140 episodes

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.

Sway The New York Times

    • Society & Culture

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.

    Elizabeth Warren Claps Back at Elon Musk

    Elizabeth Warren Claps Back at Elon Musk

    Few people draw more ire in Silicon Valley than the Senator Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts. She’s long fought against the power of big banks and corporate behemoths, so it’s natural that she’s turned her attention to breaking up dominant tech companies and taxing the billionaires behind them. So far, it’s not going down well: When she called out Elon Musk, a billionaire who paid no federal income tax at all in 2018, for not paying his fair share, she received a classically Muskian tweetback: “Please don’t call the manager on me, Senator Karen.”

    Her response? “Every nurse who paid taxes, every firefighter who paid taxes, every dishwasher and waitress who paid taxes paid more than Elon Musk. That’s a broken taxation system,” she tells Kara Swisher.

    In this conversation, Kara asks Warren to make her case for antitrust scrutiny of Silicon Valley. They discuss Congress and the Biden administration’s first year — if Build Back Better is actually “Build Back Never,” Joe Manchin, and why Warren thinks the Democrats could expand their number in the Senate this 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.

    • 38 min
    Exclusive: Lina Khan Is (Still) Bursting Big Tech's Bubble

    Exclusive: Lina Khan Is (Still) Bursting Big Tech's Bubble

    Yesterday, the Federal Trade Commission and the Department of Justice announced they would work to rewrite merger rules in an approach that would clamp down on big tech deals that have allowed companies like Amazon, Google and Facebook to expand their tentacles across industries and across more areas of our lives. Today, Lina Khan sat down with Kara and DealBook editor Andrew Ross Sorkin in an exclusive interview for the New York Times and CNBC.

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

    • 48 min
    Best Of: America’s Caste System Is 400 Years Old. That Doesn’t Change Overnight.

    Best Of: America’s Caste System Is 400 Years Old. That Doesn’t Change Overnight.

    The Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Isabel Wilkerson has pointed to 2022 as a milestone for American history, marking the year the country will have existed as an independent nation for as long as the institution of slavery operated on its soil. In observance of Martin Luther King Jr. Day, we’re re-airing Kara’s interview with Wilkerson.

    This conversation was taped last year, shortly after the events of Jan. 6. In it, the author of “Caste: The Origins of Our Discontents” offers historical context for us to make sense of the present, particularly the country’s seemingly intractable systemic racism. Wilkerson and Kara discuss  the argument at the core of her book — that America’s racial order can be understood as a caste system. And Wilkerson shares  how she saw an invisible ranking system play out in the raid at the U.S. Capitol, arguing that any impulse to move on quickly would be a mistake.

    Kara will be back on Thursday with a new episode.

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

    • 38 min
    Why This Liberal Mayor Doesn’t Want a Lecture From Progressives

    Why This Liberal Mayor Doesn’t Want a Lecture From Progressives

    San Francisco’s politicians are struggling to find a Goldilocks balance when it comes to public safety, and Democrats across the nation should pay attention. After declaring a state of emergency in the Tenderloin neighborhood to deal with what she called a public health crisis of opioid use, Mayor London Breed has been criticized for taking too strong a hand in forcing people to seek treatment for drugs or mental health problems. Meanwhile, the city’s district attorney, Chesa Boudin has been accused of being soft on crime and faces a recall in June. No one is “just right” on the balance between public safety and overpolicing, and that’s why law and order may be emerging as a wedge issue for Democrats, like critical race theory was in the Virginia gubernatorial race.

    In this conversation with Kara, Breed talks about the crackdown she’s leading and whether she was ever the “defund the police” mayor some in the media painted her to be (and critiqued her for stepping away from). Breed says her experience growing up in a public housing development in the Western Addition neighborhood gives her a perspective many of her critics may not have. “They have a theory as to what they believe based on their ideology, but they’re also white,” she says. “They are not Black people who had these unfortunately traumatizing experiences in communities where there’s not trust with the police, but also there’s a desire to be safe.”

    They also discuss the flight of tech money out of San Francisco, Breed’s Covid response strategy and how Black mayors like Breed, Keisha Lance Bottoms of Atlanta and Lori Lightfoot of Chicago are “held to a completely different standard.” And Kara asks whether Breed wants to run for a third term — or even a senate seat.

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

    • 40 min
    What if Work Were a Video Game?

    What if Work Were a Video Game?

    When it comes to the metaverse, Phil Spencer could give Mark Zuckerberg a run for his money. The head of Xbox and executive vice president of gaming at Microsoft, Spencer says popular games like Microsoft’s Halo and Minecraft — and competitors like Roblox and Fortnite — are already creating virtual worlds similar to the metaverse. And he says that video games, whose sales have soared during Covid, could offer lessons for the workplaces that have moved online in the pandemic: “We look at these virtual spaces, and some of the things that we’ve learned in video games of people coming together to cooperate together, to achieve tasks.”

    In this conversation, Kara and Spencer discuss the elements of the metaverse that are mirrored in gaming and whether Xbox aims to become the Netflix of gaming. They also talk about what the gaming industry learned from Gamergate, how Spencer views the sexual misconduct allegations at Activision Blizzard (the publisher of Call of Duty and a close partner of Xbox), and how Microsoft is handling harassment by players on its own games. And while discussing the content moderation problems that are shared by gaming companies and social media platforms, Spencer explains why he thinks stoking enragement would be a “death strategy” for Xbox.

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

    • 32 min
    One Year After the Jan. 6 Attack, Parler’s C.E.O Grapples with Big Tech and Trump

    One Year After the Jan. 6 Attack, Parler’s C.E.O Grapples with Big Tech and Trump

    After an angry mob attacked the Capitol last year and users on the right-leaning social network Parler organized, shared footage and called to “burn D.C. to the ground,” Kara Swisher grilled the platform’s co-founder and C.E.O., John Matze. The interview was cited in Apple’s decision to take Parler off its App store and Amazon’s decision to suspend web hosting service for Parler. Google also booted the platform off its Play Store. Parler effectively went offline because of these three moves, and Matze lost his job.

    A year after Jan. 6, and with Parler back online, Swisher interviews the platform’s new chief executive, George Farmer. He’s bent on reviving Parler, saying: “You’ve never seen a company quite so unceremoniously booted off into digital exile. It’s the kind of medieval equivalent of the church sort of excommunicating someone.” He sees the deplatforming of Parler and the former president as signs that Big Tech has gotten too big and too powerful, calling the companies “the unprecedented leviathans of the corporate world.” And yet, Farmer notes, “here we are basically saying, ‘These guys are good guys.’”

    In this conversation, Swisher pushes Farmer on how his platform failed on Jan. 6 and what it may still be missing today. They also discuss Donald Trump’s return to social media and the end of Marjorie Taylor Greene’s personal Twitter account. And while they both agree that Apple, Amazon and Google could have done more to punish other social media sites, like Facebook and Twitter, after Jan. 6, Swisher pushes back on Farmer’s assertion that the lack of action was some kind of “colluding behavior” among tech giants. Her take? They simply didn’t want “the stink of sedition” that Parler and Matze helped enable a year ago.

    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.

    • 46 min

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