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The Assignment with Audie Cornish
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The Assignment with Audie Cornish

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Each week on The Assignment, host Audie Cornish pulls listeners out of their digital echo chambers to hear from the people whose lives intersect with the news cycle. From the sex work economy to the battle over what’s taught in classrooms, no topic is off the table. Listen to The Assignment every Monday and Thursday.

102 Episodes
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The new movie “Civil War” asks: what could happen if the system of checks and balances that hold the United States together falls apart? Audie talks with the writer and director of the film, Alex Garland. It follows journalists as they make their way through a war-torn American landscape, one where Texas and California have gone to war against a three-term president who has disbanded the FBI and deemed journalists enemy combatants who may be shot on sight.  -- The Assignment has been nominated for two Webby Awards in the categories of Best Host and Interview/Talk Show! Please click on the links and vote for us. Thank you! Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices
Last week, “No Labels,” the centrist group seeking to field a “unity ticket” for the presidential election, announced that despite raising $70 million and securing ballot access in key states, they had failed to secure a candidate and would drop their effort for the 2024 cycle. This news elicited sighs of relief all over Washington, including at Third Way, a center-left think tank. Kate deGruyter is communications director at Third Way, and she argues that any third-party candidate in this race disproportionately hurts Joe Biden by muddying the otherwise clear choice between Biden and former president Donald Trump.  Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices
What is driving the concern over online gambling? The lawyer who took on Big Tobacco, Richard Daynard, says it is an addictive product. The Public Health Advocacy Institute, which he heads up, is suing the sports betting platform DraftKings for deceptive advertising. Audie talks with Daynard, who’s made a career of bringing lawsuits in pursuit of public health, a strategy he calls “wholesale” rather than “retail.” We also hear from NBA star Rex Chapman, author of the memoir, “It’s Hard For Me To Live With Me.” Chapman gives us insight into both the world of sports and the world of gambling. While he’s never participated in sports betting himself, he reflects on his experiences gambling millions on horse racing and blackjack. -------  Read DraftKings’ statement in response to Daynard’s Public Health Advocacy Institute’s lawsuit:  "As a customer-first organization, DraftKings takes consumer protection and responsible gaming seriously. DraftKings respectfully disagrees with the claims and allegations made by the Public Health Advocacy Institute. The disclosures and explanations provided to customers before they make an initial deposit are detailed, clear, conspicuous and informative. Multiple examples are provided. Regrettably, the Institute ignored our multiple attempts to engage in an in-person dialogue to carefully examine their concerns in light of these disclosures and, instead, filed suit.”   The company also said in a statement:  “DraftKings is committed to educating consumers about the importance of playing responsibly. We have created tools like “My Stat Sheet” an innovative feature that gives players the ability to assess, track and interact with their personal stats through intuitive charts and information that can help empower players to make data-driven decisions on their own play, as well as offer customers the ability to control how they engage with our app through cool-off periods, deposit and wager limits. Furthermore, we collaborate with organizations such as the National Council for Problem Gaming, Responsible Online Gaming Association, Kindbridge Behavioral Health and the American Gaming Association. A core priority for DraftKings is ensuring that customers are using our products as intended, for safe and responsible entertainment.”  Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices
When James Carville criticized the “preachy females” at the forefront of Democratic politics, he kicked off a firestorm of outrage and perhaps a little introspection. Did “The Ragin’ Cajun” have a point, however impolitely made? Do Democrats have a problem with men? Especially Black men and other men of color? Jamil Smith is an award-winning writer and the new editor-in-chief of The Emancipator, a nonprofit newsroom run by the Center for Antiracist Research at Boston University, co-founded by Dr. Ibram X. Kendi. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices
We're taking a short break on The Assignment, and today we’re bringing you a powerful episode from the latest season of All There Is with Anderson Cooper. Following Naomi Judd's death by suicide in 2022, her daughter Ashley discovered her body. In a poignant and candid discussion, Ashley Judd opens up about the challenges she has confronted in addressing her own mental health struggles, the profound sense of loss she experiences, and the enduring presence of her mother's spirit in her life. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices
