Episodes

  • Symone Sanders left a meteoric political trajectory to join the media. After working on Bernie Sanders’s 2016 campaign, advising Joe Biden’s 2020 campaign and serving as Vice President Kamala Harris’s chief spokesperson for her first year in office, Sanders is pivoting to become the host of her own MSNBC show, “Symone.” This makes her the latest in a revolving door of former Washington insiders turned media anchors (think George Stephanopoulos, Nicolle Wallace, Jen Psaki and Kayleigh McEnany).

    In this conversation, Kara Swisher presses Sanders on whether the porousness between the Beltway and prime time is a good thing, and how she plans to cover a White House administration she just left.

    They discuss the relevance of cable news in a world of plunging TV ratings and the rise of TikTok. They address speculation around high turnover in the vice president’s office (which Sanders dismisses as “palace intrigue”). And they talk politics, including Sanders’s predictions for midterms and whether Biden really is the best option for Democrats in 2024.

    You can find transcripts (posted midday) and more information for all episodes at nytimes.com/sway, and you can find Kara on Twitter @karaswisher.

  • Hollywood went all in on streaming, but Netflix’s plummeting stock, CNN’s shutdown of its CNN+ streaming service, and a forthcoming sale of Vice has chief executives and the stock market questioning whether that was the wrong bet. In this conversation, Kara Swisher breaks down this year’s media shake-ups with Matt Belloni, founding partner at Puck News, and Ben Smith, the former New York Times media reporter who is a founder of a media start-up called Semafor.

    They discuss what Smith calls Hollywood’s “love-hate relationship” with Netflix and whether the company will ever be up for sale. They make predictions about who will win the streaming wars. And they talk about Elon Musk’s Twitter takeover, what Belloni calls the billionaire’s “naïve” and “rosy” projections, and — of course — contemplate Musk’s plan to let Donald Trump back on the site.

    This episode contains strong language.

    You can find transcripts (posted midday) and more information for all episodes at nytimes.com/sway, and you can find Kara on Twitter @karaswisher.

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  • Clarissa Ward has had, as she puts it, a “long and very complicated relationship” with Russia. The chief international correspondent for CNN, she has had stints in Moscow since the beginning of her career, and has struggled to get a Russian visa since she investigated the 2020 poisoning of the Russian opposition leader Aleksei Navalny.

    But that hasn’t stopped her from reporting on the region, and in particular on Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Yet after months of war, it can be an uphill battle to keep the viewers’ attention on the front line. “Our job is to keep finding ways to make sure that we don’t become numb and desensitized to the horrors of war, because that is exactly how wars continue and grind on,” Ward says.

    In this conversation, taped last week, Kara talks to Ward about her time reporting in Ukraine, what it’s like to “let fear sit in the passenger seat” when reporting from the front and how the hangover of war can leave correspondents detached from the “bourgeois and banal” normalcy of home.

    You can find transcripts (posted midday) and more information for all episodes at nytimes.com/sway, and you can find Kara on Twitter @karaswisher.

  • One of the questions haunting the unprecedented leak of Justice Samuel Alito’s draft opinion on Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization is, quite simply, who did it and why? Speculation abounds online, and Chief Justice John Roberts, who called the leak a “betrayal,” has called for an investigation. But there are other lessons to be learned from the leak — about the state of the Supreme Court and its power, its relationship with the public and the kinds of reforms it may need.

    In this conversation, Kara Swisher discusses it all with three lawyers: Neal Katyal, a former solicitor general and a professor at Georgetown Law who has argued before this court; Amy Kapczynski, the director of the Law and Political Economy Project and blog at Yale Law School and a former Supreme Court clerk; and George T. Conway III, one of the founders of the anti-Trump group the Lincoln Project.

    They discuss what motives might have been behind a leak — for either a liberal or a conservative — and talk through what this breach says about the politicization or cohesion of the Supreme Court. They explore possible reforms for the highest court in the land. And they offer predictions for whether Justice Alito’s draft is indicative of the final ruling — with Katyal offering one theory that the court might dismiss the case as improvidently granted and “hear the case again next year.”

    You can find transcripts (posted midday) and more information for all episodes at nytimes.com/sway, and you can find Kara on Twitter @karaswisher.

