60 Songs That Explain the ’90s,” said the podcast, his first, affords him a more tactile relationship with the music he covers. Each week, the show dives into a different song from the 1990s — Alanis Morissette’s “You Oughta Know,” Missy Elliott’s “The Rain (Supa Dupa Fly)” — with an opening monologue from Harvilla and a conversation with a special guest.

“What cracked the show open for me was being able to interact with the songs,” Harvilla said. “People listening can hear the tone of voice, the lyrics, the guitar solo — it makes things so much more vivid, whether I’m doing astute critical analysis or just a dumb joke.”

For Smith, who, as the editor of Vibe in the late ’90s, was an early champion of artists like Master P and Lauryn Hill, the new format has meant a return to old principles.

“At Vibe, my entire life was about putting people on the cover that other magazines wouldn’t — people that couldn’t get booked to perform on ‘The Tonight Show,’” she said. “I wanted to create more space to serve the underserved, not only for the women who are featured, but for the listeners who don’t get enough of what makes them happy.”

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Jamie Dimon, LeBron James and the Super League Debate

The biggest business and policy story in the world at the moment isn’t about taxes or infrastructure. It’s about the fate of European soccer, as the fight over the Super League draws in everyone from Jamie Dimon of JPMorgan Chase to President Emmanuel Macron of France to the N.B.A. star LeBron James.

Critics have denounced the proposed league, which would guarantee 15 of Europe’s top teams a spot, as a cash grab by the richest clubs. We’ve also heard from sports executives who argue that the plan could hurt the economies of cities whose teams are excluded.

JPMorgan, which is backing the plan, faces a backlash. Irate soccer fans denounced the bank for providing over $4 billion to finance the creation of the league. (“#JPMorgan” was a trending topic on Twitter yesterday, and not in a good way.) The bank was brought into the deal through its relationship with the Super League’s chief architect, Florentino Pérez, the billionaire president of Real Madrid. Its bet is that supporting a star-studded competition, in a sport with a gigantic worldwide fandom will pay off in the long run, not least through broadcast rights.

  • JPMorgan’s involvement was vetted by its internal reputation committee, which assesses high-profile and potentially controversial assignments, according to people briefed on the decision. But that committee didn’t fully expect the emotional reaction from sports fans that has flooded the airwaves around the world, these people added.

Big media and tech companies could get entangled. Many are expected to bid on the broadcast rights for the Super League, with speculation surrounding Amazon, Apple and Facebook. But they may have to worry about more than ratings. Political leaders like Mr. Macron and Prime Minister Boris Johnson of Britain (and even Prince William) have spoken out against the league; is that a fight they want? And do they want to run afoul of FIFA, the sport’s global governing body, or UEFA, its European counterpart, and risk losing out on rights to the World Cup or other high-profile competitions?

courting corporate America to support its infrastructure initiative, taking advantage of a rift with Republicans over political and social issues like restrictions on voting rights. But opposition to higher taxes and more regulation may yet reunite the estranged allies.

Exxon Mobil unveils a $100 billion plan to profit from carbon capture. The oil giant said it would make a business based on trapping the carbon emissions of industrial plants around Houston. But the strategy would require government support, including a new carbon tax — which has little political backing.

Amazon is accused of corrupting the recent warehouse unionization election. The union, which lost the vote 2-to-1, said the e-commerce giant had intimidated and surveilled workers. If the National Labor Relations Board agrees with the claims, it could order a new election.

Xi Jinping warns against economic decoupling. In a speech today, the Chinese president called for greater global economic integration and made thinly veiled critiques of America’s efforts to reduce its dependence on Chinese exports like computer chips. “Bossing others around or meddling in others’ internal affairs will not get one any support,” Mr. Xi said.

disclosed in its prospectus that sales more than doubled last year, to $421 million, though it lost about $60 million. It’s reportedly aiming for a $10 billion valuation, betting on the plant-based food trend.

published an open letter in The Financial Times urging asset managers to match their pledges on social and political issues with their votes at coming shareholder meetings. Of top importance: votes on board diversity, racial equity and political spending disclosures.

