28 episodes

Left, Right & Center is KCRW’s weekly civilized yet provocative confrontation over politics, policy and pop culture.

KCRW's Left, Right & Center KCRW

    • News
    • 4.0 • 3.9K Ratings

Left, Right & Center is KCRW’s weekly civilized yet provocative confrontation over politics, policy and pop culture.

    The mainstreaming of white supremacy

    The mainstreaming of white supremacy

    This week, the nation witnessed another mass shooting. The gunman live-streamed the attack in which he specifically targeted Black people. Police soon uncovered the shooter’s racist manifesto and his inspiration from “the Great Replacement Theory.” Did this act result from mental illness or racism? 

    The majority of Americans believe in some form of gun control but once again, Congress is at an impasse. What is it going to take to implement change? 

    Also, the shooter found information about “the Great Replacement Theory” via social media chat rooms. Fox News broadcasts sanitized versions of the same ideas, and the Republican Party under Trump regularly echoed racist beliefs. Should Fox News and Republicans be held responsible?

     Guest host Jessica Yellin of “News Not Noise” discusses with Sarah Isgur, staff writer for “The Dispatch” and host of “The Dispatch Podcast,” on the right; and Baratunde Thurston, a founding partner at Puck and creator and host of the podcast “How to Citizen,” on the left. 

     Then, mixed results are trickling in from this week’s primaries. A number of Trump-backed candidates won, including Sen. Doug Mastriano, in the governor’s race in Pennsylvania. In the state’s Senate race, Trump-endorsed celebrity doctor Mehmet Oz and hedge fund executive Dave McCormick are still tied. Meanwhile, another Trump-supported candidate, incumbent Madison Cawthorn, lost in North Carolina’s GOP race. What does this say about Trump’s power with GOP voters?  

    At the same time, Democrat Cheri Beasley made history as the first Black woman to become chief justice of the North Carolina Supreme Court. Is there hope for the Democratic Party after all?

    Finally, panelists rant about the baby formula shortage, Judge Alito’s leaked draft abortion ruling, and what the polls really say about Americans’ views on Roe vs. Wade.

    • 50 min
    What makes voters Tik(Tok)?

    What makes voters Tik(Tok)?

    The Senate has stymied a vote intended to secure nationwide abortion rights. Democrats knew this would happen – so why did they introduce the bill at all?

    Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer said it was a way to get every member on record about their abortion stance. It also shored up support for Democrats ahead of a hotly contested midterm election. How can Democrats motivate their base when they face so many structural obstacles to their policy goals?

    Guest host Jessica Yellin of “News Not Noise” discusses with Tim Carney, columnist at the Washington Examiner, on the right; and Chuck Rocha, president of Solidarity Strategies, on the left.

    Then: What is the Latino vote? The concept itself may be flawed, since the 16.5 million of them who voted in 2020 are hardly a monolith, but it’s a question that’s quickly becoming relevant. They’re turning out to vote in historic numbers, and polling shows Republicans are making huge inroads among Latino voters. How can Democrats reverse that trend? And what can they learn from the Republican approach?

    Gen Z and millennials are now the largest voting bloc in the U.S. They’re the most diverse and technology-savvy generation this country has ever seen, but they’re inheriting some very real problems. So what do they care about, and what’s animating them ahead of the midterms?

    We bring on Gen Z guests Javon Price, a policy analyst at the America First Policy Institute, on the right; and Elise Joshi, the operations director at Gen Z For Change, on the left, for a special segment exploring the zeitgeist of this generation.

    Finally, our Gen Z panelists rant about why the fight against climate change is not over, and how the Dallas Cowboys can bring home a Lombardi.

    • 53 min
    What’s after Roe v. Wade?

    What’s after Roe v. Wade?

    It’s a historic week in Washington: A leaked draft opinion by Justice Samuel Alito suggests the Supreme Court is poised to overturn Roe v. Wade.

    Americans have reacted with shock and elation, and a post-Roe reality might come this summer. How will an increasingly polarized abortion debate fare against states’ rights? And could Roe’s reversal have radical implications for other rulings on privacy, like gay marriage?

    Guest host Jessica Yellin of “News Not Noise” discusses with Tim Carney, columnist at the Washington Examiner, on the right; and Jill Filipovic, columnist at CNN and author on Substack, on the left. 

    Finally, panelists rant about the G-20 summit, taking in more refugees, and why shutting down schools for COVID was a terrible idea.

