if the proposed ban in Texas prevents their children from accessing care. “If we were to stop care, I would be afraid that our child wouldn’t survive,” the mother of a trans girl told Monroe. “There’s no question that she’s not safe to herself.”

May 23, 2022
The Other Kind of Racism in Buffalo
35:37

Last weekend, an eighteen-year-old white man killed ten people and injured three in a Tops grocery store located in Buffalo’s majority-Black East End. It was a deliberately planned attack, motivated by white-supremacist ideology; the gunman searched by Zip Code to find the highest concentration of Black people in his area, and then he drove two hundred miles to reach them. This segregation of Black people in an underserved neighborhood, in the third poorest city in the nation, is reflective of a more commonplace and more pervasive form of American racism. Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor is a contributing writer at The New Yorker and a professor of African American Studies at Princeton. She joins the guest host Evan Osnos to discuss the politics of housing, policing, and education in Buffalo, and how these structural forces relate to the rise of violent right-wing extremism. “We are so enamored with the idea of racism as explicit, as you most certainly know it when you see it,” Taylor says. “But these other manifestations—that mean that forty per cent of Black children in Buffalo live under the poverty line, that thirty-eight per cent of Black adults live under the poverty line, that the quality of housing on the East Side of Buffalo is wood-based and deteriorating compared to the brick houses of the West Side of the city—these kinds of insidious forms of racism are allowed to continue unaddressed for decades.”

May 19, 2022
The Battle After Roe v. Wade
19:24

Assuming that Justice Samuel Alito’s final opinion in the Mississippi abortion case Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization gets majority support, there will be profound social, political, and health-care implications across the United States. Margaret Talbot, Peter Slevin and Jia Tolentino assess the world after Roe. Opponents will surely not stop by leaving abortion at the state level but will try to ban it under federal law. Tolentino discusses fetal personhood, the legal concept that a fertilized egg is entitled to full legal rights, which severely compromises the bodily autonomy of a pregnant woman. There is already speculation that access to birth control and same-sex marriage could be challenged. “If people feel panicked about all those things, I wouldn’t invalidate that,” Tolentino says. But focussing on the immediate post-Roe future, she says, presents enough to worry about. “This is a universe of panic on its own.”

May 16, 2022
How COVID Strengthened Authoritarianism in China
28:00

China’s “zero COVID” strategy has brought the bustling metropolis of Shanghai to a standstill, with many of its twenty-five million residents sealed in their homes. These exceptionally strict measures are being met with some public resistance, but Xi Jinping’s government has largely doubled down on its approach. Peter Hessler has been in and out of China for twenty-five years. He recently returned from two years of teaching and writing in Sichuan Province. His experience led him to a conclusion that may surprise some Americans: that, for many young people in China, the experience of the pandemic has reinforced “a general idea that the benefits of the Chinese system greatly outweigh its flaws.” And, even if people resent heavy-handed government control, they also bristle when outsiders criticize it. Hessler joins guest host Evan Osnos to talk about teaching in China and how the pandemic has reshaped the public’s views about the government.

May 12, 2022
The Last Abortion Clinic in Mississippi: Rebroadcast
12:14

Last week, a draft opinion was leaked which suggests that a majority of Supreme Court Justices are ready to overturn the precedents of Roe v. Wade and Planned Parenthood v. Casey—the decisions that have guaranteed a right to abortion at the federal level.  The case in question is Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, in which Mississippi officials seek to close the state’s last remaining abortion clinic under a law that bans performing an abortion after the fifteenth week of pregnancy—a point well before the time of fetal viability.  In November, Rachel Monroe visited the Jackson abortion clinic, speaking to its director, Shannon Brewer; a physician who asked to remain anonymous, describing the risks to abortion providers; and a patient, who had driven all night from Texas, where she was not able to obtain an abortion. “Somebody else is telling me what I should do with my body, and it’s not right,” she said. “It’s my body. It’s my decision. It’s my choice. It’s my life. It’s my soul, if it’s going to Hell.”

Produced with assistance from Ezekiel Bandy and Kim Green. 

This segment originally aired November 19, 2021.  

May 10, 2022
The Fate of Abortion After the Supreme Court Leak
30:53

For nearly fifty years, conservative groups have been laser focused on overturning Roe v. Wade, the landmark 1973 decision which legalized abortion. In that time, they’ve made significant inroads, chipping away at access to abortion in a number of states. But now they seem on the cusp of near total victory. The recent leak of a draft Supreme Court opinion, written by Justice Samuel Alito, indicates that a majority of the justices seem ready to overturn Roe completely. It would be the biggest reversal of personal rights in the United States in more than a generation, and access to abortion in nearly two dozen states would end overnight. Other rights—from access to contraception to gay marriage, could face serious legal challenges. Guest host Evan Osnos speaks with the New Yorker contributing writer and Harvard Law School professor Jeannie Suk Gersen about what the draft ruling means for reproductive rights in America, and about just how far this Supreme Court might go in the future. “That is what I see in this opinion: that there is a roadmap for litigants immediately after this case comes down to try to pursue a constitutional right to fetal life,” Gersen says. “A right to fetal life, protected by the Constitution as a fundamental right, could have the effect of making abortion illegal in every state.”

May 05, 2022
A Ukrainian Diplomat on the Future of Russian Aggression
24:01

As the Russian invasion of Ukraine enters a third month, prospects of ending the conflict are still nowhere in sight, and there seems to be no end to the destruction that Vladimir Putin is willing to inflict. Sergiy Kyslytsya, Ukraine’s Permanent Representative to the United Nations, tells David Remnick that he expects Russia to continue escalating its attack leading up to May 9th, a day of military celebration in Russia commemorating the German surrender in the Second World War. “They will escalate attacks by missiles from the sky to terrorize Ukraine in general,” he predicts, “and to make the government more susceptible to surrender.”

In contrast to President Volodymyr Zelensky—who was a political rookie when he took office, in 2019—Kyslytsya has spent his career in Ukraine’s foreign service. In the years after the Soviet breakup, he says, Ukraine wanted to both placate its neighbor and ally itself with Western institutions. This created a “cognitive dissonance,” he says, that prevented Ukraine from recognizing the extent of Russian aggression. Having watched as diplomacy failed, Kyslytsya still has to separate his work from the personal toll of Russia’s invasion on his family and friends. “I try not to engage emotionally because if I engage emotionally too much, I am not operational,” he says. “And if I am not operational . . . I’m of very little use for my government.”

May 02, 2022
Can Liberal Democracy Survive?
40:03

The past fifteen years have been among the most tumultuous in our history. The tumult is driven by a question whose answer could determine our future: What kind of country do we live in? A buffeted but resilient democracy, or a nation increasingly known among its own citizens for its divisions rather than for its shared commitment to tolerance, equality, and freedom? Evan OsnosSusan B. Glasser, and Jane Mayer join Dorothy Wickenden to discuss the past, present, and future of the democratic ideal worldwide.

Apr 28, 2022
Ronan Farrow on the Threat of Modern Spyware
18:40

Ronan Farrow has published an investigation into a software called Pegasus and its maker, NSO Group. Pegasus is one of the most invasive spywares known; it allows users—including law-enforcement officials or government authorities—to hack into a target’s smartphone, gaining access to photos, messages, and the feeds from a camera or microphone. NSO markets Pegasus as a tool to catch terrorists and other violent criminals, but once a surveillance tool is on the market it can be very difficult to control. Farrow finds that Pegasus is being used to suppress political opposition in democratic nations, including Spain. The largest known cluster of Pegasus attacks has targeted people in Catalonia who support the independence movement, which the Spanish government views as a threat. “This is not just an information-gathering tool,” Farrow tells David Remnick; “It’s an intimidation tactic, and it works.”

Apr 25, 2022
Can Democrats Win Back Rural Voters?
28:15

In a few weeks, primary elections for the midterm races will be fully under way. The electoral map is stacked against Democrats, and the country is as divided than ever. But a new generation of progressive organizers and activists, spurning the advice of expensive consultants and the fund-raising tactics of seasoned politicians, are developing strategies to encourage accord within the Party, and to win over Independents and work with Republicans, from the ground up. Chloe Maxmin is a state senator in Maine, and the author, with her former campaign manager, Canyon Woodward, of the forthcoming book “Dirt Road Revival.” Maxmin and Woodward join Dorothy Wickenden to discuss how the Democratic Party lost touch with rural voters, and what Democrats must do to recapture their loyalty.

Apr 21, 2022
“We’re All Going to the World’s Fair” and a Short History of Movies about the Internet
17:01

The Internet can be a scary place in real life, and far more so in Jane Schoenbrun’s film “We’re All Going to the World’s Fair,” which premièred at the Sundance Film Festival last year and is being released in theatres and streaming. It’s a horror movie centered on a lonely and bored teen-age girl named Casey, who spends most of her time being online and trying to figure out who she is. She undertakes a ritual that she’s read about—the so-called World’s Fair Challenge—which is said to cause unknown and possibly dire changes. “Everyone wants to know, ‘Do you think the Internet is good or the Internet is bad?’ ” Schoenbrun told the Radio Hour’s Alex Barron. “That’s like asking, ‘Do you think that people are good or bad?’ There’s not a simple answer.” They spoke about the forty-year history of movies depicting the online world.

Apr 18, 2022
How Biden Stumbled on Immigration Reform
27:04

This month, the C.D.C. announced plans to end Title 42, a public-health order, issued by the Trump Administration at the start of the pandemic, that gives the federal government broad authority to turn away migrants and asylum seekers at the southern border. Public-health experts and some Democrats have pressured President Biden to repeal the order, but others, including several of his own top advisers, argue that the repeal will substantially increase the number of migrants at the southern border, further straining a chaotic immigration system, and hand Republicans a campaign issue for the midterms: a “migrant surge” approved by the Administration. Jonathan Blitzer joins Dorothy Wickenden to talk about how immigration is becoming another political liability for the Biden Administration.

