130 episodes

Strongly-held opinions. Open-minded debates. Only occasional yelling. A weekly ideas show, hosted by Jane Coaston.

The Argument The New York Times

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    • 4.2 • 5.3K Ratings

Strongly-held opinions. Open-minded debates. Only occasional yelling. A weekly ideas show, hosted by Jane Coaston.

    Grading Biden on the F.D.R. Curve

    Grading Biden on the F.D.R. Curve

    If you’re fully vaccinated, you might give President Biden an A-plus on his first 100 days. But how’s he doing on everything else?

    A president’s first 100 days are considered a major milestone. Franklin D. Roosevelt came out with legislation that became part of his New Deal. Lyndon B. Johnson started a war on poverty. In the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic and Donald Trump, what can we expect from the rest of Biden’s presidency?

    This week, Jane Coaston talks to two progressives who have different takeaways: Anand Giridharadas, author of The Ink newsletter and “Winners Take All: The Elite Charade of Changing the World,” and Osita Nwanevu, writer at The New Republic.

    Mentioned in this episode:

    “Joe Biden Isn’t Close to Being a Historic President Yet,” by Osita Nwanevu in The New Republic.

    “Welcome to the New Progressive Era,” by Anand Giridharadas in The Atlantic.

    • 27 min
    Police Reform Is Coming. What Should It Look Like?

    Police Reform Is Coming. What Should It Look Like?

    Derek Chauvin has been found guilty of the murder of George Floyd. But whatever bittersweet feelings the rare outcome elicited were short-lived, since instances of police brutality compound almost daily. There’s no debate: Policing is broken in America. But how do we fix it?

    To answer that question, Jane brings together a round table to debate solutions ranging from modernizing training, stronger ties between police misconduct and financial culpability, and divesting from policing to invest in community-based services.

    Joining Jane is Randy Shrewsberry, a former police officer and the executive director of the Institute for Criminal Justice Training Reform; Rashawn Ray, a professor of sociology at the University of Maryland and a David M. Rubenstein fellow in governance studies at the Brookings Institution; and Ash-Lee Woodard Henderson, a leader in the Movement for Black Lives and an executive director of the Highlander Research and Education Center in Tennessee.

    • 33 min
    Should America Go Nuclear?

    Should America Go Nuclear?

    President Biden has set an ambitious goal for the United States to be carbon-neutral by 2050. Achieving it means weaning the country off fossil fuels and using more alternative energy sources like solar and wind. But environmentalists disagree about whether nuclear power should be part of the mix.

    Todd Larsen, executive co-director for consumer and corporate engagement at Green America and Meghan Claire Hammond, senior fellow at the Good Energy Collective, a policy research organization focusing on new nuclear technology, join Jane Coaston to debate whether nuclear power is worth the risks.

    And then the Times columnist Bret Stephens joins Jane to talk about why he thinks America needs a liberal party.

    • 34 min
    Why the Anti-Abortion Side Will Lose, Even if It Wins

    Why the Anti-Abortion Side Will Lose, Even if It Wins

    The Supreme Court — and its post-Trump conservative majority — is currently deciding whether to take up a case that could be the final blow to Roe v. Wade. Overturning Roe, the 48-year-old decision protecting the right to an abortion in America, would leave abortion regulation up to the states. But some abortion opponents think that’s not far enough and are pushing the movement to change its focus to securing a 14th Amendment declaration of fetal personhood.

    Ross Douthat wrote about the diverging anti-abortion movement and why both factions are doomed to fail as long as the movement is shackled to a Republican Party that refuses to enact public policy to help struggling families. Michelle Goldberg wrote a response column to Ross’s, claiming his argument was a fallacy. To bring their dueling columns to life, Jane Coaston brought the two writers together to debate the future of abortion protection and restriction in America.

    Referenced in this episode:

    Ross’s Sunday Review column “What Has the Pro-Life Movement Won?”
    Michelle’s responding column, “The Authoritarian Plan for a National Abortion Ban”
    John Finnis’s article in the Catholic journal “First Things,” “Abortion Is Unconstitutional”
    Emma Green’s article in “The Atlantic” “The Anti-Abortion-Rights Movement Prepares to Build a Post-Roe World”
    “Defenders of the Unborn” by Daniel K. Williams

    Share your arguments with us: We want to hear what you’re arguing about with your family, your friends and your frenemies. Leave us a voice mail message at (347) 915-4324. We may use excerpts from your audio in a future episode.

    You can find transcripts (posted midday) and more episodes of "The Argument" at nytimes.com/the-argument, and you can find Jane on Twitter @janecoaston.

    “The Argument” is produced by Phoebe Lett, Elisa Gutierrez and Vishakha Darbha and edited by Alison Bruzek and Paula Szuchman; fact-checking by Kate Sinclair; music and sound design by Isaac Jones.

    • 35 min
    The Reality of Vaccine Passports

    The Reality of Vaccine Passports

    More than 19 percent of Americans are fully vaccinated against the coronavirus and upward of 665 million vaccine doses have been administered worldwide. As these numbers continue to rise, countries have begun issuing or considering “vaccine passports.”

