The Assignment with Audie Cornish

The Assignment with Audie Cornish

Every Monday on The Assignment, host Audie Cornish explores the animating forces of American politics. It’s not about the horserace, it’s about the larger cultural ideas driving the American electorate. Audie draws on the deep well of CNN reporters, editors, and contributors to examine topics like the nuances of building electoral coalitions, and the role the media plays in modern elections. Every Thursday, Audie pulls listeners out of their digital echo chambers to hear from the people whose lives intersect with the news cycle, as well as deep conversations with people driving the headlines. From astrology’s modern renaissance to the free speech wars on campus, no topic is off the table.

Episodes

June 20, 2024 27 mins
What does it mean for a news story to matter? To have impact on YOU, the audience? Does it have to be about a person who has been wronged? An institution caught in a cover up? Do you need to feel like it could affect your life personally? Audie wrestled these questions while serving as judge for this year’s Livingston Awards, which recognize impactful journalism by reporters under the age of 35. She calls up this year’s winners: Al...
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What can we learn about the future of our elections from political prediction markets? Audie calls up Thomas Gurca, Director of Iowa Electronic Markets (IEM), an online futures market that includes political betting. He explains what makes prediction markets different from traditional gambling and how IEM continues to predict presidential elections with better accuracy than the polls.  Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcas...
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June 13, 2024 34 mins
Filmmaker and journalist dream hampton’s new documentary, “It Was All a Dream,” chronicles the “the golden age of Hip-Hop" in the early 1990’s. She talks with Audie about the film, which is made up of footage she shot in the 90’s that’s been in storage for 30 years: hanging out with Biggie Smalls in the studio, Lil’ Kim in the neighborhood, and interviews with a before-he-was famous Snoop Dog. Through her writing at publications li...
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June 10, 2024 28 mins
Steve Bannon, the standard-bearer of “MAGA media,” is set to report to federal prison on July 1st for refusing to comply with January 6 Committee subpoenas. He’s the latest in a growing list of Trump allies to face legal prosecution in defense of the former president. Bannon used the moment to paint himself as a martyr, a strategy which CNN Political Reporter Sara Murray says is in line with Donald Trump’s own plans to foment a wav...
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June 6, 2024 31 mins
Each of the last 12 months has become the hottest ever on record and the UN Secretary General has warned that countries must act on the climate crisis within the next year and a half. This week Audie talks to Bill Weir, CNN’s Chief Climate Correspondent, about how the climate crisis will affect water supply, and why we should all be thinking about what the future of sustainable water usage looks like. Then, Audie chats with two wat...
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June 3, 2024 27 mins
How will the trial of Donald Trump affect voters? There’s been a lot of partisan messaging from all sides about the numbers and what – if any effect – that’s going to have in November. How do we make sense of all of this? CNN polling and analytics editor Ariel Edwards-Levy joins Audie to discuss the power – and limitations – of surveys and polls.  Read Ariel’s latest: What the polls can’t tell us about the Trump verdict’s effect on...
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May 30, 2024 22 mins
We’re seeing conflicting messages about the state of the economy, especially from political leaders. And we’re getting truly mixed message about what – if anything – can be done, at least in the short term. A listener from L.A. understands this first-hand, and calls in with an assignment. Audie brings in Dr. Gary Hoover, Executive Director of The Murphy Institute and Professor of Economics at Tulane University, to talk about the ec...
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May 27, 2024 31 mins
With Donald Trump’s “hush money” trial heading into final arguments, it’s the perfect time to have Katelyn Polantz, CNN’s Senior Reporter for Crime and Justice, give a full review of the many trials of the former president. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices
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May 23, 2024 34 mins
What happens when you take away a kid’s phone during school hours? In a word: drama. Some schools around the country are trying to completely remove smartphones from classrooms, requiring students to place them in pouches. Audie talks with Carol Kruser, Assistant Superintendent of Student Support Services at Chicopee Public Schools in Massachusetts. She successfully advocated for a district-wide ban on phones. We also hear from Suz...