Apr 15, 2022
Anita Hill and Jane Mayer on Ketanji Brown Jackson, and the State of the Supreme Court
16:49

Ketanji Brown Jackson has been voted in as a Supreme Court Justice—the first Black woman to serve in that role. But, to reach this milestone, Jackson has faced enormous hurdles at every turn, including confirmation hearings that featured blatant political grandstanding and barely disguised race-baiting. Nominations have become so partisan that, on both the left and the right, the Court itself is commonly viewed as merely a tool of the party that picked its members, and several polls report a decline in public confidence in the Court. “The real political end” of the attacks on Brown Jackson, Hill believes, “is to denigrate her personally, honestly, but also to really reduce the validity of any opinions that she ultimately writes. Even though . . . many of her opinions will be dissenting opinions, dissenting opinions can carry a lot of weight.” Meanwhile, Justice Clarence Thomas’s decision not to recuse himself from cases related to the January 6th insurrection, even after it came to light that his wife Ginni Thomas actively sought to influence Trump Administration officials to try to overturn the Presidential election, also undercuts the court’s impartiality. It seems that the reputation and independence of the Court is in serious trouble. 

Anita Hill, a professor of social policy, law, and women’s studies at Brandeis University, spoke with David Remnick about the Ketanji Brown Jackson hearings, along with the staff writer Jane Mayer, who is reporting on the Ginni Thomas controversy. (Hill, who testified in the 1991 Thomas nomination hearings, has declined to speak about his stance on recusal.)

Apr 11, 2022
Can Genocide Be Prevented?
23:58

Last week, Russian troops withdrew from Bucha, a suburb of the Ukrainian capital of Kyiv. Ukrainians returning to the city discovered the horrific aftermath. According to President Volodymyr Zelensky, more than three hundred civilians in the city were killed. Investigators have found evidence of torture, rape, beheading, dismemberment, and the intentional burning of corpses. A mass grave was dug to accommodate the bodies. Zelensky has referred to the massacre as evidence of genocidePhilip Gourevitch, a New Yorker staff writer, has written for the magazine about the genocides in Rwanda and Cambodia. He joins Dorothy Wickenden to discuss his past reporting, why the “never again” discourse around genocides has failed to prevent them, and whether further war crimes in Ukraine are inevitable.

Apr 07, 2022
Investigating January 6th
15:24

With a judge declaring that Donald Trump “more likely than not” committed a felony in his attempt to overturn the Presidential election, the congressional committee investigating January 6th is racing to finish its work before the looming midterm elections. Amy Davidson Sorkin and the legal scholar Jeannie Suk Gersen talk with David Remnick about the law and the politics of holding Trump accountable. But criminal conviction, they agree, does not equal accountability—and might only have inflammatory effects on a drastically divided nation. “There’ve been ideas thrown around about … conviction, [that] maybe we could just disqualify him from running again,” Davidson Sorkin says. “I strongly believe that that’s not the answer.  This has to be accomplished by democratic means. And, ultimately, it has to be done on Election Day.”

Apr 04, 2022
An Ivy League Student Accused of Lying About Her Past
23:35

Mackenzie Fierceton grew up in a middle-class suburb of St. Louis. Her mother was a doctor, and she attended a prep school. But she was allegedly abused at home, and she ended up in foster care, with no financial support from her family. She won a full scholarship to the University of Pennsylvania, and a Rhodes Scholarship to study at Oxford. Then the father of one of Fierceton's high school peers contacted Penn, saying that the news coverage of Fierceton's past was inaccurate. Rachel Aviv, a New Yorker staff writer, joins me to discuss how Fierceton lost her Rhodes Scholarship, and what her story tells us about the internal politics of universities as they seek to diversify their student bodies.

Apr 01, 2022
Jill Lepore on Parents’ Rights and the Culture War
17:20

A wave of book bannings sweeping the country, along with conservative fury over titles like “Antiracist Baby,” seems like a backlash against the heightened racial consciousness of the post-George Floyd era. The historian and staff writer Jill Lepore sees these conflicts as the continuation of an old dynamic. She relates today’s “anti-anti-racism” movement to the anti-evolution campaign of the nineteen-twenties, which included the prosecution of a Tennessee teacher for teaching Darwin’s theory in a high-school class. Lepore tells David Remnick that what links these battles over biology and history is the argument that parents have the right to determine their children’s education in public schools.

Mar 28, 2022
The Good News About Renewable Energy
18:37

Historically, the high cost of renewables has been one of the greatest hurdles in breaking our dependency on oil and gas. But recent research indicates that advances in renewable-energy production have made it cheaper than fossil fuelsBill McKibben, a contributing writer to The New Yorker and the founder of the environmental group 350.org, joins Dorothy Wickenden to discuss the new economic realities of renewable energy, and how they could affect the global battle against climate change.

Mar 24, 2022
Radio Ukraine
15:56

Kraina FM is a radio station that broadcasts in Kyiv and more than twenty other cities, playing Ukrainian-language rock and pop. When Russia invaded Ukraine, it took on the mantle of “the station of national resistance,” airing news bulletins and logistical information like requests for supplies. The radio hosts began adding jokes about the invading Russians, and advice from a psychologist about talking to children about the war; a writer told fairy tales on air to occupy those kids during the stressful nights of wartime. The station staff has dispersed, with Bogdan Bolkhovetsky, the general manager, and Roman Davydov, the program director, holed up in a town in the Carpathians, keeping production moving over unreliable Internet and communicating with listeners by text. They don’t know how many of their broadcasting stations are still functioning, and their tower in Kyiv could be destroyed at any time. But “we are not doing anything heroic,” Bolkhovetsky told Nicolas Niarchos, who visited their makeshift studio. “We are still in a lot of luck, having what we have right now. Thousands of people were not so lucky as we are. . . . We’re just doing what we can under these unusual circumstances.”

Mar 21, 2022
How Do We Know When Someone Is a Spy?
27:22

In 2019, Franklin Tao, a professor of chemistry at the University of Kansas, was arrested on suspicion of spying for the Chinese government. Tao’s case was the first under a program called the China Initiative, a collaboration between the Justice Department, the F.B.I., and other federal agencies to combat what was perceived as a growing vulnerability to Chinese espionage, particularly in the realms of economics, technology, and academia. But Tao was never charged with espionage, and his became one of many controversial cases undertaken by the China Initiative, whose critics accuse it over pursuing unsubstantiated and overblown cases, and of stoking anti-Asian sentiment. Gideon Lewis-Kraus joins the guest host Evan Osnos to discuss Tao’s case, the origins and impacts of the China Initiative, and the complexities of battling international espionage.

Mar 17, 2022
Stephen Kotkin: Don’t Blame the West for Russia’s Invasion of Ukraine
18:43

It’s impossible to understand the destruction and death that Vladimir Putin is unleashing in Ukraine without understanding his most basic conviction: that the breakup of the Soviet empire was a catastrophe from which Russia has yet to recover. Some experts, including John Mearsheimer, have blamed NATO expansion for the invasion of Ukraine, arguing that it has provoked Vladimir Putin to defend his sphere of influence. Stephen Kotkin, a professor of history and international affairs at Princeton University, and a research scholar at the Hoover Institution, respectfully disagrees. Putin’s aggression is “not some kind of deviation from the historical pattern,” he tells David Remnick. Russia in the nineteenth century looked much as it does today, he says. “It had an autocrat. It had repression. It had militarism. It had suspicion of foreigners and the West.” Kotkin describes how and why the Putin regime has evolved toward despotism, and he speculates that the strategic blunders in invading Ukraine likely resulted from the biases of authoritarian rulers like Putin, and the lack of good information available to them. Kotkin is the author of an authoritative biography of Joseph Stalin, two volumes of which have been published; a third is in the making.

Mar 14, 2022
The West Wages Economic War on Russia
20:35

Facing enormous pressure to respond to Russian aggression in Ukraine but fearing the consequences of a hot war between Russia and the West, the European Union, the United States, and several other nations have levied heavy sanctions. These have caused the ruble to lose forty per cent of its value against the U.S. dollar and forced the closure of the Moscow stock exchange. But will the sanctions have any effect on Putin’s war? John Cassidy joins Dorothy Wickenden to discuss the Russian President’s economic miscalculations, the effects of sanctions on Russia’s economy, and the political and environmental opportunities for the Biden Administration.

Mar 10, 2022
Igor Novikov on Standing His Ground in Ukraine
15:32

The Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has emerged as a potent and savvy communicator during the Russian invasion of his country. His emotional appeal to a recent E.U. meeting—videoconferencing from the battlefield—has been credited with spurring European leaders to impose tougher sanctions on Russia, such as banning Russian financial institutions from the international SWIFT banking system. Ukraine seems to be winning the information war, despite the Russian government’s previous focus on and success in propaganda and disinformation campaigns. Igor Novikov is an Internet researcher and entrepreneur who served as an adviser to President Zelensky. He spoke with David Remnick on March 2nd about how Zelensky’s background as an actor and a comedian has given him an advantage in the West’s “attention economy.” Ukraine “will only survive if people pay attention,” Novikov notes, and must “make sure people understand who the perpetrator and who the victim is in this situation.”

Mar 07, 2022
What Does China Think of Putin’s War?
21:11

In the week since the Russian invasion of Ukraine, the United States and the European Union have effectively cut off Russia from the international banking system, frozen Russian assets abroad, and cancelled partnerships with Russian companies. The ruble is in free fall, and inside the country, opposition to the war is reportedly increasing. Chinese President Xi Jinping is a well-known admirer of Putin, and China and Russia share an autocratic world view, but China has neither condemned Russia’s actions nor rushed to its defenseEvan Osnos joins Dorothy Wickenden to discuss the history of Russia-China relations, China’s current economic and diplomatic calculations, and what the war in Ukraine may tell us about the changing international balance of power.

Mar 03, 2022
Hollywood’s Fraught History with Black Audiences
11:55

There has been an explosion of popular and acclaimed work from Black creators on film and television in recent years. This is no fluke—it’s the latest instance in a pattern that has repeated across film history. As the film scholar Aymar Jean Christian tells the Radio Hour’s Ngofeen Mputubwele, industry players “always use the Black audience to draw people back into theaters when they’ve lost the audience in some other way.” Christian points to Blaxploitation films, which in the nineteen-seventies pulled the industry out of a viewership slump, and to the so-called ghetto pictures, which brought audiences back into movie theaters, despite the growing appeal of television. So what accounts for the current surge of Black stories coming out of Hollywood? “I really think it was ‘Django Unchained,’ ” Christian says. After studio consolidation limited opportunities for Black creators in the early two-thousands, Christian believes, Tarantino’s film reminded Hollywood that “Black people like movies, that we deserve movies.” But, for as much progress as there has been, Christian argues that there is something missing in today’s film landscape: stories about the Black experience beyond trauma. “I think we also need stories about solidarity, about how to love each other, about how to heal,” Christian says. “And I just don’t think that this hyper-capitalist, hypercompetitive environment is really incentivizing that kind of storytelling.”

