The Assignment with Audie Cornish

The Assignment with Audie Cornish


Each week on The Assignment, host Audie Cornish pulls listeners out of their digital echo chambers to hear from the people whose lives intersect with the news cycle. From the sex work economy to the battle over what’s taught in classrooms, no topic is off the table. Listen to The Assignment every Monday and Thursday.


Polyamory Is Having a Moment

What's driving the current conversation around polyamory? How do people fall into it? What are the misconceptions about how it works? And what do you do if you find yourself at the crossroads of considering a polyamorous relationship? Audie asks Kevin Patterson, author of Love's Not Color Blind: Race and Representation in Polyamorous and Other Alternative Communities and sex therapist Dr. Lexx Brown-James.  Share your thoughts or questions with us - we'd love to hear from you! Text or send a voice memo to: 202-854-8802.  Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
29/02/2433m 3s

Biden, Trump, and the Border Crisis

This week, both President Biden and former president Trump will head to the US-Mexico border, underscoring just how central immigration policy has become to this year’s election. CNN’s Priscilla Alvarez covered immigration during the Trump administration and now covers the Biden White House. She and Audie talk about Biden and Trump at the border this week, and how Texas Governor Greg Abbott has successfully elevated the border issue by bussing over 100,000 undocumented migrants to northern cities as part of his “Operation Lone Star.” Read more from Priscilla and National Political Reporter Eric Bradner: Gov. Greg Abbott’s border tactics force Democrats to confront migrant crisis in their own backyards Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
26/02/2433m 7s

Jake Tapper on American Political Scandal

American politicians are responsible for some of the wildest scandals in the history of our country.   CNN Anchor and Chief Washington Correspondent Jake Tapper looks back on six of the most iconic political controversies of the modern era in his new series United States of Scandal with Jake Tapper.   Audie and Jake talk about what motivates politicians to break the rules, why they think they won’t get caught, and how the public’s reaction to these moral and legal mishaps has changed over the years.  Watch United States of Scandal with Jake Tapper here, and catch it on TV, it airs on Sundays, at 9pm ET/PT on CNN.   Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
22/02/2429m 14s

Where Does Fani Willis Go From Here?

Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis pushed back hard after having her personal life dragged into the spotlight. Lawyers for Donald Trump are trying to dismiss her from the Georgia election subversion case she brought against the former president. They argued that she and Nathan Wade, the special prosecutor she hired to lead the case, engaged in an improper romantic relationship which financially benefitted her. Audie chats with journalist George Chidi about the hearing and what’s next for Willis. Chidi is a politics and democracy reporter for The Guardian, based in Atlanta. Chidi himself was subpoenaed in this case after exposing the Republican fake electors plot. Chidi was in the courtroom for Willis’s testimony, and he paints an audio courtroom sketch of this jaw-dropping moment. George Chidi is co-host of the podcast King Slime: The Prosecution of Young Thug and YSL. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
19/02/2427m 35s

Gen Z In the Workplace: Rethinking Business Etiquette

The landscape of workplace etiquette has undergone a seismic shift in the wake of the pandemic. Gen Z entered the workforce and influenced already evolving social norms, from the dilemma of camera on or off, to the choice between calling or texting, and the blurred lines between what constitutes professional attire. Audie talks with Kate Zabriskie, the founder of Business Training Works, about the change in modern workplace norms.  We're diving deeper into the ever-evolving landscape of workplace etiquette, especially with Gen Z stepping into the forefront. Whether you're a seasoned pro or new to the workforce, we want to hear from you. Share your thoughts or questions. Text or send a voice memo to: 202-854-8802.  Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
15/02/2424m 43s

Mitch McConnell’s Critics Grow Louder

Mitch McConnell is facing open criticism about his leadership among some in the Senate GOP, and that criticism is being egged on by Donald Trump. All comes after bitter disputes over immigration legislation and Ukraine aid. Audie talks with CNN Congressional Correspondents Manu Raju and Lauren Fox about this moment of peril for the longest-serving Senatorial party leader in US history. Read all of Manu and Lauren’s reporting here: ‘McConnell’s GOP critics grow louder as party descends into feud over Ukraine and immigration’ Also mentioned in this episode: House Mouse, Senate Mouse Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
12/02/2429m 55s

Taylor Swift and Travis Kelce: Cultural Supernova

There is no bigger cultural story right now than the romance between NFL superstar Travis Kelce and Taylor Swift. The reaction to their relationship has been so extreme that parody is almost indiscernible from reality. It’s a potent mix of celebrity culture, sports, and extreme politics.  Audie brings together Cari Champion and Anne Helen Petersen, to dissect why all of this is happening. Why have Travis and Taylor generated a supernova of fans, haters, and overwhelming scrutiny?  Cari Champion is the host of the podcast Naked with Cari Champion and former anchor of ESPN’s SportsCenter.  Anne Helen Petersen is the author of Culture Study on Substack, and the host of the Culture Study podcast.  Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
08/02/2436m 24s

Clyburn on Power and Compromise

“We know Joe. But most importantly, Joe knows us." Congressman James Clyburn spoke those all-important words four years ago while giving his crucial endorsement to Joe Biden in his home state of South Carolina. With Biden now in the White House, Clyburn wields the power to spur lots of change, including an alteration to the Democratic party’s primary calendar, placing South Carolina at the head of the line. Audie sat down with Clyburn to learn how he thinks about power, what Biden needs to do to protect his, and how someone who’s been in his office since 1993 makes decisions about the future. Leave us a voicemail: (202) 854-8802. Send us an email: Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
05/02/2428m 56s

Roy Wood Jr. on The Daily Show and the Future of Comedy

Jon Stewart is returning to The Daily Show, putting the spotlight back on this influential institution of political comedy. Today, Audie talks with a breakout star of the show’s very recent past, comedian Roy Wood Jr. He pulls back the curtain on his time at The Daily Show, schools us on the economics of entertainment for a creative, ambitious, working parent, and dives into whether comedians should fudge facts to get to a higher truth.  Find out if Roy is on tour near you.  Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
01/02/2428m 33s

What is Nikki Haley Doing in South Carolina? With Eva McKend

Donald Trump is leading in the polls for South Carolina GOP primary, by a lot. But it’s also Nikki Haley’s home state and she refuses to go quietly, ramping up her attacks on Trump even as most of her fellow Republicans call on her to drop out. Eva McKend is national political correspondent for CNN and she checks in with a view from the ground. What did you think of this episode? Send us your feedback and assignments. Leave a message at (202) 854-8802 or email us at Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
29/01/2421m 18s

Healing Political Divisions in the Pews

During these divisive times, political fault lines are everywhere – including among members of the same church. So for people who live, work, and worship in divided spaces, what have they learned about how to communicate with people they love but don’t seem to understand?   Audie sits down with Pastor Rich Villodas of New Life Fellowship in Queens. They talk about “God, Politics, and the Church,” what division – and listening – looks like, why criticisms of candidate and party feel so personal, and why he’s welcoming people – no matter who they’re voting for – in 2024.   Pastor Villodas is the author of several books, including: Good and Beautiful and Kind: Becoming Whole in a Fractured World.  Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
25/01/2429m 22s