The top three asset managers have significant power to influence corporate decisions. BlackRock, Vanguard and State Street control about 80 percent of all indexed money, making them a dominant force in the governance of public companies. The activists behind today’s letter — including Rashad Robinson, the president of Color Of Change; Alicia Garza, the principal of Black to the Future; and Derrick Johnson, the president of the N.A.A.C.P. — argue that the money managers are not sufficiently exercising their power:

The “big three” asset managers made commitments to racial justice after the killing of George Floyd last year. They’ve incorporated that focus into their voting guidelines: BlackRock has said it may vote against directors when it considers a board to be “insufficiently diverse.” State Street said it would vote against certain directors at firms that do not disclose diversity data this year and firms that do not have at least one director from an underrepresented community next year. When it comes to voting rights, BlackRock and Vanguard signed a recent letter opposing “any discriminatory legislation” that would make voting more difficult.

The activists are asking funds to do more, including:

The letter sets the stage for a potentially contentious proxy season, targeting specific shareholder resolutions at a host of S&P 500 companies in its “voting guide” for investors. Neuberger Berman, which manages $429 billion in assets, said yesterday it plans to vote against management at Berkshire Hathaway on topics including diversity reporting, which also features in the activists’ guide. “We’re trying to behave like owners and shareholders and help make the company better,” Neuberger’s C.E.O., George Walker, told CNBC.

in a USA Today op-ed. (He did not address the increase in corporate taxes that would pay for it.)

a private Discord chat with Casey Newton, a reporter who writes a Substack subscription newsletter.

Facebook sent a message that the traditional gatekeepers are gone. The private channel chat was just one sign; another was Mr. Zuckerberg saying so explicitly. “If you look at the grand arc here, what’s really happening is individuals are getting more power and more opportunity to create the lives and the jobs that they want,” he said of the new media age.

What about fair disclosure? Mr. Zuckerberg was speaking on social media but using a restricted channel. Companies can’t selectively disclose material information but the S.E.C. has said that “most social media are perfectly suitable methods for communicating with investors.” Still, the rules were designed to ensure that no one can get a jump on other investors, so channels don’t qualify “if the access is restricted or if investors don’t know that’s where they need to turn to get the latest news.”

“Issuers must take steps” to let investors know the news channels they’ll use, the S.E.C. wrote in a 2013 investigation of Netflix after its C.E.O., Reed Hastings, posted data about the company on his private Facebook page. The S.E.C. didn’t take action, noting “market uncertainty” about how fair-disclosure rules applied to social media at the time, and said it would consider each case individually.


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Former Condé Nast Editor Plans a Vanity Fair for the Substack Era

A former editor at Vanity Fair has been working for more than a year to create a digital publication with a business twist: Its writers will share in subscription revenue.

Think of it as Vanity Fair meets Substack, the subscription newsletter platform that has attracted big-name authors.

The new company behind the publication, Heat Media, hopes to unveil it in the coming months, four people with knowledge of the matter said. The start-up is partly the brainchild of Jon Kelly, a former editor at Vanity Fair who worked under its previous editor in chief, Graydon Carter.

If all goes to plan, the start-up’s contributors would include writers whose contacts include the power elite of Hollywood, Silicon Valley, Washington and Wall Street. An annual subscription would cost $100 and could include a daily newsletter, a website and access to events, the people said. The publication does not yet have a name. One under consideration is Puck, the name of an American humor magazine of the late 1800s and early 1900s.

invest in the “geek culture” website Fandom, which recently acquired gaming website Focus Multimedia. Last year, a TPG affiliate acquired the soccer site Goal.com, and the firm recently announced plans to acquire a stake in DirectTV.

The cash from the two firms would give the start-up some security at a time when some of the biggest players in digital publishing, such as BuzzFeed, Vice, Vox Media and Group Nine, have stumbled as the pandemic ravaged the ad industry.

Mr. Kelly’s business partners are Joe Purzycki, a founder of the podcasting company Luminary Media, and Max Tcheyan, who helped build the sports site The Athletic, the people said.

Two people who have seen a pitch deck on the company’s plans said that its potential competitors are the Washington news site Axios, the tech news site The Information and Vanity Fair.

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State Jobless Claims Climb, Showing Continued Stress on Labor Market: Live Updates

filed first-time claims for state jobless benefits last week, an increase of 18,000, the Labor Department said. It was the second consecutive weekly increase after new claims hit a pandemic low.

At the same time, 152,000 new claims were filed for Pandemic Unemployment Assistance, a federal program covering freelancers, part-timers and others who do not routinely qualify for state benefits. That was a decline of 85,000.

Neither figure is seasonally adjusted.

Claims rose above one million early in the year but have come down since then, helped by the spread of vaccinations, the easing of restrictions on businesses in many states and the arrival of stimulus funds.