Feb 28, 2022
How Should President Biden Respond to Putin’s War?
26:58

Since last summer, Russian troops have been amassing on the Ukrainian border, and, in recent weeks, President Vladimir Putin warned that he intended a military takeover of Ukraine. This week, Russia began the war, with widespread attacks, including in the capital, Kyiv, aimed at crippling the Ukrainian military. The Ukrainian President, Volodymyr Zelensky, has called on civilians to enlist in the military to fight the invaders. The U.S. and nato are levying heavy sanctions against the Russians, but there are disagreements within the U.S. and among Western allies about exactly how to proceed. Susan B. Glasser, a New Yorker staff writer, joins Dorothy Wickenden to discuss the war, as well as the choices faced by the Biden Administration and NATO.

Feb 24, 2022
Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez on the Path Forward for the Left
33:55

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is one of the most prominent progressives in Washington. Her political ascent began with her shocking 2018 defeat of a longtime incumbent in a New York district that includes parts of Queens and the Bronx. She is a strong advocate of the Green New Deal and Medicare for All. With her party’s razor-thin majorities now in peril, many of her priorities seem out of reach. Can the agenda she was elected to advance survive? 

Ocasio-Cortez reflects on her time in Washington with David Remnick, painting a portrait of a dysfunctional Congress. “Honestly, it is a shit show,” she says. “It’s scandalizing, every single day. What is surprising to me is how it never stops being scandalizing.”

This conversation is part of The New Yorker’s first digital-only issue, a special collection of New Yorker Interviews.

Feb 21, 2022
What Putin Is Really After in Ukraine
20:52

Since last summer, Russia has been heavily building up its military forces on Ukraine’s border. In the past few weeks, several countries have attempted to forestall military action, but U.S. officials have warned that a Russian invasion is imminent and have accused the Russian government of lying about its claim that it is drawing down its troops. Masha Gessen, a New Yorker staff writer, joins Dorothy Wickenden to discuss the recent history of Russian-Ukrainian relations, and what the Western media gets wrong about Vladimir Putin, Ukraine, and the current conflict.

Feb 17, 2022
Free Speech in Comedy Clubs and on Campus
22:42

The author William Deresiewicz, who formerly taught English at Yale University, describes what he sees as essential threats to free speech—and ultimately to the process of education—on campuses across the country. Students, he says, are afraid to speak their minds, in fear of a backlash. Deresiewicz sees the impact of cancel culture extending well beyond newsworthy cancellations of prominent people. “For every high-profile cancellation . . . there are a hundred, say, low-profile cancellations that don’t get picked up,” Deresiewicz tells David Remnick. “And, even more importantly, for every one of those, there are a thousand people . . . who just keep their mouth shut.”

Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, on the other hand, argues that cancel culture isn’t real. It’s largely, she says, an excuse made by those on the political right to lodge their own restrictions on what can be said in the public sphere. Kliph Nesteroff, a historian of comedy, agrees with that assessment. “There used to be this conceit, a few years ago—‘They’re going to take your guns away,’ ” he says; now the refrain is “ ‘They’re going to take your jokes away. They’re going to take your comedians!’ It’s the same sort of element driving the narrative.” Pushback to jokes at the expense of marginalized people is nothing new, Nesteroff explains. He offers the example of Native Americans protesting insulting portrayals in silent films more than a century ago. But social media has brought these criticisms into the public consciousness. “It’s not even cancel culture. It’s just culture,” Nesteroff says. “The history of America is a tug-of-war between opposing forces—powerful forces versus weak forces.”

Feb 14, 2022
What the Beijing Olympics Reveal About China
23:07

The 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing are often referred to as China’s “coming-out party”—presenting China to foreign visitors as a political, economic, and cultural superpower, committed to the rule of law and human rights. Fourteen years later, Xi Jinping, China’s paramount leader, is using the Winter Olympics to make a different statement. Last week’s opening ceremonies projected a message of Chinese unity and strength at a time when the country’s relationship with the West is more antagonistic than it’s been in decades. Several Western nations, including the U.S., staged diplomatic boycotts to protest China’s human-rights violations, citing its persecution of Uyghurs in the province of Xinjiang. Evan Osnos joins Dorothy Wickenden to discuss what the 2022 Beijing Olympics tell us about China’s rising authoritarianism and its vision of the future.

Feb 10, 2022
Black Thought Takes the Stage
19:09

Tariq Trotter, best known in music as Black Thought, the emcee of the Roots, is regarded by many hip-hop fans as one of the best freestyle rappers ever. His work changed shape when the Roots became the house band for Jimmy Fallon’s late-night show, and again when he began performing standup comedy. “I’ve spent most of my career with my sunglasses and my hat pulled down low, very many layers of defense,” he tells Jelani Cobb. “You’re up there as a comedian, it’s just you and your ideas and a microphone, no light show, no band. . . . After having done this for over thirty years, what else can I do, how can I become a better storyteller?” Trotter’s latest endeavor has been writing the music and lyrics for “Black No More,” a musical-theatre production based on the eponymous novel, by George Schuyler;  the script is by John Ridley, with direction by Scott Elliott. Schuyler’s book is a dark satire, written during the Harlem Renaissance, that describes the development of a “cure” for Blackness; Trotter stars as Dr. Junius Crookman, who believes that this remedy will solve America’s problems with race. “My focus became almost rapping as little as possible” in the show, Trotter says; “I wanted this to be above and beyond folks’ expectations.” 

“Black No More” is in previews at the Pershing Square Signature Center. It opens February 15th.

Feb 07, 2022
The Joe Rogan Controversy and Spotify’s Stranglehold on the Music Industry
20:31

Earlier this week, Neil Young, Joni Mitchell and other artists removed their work from Spotify, protesting the company’s relationship with Joe Rogan, a podcaster who has broadcast misinformation about COVID-19. Spotify paid Rogan one hundred million dollars in 2020 for exclusive rights to his podcast. The boycott has also highlighted another serious complaint by musicians: the company's low royalties, which are fractions of a penny for each stream of a song. Will these protests make any difference? Alex Ross joins Dorothy Wickenden to discuss the influence of big tech on culture, and the future of music, for artists and listeners.

Feb 03, 2022
Russia’s Intentions in Ukraine—and America
29:03

“They push buttons,” says Timothy Snyder, a professor of history at Yale. “What button of ours are they pushing here? What are they trying to get us to do?” Vladimir Putin is posturing toward a costly invasion of Ukraine, on the false pretext of protecting Russian-language speakers in the country. Why? In a wide-ranging conversation, Snyder talks with David Remnick about how to understand Russia’s aggression, the idea advanced by Putin that Ukraine historically and rightfully belongs to Russia, and the dictator’s far-reaching goal of destabilizing NATO. Snyder is the author of the Second World War history “Bloodlands,” as well as “The Road to Unfreedom” and “On Tyranny”—which warn of the dangers that imperil American democracy. Running an oligarchy in which corruption is universal, Putin “is basically stuck with spectacle, distractions—the old bread and circuses idea,” Snyder says, “but also is working from a situation where you want to bring other countries down to your level. . . . With that, you can understand their intervention in our elections, or the way they talk about us: they want to bring out the elements of us, both rhetorically and in reality, that are most like the way they run the country.” Putin’s governance of Russia and his foreign policy, in other words, are intricately entangled. “I tend to think [the threat of invasion] is about the Biden Administration, in a pretty fundamental way,” Snyder believes. “If your goal is to undermine NATO—let’s accept that that is their sincere goal—who do you want to be President? Trump.” The crisis, he says, “puts Biden in a very bad position. It’s very hard for Biden to look strong. . . . Insofar as there is a strategy here, it’s about dividing NATO members and putting pressure on the Biden Administration.”

Jan 31, 2022
Does America Still Trust the Supreme Court?
24:16

Supreme Court Justices often portray themselves as beyond the reach of partisan politics, but it’s increasingly hard to make that argument: recall the fights over the nominations of Merrick Garland and Brett Kavanaugh, and recent rulings in cases involving abortion access and vaccine mandates. Justice Stephen Breyer’s decision to retire this year is itself a political move, and the Biden Administration is preparing for strong Republican resistance to whomever the President nominates. Jane Mayer, The New Yorker’s chief Washington correspondent, wrote recently about Justice Clarence Thomas’s wife, Virginia Thomas, who is deeply involved in right-wing groups and causes that have had, or will likely have, business before the Court. Mayer joins Dorothy Wickenden to discuss Ginni Thomas’s career and the dwindling public trust in the impartiality of the Court.

Jan 27, 2022
The Olympic Games Return to China, in a Changed World
17:09

Much has changed since China last hosted the Olympics, during the 2008 Summer Games. Those Games were widely seen as greatly improving China’s international reputation. But the 2022 Winter Games have put a spotlight on its human-rights abuses, most notably the genocide taking place against Uyghurs and Kazakhs. The U.S. government and other nations are boycotting the games in a limited way, leaving government officials home while allowing their athletes to compete, to avoid a bitter disappointment like that in 1980, when America didn’t compete in Moscow. The effect of these actions on China may be limited, but the tensions may be very difficult for athletes to navigate. Peter Hessler, for many years The New Yorker’s China correspondent, asks David Remnick, “When an athlete says something about the internment camps in Xinjiang, and the oppression of Muslim people in China, what is the Chinese response going to be?” “The I.O.C. has really left them out there. The I.O.C. … basically just washed their hands of it. It’s really up to the athletes,” he notes. “A lot of people I’ve talked to are very concerned about this.” At the same time, the sports reporter Louisa Thomas notes that these Games may garner little American support or attention. The delayed Tokyo Games last year “were already the least-watched Games in history,” and there are few big-name American athletes for NBC to promote. “I even have a lot of friends who have no idea there’s about to be an Olympics,” Thomas says. “Which is extraordinary.”

