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Honestly with Bari Weiss

The most interesting conversations in American life now happen in private. This show is bringing them out of the closet. Stories no one else is telling and conversations with the most fascinating people in the country, every week from former New York Times and Wall Street Journal journalist Bari Weiss.

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The most interesting conversations in American life now happen in private. This show is bringing them out of the closet. Stories no one else is telling and conversations with the most fascinating people in the country, every week from former New York Times and Wall Street Journal journalist Bari Weiss.

The Great Canadian Mass Graves Hoax

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Last year, The New York Times dropped a bombshell headline: “‘Horrible History’: Mass Grave of Indigenous Children Reported in Canada.” As other outlets picked up the shocking story, marches, protests and riots erupted across Canada. One former Canadian minister called it Canada’s George Floyd moment.


But according to my guest today, the bombshell story about a mass grave… wasn’t true. Today, a conversation with journalist Terry Glavin about “the year of the graves,” and what the mainstream media got so, very wrong.

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Sep 22 2022

57mins

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Eating Ourselves to Death

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Fifteen years ago, there was a lot of talk about the obesity epidemic. In 2008, Michelle Obama started a government program called “Let’s Move!” that sought to reduce childhood obesity. You might remember the First Lady teaming up with everyone from Beyonce to Big Bird to promote exercise and better eating habits. Unfortunately, the program was largely a failure. And the obesity statistics continued to rise.


74% of Americans today are either obese or overweight. And yet, we’re no longer talking about it. The national conversation around health and weight has turned away from things like good nutrition, weight loss and the importance of physical fitness, and instead adopted phrases like “fat acceptance” and “healthy at any size.” In some circles, there’s even blanket denial that there is anything unhealthy at all about being obese. 


Shaming people for being overweight is unequivocally wrong. But in our attempt to not offend, we’ve lost sight of the very real fact that there’s a problem. Americans are heavier than ever, sicker than ever, dying earlier than ever, and... it's all preventable. So today, a conversation with Dr. Casey Means, a Stanford trained physician who left the traditional medical system behind to solve the one problem that she says is going to ruin us all: bad food.

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Sep 15 2022

1hr 34mins

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Has Freedom Failed Us? A Debate

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If there is a headline to the past half-decade, it’s this: liberal democracy is under threat across the West and populist movements are on the march. There’s Brexit in the UK. There’s Viktor Orbán in Hungary. There’s Jair Bolsonaro in Brazil. And in the United States, of course, there’s Donald Trump.


So today: a debate. Should we be fighting to preserve liberalism, the system that prizes our individual rights and the very foundation upon which America was built? Or is the system itself the problem?


It’s a high-stakes debate—the future of America and liberal democracy—and we couldn’t have two better people for this conversation: Political Science Professor and author of the book, Why Liberalism Failed, Patrick Deneen; and New York Times opinion columnist Bret Stephens.


Both Bret and Patrick are what people would label “conservatives,” but there is likely more disagreement between the two of them than between the average Democrat and Republican. Bret believes the problems we see today are happening because we have lost too much of our individual freedom. Patrick, on the other hand, believes that having so much freedom has actually damaged us– that our problems are caused precisely by the system that puts individual liberty on a pedestal.

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Sep 08 2022

1hr 57mins

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Oberlin Accused the Gibsons of Racism. Now It Owes Them $36 Million.

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On November 9, 2016, the day after Trump was elected president, three students from Oberlin College were caught shoplifting wine from Gibson’s Bakery, a local staple that had been around for 137 years. Allyn Gibson, who was running the register that night, and who is white, called the cops on the three students, who were black. They fled, he chased them outside of the store, a brawl ensued and the three students were arrested. 


The next day, students, along with Oberlin administrators, began protesting outside the bakery, accusing them of racism. There were signs, and a Student Senate resolution, and articles in the paper, and then, the college canceled its orders with the bakery.  


Months after the three students pleaded guilty, with their business wounded and their reputation destroyed, the Gibsons decided to sue the college for libel. All said and done, the Gibsons were awarded $36 million. 


So far, the school hasn’t paid a penny, continuing to appeal the decision and deny any wrongdoing. This Tuesday, the supreme court of Ohio declined Oberlin’s last appeal, which means that they can either pay, file an appeal for reconsideration, or appeal, again, to the U.S. Supreme Court.


Today, an exclusive sit down with Lorna Gibson, the matriarch of the bakery, about what happens when a powerful college decides to go to battle with your family.  

