The Weeds
The Weeds
via Podcasts
Needs a new host
Under JQ, the analysis seems to have gotten shallower (she is not bringing out a new white paper every week), but the tone has also grown less appealing. It feels like she begins by feigning more ignorance about the week's topic than should be possible for someone who has been in her job for as long as she has. And that seems to be in service of gently walking the audience toward positions that more or less anyone clicking subscribe on a Vox politics podcast already holds. It makes me miss Yglesias, who despite having a voice made for sign language, had a way of starting from a place of at least some knowledge and digging into whether the latest avaialbe data supported or undermined the positions his acknowledged liberal values were "supposed" to be endorsing. That was a more engaging format than the current iteration.
Read more
Not What it Used to Be
The Weeds used to be a great podcast for getting into the fine detail complex policy issues. Since the change in hosting, it’s just another hour of random people talking about social issues, and in a decidedly dumbed-down way compared to the tone of the old show. While those are important conversations, that’s not what this show was supposed to be, and other podcasts do it far better. I’m out.
Mogera Robusta
Gone downhill
I’ve been listening to the show since the very beginning. It’s gotten much worse over the last couple years, as has Vox in general. I’ve continued to follow the show and tried listening to select episodes, but I’m disappointed every time. It’s become smug and pretentious and it’s time to just accept that it’s no longer the great show it once was. Only show worth listening from Vox is the Grey Area.
Read more
Used to love the show
It feels like this show is losing its secret sauce. As others noted, I used to love this pod because it felt like there was a strong emphasis on nuance, complexity, and unexpected realizations. Basically I loved when the show really got into the nerdy, messy weeds and data, the stuff below the mainstream top line. Lately, the show has had a strong focus on inequality and systemic inequities. These are very important topics but it has felt like the discussion is demanding of more complexity and fewer easy answers. Maybe this content is revelatory to some, but to me I feel like the episodes have had a sort of no-duh quality (yes, racism is bad, pervasive, and systemic, you don’t need to convince me. I’m sold!). I think there’s a lot of value in talking about these topics, I just wish the discussion was more nuanced. Like the DEI episode, would have loved to hear host and guests talk about the research showing DEI trainings don’t work, what that means, is this research right, and what is path forward? Basically vox has a well read, liberal audience and folks who tune into the weeds expect complex content. It sometimes feels like there is a discussion over whether something is an issue. You don’t need to convince us inequity is an issue - we agree. Now let’s talk about the not so easy things, like what to do about it.
Read more
Miss the old weeds
Eviction show
I completely understand the points you’re making during this episode. Numbers don’t. I honestly, don’t see a clear answer to this problem. Yes, some ppl need help. With that being said, ppl needing help and ppl trying to work the system and get free lodging can look the same. Before I got sober a few years back, I was friends with allot of shady ppl. Most of them tried to get out of paying rent, in one form or another. Most would just hit up church outreach centers. Anyway, I said all that to make the point that ppl are never going to take those in need seriously, until ppl stop trying to use those social programs to skirt their own responsibilities.
Read more
The_ship_ is_going_down
Love Keds <3
I love Kathryn Edward’s’ videos! Thanks for inviting her as a guest. Loved her perspective!!!!!
ian from madison
bds episode
the episode was basically propaganda. All arguments from those who oppose bds were reduced to “it’s antisemitic.” The host kept referring to the movement being controversial, and then made a bad faith effort to unpack the nuance in such a way that bds didn’t come out looking like a squeaky clean social justice movement.
