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Matter of Opinion

Matter of Opinion

By New York Times Opinion

Thoughts, aloud. Hosted by Michelle Cottle, Ross Douthat, Carlos Lozada and Lydia Polgreen. Every Friday, from New York Times Opinion. Listen to this podcast in New York Times Audio, our new iOS app for news subscribers. Download now at


We Need to Talk About Joe Biden

In 2020, Joe Biden handily beat Donald Trump in a race that was never particularly close. But now that the twice-impeached and four-times-indicted former president may once again be the Republican nominee, polls suggest they might be even, at best. Why isn’t Biden doing better? Has his presidency really gone so poorly?This week on “Matter of Opinion,” the hosts discuss the uphill battle Biden is facing heading into 2024 and debate what kind of leader Americans really want.(A transcript of this episode can be found at the top of the episode page on the Times website.) Mentioned in this episode:“Reagan Should Not Seek Second Term, Majority Believes,” by Barry Sussman in The Washington Post
29/09/23·37m 44s

Work: ‘The American Disease’

Americans are sick of business as usual. This year alone, more than 275 strikes have broken out across the country, and last week, nearly 13,000 members of the United Auto Workers joined the picket line to demand a better deal with their employers.So what’s going on with work in America?This week on “Matter of Opinion,” the hosts break down how a changing economy and technological innovations are complicating the worker-employer relationship. Lydia offers some insight from her experience as the big boss on the other side of the bargaining table. Ross asks how little work The Times should pay him to do. And ultimately, the hosts debate the question: In today’s world, what role should work play in our lives?(A full transcript of the episode will be available midday on the Times website.)Mentioned in this episode:“Is College Worth It?,” an episode of “The Daily”“Biden E.V. Agenda Threatens U.S. Auto Industry,” by Senator J.D. Vance in the Toledo Blade“Why Americans Care About Work So Much,” by Derek Thompson in The Atlantic
22/09/23·37m 8s

‘A Red State Strategy to Create a Blue State Crisis’

Hundreds of thousands of migrants, many seeking asylum, have arrived in the United States over the last year, overwhelming already-strained resources in cities and states across the country. Last week, in arguably one of the most immigration-friendly cities in the country, Mayor Eric Adams said that migrants would “destroy New York City.”This week on “Matter of Opinion,” the hosts discuss how the “border crisis” has come to frustrate Democratic politicians further north, and why the conversation about immigration is always actually about who we are as Americans.(A  transcript of this episode can be found at the top of the episode page on the Times website.) Mentioned in this episode:“Michael Bloomberg: How Biden and Congress Should Fix the Immigration Crisis in Our Cities,” by Michael R. Bloomberg in The New York Times“Americans Still Value Immigration, but Have Concerns,” by Lydia Saad in Gallup
15/09/23·38m 13s

The Woke Burnout Is Real — and Politics Is Catching Up

Classrooms have been a key battleground in the so-called woke wars for years now. But could the debate over how schools teach history, race, gender and sexuality be coming to an end?This week on “Matter of Opinion,” the hosts look at signs that these wedge issues are no longer dividing us, ask whether we have reached “peak woke” and disagree on whether it’s even worth fighting about wokeness at all. Mentioned in this episode:“Before the Storm: Barry Goldwater and the Unmaking of the American Consensus,” by Rick PerlsteinNathan Hale’s Hazardous Tales series, by Nathan HaleThe Adventures of Tintin comic series, by HergéThe Adventures of Asterix comic series, by René Goscinny and Albert UderzoThe American Bicentennial Series, by John Jakes“The Soul of America: The Battle for Our Better Angels,” by Jon Meacham
07/09/23·40m 4s

Is It Time to Negotiate With Putin?