Jan 24, 2022
Can “Partygate” Bring Down Boris Johnson?
20:15

Late last year, the British press reported that, at the height of the COVID lockdowns in the U.K., Prime Minister Boris Johnson and members of his staff hosted a series of parties and gatherings at 10 Downing Street, defying the strict protocols instigated by Johnson’s own government. What seemed at first like a tabloid story has erupted into a crisis of confidence in Johnson’s leadership, and some believe that he could be ousted by his party and removed from power. Rebecca Mead, a New Yorker staff writer based in London, joins Dorothy Wickenden to discuss the turmoil in the British government, the future of Boris Johnson’s political career, and how the pandemic has changed the way we think about our elected leaders.

Jan 21, 2022
The Biden Presidency, Year One
30:33

President Biden took the oath of office in a moment of deep crisis—the pandemic in full swing and just weeks after an unprecedented attempt to overturn the election by violence. Merely a return to normalcy would have been a tall order. But Biden was promising something more: a transformational agenda that would realign American economics and life on a scale rivalling Franklin Roosevelt’s long Presidency. Yet Biden never commanded Roosevelt’s indomitable popularity and electoral advantages. A year into the Administration, Evan Osnos takes stock of its successes, failures, and ongoing challenges, along with four New Yorker colleagues: Susan B. Glasser on legislation, Jonathan Blitzer on immigration, Elizabeth Kolbert on climate, and John Cassidy on the economy.

Jan 17, 2022
Can Biden Revive Martin Luther King, Jr.,’s Vision of Voting Rights?
22:58

Since the 2020 election and the January 6th insurrection, nineteen states have passed laws that restrict access to voting. Two bills currently before Congress could overturn some of those laws, but neither seems likely to make it through a divided Senate. Earlier this week, President Biden and Vice President Harris travelled to Atlanta to speak about the urgency of protecting voting rights. Jelani Cobb joins Dorothy Wickenden to discuss the legacy of Martin Luther King, Jr., and the urgent threats to American democracy.

Jan 14, 2022
A New Civil War in America?
25:48

When rioters, encouraged by the President, stormed the Capitol, one year ago, to overturn the results of the election, the idea that such a thing could play out in America was stunning. But the attack may have been just the beginning of an ongoing insurrection, not a failed attempt at a coup. David Remnick talks with Barbara F. Walter, the author of the new book “How Civil Wars Start: And How to Stop Them.” Walter is a political scientist and a professor at the University of California, San Diego, and a co-director of the online magazine Political Violence at a Glance. She has studied countries that slide into civil war for the C.I.A., and she says that the United States meets many of the criteria her group identified. In particular, anti-democratic trends such as increased voting restrictions point to a nation on the brink. “Full democracies rarely have civil wars. Full autocracies rarely have civil wars,” she says. “It’s the ones that are in between that are particularly at risk.” 

Jan 10, 2022
The Great Resignation and the New Office Politics
26:57

This week, the U.S. Labor Department reported that 4.5 million people left their jobs in November—the most since the government began collecting data, two decades ago. A major reason is the COVID-19 pandemic, which has changed the relationship between office workers and their workplaces, and exacerbated challenges faced by workers in health, hospitality, education, and other sectors. Some also argue that the Great Resignation is part of a larger movement against employers who ask more of their employees while providing less in terms of work satisfaction. Cal Newport, a New Yorker contributing writer, joins Dorothy Wickenden to discuss the Great Resignation, the future of work across professions, and how employees and managers can ease burnout.

Jan 06, 2022
Amanda Gorman on Life After Inauguration
24:16

One year ago, Amanda Gorman delivered the inaugural poem on the day that Joe Biden became President. Gorman was just twenty-two years old, and it was just two weeks after Trump supporters had assaulted the Capitol in an effort to stop Congress from certifying the election. At the ceremony, Gorman herself seemed to cast light on a dark situation. Her poem “The Hill We Climb” reads, “When day comes, we ask ourselves: / Where can we find light / In this never-ending shade? / The loss we carry, a sea we must wade. / We’ve braved the belly of the beast.” The New Yorker’s poetry editor, Kevin Young, wrote that her poem was “as vibrant and elegant as her yellow coat against the cold.” After that very public début, Gorman found the stakes of writing the poems for her new collection, “Call Us What We Carry,” to be impossibly high. (It was excerpted in The New Yorker with readings by Gorman.) She spoke with Young about being an inaugural poet—following in the footsteps of Maya Angelou and Elizabeth Alexander—in a conversation from The New Yorker’s Poetry Podcast.

Jan 03, 2022
Year-End Special: Don’t Despair
25:53

The year 2021 has seemed like a cavalcade of disasters, from the attack on the U.S. Capitol on January 6th through the resurgence of COVID-19. Calamities are catnip for the media, but the year has shown some signs of promise. This week, four New Yorker writers discuss the political stories that give them hope. Jane Mayer explores the Biden Administration’s accomplishments, and why they might be undervalued. John Cassidy makes a case for a strong economy in 2022. Bill McKibben explains how the excitement over increasingly inexpensive renewable energy crosses party lines. And Evan Osnos, examining how pessimism can skew political reporting, offers a way for combating toxic political polarization.

Dec 23, 2021
When Snow Came to San Juan
26:18

For several years in the early nineteen-fifties, Puerto Rico received snow, right around Christmas. Children in San Juan rode a sled and had a giant snowball fight in the tropical weather. It wasn’t a miracle, or a meteorological outlier. The snow was a gift from San Juan’s longtime mayor, Felisa Rincón de Gautier, who had fallen in love with snow during her years in New York. It was delivered by Eastern Airlines, which milked the publicity for all it was worth. A young New Hampshire girl escorted one delivery, wearing a hat and a cable-knit sweater. The snow didn’t cost Puerto Rico anything, but it certainly came with strings attached. At a time when the independence movement was being harshly suppressed, in favor of a continued colonial relationship with the United States, the fetishization of the northern “white Christmas” reads to some as a gesture of cultural imperialism that has never quite ended. And even recently—as the island still faces routine blackouts of its electrical grid, years after Hurricane Maria—the mayor of a small town proposed building an ice-skating rink. WNYC’s Alana Casanova-Burgess reports on why the snow came, and what it meant to Puerto Ricans. 

Our story was produced in collaboration with “La Brega,” from WNYC Studios and Futuro Studios.

Dec 20, 2021
Will the Mark Meadows Revelations Change the January 6th Investigation?
21:48

On January 6th, as rioters attacked the United States Capitol, many people attempted to communicate with the President through his Chief of Staff, Mark Meadows. Some of those messages are among the thousands of documents that Meadows handed over to the House select committee investigating the events of January 6th. They reveal that Meadows was in touch with the organizers of the Stop the Steal Rally—which precipitated the riot—as well as with several Fox News personalities, conservative activists, and Donald Trump, Jr, who told Meadows that his father “has to lead now.” After surrendering the documents, Meadows suddenly announced that he would not testify before the panel. On Tuesday night, the House voted to recommend holding Meadows in criminal contempt of Congress, and referred his case to the Justice Department for prosecution. Susan B. Glasser, a New Yorker staff writer, joins Dorothy Wickenden to discuss what we’ve learned in recent weeks about the involvement of President Trump and his inner circle in the events of January 6th, and what those revelations might tell us about the future of Trump’s relationship with his party.

Dec 16, 2021
Millennial Writers Reflect on a Generation’s Despair
30:42

The eldest millennials turned forty this year, and the producer Ngofeen Mputubwele comments on a sense of despair he finds in his generation, having to do with the state of the planet, the nation, the Internet, intolerance, and more. He set out to explore why millennials feel hopeless and how they can live with that feeling, in conversations with five writers: Kaveh Akbar, the author of “Pilgrim Bell”; Carlos Maza, the creator of the video essay “How to Be Hopeless; Shauna McGarry, a writer on “BoJack Horseman”; Patrick Nathan, the author of “Image Control: Art, Facism, and the Right to Resist”; and the climate activist Daniel Sherrell, whose recent memoir is “Warmth: Coming of Age at the End of Our World.”

Dec 13, 2021
Lina Khan vs. Big Tech
26:39

Lina Khan first became known for a 2017 article she wrote for the Yale Law Journal, called "Amazon's Antitrust Paradox." Then a twenty-seven-year-old law student, she made strong arguments in favor of regulating big tech companies. The article established Khan as a central figure in a new generation of antitrust activists, who charge the government with complicity in corporate consolidation, and see the lack of regulation as contributing to social and economic disparities. Earlier this year, President Biden appointed Khan to be chair of the Federal Trade Commission, which enforces federal antitrust law. Sheelah Kolhatkar joins Dorothy Wickenden to discuss the history of monopolies in the U.S., how Lina Khan is aggressively pursuing malefactors in Silicon Valley, and the challenges she faces.

Dec 09, 2021
The Last Abortion Clinic in Mississippi
18:53

The Supreme Court last week heard oral arguments in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, a case that could lead to the closure of Mississippi’s last remaining abortion clinic. A law in the state bans most abortions after the fifteenth week of pregnancy—well before the time of fetal viability, which is the Supreme Court’s standard. The case asks the justices directly to overturn the precedents of Planned Parenthood v. Casey and Roe v. Wade. At the center of it is the abortion clinic in Jackson. Rachel Monroe spoke to its director, Shannon Brewer; a physician, who described the risks to abortion providers; and a patient, who had driven all night from Texas, where she had been unable to obtain an abortion. “Somebody else is telling me what I should do with my body, and it’s not right,” she said. “It’s my body. It’s my decision. It’s my choice. It’s my life. It’s my soul, if it’s going to Hell.”

Produced with assistance from Ezekiel Bandy and Kim Green.