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A mere 500 feet away from the site of People of New York v. Trump, another political legacy is on the line in a courtroom. Democrat Senator Bob Menendez of New Jersey, who sidestepped corruption charges due to a mistrial in 2017, is under federal indictment again, and the timing couldn’t be worse for Senate Democrats trying to maintain control of the chamber. Gregory Krieg is covering the Menendez trial for CNN and he’ll highlight ...
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What can we learn from the first great rap battle of the streaming age? Like the ones that came before, the recent rap beef between Kendrick Lamar and Drake is defined by lyrical dexterity and sheer intensity. But UNLIKE past battles this one was remarkable for its speed. Both rappers released songs within hours and even minutes of each other. Audie talks with CNN Entertainment Reporter Lisa Respers France about this moment, and ho...
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Vice President Kamala Harris thinks about everything as a lawyer first. That's an observation CNN Senior Reporter Edward-Isaac Dovere has made after many interviews with the Veep. Audie talks with Dovere about how Harris has deployed her prosecutorial skills against Wall Street CEOs, Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh, and even President Biden in a debate moment that nearly derailed his campaign. And they talk about how she is u...
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Bad trips, anti-drug PSAs, and the crackdown under the Controlled Substances Act of 1970 helped stigmatize psychedelics in the U.S. But now, there’s renewed clinical inquiry into whether these drugs can ease emotional trauma. To understand the future of psychedelics, Audie calls up Ernesto Londoño, reporter at the New York Times and author of the new book, “Trippy: The Peril and Promise of Medicinal Psychedelics.” They discuss his ...
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When Mike Johnson worked with Democrats to pass Ukraine war funding, he knew it would enrage the extreme right-wing and threaten his speakership. So far, Johnson has survived the challenge to his job, and as Doug Heye puts it, “survival is strength.” Heye has worked for Republicans in the House and Senate and is a former communications director for the Republican National Committee. He’ll describe the tightrope Mike Johnson must wa...
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Pro-Palestinian protests on college campuses have been met with suspensions, expulsions, and arrests. This week, Audie talks with two people in the middle of the story to understand how they view and talk about this moment. We hear from Krasimir Staykov, a junior and an activist at Pomona College in Claremont, California. He and others were arrested for staging a sit-in in the university president’s office. We also hear from Michae...
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Jon Favreau and Jon Lovett were speechwriters in the Obama White House who, along with Tommy Vietor, decided to venture into media with a podcast now called Pod Save America. The show became a hit, so they founded a whole company around it called Crooked Media. Now, they produce a plethora of podcasts, host a full schedule of live shows, and even write books like their new title, Democracy or Else. Favreau & Lovett go behind the fi...
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April 25, 2024 35 mins
And does Country need Beyoncé? The likely answer to both of those questions is no. But the discussion Beyoncé sparked seems to be the larger point of her new album, Cowboy Carter. Sidney Madden is a reporter for NPR Music, and has delved deep into the intricate dynamics of race, genre, and industry politics addressed on the album. Audie and Sidney talk about these bigger themes and explore the conversation that's been started by Be...
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While the political world fixates on Donald Trump’s Manhattan criminal trial, the Supreme Court is weighing two decisions that could re-define the November election and invalidate charges for hundreds of January 6th defendants. CNN’s Senior Supreme Court Analyst Joan Biskupic is here to explain what’s at stake and read the tea leaves as to which way the justices are leaning. Joan’s book, Nine Black Robes, is now out in paperback. L...
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This week, the Supreme Court ruled that Idaho could temporarily enforce a law that would ban providing gender-affirming care to minors. That means doctors who administer puberty blocking-drugs, hormone therapy, and perform certain surgeries could face up to 10 years in prison. It’s the latest move to prevent doctors from providing gender-affirming care to transgender youth. With politicians passing anti-trans bills and hospitals an...
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April 15, 2024 31 mins
When Arizona’s Supreme Court upheld an 1864 law reinstating a near-total ban on abortion, it took most of the country by surprise. For plugged-in journalist Jim Small of AZ Mirror, this was the expected result of a deliberate effort by Republicans to arrive at precisely this outcome. Now that the great backpedal is underway, Small tells Audie how we got here and how Arizona politics will affect the elections in November. Learn more...
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