  • Justice Samuel Alito’s leaked draft opinion has offered a chilling preview into what America will look like if Roe v. Wade is overturned. But the president and C.E.O. of the Center for Reproductive Rights, Nancy Northup, has been preparing for this battle. Her organization represents the Mississippi abortion clinic whose legal battle sparked the Supreme Court case, and Northup’s colleagues argued the case in front of the Supreme Court in December. “We are not waking up today to realize this was a threat,” she says. “We were looking at it back in 2004, and probably half the states in the United States would ban or severely limit abortion if Roe were overturned.”

    In this conversation, Kara Swisher asks Northup to answer the questions that have sprung from this leaked draft. They discuss the consequences — legal, political and personal — if Roe v. Wade is overturned in the coming months and the cascading effects of this decision on other personal liberties, including access to contraception and marriage equality. And they discuss whether any argument in Alito’s draft opinion holds muster. (Nancy, for the record, thinks not.)

    You can find transcripts (posted midday) and more information for all episodes at nytimes.com/sway, and you can find Kara on Twitter @karaswisher.

  • The Russia-Ukraine war has opened up questions about America’s role in global affairs and how the balance of power will reshuffle. These questions aren’t new; the discussion of the end of American dominance and the rise of new powers like China has captivated political and economic discourse. It is also the subject of Ray Dalio’s latest book, “Principles for Dealing With the Changing World Order.”

    In this conversation, Kara Swisher asks Dalio, the billionaire behind the world’s largest hedge fund, Bridgewater, to explain his theory behind the rise and decline of empires. They talk about China’s rise and whether he is — as one Wall Street Journal article dubbed him — “in thrall to Beijing.” And they discuss how American competitiveness will shake out as the nation faces potential stagflation in addition to polarization, inequality and a new, Gen Z approach to work.

    You can find transcripts (posted midday) and more information for all episodes at nytimes.com/sway, and you can find Kara on Twitter @karaswisher.

  • It happened: Elon Musk struck a deal to buy Twitter for $44 billion. The billionaire, who is one of the platform’s most popular users, has already hinted at some of the changes he aspires to “unlock” at the company, from making Twitter a platform for “free speech” to making its algorithms open source and purging spam bots.

    In this conversation, recorded live on Twitter Spaces, Kara Swisher talks with the journalists Casey Newton, Anand Giridharadas and William Cohan about how Elon’s reign will impact the platform and its users — and how the deal could still fall apart.

    You can find transcripts (posted midday) and more information for all episodes at nytimes.com/sway, and you can find Kara on Twitter @karaswisher.

  • Whether it’s the Queen’s platinum jubilee, Meghan and Harry ditching their royal roles or the sexual assault allegations against Prince Andrew, Buckingham Palace has kept the media, and the public, hooked on the goings-on of a thousand-year-old institution. Tina Brown has been covering the royal family since the days of Diana, most recently in her forthcoming book, “The Palace Papers.”

    In this conversation, the former Vanity Fair editor talks to Kara Swisher about how Elizabeth has sustained her relevance over her seven decades of rule and what happens to the British monarchy when she dies. They also discuss what’s happening in the nonroyal wing of British leadership — including Boris Johnson’s “Partygate.”

    You can find transcripts (posted midday) and more information for all episodes at nytimes.com/sway, and you can find Kara on Twitter @karaswisher.

  • Jimmy Kimmel has used his late-night slot to call out Donald Trump and Representative Marjorie Taylor Greene. But Kimmel says his jokes on "Jimmy Kimmel Live" aren’t about stoking partisanship — they’re about sounding the alarm on politicians who cross the line and amplify misinformation. And while Kimmel may find American politics bewildering right now, he says he still wants to hear from those he disagrees with — even “the media version of the Sackler family,” as Kimmel dubs Tucker Carlson. “I don’t think it’s a good idea to shut people up because I want to know where people are coming from,” he says. “I want to know what they think. I want to know if they have horrible thoughts. I want to hear them. I want to hear their confessions.”

    In this conversation, Kara Swisher and Kimmel discuss whether cancel culture has come too far, Kimmel’s own evolution from pranks on “The Man Show” to political commentary on access to health care and how Trump changed the comedy world. They also discuss his recent kerfuffle with Representative Greene, who says she filed a threat report on Kimmel with the Capitol Police after he joked about her on his late night set.

