The Intercept Deconstructed

24 Jan. 2023

President Joe Biden is naming Jeff Zients to be his next chief of staff. Zients, a corporate Democrat, was previously in the White House helping steer its pandemic response and leading vaccination efforts. Previously, Zients helped oversee two health care companies embroiled in Medicare and Medicaid fraud allegations, which they paid tens of millions to settle. This week on Deconstructed, Intercept reporter Daniel Boguslaw and The American Prospect’s Robert Kuttner join Ryan Grim to discuss Zients’s past in the world of for-profit health care. Zients is also a former Facebook board member, worrying progressives pushing for the administration to rein in Silicon Valley.


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20 Jan. 2023

Russia brokered a cease-fire agreement in 2020 between Armenia and Azerbaijan. The two were engaged in a bloody six-week war, the deadliest in the region in decades. Conflict between the two countries has recently escalated again. Azerbaijan set up a blockade of the contested Nagorno-Karabakh region, causing a shortage in food, medicine, and energy. The roughly 120,000 people who live there are at increasing risk of famine. To break down the situation, Ryan Grim is joined by freelance journalists Joshua Kucera, Lilit Shahverdyan, and Alison Tahmizian who cover the area.


If you’d like to support our work, go to theintercept.com/give, where your donation, no matter what the amount, makes a real difference.

And if you haven’t already, please subscribe to the show so you can hear it every week. And please go and leave us a rating or a review — it helps people find the show. If you want to give us additional feedback, email us at Podcasts@theintercept.com. 



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13 Jan. 2023

Ten years ago this week, Aaron Swartz, a key figure in the fight for an open internet, died by suicide. This week we also learned of the tragic death of New York Times journalist Blake Hounshell, whose death is being investigated by police as a suicide. His family said in a statement, “It is with great sorrow that we have to inform you that Blake has suddenly died this morning after a long and courageous battle with depression.” A gofundme has been set up for Blake’s wife and two children. Ryan Grim speaks to Jason Cherkis, who’s writing a book on suicide prevention and is the author of the groundbreaking article at HuffPost Highline titled “The Best Way to Save People From Suicide."


The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline offers 24-hour support for those experiencing difficulties or those close to them, by chat or by telephone at 988.



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6 Jan. 2023

Last week Israel inaugurated the most right-wing government in its history, with the country’s longest-serving prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, at the helm once again. Avner Gvaryahu of the group Breaking the Silence, which collects testimonies of Israeli soldiers about their experiences in the occupied territories, joins Ryan Grim to discuss his country’s latest political turn.

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22 Dec. 2022

Last week, the Biden administration declassified a trove of documents related to the assassination of President John F. Kennedy. While this action brings the government closer to the full disclosure of relevant files mandated by a 1992 law, it still keeps the most sensitive records secret. Jefferson Morley, author and editor of the "JFK Facts" Substack, joins Ryan Grim to discuss the latest disclosures.

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13 Dec. 2022
The new documentary “To the End” takes viewers behind the nationwide organizing efforts that culminated in the landmark climate provisions of the 2022 Inflation Reduction Act. The film focuses on Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, activist Varshini Prakash, climate policy writer Rhiana Gunn-Wright, and political strategist Alexandra Rojas as they push to keep climate at the top of the national agenda. Ryan Grim talks with the film’s director, Rachel Lears.

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8 Dec. 2022
This week’s Georgia Senate runoff gives Democrats a 51-49 majority in the upper chamber. Raphael Warnock raised a staggering $175 million this cycle to take on former football star Herschel Walker, all of which translated into a relatively slim 3 percentage point victory on election day. Georgia Republican political operative Brian Robinson and Intercept contributor George Chidi join Ryan Grim to discuss the election.

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29 Nov. 2022

Earlier this month, the Pennsylvania state House voted to impeach Philadelphia District Attorney Larry Krasner, citing the “catastrophic consequences” of his reform-minded approach to the office. The Intercept’s Akela Lacy spoke with Krasner about the impeachment, the state of crime and criminal justice in the city, and his record as district attorney.


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24 Nov. 2022

How is it that Democrats were able to buck historical trends and avoid the kind of midterms massacre traditionally suffered by the party in power? And why did so many election forecasts miss the mark? Ryan Grim talks with Tom Bonier of Democratic data firm TargetSmart about what the media got wrong in 2022.


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18 Nov. 2022

This week Elon Musk gave Twitter employees an ultimatum: commit to a new, “hardcore” workplace culture of “long hours at high intensity,” or get out. Jon Schwarz talks with Bloomberg reporter Mike Leonard about how Musk is trying to squeeze profit out of the company and whether he’s likely to succeed. Then, Jon and fellow Intercept reporter Ken Klippenstein discuss how Twitter has enriched their journalistic lives.

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12 Nov. 2022

On Tuesday, Democrats miraculously avoided the sort of major rout at the polls normally associated with a new president’s first midterms. Most surprisingly, Democrats still have a narrow path to maintain control of the House of Representatives if a few outstanding races swing their way. That path would be even wider if not for a disappointing set of losses in New York. Ryan Grim speaks with Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., and to Maurice Mitchell, national director of the Working Families Party, about what went wrong in the state.


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4 Nov. 2022

In August, Kansas voters overwhelmingly rejected a ballot measure that would have removed abortion rights from the state’s constitution. In a few days, voters in Kentucky will weigh in on a similar measure that will decide the future of abortion in that state. Jazmin Smith and Robert Kahne, co-hosts of the "My Old Kentucky" podcast, which covers Kentucky politics, join Ryan Grim to discuss how the vote is likely to unfold.


