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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.
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Both anecdotally and in research, anxiety and depression among young people—often associated with self-harm—have risen sharply over the last decade. There seems little doubt that Gen Z is suffering in real ways. But there is not a consensus on the cause or causes, nor how to address them. The social psychologist Jonathan Haidt believes that enough evidence has accumulated to convict a suspect. Smartphones and social media, Haidt says, have caused a “great rewiring” in those born after 1995. The argument has hit a nerve: his new book, “The Anxious Generation,” was No. 1 on the New York *Times* hardcover nonfiction best-seller list. Speaking with David Remnick, Haidt is quick to differentiate social-media apps—with their constant stream of notifications, and their emphasis on performance—from technology writ large; mental health was not affected, he says, for millennials, who grew up earlier in the evolution of the Internet. Haidt, who earlier wrote about an excessive emphasis on safety in the book “The Coddling of the American Mind,” feels that our priorities when it comes to child safety are exactly wrong. “We’re overprotecting in [the real world], and I’m saying, lighten up, let your kids out! And we’re underprotecting in another, and I’m saying, don’t let your kids spend nine hours a day on the Internet talking with strange men. It’s just not a good idea.” To social scientists who have asserted that the evidence Haidt marshals does not prove a causative link between social media and depression, “I keep asking for alternative theories,” he says. “You don’t think it’s the smartphones and social media—what is it? . . . You can give me whatever theory you want about trends in American society, but nobody can explain why it happened so suddenly in 2012 and 2013—not just here but in Canada, the U.K., Australia, New Zealand, Northern Europe. I’m waiting,” he adds sarcastically, “for someone to find a chemical.” The good news, Haidt says, is there are achievable ways to limit the harm.Note: In his conversation with David Remnick, Jonathan Haidt misstated some information about a working paper that studies unhappiness across nations. The authors are David G. Blanchflower, Alex Bryson, and Xiaowei Xu, and it includes data on thirty-four countries. 
The Washington Roundtable: Susan B. Glasser, Jane Mayer, and Evan Osnos talk with the NPR reporter Andrea Bernstein about what has happened inside the courthouse during Donald Trump’s first week on trial. Plus, how the historic trial may factor into the 2024 race and whether President Biden should be talking about it on the campaign trail.“This idea of the old ‘Teflon Don’ is just finished,” Evan Osnos says. “The guy is now a creature of the court.”This week’s reading: “Donald Trump’s Trial of the Century,” by Eric Lach “The Supreme Court Asks What Enron Has to Do with January 6th—and Trump,” by Amy Davidson Sorkin “Biden Is the Most Pro-Labor President Since F.D.R. Will It Matter in November?,” by Eyal Press “Did Mike Johnson Just Get Religion on Ukraine?,” by Susan B. Glasser To discover more podcasts from The New Yorker, visit newyorker.com/podcasts. To send feedback on this episode, write to themail@newyorker.com with “The Political Scene” in the subject line.
Ronan Farrow, a Pulitzer Prize-winning investigative reporter and contributing writer to The New Yorker, joins Tyler Foggatt to discuss the impact of rulings made this week by Judge Juan Merchan in Donald Trump’s criminal trial in New York, where he faces thirty-four felony counts for falsifying business records related to hush-money payments made to adult-film star Stormy Daniels around the time of the 2016 election. Farrow explains why two other hush-money payments, made to former Trump Tower doorman Dino Sajudin and former Playboy model Karen McDougal, are central to the Manhattan District Attorney’s case. As Farrow explains, “the coverup is ultimately a much, much bigger story than any of the underlying things being covered up would have been.”This week’s reading: Inside the Hush-Money Payments That May Decide Trump’s Legal Fate, by Ronan Farrow The National Enquirer, a Trump Rumor, and Another Secret Payment to Buy Silence, by Ronan Farrow Donald Trump, a Playboy Model, and a System for Concealing Infidelity, by Ronan Farrow To discover more podcasts from The New Yorker, visit newyorker.com/podcasts. To send feedback on this episode, write to themail@newyorker.com.
Texas has multiple abortion laws, with both criminal and civil penalties for providers. They contain language that may allow for exceptions to save the life or “major bodily function” of a pregnant patient, but many doctors have been reluctant to even try interpreting these laws; at least one pregnant woman has been denied cancer treatment. The reporter Stephania Taladrid tells David Remnick about how two lawmakers worked together in a rare bipartisan effort to clarify the limited medical circumstances in which abortion is allowed. “If lawmakers created specific exemptions,” Taladrid explains, “then doctors who got sued could show that the treatment that they had offered their patients was compliant with the language of the law.” Taladrid spoke with the state representatives Ann Johnson, a Democrat, and Bryan Hughes, a conservative Republican, about their unlikely collaboration. Johnson told her that she put together a list of thirteen conditions that might qualify for a special exemption, but only two of them—premature ruptures and ectopic pregnancy—were cited in the final bill. Still, the unusual bipartisan action is cause for hope among reproductive-rights advocates that some of the extreme climate around abortion bans may be lessening. 