The “Dangerous Undercurrent” in American Politics

“There is a dangerous undercurrent dragging Americans who wade into the political waters out toward the extreme.” Oliver Darcy wrote these words after 66% of Iowa Republicans said they did not think Joe Biden legitimately won the 2020 election in a CNN entrance poll on caucus night. Darcy tells Audie Cornish why he thinks the mainstream media has a duty to shine a light on the “propaganda machine supporting Trump.” Sign up for CNN's Reliable Sources newsletter Oliver’s column, A dangerous undercurrent is pulling Americans toward the political extreme. The media is turning a blind eye to it Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
22/01/2422m 44s

"Am I Doing This Right?" How To Be a Parent Today

If you google the word “parenting” today, headlines include TikTok trends, celebrity mom secrets, and heated debates on parenting methodologies. Parenting is done privately and judged publicly. Audie talks with The Washington Post’s outgoing “On Parenting” Deputy Editor Amy Joyce. She gives Audie her views on the evolving landscape of parenting shaped by mommy blogs, fleeting parenting fads, and the overarching question that echoes in the minds of many caregivers: "Am I doing this right?"  Read Amy’s final column: The 5 absolute truths I’ve learned in 10 years as a parenting editor  We want to talk more about the issues that affect parents and kids. So we want to invite you — kids and parents alike — to weigh in with your ideas and questions, and the people you’d like to hear from. Text or send a voice memo to: 202-854-8802.  Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
18/01/2423m 5s

If Trump's the Nominee, Who's his Veep?

If the poll numbers are to be believed, Donald Trump’s march to the GOP nomination will be hard to stop. And that has lots of political observers pondering who he would choose as a running mate. CNN contributor Alyssa Farah Griffin worked in Trump’s White House and she shares first-hand knowledge of the characters vying for vice presidency. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
15/01/2433m 27s

The Backlash Against DEI

Diversity, Equity and Inclusion programs are facing a backlash, mostly from conservative commentators. This backlash came into sharp relief after Claudine Gay resigned as president of Harvard University. Some of her critics claimed it as a victory against the “DEI regime.” Audie talks to Celeste Headlee, a journalist and the founder of Headway DEI, about how this discourse is affecting those trying to continue their DEI work in corporations and organizations across the country.   Celeste is the author of several books, including: Speaking of Race: Why Everybody Needs to Talk About Racism—and How to Do It.  Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
11/01/2429m 53s

Biden's Re-Election Argument, with Phil Mattingly

"Today, we’re here to answer the most important of questions. Is democracy still America’s sacred cause?” President Biden said these words on Friday while kicking off his re-election campaign near Valley Forge, Pennsylvania. The location was steeped in Revolutionary War history and continued Biden’s theme of speaking in locations that signify turning points for American democracy. Phil Mattingly was CNN’s Chief White House correspondent at the Biden White House before moving to the anchor’s desk at CNN This Morning. He and Audie talk about the many layers of President Biden’s re-election strategy. Leave us your feedback or assignments: (202) 854-8802 or email Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
08/01/2426m 41s

Gen Z Is Challenging How We Think About Work

We’ve all seen the headlines: Gen Z is “lazy.” “Entitled.” They’re constantly asking for raises, and they complain too much. But are these things really a “problem”? This week, Audie chats with two Gen Z’ers with some #thoughts on how we think about work: DeAndre Brown, TikTok creator and founder of Gen XL Consulting, and Maia Ervin, Chief Impact Officer at the Gen Z consulting company JUV. Then, Audie brings their thoughts to the researcher who literally wrote the book on generations, Jean Twenge. Call and leave us your assignments: (202) 854-8802 or email Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
04/01/2430m 10s

The Year Ahead in Politics with David Chalian

As the political winds intensify, CNN Political Director David Chalian is here to answer the burning questions of this election year: why don’t Republican candidates take off the gloves and attack former president Trump? Can President Biden and his allies amplify good economic news? And what will the U.S. Supreme Court do when it takes up its central role in determining Donald Trump’s political future? Make sure to follow David’s podcast, the CNN Political Briefing. He releases a new episode every Friday. Call and leave us feedback and your Assignments: (202) 854-8802. We love hearing from you! Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
02/01/2424m 16s

The Assignment Presents: All There Is

Today we're bringing you an episode of All There Is with Anderson Cooper, a podcast about the people we lose, the people left behind, and how we can live on – with loss and with love. The Assignment team is taking a short holiday break. We'll be back with new episodes next week. - Katie Talman was grieving an unimaginable loss when she left a message for Anderson Cooper, one of more than a thousand voicemails he received from podcast listeners. Anderson called Katie back at her home in Texas and she agreed to share her story. When Katie was 23 weeks pregnant, her daughter Everly died. “Nothing could have prepared me to deliver a stillborn baby,” Katie says. The grief over her daughter’s death, the silence in the delivery room, the inability of some in her life to understand or even acknowledge the depth of her pain - Katie and Everly’s story is a moving testament to a family’s love and a mom’s courage in the face of the greatest loss. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
28/12/2332m 51s

The Assignment Presents: The Axe Files

Today, we present an episode of David Axelrod's CNN podcast, The Axe Files. Lifelong Republican Bill Gates was working as a lawyer and serving on the Maricopa County Board of Supervisors in Arizona’s most populous county when the 2020 election upended his life. Maricopa County became a hub of the Stop the Steal movement, and Bill, who defended the safety and legitimacy of the election, became a top target. Bill joined David to talk about navigating vicious attacks from those within his own party, the toll it took on his mental health and that of his family, and his hopes for the future of the Republican Party. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
26/12/2342m 20s

We’re Taking Your Assignments: Drug Shortages and Ageism

How does ageism impact all of us? What is causing the chemotherapy drug shortage?  These questions come from you, our listeners, who call in week after week with ideas for our next assignment. This week Audie speaks with CNN Health reporter Jacqueline Howard and Gerontologist Dr. Tracey Gendron about the future of ongoing pharmaceutical drug shortages and the impact ageism could have on the 2024 presidential election.   If you have an assignment you’d like us to look into, leave us a voicemail at 202-854-8802 and you might just hear your voice on an upcoming episode!  Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
21/12/2324m 27s

CNN Political Briefing: Are Young Voters Tuning Out 2024?