Dec 06, 2021
How to Respond to the Omicron Variant
18:23
Last weekend, just as many Americans were returning from Thanksgiving feasts with family and friends, reports of a new coronavirus variant, called Omicron, began to proliferate worldwide. Though there is some preliminary evidence that Omicron may be more transmissible and less responsive to the current COVID-19 vaccines than previous variants, the scientific community has been clear that more data are needed before any conclusions can be drawn about the threat Omicron poses. Still, several countries, including the U.S., have instituted new travel restrictions and recommended increased masking and social distancing. Dhruv Khullar, a contributing writer for The New Yorker and a practicing physician, joins Carla Blumenkranz to discuss what is known about Omicron, how world leaders should respond to the discovery of new variants, and how we can learn to live with COVID.
Dec 02, 2021
Rachel Held Evans and Her Legacy
32:04

Growing up, Rachel Held Evans was a fiercely enthusiastic evangelizer for her faith, the kind of kid who relished the chance to sit next to an atheist. But when she experienced doubt, that sense of certainty began to crumble. “We went to all these conferences about how to defend your faith, how to have an answer for what you believe,” her sister Amanda Held told Eliza Griswold. “That’s why it was particularly unsettling to have questions, because we were taught to have answers.” Held Evans began to blog and then wrote a string of best-sellers about her faith, beginning with “Evolving in Monkey Town,” in which she separated the Jesus she believed in from the conservative doctrine she was raised with. Her work spoke to the millions of Christians who have left evangelical churches since 2006. “There’s this common misperception that either you are a conservative evangelical Christian or . . . you become agnostic or atheist,” Griswold explains, but many Christians were turning away from politics and still retaining their faith. She calls Held Evans “the patron saint of this emerging movement.” After Held Evans died, at thirty-seven, after a sudden illness, her final, incomplete manuscript was finished by a friend, Jeff Chu. Griswold travelled to Held Evans’s home town of Dayton, Tennessee, to meet with her widower, Dan Evans, as well as Chu and others. “I think people resonate so much with her work [because] she was giving words that people couldn’t say themselves,” Evans says. “It’s not going to stop for them just because Rachel died. There’s going to be one less traveller. One less person to translate for them. But there’s more people born every day.”

Nov 29, 2021
Mexican Abortion Activists Mobilize to Aid Texans
12:50

Mexico is a deeply Catholic nation where abortion was, for a long time, criminalized in many states; just a few years ago, Coahuila, near the U.S. border, imposed jail time on women who underwent the procedure. But, this year, as Stephania Taladrid reported, Mexico’s ten-member Supreme Court voted unanimously to decriminalize abortion throughout the country—a decision that shocked even longtime activists. Before Mexican pro-choice advocates had finished celebrating, though, they turned their attention north to Texas, which has, with Senate Bill 8, essentially banned most abortions. (The law is currently being reviewed by the U.S. Supreme Court.) Texans may now find themselves crossing the border to obtain legal abortions. Taladrid spoke to activists who are sending medications that induce abortion—which are available over the counter in Mexico—across the border into Texas. As the legal scholar Jeannie Suk Gersen explains, however, a new Texas law criminalizes delivering those medications to pregnant women, potentially placing these activists at risk.

Nov 22, 2021
Britney Spears, Free from the Conservatorship, but Not from the Public Eye
27:02

This month, Britney Spears was released from the conservatorship that had overseen her finances, communications, and professional and personal life for more than thirteen years. The details of the arrangement were shrouded in mystery and poorly covered by the media. But over the past two years, things started to change, as the #FreeBritney movement, as it was known, increasingly advocated for her autonomy, publicizing such restrictions as Spears’s inability to choose her own lawyer. Journalists and documentarians began to look into such abuses, and chronicled Spears’s attempts to get out from under the conservatorship’s control. In September, Spears’s father, Jamie, was removed, and this month the conservatorship was dissolved. Jia Tolentino, a New Yorker staff writer, joins Dorothy Wickenden to discuss how the media shaped Spears’s life and the role of online movements in effecting change.

Nov 18, 2021
The Essential Workers of the Climate Crisis
29:53

After storms and other climate disasters, legions of workers appear overnight to cover blown-out buildings with construction tarps, rip out ruined walls and floors, and start putting cities back together. They are largely migrants, predominantly undocumented, and lack basic protections for construction work. Their efforts are critical in an era of increasing climate-related disasters, but the workers are subject to hazards including accidents, wage theft, and deportation. “Right now, there is a base camp for the National Guard; FEMA officials in Louisiana are staying in hotels,” Saket Soni, the founder of the nonprofit group Resilience Force, tells Sarah Stillman. “But the workers who are doing the rebuilding with their hands are sleeping under their cars to protect themselves from rain.” Stillman travelled to Louisiana, to the parking lot of a Home Depot, to report on Soni’s effort to organize and win recognition for these laborers as a distinct workforce performing essential work. “These years ahead,” she notes, “are going to bring more brutal hurricanes, more awful floods, more terrifying wildfires, and heatwaves—more than any of us is really prepared to handle. … And what’s at stake is not just these workers’ fates but also our collective shared survival.”

Nov 15, 2021
Politics and Justice at the Kyle Rittenhouse Trial
15:23

In August, 2020, during a period of civil unrest after the police shooting of Jacob Blake in Kenosha, Wisconsin, the seventeen-year-old Kyle Rittenhouse shot three people, killing two and maiming the third. Rittenhouse’s actions ignited a political firestorm. To some, he was a right-wing vigilante radicalized by conservative rhetoric about the threat posed by progressive groups such as Black Lives Matter. To others, he had exercised his constitutional right to defend himself from violent attackers. Rittenhouse became an obsession for pundits and politicians on the left and the right. This month, a jury in Kenosha has been hearing testimony in Rittenhouse’s trial, and—barring a mistrial—will rule on his culpability in one of the most publicized and politicized killings in recent memory. Paige Williams joins Dorothy Wickenden to discuss the case, and the intersection of politics and justice.

Nov 11, 2021
Will the Office Survive the Pandemic?
15:20

Cal Newport, the author of “A World without Email” and other books, has been writing about how the shutdown has affected businesses and the culture of work. Remote operation, he says, has raised fundamental questions about the purpose of work, its role in our lives, and how productivity is measured. While most companies are asking employees to return to the office as the pandemic eases, Newport predicts that economic forces will eventually drive an exodus toward permanent remote work. Tech companies that launched as fully remote operations, he thinks, have a head start on the economic advantages of ditching the office for good.

Nov 08, 2021
Was Last Week Really So Bad for the Democrats?
22:05

This week, the Republican Glenn Youngkin defeated the Democrat Terry McAuliffe to become the next governor of Virginia. Meanwhile, in New Jersey, the Democrat Phil Murphy narrowly won a gubernatorial race he was expected to dominate. The results further destabilize a Democratic Party struggling to find consensus on the infrastructure and social-spending bills, which are the backbone of President Biden’s legislative agenda. Susan B. Glasser joins Dorothy Wickenden to discuss tensions within the Democratic Party, and what this week’s election results portend for the 2022 midterms and beyond.

Nov 04, 2021
The Nobel Prize Winner Maria Ressa on the Turmoil at Facebook
13:30

The roughly ten thousand company documents that make up the Facebook Papers show a company in turmoil—and one that prioritizes its economic interests over known harms to public interest. Among other things, they catalogue the company’s persistent failure to control disinformation and hate speech. David Remnick spoke with Maria Ressa, an investigative journalist, in the Philippines, who runs the news organization Rappler. She has been the target of hate campaigns by supporters of Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte, and in October Ressa (along with the Russian journalist Dmitry Muratov) received the Nobel Peace Prize for working to protect freedom of expression. Ressa is also a co-founder of what’s called the Real Facebook Oversight Board, a group of expert observers and critics who are not affiliated with Facebook’s own quasi-independent Oversight Board.  She doesn’t see easy tweaks to ameliorate the damage; the fundamental approach of steering content to users to maximize engagement, she feels, is inherently destructive. “We’ve adapted this hook, line, and sinker: ‘personalization is better,’ ” Ressa points out. “It does make the company more money, but is that the right thing? Personalization also tears apart a shared reality.”

Nov 01, 2021
Is the Virginia Governor’s Race a Preview of the 2022 Midterms?
16:47

Next Tuesday, Virginia voters will go to the polls to elect a new governor, choosing between the Democrat Terry McAuliffe and the Republican Glenn Youngkin. Pundits have been describing the race as an indicator for the 2022 midterm elections across the country. Both candidates have seized on the broader messages of their parties. Youngkin has used the culture wars to woo voters; McAuliffe has recruited former President Barack Obama to campaign with him. Benjamin Wallace-Wells, a New Yorker staff writer, joins Dorothy Wickenden to discuss Virginia’s close gubernatorial race, and what it could mean for 2022 and beyond.

Oct 28, 2021
How a Girls’ School Fled Afghanistan as the Taliban Took Over
18:01

In the summer, Shabana Basij-Rasikh came on the Radio Hour to speak with Sue Halpern about founding the School of Leadership Afghanistan—known as SOLAwhich was the country’s only boarding school for girls. She and those around her were watching the Taliban’s resurgence in the provinces anxiously, but with determination. “It’s likely that Taliban could disrupt life temporarily here in Kabul,” one woman told Basij-Rasikh, “but we’re not going to go back to that time. We’re going to fight them.” 

 

In fact, Basij-Rasikh had already been forming a plan to take her girls’ school abroad, and soon settled on Rwanda. When the U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan led to a precipitous collapse of the government, she suddenly had to sneak nearly two hundred and fifty students, staff, faculty, and family members to the airport to flee as refugees. She seems traumatized by the terror of that experience. “That thought still haunts me—it suddenly takes over all my senses in a way, just this idea of ‘what if’? What if we lost a student?” She spoke with Halpern about the evacuation to Rwanda, and what she hopes for as the school resettles.

Oct 25, 2021
The Complicated Legacy of Colin Powell
19:49
Oct 21, 2021
Jon Stewart: “That’s Not Cancel Culture”
21:20

“The Daily Show with Jon Stewart” defined an era. For more than sixteen years, Stewart and his many correspondents skewered American politics. At the 2021 New Yorker Festival, Stewart spoke with David Remnick about his new show, “The Problem with Jon Stewart”; the potential return of Donald Trump to the White House; and the controversy around cancel culture in comedy. “What do we do for a living?” Stewart asks, of comedians. “We criticize, we postulate, we opine, we make jokes, and now other people are having their say. And that’s not cancel culture, that’s relentlessness.”

Oct 18, 2021
The U.K.’s “Funkapolitan” Conservative Party Struggles with the Effects of Brexit and the Pandemic
20:52

The United Kingdom officially withdrew from the European Union on January 31, 2020. On that day, the first cases of COVID-19 were officially confirmed in Britain. Like every other country, the U.K. has had trouble containing the pandemic—the economic devastation, the implementation of lockdowns, the distribution of vaccines. But it has had another challenge, as it tries to redefine its place in the international diplomatic order and in the global economy. All of this has come at a time of deep division in the country’s politics: Prime Minister Boris Johnson has been accused of failing to address Brexit-related shortages of workers and supplies, and of mismanaging the government’s response to the pandemic. And the Labour Party, under the leadership of Keir Starmer, has failed to mount a popular or effective opposition. Sam Knight, a New Yorker staff writer, joins Dorothy Wickenden to discuss how Brexit has affected conditions in the U.K., and the state of the Conservative and Labour Parties as the country faces a winter of food and fuel shortages.

