Why Is This Happening? with Chris Hayes-logo

Why Is This Happening? with Chris Hayes


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.

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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NBC News


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.




Educating the Internet with Natalie Wynn

You might think that nothing good happens on the Internet anymore. It's just an algorithmically driven continuous feed of rage, disinformation, and subterfuge. Natalie Wynn, known for her YouTube channel ContraPoints, proves that good things are still happening on the Internet. Part philosopher, part performance artist, and wholly genre-defying, Wynn crafts gorgeous and ethereal video essays on everything from TERFS and J.K Rowling to the rise of incels. There’s no one on the Internet quite...


Fighting Back the Virus with Andy Slavitt

Here in the United States, things are closer to normal than they have been in a long time. Businesses have reopened, gatherings have started to resume, and COVID cases and deaths continue to fall to levels that we have not seen since the very beginning of the pandemic. But even three months ago, it was not clear that this would be the point we are at. So how did the government ramp up its vaccine campaign to get us to a closer normal? This week former White House senior advisor to the COVID...


Energy and Evolution with Herman Pontzer

How does the human body take in and use energy? It is a simple question, but one that we still do not have a definitive answer to. This week Associate Professor of Evolutionary Anthropology, Herman Pontzer, joins to shed light on these evolutionary mysteries. How did our bodies get to be the way they are? How do we take in and expend energy? And how do we keep ourselves happy and healthy in the modern world we have built?


How the Word is Passed with Clint Smith

What we call history isn't a fixed thing; it's a narrative, contested and fought over, changing over time. Right now, the United States is in the midst of a massive historical battle over its own narrative, specifically the legacy of slavery and race in America. The backlash to that fight is spilling into public policy as Republican state legislatures push to regulate the way students are taught about the founding of our country. In Clint Smith's new book "How The Word is Passed", Smith...


Treating Trans Youth with Dr. Izzy Lowell

What is gender-affirming health care? Around the country, there’s a Republican campaign to legislate and regulate the lives of trans youth. The most destructive of these efforts would bar trans youth in certain states from accessing gender-affirming treatment. Dr. Izzy Lowell runs Queer Med, a private clinic that specializes in providing accessible health care to trans patients ranging from kids to adults. Her practice covers 10 states across the South – and half of those have anti-trans...


A More Violent America with Patrick Sharkey

What causes violent crime rates to rise? It probably won’t surprise you to learn that 2020 was the deadliest year in American history but what you may not know is that 2020 also saw a staggering rise in homicides and violent crime. It’s impossible to separate the two – the indefinite closure of crucial community spaces and abrupt economic upheaval were felt nationwide but hit hardest in areas most vulnerable to increased interpersonal violence. To understand what happened last year, it’s...


A Life in China with Te-Ping Chen

We largely hear about China in the news through the lens of what the Chinese government is doing, but it is a country with billions of people and a history thousands of years old. For as large and influential as it is, Americans do not consume Chinese cultural exports in the same way that China does in the reverse. Chinese made movies are not screened in most theaters across the United States. We do not watch Chinese sitcoms dubbed. While China and other countries regularly consume American...


The Premonition with Michael Lewis

Back in 2019, a panel of health experts declared that of every country in the whole world, the United States was the most prepared for handling a pandemic. So what went wrong? Acclaimed author Michael Lewis is unparalleled in unearthing the most compelling characters to tell an unexpected story – it’s no wonder he’s had multiple books turned into movies (The Blind Side, Moneyball, The Big Short). Now, Lewis has done it again with his latest book, “The Premonition”, following the people who...


Is Bitcoin for Real? with Joe Weisenthal

How does bitcoin work? Where did it come from, why does it exist, and will it ever be used for everyday purchases? Far from some passing fad, bitcoin has been around for more than a decade now and shows no signs of going anywhere. We figured it was long overdue to understand the most well-known cryptocurrency and the problem it is trying to solve. Lucky for us, Bloomberg editor Joe Weisenthal came prepared.


The Whiteness of Wealth with Dorothy A. Brown

Racial hierarchy in America is deeply embedded in big structural institutions. From housing to criminal justice to education, there’s decades of scholarly work and research dissecting the lasting legacies of policies that disproportionately disenfranchise people of color. Now, tax law scholar Dorothy A. Brown has a mind-blowing new book about race and tax, uncovering the ways the tax code is constructed to build white wealth while impoverishing black Americans. In a conversation that is...