Today, we're sharing the latest episode of CNN Political Briefing with David Chalian: What will it take to win the youth vote in 2024? John Della Volpe, director of polling at the Harvard Kennedy School Institute of Politics, recently led a survey of voters between the ages of 18 and 29. He discovered that fewer of them are planning on voting this time than in the last election cycle. CNN Political Director David Chalian talks to him about other surprising finds, and how this year’s candidates might persuade young people. Harvard Youth Poll, Fall 2023 Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
19/12/2327m 53s

Why More Black Moms Are Choosing Home Births

Black women are three times more likely than white women to die of pregnancy-related causes.  CNN anchor Abby Phillip wanted to know why maternal mortality rates for Black women remaining stubbornly high – and who are the people trying to change that.  She joins Audie to talk about her newest report, where she goes to Los Angeles to meet mothers who are opting out of traditional hospital births, and the communities, midwives, doulas, and nurses working to make them feel heard and supported.  “Homebirth Journey: Saving Black Moms” will premiere on The Whole Story with Anderson Cooper on Sunday, December 17 at 9 pm ET/PT.  Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
14/12/2329m 53s

How to Cover Politics with Tara Palmeri

Audie talks with journalist and podcaster Tara Palmeri about the tactics, frustrations, and the purpose of political journalism. The stops on Palmeri’s career journey prepared her well for this moment. She covered Brexit for Politico Europe, she was White House correspondent at ABC News, and early in her career, she learned all about former president Trump when she worked for his favorite place to appear in print, Page Six of the New York Post. Today, Palmeri is senior political correspondent at Puck News and she’s the host of one of our favorite podcasts, “Somebody’s Gotta Win,” a collaboration between Puck and The Ringer. We’d love to hear from you. Call and leave us your Assignments: ‪(202) 854-8802‬ or write to Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
12/12/2328m 48s

Ken Burns on History, Truth, and Storytelling

Ken Burns has been called “America’s Storyteller.” Audie spoke with him live on stage about his process, and about trying to get to the truth of a subject, especially in a political and cultural climate that actively challenges the very idea of truth. Their conversation was part of The Connecticut Forum's season of live, unscripted conversations among renowned experts and celebrities.  Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
07/12/2333m 24s

Can the Biden/Harris Coalition Hold?

The Obama/Biden ticket’s historic victory in 2008 was the result of massive turnout from Black voters, young voters, and college-educated Americans. Audie talks with Ashley Allison, a CNN commentator and former National Coalitions Director for Biden-Harris 2020 campaign, about the challenge Democrats face holding that coalition together. Call and leave us your Assignments: (202) 854-8802 or email Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
05/12/2333m 9s

The Creative Path to Climate Solutions

The 28th annual United Nations Climate Change Conference, known as COP28, begins this week. As global leaders convene to address the urgent challenges of our planet's changing climate, two creative minds join Audie to explore how we process the climate crisis. She explores how these creators infuse hope into their narratives, envisioning a world where art and storytelling inspire action and solutions.  For all of CNN’s COP28 coverage, go to  GUESTS  Sam Alfred is a video game designer from Cape Town, South Africa, who created Terra Nil, a mobile strategy game that challenges players to transform desolate landscapes into flourishing ecosystems.   Sequoia Nagamatsu is an author and professor. His book "How High We Go in the Dark," explores a future shaped by environmental crisis and generational resilience.  Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
30/11/2325m 34s

Trump’s Second Term Plans

Mass deportations, a weaponized justice department, purges of civil servants: these are among the plans that former President Trump and his allies are making for a second term in the White House. CNN national correspondent Kristen Holmes has been traveling to Trump’s rallies and she has an analysis of what’s in the works for MAGA 2.0. Call and leave us your Assignments: (202) 854-8802 or email  Reporting from Kristen Holmes: Trump’s radical second-term agenda would wield executive power in unprecedented ways  Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
28/11/2328m 30s

What Does It Mean to Be Patriotic?

The number of Americans who would say that they’re “extremely proud to be American” is at a record low, according to a recent Gallup poll. Perhaps that’s not surprising, given widespread political divisiveness across the country. Today – in time for Thanksgiving – Audie sits down with writer, comedian, and activist Baratunde Thurston to talk about what it means to be patriotic in an age of growing disillusionment. And more importantly — why does it matter?   Baratunde Thurston is the host and executive producer of the PBS television series America Outdoors, creator and host of How To Citizen, and a founding partner of the new media startup Puck. His comedic memoir, How To Be Black, is a New York Times best-seller.   Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
23/11/2336m 24s

Can Anyone Beat Trump?

New polling shows that Republican presidential candidate Nikki Haley has moved into second place in New Hampshire, behind Donald Trump. Haley's momentum hasn’t gone unnoticed by the anti-Trump fundraisers looking for a horse to back. Audie talks with CNN Political Commentator Kevin Madden about the state of the race, and what Haley needs to do to maintain her momentum. Madden has worked on several Republican campaigns, including Mitt Romney’s 2012 bid for the White House.  Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
20/11/2326m 55s

Meet The Students Challenging Book Bans

We are revisiting the public school culture wars – this time, from the perspective of students. What have we learned from the kids who are fighting against book bans? How has the war over books sparked a backlash to the so-called parents’ rights movement?   We call up two busy teen activists – Da’Taeveyon Daniels in Texas and Eliza Lane in Florida – to find out. And CNN correspondent Elle Reeve, who covers how extremism percolates into everyday life, puts the board room debates over what kids should and shouldn’t read into a national context.   To hear from the perspective of two concerned parents, check out our very first episode “Meet The Parents Taking Over School Boards,”which we released one year ago today.  Thank you for calling in with your assignments for us at (202) 854-8802. And thank you for listening.   Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
16/11/2332m 23s

China’s Disinformation Campaign Against Americans

Ahead of President Biden's meeting with Chinese President Xi, CNN spoke to Americans who are being hounded and harassed by the Chinese government's brazen online disinformation campaign. Correspondent Donie O’Sullivan reported the story and joins Audie to walk through the lengths Beijing will go to silence online critics, even those on US soil.  Donie O’Sullivan is a CNN Correspondent. Read his full story here.   And we’d love to hear from you! What do you want us to cover? Call and leave us your Assignments: (202) 854-8802. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
14/11/2319m 26s

The Army's Recruitment Challenge

Last year the Army missed its recruitment goal; it had 65,000 spots to fill and came in 10,000 short. Audie talks with a former recruiter about what he saw as some of the challenges the Army faces when it comes to recruitment, including cultural shifts around everything from marijuana use to mental health. And we hear from Secretary of the Army Christine Wormuth about how the Army is responding to recruitment shortfalls.  Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
09/11/2332m 11s

Should Biden Bow Out? Axelrod Weighs In

New polling shows President Biden trailing Donald Trump in key battleground states, and that has many Democrats worried about his re-election prospects. Can anything be done to turn the numbers around? Or should the President bow out? Audie talks with CNN Senior Political Commentator and longtime Obama advisor David Axelrod who’s said that the President must decide whether it’s wise to run given the political headwinds he’s facing.  David Axelrod is the host of CNN’s The Axe Files. Download it wherever you get your podcasts.  And we’d love to hear from you! What do you want us to cover? Call and leave us your Assignments: (202) 854-8802  Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
07/11/2325m 46s

How Ordinary People Exposed January 6th

Dive into the world of online detectives tracking down January 6th insurrectionists. How did a dedicated community of digital sleuths help the FBI bring thousands to justice? Audie sits down with Ryan Reilly, the author of "Sedition Hunters: How January 6th Broke the Justice System," for a journey through the realm of modern digital investigations. Call us with your Assignments: ‪(202) 854-8802‬. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
02/11/2329m 34s

Why Trump’s Ex-Lawyers are Flipping

Lawyers who represented former President Donald Trump face a tough choice: cooperate with prosecutors or face the wrath of the MAGA movement. CNN’s senior reporter of crime and justice Katelyn Polantz is here to break down the different factions of Trump associates and their perilous paths ahead. What’s to become of "The Kraken," "The Pound Sand Club," and... Mark Meadows? Call and leave us your political Assignments: (202) 854-8802. Polantz: Mark Meadows walks tightrope, complying with Trump prosecutors while maintaining GOP influence    Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
31/10/2324m 50s