Oct 14, 2021
Attorney General Merrick Garland, Interviewed by Jane Mayer
16:53

At the 2021 New Yorker Festival, the investigative journalist Jane Mayer sat down for a conversation with Merrick Garland, the longtime federal judge now serving as President Biden’s Attorney General. Mayer asked about the central role that the Department of Justice plays in some of the most critical issues of our time: racial justice, domestic terrorism, threats to voting rights and abortion access, and the looming power of big tech companies.

Oct 11, 2021
How Many Scandals Can Facebook Survive?
20:12

Last month, the Wall Street Journal began publishing a series of reports called “The Facebook Files.” Based on leaked internal documents, the series highlights how Facebook has stoked fear, anger, and division in order to increase user engagement—and how it then failed to effectively fight the spread of misinformation and the use of its platform to exploit and abuse vulnerable communities around the world. This week, Frances Haugen, a former data engineer at Facebook, revealed herself to be the whistle-blower who leaked the documents to the Journal, and on Tuesday she provided explosive testimony before a Senate subcommittee. The company has announced no significant plans to change its operating structure. Andrew Marantz joins Dorothy Wickenden to discuss the latest uproar over Facebook, and what can be done to drastically change its practices.

Oct 07, 2021
Jonathan Franzen Talks with David Remnick About “Crossroads”
26:58

Jonathan Franzen’s sixth novel, “Crossroads,” is set in 1971, and the title is firmly on the nose: the Hildebrand family is at a crossroads itself, just as the America of that moment seemed poised to come apart. In the course of his career, Franzen has evolved away from an early postmodernist sensibility that highlighted “bravura” writing, and “with this book I threw away all the po-mo hijinks and the grand plot elements,” he tells David Remnick. “It’s really only in the course of writing ‘Crossroads’ that I have said to myself, What I am is a novelist of character and psychology. . . . It’s not about formal experimentation and it’s certainly not about changing the world through my social commentary.” Franzen also discusses the complex ethics behind writing a character of another race, and takes issue with the belief of some in the academy (and much of the political right) that leftist sensibilities are stifling free expression; he declined to sign the “Harper’s Letter” last year. Despite political polarization, Franzen says, “It’s a much better time to be an American writer than I would have guessed twenty-five years ago.”

Oct 04, 2021
Recurring Nightmares on Rikers Island
21:23

The first jail on Rikers Island opened in 1932, and the complex has since expanded to include ten jails holding thousands of inmates every day. Violence among Rikers inmates is common, and there are accusations of mistreatment, neglect, and abuse by correction officers and the facility’s administrators. Despite promises by city and state officials to reform Rikers, this year alone twelve people held there have died—two in the past week and at least five by suicide. Jennifer Gonnerman joins Dorothy Wickenden to discuss the history of Rikers, why this year is proving particularly deadly, and what the detention center reveals about the incarceration system in the U.S. today.

Sep 30, 2021
Andreas Malm on the Environmental Movement and “Intelligent Sabotage”
21:04

Andreas Malm, a climate activist and senior lecturer at Lund University, in Sweden, studies the relationship between climate change and capitalism. With the United Nations climate meeting in Glasgow rapidly approaching—it begins on October 31st—Malm tells David Remnick that he believes environmentalists should not place too much faith in talks or treaties of this kind. Instead, he insists that the climate movement rethink its roots in nonviolence. His book is provocatively titled “How To Blow Up A Pipeline,” though it is not exactly an instruction manual. Malm advocates for “intelligent sabotage” of fossil-fuel infrastructure to prevent more carbon from being emitted in the atmosphere. “I am in favor of destroying machines, property—not harming people. That’s a very important distinction,” he tells Remnick.

Sep 27, 2021
Biden’s Big Economic Gamble
26:26

Even before his election, Joe Biden described the upheaval caused by the coronavirus pandemic as an opportunity to reform the American economy. Now, after months of negotiations, Biden’s trillion-dollar infrastructure plan will soon come up for a vote in the House, and Democrats expect to pass an enormous social-safety-net package through budget reconciliation. At the same time, the federal government is approaching the debt ceiling, and a government shutdown could occur as soon as next week if a stopgap funding bill isn’t passed. The New Yorker staff writer John Cassidy joins Dorothy Wickenden to discuss Biden’s attempt to create a more equitable economy amid some strong opposition within his own party.

Sep 23, 2021
Jelani Cobb on the Kerner Report, an Unheeded Warning about the Consequences of Racism
18:55

In 1967, in the wake of a violent uprising in Detroit, President Lyndon B. Johnson assembled the National Advisory Commission on Civil Disorders to investigate what had happened. This seemed futile: another panel to investigate yet another uprising. “A lot of people felt that way—‘We don’t need more studies, nothing’s going to come out of that commission,’ ” Fred Harris, a former senator from Oklahoma and the commission’s last surviving member, tells Jelani Cobb. But the conclusions were not typical at all. In the final analysis, known as the Kerner Report, the commission named white racism—no euphemisms—as the root cause of unrest in the United States, and said that the country was moving toward two societies, one Black, one White—separate and unequal.” The report called for sweeping changes and investments in jobs, housing, policing, and more; the recommendations went so far beyond Johnson’s anti-poverty programs of the nineteen-sixties that the President shelved the report and refused to meet with his own commission. The Kerner Report, Cobb says, was “an unheeded warning,” as America still struggles today to acknowledge the reality of systemic racism. 

Jelani Cobb co-edited and wrote the introduction to “The Essential Kerner Commission Report,” which was published this year.

Sep 20, 2021
American Rage
27:26

Over the past year, public meetings have become scenes of chaos. Debates about the results of the 2020 election, race, abortion, voting access, and the COVID-19 vaccine have erupted in displays of frustration, rage, and sometimes in violence. This week, Evan Osnos, a New Yorker staff writer, published “Wildland: The Making of America’s Fury.” It’s a portrait of a country in political and moral crisis. Osnos joins Dorothy Wickenden to discuss the roots of American fear and anger, and what the current manifestations of such emotions reveal about dangerous fault lines in the U.S.

Sep 16, 2021
What’s the Future of the Taliban?
11:37

The U.S. invasion of Afghanistan began less than three weeks after the September 11th attacks, and forces finally withdrew just weeks before the twentieth anniversary of 9/11. The Taliban are once again in power, and claim to have adopted more permissive stances on issues like women’s rights and education. “We should be very skeptical of these sorts of claims,” Anand Gopal, who has reported extensively on the group, says. While Taliban senior leadership and diplomats may crave foreign recognition and investment, many supporters feel “that the Taliban should be trying to return to the nineteen-nineties,” Gopal tells David Remnick. “There’s a minority of the movement who say all the right things, who are a little more polished, who’ve spent time outside the country. But they don’t really have the power on the ground.”

Sep 13, 2021
In Texas, a Cruel and Ingenious Plan to Sidestep Roe v. Wade
23:42

Texas Senate Bill 8, known as the “Texas Heartbeat Act,” allows private citizens in Texas to sue anyone who aids in an abortion after a fetal heartbeat is detected. The law effectively outlaws the vast majority of abortions in Texas, but its supporters argue that it does not violate the precedent set by Roe v. Wade, because individuals, not the state, are enforcing the ban. The United States Supreme Court chose not to block the new law from going into effect, but, in a dissenting opinion, Justice Sonia Sotomayor called S.B. 8 “a flagrantly unconstitutional law engineered to prohibit women from exercising their constitutional rights and evade judicial scrutiny.” Margaret Talbot joins Dorothy Wickenden to discuss the Texas law and the ongoing effort to erode abortion rights.

Sep 09, 2021
The Child Tax Credit: One Small Step Toward Universal Basic Income?
21:32

The child tax credit, received by more than thirty-five million families, isn’t entirely new. But the way it’s distributed is almost a revolution in American politics: instead of showing up once a year at tax time, the government also provides money ahead of time, in predictable monthly payments. Wide-scale, direct cash payments are anathema to Reagan-era austerity economics. Is this policy the first sign that that consensus may be coming to an end? David Remnick talks with Senator Michael Bennet, of Colorado, who campaigned for the Presidency on this issue in 2020, and is now fighting to extend the tax credits indefinitely. 

For Sheelah Kolhatkar, who covers economics and business, the child tax credit can be seen as a kind of scale model of universal basic income. She moderates a conversation between two academics on different sides of the issue: Michael Strain, a senior fellow and the director of economic-policy studies at the American Enterprise Institute, and Amy Castro, an assistant professor at the University of Pennsylvania. Castro leads the Stockton Experiment, a small-scale U.B.I. project in the California city that, she says, has surprisingly robust results.

Sep 06, 2021
Will Taliban-Controlled Afghanistan Be a Haven for Terrorism?
25:17
Sep 03, 2021
Kim Stanley Robinson on “Utopian” Science Fiction
18:18

One of the premier writers of thinky sci-fi, Kim Stanley Robinson opened his book “The Ministry for the Future” with an all too plausible scenario: a lethal heat wave descends on India, with vast, horrifying consequences. It’s a sobering read, especially after July, 2021, was declared the hottest month on record. And yet Robinson tells Bill McKibben that his work is not dystopian; his central concern is how the globe could respond to such a disaster and begin to halt the momentum of global warming. “That whole dystopian postapocalyptic strain—it doesn’t serve as a warning, it doesn’t make you change your behavior,” Robinson notes. “I reject all that. I write as a utopian science-fiction writer.” But, “at the moment we’re at right now in world history,” he admits, “I have to set a pretty low bar for ‘utopia.’ If we dodge a mass-extinction event in this century, that’s utopian writing. That’s the best we can expect from where we are right now. Having put that story on the table as being possible, it suggests that we ought to be trying for it.”