Most individuals received payments of $1,400 in recent weeks as part of the Biden administration’s $1.9 trillion relief package, and the funds should bolster consumer spending in the coming months.

On Friday, the government reported that employers added 916,000 jobs in March, twice February’s gain and the most since August. The unemployment rate dipped to 6 percent, the lowest since the pandemic began, with nearly 350,000 people rejoining the labor force.

Still, there is plenty of ground to make up.

Even after March’s job gains, the economy is 8.4 million jobs short of where it was in February 2020. Entire sectors, like travel and leisure, as well as restaurants and bars, are only beginning to recover from the millions of job losses that followed the pandemic’s arrival.

The ballots in the union drive at an Amazon warehouse in Bessemer, Ala., are expected to be counted by hand starting either Thursday afternoon or Friday morning.
Credit…Charity Rachelle for The New York Times

The union seeking to represent workers at an Amazon warehouse in Alabama said late Wednesday that there were 3,215 ballots cast — or about 55 percent of the roughly 5,800 workers who were eligible to vote.

The ballots are expected to be counted by hand starting either Thursday afternoon or Friday morning in the National Labor Relations Board’s office in Birmingham, according to the Retail Wholesale and Department Store Union. Hundreds of ballots are being contested, mostly by Amazon, the union said.

The vote counting will be shown on a videoconference call to a small number of outsiders, including journalists, in addition to representatives from the union and the company.

Union elections are typically held in person, but the labor board determined that the election should be conducted by mail to minimize risks during the pandemic. The ballots were sent to workers in early February and were due at the agency before March 30. Since then, Amazon and the union have had a chance to challenge whether particular worker were eligible to vote.

When the public counting is done, the agency will announce the formal results if the margin of victory for one side is greater than the number of contested ballots.

If the margin is narrower, then it could take two to three weeks for the N.L.R.B. to hold a hearing to sort through the contested ballots and take evidence from both sides on whether they should be counted.

The Baoshan Second Reservoir. Not a single typhoon made landfall during last year’s rainy season.
Credit…An Rong Xu for The New York Times

Officials are calling Taiwan’s drought its worst in more than half a century. And it is exposing the enormous challenges involved in hosting the island’s semiconductor industry, which is an increasingly indispensable node in the global supply chains for smartphones, cars and other keystones of modern life.

Chip makers use lots of water to clean their factories and wafers, the thin slices of silicon that make up the basis of the chips, Raymond Zhong and Amy Chang Chien report for The New York Times. In 2019, Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company’s facilities in Hsinchu consumed 63,000 tons of water a day, according to the company, or more than 10 percent of the supply from two local reservoirs.

In recent months, the government has:

But the most sweeping measure has been the halt on irrigation, which affects 183,000 acres of farmland, around a fifth of Taiwan’s irrigated land.

The Taiwanese public appears to have decided that rice farming is less important, both for the island and the world, than semiconductors. The government is subsidizing growers for the lost income. But Chuang Cheng-deng, 55, worries that the thwarted harvest will drive customers to seek out other suppliers, which could mean years of depressed earnings.

The Ikea store in Franconville, France, where employees were monitored, documents showed.
Credit…Elliott Verdier for The New York Times

Prosecutors are accusing the French arm of Ikea, the Swedish home furnishings giant, and some of its former executives of engineering a “system of espionage” from 2009 to 2012, in a criminal trial that has riveted public attention in France.

The alleged snooping was used to investigate employees and union organizers, check up on workers on medical leave and size up customers seeking refunds for botched orders, Liz Alderman reports for The New York Times. A former military operative was hired to execute some of the more clandestine operations.

In all, 15 people are charged. A verdict from a panel of judges is scheduled for June 15.

The case stoked outrage in 2012 after the emails were leaked to the French news media, and Ikea promptly fired several executives in its French unit, including its chief executive. There is no evidence that similar surveillance happened in any of the other 52 countries where the global retailer hones a fresh-faced image of stylish thriftiness served with Swedish meatballs.

Victims’ lawyers described a methodic operation that ran along two tracks: one involving background and criminal checks of job candidates and employees without their knowledge, and another targeting union leaders and members.

Ikea’s lawyer, Emmanuel Daoud, denied that systemwide surveillance had been carried out at Ikea’s stores in France. He argued that any privacy violations had been the work of a single person, Jean-François Paris, the French unit’s head of risk management.