    This episode contains strong language.

    You can find transcripts (posted midday) and more information for all episodes at nytimes.com/sway, and you can find Kara on Twitter @karaswisher.

  • From Gov. Ron DeSantis signing Florida’s so-called Don’t Say Gay bill to Gov. Greg Abbott issuing a Texas directive that would classify medical care for transgender adolescents as “child abuse,” Republicans across the country seem to be doubling down on anti-L.G.B.T.Q. policies. Their argument? It’s about “parental rights.” But the playwright Tony Kushner has seen this kind of battle play out before. His “Angels in America” hit two-part play examined the AIDS epidemic and L.G.B.T.Q. life in the United States. And Kushner says this new wave of legislation is just the latest incarnation of a clampdown on rights under the conservative “fantasy” of a nation under “exclusive control by white straight men.”

    In this conversation, Kara Swisher asks Kushner how far — or not — the nation has come since “Angels” and the AIDS crisis. Kushner traces a through line from Ronald Reagan to Donald Trump and discusses how anger is a byproduct of progress. “There’s a complicated anger on the left, on the progressive side,” he says. “Presumably people on the progressive side of things believe in the possibility of constructing a more just world. And that that’s going to take a lot of thinking, as well as a lot of feeling.”

    You can find transcripts (posted midday) and more information for all episodes at nytimes.com/sway, and you can find Kara on Twitter @karaswisher.

  • From her high-flying kicks in the film “Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon” to her unconventional take on a “Bond girl” in “Tomorrow Never Dies,” Michelle Yeoh has had a multidecade career defying stereotypes. Her latest role is no exception — she took on a part that was originally written for the actor Jackie Chan.

    In “Everything Everywhere All at Once,” Yeoh plays the superhero: a Chinese American immigrant mother who is called upon to save the world — and herself — by hopping across multiverses.

    In this conversation, Kara Swisher and Yeoh discuss the film, which Kara describes as “‘The Matrix’ meets L.S.D. trip.” They chat about how films like “Crazy Rich Asians” have catapulted change in Hollywood, and how Yeoh’s career has bridged two of the biggest movie markets in the world, from the United States to China.

    You can find transcripts (posted midday) and more information for all episodes at nytimes.com/sway, and you can find Kara on Twitter @karaswisher.

  • From rising gas prices and inflation to the Russia-Ukraine war, the U.S. economy has experienced all sorts of turbulence recently. But it hasn’t all been a bad news story: The U.S. unemployment rate reached a low of 3.6 percent in March and wages are rising. In this conversation, Kara Swisher asks the economist and Nobel laureate Paul Krugman to put all these factors into perspective. “It’s not an A++ economy,” Krugman says, but it’s “immensely better” than where the economy was during the 2008 financial crisis.

    Kara asks Krugman to take stock of the supply chain crisis, trillions of dollars in stimulus spending and other major economic agitators. They discuss whether the low unemployment rate will translate to greater worker power and what this might mean for unionization efforts at companies like Amazon. And Krugman weighs in on how the federal government could help cool down an “overheating” economy.

    You can find transcripts (posted midday) and more information for all episodes at nytimes.com/sway, and you can find Kara on Twitter @karaswisher.

  • Elon Musk promoted himself from avid Twitter user to major stakeholder on Monday. Musk, the head of Tesla and SpaceX, who has over 80 million followers on the platform, now also owns a 9.2 percent stake in Twitter, making him the company’s largest shareholder. And by the time the company announced his appointment to the board on Tuesday, the internet was already speculating about the kinds of changes that Musk could influence. “He can make recommendations at the board meetings, but what he really has is soft power,” the tech reporter Casey Newton tells Kara Swisher.

    In this conversation, Kara and Newton debrief how Musk’s infamy will contribute to his presence at Twitter. They discuss the possibility of an edit button on the site, as well as how Musk’s relationship with the C.E.O., Parag Agrawal, and the co-founder Jack Dorsey might affect the direction of the company. And they talk about whether Musk will push for Twitter to replatform Donald Trump.

    You can find transcripts (posted midday) and more information for all episodes at nytimes.com/sway, and you can find Kara on Twitter @karaswisher.