Lost its weedsy-ness
I’ve been listening to this show since it began. I’m about to stop. When it started it was very much in the weeds and had more of a focus on actual research and technical details and tended to give a more balanced view. It has lost most of that, most of it seemingly with the big Vox shake up a few years ago. I am a deeply progressive liberal. But I want to understand the facts underneath something and not just listen to something spouting from a left biased perspective, and it feels that that’s where this has gone. I know what my viewpoint is – but I want to understand technical details to understand if I should adjust it, not just listen to confirmation bias
Read more
Usability guy
Bring Back The Depth
I miss when this show was unashamedly wonky. I didn’t love every single take back then, but it forced me to think more deeply about issues in ways recent episodes just don’t. I was particularly irked by the episode about fast fashion. I think the average Vox listener understands the basic problems with modern clothes production — we’re looking for the next level of analysis. I felt a bit insulted by the lack of depth of the episode’s coverage as someone who cares particularly about this issue. Also, leave the host and her vocal fry alone. Those comments come off as quite misogynistic. I have never in my life been distracted by someone’s vocal fry, if I even notice it at all.
Read more
Em Castro
Please stop
Vocal fry. Is like nails on a blackboard. I am forced to boycott all podcasts who use women that slip into this annoying habit that’s become epidemic. Stop it!
Too much vocal fry
Y’all do a terrific job, really, and I want to keep listening. But you sound like a couple of Valley Girls explaining the news. I just can’t take it anymore. Unsubscribing
Biased towards government intervention
I appreciate the information and viewpoints shared in the show, but it makes me sad that their first solution is always to have the government who created our problems fix those same problems……………………………………………. The hosts are Ivy League, privileged intellectuals who debate philosophy while never talking to people actually affected or promoting community over government (they don’t need community, they have everything they need). They don’t understand the problems real people have while they sit in their ivory tower. Recently they highlighted how the government props up pharmaceutical companies with intellectual property law. (Insulin specifically)………………… ……………………….Instead of addressing the fact that government is supporting and protecting companies who sell insulin at steep prices through patent laws preventing others from making those drugs affordably, they celebrate giving the government MORE POWER over our healthcare by having the State produce medicine. If the insulin patents were not enforced by our government (or the government shared the patent they plan to use publicly), then anyone could make insulin. Seems much easier than starting an entirely new drug manufacturing department of the government……… ………….More and more people are losing trust with our government and we need MORE options, not a single centralized option as dictated by the political party in power. Putting decisions like these in the hands of government is why we are so divided, and we can’t get past the 2 party polarization until we stop trying to control everyone with our party politics.
Read more
Earnest naïf gives guest monologue
This podcast has grown increasingly introductory in its content. This isn’t really in the weeds, it’s stuck on the surface. I’d prefer the host to actually know more about the topic and have a viewpoint, like Ezra Klein or 538 (back in the day).
Aug 9 episode on behavioral/mental health care
I am a therapist and I feel there are a lot of Important nuances that are being left out of the conversation here and elsewhere, including the Biden proposal. It’s frustrating to me that the bulk of this conversation is being led by policy experts and not the people on the ground providing care. First and foremost, the mental health reimbursement rate from most insurance companies is simply inadequate to provide quality care. It’s not just “not lucrative” it’s just not enough. It’s expensive to become a therapist. It’s 2 years in a graduate program plus post graduate supervision as well as licensure fees and continuing education. Then we have to pay for expenses as well as our own livelihoods. A huge chunk of therapists are also small business owners who need to figure out their insurance, retirement, etc, and the reimbursement rate is just too low. So we leave the networks for our own survival. Most therapists really don’t want lucrative, they just want enough to feel financially stable. Second, people come to therapy for a lot of different reasons, just like some people go to the doctor for a lot of different reasons. If you have a therapist seeing mostly low risk patients with strong support networks, they can take a much higher caseload than clients who take high risk or complex cases, yet the reimbursement rate is the same. 45 min of therapy is 45 min of therapy regardless of the diagnosis or work outside of session. Also, none of that work outside of face to face therapy is compensated. If I have a patient who needs to seek inpatient care and I have to coordinate with the care team at the hospital, that could be hours, but I won’t get paid. This is ESPECIALLY burdensome and problematic for therapists of color, who are more likely to have higher student loan debt and less likely to have any generational wealth to lean on. There is a reason people of color cannot find therapists of color and it’s because the system is horrible for them. Horrible behind reimbursement rates but that’s for another day. Yes, insurance providers put up barriers for patients that make it harder for them to access care. That needs to be stop. But until therapists are paid what they are worth for their work, the issue simply will not be solved.