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Sep 01 2022

46mins

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Bill Barr Calls Bullsh*t

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Attorney General William Barr is only the second person in American history to lead the Justice Department twice: first under President George HW Bush and then again, three decades later, under arguably the most divisive president we’ve ever had.  

Today, we talk about . . . all of it. Why he took the job in the first place; his time in the chaotic Trump White House; Russiagate; whether he regrets how he handled the Mueller investigation; and what finally pushed him to break away from the president.

We also talk about January 6; the raid on Mar-a-Lago; whether he thinks Trump will be indicted; and what he calls Trump’s “extortion” of the GOP.

Later, we discuss the rise in violent crime under his tenure; how he squares his Catholicism and his conservatism with the death penalty; why he sees militant secularism as the biggest threat to freedom; and what makes him optimistic in the face of American decline. 

A frank conversation you don’t want to miss.

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Aug 25 2022

1hr 33mins

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Larry Summers: The High Price of Getting it Right

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Larry Summers is one of the most important economists in the world. He’s been the chief economist at the World Bank. He was Treasury Secretary under President Clinton. He was director of the National Economic Council under Obama. And from 2001 to 2006 he was president of Harvard.


But perhaps more than anything on his resume, the thing Summers is most well-known for is his willingness to speak his mind—even if it means being the skunk at the garden party, warning about inflation when everyone else was downplaying it and publicly criticizing the Biden administration’s spending policies.


And yet, Summers is somehow the skunk that everyone–particularly the very administration he’s been critical of–wants to stick around.


Summers has been a force behind the scenes on the Inflation Reduction Act—the massive climate, health and tax bill signed into law by President Biden this week. He also worked behind the scenes to get Joe Manchin—who earlier this summer said he would not vote for the bill—to reverse course. (Read more about that here.)


Today a conversation with Larry Summers about the state of the economy, how we can turn it around, and whether or not the new law will actually reduce inflation. He also sounds off on the future of higher education and what he calls “the new McCarthyism.”

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Aug 18 2022

1hr 4mins

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We Ignored Salman Rushdie’s Warning

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We live in a culture in which many people believe that words are violence. In this, they have much in common with Iranian Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, who issued the first fatwa against Salman Rushdie in 1989, and with Hadi Matar, the 24-year-old who stabbed the novelist in the neck on a stage in Western New York. 


Today, as Rushdie recovers from his injuries, reflections from Bari on the profound impact that the words are violence crowd has had on our culture.

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Aug 16 2022

18mins

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The Senate’s Only Black Republican Says: Stop Being Pessimistic

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Tim Scott is a rare bird: He is the only black Republican in the Senate. But the quality that makes him arguably more unique at the moment is his optimism.


Much of that optimism comes from his own story. Scott’s grandfather picked cotton in the segregated south. He never learned to read or write. Within two generations, without money or connections, his grandson became a U.S. senator from South Carolina.


Scott is frustrated at all the pessimism, including from inside his own party— and he’s frustrated at the notion that America is in decline. Or that perhaps we are heading for some kind of crack up. Or civil war. He makes the case for optimism in his new book: America, A Redemption Story.


I hope Scott is right. But also, as you’ll hear in our conversation, I see very, very good reasons for Americans to be fed up with the state of the union and deeply worried about the future of our democracy.

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Aug 10 2022

58mins

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Sex, Porn, Feminism: A Debate!

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It’s hard to think of an invention that has been more transformative to women than the birth control pill. Suddenly, American women possessed a power that women never before in history had: They could control when they got pregnant. They could have sex like . . . men. 


The pill—and the profound legal, political and cultural changes that the sexual revolution and feminism ushered in—liberated women. Those movements have allowed women to lead lives that literally were not possible beforehand.


But here we are, half a century later, with a culture in which porn and casual sex are abundant, but marriage and birth rates are at historic lows. And many people are asking: Did we go wrong somewhere along the way? Was the sexual revolution actually bad for women?


The debaters:


Jill Filiopvic is an author and attorney who has written for The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Guardian and many other publications. You can follow her writing on her newsletter.


Louise Perry, based in London, is columnist at the The New Statesman. She is the author of the new book: “The Case Against the Sexual Revolution.”

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Aug 03 2022

1hr 37mins

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The Eternally Radical Idea

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There is no organization that’s done more to fight for freedom of speech on American campuses over the past 20 years than FIRE, The Foundation for Individual Rights in Education. If you care deeply about the First Amendment and a robust culture of free speech, FIRE is the kind of organization you hope will go out of business. 


