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Matter of Opinion

Author: New York Times Opinion

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Thoughts, aloud. Hosted by Michelle Cottle, Ross Douthat, Carlos Lozada and Lydia Polgreen. Every Friday, from New York Times Opinion.

Listen to this podcast in New York Times Audio, our new iOS app for news subscribers. Download now at nytimes.com/audioapp
267 Episodes
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This week, the hosts debate how religious voters will react to Donald Trump’s betrayal of anti-abortion positions, the evolution of Christianity as the domain of the right and whether religion is actually as powerful as it seems in modern U.S. politics.Plus, Ross finds aliens, again.(A full transcript of this audio essay will be available within 24 hours of publication on the Times website.)Mentioned in this episode: “This Is Probably Not the Deal the Pro-Life Movement Bargained for With Trump” by Ross Douthat“Can the Left Be Happy?” by Ross DouthatThoughts about the show? Email us at matterofopinion@nytimes.com or leave a voicemail at (212) 556-7440.
It’s not just bad vibes — America’s kids are not OK. As study after study shows worsening youth mental health, a popular theory has emerged: The rise of smartphones and the addictive nature of social media is making young people miserable. But can it really be that simple?This week, the hosts debate the myriad possible factors contributing to teenagers’ unhappiness, and discuss how parents, schools and the government can protect kids without doing further harm. Plus, a sui generis Lozada family vacation.(A full transcript of this audio essay will be available within 24 hours of publication on the Times website.)Recommended in this episode:“The Anxious Generation,” by Jonathan Haidt“Reclaiming Conversation,” by Sherry Turkle“A Canticle for Leibowitz,” by Walter M. Miller Jr.Thoughts about the show? Email us at matterofopinion@nytimes.com or leave a voicemail at (212) 556-7440.
The sociologist and New York Times columnist Tressie McMillan Cottom joins the hosts this week to discuss the role of celebrity in politics. Could Beyoncé and Taylor Swift, with their tens of millions of fans, sway the presidential election? And beyond brand-name pop stars, what role does celebrity play within the political system?Plus, Tressie goes a little “Dr. Oz” on us.(A full transcript of this audio essay will be available within 24 hours of publication in the audio player above.)Thoughts about the show? Email us at matterofopinion@nytimes.com or leave a voicemail at (212) 556-7440.
Texts From the Swamp

