PODCAST

Sway

New York Times Opinion

Power, unpacked. “Sway” is an interview show hosted by Kara Swisher, “Silicon Valley’s most feared and well liked journalist.” Now taking on Washington, Hollywood and the world, Kara investigates power: who has it, who’s been denied it, and who dares to defy it. Every Monday and Thursday, from New York Times Opinion Audio.

‘The Senate Needs a Soul’
20-06-2022
‘The Senate Needs a Soul’
Raphael Warnock claims he’s not a politician, though he certainly sounds like one and serves as one. The U.S. senator from Georgia, who has long been the pastor at Martin Luther King Jr.’s former church, says that his “entry into politics is an extension” of his work on a range of what he sees as moral issues, such as health care, criminal-justice reform and voting rights.Warnock became Georgia’s first Black senator in January 2021, when he narrowly beat the Republican incumbent, Kelly Loeffler, in a special runoff election. And he is set for yet another tough political battle ahead, against Herschel Walker, the former N.F.L. player, who in addition to his celebrity status also has an endorsement from Donald Trump. The stakes are high: “God knows these days, the Senate needs a soul,” Warnock says.In this conversation, Kara Swisher talks to Warnock about his path from the pulpit to the Senate and the religious journey he traces in his recent memoir, “A Way Out of No Way.” She presses him on whether he can beat his celebrity opponent and asks what shadow Trump casts on this election. And they discuss the contrast between the jubilation he felt on his history-making victory and the horror that unfolded less than 24 hours later, as a mob attacked his “new office,” the Capitol, on Jan. 6.You can find transcripts (posted midday) and more information for all episodes at nytimes.com/sway, and you can find Kara on Twitter @karaswisher.
As Bitcoin Busts, What’s the Future of Web3? And What Even is Web3?
16-06-2022
As Bitcoin Busts, What’s the Future of Web3? And What Even is Web3?
Chris Dixon is one of Silicon Valley’s most ardent crypto-evangelists. A general partner at the venture capital firm Andreessen Horowitz, he leads a16z Crypto, which invests in web3. At the beginning of the year, his proselytizing seemed to be paying off: Bitcoin had doubled in value in the last half of 2021, NFTs were all the rage, and crypto seemed poised for mainstream acceptance. Nowhere was this more evident than the Super Bowl broadcast, crammed with cryptocurrency ads featuring celebrities like LeBron James, Matt Damon and even the curmudgeonly Larry David.But it’s all come crashing down. This week, Bitcoin reached its lowest point in 18 months — at just above $23,000 — and Ethereum is worth about a quarter of its November peak. The cryptocurrency exchange platform Coinbase announced it was laying off nearly 20 percent of its work force while the crypto-lending platform Celsius paused withdrawals, in a moment that looked a lot like the run on the banks in the film “It’s a Wonderful Life.”In this conversation, Kara Swisher asks Dixon if we’re watching the beginning of an all-out crash for the industry. They discuss parallels to the 2008 financial crisis, dig into how much of crypto is “scam at scale,” and contemplate what regulation from the government could help. And they talk about whether web3 will really be the decentralized utopia enthusiasts paint it to be, another iteration of an internet that profits too few, or something in between.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.
Are Elon Musk and Twitter Trapped In a Bad Marriage?
02-06-2022
Are Elon Musk and Twitter Trapped In a Bad Marriage?
Elon Musk swept Twitter off its feet in April, when he put in a bid to buy the company for $44 billion. But the impassioned beginnings of this acquisition have cooled down in the weeks since, as Musk has raised concerns about the inner workings of the company he agreed to buy essentially sight unseen (he did not conduct due diligence before he agreed to buy the social media platform). As the New York Times tech columnist Kevin Roose puts it, the deal is starting to look “like an arranged marriage that’s sort of going sour.” Musk has invoked concerns about spam and fake accounts on the site, as well as privacy considerations. And the billionaire has gone so far as to tweet that the deal is “temporarily on hold” before clarifying that he is “still committed to acquisition.” But a breakup between Musk and Twitter would make for a difficult, costly and very public divorce.In this conversation, Kara Swisher takes stock of the Twitter-Musk marriage with Roose and William Cohan, a business writer and founding partner at Puck. They break down the balance of power between Musk and Twitter and discuss why Musk even wants the company. And Cohan breaks down how the math clears — after all, even with help from a potpourri of wealthy investors, including Oracle co-founder Larry Ellison and Prince Alwaleed bin Talal of Saudi Arabia, there are still questions about how Musk, the richest person in the world, will find the tens of billions of dollars he needs to close this deal.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.
After Buffalo: Will Anything Change at Facebook, Twitter or Fox News?
18-05-2022
After Buffalo: Will Anything Change at Facebook, Twitter or Fox News?
A shooter, radicalized online, plotted a racist attack with plenty of digital fingerprints, intended to livestream it on social media and published a manifesto online. It happened in Christchurch, New Zealand, in 2019. And it seems to have happened again last week in Buffalo. In the years in between, we’ve heard plenty about social media companies amping up their content moderation efforts and clamping down on violent extremism. Yet nothing — or not enough — has really changed.In this conversation, Kara Swisher dissects the internet’s role in the Buffalo attack with Wesley Lowery, a journalist who covers race and justice, and Jared Holt, a resident fellow at the Atlantic Council’s Digital Forensic Research Lab. The three discuss how extremism spreads online, the role that Fox News and Tucker Carlson play and what platforms like 4chan, Facebook and Twitch could have done differently.They also examine the free speech argument made by many conservatives and Elon Musk and consider how a Texas law — which allows individuals to sue platforms if they feel their posts have been censored — may give social media platforms cover to do even less. Lowery points out there are many options between being a “hyper-free-speech absolutist” and “censorship.” Ultimately, as he puts it, these platforms need to ask themselves, “If I’m hosting the block party, do I let the Nazi keep showing up and ranting?”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.
How the Supreme Court Became ‘Intoxicated With Its Power’
06-05-2022
How the Supreme Court Became ‘Intoxicated With Its Power’
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.