Diane Rehms weekly podcast features newsmakers, writers, artists and thinkers on the issues she cares about most: whats going on in Washington, ideas that inform, and the latest on living well as we live longer.
Untangling The Lies Of Rep. George Santos20/01/2023 Duration: 47min
George Santos remains in the House of Representatives – for now. Questions about the biography of the congressman from Long Island, New York became a national story when the New York Times published a piece in December, exposing lies about where Santos said he worked, went to school, and whether his family was Jewish, as he had claimed. But it was actually a small weekly paper in his district that first dug into his background months before. Grant Lally, the publisher of the North Shore Leader, told Diane about the series of stories his paper ran in September 2022 that called the then-candidate a fraud, a fabulist and “the talented Mr. Santos.” Diane also talked to Isaac Stanely-Becker, national political reporter at the Washington Post. He has been digging into George Santos’s finances and has uncovered falsehoods, Ponzi schemes, and even ties to a Russian oligarch.
The GOP's Plan To Investigate A "Weaponized" Government13/01/2023 Duration: 32min
House GOP members launched a new committee this week to investigate the “weaponization” of the U.S. government. These lawmakers claim federal law enforcement and national security agencies have targeted and silenced conservatives. The committee headed by far-right congressman Jim Jordan has been granted vast authority to collect information in an attempt to prove it. Some legal experts say this sets up the potential for a major clash between the legislative and executive branches of government, particularly when it comes to active investigations into Trump and the involvement of other lawmakers on January 6th. Mary McCord is executive director at Georgetown Law Center’s Institute for Constitutional Advocacy and Protection. She is also a Department of Justice veteran, who rose to the role of Acting Assistant Attorney General for National Security in 2016. She joined Diane to explain the goals of the committee and why she thinks it could embolden far-right extremism.
The Battle For Speaker Of The House05/01/2023 Duration: 33min
An historic stalemate is playing out in the fight over speaker of the House. The last time it took more than one round of voting to fill the top job in the House of Representatives the year was 1923. This week Republican Kevin McCarthy has fallen short on ballot after ballot (9 at the time of publication). Democrats predictably lined up behind minority leader Hakeem Jeffries, but it was actually a handful of far-right GOP lawmakers who have thwarted McCarthy’s bid. They continued to nominate and vote for other candidates, including former president Donald Trump, even as McCarthy’s camp promised concessions like positions for Freedom Caucus members on powerful committees. Veteran journalist Susan Page has covered dozens of votes for speaker, but never one like this. She joined Diane to discuss what this fight says about the Republican party – and politics in America today.
From The Archives: A Conversation With PBS NewsHour’s Judy Woodruff30/12/2022 Duration: 42min
Judy Woodruff will step down as anchor of the PBS NewsHour this week. Her last show will be December 30. The veteran journalist first took on the role in 2013, co-hosting the program with Gwen Ifill. When Ifill died of cancer three years later, the network tried out several replacements, but eventually gave the reins to Woodruff to guide the show on her own. In May 2018 Woodruff joined Diane on On My Mind. They talked about her start as a reporter, the changing role of journalism over her nearly 55-year career, and how a family tragedy taught her about empathy and overcoming adversity.
From The Archives: Julie Andrews and Emma Walton Hamilton on Parenting, Poetry And Lullabies23/12/2022 Duration: 44min
The lengthy resume of legendary singer and actor Julie Andrews includes playing Mary Poppins, Maria von Trapp, and more recently, the narrator of Netflix’s smash hit Bridgerton. But Andrews is also a prolific children’s book author, co-authoring more than 31 books with her daughter, Emma Walton Hamilton. The two first joined Diane in 2006 to discuss their book “The Great American Mousical,” which introduced young children to Broadway. In 2009, Diane interviewed Andrews and Hamilton about a just-released anthology of children’s poems, songs and lullabies. The conversation covered parenthood, how to cultivate the love of reading, and why they say poetry helped them overcome some of the darkest moments in their own lives.
Why America's Mayors Are Pleading For Action On Guns09/12/2022 Duration: 40min
The number of mass shootings in the U.S. has reached more than 600 for the third year in a row. Meanwhile, daily gun violence on streets and in homes across the country remains at near-record levels, with some cities experiencing higher homicide rates than ever before. As local leaders struggle for answers, many have come to the same conclusion: there are too many guns. Mayors from nearly 70 cities whose communities experienced a mass shooting released a letter this week, calling for the Senate to pass stalled gun legislation before the end of the year. Quinton Lucas, the mayor of Kansas City, Missouri, was among those who are pressuring Washington to do something to help curb gun violence. He told Diane this week, “If the federal government does not act, we’re starting to run out of tools.” Diane also talked to Jennifer Mascia, a reporter with The Trace, an independent news organization that focuses on guns and gun violence. Mascia explained why the U.S. is experiencing one of the deadliest years in histo
How The Drive For Profits Changed Hospice Care In America02/12/2022 Duration: 44min
Hospice in America has become a big business. The hospice movement came to the U.S. from England in the 1960s, promising comfort and compassion at the end of life. Today, half of all Americans die in hospice care. But what was once a mission-driven sector run by not-for-profit organizations has become a booming industry – one that some experts say too often prioritizes profit over patients. In a piece for The New Yorker, ProPublica’s Ava Kofman traces how this transformation happened. She points to lax regulations and a Medicare payment system that is easily exploited by companies looking to make a buck. Diane talked to Kofman about her reporting on rampant fraud, harm to patients, and what can be done about it.
Abraham Lincoln And Lessons For A Divided America23/11/2022 Duration: 40min
As Donald Trump’s presidency deepened social, racial and political divides in the country, people began to look to the Civil War era for lessons on how to move forward. Pulitzer prize–winning author Jon Meacham was one of those people. In his new book, “And There Was Light: Abraham Lincoln and the American Struggle,” Meacham chronicles the life of Abraham Lincoln, and the evolution of his moral principles and political leadership. Digging into history is a familiar exercise for Meacham. He has previously written about presidents Andrew Jackson and George H.W. Bush, and his 2018 book, “The Soul of America” traced pivotal moments of struggle in our country’s history -- and argued we have always come through the darkness to a better place. Diane spoke with Jon Meacham about the similarities between the state of democracy in the 1800s and today, and what the era of Lincoln can teach us about contemporary politics.
Elon, Twitter And The Decline Of The Social Media Era18/11/2022 Duration: 38min
It has been less than a month since Elon Musk officially took the reins at Twitter. In that short time, there have been mass layoffs, advertisers have pulled back on spending, and some of the platform’s most prominent users have threatened to leave. But Twitter is not the only social media company experiencing upheaval. In the last year, Mark Zuckerberg’s Meta has lost hundreds of billions of dollars in value and cut more than 10,000 jobs. Diane spoke with Ian Bogost, director of the film and media studies program at Washington University in St. Louis and a contributing writer at The Atlantic. In a recent essay Bogost asks if the age of social media is ending, and explains why he thinks that might not be such a bad thing.
The Midterms Are (Almost) Over. What Happens Next?11/11/2022 Duration: 35min
As ballot counting continues from Tuesday’s midterm elections, one thing has become crystal clear: this was not the outcome anyone had anticipated. The Republican rout that had been splashed across headlines for months never materialized. Democrats made significant gains in state houses across the country, and when all is said and done, might even have picked up a seat or two in the Senate. In fact, the question of which party will hold a majority in the House come January is also still up in the air, though the GOP is expected to hold a small majority. Norman Ornstein is an emeritus scholar at the American Enterprise Institute and a contributing editor and writer for The Atlantic. He joined Diane to make sense of the results and discuss what they say about American politics today.