Unfortunately, as our friend Andrew Sullivan has perfectly put it, we all live on campus now. 

As the culture of campus has become the culture of the country—one in which ideological conformity is enforced by mobs that wield the weapons of shame and stigma—it should not come as a surprise that 62% of Americans say they hold views they are afraid to share in public.


All of which is why FIRE is radically expanding its scope and its ambition. The Foundation for Individual Rights in Education is now The Foundation for Individual Rights and Expression. And the organization has announced a goal of $75 million in order to pick up the flag the ACLU has put down by becoming the premier civil liberties organization in America.


Today: a conversation with the president and CEO of FIRE, Greg Lukianoff. Lukianoff is also the author of “Unlearning Liberty” and the co-author, with Jonathan Haidt, of “The Coddling of the American Mind.” 

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Jul 27 2022

1hr 12mins

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Election Denial: A Roundtable

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Denying the outcome of elections has become alarmingly popular these days.


In one corner, Democrats are claiming that gerrymandering has made our elections illegitimate, that the Senate is anti-Democratic and so is the Supreme Court. The White House Press Secretary has claimed that Trump stole the 2016 election from Hillary Clinton.


In the other corner, a majority or close to a majority of Republicans (depending on what polls you look at) believe that Trump was cheated out of a fair election in 2020. Here’s how the Texas GOP put it last month: “We hold that acting President Joseph R. Biden Jr. was not legitimately elected by the people of the United States.”


Today, a roundtable about how worried we should be about the state—and future—of American democracy. With guests: Jonah Goldberg (founder of The Dispatch and author of Suicide of the West); Jeremy Peters (New York Times reporter and author of Insurgency) and Kristen Soltis Anderson (pollster and author of The Selfie Vote).

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Jul 20 2022

1hr 31mins

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The Infamous Andrew Schulz

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There’s a tried-and-true playbook for comedians who want to make it big: hit the road, get in front of as many audiences as possible, and try to grab the attention of the TV executives who decide which comics are lucky enough to get a special.

But Andrew Schulz and his generation of comics has something those guys didn’t: The internet.

In 2018, one of Schulz’s self-published specials went to number one across Apple Music, Google Play and Amazon. That led to sold-out shows at Radio City Music Hall and, eventually, a four-part series on Netflix. 

This summer, right as he was about to release his newest special with another big streamer, he was told he’d need to edit out some of his offensive jokes. Instead of censoring his work, he bought back the rights to the show and is going to release it on his website this weekend. 

We talk about why he feels so confident betting on himself, the state of comedy in an era of censoriousness, and why a healthy society needs people who are willing to be offensive.

Check out his new special on July 17th at: https://theandrewschulz.com/

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Jul 15 2022

1hr 6mins

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Does Glorifying Sickness Deter Healing?

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In Bari’s view, Freddie deBoer is one of the best writers in the country. It’s not because she always agrees with him. Hardly. Freddie is a self-described Marxist. 

What she appreciates about him is that he is unflinching about criticizing “his side.” Freddie is one of the most trenchant critics of what he calls “Social Justice Politics”—which he argues distracts the left from the real issue of class. 

He is also unflinching in his views about mental illness and the way it is being glorified in our culture right now. Freddie knows about this subject intimately. He has severe bipolar disorder, and has been institutionalized in the past when he was on the verge of violently acting out.

Today: a conversation about “the gentrification of disability,” how sickness became chic, and how our society should handle the epidemic of mental illness.

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Jul 13 2022

1hr 29mins

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The New Founders America Needs

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There are nearly 4000 universities in the U.S.. Many of them have billions of dollars in endowments and histories that go back to well before the country's founding. So you'd be forgiven for thinking that it would be a bit ridiculous to try and compete with those Goliaths. 


But that's exactly what the new University of Austin or UATX is doing. The premise, of course, is simple, and it goes like this. While the brand name schools have the money, they no longer have the mission. They have fundamentally abandoned the point of the university, which is the pursuit of truth. The good people at UATX, where I'm proud to be on the board, are not waiting for the broken status quo to change. They're not sitting around criticizing or whining. They are doing. 