Read more
Your podcasters described an issue, but
It is near impossible to get an outpatient appointment with either and/or BOTH a psychiatrist and/or a non-MD therapist that is covered by health insurance. It is impossible to do so when your insurance is Managed Medicaid. Many days weeks months hours scouring lists and placing phone calls take your time and take you down bottomless rabbit holes. if one weren’t already mentally I’ll, this thankless task will drive you there. What is changing and when? I eagerly listened to find out.
Read more
Aug 9 ep on mental health coverage re medicaid
In alabama on medicaid (not managed care) they will not allow you to choose your provider (for any other medical service on medicaid -except dental for adults- you choose who you see, if they take medicaid). For mental health, you have to go through a state agency and have to be seen in an office. It’s terrible and underfunded and sub par because the need is so high the therapists are so overburdened. It is absolutely not a priority in alabama to care for its residents.
Read more
Used to be a balanced/informative left-leaning podcast
I used to truly appreciate this podcast. Now it’s much less “the weeds”—a deep dive into issues of interest—and much more just self-affirming chatter between progressive left host and guest. The first part of the student loan episode was indistinguishable from just reading twitter outrage. Fine if that’s what you like, but that’s not what I signed up to listen to. Sigh.
Balance is needed
Occasionally listen to weeds to balance out the far right news feed I ingest including media companies like the federalist and newsmax. By listening to far left media like the weeds and far right media like news Max, I get closer to the truth and further away from each viewpoints bias “truth”
Right? Not right.
Seems as though too many people use the word ‘right’ and ‘you know’, to the point of excess and into annoying.
How did it go so far off the rails?
I have been a fan of this podcast since at least 2016 when it stood out from the crowd for its critical thinking, deep dives into complex issues, and discussions of intriguing white papers. In its first iteration, you always had the sense that the hosts—Ezra Klein, Matt Yglesias, Dara Lind, and Sarah Kliff—had meticulously researched their topics rather than relying on Twitter or the media narrative of the moment. I also felt that, while the hosts themselves had fairly openly left-leaning views, they nonetheless strove to present issues as objectively as the could and generally tried to avoid relying too heavily on opinions that couldn’t really be supported except through moralistic appeals. I’ve held on and continued to listen to the show through many changes of hosts and all the upheaval at Vox. I think I’m finally turning in my card after the recent Affirmative Action episode. While I support Affirmative Action in hiring and admissions to various degrees, the whole presentation of the subject was so biased and just disingenuous it really left a terrible taste in my mouth. Aside from essentially equating any opponent of the policy to white supremacists, the podcast also minimized the data Harvard was forced to release in which they systematically downgraded the “personality” scores of applicants of East Asian descent. Moreover, they began the historical discussion of these policies with the civil rights movement, employing an out of context MLK quote in a totally bogus way, conveniently neglecting the checkered origin of “holistic admissions” as a means of minimizing the number of Jewish applicants that Ivy League universities would have been forced in a system based solely on aptitude testing. There was also little to no reckoning with the fact that Affirmative Action has become democratically unpopular across all demographic groups, including 60% of Black Americans who oppose race being a consideration in admissions. At this point, considering race in college admissions has about an identical degree of support and disapproval as the use of legacy admissions (about 5-7% approval for each as a major factor in admissions, and about 75% of Americans saying that both should “not be a factor” in admissions). There are good cases to be made for racial preference in admissions and hiring, but the notion that this is self-evident to anyone but a blatant racist is ridiculous. It’s all just a shame because this really was a great show that seemed to avoid some of the more divisive elements of political debate by drilling down to the facts and embraced complexity. Now it seems to have all the journalistic integrity of Fox News, but just on behalf of the other team.
