Replays of Crosscut’s live interviews with the people who shape our world, including conversations from Crosscut Festival. Hosted by Mark Baumgarten and produced by Jake Newman.
The Death of Live Music with Charles R. Cross
Journalist Charles R. Cross tells us what live music has done for Seattle, and what could happen if local venues don’t see any economic relief. When the novel coronavirus took hold in Washington state, live music venues were some of the first businesses to go dark. It made sense. Little was known about the virus then, but it was clear that crowded rooms of people dancing, shouting and singing were not advisable. Now, as the nation looks forward to the potential of reopening, it has become clear that these venues will be among the last to re-open. When they do reopen, there are likely to be far fewer of them. Cross discusses the efforts to secure government assistance for these businesses.
How Crisis Has Shaped Joe Biden and Donald Trump. Plus: Parsing Our Poll on Police and Protesting
Michael Kirk, the director of ‘The Choice,’ tells us what the presidential candidates’ response to tragedy, failure and humiliation tells us about how they lead. The two candidates are old. In fact, President Donald Trump was already the oldest American to assume the presidency when he was sworn in for his first term. Now he is four years older and his opponent Joe Biden is even older than that, by three years. So, both men have had a lot of time to wrack up successes, which they have obviously leveraged in their quests for political power. But both candidates have also experienced their fair share of personal crisis and the failure and humiliation that often accompanies such moments. Perhaps more than their fair share. Some of these tragedies were thrust upon these men and some were self-inflicted — and many involved issues of race — but they all demanded a response. It is in these responses, says director Michael Kirk, that the true character of the candidates is revealed. This week on the Crosscut Talks podcast, Kirk talks about his latest installment of "The Choice" for Frontline, which chronicles two lifetimes of crisis that have culminated with an election defined by crisis. Plus, Crosscut news and politics editor Donna Blankinship talks about our recent poll on protests and policing.
The Argument for Packing the Supreme Court. Plus: More Reasons to Hate Wildfire Smoke
Elie Mystal tells us why expanding the court isn't an outlandish idea, and how it might work. When Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg passed away last month, her death marked the beginning of a fresh debate over the future of the Supreme Court. But the biggest question of that debate wasn't who would take her place. President Trump was expected to nominate one of a list of conservative figures that he had previously made public — which he did soon after, naming Amy Coney Barret — and Senate majority leader Mitch McConnell quickly made public his plans to put that nominee up for a vote before the election, all but assuring that the court would remain decidedly conservative for years to come. The biggest question, rather, was what Democrats were going to do about it. The answer, says Mystal, is to pack the court. On this week's episode of the Crosscut Talks podcast, the justice correspondent for The Nation tells us why he believes Democrats must embrace the idea of adding seats to the court and filling them with liberal justices even if that seemingly radical act undermines the court's legitimacy. Plus Crosscut Reporter Hannah Weinberger discusses the cascading impacts the wildfire smoke is having on Washington state.
The Truth About Black Life in Middle America. Plus: College Towns in the COVID Era
Terrion Williamson, the director of the Black Midwest Initiative, discusses how parachute journalism is hurting Black people in America's heartland. When the video of Minneapolis police officers killing George Floyd went viral in the spring, the Minnesota metropolis quickly transformed into a theater of discontent as the nation's battle over race and policing unfolded in its streets. The center of that conflict has shifted throughout the summer as it has fueled partisan rancor, but it has often returned to Midwestern cities where Black Americans have been shot by police in questionable circumstances. These news items are just the latest example of national media descending on a Midwestern city to tell a story of Black Americans in distress. Whether it is gun violence in Chicago, economic collapse in Detroit or the water crisis in Flint, Americans on the coasts and throughout the country are over-and-over again shown a picture of Black life in the heartland that is devastating. But that life is both more vibrant and more complex than these stories let on, says Williamson. On this week's episode of the Crosscut Talks podcast, she discusses the harm that is caused when we only pay attention to Black Midwesterners in crisis. Plus, Crosscut reporter Emily McCarty tells us how college towns are coping during the pandemic.
The Crisis at the Core of ‘The Social Dilemma.’ Plus: QAnon comes to Washington
Director Jeff Orlowski talks about his hit documentary and how his work on climate change helped him prepare to tell the story of social media run amok. In the early days of social media, the promise was real. By democratizing connection, a new breed of tech companies seemed to be doing good in the world: reuniting long-lost family and friends, providing a platform for pro-democracy political movements, helping those isolated by interest or identity to find a sense of belonging. Also, there were a lot of cat memes. The future was bright, until it wasn't. In recent years, social media platforms have been conjuring a different vision of the future: digital dystopia. As seen in the new Netflix documentary, The Social Dilemma, these platforms are now intense battlegrounds where misinformation is elevated and partisan division is deepened. At the root of the problem, says Orlowski and the many former tech executives he interviews, is a business model that feeds on attention and prioritizes shareholder value. For this week’s episode of the Crosscut Talks podcast, Orlowski discusses his documentary, how his work covering the climate crisis has helped him navigate this social crisis, and what he believes must be done to save our society. Plus, Crosscut reporter Melissa Santos tells us how a conspiracy cult flourishing on social media has now infiltrated electoral politics in Washington state.
Your Brain Wasn’t Made for 2020. Plus: What Restaurant Workers Really Think
Jacob Ward, host of 'Hacking Your Mind,' tells us why humans are more susceptible to misinformation and partisanship, and what we can do about it. Humanity is facing some daunting challenges right now. The pandemic, massive wildfires, civil unrest and economic uncertainty all threaten the livelihoods of billions on a daily basis. Such challenges demand a rational, thoughtful response. Yet that doesn't appear to be what's happening. Public health recommendations from experts are discarded along with possible responses to climate change that are supported by science. Meanwhile, social problems that demand considered contemplation and collective action serve as fuel for political partisans. Instead of coming together to battle a crisis, people are more divided than ever. At fault, says Ward, is our own evolutionary biology. As detailed in Hacking the Mind, a new PBS series hosted by the former Popular Science editor in chief, the attributes of the human mind that helped humanity survive in prehistoric times may be putting it at risk in modern times. This week on Crosscut Talks, Ward discusses the reasons humans are so susceptible to misinformation and manipulation, the role that social media plays in amplifying our worst tendencies and what can be done to fight this biological reality. Plus, Crosscut reporter Margo Vansynghel tells us what restaurant workers really think about going back to work.