Emails and receipts showed that Mr. Paris handed much of the legwork to Jean-Pierre Fourès, who surveilled hundreds of job applicants, gleaning information from social media and other sources to speed vetting and hiring. He also did background checks on unsuspecting customers who tangled with Ikea over big refunds. He insisted that he had never broken the law in gathering background material.

The surveillance encompassed career workers. In one case, Mr. Fourès was hired to investigate whether Ikea France’s deputy director of communications and merchandising, who was on a yearlong sick leave recovering from hepatitis C, had faked the severity of her illness when managers learned she had traveled to Morocco.

A Carnival cruise ship docked last year in Long Beach, Calif. The cruise line has threatened to move its ships outside of U.S. ports.
Credit…Lucy Nicholson/Reuters
A “help wanted” sign at a Home Depot in Mount Prospect, Ill. Confidence about hiring in the U.S. economy is growing.
Credit…Nam Y. Huh/Associated Press

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Catch up: Carnival hopes to restart U.S. cruises by midsummer.

A Carnival cruise ship docked last year in Long Beach, Calif. The cruise line has threatened to move its ships outside of U.S. ports.
Credit…Lucy Nicholson/Reuters

  • Carnival Cruise Line, the largest cruise operator in the United States, is optimistic that several of its U.S.-based lines will be up and running by July, it said on Wednesday as it reported its first quarter financials. Booking volumes for future Carnival cruises were about 90 percent higher in the first quarter of 2021 than in the previous quarter, “reflecting both the significant pent-up demand and long-term potential for cruising,” Arnold Donald, the chief executive of Carnival Corporation, the cruise line’s parent company, said in a statement on Wednesday. The company reported a net loss of $2 billion for the first quarter of 2021.

  • Unions representing employees at two prominent podcasting companies owned by Spotify, the audiostreaming giant, announced Wednesday that they had ratified their first labor contracts. The larger of the two unions, with 65 employees, is at The Ringer, a sports and pop culture website with a podcasting network. The second union, at the podcast production company Gimlet Media, has just under 50 employees. The two groups were among the first in the podcasting industry to unionize, and both are represented by the Writers Guild of America, East.

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Unions at The Ringer and Gimlet Media announce their first contracts.

Unions representing employees at two prominent podcasting companies owned by Spotify, the audiostreaming giant, announced Wednesday that they had ratified their first labor contracts.

The larger of the two unions, with 65 employees, is at The Ringer, a sports and pop culture website with a podcasting network. The second union, at the podcast production company Gimlet Media, has just under 50 employees. The two groups were among the first in the podcasting industry to unionize, and both are represented by the Writers Guild of America, East.

Lowell Peterson, the guild’s executive director, said the contracts showed that the companies’ writers, producers and editors “bring enormous value to the major platforms for whom they create content.”

The contracts establish minimum base pay of $57,000 for union members at The Ringer and $73,000 at Gimlet Media, annual pay increases of at least 2 percent, and a minimum of 11 weeks of severance pay.

complained about a lack of Black writers and editors after the company’s founder, Bill Simmons, hosted a podcast in which a colleague ham-handedly discussed the aftermath of the George Floyd killing and praised Mr. Simmons’s commitment to diversity.

At Gimlet, the company recently canceled the final two episodes of a four-part series on racial inequity at the food magazine Bon Appétit after staffers complained that Gimlet itself suffered from similar problems.

Employees at both companies unionized in 2019, and the contract negotiations were at times contentious. Management refused to give ground on a top union priority — rights to work that writers and podcasters create, which the companies will retain — but the unions nonetheless ratified the contracts unanimously, according to the writers guild.

“We began this process with the aim of improving working conditions and compensation at the company, especially for our lowest-paid members,” the Ringer Union said in a statement. “We’re thrilled to have achieved that goal with this contract.”

Spotify did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

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BuzzFeed lays off 47 HuffPost workers weeks after acquisition.

When BuzzFeed announced last year that it would buy HuffPost, it was expected that cost-cutting would follow the completion of the deal. On Tuesday, less than a month after the acquisition went through, BuzzFeed laid off 47 workers at HuffPost and closed the publication’s Canadian edition.

At a virtual company meeting, BuzzFeed’s chief executive, Jonah Peretti, said the layoffs were meant to stem losses at HuffPost. HuffPost, which was previously owned by Verizon Media, lost more than $20 million last year and was on track to lose the same amount this year, Mr. Peretti told the staff according to an account of the meeting provided by BuzzFeed.