The Serious Business of Romance Novels

Book sales — in general — are down, but one genre is bucking that trend: romance. Romance novel sales surged a whopping 52% in 2022. So what’s behind the popularity? How did romance become the reigning champion among fiction genres in America? To find out we talk with Leah Koch and Bea Hodges-Koch, owners of The Ripped Bodice, a single-genre bookstore focused on romance novels.  To learn more about how CNN protects listener privacy, visit Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
26/10/2325m 57s

How The Young Guns Lost the GOP

More than a decade ago, Kevin McCarthy, Paul Ryan and Eric Cantor pitched themselves as the future of the Republican Party. They even gave themselves a nickname: The Young Guns. Now those dreams are dashed, The Young Guns are scattered to the wind, and House Republicans are rudderless, unable to elect a Speaker ten months into their majority. How did we get here? S.E. Cupp, a conservative political commentator for CNN, breaks down what happened to the Young Guns – and why being called “the future of the party” is really a curse. Video: They were the future of the GOP. Then MAGA came. Call and leave us your Assignments: ‪(202) 854-8802‬. To learn more about how CNN protects listener privacy, visit Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
24/10/2328m 18s

What It's Like to Evacuate in Gaza

Thousands of people have already been killed in the Israel-Hamas conflict. And Israel has told residents of northern Gaza to evacuate roughly 20 miles to the south for their own safety. This week Audie talks with CNN’s Yahya Abou-Ghazala as he shares the stories of the people who have been told to flee, and what it’s been like trying to get stories out of Gaza right now.  Read Yahya’s recent stories:  They followed evacuation orders. An Israeli airstrike killed them the next day.  In Gaza, Palestinians have no safe place from Israel’s bombs  Listen to CNN’s daily podcast about the conflict, Tug of War “Israel at War”.  To learn more about how CNN protects listener privacy, visit Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
19/10/2323m 35s

How Americans Feel About Israel

How do Americans feel about Israel? Broadly, there is deep sympathy for Israel and its response to Hamas in Gaza. But polling shows that among America’s more diverse, younger generation, attitudes toward both Israel and Palestinians are more complicated.  Harry Enten, Senior Data Reporter at CNN, is here to parse the numbers and tease out some conclusions.  Oct. 15 CNN Poll: Americans are deeply sympathetic toward Israelis and see their military response to Hamas attacks as justified   Call and leave us an Assignment: ‪(202) 854-8802‬  To learn more about how CNN protects listener privacy, visit Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
17/10/2322m 36s

Roxane Gay Reflects on 10 Years of Opinions

Writer Roxane Gay comes from a generation of what you might call “very online.” She gained international fame because she had a distinctive voice that stood far from the madding crowd on social media. This week Audie talks with Roxane about her new collection of essays, “Opinions,” how her opinions have changed, what it's like to become famous for sharing them, and how social media changed the way we all think about criticism and professional opinion. To learn more about how CNN protects listener privacy, visit Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
12/10/2327m 16s

Does Fact-Checking Work?

The political landscape has never been more confusing, and to some, even overwhelming. How do we determine fact from fiction? What keeps fact-checkers up at night? And what’s a democracy to do when even the professionals aren't believed? Today, we have Daniel Dale, a CNN senior reporter who rose to prominence for fact-checking former President Donald Trump, and Matthew Facciani, a postdoctoral researcher at the University of Notre Dame. He studies people who fall victim to misinformation and how to best engage with them in a compassionate way. Call us with your political Assignments: ‪(202) 854-8802‬. To learn more about how CNN protects listener privacy, visit Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
10/10/2324m 22s

A New Assignment: Diving into Politics

Big news: The Assignment is expanding to twice a week! Starting October 10th, The Assignment takes on politics. Every Tuesday we will go beyond the horserace — talking with journalists with a sharp understanding of this political moment. This is in addition to our regular Thursday podcast, where we talk with people whose lives intersect with the headlines.  To kick off our weekly political pod, we’ve invited CNN Political Director David Chalian to talk about how he covers this tumultuous political moment, the role of the media as truth tellers, and how he’s revamped his weekly podcast, The CNN Political Briefing, which drops every Friday.  To learn more about how CNN protects listener privacy, visit Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
05/10/2325m 20s

An Epic Translation for a Modern Audience

How do you take a story everyone thinks they know, and look at it through a new lens? What role – if any – does the identity of the translator play in the retelling of a story? And what is it like telling your own story after spending much of your career interpreting – and being interpreted by – others?  This week, Audie chats with Emily Wilson. Wilson is the translator of Homeric epics like “The Odyssey.” She is a professor of Classical Studies at the University of Pennsylvania, and a frequent subject of headlines and stories herself. Her translation of The Iliad came out September 26.  To learn more about how CNN protects listener privacy, visit Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
28/09/2329m 26s

The Free Speech Wars on Campus

Between student protests, controversial speakers, and debates over “safe spaces,” complaints about free speech on campus are louder than ever. How do school leaders respond to these gripes? And how do they balance freedom of expression – and the idea that speech can be violence?  We have two college presidents from the front lines of this debate: Roslyn Clark Artis of Benedict College and Michael Roth of Wesleyan University. Both schools are part of the so-called “Campus Call for Free Expression.” Leave us an Assignment: or call (202) 854-8802‬. To learn more about how CNN protects listener privacy, visit Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
21/09/2335m 15s

Greek Life Gone Viral

In recent years, Greek life faced a crisis as the pandemic cast a shadow on recruitment, and the “abolish Greek life” movement grew across campuses. But then came #RushTok — a flurry of TikToks documenting the sorority recruitment process among university campuses, especially in the South. One tag, in particular, soared to remarkable heights: #BamaRush. It chronicled the rush process at the University of Alabama and has garnered an astonishing 3 billion TikTok views (and counting).   This week we speak to writer, journalist, and former sorority sister Anne Helen Petersen, who has been documenting the phenomenon. Why are the videos dominating our feeds? And what does RushTok’s popularity say about its stars... and its biggest stans?  Anne Helen Petersen is a writer and journalist whose writing has appeared in BuzzFeed News, The New York Times, Vox, The Atlantic, and more. Her books include Out of the Office: The Big Problem and Bigger Promise of Working From Home and Can’t Even: How Millennials Became the Burnout Generation. She writes a Substack newsletter called Culture Study.    To learn more about how CNN protects listener privacy, visit Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
14/09/2329m 6s

We’re Taking Your Assignments: Money, Marijuana, and Montana

Is there a coin shortage in the U.S.? Is there an increase in kids smoking weed at school? And: what’s the deal with Montana politics?   All of these questions were asked by you, our listeners. Throughout the life of this podcast, we’ve asked you to pick up the phone and leave us Assignments – and you have delivered. We love getting these messages. We took these three Assignments and called up three reporters who could give us some answers. Joining us this week, CNN Business reporter Clare Duffy @claresduffy, CNN Health reporter Jacqueline Howard @JacqEHoward, and Montana Free Press editor, Brad Tyer.  Read the Montana Free Press at and follow them at @mtfreepress.  We're only getting started with your Assignments, so if you want to leave us one, please do! You can send an email to or leave us a voicemail: 202-854-8802  To learn more about how CNN protects listener privacy, visit Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
07/09/2329m 35s