The Washington Roundtable: Susan B. Glasser, Jane Mayer, and Evan Osnos discuss the revival of Arizona’s hundred-and-sixty-year-old abortion ban, what role the issue of reproductive freedom will play in the November election, and how the position of reproductive health care in politics has evolved over the decades.This week’s reading: “Donald Trump Did This,” by Susan B. Glasser “The Fight to Restore Abortion Rights in Texas,” by Stephania Taladrid To discover more podcasts from The New Yorker, visit newyorker.com/podcasts. To send feedback on this episode, write to themail@newyorker.com with “The Political Scene” in the subject line.
Election deniers are mobilizing their supporters and rolling out new tech to disrupt the November election. These groups are already organizing on hyperlocal levels, and learning to monitor polling places, target election officials, and challenge voter rolls. And though their work was once fringe, its become mainstreamed in the Republican Party. Today on WIRED Politics Lab, we focus on what these groups are doing, and what this means for voters and the election workers already facing threats and harassment.Listen to and follow WIRED Politics Lab here.Be sure to subscribe to the WIRED Politics Lab newsletter here.
The New Yorker staff writer Eric Lach joins Tyler Foggatt to provide a preview of Donald Trump’s first criminal trial, which begins next week in Manhattan. Trump faces thirty-four felony counts for falsifying business records related to hush-money payments made to the adult-film star Stormy Daniels in 2016. Lach and Foggatt discuss the features of the controversial case and what six straight weeks of court appearances could mean for Trump’s campaign. To discover more podcasts from The New Yorker, visit newyorker.com/podcasts. To send feedback on this episode, write to themail@newyorker.com.
Across much of the country, Republican officials are reaching into K-12 classrooms and universities alike to exert control over what can be taught. In Florida, Texas, and many other states, laws now restrict teaching historical facts about race and racism. Book challenges and bans are surging. Public universities are seeing political meddling in the tenure process. Advocates of these measures say, in effect, that education must emphasize only the positive aspects of American history. Nikole Hannah-Jones, the New York Times Magazine reporter who developed the 1619 Project, and Jelani Cobb, the dean of the Columbia University School of Journalism, talk with David Remnick about the changing climate for intellectual freedom. “I just think it’s rich,” Hannah-Jones says, “that the people who say they are opposing indoctrination are in fact saying that curricula must be patriotic.” She adds, “You don’t ban books, you don’t ban curriculum, you don’t ban the teaching of ideas, just to do it. You do it to control what we are able to understand and think about and imagine for our society.”
The Washington Roundtable: Susan B. Glasser, Jane Mayer, and Evan Osnos discuss how the Israeli strike on World Central Kitchen workers in Gaza could factor into a policy shift by the Biden Administration on Israel and the war. President Biden realized that he needed to “catch up to where the country was,” Osnos says. Then the British barrister Philippe Sands, a prominent specialist in international law who represents the state of Palestine in the case against the Israeli occupation before the International Court of Justice, joins the group to discuss whether the laws of war have been violated in this conflict.This week’s reading: “Donald Trump’s Amnesia Advantage,” by Susan B. Glasser “Biden’s Increasingly Contradictory Israel Policy,” by Isaac Chotiner “What It Takes to Give Palestinians a Voice,” by Robin Wright To discover more podcasts from The New Yorker, visit newyorker.com/podcasts. To send  feedback on this episode, write to themail@newyorker.com with “The Political Scene” in the subject line.
The New Yorker staff writers Jelani Cobb and Steve Coll joined Tyler Foggatt last May to discuss the ways in which Donald Trump maneuvers around facts and controls narratives when confronted by journalists. At last year’s CNN town hall, for example, Trump answered questions in front of a live and sympathetic audience—a setup that played to his strengths as a performer. For Cobb and Coll, who are Columbia Journalism School faculty members, the town hall raised some questions: Where is the line between coverage and promotion? And what is the role of news organizations in the age of political polarization? Cobb and Coll spoke about the dilemmas that journalists face when reporting on the former President and his 2024 campaign, and some potential solutions.This episode originally aired on May 25, 2023. To discover more podcasts from The New Yorker, visit newyorker.com/podcasts. To send feedback on this episode, write to themail@newyorker.com.