Just a few weeks ago, UATX opened its doors to its first students at its inaugural summer school. I was blown away by the students that I met there, and I was honored to lecture alongside teachers like Neil Ferguson, Kathleen Stock, Ayaan Hirsi Ali, Rob Henderson and Thomas Chatterton Williams. And today I wanted to share with all of you the talk that I gave at the old parkland in Dallas to that first class of students. It's about the broken moment that we're in as a culture and a country, but more it's about what I think is required of us to meet this moment.

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Jul 07 2022

45mins

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The Holy Anarchy of Fun

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No writer stokes more consistent envy among Common Sense editors than Walter Kirn. Two of his essays from last year—The Bullshit and The Power and the Silence—got our vote for the best of 2021. But we never miss anything he writes.


You might know Kirn’s name from his novels, including “Up in the Air” and “Blood Will Out.” We hope you’ll love his debut piece for us as much as we do.

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Jul 04 2022

16mins

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Power and Politics with Mike Pompeo

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With everything going on here at home you can be forgiven for not focusing on what’s going on in Mariupol or Hong Kong.


But what’s going on in those faraway places has a profound impact on us. For evidence of that truth, look no further than Wuhan. Or at the current price of gas.


The point is that there is little distinction between domestic and foreign politics. If you are the world’s superpower—and at least for now we still appear to be—they are profoundly connected.


That’s the case former CIA head and former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo makes in my conversation with him today.  In this wide-ranging and frank conversation, Pompeo answers my questions about China, Ukraine, Saudi Arabia and Iran. But also: the stop the steal movement, the future of the GOP and whether or not he’s running for president.

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Jul 01 2022

1hr 8mins

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America After Roe: A Roundtable

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Few decisions could inspire so much anger and sadness in one group of Americans—and so much joy and relief in another—than last week’s decision by the Supreme Court to overturn Roe v. Wade. Depending on where you sit, the Court just rolled back women’s rights by 50 years, or corrected an egregious instance of judicial overreach.


Today, a deep and honest conversation about the Dobbs decision with two women–both mothers–who represent the pro-choice and pro-life sides of this debate.


Katherine Mangu-Ward is the editor in chief of Reason Magazine. Bethany Mandel is the editor of the children’s series “Heroes of Liberty.”


Joining them is the head of the National Constitution Center, Jeffrey Rosen, who the LA Times called the nation’s most influential legal commentator.

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Jun 28 2022

1hr 32mins

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Is Crypto Over? A Debate!

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If you watched the Super Bowl this year, it was hard not to notice that cryptocurrency had fully arrived. Even Larry David was hawking crypto. 


But over the past several weeks, the crypto markets, like other markets, have been melting down. Some coins have completely imploded. Some crypto banks have shut their digital doors, refusing to give customers access to their money. And companies like Coinbase are laying off workers. Crypto winter has arrived.


Today: a debate. Is crypto really the future of money? And is this blip just a normal hiccup in an otherwise exciting, transformational technological advancement? Or was crypto always more hype than reality? 


Anthony Pompliano is a crypto believer. He’s an entrepreneur and investor and a former lead at Facebook. He's also the host of the Pomp podcast and the writer of a crypto newsletter called Off the Chain.


Michael Green is a major crypto skeptic. He has been an investor for more than 30 years. He recently joined Simplify, where he's introducing new innovations in ETFs. He's previously, among other jobs, been at Thiel Macro, where he managed the personal capital of Peter Thiel.



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Jun 21 2022

1hr 15mins

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TGIF! Inflation, Drag Queens & DA's

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If you read Common Sense, you know that the best day of the week is Friday, when Nellie Bowles delivers us all the news from the week that was.


This Friday, we bring you an Honestly special: TGIF! This time built just for your ears and brought to you by America’s favorite lesbians: Nellie and dear friend of the pod, Katie Herzog.Featuring: drag queens, inflation, prosecutors who just won't prosecute.

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Jun 17 2022

39mins

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The Case for American Seriousness

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We live in a culture that is driven by nay-saying. In one corner, people insist that the individual stands no chance against structural and systemic maladies. From the other, people say that we are in inexorable decline as a civilization and that decadence is everywhere we turn. Both wind up arguing against risk-taking, against the possibility of creating new things and new worlds.


How can we recover the adventurous, optimistic, forward-thinking, risk-taking attitude that has made America the most innovative country in the history of the world?


Today, the venture capitalist (and former journalist) Katherine Boyle explains how. She makes the powerful case that that spirit of building is very much alive in America—just not in the places that we once assumed we’d find it.

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Jun 15 2022

16mins

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