Aug 30, 2021
Jiayang Fan on Navigating Her Mother’s Illness While Becoming a Target for Chinese Nationalists
25:29

Jiayang Fan immigrated to the United States from China at age seven. Her mother, who had been a doctor, cleaned houses in Greenwich, Connecticut, so that Fan could attend good schools. In 2011, Fan’s mother was diagnosed with A.L.S., and Fan oversaw her care as her condition worsened. When the COVID-19 lockdown threatened to separate her mother from the health aides who kept her alive, Fan spoke out on social media. In response, she received a torrent of threats against her life and that of her mother. Fan joins Dorothy Wickenden to discuss how she and her mother struggled to adjust to American culture, and how she became a target for anti-American sentiments in China.

This episode originally aired on September 10, 2020.

Aug 26, 2021
Dexter Filkins on the Fall of Afghanistan
16:36

Dexter Filkins covered the American invasion of Afghanistan when he was a reporter for the New York Times, and has continued to report on conflicts in the region for The New Yorker. Filkins’s best-seller from 2008 carried the resonant title “The Forever War.” Thirteen years after the book’s publication, the forever war is over, but its end has been the chaotic worst-case scenario that many feared. Filkins talks with David Remnick about whether it had to go this way, and whether twenty years of war changed America more than it did Afghanistan.

Aug 23, 2021
Trying to Save U.S. Allies in Afghanistan
20:06

Twelve years ago, David Rohde, then a reporter for the New York Times, was kidnapped by the Taliban outside of Kabul. Seven months later, he escaped confinement alongside the Afghan journalist Tahir Luddin. Luddin subsequently immigrated to the U.S., and has become an American citizen, but his family—including his wife and several of his children—still live in Kabul. With the announcement of the U.S. troop withdrawal in Afghanistan and the growing influence of the Taliban in the country, Rohde has worked with Luddin to bring his family to the United States. But, despite their efforts and the assurances of the U.S. State Department, Luddin’s wife and children remain in Afghanistan, and now fear Taliban reprisal for their attempts to leave. David Rohde joins Carla Blumenkranz, filling in for Dorothy Wickenden, to discuss the plight of Afghans who are trying to flee the country, and what the Biden Administration can do now to save the lives of its allies in Afghanistan.

Aug 19, 2021
A Progressive Parent Confronts Segregated Schooling
19:50

As a new arrival in Oakland, California, Courtney Martin wondered why there were no white kids on the playground of her nearby elementary school. That school, other white parents told her euphemistically, was “not a good fit” for their children; she found that the school had received a score of one out of ten on a school-data Web site. Martin began looking into the vexed racial dynamics in urban public schools. “Here we all are,” she said, in a conversation with Andrew Marantz. “Progressive people who have moved [to Oakland] . . . to live in multiracial, urban community. And then we’re going to very specifically try not to go to the school with kids of color.” Integration, according to educational research, aids outcomes for children of color. But her child’s Black teacher told Martin that she was skeptical of how this finding created the notion that white students are needed to “save” a public school. Martin wrote about these complex moral choices in “Learning in Public: Lessons for a Racially Divided America from My Daughter’s School.”

Aug 16, 2021
The “Unequivocal” Human Effect on the Climate
22:37

This week, the United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change released a report confirming what a summer of wildfires, floods, and record temperatures had suggested: the planet is warming fast, and human are unquestionably responsible. However, the window to take action to fight climate change is not yet closed. Elizabeth Kolbert joins Evan Osnos, filling in for Dorothy Wickenden, to discuss the I.P.C.C. report; the politics of climate change; and her recent reporting from the Utah-Arizona border, where climate change has had a surprising effect on a national landmark.

Aug 12, 2021
Atul Gawande Discusses the COVID-19 Resurgence
14:23

For a few brief moments this summer, in places where the vaccination rate was high, we could imagine life after COVID-19: restaurants and theatres were filling up, gatherings of all kinds were taking place, and many businesses were planning to return to their offices after Labor Day. Then the story changed, as the highly contagious Delta variant began sweeping the nation. Atul Gawande, a professor of medicine and an internationally recognized expert on public health, tells David Remnick that the Delta surge has also caused a vaccination surge, which is promising. They discuss the idea of booster shots and the possibility of a future variant that would resist the vaccine and cause more severe breakthrough infections. The Lambda variant, Gawande says, has already reached the U.S., but little is known yet about how it responds to the vaccines in use here. 

 

(Gawande has been nominated by President Biden to lead global health development, including COVID-19 efforts, for the United States Agency for International Development. The appointment awaits confirmation in the Senate.)

Aug 09, 2021
How Arizona Became Ground Zero for Conservative Disinformation About Voter Fraud
21:20

After Joe Biden won Arizona in 2020, Donald Trump began complaining, contrary to fact, that voter fraud took place there and across the country, stealing the election from him. Four audits have since taken place in Arizona, upholding Biden’s victory, but donors are funding yet another ballot count, this time run by the firm Cyber Ninjas. Jane Mayer joins Dorothy Wickenden to discuss the long-running drama in Arizona, and the dark money behind efforts to stoke distrust in the voting system and to undermine the 2024 election.

Aug 05, 2021
John Kerry on the Battle Against Climate Change
14:37

With the world overheating, glaciers melting, and landscapes in flames, it’s difficult to think of a harder or more important job than John Kerry’s. The former senator and Secretary of State is now the special Presidential envoy for climate, a Cabinet-level post created by President Biden. Kerry talks with David Remnick about reasserting the United States’ fitness to lead on global climate action in the wake of Trump Administration policies, and about how to get allies and adversaries to engage in the battle together. He is heading to Glasgow for talks that aim to hold the warming level to 1.5 degrees Celsius. “Imagine what happens at 1.5, if you already see what’s happening at 1.2,” Kerry exclaims. “Is that what we want? You would think not!” 

Aug 02, 2021
Can “Alternative Facts” Survive the January 6th Investigation?
21:47

In the immediate aftermath of January 6th, politicians from both parties vilified the mob’s assault. But Republicans scuttled plans for an independent commission to investigate the riot, and the select committee organized by House Democrats has been repeatedly attacked by Republicans. Still, this week, on the first day of hearings, several officers who attempted to defend the building and members of Congress inside painted a vivid, agonizing picture of what took place. Susan B. Glasser, a New Yorker staff writer, joins Dorothy Wickenden to discuss the hearings and how some prominent conservatives are beginning to defy Trump on vaccination and on a bipartisan infrastructure deal.

Jul 29, 2021
Eric Adams Talks with David Remnick
23:02

The New York City mayoral primary, which culminated in a vote held in June, was full of surprises, including the introduction of ranked-choice voting to a confused electorate, and the presence of Andrew Yang, a newcomer to municipal politics who quickly attained front-runner status. But the winning Democrat was no surprise. Eric Adams is the borough president of Brooklyn and a former state senator, making him an establishment favorite. He was also, for more than two decades, a police officer. With policing at the center of public attention since last year’s uprising of the Black Lives Matter movement, Adams occupies a unique position in the debate. He was a firebrand in the N.Y.P.D. and an advocate for Black officers; and he was, as a teen-age boy, a victim of police abuse himself. But Adams is also a strong defender of the police department. He has spoken about the correct way to implement stop-and-frisk policies, which have been previously carried out in ways that were ruled unconstitutional. He rebuked candidates to his left who talked about defunding the force. And he made the national spike in violent crime part of his candidacy, when others focussed their platforms elsewhere.  

 

The nation’s cities face a budgetary crisis, the COVID crisis, a crisis of confidence in policing, and more. Adams doesn’t seem fazed. “We need to be very honest that our city is dysfunctional. And it always has been for a large number of New Yorkers,” he told David Remnick. “I could take you throughout the city where the conditions have remained the same through mayor after mayor. What I must do is stop the dysfunctionality of a city that has normalized being dysfunctional.” Remnick spoke with Adams on July 21, 2021.

Jul 25, 2021
A Former Olympian Discusses the Tribulations of Tokyo 2020
21:52

The opening ceremony for the 2020 Summer Olympics, in Tokyo, is scheduled for Friday. With COVID{:.small}-19 cases spiking worldwide, and Japan under a state of emergency, many wonder whether the Olympics should be cancelled. Angela Ruggiero competed in four Olympic Games as a member of the U.S. Women’s Hockey Team, winning a gold medal at the 1998 Winter Olympics, in Nagano. Ruggiero has since served on the International Olympic Committee and the U.S. Olympic Committee, and helped to organize Los Angeles’s successful bid to host the 2028 summer games. She joins the New Yorker staff writer Louisa Thomas to discuss the challenges in Tokyo and what these Games could mean for the future of the Olympics.

 

Jul 22, 2021
Afghanistan’s Only All-Girls Boarding School Fears for the Return of the Taliban
17:23

Since the U.S. withdrawal began, Taliban forces have re-captured more than a quarter of Afghanistan’s districts. Shabana Basij-Rasikh is the co-founder of the country’s only all-girls boarding school, and she is anxiously waiting to see if the Taliban—which brutally opposes the education of girls and women—will make inroads in Kabul. At SOLA, the School of Leadership Afghanistan, students are free from the threats and violence that is commonly suffered in villages, and the expectations of housework that interfere with studying. Basij-Rasikh told the staff writer Sue Halpern how she was educated secretly, during the Taliban’s rule, and about her belief that Kabul will not fall to the group’s resurgence. “I was speaking with a young woman and she said, ‘Yes, sure, the Taliban will kill more of us. The Taliban will kill a lot more of us. But they will never, ever rule over us.’ ”

Jul 19, 2021
Tough Tests in Cuba and Haiti for Biden’s Foreign Policy
26:13

This week, protests erupted in cities and towns across Cuba as people responded to food and medicine shortages, and to a gutted economy made even worse by the COVID-19 pandemic. At the same time, Haiti is facing widespread instability after the assassination of President Jovenel Moïse. President Biden's foreign policy thus far has focused on the threats posed by Russia and China, but now Biden finds himself confronting immediate challenges only ninety miles south of the U.S. border. Jon Lee Anderson joins Dorothy Wickenden to discuss Cuba, Haiti, and the past and future of American foreign policy in the region.