Hollywood’s Hot Strike Summer

For Labor Day — the unofficial end of summer and the official holiday celebrating the American worker — we are checking in on the state of the striking actors and writers demanding more from the studios they work for. When the Writer’s Guild of America (WGA) and Screen Actors Guild and the American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (SAG-AFTRA) went on strike earlier this year, no one was sure how long the first dual strike in over 60 years would last. Six weeks later both unions are still on the picket line. This week we speak to industry insider, Franklin Leonard, about the state of the strikes and how this could change the way Hollywood works, and how we watch movies and TV.  Franklin Leonard is a film and television producer and the founder of The Black List, a platform for film and television writers to showcase their work to industry professionals.  To learn more about how CNN protects listener privacy, visit Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
31/08/2324m 30s

The Fight Against Digital Hate

Imran Ahmed is a man in the middle of the disinformation wars. He is the CEO of the Center for Countering Digital Hate (CCDH), an organization dedicated to researching online hate speech and disinformation. Audie talks with him about how he came to the work, the lawsuit filed against him by Elon Musk’s X Corp. (formerly Twitter), and what it all means for the debate over “free speech” versus “hate speech” online.  For more context on today’s conversation, read CNN’s reporting here. And read X Corp’s response to CCDH here.   To learn more about how CNN protects listener privacy, visit Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
24/08/2337m 27s

Fighting Fires on the Frontlines of Climate Change

Devastating wildfires like the ones in Maui could become more common in our future due to a host of several factors, including climate change. But what about the folks who are already grappling with the fact that climate change is here? This week, we break down the connection between climate change and wildfires with climate scientist Dr. Daniel Swain. Then, Audie talks with former wildland firefighters Megan Fitzgerald-McGowan and Riva Duncan about how climate change is shifting the way fires are fought, and how the work is getting more demanding, more difficult, and more dangerous.  GUESTS: Megan Fitzgerald-McGowan is currently a Program Manager at Firewise USA, which teaches people how to adapt to living with wildfire and encourages neighbors to work together and take action now to prevent losses. She is a former wildland firefighter.  Riva Duncan is the vice president of Grassroots Wildland Firefighters, a nonprofit advocacy group fighting for reforms for federal wildland firefighters. She retired from wildland firefighting in 2020 after more than 30 years.  Dr. Daniel Swain is a climate scientist focused on the dynamics and impacts of extreme events—including droughts, floods, storms, and wildfires—on a warming planet. He blogs at Weather West, which provides real-time perspectives on California and western North American weather and climate.  To learn more about how CNN protects listener privacy, visit Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
17/08/2332m 12s

Sex and Sensibilities: Let’s Talk About Puriteens

Have you heard about the “puriteens”? That’s the nickname for Gen Z’ers who are uncomfortable with sex and sexuality, and discuss that discomfort, largely online. Well, the media is obsessed with them and what their #thoughts mean for the state of their sex lives. But how accurate is that label? Is this a real thing? Our Assignment this week: unpacking the “puriteen” label.  We called up Constance Grady, who is both a millennial and the Vox senior correspondent behind The Purity Chronicles, and Izzy Ampil, the Gen Z writer who reported “People Think Gen Z Is Sex Negative, But The Truth Is More Complicated” for Buzzfeed News.   To learn more about how CNN protects listener privacy, visit Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
10/08/2327m 18s

The Assignment presents The Axe Files with David Axelrod

When Audie Cornish first crossed paths with David Axelrod, she was a young radio reporter with no clout and he was the big-shot campaign manager of then-candidate Barack Obama. No wonder she couldn't get an interview. Today as colleagues at CNN, they can finally sit down and compare a few notes on that historic time in American politics. This conversation leads us into a special episode of The Axe Files featuring an interview with former president Barack Obama, presented in full. We'll be back with new episodes of The Assignment soon. Subscribe to The Axe Files To learn more about how CNN protects listener privacy, visit Learn more about your ad choices. Visit

The Assignment presents Chasing Life with Sanjay Gupta

Why is there such stigma attached to getting older? How can we prepare to transition through the different stages of life? Those are some of the questions CNN's Chief Medical Correspondent Dr. Sanjay Gupta is exploring on the latest season of his podcast Chasing Life. Audie sits down with Sanjay to talk about his approach to this season, and we’ll hear the first episode which features a lovely interview with Sanjay and his parents. The team at The Assignment is taking a short break to do more reporting, we’ll be back soon with more episodes. Thanks for listening! To learn more about how CNN protects listener privacy, visit Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
27/07/2347m 54s

TikTok Is Changing Music, One Song at a Time

TikTok has turned the traditional music industry on its head. Users on the platform are dictating hits before they reach the charts and revolutionizing the way artists are discovered. But what happens to the creative process when "going viral” takes center stage? This week, Audie talks with songwriter Kaydence and Hip-hop artist Armani White about the TikTok-ification of music, hooking listeners, and what works — and doesn’t — in the never-ending quest to make a good song. Plus, how is TikTok changing the way we listen to music? Music industry expert and consultant Tatiana Cirisano weighs in.   Kaydence is a two-time Grammy-Award winning songwriter and artist who has written songs for Ariana Grande, Brandy, Beyoncé, Jennifer Lopez and ZAYN, among others.   Armani White is a rapper known for his N.O.R.E.-sampling viral hit, “Billie Eilish.” which first made waves on TikTok in 2022. Since then, he has signed with Def Jam Records and released his second EP, Road to CASABLANCO. in May.  Tatiana Cirisano is a senior music industry analyst and consultant at MIDiA, where she specializes in emerging consumer trends and the intersection of music and technology.   To learn more about how CNN protects listener privacy, visit Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
20/07/2333m 17s

Courting Controversy: Inside the Supreme Court

The Supreme Court just completed a historic term that sent the country spinning and CNN’s own Joan Biskupic is here to help make sense of it all. Joan’s 30-year career reporting on the court has afforded her a front row seat to its profound changes. Her newest book is titled Nine Black Robes: Inside the Supreme Court's Drive to the Right and Its Historic Consequences. Transcripts and previous episodes To learn more about how CNN protects listener privacy, visit Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
13/07/2338m 39s

Larry Wilmore: A Candid Conversation on Television, Culture, and Creativity

Larry Wilmore’s influence as a writer and producer spans shows from “In Living Color” to “The Bernie Mac Show” to “The Daily Show.” He’s acutely aware of the role that television plays in our lives and in shaping our understanding of American identity. Today’s Assignment: Larry Wilmore on his prolific career in television, mentoring younger writers, dapping up President Obama, and what he’s working on next. Larry is also the host of his own podcast “Black on The Air.” We highly recommend it.  Many of the shows Larry wrote for are part of the new five-part CNN Original Series, “See It Loud: The History of Black Television.” It airs Sundays at 9p ET/PT starting July 9. “See It Loud” will stream live for pay TV subscribers via and CNN OTT and mobile apps under “TV Channels” or CNNgo where available. The series will also be available On Demand the day after the broadcast premiere to pay TV subscribers via, CNN apps, and Cable Operator Platforms.  To learn more about how CNN protects listener privacy, visit Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
06/07/2331m 31s