  • Dr. Anthony Fauci has been the face of America’s Covid response and has been praised and vilified for his expertise. But who are all the other people who have worked behind the scenes at agencies like the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to guide America through the pandemic? This is a question Michael Lewis tackles in his book “The Premonition,” which was published in May 2021. He talks about how getting to know these public health experts gave him a completely different understanding of the country’s public health system — and the systemic challenges institutions like the C.D.C. face when pandemics and other crises strike.

    In this conversation, Kara talks to Lewis about “The Premonition,” which he says was a “joyous writing experience.” They discuss the role that social media and the spread of misinformation online has played in hindering effective pandemic responses, as well as some of the characters he came across in his research for the book. He also shares his experience of grief after his daughter Dixie died in a car accident last spring. And he discusses with Kara what he thinks his next book will be about.

    You can find transcripts (posted midday) and more information for all episodes at nytimes.com/sway, and you can find Kara on Twitter @karaswisher.

  • The Russia-Ukraine War has been a dangerous time for journalists: Russian troops have kidnapped Ukrainian journalists working in contested territories, and the Kremlin has doubled down on censorship domestically as well, passing a law banning “fake” news about the Russian invasion, with a potential 15-year prison sentence.

    Kara talks to two journalists who have had to flee their homes because of the war and have experienced the impacts of Putin’s misinformation campaign. Olga Tokariuk is a Ukrainian journalist and nonresident fellow at the Center for European Policy Analysis who has covered Putin’s escalating disinformation campaign. She shares an update from western Ukraine, as well as her observations about the lies Putin has used since 2014 to justify Russian invasion. “This war has been very dangerous for journalists,” she tells Kara. And Tikhon Dzyadko is the editor in chief of T.V. Rain, the last independent television station in Russia before it suspended operations there in early March. Dzyadko, now based in Georgia, recently fled Russia for safety reasons. “I feel humiliated because I’m not a criminal. I did nothing wrong to be forced to leave the country,” he says. He talks to Kara about the state of independent media in Russia, how censorship has worsened as Putin has risen in power and his recent interview with Volodymyr Zelensky. Despite the dangers Tokariuk and Dzyadko have faced, they both reflect on the patriotic duty they feel to continue reporting during this turbulent time.

    You can find transcripts (posted midday) and more information for all episodes at nytimes.com/sway, and you can find Kara on Twitter @karaswisher.

  • Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey has sued the Trump administration, Uber, Juul, Exxon Mobil, the Sacklers, and more — and has made a national name for herself in the process. Now she’s investigating social media companies for the impact they have on teen mental health, and she’s not impressed. “The level of hubris and arrogance, particularly on the part of Facebook, has really astounded me,” she tells Kara Swisher.

    Healey is currently aiming for a statewide prize: She’s running for governor. If she wins, she would be the first woman (and the first lesbian) to hold the job in Massachusetts.

    In this episode, Kara presses Healey on how she can appeal to a state that has elected moderate Republicans to the governorship in recent years. She also asks Healey to weigh in on the so-called “Don’t Say Gay” bill in Florida, which Healey says has to be fought both in the court of law and “in the court of public opinion — you really have to call out the misinformation for what it is.”

    You can find transcripts (posted midday) and more information for all episodes at nytimes.com/sway, and you can find Kara on Twitter @karaswisher.

  • McDonald’s, BP, Netflix and hundreds of other companies have enlisted in the West’s pushback against Vladimir Putin. Since the start of Russia’s invasion, several hundred U.S. companies have announced plans to withdraw from or step down their operations in the country. The idea, says Jeffrey Sonnenfeld, a professor at the Yale School of Management, is to make Russia such a pariah that Putin is forced to back down.

    Sonnenfeld, who’s been called a “C.E.O. whisperer,” is working with his team to compile a corporate watchlist for Russian engagement that effectively serves as a hall of fame, and a hall of shame. In this conversation with Kara Swisher, he discusses when business blackouts will reach a tipping point and result in real change — the way the anti-apartheid boycott did in South Africa.

