Why Is This Happening? The Chris Hayes Podcast-logo

Why Is This Happening? The Chris Hayes Podcast


Every week Chris Hayes asks the big questions that keep him up at night. How do we make sense of this unprecedented moment in world history? Why is this (all) happening? This podcast starts to answer these questions. Writers, experts, and thinkers who are also trying to get to the bottom of them join Chris to break it all down and help him get a better night’s rest. “Why is this Happening?” is presented by MSNBC and NBCNews Think.


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Every week Chris Hayes asks the big questions that keep him up at night. How do we make sense of this unprecedented moment in world history? Why is this (all) happening? This podcast starts to answer these questions. Writers, experts, and thinkers who are also trying to get to the bottom of them join Chris to break it all down and help him get a better night’s rest. “Why is this Happening?” is presented by MSNBC and NBCNews Think.




Protecting Voting Rights with Eric Holder

The Department of Justice, created in 1870, was initially formed in part to enforce Reconstruction era laws aimed at ensuring voting rights for formerly enslaved people. Yet, nearly 150 years later, voting access is still under attack. Eric Holder made history as the first black U.S. Attorney General, serving in the Obama administration. Holder now serves as the chairman of the National Democratic Redistricting Committee, which focuses on fighting back against gerrymandering to achieve fair maps. He joins WITHpod to discuss the fight for voting rights, growing redistricting concerns nationwide and how concerned he is about the possibility of former president Donald Trump being reelected.


Special preview of Into America presents: Uncounted Millions

On Into America presents: Uncounted Millions: The Power of Reparations, award-winning MSNBC correspondent Trymaine Lee dives into one of today’s most pressing debates: reparations. Months ago, Trymaine discovered the little-known story of Gabriel Coakley and it blew his mind. In the midst of the Civil War, Coakley was among a handful of Black people who found a way to get compensated for slavery by the US government. On Uncounted Millions, Trymaine talks to Coakley’s descendants about how reparations forever changed their family’s trajectory. And as more cities and states consider the issue at a policy level, he imagines how reparations might shape the whole of Black America. Listen to this special preview now. And follow the show: https://link.chtbl.com/iapum_fdlw


2020: The Year Everything Changed with Eric Klinenberg

2020 was undoubtedly one of the most consequential years in history. The ongoing impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, along with other cascading crises, can still be felt in almost every facet of our lives. Our guest this week points out that in order to heal, we must take time to reckon with what we lived through. Eric Klinenberg is a sociologist, the Helen Gould Shepard Professor of Social Science at NYU and the author of “2020: One City, Seven People, and the Year Everything Changed.” Klinenberg is also the director at NYU's Institute for Public Knowledge. He joins WITHpod to discuss stories of people he profiled in the book, the importance of grappling with what we experienced, the increasing pressures of daily life and more.


Into America presents: Uncounted Millions

This Black History Month, award-winning MSNBC correspondent Trymaine Lee explores the story of Black America’s unending fight to be made whole in a special series, “Into America presents: Uncounted Millions: The Power of Reparations.” On a journey that begins in the nation’s capital during the heat of the Civil War and ends in modern day Brooklyn, he follows the little-known story of one of the only Black people to receive reparations, and the mark it left on that family for generations to come. The series asks: if more Black families had been given reparations decades ago, how might Black America look different today? The series debuts Thursday, February 15th. Follow now: https://link.chtbl.com/iapum_fdtw


Winning Progressive Change with Deepak Bhargava

Chris has spent a lot of time recently thinking about the arc of progress in America. In thinking about all of this, a paradox has been heavy on his mind: while the U.S. has gotten incredibly more progressive over the past few decades, we’re also in the midst of a marked authoritarian movement that’s showing no signs of slowing down. What does this moment mean for the progressive movement and its future? Our guest this week points out, “what an incredible gift [it is] to be alive at a time when we have such a chance to make a difference.” Deepak Bhargava is a senior fellow at the Roosevelt Institute, a distinguished Lecturer at the CUNY School of Labor and Urban Studies and is co-author of “Practical Radicals: Seven Strategies to Change the World.” He joins WITHpod to discuss the trajectory of coalition movements, the state of the progressive movement in 2024, immigration reform and more.


The Mystery and Miracle of Polynesia with Christina Thompson

Just a few weeks ago, Chris and his family visited the Big Island of Hawaii. While there, he was completely enthralled with learning more about how the first inhabitants got to such a remote place and surrounding areas. For more than a thousand years, Polynesians have called some of the most distant islands in the Pacific Ocean home. Where did they come from, how did they get there and how did a group of people conquer the largest ocean in the world a thousand years ago? It’s one of the greatest mysteries ever. Our guest this week, who has familial roots to the area, set out to understand more. Christina Thompson is editor of Harvard Review and author of “Sea People: The Puzzle of Polynesia.” She joins WITHpod to discuss what drew her to this story, what makes this mystery so complex, the impact of the arrival of European explorers, the limits of our understanding and more.