Meet the New Homeschoolers

The pandemic kicked off a dramatic rise in homeschooling. And who had the largest increase? Black families. This week, Audie talks with two parents who chose to homeschool their children, Carlos Birdsong and Sherri Mehta. They talk about what it’s like to be a part of the Black homeschooling movement, how they’re altering the public image of homeschooling, and whether they see themselves as part of the “parents' rights” movement. Athena Jones's report: ‘A form of resistance' To learn more about how CNN protects listener privacy, visit Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
29/06/2327m 15s

After Roe: Navigating the Legal Landscape of New Abortion Laws

One year after Roe v Wade was overturned by the Supreme Court’s Dobbs decision, we were wondering: what is happening to people caught up in the web of changing law? It's been a tumultuous and uncertain era for reproductive rights, so this week The Assignment checks in on the activists at the frontline defending women who are being criminally prosecuted under state laws that restrict or ban abortion. Amanda Allen, Senior Counsel and Director at the Lawyering Project, and Dana Sussman, Acting Executive Director at Pregnancy Justice, speak to Audie about their work in this post-Dobbs world.  To learn more about how CNN protects listener privacy, visit Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
22/06/2333m 50s

Gratuitous Gratuity? The Truth About Tipping

This week, Audie visits a restaurant that got rid of tipping, and looks into the movement to get rid of the practice all together. Our guests are Amanda Cohen, chef and owner of Dirt Candy, a no-tipping restaurant in Manhattan, and David Stockwell, co-owner of Faun in Brooklyn. We talk about the value – versus the cost – of good service, what the pandemic revealed about how customers really feel about tipping, and what happens when your ideals clash with your economic reality.   To learn more about how CNN protects listener privacy, visit Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
15/06/2328m 22s

Wired for Trouble: Kara Swisher on Big Tech

Today, we explore the perils of social media on kids and the way families are fighting back against big tech. First, how the experience of Candace Wuest and her daughter CeCe show the consequences of social media on kids. Then, journalist Kara Swisher takes us through the long view on big tech companies, and finally, Senator Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut talks us through his potential solution: the Kids Online Safety Act.  This is a companion podcast to the CNN Original “Wired for Trouble,” debuting in June on The Whole Story with Anderson Cooper. Past episodes of The Whole Story are available to stream now on Max.  Kara Swisher is the host of two podcasts: On with Kara Swisher and Pivot.  To learn more about how CNN protects listener privacy, visit Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
08/06/2332m 8s

Flying This Summer? Pack Your Patience

Staffing shortages caused major disruptions for air travelers last summer. Now air crew unions are pushing back against their bosses and losing patience with customers.  From "no toe nail clipping" to "leave the crying babies alone," we hear advice on how to make everyone’s flight experience better this summer. Our guests are Keturah Johnson, international vice president of the Association of Flight Attendants, and former flight attendant Angie Andrechyn, whose passionate resignation letter from American Airlines went viral.  To learn more about how CNN protects listener privacy, visit Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
01/06/2327m 45s

What’s Your Sign? Astrology's Modern Renaissance

Why is astrology having such a moment? The business of astrology — estimated to be worth more than $2 billion — is booming: apps, classes, conferences, startups. All being fueled by the social media age. This week Audie looks to the heavens with two world-renowned astrologers, Jennifer Freed and Chani Nicholas. They explore astrology’s popularity as well as the meaning and history of this ancient personality system. (Oh, and they read Audie her chart.)  Jennifer Freed Ph.D. is a psychological astrologer and author of ten books, including: Use Your Planets Wisely and A Map To Your Soul: Using the Astrology of Fire, Earth, Air, and Water to Live Deeply and Fully She has served as the clinical director of Pacifica Graduate Institute and is national consultant for EMDR (Post Traumatic Growth Therapies). She is a regular contributor to goop.  Chani Nicholas is an astrologer and author of You Were Born for This: Astrology for Radical Self-Acceptance. She’s been a counseling astrologer for more than twenty years and is the proprietor of the wildly popular CHANI app, which offers users a personalized, daily understanding of their birth chart.  Special thanks this week to the fantastic TikTokers we featured: @tobiasthoth, @jkitscole, and the hilarious @mamaa.arii  To learn more about how CNN protects listener privacy, visit Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
25/05/2329m 42s

Navigating Misinformation at the Border

How has technology reshaped the migrant journey? When the Trump-era immigration policy called Title 42 expired, misinformation proliferated on social media platforms that migrants use to communicate and to navigate their way to the U.S. Audie talks with CNN's Rosa Flores about the reality on the ground, and how migrants are navigating sometimes conflicting and confusing messaging.  To learn more about how CNN protects listener privacy, visit Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
18/05/2329m 30s

The Rise and Fall of “Woke” with Dr. Ibram X. Kendi

What’s it like to be at the forefront of a cultural backlash? Academic and author Dr. Ibram X. Kendi certainly knows. His books, “How to Be an Antiracist,” and its follow-up, a youth-friendly version called, “How to Be a (Young) Antiracist,” teach readers how to actively fight racism instead of passively acknowledging it. Audie talks with Dr. Kendi about the backlash around “wokeness,” antiracism, and what it’s like to live in the middle of cultural maelstrom. They spoke in front of a live audience at the Crosscut Ideas Festival in Seattle. Ibram X. Kendi is a historian and antiracist scholar. He is the Andrew W. Mellon Professor in the Humanities and the Founding Director of the Boston University Center for Antiracist Research. He is the author of 14 books, including, "Stamped From The Beginning: The Definitive History of Racist Ideas in America." His forthcoming book is, "Stamped From The Beginning: A Graphic History of Racist Ideas in America." To learn more about how CNN protects listener privacy, visit Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
11/05/2327m 21s

AI in the time of Loneliness

This week, the Surgeon General Dr. Vivek Murthy addressed the epidemic of loneliness Americans are facing. As a way of combatting the feelings of isolation, Dr. Murthy laid out a six-pillar plan rooted in social connection. What's not mentioned in his plan... artificial intelligence or chatbots. But that hasn't stopped folks from turning to them in times of distress. In this episode, we explore the communities that are leaning on AI and chatbots for comfort and the ripple effects this could have on how we connect with one another. To learn more about how CNN protects listener privacy, visit Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
04/05/2332m 8s