It’s been 18 months since Russia invaded Ukraine. No true negotiations have happened. As the stalemate continues, what role should the United States play in the fight?This week on “Matter of Opinion,” the hosts discuss how the war is playing out at home and whether there’s actually more American enthusiasm for invading Mexico.Plus, a trip back in time to a magical land of sorcerers and “Yo! MTV Raps.” Mentioned in this episode:“An Unwinnable War,” by Samuel Charap in Foreign Affairs“The Runaway General,” by Michael Hastings in Rolling Stone“First Person: An Astonishingly Frank Self-Portrait by Russia’s President Vladimir Putin,” by Vladimir Putin
31/08/23·36m 14s

Trump’s Plan: Skip the Debates, Win Iowa, Avoid Prison

The first Republican primary debate of the 2024 election is over. Chris Christie wiggled his fingers. Nikki Haley took Vivek Ramaswamy to the woodshed. Tim Scott was a “nonentity.” And then there was that elephant decidedly not in the room, Donald Trump, who instead spent his evening raving about water pressure to Tucker Carlson.As the former president is expected to turn himself in at the Fulton County Jail, the Matter of Opinion hosts discuss what we learned from the first G.O.P. debate — and what it means when everyone in the party is still desperate to both be Trump, and be rid of him.(A full transcript of the episode will be available midday on the Times website.)
24/08/23·33m 0s

Trump’s Co-Defendants in Georgia Are in For ‘a World of Hurt’

It happened. A jury in Georgia indicted Donald Trump and 18 of his closest co-defendants. Which can only mean one thing: Michelle is thrilled. So even though Matter of Opinion is taking a break this week, Michelle grabbed Opinion colleague David French, a former litigator, to break down her “favorite” indictment and analyze what’s got Rudy Giuliani into “a world of hurt.”(A full transcript of this audio essay will be available midday on the Times website.)
16/08/23·14m 50s

How to Beat Trump in a World Where Indictments Actually Help Him

Donald Trump was impeached twice. He has been indicted three times. He lost the 2020 election. And yet he’s the clear Republican front-runner for 2024.Today on “Matter of Opinion,” Michelle Cottle, Ross Douthat and Carlos Lozada explore how Trump has created a winning political strategy and what his potential nomination could mean for Joe Biden, the Republican Party and the future of the country. Mentioned in this episode:“The Normal Paths to Beating Trump Are Closing,” by Ross Douthat for The New York Times“The Right Way to Resist Trump,” by Luigi Zingales in The New York Times“Rules for Resistance: Advice From Around the Globe for the Age of Trump,” by David Cole and Melanie Wachtell Stinnett“Trump and Allies Forge Plans to Increase Presidential Power in 2025,” by Jonathan Swan, Charlie Savage and Maggie Haberman for The New York Times“So Help Me God,” by Mike Pence“The Imperial Presidency,” by Arthur M. Schlesinger Jr.
10/08/23·41m 13s

‘I Don’t Think Harvard Was Good for My Soul’

Elite colleges are facing a reckoning over their admissions practices. But is there a case for upholding policies that give preferential treatment to some students?On this episode of “Matter of Opinion,” the hosts examine whether it really matters if you go to Harvard and what the upside could be of favoring family connections. Mentioned in this episode:“Diversifying Society’s Leaders? The Determinants and Consequences of Admission to Highly Selective Colleges,” by Raj Chetty, David J. Deming and John N. Friedman in Opportunity Insights.“Fast Car,” written and originally performed by Tracy Chapman“Privilege: Harvard and the Education of the Ruling Class,” by Ross Douthat
03/08/23·38m 40s

‘Oppenheimer’ and the Siren Song of World-Ending Technology

Christopher Nolan’s blockbuster hit “Oppenheimer” tells the story of the father of the atomic bomb and the invention he hoped would end all wars. (Spoiler alert: It did not.)On “Matter of Opinion,” the hosts discuss how history should view J. Robert Oppenheimer — naïve martyr or crybaby? — and whether we have more to fear from nuclear weapons in the age of artificial intelligence. Mentioned in this episode:“‘Cry Baby Scientist’: What Oppenheimer the Film Gets Wrong About Oppenheimer the Man,” by Haydn Belfield in Vox“Thank God for the Atom Bomb,” by Paul Fussell in The New Republic“American Prometheus: The Triumph and Tragedy of J. Robert Oppenheimer,” by Kai Bird and Martin J. Sherwin“Hiroshima,” by John Hersey More from Opinion:"The Tragedy of J. Robert Oppenheimer," by Kai Bird for The New York Times"Our Oppenheimer Moment: The Creation of A.I. Weapons," by Alexander C. Karp for The New York Times"How to Stop a Nuclear War," by Ross Douthat for The New York Times"A Look Back at Our Future War With China," by Carlos Lozada for The New York Times
26/07/23·37m 28s