Texts From the Swamp

2024-03-2237:46

It can often feel as if politicians use a lot of words without saying much of anything. So how do journalists and citizens make sense of what’s said (and unsaid) in the many congressional reports, court decisions and campaign memoirs that pour out of Washington?This week, Carlos makes the case for reading the Capitol, and uses insights from his new book, “The Washington Book,” to help his co-hosts decode everyone from Donald Trump to Mike Pence to Barack Obama.(A full transcript of this audio essay will be available within 48 hours of publication in the audio player above.)Recommended in this episode:“The Washington Book” by Carlos Lozada“What Were We Thinking” by Carlos Lozada“The Woman at the Washington Zoo” by Marjorie Williams“Postwar” by Tony Judt“The Emerging Republican Majority” by Kevin Phillips“The Emerging Democratic Majority” by John Judis and Ruy Teixeira“Chain Reaction” by Thomas B. Edsall and Mary D. Edsall“Dead Right” by David Frum“The Grand New Party” by Ross Douthat and Reihan Salam“The Speechwriter” by Barton SwaimThoughts about the show? Email us at matterofopinion@nytimes.com or leave a voicemail at (212) 556-7440.
We’re working on this week's episode. While you wait, listen to this audio essay from one of our hosts, Lydia Polgreen, on the situation unfolding in Haiti. This audio essay was originally made for the NYT Audio App, free for Times subscribers in the Apple App Store.
Many voters from both parties are less than enthusiastic about their likely options this November.This week the Opinion writer and editor Katherine Miller joins Michelle, Lydia and Carlos to talk about uncommitted voters, double haters and how they could affect the election, whether they turn out or not.Plus, Lydia makes a plea against the tyranny of clean lines and interior design monoculture.(A full transcript of this audio essay will be available within 24 hours of publication on the Times website.) Mentioned in this episode:“Black Pastors Pressure Biden to Call for a Cease-Fire in Gaza,” by Maya King for The Times“Joe Biden’s Last Campaign,” by Evan Osnos in The New Yorker Thoughts about the show? Email us at matterofopinion@nytimes.com or leave a voicemail at (212) 556-7440.
Could Donald Trump’s promise to be a dictator on day one come true?On this episode of “Matter of Opinion,” the hosts debate which policies could be most consequential in a potential second Trump term and whether a proposal set out by conservative allies could provide the tools to execute his vision.And Michelle Cottle shares her passion for a trend that can only be achieved with lots of volume.(A full transcript of this audio essay will be available within 24 hours of publication on the Times website.) Mentioned in this episode:February 2024 Times/Siena Poll of Registered Voters Nationwide“Mandate for Leadership: The Conservative Promise,” edited by Paul Dans and Steven Groves“What I Learned When I Read 887 Pages of Plans for Trump’s Second Term,” by Carlos Lozada in The Times“Border Wars: Inside Trump’s Assault on Immigration,” by Julie Hirschfeld Davis and Michael D. Shear“The Divider: Trump in the White House, 2017-2021,” by Peter Baker and Susan Glasser“Confidence Man: The Making of Donald Trump and the Breaking of America,” by Maggie Haberman“Trump Can’t Be Dictator on ‘Day One’ — Or in a Second Term. Here’s Why,” by Asli Aydintasbas in Politico Thoughts about the show? Email us at matterofopinion@nytimes.com or leave a voicemail at (212) 556-7440.
When the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade in 2022, the Republican Party declared victory.But the Alabama Supreme Court’s decision last month that frozen embryos are considered “extrauterine children,” which prompted hospitals to suspend I.V.F. procedures, has complicated that victory. Given Americans’ overwhelming support for in vitro fertilization, conservative politicians have tried to distance themselves from the ruling.The hosts discuss that political scramble and ask whether the Republicans have made up their minds over what it means to be “pro-life.” The hosts also consider how much public opinion should influence the decisions of lawmakers and judges, and where the debate over reproductive rights is headed.Plus, listeners weigh in on how much the economy is going to affect their vote.(A full transcript of this audio essay will be available within 24 hours of publication on the Times website.)Mentioned in this episode:The Alabama Supreme Court’s ruling that frozen embryos should be considered children Thoughts about the show? Email us at matterofopinion@nytimes.com. And tell us your thoughts on where you think the abortion debate is headed by leaving a voicemail at (212) 556-7440.