“Your Face Belongs to Us” with Kashmir Hill

From unlocking our phones, to scanning our faces to board flights, facial recognition technology has become a ubiquitous part of modern life. And while its implementation can make life easier, what are the ramifications of companies capturing and selling our biometric data? And do we really own our faces? Our guest this week points that unregulated, this technological superpower can lead to dystopian, sci-fi novel-like applications. Kashmir Hill is a tech reporter at the New York Times and author of “Your Face Belongs to Us: A Secretive Startup's Quest to End Privacy as We Know It,” in which she chronicles the rise of Clearview AI. She joins WITHpod to discuss the growth of this technology, privacy concerns, ways in which our online “dossiers” are linked to our faces and more.


Creating Global Routes to Hope with David Miliband

Armed conflict, increases in public debt and the climate crisis are just a few factors that will accelerate humanitarian crises globally in 2024, according to the International Rescue Committee. Meanwhile, there’s a number of practical issues that have been raised by the high pace of migrants presenting at borders and applying for asylum around the world. Our guest this week points out the importance of creating “legal routes to hope” amid increased global migration. David Miliband is President & CEO of the International Rescue Committee (IRC), where he oversees the agency’s humanitarian relief operations in more than 40 war-affected countries and its refugee resettlement and assistance programs in the U.S. Before that, he served as a Foreign Secretary of the U.K. He joins to discuss the IRC’s 2024 Emergency Watchlist, myths about the global humanitarian crisis that have become a part of media discourse, actionable solutions and more.


2023: A Turning Point for the Climate?

We just experienced the hottest year on record in 2023. But amid so much doom and gloom, last year was also one of the best years ever for clean energy technology development and deployment. And while we’ve seen incredible strides towards a net zero emissions future, further innovation and policy action is still needed in order to bring to market more low-emissions technologies. Robinson Meyer is the founding executive editor of Heatmap, a new media company focused on climate change and decarbonization. Meyer is also a contributing opinion writer at The New York Times. He joins WITHpod to discuss the impact of rising fossil fuel emissions, recent inflection points, driving down the costs of clean tech and more.


The Future of Energy with Jonah Goldman (2022)

Happy New Year! As our team returns from break, we're re-sharing another part of our "Future of" miniseries that originally aired in March 2022. From the original description: Time is running out to reverse the damage done by climate change, according to a report released by the U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) in February 2022. Preventing further destruction will be the biggest undertaking in the history of human civilization. Can it be done? Jonah Goldman joined Gates Ventures, Bill Gates’s private office, in September 2014, where he is responsible for the organization’s relationships with policymakers around the world. In 2020, he helped Bill establish Breakthrough Energy (BE). BE is a network of entities and initiatives, including investment funds, nonprofit and philanthropic programs, and policy efforts linked by a common commitment to scale the technologies we need to achieve a path to net zero emissions by 2050. Goldman joins to provide a gut check on where we stand on the timeline for change as it relates to the future of energy.


The Future of Friendship with Ann Friedman and Aminatou Sow (2022)

Happy holidays! As our team takes some time away for a break, we're re-sharing another part of our "Future of" miniseries that originally aired in March 2022. From the original description: BFF connections have transformed rapidly during the COVID-19 pandemic. FaceTime calls, Zoom happy hours, voice memos, group chats and virtual game nights, in many cases, have reworked our in-person interactions of the past. What does the future of friendship look like? Ann Friedman and Aminatou Sow have been friends for over a decade, twelve years to be exact. Living on opposite coasts for years now, they had a head start on managing a long-distance friendship. Ann, a journalist, essayist and media entrepreneur and Aminatou, a writer, interviewer and cultural commentator, co-wrote “Big Friendship,” a book all about maintaining their close bond. They join for an inspiring conversation about the future of friendship and what it takes to stay connected for the long haul.


The Future of Entertainment with Seth Meyers (2022)

Happy holidays! As our team takes some time away for a break, we're re-sharing part of our "Future of" miniseries that originally aired in March 2022. From the original description: The ways we consume media have changed tremendously over the last decade. Shows with live audiences, perhaps more than any other type of program, had to pivot virtually almost overnight when the pandemic started. That certainly was the case with “Late Night with Seth Meyers.” As viewers have more sources for entertainment now than ever before, the show had to find creative ways to keep fans engaged and entertained. Lucky for us, Seth Meyers, the affable host of the show bearing his name, joins to discuss what he thinks about the future of entertainment and comedy, why he felt closer to the audience while hosting from home and more.