Employees were given a password to enter the meeting — “spr!ngisH3r3,” a variation on the phrase “spring is here.” The staff members were then informed that if they did not receive an email by 1 p.m., their jobs were safe. The website Defector first reported on the password and other details of the meeting, which were confirmed by two people who attended the meeting and spoke on the condition of anonymity to describe internal discussions. A BuzzFeed spokesman told The New York Times that the company regretted the password’s tone.

The HuffPost Union, which is affiliated with the Writers Guild of America East, said in a statement that the layoffs had affected 33 of its members, nearly a third of the local union. “We are devastated and infuriated, particularly after an exhausting year of covering a pandemic and working from home,” the union said in a statement.

Lydia Polgreen departed a year ago to become the head of content at Gimlet Media, a Spotify-owned podcasting company. Mr. Peretti said he expected to announce Ms. Polgreen’s successor in the coming weeks.

Whoever takes the job will report to Mark Schoofs, BuzzFeed News’s editor in chief. At the meeting, Mr. Peretti reiterated that BuzzFeed and HuffPost would remain distinct from each other, with separate editorial staffs.

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‘Talk to me’: Molly Jong-Fast on podcasting in the new abnormal

Molly Jong-Fast has known great success as a writer but over the last year on The New Abnormal, her podcast on politics in the time of Covid, she has become both half of a crackling double act and an interviewer with a habit of making news.

The double act formed with Rick Wilson, a former Republican strategist and the co-founder of the Lincoln Project who is now taking a spell off-air. The producer Jesse Cannon has stepped in but the interviews remain largely the realm of Jong-Fast.

Years ago, Molly and her mother, the author Erica Jong, gave a joint interview of their own. Molly, the Guardian wrote, was “loud, arch and snappishly funny [with] the mien of a runaway train, words hurtling forth, helter-skelter.”

It remains the case. Before the pandemic, she threw famous dinner parties which brought unlikely people together. Now a contributing editor for the Daily Beast, she throws politicians, scientists, policy wonks and comedians together on a podcast, a form of broadcasting well suited to pandemic life. Down the phone – or up it – from Wall Street to the Upper East Side, appropriately socially distanced, I appropriate one of her own ways to start any interview. A few introductory remarks, then …

“Talk to me about that.”

And she does.

[the Conservative Political Action Conference] in Washington DC. As I was coming home, I got an email that said, ‘If you were at CPAC, you may have been exposed to a super-spreader, and you need to quarantine.’ So I actually called the school nurses at all my kids’ schools and I said, ‘You guys, what I do?’

“Since nobody really knew anything about the virus, they said, ‘Look, you can do whatever you want, but we would really appreciate if you would just keep your kids home for two weeks.’ I was like, ‘Absolutely. We don’t know anything.’ As someone who is not a doctor but who is completely obsessed with my own physical health in a totally deranged and neurotic way, I’m proud to say I’ve worried about every pandemic that comes. I was worried about H1N1 before.

“And you could see this coming. I have friends in Milan … You saw these stories about Milan, and you knew we were a week behind or we were two weeks behind. I had a friend in London … her mother had a fancy private doctor and the fancy private doctor would send her these letters about who was going to get treatment in the hospital and who was going to be left at home to die.

“So I had a sense that that stuff was coming, so I really made sure that everybody locked down way early in my house. Then I had nothing to do.

“So I said, ‘Let’s start a podcast.’ I had sort of been the driver behind it because I had wanted to do a podcast. Everybody has a podcast. It’s a thing. But I’m always interested in what other people have to tell me. So … I get a lot from it.

“Another thing about me is, besides being dyslexic and a horrible student, I have terrible, terrible ADHD, which has never been medicated. I don’t take medicine for it because I’m 23 years sober, so it just would be too complicated for me. And I’m a person who was, in my heyday, a terrible cocaine addict, so I would not trust myself for a minute with ADHD drugs.”

novels and a memoir about being the daughter of a writer who wrote a lot about sex. In the 1970s, her mum invented “the zipless fuck”. But I digress. As Jong-Fast likes to say to interviewees: “Continue.”

“But I’m super ADHD, so I get very bored very easily. So we get these people, and if they don’t say interesting stuff, I’m like, ‘Eh.’ I’m like, ‘This is very boring.’ So I think that has made the pod good, because I do these interviews and I get very bored. Then I’m like, ‘Come on. Get going here, people.’”