33 Reading Recommendations for Your Summer Vacation

On this week’s “Matter of Opinion,” Michelle, Ross, Carlos and Lydia offer their recommendations for your summer reading and lay out what they’re excited to dive into themselves. Plus, listener book picks. Books mentioned in this episode:From Michelle:Thursday Murder Club series, by Richard Osman“The Wager: A Tale of Shipwreck, Mutiny and Murder,” by David GrannFrom Lydia:“Slow Horses,” Book 1 in the Slough House series, by Mick Herron“The Transit of Venus,” by Shirley Hazzard“Middlemarch,” by George Eliot“Grant,” by Ron Chernow“King: A Life,” by Jonathan EigFrom Carlos:“Trust,” by Hernan Diaz“The Long Secret” and “Harriet the Spy,” by Louise Fitzhugh“Conversación en La Catedral,” “Aunt Julia and The Scriptwriter" and “The Feast of the Goat,” by Mario Vargas Llosa“Mystery and Manners: Occasional Prose” and “Wise Blood,” by Flannery O’Connor“Heartburn,” by Nora Ephron, audiobook narrated by Meryl Streep“The Sellout,” by Paul Beatty“Killers of the Flower Moon: The Osage Murders and the Birth of the FBI,” “The Lost City of Z: A Tale of Deadly Obsession in the Amazon” and “The White Darkness,” by David GrannFrom Ross:“The Stand,” “The Institute” and “The Shining,” by Stephen King“Black Lamb and Grey Falcon: A Journey Through Yugoslavia,” by Rebecca West“Leave the Gun, Take the Cannoli,” by Mark SealFrom Matter of Opinion listeners:The Three-Body Problem trilogy, by Liu Cixin“The Fisherman and the Dragon: Fear, Greed, and a Fight for Justice on the Gulf Coast,” by Kirk Wallace Johnson“The Kingdoms,” by Natasha Pulley“The Education of Kendrick Perkins: A Memoir,” by Kendrick Perkins with Seth Rogoff“Demon Copperhead,” by Barbara Kingsolver“Still Life,” by Jay Hopler“The Tempest,” by William ShakespeareMaisie Dobbs series, by Jacqueline Winspear More from the hosts:"How 'The Great Brain' Explains America," by Carlos Lozada for The New York Times"My Fantasy Bookshelf," by Ross Douthat for The New York Times"A Look Back at Our Future War With China," by Carlos Lozada for The New York Times 
20/07/23·24m 36s

‘Elon Musk Is Doing for Zuckerberg What Trump Did for George W. Bush’

In just one week, more than 100 million people have signed up for Meta’s new Threads app.On “Matter of Opinion,” the hosts ask why so many people are joining, given how much we love to hate on social media, and whether “social” media is even social anymore. Mentioned in this episode:"Anti-Social Media: How Facebook Has Disconnected Citizens and Undermined Democracy," by Siva Vaidhyanathan"Stealing MySpace: The Battle to Control the Most Popular Website in America," by Julia Angwin More from the hosts:“How Twitter Shrank Elon Musk and Ron DeSantis,” by Ross Douthat for The New York Times“It’s Not a Good Sign When People Who Don’t Pay for News Have So Little to Choose From,” by Lydia Polgreen for The New York Times“The Inside Joke That Became Trump’s Big Lie,” by Carlos Lozada for The New York Times
13/07/23·30m 58s

America, Shall I Compare Thee to a Chevy Volt?

It’s as American as … “Survivor”? This week on “Matter of Opinion,” our hosts each bring a piece of pop culture that they think defines America, and make the case for why grifters, connivers and Tennessee’s finest explain the United States. Additional reading:Check out the cultural artifacts our hosts and other Opinion columnists think best represent America.
06/07/23·31m 23s

Wait, Are There Actually Aliens?

It’s an age-old question in America: Is the government lying to us? According to David Grusch, a former intelligence official who recently alleged that the U.S. government is secretly storing alien spacecraft, the answer is yes. He is, of course, not the first person to make a claim like this, but lawmakers appear to be taking him far more seriously than previous would-be whistle-blowers. So, what’s really going on?On this week’s episode of “Matter of Opinion,” our hosts discuss what the government is and isn’t telling us, and what the obsession with classified cover-ups says about our complicated relationship with power. If you have a summer reading recommendation, share it with us by leaving a voicemail at 212-556-7440.By leaving us a message, you are agreeing to be governed by our reader submission terms and agreeing that we may use and allow others to use your name, voice and message.
29/06/23·33m 30s

What Happens When You Stop Being a Superpower?

