Crosscut Talks
The Corporate Campaigns That Broke Americans’ Trust in Science. Plus: A Big Seattle Project in Very Big Trouble

The Corporate Campaigns That Broke Americans’ Trust in Science. Plus: A Big Seattle Project in Very Big Trouble

May 21, 2020

After two or more months of lockdown, states across the country have begun reopening with the support of the federal government. But with infection rates holding steady or increasing in many states, risk remains for citizens and, especially, for workers. Every state is making a risk assessment, with livelihoods and lives hanging in the balance. But while the COVID-19 pandemic is forcing these assessments to play out for the world to see, some version of these difficult decisions has always been with us. In the workplace and the marketplace, risk is unavoidable. David Michaels knows all about that risk and the forces that have shaped, and warped, its assessment. The former head of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, Michaels is the author of The Triumph of Doubt: Dark Money and the Science of Deception. On the latest episode of the Crosscut Talks podcast he tells us how misinformation campaigns launched by Big Tobacco and corporations are helping shape the federal government's response to the coronavirus and what that means for the new risk we all now face. Plus, Crosscut reporter David Kroman talks to us about a big public works project in Seattle that is facing a big problem.

Dissecting America’s Meat-Packing Crisis. Plus: COVID-19’s Impact on Washington Latinos

Dissecting America’s Meat-Packing Crisis. Plus: COVID-19’s Impact on Washington Latinos

May 15, 2020

As it has done in so many other aspects of American life, the novel coronavirus outbreak has lifted the curtain on the nation’s food-production system. The conditions at meat-packing plants, in particular, have become headline news, as clusters of COVID-19 cases have led to thousands of infections and dozens of deaths. In response many factory farmers ceased operations, leading to fears of disruption to the food supply chain. Citing those fears, the Trump administration ordered  these plants to reopen, albeit with additional protective gear for workers. For the latest episode of the Crosscut Talks podcast, host Mark Baumgarten speaks with Leah Douglas of the Food and Environment Reporting Network about the virus’s toll on the food industry and its workers, and whether any amount of protection could get us back to normal. We also speak with Crosscut reporter Lilly Fowler about a recent report showing the virus’s disproportional impact on Washington state’s Latino population.

The Indivisible Plan for the Future of the Democratic Party. Plus: How to Write About a Recession

The Indivisible Plan for the Future of the Democratic Party. Plus: How to Write About a Recession

May 8, 2020
The Twist in Rick Wilson’s Plot to Unseat the President. Plus: What Washingtonians Really Think About the Shutdown

The Twist in Rick Wilson’s Plot to Unseat the President. Plus: What Washingtonians Really Think About the Shutdown

May 1, 2020

When Rick Wilson published Running Against the Devil: A Plot to Save America From Trump and Democrats From Themselves, the world was a simpler place. It was January and the center of gravity for the political world was in the chambers of the U.S. Senate, where the impeachment trial of President Donald Trump was set to begin. Wilson, a former strategist for the Republican Party and New York Times bestselling author, was busy fielding interviews about his latest, which provided a kind of road map for Democrats to bring an end to the Trump presidency. Then, about a third of the way through his book tour, everything changed. The novel coronavirus had spread to the United States and, in addition to changing everything else about daily life, changed the political landscape, too. For the first episode of the second season of the Crosscut Talks podcast, host Mark Baumgarten talks to Wilson about what has changed, what hasn’t and whether the Democrats are following his advice. Also, Crosscut news and politics editor Donna Blankinship talks about the latest Crosscut/Elway Poll and why she enjoys interviewing random strangers.

New Podcast Preview: A New Kind of Anxiety in the Early Days of COVID-19

New Podcast Preview: A New Kind of Anxiety in the Early Days of COVID-19

April 8, 2020

This week we are sharing the first episode of a new podcast from Crosscut, This Changes Everything. Crosscut Producer Sara Bernard hosts this weekly exploration of the cultural, economic, and social impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic. Through interviews with Crosscut reporters, she will show how the virus is changing the world around us now and into the future. For the first episode of This Changes Everything, Bernard talks with reporter Hannah Weinberger about the early days of the outbreak, what she learned about our health care system's preparedness and what it was like to grapple with a new kind of anxiety before it swept the nation.

To subscribe to This Changes Everything, go to our show page on Apple Podcasts or Stitcher.