Sarah Longwell always felt she could argue the big issues with her fellow Republicans and still have a place in the “big tent” party. That all changed with the emergence of Donald Trump, who espoused policies and politics Longwell could never accept. Instead of sulking over her lost party, Sarah got to work, trying to bridge the gap between the Republican party she knew and what it’s become. Longwell is publisher of the center-right publication, The Bulwark, and hosts podcasts, including “The Focus Group,” where she hears directly from Republican voters about their opinions. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices
We're taking a short break on The Assignment, and we want to bring you an episode of Dr. Sanjay Gupta’s excellent CNN podcast Chasing Life. It's a special episode he put together about IVF after the Supreme Court of Alabama declared embryos as children, potentially subjecting those who discard frozen embryos to wrongful death charges. This decision raises questions about the implications for fertility doctors and patients in the state, as well as potential ramifications on a national scale. Dr. Gupta interviews IVF expert Dr. Eve Feinberg from the Feinberg School of Medicine at Northwestern University. Dr. Feinberg elaborates on the handling of embryos during the IVF process and discusses the controversial nature of the ruling for fertility care providers. Additionally, CNN Correspondent Isabel Rosales shares insights into the reactions of families and fertility clinics in Alabama. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices
Audie talks with journalists Amy Chozick and Abby Phillip about being a reporter on a presidential campaign bus. Amy is the creator and executive producer of the new Max dramedy “The Girls On The Bus,” which follows a group of four women on a fictional campaign trail. Amy covered Hillary Clinton’s campaigns for the Wall Street Journal and the New York Times. CNN’s Abby Phillip was a consultant on the show, she is the host of NewsNight with Abby Phillip.  “The Girls On The Bus” is streaming on Max (which, like CNN, is part of Warner Brothers Discovery).   Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices
Kara Swisher is a journalist turned entrepreneur, a podcast star with high wattage guests, a punchy interviewer who never backs down, and now an important voice in the public debate over whether and how to regulate tech companies.  Audie talks with Kara about her new memoir, “Burn Book: A Tech Love Story.” Their conversation was recorded in front of a live audience at American University’s Sine Institute of Policy & Politics, where Kara is a 2024 Fellow.  Kara Swisher is the host of “On with Kara Swisher,” and co-host of “Pivot” with Scott Galloway. She is also a CNN Contributor and regular panelist on The Chris Wallace Show, Saturdays at 10a ET on CNN.  Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices
When the Alabama Supreme Court ruled that fertilized embryos should be treated as “extrauterine children,” they threw IVF procedures into the abortion rights fight. In his State of the Union speech, President Biden warned Republicans that they “have no clue about the power of women.” And Senator Katie Britt — from the state that has put IVF in peril — was chosen to give the Republican response. Audie talks with writer Ana Marie Cox about how this fight is guiding both parties in their attempt to draw women voters in this year’s presidential election.   Ana Marie Cox is the host of the podcast Getting Better with Ana Marie Cox.   Mentioned in our conversation: Voter Suppression Is the Anti-Abortion Movement’s Secret Sauce  Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices
There are people in communities big and small around the country who dedicate their working lives to making sure that if you’re an eligible voter, you get to cast a ballot.   And their vital role in American democracy has gotten much harder in the last few years.  Audie talks with Defiance County, Ohio Board of Elections director Tonya Wichman and Pennsylvania’s Secretary of the Commonwealth, Al Schmidt, about how they have experienced increased scrutiny, how they built dealing with harassment into their day-to-day work, and why they still do the job as many others in the field – fed up with fear – have walked away.  Share your thoughts or questions with us – we'd love to hear from you! Text or leave a voicemail at 202-854-8802. We may use your note in a future episode of the show.   Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices
It’s a massive week in politics: The Supreme Court ruling on whether Trump can be on the Colorado ballot, Super Tuesday, and the State of the Union address. And swirling around these events are issues like IVF, immigration, and Israel – all roiling the national political debate. Audie talks with Kasie Hunt, host of CNN This Morning, about the state of the race in this crucial moment. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices
What's driving the current conversation around polyamory? How do people fall into it? What are the misconceptions about how it works? And what do you do if you find yourself at the crossroads of considering a polyamorous relationship? Audie asks Kevin Patterson, author of Love's Not Color Blind: Race and Representation in Polyamorous and Other Alternative Communities and sex therapist Dr. Lexx Brown-James.  Share your thoughts or questions with us - we'd love to hear from you! Text or send a voice memo to: 202-854-8802.  Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices
This week, both President Biden and former president Trump will head to the US-Mexico border, underscoring just how central immigration policy has become to this year’s election. CNN’s Priscilla Alvarez covered immigration during the Trump administration and now covers the Biden White House. She and Audie talk about Biden and Trump at the border this week, and how Texas Governor Greg Abbott has successfully elevated the border issue by bussing over 100,000 undocumented migrants to northern cities as part of his “Operation Lone Star.” Read more from Priscilla and National Political Reporter Eric Bradner: Gov. Greg Abbott’s border tactics force Democrats to confront migrant crisis in their own backyards Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices
American politicians are responsible for some of the wildest scandals in the history of our country.   CNN Anchor and Chief Washington Correspondent Jake Tapper looks back on six of the most iconic political controversies of the modern era in his new series United States of Scandal with Jake Tapper.   Audie and Jake talk about what motivates politicians to break the rules, why they think they won’t get caught, and how the public’s reaction to these moral and legal mishaps has changed over the years.  Watch United States of Scandal with Jake Tapper here, and catch it on TV, it airs on Sundays, at 9pm ET/PT on CNN.   Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices
Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis pushed back hard after having her personal life dragged into the spotlight. Lawyers for Donald Trump are trying to dismiss her from the Georgia election subversion case she brought against the former president. They argued that she and Nathan Wade, the special prosecutor she hired to lead the case, engaged in an improper romantic relationship which financially benefitted her. Audie chats with journalist George Chidi about the hearing and what’s next for Willis. Chidi is a politics and democracy reporter for The Guardian, based in Atlanta. Chidi himself was subpoenaed in this case after exposing the Republican fake electors plot. Chidi was in the courtroom for Willis’s testimony, and he paints an audio courtroom sketch of this jaw-dropping moment. George Chidi is co-host of the podcast King Slime: The Prosecution of Young Thug and YSL. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices
The landscape of workplace etiquette has undergone a seismic shift in the wake of the pandemic. Gen Z entered the workforce and influenced already evolving social norms, from the dilemma of camera on or off, to the choice between calling or texting, and the blurred lines between what constitutes professional attire. Audie talks with Kate Zabriskie, the founder of Business Training Works, about the change in modern workplace norms.  We're diving deeper into the ever-evolving landscape of workplace etiquette, especially with Gen Z stepping into the forefront. Whether you're a seasoned pro or new to the workforce, we want to hear from you. Share your thoughts or questions. Text or send a voice memo to: 202-854-8802.  Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices
Mitch McConnell is facing open criticism about his leadership among some in the Senate GOP, and that criticism is being egged on by Donald Trump. All comes after bitter disputes over immigration legislation and Ukraine aid. Audie talks with CNN Congressional Correspondents Manu Raju and Lauren Fox about this moment of peril for the longest-serving Senatorial party leader in US history. Read all of Manu and Lauren’s reporting here: ‘McConnell’s GOP critics grow louder as party descends into feud over Ukraine and immigration’ Also mentioned in this episode: House Mouse, Senate Mouse Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices
There is no bigger cultural story right now than the romance between NFL superstar Travis Kelce and Taylor Swift. The reaction to their relationship has been so extreme that parody is almost indiscernible from reality. It’s a potent mix of celebrity culture, sports, and extreme politics.  Audie brings together Cari Champion and Anne Helen Petersen, to dissect why all of this is happening. Why have Travis and Taylor generated a supernova of fans, haters, and overwhelming scrutiny?  Cari Champion is the host of the podcast Naked with Cari Champion and former anchor of ESPN’s SportsCenter.  Anne Helen Petersen is the author of Culture Study on Substack, and the host of the Culture Study podcast.  Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices
“We know Joe. But most importantly, Joe knows us." Congressman James Clyburn spoke those all-important words four years ago while giving his crucial endorsement to Joe Biden in his home state of South Carolina. With Biden now in the White House, Clyburn wields the power to spur lots of change, including an alteration to the Democratic party’s primary calendar, placing South Carolina at the head of the line. Audie sat down with Clyburn to learn how he thinks about power, what Biden needs to do to protect his, and how someone who’s been in his office since 1993 makes decisions about the future. Leave us a voicemail: (202) 854-8802. Send us an email: theassignment@cnn.com. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices
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Comments (219)