    • 50 min
    A $44 billion edit button

    A $44 billion edit button

    Is it doom or salvation for the Twitterverse now that Elon Musk is poised to take over? He seems to want “maximum fun.” What does that mean for politics, free speech, and Twitter trolls?

    Guest host Jessica Yellin of “News Not Noise” discusses with Tim Carney, columnist at the Washington Examiner, on the right; and Liz Bruenig, staff writer at the Atlantic, on the left.  

    Also, the past 10 years of American life have been uniquely stupid. That’s the title of an essay in The Atlantic by Jonathan Haidt of the NYU Stern School of Business. He explains why social media is promoting “structural stupidity” and if there’s any way to bring us back from the brink.

    Also: Kevin McCarthy was caught in a January 6 lie on tape. He seems to be on a clear path to be the next speaker of the House of Representatives if Republicans take it back in the midterms – but will these new developments weaken his bid? And after what’s probably the thousandth push alert about the Jan. 6 commission, are people tired of hearing about the Capitol riots?

    Finally, panelists rant about Gen Z’s labor aspirations and flawed definitions of disinformation.

    • 50 min
    Mask on, mask off

    Mask on, mask off

    The CDC sent the DOJ an SOS over masks this week. If that sounds like incomprehensible alphabet soup, just know that wearing a mask is up to you.

    Is the federal government doing enough to protect Americans from COVID? Is a laissez-faire approach to masking best? And how can we bring ever-changing science into policy without alienating voters?

    Guest host Jessica Yellin of “News Not Noise” discusses with Tim Carney, columnist at the Washington Examiner, on the right; and Christine Emba, columnist and editor at the Washington Post, on the left.

    Meanwhile in Ukraine, how has the conflict evolved? Former LRC guest host David Greene is in Kyiv and shares what he’s been experiencing on the ground. He is co-founder and host of Fearless Media's "Ukraine Stories." How are Ukrainians coping with the crisis? Do they think America is doing enough to help? And why are people taking out their political frustrations on Russian civilians?

    If you thought there was only one “Don’t Say Gay” bill, think again. There are more than a dozen making their way through state legislatures across the country, and it’s shaping up to be a big wedge issue come the midterm elections. Why are we seeing more of these efforts to block instruction on gender and sexuality? What’s the line between letting parents take the lead on these discussions, and stigmatizing the identities of already vulnerable kids in school?

    Finally, panelists rant about sports betting, consent, and cynicism in politics.

    • 50 min
    Evil? Confirmed. Genius? Not so much

    Evil? Confirmed. Genius? Not so much

    Russia’s invasion of Ukraine is now a “genocide,” at least according to President Biden. That’s one of the strongest accusations against Putin we’ve heard from Biden, who’s been (mostly) carefully wording his statements to avoid triggering an already bristly Russian leader. That change in rhetoric also comes with new bids to join NATO from Sweden and Finland.

    With the West seemingly firmly united against Russia, could Biden’s words further escalate the conflict? And could Russia’s annexation of Crimea in 2014 help decode Putin’s next move?

    Guest host Kimberly Atkins Stohr of the Boston Globe discusses with panelists Kristen Soltis Anderson, Republican pollster and founding partner at Echelon Insights, on the right; and Liz Bruenig, staff writer at the Atlantic, on the left.

    Then: American workers are joining forces. Amazon and Starbucks workers are unionizing in droves, even as corporate leaders try to quash their efforts. So, why is the push to unionize stronger than ever? Will the movement sustain its momentum? And can they get legislation through Congress to make their gains permanent?

    Plus: Is the center more Mike Bloomberg or Jeb Bush? Politics and politicians are now more polarized than ever, and finding the throughline in the two-party system might be the key to getting past that. In the wake of COVID and the Capitol riots, is the window of centrism shifting? And if so, in which direction?

    Finally, panelists rant about washing your hands, following traffic rules, and killing all mosquitoes.

    • 50 min

Customer Reviews

4.0 out of 5
3.9K Ratings

3.9K Ratings

Salubrious Spring ,

Jessica Yellin is nowhere near the “center”.

She is capable and a good host but nowhere near the center on most issues.

MRF1414 ,

Where did the center go?

I used to enjoy hearing both the right and the left points of view moderated by a true center. This podcast has gone askew of that format. I’m disappointed in seeing biases progressively put into play.

Still Searching for News ,

The search for a center continues

This show is great and I really enjoy the sharing of different perspectives. However, every guest host since Josh left has not been a center. Hopefully the search will continue!

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