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Sway

Author: New York Times Opinion

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Power, unpacked. “Sway” is a new 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.
36 Episodes
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Uber’s chief executive, Dara Khosrowshahi, is charging toward a world in which food is delivered through apps like Uber Eats and “a driver may be human or may be software.” On the way, he acknowledges, “the human consequences can be painful.” Uber is not profitable yet, but its deep pockets and vast infrastructure give it power over independent restaurants and individual drivers. He says, “Do I feel guilty about it? No.”On this episode of “Sway,” Kara Swisher asks Mr. Khosrowshahi about the plight of drivers and restaurant owners, and whether Uber is part of the “menace 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.
The February cover of Vogue featuring Vice President-elect Kamala Harris kicked off a controversy involving the most powerful woman in fashion and the soon-to-be most powerful woman in the White House. In a multiday social media maelstrom, a leaked cover photo that Anna Wintour originally described as “joyful,” “casual” and “accessible” was deemed “disrespectful” by Twitter. According to people familiar with the matter on both sides, although there had been no contractual cover approval agreement in place, the cover image was not what the vice president-elect’s team had expected. The day after the first photo leaked, a second — more formal — digital exclusive cover was also released.Ms. Wintour said in a follow-up statement to "Sway," “Obviously we have heard and understood the reaction to the print cover and I just want to reiterate that it was absolutely not our intention to, in any way, diminish the importance of the vice president-elect’s incredible victory.”In an exclusive interview on this episode of "Sway," Ms. Wintour discusses the magazine cover, diversity concerns at Condé Nast, the future of the fashion industry — and whether Jeff Bezos could be the next Anna Wintour.You can find transcripts (posted midday) and more information for all episodes at nytimes.com/sway, and you can find Kara on Twitter @karaswisher.
Dominion Voting Systems has filed a $1.3 Billion defamation suit against former Trump lawyer Sidney Powell. Chief Executive John Poulos says it’s the “first step” in the voting machine company’s efforts to counter a “malicious campaign of lies” spread by right wing media outlets and members of Donald Trump's inner circle.You can find transcripts (posted midday) and more information for all episodes at nytimes.com/sway, and you can find Kara on Twitter @karaswisher.
Editors’ Note: Jan. 11, 2020Parler went offline Monday after Amazon stopped providing it with web-hosting services. This followed Apple and Google’s removal of Parler’s app from their app stores. In notices to Parler about these decisions, both Apple and Amazon cited chief executive John Matze’s statement in this episode of “Sway” that “I don’t feel responsible for any of this and neither should the platform.”A mob stormed Washington and Twitter locked the account of a president who helped incite this violence. But Donald Trump and his supporters still have an effectively unregulated safe space: Parler. Chief executive John Matze calls his social media platform a “neutral town square.” Kara Swisher disagrees. On today’s episode of “Sway,” she challenges Matze on the neutrality of a site whose users, investors, advertisers and “community jury” skew right. And she presses him on the role Parler has played in our current national crisis.You can find transcripts (posted midday) and more information for all episodes at nytimes.com/sway, and you can find Kara on Twitter @karaswisher.
Bela Bajaria has an unprecedented job at Netflix. In an executive shake-up this year, she was elevated from head of “local language” (read: non-English) productions to a newly created role, head of global television (read: all TV, everywhere). Her promotion signals how much Netflix is banking on international markets and diverse content to help it win the streaming wars.Ms. Bajaria previously ran Universal Television, the studio arm of NBC. She was behind many of the shows the world has been watching, including “Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt,” “Master of None,” and “The Mindy Project.” On the way, she hit pushback from executives who thought unconventional shows would be small and play only for niche audiences. Bela had other plans: “I want to do big shows that have underrepresented voices and people. They can be big, and they can be commercial.”In this episode of “Sway,” the Netflix executive discusses how change happens in Hollywood, why she got fired from NBC-Universal and which shows you might be bingeing next.You can find transcripts (posted midday) and more information for all episodes at nytimes.com/sway, and you can find Kara on Twitter @karaswisher.
Astrology has been around for thousands of years, so why are “Mercury in retrograde” memes and horoscopes still so popular in 2020? “We all need, at some point or another, to have someone say: ‘Yeah, that’s how you were made, and that’s perfect. Now, go do your thing,’” says Chani Nicholas, one of the internet era’s most prominent astrologers. In this episode, she demystifies the $2.2 billion industry of astrology — and reads Kara's birth chart.You can find transcripts (posted midday) and more information for all episodes at nytimes.com/sway, and you can find Kara on Twitter @karaswisher.
On yesterday’s episode of Sway, the chief executive of Mastercard spoke about why the company blocked subscription payments on Pornhub. Was it too little too late? Kara asks Nicholas Kristof, the journalist whose reporting on child pornography forced the payment company’s hand.You can find transcripts (posted midday) and more information for all episodes at nytimes.com/sway, and you can find Kara on Twitter @karaswisher.
Ajay Banga has spent a decade as chief executive of Mastercard. Last year, he oversaw $6.5 trillion in transactions. That means he knows what we’re spending right now (aggregated and anonymized, of course) and how long it might take to get us out of our current economic funk. It also means Mr. Banga has leverage over virtually any business that relies on credit card payments.For example, following recent reporting from New York Times columnist Nicholas Kristof on the scale of child pornography on PornHub, Mastercard announced that it would terminate payments on that site.Mr. Banga departs as chief executive at the end of this year, transitioning to the post of executive chairman. In this “exit interview,” Kara Swisher presses him on whether the company he’s helped build can keep up with Silicon Valley — and with the social consciousness of the next consumer generation.You can find transcripts (posted midday) and more information for all episodes at nytimes.com/sway, and you can find Kara on Twitter @karaswisher.
Can Kara be Vulnerable?