The Endurance of Wikipedia with Katherine Maher

Wikipedia is not like a lot of our current internet. It’s not like sites like Facebook, Twitter, or YouTube that mines its users’ attention and tries to capture it through push notifications and algorithms in order to maximize profits. Wikipedia is a vestige of an earlier de-commodified, open sourced internet. It’s an amazing well of knowledge built from decentralized human collaboration that anyone with an internet connection can freely access. It is an incredible institution where users...


Vaccines: How Do They Work? with Dr. Peter Hotez

What happens in your body after you get a vaccine? The arrival of the COVID-19 vaccines feels like the first positive mile marker in the pandemic but folks have a lot of questions – How were they developed? How do they work? Is there anything we should worry about? Dr. Peter Hotez has been a leading voice over the last year, lending his expertise in global health and vaccine development during some of the most crucial moments of the pandemic. Now, he’s here to address our biggest questions...


Who Gets To Say with John McWhorter

Over the past few years a broader conversation around speech has intensified in the United States. It is a conversation about speech, taboo, social justice, power and hierarchy, penalty about what things people can or can't say, should or shouldn't say in what environments, and what censure should attach to that kind of speech. It’s an incredibly thorny conversation to have, filled with exhaustively overused terms like “cancel culture”, but it is not an unimportant one. This week scholar and...


One-Click America with Alec MacGillis

Amazon puts just about everything you might need one click away and over the last year, people have been turning to the tech giant more than ever. But all that frictionless efficiency comes at huge social costs. In his new book “Fulfillment: Winning and Losing in One-Click America”, ProPublica Reporter Alec MacGillis investigates Amazon’s impact on the deepening economic divide in towns and cities across the country. Fulfillment: Winning and Losing in One-Click America by Alec...


Minimum Wage 101 with Arin Dube

What happens when you raise the minimum wage? The almost decade long push for a federal 15$ minimum wage made new noise in the last few weeks when Democrats tried to include it in the American Relief Act. Although this new push failed, the policy remains incredibly popular even though there are even some Democrats who are opposed. So, what are the real world consequences of a raised minimum wage, and what are its impacts on the market and labor? This week professor of economics at the...


One Year of Plague Living with Michelle Goldberg

We have reached the point where we are hitting anniversary markers in this pandemic. It was just about this time a year ago when all of our lives completely changed. Businesses went dark, schools went remote, we separated ourselves and hit pause on daily life in order to slow the spread of a once in a century pandemic. It is a rare event that has been completely inescapable and that we have all had to deal with to the best of our abilities. This week New York Times columnist, Michelle...


Finding Truth in Doubt with Anna Deavere Smith

Critically acclaimed playwright and actress Anna Deavere Smith crafts groundbreaking art at the intersection of journalism and theater. Her explosive one-woman plays centered on the Los Angeles riots and the Crown Heights riots, “Twilight: Los Angeles” and “Fires in the Mirror” respectively, took shape from hundreds of interviews conducted by Smith herself. Her newest piece, “Notes From the Field” had her traveling everywhere from Finland to the Yurok Tribe of Northern California, compiling...


Powering the Grid with David Roberts

This conversation starts at Grid Talk 101 (what even is an energy grid) and ends at the fragility of modern life. That can only mean one thing – David Roberts is back. An energy and climate journalist, Roberts explains that we have every reason to believe that we’ll see an increase in the freak weather events like the one that wrought havoc on Texas. And as we witnessed firsthand, one failure, one breakdown in a system, can have a deadly domino effect resulting in some truly dystopic...


Modi’s “Arrogance of Power” and the Indian Farmers’ Protests with Rana Ayyub

A short while ago, you may have seen posts crossing your social media feeds from celebrities and activists like Rihanna or Greta Thunberg showing support for farmers in India. Right now, one of the world’s largest protest movements is taking place across India. Millions of farmers are demonstrating against a set of policy proposals passed by Narendra Modi and his government. In turn, Modi has tried to quash the movement, going so far as attempting to force Twitter to silence any critical...


Whose Land with Rebecca Nagle

Roughly 19 million acres of eastern Oklahoma hung in the balance in the summer of 2020. Before the Supreme Court was a case asking a question crucial to Native land rights - does the United States still honor the treaties signed in the 1800s promising that land to indigenous tribes? And in a landmark 5-4 decision penned by conservative justice Neil Gorsuch, the court ruled that yes, that land remains reservation land. It was a huge win - but what does it mean? Joining us this week is Rebecca...