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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.


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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.




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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


"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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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