Why does the economy look so good to economists but feel so bad to voters? The Nobel laureate economist Paul Krugman joins the hosts to discuss why inflation, interest rates and wages aren’t in line with voters’ perception of the economy. Then, they debate with Paul how big of an influence the economy will be on the 2024 presidential election, and which of the two presumed candidates, Joe Biden and Donald Trump, it could benefit. Plus, Ross's lessons on aging, through Michael Caine impressions.Mentioned in this episode:“Believing Is Seeing,” from Paul Krugman’s newsletter“The Age of Diminished Expectations,” by Paul Krugman“The Trip” scene: “This Is How Michael Caine Speaks”(A full transcript of this audio essay will be available within 24 hours of publication on the Times website.)Thoughts about the show? Email us at matterofopinion@nytimes.com. And tell us how the state of the economy will – or won’t – affect your 2024 vote and why in a voice mail message by calling (212) 556-7440.
Who’s your ideal American president? A strategic thinker who is calm in a crisis? A charmer with boundless aplomb? Perhaps a principled leader with an unwavering moral compass?This week, the hosts discuss what voters expect from “America’s daddy” and whether concerns about President Biden’s and Donald Trump’s fitness are overblown, given the history of the office they each hope to keep or retake.(A full transcript of this audio essay will be available within 24 hours of publication on the Times website.)Mentioned in this episode:“Unmaking the Presidency: Donald Trump’s War on the World’s Most Powerful Office,” by Susan Hennessey and Benjamin Wittes“Joe Biden: The Life, the Run, and What Matters Now,” by Evan Osnos Thoughts about the show? Email us at matterofopinion@nytimes.com.
What do Princess Diana’s wedding, the “Survivor” first season finale and Prince’s 2007 Super Bowl halftime show all have in common? They were huge cultural moments that brought millions of Americans together. In an era of streaming, social media bubbles and sharp political divides, are unifying events like these becoming relics of the past?On today’s episode, the hosts make a case for the secular ritual of the Super Bowl and ask whether we need more mass cultural events to bring Americans together.(A full transcript of this audio essay will be available within 24 hours of publication on the Times website.)Mentioned in this episode:“Bowling Alone,” the 1995 essay in the Journal of Democracy and 2000 book by Robert D. Putnam“The Wiz,” the 1978 American musical featuring Diana Ross and Michael JacksonTracy Chapman and Luke Combs perform “Fast Car” at the 2024 GRAMMY AwardsThoughts about the show? Email us at matterofopinion@nytimes.com.
Around the world, the youngest cohort of voters are dividing themselves politically along gendered lines. What’s behind this “great gender divergence”?This week, the hosts debate the causes and consequences of a gender-divided world. Plus, Ross has some timing advice should you choose to improve the national birthrate.(A full transcript of this episode can be found at the top of the episode page on the Times website.)Mentioned in this episode:“A New Global Gender Divide Is Emerging,” by John Burn-Murdoch in The Financial Times“Taylor Swift, Donald Trump and the Right’s Abnormality Problem,” by Ross Douthat in The Times If you're a Gen Z listener, let us know your thoughts about the episode by leaving us a voicemail at 212-556-7440 or email us at matterofopinion@nytimes.com. We welcome messages from other generations, too!
It’s an old truism that Americans don’t care about foreign policy when it’s time to cast their ballots. But with the crisis in Gaza, a prolonged conflict in Ukraine and a trade war brewing with China, could 2024 be the year that American voters finally care about what’s going on beyond the water’s edge?The hosts take a look at the importance (or lack thereof) of foreign affairs in American elections. Plus, Lydia  recommends a film Oscar nominations were wrong to skip.(A transcript of this episode can be found at the top of the episode page on the Times website.)Mentioned in this episode:“A Titanic Geopolitical Struggle Is Underway” by Thomas L. Friedman“We Aren’t Just Watching the Decline of the Oscars. We’re Watching the End of the Movies.” by Ross DouthatThoughts about the show? Email us at matterofopinion@nytimes.com.
The hosts take apart why Nikki Haley and Ron DeSantis can’t seem to form competitive coalitions against Donald Trump, and whether Haley, DeSantis, the Supreme Court “or God himself” can keep the former president from becoming the Republican nominee.Plus, Michelle Cottle reveals her Plan B if her political reporting career doesn’t work out.(A transcript of this episode can be found at the top of the episode page on the Times website.)Mentioned in this episode:Suffolk University-Boston Globe poll of likely New Hampshire Republican primary votersHot dog car sketch on “I Think You Should Leave”Thoughts about the show? Email us at matterofopinion@nytimes.com.
This week, the hosts do the dirty work of strategizing the best vice-presidential candidate for Donald Trump to campaign with, and break down what goes into consequential (and not so consequential) V.P. picks.Plus, Carlos’s team has a Fightin’ chance next year.(A transcript of this episode can be found at the top of the episode page on the Times website.) Mentioned in this episode:“Picking the Vice President,” by Elaine Kamarck“Which Trump Toady Would the MAGA King Pick as His No. 2?” by Michelle Cottle in The Times“The Divider: Trump in the White House, 2017-2021,” by Peter Baker and Susan Glasser“Keeping Faith: Memoirs of a President,” by Jimmy Carter Thoughts about the show? Email us at matterofopinion@nytimes.com.