Kara Swisher landed on the tech beat as a young reporter at the Washington Post decades ago. She would stare at the teletype machine at the entrance and wonder why this antique sat there when it could already be supplanted by a computer. She eventually foretold the threat that posed to her own business—print journalism—by the rise of free online media; today, she is still raising alarms about how A.I. companies make use of the entire contents of the Internet. “Pay me for my stuff!” she says. “You can’t walk into my store and take all my Snickers bars and say it’s for fair use.” She is disappointed in government leaders who have failed to regulate businesses and protect users’ privacy. Although she remains awed by the innovation produced by American tech businesses, Swisher is no longer “naïve” about their motives. She also witnessed a generation of innovators grow megalomaniacal. The tech moguls claim they “know better; you’re wrong. You’ve done it wrong. The media’s done it wrong. The government’s done it wrong. . . . When they have lives full of mistakes! They just paper them over.” Once on good terms with Elon Musk, Swisher believes money has been deleterious to his mental health. “I don’t know what happened to him. I’m not his mama, and I’m not a psychiatrist. But I think as he got richer and richer—there are always enablers around people that make them think they hung the moon.”This segment originally aired on March 1, 2024.
The New Yorker staff writer Jay Caspian Kang joins Tyler Foggatt to discuss the tension between protecting children from the effects of social media and protecting their right to free speech. Kang considers the ways in which social-media companies have sought to quell fear about misinformation and propaganda since Russian interference in the 2016 Presidential election, and why those efforts will ultimately fail. “The structure of the Internet, of all social media,” he tells Foggatt, “is to argue about politics. And I think that is baked into it, and I don’t think you can ever fix it.”Read Jay Caspian Kang’s latest column.To discover more podcasts from The New Yorker, visit newyorker.com/podcasts. To send feedback on this episode, write to themail@newyorker.com.
In 2016, before most people imagined that Donald Trump would become a serious contender for the Presidency, the New Yorker staff writer Adam Gopnik wrote about what he later called the “F-word”: fascism.  He saw Trump’s authoritarian rhetoric not as a new force in America but as a throwback to a specific historical precedent in nineteen-thirties Europe.  In the years since, Trump has called for “terminating” articles of the Constitution, has marked the January 6th insurrectionists as political martyrs, and has called his enemies animals, vermin, and “not people,” and demonstrated countless other examples of authoritarian behavior.  In a new essay, Gopnik reviews a book by the historian Timothy W. Ryback, and considers Adolf Hitler’s unlikely ascent in the early nineteen-thirties. He finds alarming analogies with this moment in the U.S.  In both Trump and Hitler, “The allegiance to the fascist leader is purely charismatic,” Gopnik says. In both men, he sees “someone whose power lies in his shamelessness,” and whose prime motivation is a sense of humiliation at the hands of those described as élites. “It wasn’t that the great majority of  Germans were suddenly lit aflame by a nihilist appetite for apocalyptic transformation,” Gopnik notes. “They [were] voting to protect what they perceive as their interest from their enemies. Often those enemies are largely imaginary.”
The Washington Roundtable reflects on the books they’ve been reading to understand the 2024 Presidential campaigns and the state of international politics. Susan B. Glasser, Jane Mayer, and Evan Osnos swap recommendations of works about all things political, from the anger of rural voters to the worldwide rise of authoritarian rule, including a fictionalized imagining of a powerful real-life political family. Read with the Roundtable: “America Last: The Right’s Century-Long Romance with Foreign Dictators,” by Jacob Heilbrunn“Prequel: An American Fight Against Fascism,” by Rachel Maddow“The Longest Con: How Grifters, Swindlers, and Frauds Hijacked American Conservatism,” by Joe Conason“Offshore: Stealth Wealth and the New Colonialism,” by Brooke Harrington“The Wizard of the Kremlin,” by Giuliano da Empoli“The Netanyahus: An Account of a Minor and Ultimately Even Negligible Episode in the History of a Very Famous Family,” by Joshua Cohen“The Achilles Trap: Saddam Hussein, the C.I.A., and the Origins of America's Invasion of Iraq,” by Steve Coll (The New Yorker)“The Sentinel State: Surveillance and the Survival of Dictatorship in China,” by Minxin Pei“White Rural Rage: The Threat to American Democracy,” by Tom Schaller and Paul Waldman“Filterworld: How Algorithms Flattened Culture,” by Kyle Chayka (The New Yorker)“Romney: A Reckoning,” by McKay Coppins“The Kingdom, the Power, and the Glory: American Evangelicals in an Age of Extremism,” by Tim Alberta“Unholy: How White Christian Nationalists Powered the Trump Presidency, and the Devastating Legacy They Left Behind,” by Sarah Posner“Playing God: American Catholic Bishops and The Far Right,” by Mary Jo McConahay“Reading the Constitution: Why I Chose Pragmatism, Not Textualism,” by Stephen Breyer“The Brethren: Inside the Supreme Court,” by Bob Woodward and Scott Armstrong“What It Takes: The Way to the White House,” by Richard Ben CramerTheodore Roosevelt Trilogy: “The Rise of Theodore Roosevelt,” “Theodore Rex,” and “Colonel Roosevelt,” by Edmund MorrisTo discover more podcasts from The New Yorker, visit newyorker.com/podcasts. To send feedback about this episode, write to themail@newyorker.com with “The Political Scene” in the subject line.