Yes, We're All Being Spied On

Remember the Chinese spy balloon? Since then, we’ve seen leaked Pentagon spy documents on Discord and the discovery of fake Chinese police stations used for surveillance in the U.S. The line between espionage and everyday surveillance/data collection is more blurred than ever, thanks to the integration of technology into our daily lives. All of us are walking pieces of data being gobbled up and analyzed by spy agencies around the world. All of this spy news is a reminder of how high the stakes are, and how little we really know about the global fight for information. Audie talks with CNN Anchor and Chief National Security Correspondent Jim Sciutto, and former FBI intelligence official Javed Ali about what can spy balloons, leaked documents, and AI tell us about the state of spying today.  Jim Sciutto is co-anchor of “CNN News Central” weekday afternoons from 1 to 4. His latest book is “The Shadow War: Inside Russia's and China's Secret Operations to Defeat America.”  Javed Ali is an associate professor of practice at the Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy at the University of Michigan.  Thanks to the Hayden Center at George Mason University for letting us use audio from their panel on “Counterintelligence Today.”  To learn more about how CNN protects listener privacy, visit Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
27/04/2326m 14s

Clickbait Fashion Is Taking Over Your Feed

Are we cycling through fashion trends faster than ever? Cores, aesthetics, and those big red boots! Our Assignment this week is a deep dive into how the social media algorithm is turning each of us into mini-fashionistas, and whether fashion trends can help us understand the state of the economy. Audie’s guests are trend forecaster Agustina Panzoni and culture critic Terry Nguyen.  To learn more about how CNN protects listener privacy, visit Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
20/04/2329m 41s

Louder Than Guns

Can Country music help lead the U.S. out of the gun debate? There is a long history of famous country musicians using their platforms to comment on social and political issues. But since the lead singer of The Chicks, Natalie Maines, was ostracized after criticizing then President George W. Bush, country music stars have felt safer keeping their political views out of the public eye. Musician Ketch Secor of the band Old Crow Medicine Show is trying to change that. After the shooting at Covenant School in Nashville, Tennessee, Ketch wrote an Op-ed in The New York Times calling for country music stars to let go of the fear of retaliation from their fanbase, and to break their silence on the gun debate. Audie talks with Ketch about what it’s like to be a musician and a parent in Nashville right now and what he thinks country musicians can do to help prevent another mass shooting.  To learn more about how CNN protects listener privacy, visit Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
13/04/2330m 45s

Holding Space for Therapy Speak

Why is everyone talking about their “attachment style” or “boundaries” and “triggers”? Therapy speak, both online and IRL, has become a normal part of our daily discourse – especially since the pandemic brought mental health issues to the forefront. Audie talks to two psychologists, Dr. Arianna Brandolini and Dr. Luana Marques, about how widespread use of the language of their profession can both increase access to certain resources, and at the same time be a poor substitute for treatment.   To learn more about how CNN protects listener privacy, visit Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
06/04/2327m 32s

Run, Hide, Fight

We have trained a generation of people how to think about, respond to, and survive a mass shooting, including children. Educators and law enforcement officials have developed curricula for schools to help teachers and students survive a shooting. The foundation for this teaching comes in large part from the work of Katherine Schweit. She is a former FBI Agent, author of the book, “Stop the Killing: How to End the Mass Shooting Crisis,” and co-host of the podcast Stop the Killing. At the time of the Sandy Hook shooting she realized that training and education would be key in preventing more deaths. She developed the active shooter training program for the FBI. Its mantra of “Run, Hide, Fight” is now an essential element in mass shooting education. Audie talks with Katherine about how she came to this work, and what it’s like to do it in the midst of political paralysis. To learn more about how CNN protects listener privacy, visit Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
30/03/2334m 52s

Yes, This Economy Is Confusing

The past few weeks have been head spinning: U.S. job numbers? Solid... except for those layoffs in the tech sector. Inflation? Slowly dropping... but still high. Not to mention the bank failures...   It all has made us wonder: Why was it so hard for economists to predict this? What will happen next? And what does it mean for folks caught in the middle of high inflation? Audie gets an assignment from a listener and asks economists Gary “Hoov” Hoover, Executive Director of the Murphy Institute at Tulane University, and Alfredo Romero, Associate Professor at North Carolina A&T University, to make this economy make sense.   To learn more about how CNN protects listener privacy, visit Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
23/03/2325m 44s

The Assignment Returns March 23rd

The Assignment is returning with new episodes every Thursday, and we're taking some of our assignments from you, including: trying to figure out our baffling economy, the rise of therapy speak online and in our daily lives, and delving into the world of absurdist fashion trends.  New episodes start dropping March 23rd. Thanks for listening!    To learn more about how CNN protects listener privacy, visit Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
16/03/232m 23s

The Assignment presents Story of the Week

The Assignment is hard at work reporting more stories about the people living the headlines. We’ll have new episodes in the feed starting March 23rd. In the meantime, here’s a special episode of another podcast that we think will bring a smile to your face. It’s called Story of the Week. Each week, journalist Joel Stein chooses an article that fascinates him, convinces the writer to tell him about it, and then interrupts a good conversation by talking about himself. In this episode, Choire Sicha, the editor of the New York Magazine piece on the new rules of etiquette that went viral in early February 2023, discusses the almost 200 dos and don’ts that will supposedly help us be better behaved in modern, polite society. Listen to new episodes of Story of the Week every Thursday at You can read the full list from New York Magazine here:  To learn more about how CNN protects listener privacy, visit Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
09/03/2329m 4s

The Assignment presents Chasing Life with Sanjay Gupta

The Assignment is taking a short break, we’ll be back with new episodes on March 23rd. In the meantime, we want to highlight the good work of some our colleagues and partners. This week, Chasing Life with Dr. Sanjay Gupta. In this sixth season, he explores how technology has disrupted our lives, the ways we interact with each other, work, learn, and even grow up. This season looks at the impact all this technology is having on young people. Like many parents, this topic is personal for Dr. Sanjay Gupta. We hear Sanjay speak with one of the people most directly impacted by it all: his daughter Soleil. Plus, a conversation with Jean Twenge, Professor of Psychology at San Diego State University, about how social media is affecting youth mental health. To learn more about how CNN protects listener privacy, visit Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
02/03/2331m 37s

Politics, But Make It Puppets

Can puppets help us bridge the political divide? Probably not. But there’s one guy in Arizona who’s trying. If you saw Audie on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert, you might have heard her mention a listener who called in about his R-rated puppet theater. His name is Shaun McNamara, and he’s the director of the All Puppet Players in Phoenix. His pitch: doing political humor in a red state. But with puppets. So, we called him up for chat.    We’re taking a short break with this episode. We’ll be back in your feeds in a few weeks. If YOU have an assignment for us, just like Shaun, you can give us a call and leave us a voicemail at 202-854-8802. You can record a voice memo on your phone and email that to us at:  To learn more about how CNN protects listener privacy, visit Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
23/02/2316m 24s

The New State of Unions

Do new unions need “Big Labor”? There is a new generation of labor organizers in the United States: baristas, warehouse workers, and grocers. They are organizing shop-by-shop and relying less on traditional big labor unions. Audie talks with longtime labor activist Erica Smiley, executive director of Jobs with Justice, and Nabretta Hardin, a Starbucks union organizer in Memphis, about legacy unions and their place in the new labor movement. Also: what can this new generation of activists learn from the old guard about sustaining a movement?    To learn more about how CNN protects listener privacy, visit Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
16/02/2328m 39s