Is Donald Trump an insurrectionist who should be barred from the ballot? On this episode of “Matter of Opinion,” the hosts discuss who should get to decide if the former president can try to return to the White House. Plus, the hosts lay out what other stories are on their 2024 political bingo cards.(A transcript of this episode can be found at the top of the episode page on the Times website.) Mentioned in this episode:“The Antidemocratic Quest to Save Democracy From Trump,” by Ross Douthat in The New York TimesDecember 2023 Times/Siena poll“The 2023 High School Yearbook of American Politics,” by Michelle Cottle in The Times“Trump’s 2024 Playbook,” episode of “The Daily” from The Times“The World Should Fear 2024,” by Aris Roussinos in UnHerd Thoughts about the show? Email us at matterofopinion@nytimes.com.
“Matter of Opinion” is off for the week, but we’re leaving you with an audio essay from our very own Carlos Lozada on what we can learn from how our leaders speak.Politicians’ language can tell you a lot about the way they think, sometimes unintentionally. If the 2024 election is indeed a rematch between Joe Biden and Donald Trump, Carlos makes the case that their dueling visions for America come down to their favorite words.This audio essay was originally made for the NYT Audio App, free for Times subscribers in the Apple App Store.
Have we reached peak Taylor Swift? Does the world need your bagel shop’s position on Israel-Hamas? Should Ross start drinking on mic? On the year’s final episode of “Matter of Opinion,” the hosts take your questions and reflect on the best of 2023.(A transcript of this episode can be found at the top of the episode page on the Times website.) Mentioned in this episode:“The Presidential Fantasy Draft America Needs,” episode of “Matter of Opinion” from New York Times Opinion“Covering the Election: The One-Year Countdown Begins,” by James Fallows in his “Breaking the News” Substack“Fire Weather: A True Story From a Hotter World,” by John Vaillant“The 10 Best Books of 2023,” By The New York Times Books staff in The New York Times Thoughts about the show? Email us at matterofopinion@nytimes.com.
Scandal, it seems, no longer stops politicians in their tracks.George Santos — who was expelled from Congress last Friday — will reportedly make six figures after just one week as a Cameo star. Donald Trump has been mired in countless trials and controversies — and yet he is still the front-runner for the Republican presidential nomination.This week on “Matter of Opinion,” the hosts reminisce over famous political scandals of yore. From tan suits to yacht affairs, what actually makes a scandal scandalous? And in the Trump era, are there real consequences to messing up anymore? Plus, Michelle Cottle tears down the house with her holiday gift guide.(A transcript of this episode can be found at the top of the episode page on the Times website.)Mentioned in this episode:“Checkers speech,” Richard Nixon Foundation“Watergate: A New History,” by Garrett M. Graff“White House Plumbers,” a five-part miniseries on Max“Healthy Holly” book series, by Catherine Pugh“All the Truth Is Out: The Week Politics Went Tabloid,” by Matt Bai“Bush Encounters the Supermarket, Amazed,” by Andrew Rosenthal in The New York Times“A Very Thin Line: The Iran-Contra Affairs,” by Theodore Draper“The Final Days,” by Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein“George Santos Is Earning Six Figures From Cameo Videos,” by Ben Smith and Kadia Goba on Semafor Thoughts about the show? Email us at matterofopinion@nytimes.com.
Strongmen are making a comeback. The hyperlibertarian Javier Milei in Argentina and the anti-immigration Geert Wilders in the Netherlands are among a growing group of recently elected leaders who promise to break a few rules, shake up democratic institutions and spread a populist message.Is it a reaction against the failures of liberal democracies? Or is there something else behind the appeal of these misbehaving men with wild hair?This week on “Matter of Opinion,” the hosts debate where the urge to turn to strongmen is coming from and whether it’s such a bad thing after all. Plus, young listeners share their formative political moments, even in the middle of class.(A transcript of this episode can be found at the top of the episode page on the Times website.) If you've been inspired to call in, we're still taking your thoughts for our end-of-the-year episode. We're looking for two things, either a question you've been dying to ask us, or a topic you'd like to hear if we're hot or cold on. You can email us at matterofopinion@nytimes.com, or leave us a voicemail at 212-556-7440. We may play some of it in a future episode. Mentioned in this episode:“Rachel Maddow Presents: Ultra,” a podcast from MSNBC“This Country Seemed Immune to Far-Right Politics. Then Came a Corruption Scandal.” by Alexander C. Kaufman on HuffPost“The Revolt of the Public and the Crisis of Authority in the New Millennium,” by Martin Gurri
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Comments (292)