The New Yorker contributor Jeannie Suk Gersen joins Tyler Foggatt to discuss her interview with Robert Hur, the special prosecutor who caused a political uproar with his report on his investigation into President Biden’s handling of classified documents. The report, which referred to Biden as “a sympathetic, well-meaning, elderly man with a poor memory,” elicited a furious response from the White House—but, Gersen argues, its meaning and Hur’s motivations may have been misunderstood. Gersen and Foggatt also discuss the likelihood that the federal cases against Trump will go to trial before Election Day, and what Americans might expect if they do not.Read Jeannie Suk Gersen’s piece on Robert Hur here.To discover more podcasts from The New Yorker, visit newyorker.com/podcasts. To send feedback on this episode, write to themail@newyorker.com.
Long before gender theory became a principal target of the right, it existed principally in academic circles. And one of the leading thinkers in the field was the philosopher Judith Butler. In “Gender Trouble” (from 1990) and in other works, Butler popularized ideas about gender as a social construct, a “performance,” a matter of learned behavior. Those ideas proved highly influential for a younger generation, and Butler became the target of traditionalists who abhorred them. A protest at which Butler was burned in effigy, depicted as a witch, inspired their new book, “Who’s Afraid of Gender?” It covers the backlash to trans rights in which conservatives from the Vatican to Vladimir Putin create a “phantasm” of gender as a destructive force. “Obviously, nobody who is thinking about gender . . . is saying you can’t be a mother, that you can’t be a father, or we’re not using those words anymore,” they tell David Remnick. “Or we’re going to take your sex away.” They also discuss Butler’s identification as nonbinary after many years of identifying as a woman. “The young people gave me the ‘they,’ ” as Butler puts it. “At the end of ‘Gender Trouble,’ in 1990, I said, ‘Why do we restrict ourselves to thinking there are only men and women?’ . . . This generation has come along with the idea of being nonbinary. [It] never occurred to me! Then I thought, Of course I am. What else would I be? . . . I just feel gratitude to the younger generation, they gave me something wonderful. That also takes humility of a certain kind.”
The Washington Roundtable: Susan B. Glasser, Jane Mayer, and Evan Osnos discuss how foreign policy is shaping the 2024 campaign, such as a possible ban on Chinese-owned TikTok and the wars in Europe and the Middle East. The panel also considers Joe Biden and Donald Trump’s sharply conflicting views of America’s role in the world.This week’s reading:“I Listened to Trump’s Rambling, Unhinged, Vituperative Georgia Rally—and So Should You,” by Susan B. Glasser To discover more podcasts from The New Yorker, visit newyorker.com/podcasts. To send feedback about this episode, write to themail@newyorker.com with “The Political Scene” in the subject line.
John Cassidy joins Tyler Foggatt to discuss President Biden’s “bold proposal” to shift the tax burden back to the wealthy and tackle inflation, both key concerns for voters in the run-up to Election Day. The pair also considers why companies continue to rake in “bigger profits than ever before,” even as the economic fallout of the pandemic recedes.To discover more podcasts from The New Yorker, visit newyorker.com/podcasts. To send feedback on this episode, write to themail@newyorker.com.
Like most Americans, Vinson Cunningham first became aware of Barack Obama in 2004, when he gave a breakout speech at the Democratic National Convention. “Very good posture, that guy,” Cunningham noted. “We hang our faith on objects, on people, based on the signs that they put out,” Cunningham tells David Remnick. “And that’s certainly been a factor in my own life. The rapid and urgent search for patterns.” Although Cunningham aspired to be a writer, he got swept up in this historic campaign, working on Obama’s longshot 2008 run for the Presidency, and later worked in his White House. Cunningham’s adventures on the trail inspire his first novel, “Great Expectations,” an autobiographical coming-of-age story about where and how we seek inspiration.  Cunningham recalls that Obama was seen as the “fulfillment” of so many hopes and dreams for people like himself. Now he wishes the former President were playing a larger role. “I will admit that it has been dispiriting,” in Obama’s post-Presidential life, “to see him making movies and being on Jet Skis as the world burns. … more like a movie star than someone whose great hope is to change the world.” 
The Washington Roundtable: Susan B. Glasser, Jane Mayer, and Evan Osnos discuss President Biden’s energetic State of the Union address, the positive response among Democrats in the polls, and how press coverage is shaping the public’s perceptions of Biden’s campaign.“He wasn’t looking to convince anybody,” Glasser says. “What he was looking to do was to tell his side, ‘Stop freaking out. I’m in the fight.’ ”This week’s reading: “So Much for ‘Sleepy Joe’: On Biden’s Rowdy, Shouty State of the Union,” by Susan B. Glasser “Joe Biden’s Last Campaign,” by Evan Osnos To discover more podcasts from The New Yorker, visit newyorker.com/podcasts. To send in feedback on this episode, write to themail@newyorker.com with “The Political Scene” in the subject line.
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Comments (60)