New Abnormal interviews are fascinating and often hilarious. That’s down to a mix of the ethics of podcasting, looser than for talk radio – as Cannon says, “FCC guidelines would never be able to handle what we do” – and the ethics of the Daily Beast, a New York tabloid in website form, pugilistic and intelligent, taking the fight to the man.

Another Jong-Fast interview technique, very much in the vein of the podcast’s one beloved regular segment, Fuck That Guy, is to ask key questions in the bluntest way possible. Take two recent examples. To the White House Covid adviser Andy Slavitt: “Can you explain to me what’s happening with AstraZeneca, because that seems to me very much a clusterfuck.” To Ian Dunt of politics.co.uk, there to discuss Brexit: “What the fuck is wrong with your country?”

Andy Slavitt speaks during a White House briefing on the Biden administration’s response to the Covid-19. Photograph: AP

What the fuck is that all about?

“Well, as someone who was interviewed a lot when I was young and would sit through endless mother being interviewed, grandfather [the novelist Howard Fast, who wrote Spartacus] being interviewed, always watching, I always think that the worst questions are the questions where you tell the person what you want them to say.

“Look, I get it. I write things all the time where I want people to say stuff, but you can’t really get them to say it anyway … Part of it is I always think you should make it so they’re comfortable enough to really tell you what’s going on and to let you in. Also, I think they know that I don’t have a malicious intent. I just want people to see who they are.”

What they are, in many cases after a year of lockdown, is suffering.

“I had Mary Trump on the pod again today,” Jong-Fast says, of the former president’s niece. “She’s a psychiatrist, so she and I always talk about mental health because I’m just a sober person, and when you’re sober you’re always in your head thinking about mental health. We were talking about how we really are in the middle of this terrible mental health crisis, and everyone is just in denial about it.”

Donald Trump has left the White House. The Biden administration is flooding the zone with vaccines. But we are still in the new abnormal.

“I’m always surprised no one sees that. So it’s like, ‘Well, I don’t understand why I have a terrible headache. It can’t be because hundreds of thousands of Americans have died.’ So it is weird.”

‘I wish we could get more Republicans’

The New Abnormal has featured Democrats – senators, representatives, candidates – and bureaucrats and technocrats too. But in both the very strange election year in which the pod was born and in the brave new world of Biden, few Republicans have followed.

John Cowan, who lost to Marjorie Taylor Greene.
John Cowan, who lost to Marjorie Taylor Greene. Photograph: Elijah Nouvelage/Reuters

“I wish we could get more,” Jong-Fast says. “I think I got one Republican guy who was running for Congress, but it’s not so easy.”

That was John Cowan, from Georgia, who ran against Marjorie Taylor Greene and her racially charged conspiracy theories – and lost.

“Yes, and he’s going to run again. He’s a neurosurgeon. I was thrilled to get him. But they’re not so interested in coming on, even the sort of moderates.”

She does the booking herself, so perhaps Congressman Adam Kinzinger or Senator Mitt Romney might one day pick up the phone to find Jong-Fast full blast.

“‘You are a fucking genius. Why are you so brilliant?’ I’m very good at schnorring people into doing things for me. I’m very able to just endlessly schnorr people. I think that’s key to getting the guests.”

I don’t know what schnorr means.

“It means you sort of just put the arm on people to get them to come on the pod. The guests are the big thing because the people who want to come on are often not people you really want.”

A lot of listeners want Wilson to return. Jong-Fast, formerly an unpaid adviser to the Lincoln Project, calls him “a very good friend” but is uncomfortable talking about his absence from the podcast – which was prompted by allegations of sexual harassment against another Lincoln Project co-founder and reporting on fundraising and internal politics.

Cannon calls Wilson “one of the most politically astute people in America” and “a genius”. And he may well be back, one day, to reconstitute the double act, the Florida Republican and the Upper East Side liberal lobbing spiralling profanity at the extremity, inanity and insanity of Trumpism and life under Covid-19.

But it’s not all about fighting back.

“I wish there were a little bit more good-faith want for people to interact with the other side,” Jong-Fast says. “Look, there are people on the other side, like Marjorie Taylor Greene, who are not good-faith actors, and you can’t even try. But there are people like Mitt Romney who, while I don’t agree with him on a lot of things, he’s a very good-faith actor. So I think there’s a real chance.”

If you’re reading, Mitt, if Molly calls … pick up the phone.

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