“Homeschool Nation” with Laura Meckler

Home schooling has become America’s fastest-growing form of education, according to a Washington Post analysis. This form of education, which largely has roots within evangelical Christian households, has grown into a broader movement, especially since the pandemic. Laura Meckler is national education writer at The Washington Post and is co-author of a series for The Post called “Homeschool Nation,” which takes an in-depth look at the surge in home schooling in the U.S. and motivations for its rise, which include concerns over school shootings, curriculum ideologies and more. She joins WITHpod to discuss how this mode of education has evolved, the forces that have driven its growth, recent declines in public school enrollment, the increasing popularity of microschools and more.


WITHpod Live - Answering Your Questions

We're thrilled to share our holiday WITHpod mailbag, which was originally hosted on Instagram Live. Does Chris have a doppelganger? What did he want to be when he grew up? What's his pitch for President Biden over Trump? Join as Chris Hayes and producer Doni Holloway reflect on the WITHpod national tour, go through your questions and discuss feedback you’ve sent.


The Origins of the Universe with Marcelo Gleiser

What is the nature of existence? Why is there something rather than nothing? And what are our limits of knowledge? These are questions that have captured the imaginations of pretty much every culture that has ever existed. Our guest this week, Marcelo Gleiser, co-authored a fascinating New York Times op-ed titled, “The Story of Our Universe May Be Starting to Unravel.” Gleiser is the Appleton Professor of Natural Philosophy and a professor of physics and astronomy at Dartmouth College. He’s also author of numerous books, including his most recent one, “The Dawn of a Mindful Universe: A Manifesto for Humanity's Future.” Gleiser joins WITHpod to discuss why different scientific methods of measuring the age of the universe continually yield different results, contemporary departures from longstanding theories about the origins of the universe, the importance of us cultivating time to think about life’s big questions and more. Note that this episode was recorded on September 28th, 2023 and we held it for release until today.


WITHpod Live with Chris Hayes and Rachel Maddow

We just wrapped up our fall 2023 national tour. We’ve so enjoyed taking WITHpod on the road and it’s been so good to hear feedback from so many of you. We couldn’t think of a better person to have for our tour culmination than the one and only Rachel Maddow. It was a fascinating conversation all about what we can do to save American democracy, how we got to this particular political moment and her amazing New York Times bestselling book, “Prequel: An American Fight Against Fascism.” We’re thrilled to share the full recording of the event with you.


PREVIEW: WITHpod Live with Chris Hayes and Rachel Maddow

We just wrapped up our fall 2023 WITHpod national tour. We couldn’t think of a better way to conclude than with the one and only Rachel Maddow. If you’re a regular listener, you know that we release full episodes every Tuesday, but we’re doing something different this week. We are excited to share a preview of the conversation today. It was a fascinating convo all about what we can do to preserve American democracy, the rise of authoritarianism and the historical events that have led to this moment, as told in her incredible New York Times bestselling book, “Prequel: An American Fight Against Fascism.” You can hear the full conversation in our feed this Friday, 11/24.


Life in the West Bank with Sari Bashi

It’s been over a month since Hamas' rampage in Southern Israel killed over a thousand Israeli men, women and children, and over a month of Israel's war against Hamas in Gaza that has claimed 10,000 lives, according to the Gaza Health Ministry. In this episode, we’re focusing on the precipitating factors that led to the conflict and issues that continue to impede a resolution. Sari Bashi, who lives in the West Bank and is married to a Palestinian, has a unique perspective as a Jewish woman with U.S.-Israeli citizenship, living in a household that transcends the conflict. Bashi is the program director at Human Rights Watch, an author and is the co-founder of Gisha Access, an Israeli NGO whose goal is to protect the freedom of movement of Palestinians, especially Gaza residents. She joins WITHpod to discuss what the year before the war looked like, violations of international laws, the devastating impact on civilians, calls for countries to suspend military aid and more. Note: An earlier version of this episode's audio misstated the scale of the civilian death toll in Gaza. This version has been edited to omit this.


Defending Democracy Amid Division with Adam Kinzinger

“You basically have one vote in 2024. Do you support democracy or do you not support democracy? And no other issue in my mind matters,” says our guest this week. Adam Kinzinger, a former Republican congressman, found himself a pariah of sorts after he voted to impeach Donald Trump, following the former president’s attempts to overturn the 2020 presidential election results. Kinzinger was one of two Republicans tapped to be on the January 6th committee after the 2021 insurrection at the U.S. Capitol. He stepped away from politics this year and recently authored “Renegade: Defending Democracy and Liberty in Our Divided Country,” a memoir all about his life and political career. Kinzinger joins WITHpod to discuss the transformation of the Republican Party, crossing political lines during the House Impeachment vote, why he feels Trump avoids in-person confrontation, preserving American democracy and more.


The Making of Joy Reid

We’re happy to share a recording of the second half of our double header WITHpod live program in Philadelphia, which was recorded on October 16th. Our own Joy Reid joined us for the most recent tour stop to discuss her fascinating trajectory, including her years in Florida, which have given her unique insight into the state’s current culture wars. She also talks about her time working on political campaigns, the anti-CRT movement, the peril of this political moment and more.