    Kara and Sonnenfeld debate whether a “South Africa moment” is possible when big companies like Koch Industries refuse to leave and when China’s ascendance presents a completely different economic context. They also discuss domestic cases of corporations taking a stand on politics, from Disney’s fiasco with Florida’s so-called Don’t Say Gay bill to the backlash over voting rights bills in Georgia. And Kara asks Sonnenfeld whether morality should really be the business of C.E.O.s. “When people say to C.E.O.s, get back in your lane,” he replies, “this is the lane of business.”

    You can find transcripts (posted midday) and more information for all episodes at nytimes.com/sway, and you can find Kara on Twitter @karaswisher.

  • Big Tech has been amassing power and wealth for decades. So why is it taking the U.S. government so long to catch up? Congress, whose members can barely agree on lunch, is now contemplating a number of bipartisan bills on antitrust, privacy and more. Yet more than a year into an administration that seems to support more tech regulation, not a single piece of significant legislation has been passed.

    In this episode, Kara Swisher presses Representative Ro Khanna, Democrat of California, on why Tim Cook’s App Store is putting more checks on Facebook than the U.S. government is. Khanna’s response is that the challenge is public and political will. To pass privacy or antitrust legislation, “people have to say, this is not about tech,” Khanna tells Kara. “This is about our democracy. This is about our economy. And if we get to that point, then we will start to see the reform.”

    In this conversation, which was taped in front of an audience at Cooper Union, Khanna and Kara talk about what significant tech legislation would look like. They discuss Khanna’s new book, “Dignity in a Digital Age,” in which he makes the case for distributing tech jobs — and thus tech wealth — across the country. They also talk about the Democrats’ prospects in the midterms and why he thinks progressives “won the ideological debate of 2020.”

    You can find transcripts (posted midday) and more information for all episodes at nytimes.com/sway, and you can find Kara on Twitter @karaswisher.

  • Whether it’s Andrew Cuomo or Dave Chappelle, everyone these days, it seems, is blaming “cancel culture” for career problems. But five years ago, Kathy Griffin was a canary in the coal mine, being canceled for reasons she says were overblown. In 2017, a photo where she posed with a mask styled to look like Donald Trump’s severed head went viral. She says it was clearly comedy, yet Griffin faced a Secret Service investigation as well as death threats from Trump supporters. She was also virtually blacklisted from her industry.

    By 2020, with her career still stalled, Griffin had become increasingly reliant on pills. Eventually, she tells Kara Swisher, “I tried to kill myself.”

    In this episode, Griffin opens up about the cost of the experience on her career and her mental health. She and Swisher also discuss the way her cancellation has been conflated with the actions of “toxicly masculine men.” And they run through a list of people who’ve recently been canceled — or are attempting to claw their way back.

    This episode contains strong language.

    You can find transcripts (posted midday) and more information for all episodes at nytimes.com/sway, and you can find Kara on Twitter @karaswisher.

    If you are having thoughts of suicide or are concerned that someone you know may be having those thoughts, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800-273-8255 (TALK) or go to SpeakingOfSuicide.com/resources for a list of additional resources. Go here for resources outside the United States.

  • As Facebook morphs into Meta and makes a push for immersive 3-D connection (without solving all of its existing problems), Kara Swisher takes a look back at the company’s early days — and the fictionalized telling of them — with the actor Andrew Garfield. He had his breakout role playing the Facebook co-founder Eduardo Saverin in the 2010 film “The Social Network.” He tells Kara, “I immediately shut my Facebook page down as soon as I read the script.”

    A decade later, Garfield’s career has taken off: He’s earned a Golden Globe and an Oscar nomination for his latest project, “Tick, Tick … Boom!,” and even played Spider-Man. But unlike many celebrities, Garfield isn’t particularly active online. “If I wanted to have the life of privacy and protection and freedom and wholeness,” he says, “I knew that I wasn’t going to be able to be exposed to all of the faceless, voiceless, nameless people on social media.”

    In this conversation, Garfield and Kara talk about his unconventional approach to the internet and the dangers of idolizing Kanye West or Elon Musk. They also speak about Garfield’s portrayal of Jonathan Larson, the composer of “Rent,” in “Tick, Tick … Boom!” And they discuss how the death of a parent has affected the way they each embrace life.

    This episode contains strong language.

    You can find transcripts (posted midday) and more information for all episodes at nytimes.com/sway, and you can find Kara on Twitter @karaswisher.