dinky witch

the grating voice of the woman makes this otherwise interesting podcast (an AUDIO medium) impossible to listen to. need to skip her parts to keep my sanity

Apr 14th
Reply

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Mar 16th
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Patel Ravi

Tramp = idiot

Feb 18th
Reply

Football 360

Test

Feb 15th
Reply

Eric Everitt

this one was as snarky as can be. Two women laughing at men.. nice.. sooo 2024!

Jan 18th
Reply

Arsalan

Trump never start any war👏

Dec 9th
Reply

Nick Sheldon

I can't listen to this. The false grating whining American voice (made up accent) makes it impossible to concentrate because all I want to do is punch my phone.. shame really as it sounded like it was going to be a good episode.

Nov 13th
Reply

Darcie Harris

Perhaps voters would respond differently in polls if the media would cover more substantive issues, like the impact of the infrastructure bill, the chips act & lower prescription drug costs instead of obsessively talking about Biden’s age.

Nov 11th
Reply

farzaneh rezaei

the exact same material was broadcasted on Radio Hour.

Oct 31st
Reply

Miles Greb

this guy is acting surprised Russians used the Russian horde stradgey?

Aug 3rd
Reply

Anthony Kelsick

This wad a very sad interview. I pray that Robert finds peace from his truly tortured past.

Jul 11th
Reply

Krisztina Szabo

no "prominent elected" democratic candidate challenging Biden? right, but there *ARE* other challengers - please now do a segment on Ms. Williamson! i know you are not impartial, but please at least aknowledge.

Jul 10th
Reply

Jack Of All Creative Trades

the cluelessness of the guest and host about censorship form social media mobs shocks me. because we should allow th author to publish the novel and allow people to read it to judge for themselves. no matter where there from inorser to judge foe themselves to see if the criticism is right or wrong. because now the author pulled it no one can see or judge if it harmful or not. to me this is censorship for one simple reason. the author pull it due to an outrage of a handful of passionate peiple on social media. who review bomb her book on good read. review bombing to me is a harassment tactics you see when a group of people want people to enjoy a price of entertainment. for her to pull the book from these harassers no matter the reason scares me because if you get a group of on social media pissed off enough you can get people to shut up and agree with you. that what I see as possible cenorship going forward.

Jun 22nd
Reply

mota

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

Jun 9th
Reply

Mahbobe Rabani

Hi.how can i see thr script of this podcast?

May 13th
Reply

Zank Frappe

Fantastic interview!

Apr 3rd
Reply

Don Young

Is there a way to get at real human beings and thought and bypass chatGPT if it is dangerous?

Mar 2nd
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