Can Kara be Vulnerable?

2020-12-1738:481

Brené Brown’s best-selling books and TED talks about embracing vulnerability and shame have made her a cultural phenomenon. Silicon Valley executives often invite her to speak to their companies, though she is skeptical about their intentions to follow through on her advice. “For some people, I am the kombucha shake of the month,” she says.In this episode of Sway, she’s taking on the toughest case of all: the self-proclaimed “vulnerability skeptic” Kara Swisher.You can find transcripts (posted midday) and more information for all episodes at nytimes.com/sway, and you can find Kara on Twitter @karaswisher.
Kara's interview with Georgia’s Secretary of State was a doozy. This episode refers back to yesterday’s episode, “Georgia’s Secretary of State on Standing Up to 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.
Georgia begins early voting today in two runoffs that will decide the composition of the next U.S. Senate. If Democrats win both seats, the Senate will be split 50-50 (with Vice President-elect Kamala Harris acting as tiebreaker). If they don’t, it will be controlled by Republicans who stand ready to block most actions of a Biden presidency.Brad Raffensperger is the man overseeing Georgia’s critical race. As secretary of state, his role is to ensure that the election is fair and — he hopes — drama-free. “My job is to have fair and honest elections, but also I’d love to have elections get back to being boring again.” He does not want “everything flamed up.”That’s because Mr. Raffensperger is still dealing with the flames of last month’s presidential election. Donald Trump called the secretary of state “an enemy of the people” as he certified (and then recertified) Joe Biden’s victory in Georgia. Mr. Raffensperger has faced pressure — and death threats — from members of his own party.In this episode of Sway, Kara Swisher presses the secretary of state on how he’s managing the ire of his party, why — if elections were free and fair — he and fellow Republicans continue to champion voting restrictions, and how wrong Mr. Raffensperger was to compare Donald Trump to Stacey Abrams.You can find transcripts (posted midday) and more information for all episodes at nytimes.com/sway, and you can find Kara on Twitter @karaswisher.
This week, Kara Swisher interviewed WarnerMedia’s chief executive, Jason Kilar, fresh on the heels of the announcement that Warner Bros. will release its 2021 film slate in theaters and on its streaming site, HBO Max, simultaneously. (If you missed that episode — scroll back and hit play! Or click here if you’re on the World Wide Web).In this bonus episode of “Sway,” Kara Swisher and the New York Times media columnist Ben Smith discuss what the news means for the future of the film industry, and whether this move will establish Mr. Kilar as the streaming king of Hollywood or leave his “head on a platter.” As Mr. Smith puts it, “A huge piece of the studio business — and of Warner’s business — are these relationships with directors who they just burned the hell out of."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 want to be the first to watch “Dune,” “Godzilla vs. Kong” or the new “Matrix” movie this year (yes, there’s a fourth one) — you won’t have to line up at a movie theater. That’s because Jason Kilar, the C.E.O. of WarnerMedia, announced last week that the full slate of Warner Bros. films will be simultaneously released in theaters and on the company’s streaming service, HBO Max.Mr. Kilar is only seven months into the job, and he just unleashed one of the biggest industry shake-ups in recent history. Movie theater executives and filmmakers are reeling. As director Christopher Nolan told The Hollywood Reporter, “some of our industry’s biggest filmmakers and most important movie stars went to bed the night before thinking they were working for the greatest movie studio and woke up to find out they were working for the worst streaming service.”In this episode of “Sway,” Kara Swisher questions Mr. Kilar on whether he just delivered the final death blow to struggling theaters, how he’ll make good with Hollywood’s top talent, and what films will look like when — as Mr. Kilar predicts — blockbuster budgets surpass a billion dollars.You can find transcripts (posted midday) and more information for all episodes at nytimes.com/sway, and you can find Kara on Twitter @karaswisher.