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28 Oct. 2022

The race for Pennsylvania’s 8th Congressional District pits Rep. Matt Cartwright, a populist Democrat, against Jim Bognet, a Trump-endorsed Republican. The district is one of a small handful nationwide that voted for Donald Trump in 2020 while electing a Democrat to the House of Representatives; it’s now a test case for whether a progressive candidate can win over enough Trump voters to prevail in a swing district in 2022. One such Trump voter is John Petrizzo, a local restaurant owner who’s supporting Cartwright this November. Petrizzo joins Ryan Grim to discuss the peculiar politics of the 8th District. The two are also joined by Rachel Bovard, senior director at the Conservative Partnership Institute.

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22 Oct. 2022

In their new book “Unchecked: The Untold Story Behind Congress's Botched Impeachments of Donald Trump,” reporters Karoun Demirjian and Rachael Bade lay out how Democrats put political self-preservation ahead of a genuine effort to hold President Donald Trump accountable for his abuses of power. The authors join Ryan Grim to discuss the missed opportunities and historical what-ifs of Trump's two impeachments.

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14 Oct. 2022

The last two times a new president confronted his first midterm election, it turned out to be a wave year for the opposition party. 2022 is confounding that pattern, with Democrats slightly favored to hold the Senate and Republicans slightly favored to take the House. Journalists Jon Ralston and George Chidi join Ryan Grim to discuss two potentially pivotal states, Nevada and Georgia, where tight races for the Senate are underway.

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7 Oct. 2022

“I want you all to know that among progressives, it has become clear that you cannot claim to hold progressive values yet back Israel’s apartheid government.” Those words, spoken by Rep. Rashida Tlaib, D-Mich., at a Palestine Advocacy Day event, created a firestorm within the Democratic Party last month. When journalist Katie Halper decided to discuss the comments in one of her regular editorials for Hill TV’s “Rising,” she had no idea that she was about to ignite a firestorm of her own. Ryan Grim and Jacobin writer Branko Marcetic join Halper to discuss.

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30 Sep. 2022

This Sunday, Brazilian voters head to the polls to decide between incumbent President Jair Bolsonaro and former President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva. Earlier this week in Italy, Giorgia Meloni of the right-wing Brothers of Italy party won election as prime minister on an anti-immigration platform. Academic and translator Arthur Goldhammer joins Ryan Grim to discuss the Italian election. Then Grim is joined by Brazilian sociologist Sabrina Fernandes, who breaks down the election in her country.

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23 Sep. 2022

Last week, the White House released a proposed framework for the regulation of cryptocurrency. The document gives the green light to regulators to continue crafting rules around the industry, and even explores the creation of a “CBDC”: a central bank digital currency. Actor, writer, and crypto skeptic Ben McKenzie joins Ryan Grim to discuss the framework and the future (or lack thereof) of the crypto industry.

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16 Sep. 2022

When Helena Andrews-Dyer joined a local mom group in her gentrifying Washington, D.C., neighborhood, she found that being one of the only Black mothers in the mix gave her a new outlook on race and motherhood. In her new book, “The Mamas,” she chronicles the socioeconomic and racial tensions lurking beneath the surface of her relationships with white liberal parents.

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9 Sep. 2022

If Democrats can add a single seat in the Senate and hold their majority in the House in the midterm elections, they could actually write Roe v. Wade into law. Tom Bonier is a data analyst who dives deep on the shocking surge of women registering to vote in the wake of the Dobbs v. Jackson Women's Health Organization decision. Brandi Calvert is a Kansas real estate agent who became a key leader in the fight to defend abortion rights in Kansas. Ryan Grim talks to both about this new women's march to the polls.

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2 Sep. 2022

January 6 committee hearings are expected to resume in September. This week’s guest, documentary filmmaker Alex Holder, was subpoenaed by the House select committee in June to hand over any raw footage his team filmed on January 6, 2021, and all interviews conducted during filmmaking of former President Donald Trump, his family members, and then-Vice President Mike Pence. Ryan Grim talks to Holder about his new docuseries, “Unprecedented,” on Discovery+ that follows Trump and his family campaigning during the 2020 election and the days leading up to January 6.


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26 Aug. 2022

The Supreme Court’s decision to strike down the precedents set by Roe v. Wade and Planned Parenthood v. Casey, which established the right to abortion in the U.S., has created a chaotic legal situation as conservative states rush to ban the procedure. On this week’s show, Vanessa A. Bee talks with Idaho physician Caitlin Gustafson, an advocate with Physicians for Reproductive Health, and University of Pittsburgh Law School professor Greer Donley about the future of abortion in red-state America.


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19 Aug. 2022

Since it was founded 23 years ago, the Center for Economic and Policy Research has sought to challenge the right-wing consensus that often rules economic policymaking in Washington, D.C. CEPR co-founder Dean Baker joins Jon Schwarz to discuss his career, his thoughts on the Biden economy, and his ideas for the future.

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11 Aug. 2022

By the time the Department of Health and Human Services declared a public health emergency in response to monkeypox last week, there were already nearly 7,000 cases in the U.S. Microbiologist Joseph Osmundson joins The Intercept’s Maia Hibbett to discuss the failings of U.S. medical infrastructure in confronting this latest viral epidemic. They also discuss his book "Virology: Essays for the Living, the Dead, and the Small Things in Between," which uses queer theory to shed a novel light on our understanding of the viruses that shape our lives.

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3 Aug. 2022

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi< landed in Taiwan on Tuesday, ending speculation about whether she would visit the island during her tour of east Asia. Political reactions in the U.S. have been divided, particularly among progressives. Tobita Chow of Justice is Global and Matt Duss, foreign policy adviser to Sen. Bernie Sanders, join Intercept reporter Mara Hvistendahl to discuss.

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