    Vaccine passports — proof through a phone app or on a piece of paper that you’ve had your shots — are a potential ticket to freedom for millions of vaccinated people around the world. Israel already has them. The European Union and China have also announced a version of them. In the United States, there’s talk about what such a certification might look like.

    But vaccine passports also raise huge ethical questions, with 85 percent of shots worldwide having been administered in wealthier countries. And with private tech companies working on creating these passports in the United States, there’s worry about the risks of sharing health records with third-party apps. Both Texas and Florida have prohibited government-mandated vaccine passports.

    On today’s episode, our guests debate the concept of a vaccine passport and discuss the ethical and privacy considerations that come along with them. Natalie Kofler is a molecular biologist and bioethicist at Harvard Medical School. Ramin Bastani is the founder and chief executive of Healthvana, a patient platform that delivers test results and is supplying vaccine passports. He says we should think of them more like an everyday health record. Then, we turn to listener voice mail messages as they share their thoughts on the reopening of schools.

    Referenced in this episode:

    “Vaccine Passports Won’t Get us Out of the Pandemic,” in The Times.
    “Vaccinated Workers Are Getting Benefits That Those Without Covid Shots Won’t,” in Bloomberg, about vaccine passports in Israel.
    WBUR’s episode on the pros and cons of vaccine passports.

    Share your arguments with us: We want to hear what you’re arguing about with your family, your friends and your frenemies. Leave us a voice mail message at (347) 915-4324. We may use excerpts from your audio in a future episode.

    You can find transcripts (posted midday) and more episodes of "The Argument" at nytimes.com/the-argument, and you can find Jane on Twitter @janecoaston.

    “The Argument” is produced by Phoebe Lett, Elisa Gutierrez and Vishakha Darbha and edited by Alison Bruzek and Paula Szuchman; fact-checking by Kate Sinclair; music and sound design by Isaac Jones.

    • 30 min
    What's Wrong With Our Hate Crime Laws?

    What's Wrong With Our Hate Crime Laws?

    This month a gunman killed eight people at three Atlanta-area spas, including six women of Asian descent. Authorities say it’s too early to declare the attacks a hate crime.

    Forty-seven states and the District of Columbia have hate crime laws on the books, designed to add further penalties for perpetrators whose biases led to their crime. But the recent mass shooting has prompted the question of when a crime is called a hate crime and who decides.

    It’s also unclear whether charging someone with a hate crime is the best answer we have as a society for punishing people who commit these kinds of crimes. On this episode of “The Argument,” we discuss whether hate crime laws are working and what our other options are, with Kevin Nadal, professor of psychology at John Jay College of Criminal Justice, and Steven Freeman, vice president for civil rights at the Anti-Defamation League.

    Referenced in this episode:

    Anti-Defamation League’s “Introduction to Hate Crime Laws”
    N.A.A.C.P.’s state-by-state database of hate crime laws
    Sarah Lustbader’s article “More Hate Crime Laws Would Not Have Prevented the Monsey Hannukkah Attack” in The Appeal.

    Share your arguments with us: We want to hear what you’re arguing about with your family, your friends and your frenemies. Leave us a voice mail message at (347) 915-4324. We may use excerpts from your audio in a future episode.

    You can find transcripts (posted midday) and more episodes of "The Argument" at nytimes.com/the-argument, and you can find Jane on Twitter @janecoaston.

    “The Argument” is produced by Phoebe Lett, Elisa Gutierrez and Vishakha Darbha and edited by Alison Bruzek and Paula Szuchman; fact-checking by Kate Sinclair; music and sound design by Isaac Jones.

    • 36 min

Customer Reviews

4.2 out of 5
5.3K Ratings

5.3K Ratings

Evan Stevoid ,

So so

So far I hear liberals debating farther leftist and extreme leftist. I would like to hear more variety of opinions including libertarian and even conservatives.

The important thing is that everyone being willing to listen and have a conversation. I live in a very liberal state and have grown tired of so called “open minded” liberals being so closed minded and unwilling to have a real conversation. I find conservatives in my liberal state much more open minded.

Blferg512 ,

It’s just the Lefts talking to the Left.

It’s just Left talking to the left. No real debate or other side.

Le Ricain Ricain ,

New format was a bad idea

Michelle, Ross, Frank Bruni and David Leonhardt had great conversations, especially leading up to, during, and just after the 2020 election. Douthat pretty much predicted the 2020 election result; Goldberg foresaw the impact of Stacy Abrams’ work in Georgia. Frank turned me on to Lana del Rey in a thoughtful recommendation on the way her music helped him deal with the stress of pandemic living.

The new format is... I don’t know what it is, but it’s not an argument. Just sounds like people churning out sound bytes vs a thoughtful discussion. The best episode to date was ... Ross and Michelle on abortion. But that is the old show!

If you want to listen to a well researched, interesting “argument” Ezra Klein’s show is much more engaging.

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