Steven Galanis is helping celebrities get into the gig economy. He launched his company, Cameo, three years ago as a marketplace for the famous (and not-so-famous) to sell personalized shout-outs.For $500, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar may wish you a happy birthday. For $200, Ian Ziering (a.k.a. Steve Sanders from the original “Beverly Hills, 90210”) can send your mom a Happy Mother’s Day greeting. And for $10, the company’s chief executive, Mr. Galanis, will wish your kid’s team good luck on its next hockey game.The company is facilitating fan requests, gag gifts and even political pranks. (The former New Jersey governor Chris Christie was a recent target.) But the point, says Mr. Galanis, is to bridge the gap for people who are “more famous than rich” — aging athletes, faded pop idols, out-of-work supporting actors and even artists whose inappropriate actions have led them to be “canceled.”In the process, Mr. Galanis is taking on Hollywood power houses. Cameo is cutting agents, managers and publicists out of the equation, compressing the distance between celebrities and, well, the rest of us.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. Ozlem Tureci and Dr. Ugur Sahin, the co-founders of BioNTech, are behind the first coronavirus vaccine to be approved in the West. Starting next week, the “Pfizer vaccine” will be available in Britain.While Pfizer is financing and distributing the vaccine, the science behind it was actually spearheaded by the couple’s lesser-known company. When Drs. Tureci and Sahin, along with their BioNTech team, embarked on this mission, the record for the fastest vaccine creation was four years. They did it in less than one.BioNTech started working on a vaccine in January. By early November, the company shared the results of its Phase 3 trials: over 90 percent efficacy. The announcement was made days after the presidential election was called for Joe Biden, and Donald Trump claimed the timing was politically motivated.In this episode of “Sway,” the couple dismiss that accusation and speak instead to the science. “Clinical trials are highly regulated,” Dr. Tureci says. “And this is something which you cannot really delay or stop or expedite.”You can find transcripts (posted midday) and more information for all episodes at nytimes.com/sway, and you can find Kara on Twitter @karaswisher.
Marielle Heller had her big acting break in “The Queens Gambit,” a chess drama that has already been viewed on Netflix by over 60 million households. But prior to her performance as Alma Wheatley, Ms. Heller was already a big name — off the screen.She directed award-winning films like 2019’s “A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood” and 2018’s “Can You Ever Forgive Me?” Female directors remain a minority in the U.S. film industry, and Ms. Heller has spent her career navigating what she describes as a male-dominated Hollywood “machine.”“I do think there’s a weird stigma where people probably think that female directors are a risk,” Ms. Heller says, explaining that people “watch a male director make one little indie that comes out of Sundance and they go, ‘I see potential in that kid.’ And then they watch a female director come out of Sundance and make one little indie and they go: ‘That was excellent. I’ll wait to see her next movie to see if she gets a job.’”In this episode of “Sway,” Ms. Heller and Kara Swisher discuss what it’s like to be “difficult” women, why Hollywood lets Tony Soprano get away with murder but worries that female characters are “unlikable,” and how Ms. Heller — despite all her directorial acclaim — still gets offered 30 to 40 percent less pay than men who do the same job.You can find transcripts (posted midday) and more information for all episodes at nytimes.com/sway, and you can find Kara on Twitter @karaswisher.
Jane Goodall is an expert on alpha males — for decades, she’s been studying them in chimpanzee communities. She’s also inspired leaders in business, politics and culture to change their approach to animals and the environment.It’s been 60 years since Dr. Goodall’s first excursion to observe primates in Africa. Her discoveries there, which transformed our understanding of animals, continue to inspire generations of scientists and environmental activists.Now, at the age of 86, she reflects on her legacy. On this episode of “Sway,” she reveals how she rose to celebrity status, how she uses her platform to persuade world leaders and which politicians (like President Trump) she wouldn’t even bother trying to persuade.You can find transcripts (posted midday) and more information for all episodes at nytimes.com/sway, and you can find Kara on Twitter @karaswisher.
Why 3rd Grade Matters