Janet Napolitano on Political Divides and American Security

Janet Napolitano on Political Divides and American Security

March 24, 2020

As former head of the Department of Homeland Security under President Barack Obama, Janet Napolitano has had an inside view of what national security really means. In her book, 'How Safe Are We? Homeland Security Since 9/11,' she discusses the difference between real and perceived threats and shares her thoughts on the Trump administration's approach to those threats. 

For the latest episode of Crosscut Talks, we are surfacing a conversation from last year's Crosscut Festival between Napolitano and David Plotz, CEO of Atlas Obscura and co-host of Slate's Political Gabfest. They talked about Russian Interference, the massive political divide facing the country and much more. And while much has happened since this conversation, including the worldwide response to the COVID-19 pandemic, Napolitano does provide a valuable perspective on American preparedness.

Invoking the Divine Through Indian Raga with Srivani Jade

Invoking the Divine Through Indian Raga with Srivani Jade

March 17, 2020

The relationship between music and spirituality spans the globe. Indian ragas are an especially powerful and unique example of this tradition. Thousands of years ago, Hindus envisioned them as manifestations of the divine. While some songs are memorized, the style itself is largely a melodic framework for improvisation.

For the latest Crosscut Talks podcast, we partnered with Centrum, a Port Townsend-based arts organization, to gather musicians and scholars to discuss the history and theory of this music, and to play it.

Award-winning Hindustani vocalist Srivani Jade and professional tabla player Ravi Joseph Albright performed selections with local musician Saikat Ray and sat for conversation with Wes Cecil, professor of English and the Humanities at Peninsula College.

Rahm Emanuel on the Power of Mayors and Dysfunction in D.C.

Rahm Emanuel on the Power of Mayors and Dysfunction in D.C.

March 10, 2020

Mayors have been popping up in national discourse more and more often in the past few years. For instance, the race for the Democratic presidential nomination has been largely shaped by former mayors suggesting that, in an era of political gridlock, mayors know how to get things done.

Former Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel delivers that same message in his book The Nation City. He takes a close look at the experimentation taking place in the world's urban centers and puts forth the idea of a new kind of political power structure in which ideas flow from city to city, instead of from Washington, D.C.

The former mayor is familiar with that more traditional power structure. He was a senior adviser in the Clinton administration and served as chief of staff to President Barack Obama. 

For the latest episode of the Crosscut Talks Podcast we invited Emanuel to share his vision of a future shaped by cities, as well as his thoughts on the race for the White House, which took a big turn on Super Tuesday, the night before the talk.

Why Washington State Matters More in the 2020 Presidential Race

Why Washington State Matters More in the 2020 Presidential Race

March 3, 2020

There is a lot at stake in the 2020 presidential election, especially for Democrats. And in Washington state, 2020 marks a big change for the party. Instead of relying on caucuses to weigh in on the primary race, the party voted last year to pick its delegates based on the state's primary election. That primary is being held on March 10, which means that Washington Democrats could have a real impact on a race that is still far from over. For the latest episode of the Crosscut Talks podcast we gathered political leaders and researchers, including state Democratic party chair Tina Podlodowski and pollster Stuart Elway, to discuss the issues and debate the merits of the remaining Democratic candidates.

PBS Newshour’s Fred de Sam Lazaro on the Power of Under-Told Stories

PBS Newshour’s Fred de Sam Lazaro on the Power of Under-Told Stories

February 25, 2020

In a time of newsroom layoffs, hot takes, "fake news" and intense political polarization, it can be difficult to find in-depth journalism that takes the time to explore underrepresented communities or attempt to tackle the world's toughest questions. But Fred de Sam Lazaro is someone who's been doing just that for over three decades. Lazaro is the executive director of the Under-Told Stories Project, a journalism and teaching endeavour that documents the consequences of poverty around the world and the work being done to address them. He is an award-winning journalist who's been a correspondent with the PBS Newshour since 1985. He's reported from over 70 countries on topics such as labor, sex trafficking, public health and immigration, and directed films from India and the Democratic Republic of Congo for the acclaimed documentary series, Wide Angle. For the latest episode of the Crosscut Talks Podcast, he talks with Crosscut editor-at-large Knute Berger as part of the Communiversity series hosted by Centrum, a Port Townsend-based nonprofit arts organizations.