Charles Uwi

You have very exciting and unexpected topics. I have coins that have been sitting in jars for years. I am going to do my part, take them to the store coin machine and buy a lottery ticket from the proceeds. I will let you know when I win the big prize!

Sep 12th
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Lillie Hatchett

This was really fascinating and enlightening.

May 18th
Reply

Teddy

Informative and personal interview. To me, I could hear from all that it was a difficult, uncomfortable discussion. And how their thought process was working on how to answer straight forward questions without saying what was really to be said.

Nov 18th
Reply (1)

Andrew Smith

Don Lemon is the only bigger piece of shit than Juicy Smollett.

Feb 17th
Reply (1)

J. B.

this was an amazing episode. The fact that the over hate, racism, and strain put on minority people so bad that they leave to live somewhere else and still lament the decision and miss family is sad. Those who tell people to leave if they don't like this country win when this happens and the fact that these people are the victims is sad. We are less strong when we lose so many strong people and talent.

Oct 30th
Reply

Kem Goodwin

we are asking if Donald Trump can produce a negative test but what no one is talking about is where is the positive test show me that you tested positive

Oct 25th
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Kem Goodwin

I would love to know where is the first lady thought this pandemic if we are rounding the corner not only that where is Young trump don't know his name but he was infected to

Oct 25th
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Brian Shaw

To answer your question Mr. Lemon...yes your/our vote will create change in America.

Oct 15th
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Brian Shaw

We need Police reform, not defunding but new training and vetting officers with the right Psychological blue print to be a PEACE officer. Dallas Texas, Wolfe City, Texas...White Police officer charged with the murder of 31 year old Johnathan Price, personal trainer, and a Black man. Price was breaking up a fight between a couple at a gas station, Sheriff Shaun Lucas arrives and immediately confronts Price, tases him then fatally shoots him...big mistake!

Oct 6th
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Brian Shaw

I have been dealing with this issue for 55 years, the times have changed and progress (some); however, I have never seen so many white people engaged in a movement, BLM, for progress in those 55 years! Bless you all!

Sep 11th
Reply (2)

Ricky Paul Mitchell Jr.

I love this podcast

Sep 11th
Reply

Charles Uwi

Don, this is the best season finale. You had a powerful and rich conversation with Dr. Tatum. I hope you will be back soon.

Sep 10th
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Brian Shaw

Remember Anthony Huber! because race matters!

Aug 27th
Reply (6)

Pat Walker

Great information.

Aug 22nd
Reply (1)

Brian Shaw

Even as we think about today, looking at Baseball, Football, Basketball, Track, Golf, Tennis...etc. The dynamic of Slavery exists in the format of: Managers, HeadCoaches, Owners, predominated by white men/women. Black players, paid; and in some cases years back, free Labor!

Aug 13th
Reply

Brian Shaw

As you get older, Baseball, Basketball, Football and many other sports take on a different "hue". As an African/Indian American male in my 60's, sports changes over decades or half centuries. What we thought was important at the time is not so important now! Race, the upcoming election, BLM movement, financial security threats from this administration with payroll tax cuts which will affect Social Security. If my check is being affected by partisan politics; I don't have time to watch football. Been dealing with Race since the '50s...we tried to separate in this country and when we did, we built (freed African Americans from slavery), 15 townships across America and they were burned to the ground and murdered our ancestors, by vigilante whites. One day in THIS country hopefully white folk will be willing to share the spoils of their victory in stealing this land called America.

Aug 13th
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Skyler D

I don't see the link to the survey that was referenced. Really enjoying the conversations though.

Aug 7th
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Brian Shaw

I will never understand why individuals on these Podcasts condemn Don Lemon for introducing dialogue to stimulate conversations and ideology...non of us know everything about all the issues before us. Let's stop the name calling and foul language and just communicate with each other. Thanks Don Lemon.

Aug 3rd
Reply

Brian Shaw

Wow...thank you the speaker from the Jewish community, I knew something happened after WWII, now I know, and I am a part of that history, my father was in the Navy in 1945 when the explosion in Port Chicago, California happened, we then moved to a city named Pittsburg, California and lived in an all Black community. Thank you Don and Kareem for the history lesson about Black folk and Jewish community and " The Brothers at Arms, the 716th".

Jul 24th
Reply

April Franklin

Mr. Lemon, thank you for this series. It is long overdue. I wish you much success.

Jul 21st
Reply
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