Jul 15, 2021
Ronan Farrow and Jia Tolentino on Britney Spears’s Conservatorship
31:40

Britney Spears has been one of the world’s most prominent pop stars since her début, in the late nineteen-nineties. But, since 2008, she’s been under a court-ordered conservatorship—a form of legal guardianship—which has restricted nearly all aspects of her life. Details about the arrangement have been kept out of public view, all while Spears has continued to turn out records and perform lucrative shows, earning millions of dollars for those around her. But the pop star is now directly confronting the people and structures that have ruled her life for the past decade. In recent court testimony, Spears openly detailed her experience under the conservatorship for the first time. She demanded her liberty and expressed her anger, profound sadness, and frustration. She even alleged that her conservatorship, which is led by her father, prevented her from getting an IUD removed from her body, which the family denies. The staff writers Ronan Farrow and Jia Tolentino have investigated how Spears wound up in this situation, in the article “Britney Spears’s Conservatorship Nightmare.” They speak with David Remnick about Spears’s life under relentless public scrutiny, her cultural significance, and the thorny legal problems posed by conservatorships. “Conservatorships essentially deem someone incapacitated,” Tolentino says. “And from that point, because they do remove your rights by necessity, they sort of foreclose the possibility of proving or gaining capacity to anyone under it.”

 

Jul 12, 2021
The Newspaperman Who Documented Black Tulsa at Its Height
34:08

In the years leading up to the horrific Tulsa massacre of 1921, the Greenwood district was a thriving Black metropolis, a city within a city. Buoyed by money from Oklahoma’s oil boom, it was home to the original Cotton Club and to one of the first Black-owned daily newspapers in the United States, the Tulsa Star. The Star’s founder and editor was A. J. Smitherman, a lawyer and the Alabama-born son of a coal miner. He addressed his eloquence and his ire at local nuisances like prostitution and gambling halls, as well as the gravest injustices of American life. The Radio Hour’s KalaLea is the host of “Blindspot: Tulsa Burning.” She looks in this story at how Smitherman documented Greenwood at its height, and how he tried to prevent its destruction. 

“Blind Spot: Tulsa Burning” is a six-part podcast co-produced by the History Channel and WNYC Studios, in collaboration with KOSU and Focus Black Oklahoma. The team includes Caroline Lester, Alana Casanova-Burgess, Joe Plourde, Emily Mann, Jenny Lawton, Emily Botein, Quraysh Ali Lansana, Bracken Klar, Rachel Hubbard, Anakwa Dwamena, Jami Floyd, and Cheryl Devall. The music is by Hannis Brown, Am’re Ford, Isaac Jones, and Chad Taylor. The executive producers at the History Channel are Eli Lehrer and Jessie Katz. Raven Majia Williams is a consulting producer. Special thanks to Herb Boyd, Kelly Gillespie, Shelley Miller, Jodi-Ann Malarbe, Jennifer Lazo, Andrew Golis, Celia Muller, and Andy Lanset. Maurice Jones was the voice of A. J. Smitherman. Additional voices: Terrance McKnight, Dar es Salaam Riser, Javana Mundy, John Biewen, Jack Fowler, Tangina Stone, Emani Johnston, Danny Wolohan, and Jay Allison.

Jul 05, 2021
The New Culture Wars Over American History
23:14
In September, 2020, the writer Christopher Rufo appeared on “Tucker Carlson Tonight” to discuss the threat posed by “critical race theory.” Rufo had come across the term while looking into the origins of the anti-racism movement, and saw its potential as a conservative target. In the months since, critical race theory has been condemned by President Trump, outlawed by several state legislatures, and endlessly debated in town halls and school-board meetings. The uproar, largely manufactured by Rufo and amplified by conservative activists in government and in the media, goes hand in hand with the controversies around the Times’ 1619 Project, and with the resistance to the movement to take down Confederate monumentsBenjamin Wallace-Wells, a New Yorker staff writer, joins Dorothy Wickenden to discuss the furor over critical race theory, and how to understand the current rethinking of the country’s past.
Jul 02, 2021
The Unhoused House Sitters of Los Angeles
18:43

More than half a million people in America today lack housing. Some sixty-six thousand live in Los Angeles County alone. Among them is Augustus Evans, whose desire for steady work was thwarted by a felony record for bank robbery. Evans has been homeless for about a decade, but, for more than seven years, he’s kept a roof over his head and put some money in his pocket by house-sitting, as a form of gig work. A company called Weekend Warriors pays him eight hundred dollars a month to provide twenty-four-hour security for temporarily vacant properties in and around Los Angeles, most of which are in the process of being flipped. Evans has lived in more than twenty houses; he often has to chase off squatters—other unhoused people, and sometimes drug addicts, seeking shelter in the same places. Though he appreciates what he calls “shelter with pay,” he understands all too well how the real-estate industry is exploiting people. “They know the people going to default on a loan, they’ll go into foreclosure, and they’re going to take it back so the people lose,” Evans told the New Yorker contributor Francesca Mari, who wrote about him. “What it comes down to is, what kind of compassion do they have in the heart of the people who are running things? People don’t have sympathy on you when you ain’t got no place to go, and ain’t got the money to pay for it.”

Jun 28, 2021
Stonewall Manchin
24:13

Over the first five months of Biden's presidency, with the Democrats holding the slimmest possible majority in the Senate, President Biden has consistently run into the resistance of one man: Senator Joe Manchin of West Virginia. Biden's policy agenda requires cooperation from every Democrat in the Senate, but Manchin, a moderate who values bipartisanship above almost all else, has broken with the president on staff appointments, raising the corporate tax rate, and eliminating the filibuster, and he has forced the Democrats to change legislation on COVID-relief and election reform. Evan Osnos joins Dorothy Wickenden to discuss Manchin's emergence as the most powerful man in the Senate, and how Biden is attempting to get him on board. 

Jun 24, 2021
Naftali Bennett and the New Hard Line in Israeli Politics
13:17

In 2013, David Remnick published a profile of Naftali Bennett.  He wrote that Bennett was something new in Israeli politics, a man who would “build a sturdy electoral bridge between the religious and the secular, the hilltop outposts of the West Bank and the start-up suburbs.” Though religiously observant, Bennett was cosmopolitan: fluent on Facebook, and as quick to quote Seinfeld as he was the Talmud. He had been a leader of the settler movement, and, although he lived in a modern house in a well-to-do Tel Aviv suburb, there was no ambiguity about Bennett’s hard-line stance on the Palestinian question. He disdained the peace process of an earlier time. “I will do everything in my power to make sure they never get a state,” he told Remnick. “No more illusions.”


Bennett has now unseated his former boss, Benjamin Netanyahu, as Prime Minister of Israeli. Remnick spoke with two writers in the region about this political upheaval. Raja Shehadeh, who is based in Ramallah, says that the changing of the guard will mean little on the West Bank, where the recent bloody conflict was a propaganda victory for Hamas. Ruth Margalit, who is based in Tel Aviv, says that, while the peace movement seems all but dead, the changing of a political epoch, and the presence of the first Arab-Israeli party ever represented in the Knesset, has to be seen as an opportunity for change.

Jun 21, 2021
Merrick Garland's Impossible Job
17:38

Merrick Garland made his legal reputation as a temperate moderate dedicated to keeping politics out of the justice system. Yet in the past few years, he has found himself at the center of two of the most fiercely partisan episodes in recent history. First, his nomination to the Supreme Court was blocked by obstructionist Republicans. And now, as Attorney General, he has to craft a legal response to the excesses of the Trump Administration. He has already become a target for conservatives, who are portraying him as Joe Biden’s lackey, and progressives, who view him as insufficiently tough on the former President. David Rohde, an executive editor of NewYorker.com, joins Dorothy Wickenden to discuss the minefield that Garland is navigating, and how his decisions will affect the country in the coming months and years.

Jun 17, 2021
A Rift over Racism Divides the Southern Baptist Convention
15:42

Next week, the Southern Baptist Convention will hold its annual meeting. It’s the largest Protestant denomination in the country, and, as the group gathers to elect a new president, it is facing a crisis of identity. At issue is critical-race theory, which the presidential candidate Pastor Mike Stone and many other conservatives have called an extra-Biblical and even demonic source of division and strife. Eliza Griswold has been reporting on a moral crisis within the S.B.C. and emerging fissures between American evangelicals. In 2017, the Reverend Dwight McKissic put forward a resolution condemning alt-right white supremacy, which failed twice before being passed. “It was a feeling of shock. I was stunned, actually,” he told Griswold. “Black pastors were coming to me saying, ‘We’re out. We feel like the Other here.’ ”

Jun 14, 2021
Naomi Osaka and the Rights of Professional Athletes
20:44

Last month, Naomi Osaka, the second-ranked women’s tennis player in the world, announced that she would not speak to the press during the French Open. The referee fined her fifteen thousand dollars, and the leaders of the four Grand Slam tournaments threatened her with harsher penalties. In response, Osaka dropped out. Her withdrawal has brought further attention to the power dynamics of professional sports, where wealthy league bosses, the media, and fans exert tremendous pressure on players. Louisa Thomas joins Dorothy Wickenden to discuss how athletes are using their fame and visibility to reshape professional sports.

Jun 11, 2021
The Early Days of ACT-UP, and Its Lessons for Today’s Activists
17:01

Sarah Schulman is a novelist and playwright as well as a well-known activist and documentarian. She was an early member of the AIDS Coalition to Unleash Power, and, for twenty years, she and the filmmaker Jim Hubbard have run the ACT UP Oral History Project, interviewing surviving members of the group. Out of that work comes a new history of ACT UP in its early days, “Let the Record Show: A Political History of the AIDS Coalition to Unleash Power, New York, 1987-93.” Schulman talks with David Remnick about the group’s successes, its lessons for young activists, and also its greatest failing. “We were able to defeat H.I.V.,” she said. “But we couldn’t defeat capitalism. And we still don’t have a workable health-care system in this country.”

Jun 07, 2021
Biden’s Plan to Reshape the American Economy
19:45

A semblance of pre-pandemic life has resumed across the country, but the economic signs are mixed, even after the strong jobs report for May. Supply chains are bottlenecked, unemployment is just under six per cent, and fiscal conservatives warn about inflation. President Biden has stated to Congress, in defense of his stimulus plans and of his six-trillion-dollar budget, that “trickle-down economics has never worked,” and that the best way to strengthen the economy is from the bottom up, not the top down. John Cassidy joins Dorothy Wickenden to discuss the political perils and promise of Bidenomics.

Jun 04, 2021