As authoritarian nations like China and Russia try to assert their power, President Biden has said the United States is fighting a global battle to save democracy. So why is America building relationships with countries that are far from democratic utopias?On this episode of “Matter of Opinion,” the hosts talk about global realignment with sometimes imperfect allies and how risky this moment could be.
22/06/23·31m 28s

Just When You Thought There Was Nothing New to Learn About Donald Trump

For the second time in recent months, Donald Trump has been indicted. This time, the charges were filed by the special counsel appointed to investigate accusations that the former president took classified documents from the White House and repeatedly resisted efforts to return them.On this episode of “Matter of Opinion,” the hosts discuss what the 49-page indictment reveals about Trump and his view of the law, and its impact on the Republican primary race.
13/06/23·29m 13s

We Have Age Minimums. Why Not Age Maximums?

The median age of senators is 65. We’re heading into a presidential contest that might find candidates who are 78 and 82 facing off on Election Day. Our government, people have argued, is a gerontocracy. But is that a bad thing? Should our older leaders take a back seat? And for all of us, how do you know when it’s the right time to retire?
08/06/23·33m 25s

What Biden Understands About Negotiating That Obama Never Did

Time is running out for Congress to pass legislation lifting the debt ceiling. The United States is just days away from defaulting on its obligations, which would cause global economic chaos. A deal seems likely to pass, but given that the deadline was no mystery, why did it take until the last moment? Is there a better strategy? How should we have tough conversations about our nation’s spending? And is it inevitable that we will find ourselves in this situation again?
01/06/23·32m 8s

A Eulogy for 'Succession'

The power struggle is finally over. Waystar Royco has a new C.E.O. And his last name isn’t Roy.On this special episode of “Matter of Opinion,” Michelle Cottle, Ross Douthat, Carlos Lozada and Lydia Polgreen send off HBO’s “Succession” and its cast of back-stabbing ultrawealthy characters. The hosts break down key moments of the finale (turns out it pays to be a pain sponge) and discuss the real story “Succession” told about America today.(A full transcript of the episode will be available shortly on the Times website.)Listen to this podcast in New York Times Audio, our new iOS app for news subscribers. Download now at
29/05/23·22m 49s

What Does Healthy Masculinity Look Like?

American men and boys are struggling — in education, employment, relationships and mental health. But just bringing up how to address the “crisis of masculinity” is politically polarized dynamite. In light of that, is there any hope for solutions? On this episode of “Matter of Opinion,” trad bros, sports cars and mobsters in therapy.(A full transcript of the episode will be available midday on the Times website.) Listen to this podcast in New York Times Audio, our new iOS app for news subscribers. Download now at
25/05/23·40m 19s

If DeSantis Can’t Beat Trump, Can Ramaswamy?

It’s 77 weeks before Election Day and over half a dozen people have already thrown their hats into the G.O.P race. On our new podcast, “Matter of Opinion,” Michelle Cottle, Ross Douthat, Carlos Lozada and Lydia Polgreen take a tour of the 2024 Republican primary field to understand what it takes to survive in the present-day Republican ecosystem — and maybe even beat the Trump in the room.(A full transcript of the episode will be available midday on the Times website.)Listen to this podcast in New York Times Audio, our new iOS app for news subscribers. Download now at
18/05/23·31m 50s

What If We Just Paid Clarence Thomas $1 Million?

On the inaugural episode of “Matter of Opinion,” a new podcast from New York Times Opinion, our hosts discuss the recent revelations about Clarence Thomas, their impact on the Supreme Court and how, or whether, to fix this increasingly unpopular institution. Plus: hot and cold. (What is that? You’ll have to listen to find out.)(A full transcript of the episode will be available midday on the Times website.)
11/05/23·31m 33s

Introducing 'Matter of Opinion'

Thoughts, aloud. A new weekly podcast, every Thursday from New York Times Opinion.
10/05/23·3m 57s
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