rom

Shame on all of you. Shame on every single one of you. You know, one thing these two weeks revealed to me, is how deceptive, and filled with propaganda the western media is. Eventually, the truth prevails and I’ll tell you one thing, history won’t forget, it won’t forget your support of colonialism, of massacres and for the continuation of lies. When Palestine is freed, people will look back to these recordings as examples of how the American media completely failed.

Oct 22nd
Reply

rom

Lydia, it’s terrifying for you? How self absorbed can a person be? Thousands of Palestinians are losing their lives in this minute and you’re the one terrified?

Oct 22nd
Reply

rom

Shame on you for not condemning Israel for their war crimes against the Palestinians!! History won’t forget!!

Oct 17th
Reply

William Salyers

"Dress like grown-ups." Gross.

Oct 12th
Reply

Jared Poulter

I considered myself libertarian because I generally like the idea of limited government until 2 things happened: 1) I took enough economics classes to recognize that no market is actually free so basing an entire economic philosophy on trusting the free market is fundamentally flawed. 2) I met other people who call themselves libertarian and quite often they are not actually libertarian, but rather anarchists. I decided I didn't want to associate myself with those people so I stopped using that label to describe myself.

Dec 15th
Reply

Andi-Roo Libecap

As a Gen-X mom to both Millennial AND Gen-Z kids, I found this conversation fascinating! Thank you, Jane, for hosting such an intriguing and respectful dialog.

Oct 30th
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Nic _

the irony of Jane and the nyt team arguing how to use language properly so you can convey a particular message and don't misconstrue and saying English classroom is one of the few places where kids have to wrestle with big ideas (never mind science and shit). I hope i made.multiple.grammar and stylistic faux pas as additional irony points.

Sep 12th
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jems bond

Amazing. https://www.dinarrecaps.onl/

Jul 22nd
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Rick Turner

Thank you for this!

Jun 1st
Reply

andre dixon

This podcast episode drove me nuts. No mention that the economic policies supported by Sanders and justice Democrats etc are popular across the political spectrum. No mention of corporate money special interest money and how it muddies the process. Jane Coaston should really have progressive voices like krystal ball and brihana joy gray on to properly articulate this point

Feb 2nd
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Nic _

I feel like a fair question to be asking here is also can the Democrats and Democratic _li beral_ media _ news information distribution conglomerates recover let alone face similar grievances for the overwhelming amount of "critical" headline world shaking reports prior to his presidency, Andddddd down right underwhelming amount of actual truth and or veracity to the claims (And again the shocking? amount of those are which proven false other is proven irrelevant and further some hahaha this is an interesting trend for another time). lol this argument is just funny. I feel like Jane and the editors are not being let's say very fair over the past few actually episodes really

Jan 13th
Reply (1)

Andi-Roo Libecap

Fantastic discussion -- another fruitful exchange. Well done, Jane!

Jan 9th
Reply (2)

Nic _

bro are you kidding me?? no arguments against the points for Jan 6th, shit was crazy and stupid and they are weirdos. but that line (and general Outlook) that if reps don't win, they call foul ---- uhhh, 2018_2020 (and I'm being generous) was full of deflated arguments against Trump by Dems?? I'm not arguing for either side here but wtf was that Jane

Jan 5th
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Richard Fisher

she being 'Michelle' btw

Dec 30th
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Richard Fisher

bizarre. she speaks of Trumpism and is totally blind to the Swamp Monster of Shitshow Joe Biden as though there aren't issues on the Left. im in the Left and see them and want to fix them so we can win. is this person a plant? stooge? enemy asset? like just ignore the identity and critical theory and metanarrative post modernist left. not remotely relevant...🤦‍♂️

Dec 30th
Reply

jonathan

this lady is disgusting. so divisive.

Dec 23rd
Reply (1)

Death Doula ☠

Radical empathy for another is a luxury - you don't have to be there. #exhausted #safespace #empathyisnotendorsement #noclapbacks

Nov 26th
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Death Doula ☠

No such thing as a bad actor. #ad

Nov 25th
Reply (26)

Death Doula ☠

Should I be convicted for loving 'true crime'? That was 'stupid', sorry. 🤥

Nov 25th
Reply

Douglas Van Aartsen

I'm worried about this podcast. The reason that I subscribed years ago was so that I could hear people who disagreed talk about something they disagreed about and still talk politely and make good points. It seems lately, that the argument is mostly not an argument but a podcast which talks about a topic without any disagreement. you can get that most anywhere.

Nov 25th
Reply
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