Kicking the Football Habit

When Buffalo Bills tight end Damar Hamlin collapsed of cardiac arrest after making a tackle, it set off a flurry of think pieces and debates about the safety and future of football. But with over 100 million viewers expected to watch the Super Bowl this year, it seems like football’s future is pretty clear. So, if a player almost dying on the field isn't enough to stir a longer, sustained debate about safety in the sport -- then, what is? Audie sits down with former NFL player Nate Jackson and sociologist Daniel Sailofsky — who quit the NFL after a decade of being a super fan — to talk about football's hold on the country and the moral quandary of supporting the sport.  To learn more about how CNN protects listener privacy, visit Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
09/02/2329m 50s

Life After the Traffic Stop

What is it like to survive a violent police encounter? As the world processes the beating and death of Tyre Nichols, we hear from two men whose encounters with police changed their lives: Leon Ford is an author, speaker, and co-founder of The Hear Foundation. He was shot by Pittsburgh police in 2012 after being pulled over for a traffic stop. And Tim Alexander is a lawyer, politician, and former Detective Captain for the Atlantic County Prosecutor’s Office. He was “shot at, assaulted, and falsely arrested because of misidentification” by police officers in Newark in May 1985. To learn more about how CNN protects listener privacy, visit Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
02/02/2328m 0s

‘I’m kind of lazy.’ Why We Aren’t Going Back to the Movies

The pandemic, along with the rise of streaming services, shifted the way we experience movies. Theater ticket sales are still down, and many folks prefer to watch from the comfort of their own home. Is staying home bad for the movies? Will studios simply bombard us with sequels and superhero movies to get us back? We hear from Franklin Leonard, founder of The Black List, about the state of cinema and the cultural necessity of going to the movies. And he tries to convince a very reluctant Audie Cornish to go back to the movie theater.  To learn more about how CNN protects listener privacy, visit Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
26/01/2324m 17s

The Prince and the Press

In the last few years, Prince Harry and Meghan Markle have traded their broken relationship with the UK press system for the celebrity industrial complex of the US. This week on The Assignment, Audie turns to two insiders from each media ecosystem to discuss how the Duke and Duchess of Sussex are using the press to reshape their narrative. We hear from Los Angeles Times culture critic Mary McNamara and Newsweek’s Chief Royal Correspondent Jack Royston. To learn more about how CNN protects listener privacy, visit Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
19/01/2324m 34s

The Long Arc of Long Covid

Millions of people are now disabled because of a long Covid, leading to what some are calling a “mass disabling event.” In this episode, Audie speaks with Dr. Monica Verduzco-Gutierrez, who has been diagnosing and treating patients with long Covid, to unpack this new terminology. Audie also hears from Imani Barbarin, a disability advocate, and Alexis Misko, who is struggling with long Covid, about what it means to be disabled in the United States and discusses whether long Covid could change the way we think about disability.  To learn more about how CNN protects listener privacy, visit Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
12/01/2329m 38s

New Year, New Assignments

Happy New Year! We’re still on our holiday break but wanted to take a moment to reflect and set some new goals. In this episode, Audie listens to your voicemails, feedback, and ideas for future assignments. Thank you for being part of this community, and we can’t wait to keep the conversation going. We are reading all your assignments – so please keep them coming. You can leave us a message in a voicemail at 202-854-8802. Or record a voice memo on your phone and email that to us: To learn more about how CNN protects listener privacy, visit Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
05/01/235m 22s

The Assignment presents All There Is with Anderson Cooper

The Assignment is taking a short, holiday break. We’ll return with new episodes in January. Today, we invite you into a warm, gracious conversation between CNN’s Anderson Cooper and Late Show host Stephen Colbert. It’s from Anderson’s podcast All There Is, a deeply personal exploration of loss and grief and finding community. Download the entire season of All There Is wherever you get your podcasts. To learn more about how CNN protects listener privacy, visit Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
29/12/2255m 31s

Journalism on the Ropes

The debate among journalists over how to regain the public’s trust is increasingly centered around the idea of objectivity. In this episode, Audie turns the spotlight on herself and the media. She invites journalists to help her reckon with the idea of objectivity: what it is? Does it still work? And, what’s the way forward for both the press and the public? You’ll hear from Jelani Cobb, Dean of Columbia Journalism School; Margaret Sullivan, former media columnist at the Washington Post, and Maggie Haberman, reporter for The New York Times. To learn more about how CNN protects listener privacy, visit Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
22/12/2230m 2s

When the Chanting Stops

Protests following the murder of George Floyd in 2020 set the stage for people across the country to demand change within the criminal justice system. Calls to “defund the police” gained mainstream attention and paved the way for the election of “progressive prosecutors.” But more than two years later, the momentum for the movement has slowed down and some of these prosecutors are facing backlash and, in some cases, even recall efforts. This week, we hear from Sarah George, Chittenden County State’s Attorney in Vermont and Jose Garza, District Attorney for Travis County Texas, about how their offices are adjusting without the support of a strong protest movement and increasing headlines about rising crime. To learn more about how CNN protects listener privacy, visit Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
15/12/2231m 17s

Pediatricians Caught in a Political Crossfire

After Roe v. Wade legalized abortion 50 years ago, abortion clinics and providers saw waves of violence, protests and lawsuits. Recently, a new group of healthcare providers has come under attack— the doctors providing gender affirming care for transgender kids. With politicians passing anti-trans bills, states blocking medical care altogether, and hospitals and doctors now facing vitriol and threats, is this care on the line for trans kids? In this episode, Audie speaks with two gender affirming care providers to discuss the negative attention they’ve faced and understand the lifesaving care at risk. To learn more about how CNN protects listener privacy, visit Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
08/12/2232m 56s

My Bread and Butter: The OnlyFans Economy

In the early days of the pandemic, OnlyFans made headlines as both celebrities and regular people made large sums of money selling sexually explicit content on the site. In this episode, Audie hears from the people who have made OnlyFans their career. What do their days look like? How do they make their money? And do they see a future for themselves on OnlyFans? To learn more about how CNN protects listener privacy, visit Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
01/12/2228m 19s

Trauma, Trauma Everywhere

From viral TikToks to pandemic think-pieces, it feels like trauma is everywhere. The world seems more aware than ever of how much past traumas can affect us, especially for people of color. In this episode, Audie talks with psychologist Dr. Thema Bryant, the incoming president of the American Psychological Association, about what trauma really means and whether you can “get over it.”  To learn more about how CNN protects listener privacy, visit Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
23/11/2227m 29s

Meet The Parents Taking Over School Boards

For decades, parents have been passionate about what their children learn in school. In 1970s West Virginia they protested over diverse textbooks, in 2022 it’s the handling of the pandemic and issues of gender and race. In this episode, Audie talks to two parent activists turned elected school board officials about what motivated them to run for office and the changes they hope to make while in power. To learn more about how CNN protects listener privacy, visit Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
17/11/2235m 47s

Introducing: The Assignment

Fiery Twitter threads and endless news notifications never capture the full story. Each week on The Assignment, host Audie Cornish pulls listeners out of their digital echo chambers to hear from the people who live the headlines. From the sex work economy to the battle over what’s taught in classrooms, no topic is off the table.  To learn more about how CNN protects listener privacy, visit Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
04/11/222m 32s
Heart UK