Why 3rd Grade Matters

2020-11-1943:49

Harvard economist Raj Chetty believes that there’s a way to push past America’s political divide: data.Mr. Chetty, head of the Harvard-based research group Opportunity Insights, has amassed a powerhouse of information drawing on everything from I.R.S. tax filings to credit card spending. Armed with that data, he’s able to understand whether meritocracy — or inequality — determines the economic fate of Americans. He’s also able to translate datapoints into accessible visualizations and concrete policy proposals.In this episode of Sway, Mr. Chetty draws on data to answer questions like what age a person’s future has been largely determined (around 23), which ZIP codes provide the most economic opportunity (including some in rural Iowa), and what stands between a third-grader who will grow up to become an inventor and one who will not.Mr. Chetty’s own trajectory was shaped by a move his parents made when he was 9 years old — from India to the U.S. — to pursue the American dream. His datasets reveal that this American dream is fading for future generations. But Mr. Chetty is determined to revive it. And given his influence on the future president, the economist may finally have his chance.You can find transcripts (posted midday) and more information for all episodes at nytimes.com/sway, and you can find Kara on Twitter @karaswisher.
Chamath Palihapitiya is one of Silicon Valley’s most successful tech investors. He’s also among the most candid. “I aspire to be a Koch brother before I aspire to be an under secretary,” he tells Kara Swisher on this episode of “Sway.” His definition of power has little to do with politics — it’s profits, he says, that empower you to “control the resources.”Mr. Palihapitiya made his first fortune as an early executive at Facebook. He has since multiplied his wealth as an investor, with big bets and bold forecasts about the future. These days, he’s behind one of the most lucrative and controversial trends — SPACs, the acronym for blank check or special purpose acquisition companies, which some call the next bubble.On this episode of “Sway,” Mr. Palihapitiya shares his predictions for American economic recovery and the return of centrism — and his prescriptions for what the Biden administration should do first.You can find transcripts (posted midday) and more information for all episodes at nytimes.com/sway, and you can find Kara on Twitter @karaswisher.
In the postelection uncertainty, all eyes were on Pennsylvania. And John Fetterman, the state’s Twitter-famous lieutenant governor, held court. He rallied Democrats with one-liners and taunted President Trump with arithmetic lessons on Twitter. Mr. Trump can try to challenge the election result, he said, but “you can’t litigate math.”Mr. Fetterman, the former mayor of a Rust Belt town, is 6-foot-8, with tattoos, a shaved head and a graduate degree in public policy from Harvard. He’s not your standard politician. And that’s helped him sell progressive politics to working-class voters and become a powerful voice of the left.In this interview with Kara Swisher, Mr. Fetterman explains the “purple churn” in Pennsylvania and why Mr. Trump’s increasingly desperate pleas for a recount won’t reverse a Biden victory. “There is no enchanted village in Pennsylvania full of 50,000 Trump voters that we haven’t heard from already,” he says. “It doesn’t exist.”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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Comments (12)

Kathryn Ragsdale

Although this episode made me anger eat an entire chocolate bar, I appreciate the tenacity and commitment to truth shown in this episode.

Jan 12th
Reply

Gayle Choojitarom

Using "demonstrable falsehoods" & penning flowery puff pieces about Jared & Ivanka while they actively help Trump destroy democracy are just 2 of the reasons Haberman takes flak.

Dec 15th
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Chris Abele

Hearing a talk with Ms. Nancy Pelosi. Was the title wrong (Jason Pilar) or is the audio upload wrong?

Dec 10th
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Carpe Diem

this is my favorite interview podcast. I love how smart you are. makes me laugh out loud when you pierce the veil so effortlessly.

Dec 7th
Reply

Muthoni

I love her.

Nov 30th
Reply

zoë ebrahimpur

What a wonderful woman 🤗

Nov 1st
Reply

zoë ebrahimpur

What a great woman 👌🏾

Oct 28th
Reply

Voltaire Rothschild

this doctor would benefit greatly by taking one or two public speaking classes..

Oct 5th
Reply

Logan Benner

I love Nanci Pelosi's level head.

Sep 23rd
Reply (3)
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