Read more
17 May 2023
The US has a huge new child immigration population. Most of these are ESL and high school students. They may have a large payment to pay for their immigration costs and are often feeling obliged to send monies home to their families. Unfortunately, a lot of these children are being forced into the workforce by their own families…
I want to keep loving the Weeds
JQ is a delightful young reporter but simply doesn’t have the tenure in this work to bring the kind of nuanced and referenced thought partnership that prior hosts have contributed to the show’s dynamic. This is not a failure of JQ or other who join the show; this is a failure of Vox to be a compelling place for tenured reporters and thoughtleaders to congregate since its founding class has moved on. Vox has become a de facto incubator for reporters who intend to eventually end up at large national outlets and/or writing books. No shade to Vox for taking on that role in the media ecosystem, but it does mean that a show like this, which relies on relatively experienced hosts connecting current events to trends and prior data, flounders. It was by definition wonky and in the weeds as the title suggests, and the current set up just sets a newer reporter up for failure unless they happen to be a political historian on top of being a good journalist.
Read more
not what it used to be
Unfortunately, the new host (Ms. Hill) has a very limited understanding of the subjects covered on the podcast, so the episodes rise and fall on how clearly and intelligently the guests can explain a subject. Do not expect probing or clarifying follow-up questions from the host.
Ezra, Sarah, Dara, Jane, Matt were incredibly insightful hosts and always brought a deep dive into wonky topics. Dylan, Jerusalem, and German clearly had less experience and gave a slightly less serious tone, but still brought a lot of insightful and useful conversations. Then at some point without notice this became a completely different show under the same name, but bearing more resemblance to Vox’s Today Explained than it did to the Weeds of before. For many months now it has been a surface-level explainer and interview show. Bring back the white papers! Bring back Dylan (and Dara or anyone else if willing). Bring back the nuanced conversations and difficult debates, not just an explanatory narration or question-and-answer interview format.
Read more
Feb 1 episode
Very shabby job on the housing discrimination episode. The host and guest dishonestly elide the distinction between de facto and de jure segregation.
James Tripoli
Used to be awesome now it’s terrible
I used to look forward to the deep dives on this show. Now it’s just an interview podcast. This show was great and unique, now it’s just plain terrible. Unfollowed.
Structure man 888
No longer
This used to an insightful podcast that dissected complicated policies and provided in depth analysis. Now the analysis barely gets past the surface. The topics covered are no longer interesting or captivating.
I miss Sara Kliff
I used to listen to “The Weeds” regularly but then Sarah Kliff left and then Ezra Klein and they were left with the barely useful Matthew Yglesias. Matthew was tolerable but then he left. And, I don’t miss him at all. I can catch Ezra on his new podcast but I still miss Sarah. She was the best of the bunch.
Excellent excellent podcast
This podcast deals with extremely important subjects of our time and not at a superficial level but really delves deep and I learne so much from listening to this podcast. This type of programming makes me think about these Important issues in a serious serious way.
Gone downhill
The show used to be good with its old hosts, but now it’s way too dumbed down. I would have thought their target audience to be a lot more well-informed than they seem to believe.
Bring back Matt!
When Matthew Yglesias hosted this podcast, it was among the best available: great topics and guests and highly insightful and nuanced discussion. Now the topics are much less interesting and the analysis and discussions are fairly predictable...nothing that surprises me or makes me question or refine my existing views, as occurred frequently in the Yglesias era. Time for a reboot.
river science
A devoted fan calls for a podcast to remain true to itself
The Weeds began as the flagship podcast for With its wonky and earnest discussion of the minutiae of public policy, it embodied so much of what Vox was attempting to build as a digital publication: deep dives that explain the news in an accessible format. Week after week, hosts Ezra Klein (now at the New York Times), Sarah Kliff (also The NY Times), and Matt Yglesias (now Substacking at Slow Boring) chopped it up on the ins and outs of policy proposals or whatever might be the wonky topic of the day. It was glorious, unique, and made a name for itself, blazing a trail for other policy-minded podcasts to follow. As the years went by other wonky hosts came and went: Jane Coaston (NYT), Dara Lind (ProPublica, now a freelancer), German Lopez (NYT), Jerusalem Demsas (the Atlantic), and Dylan Matthews (still at Vox). Each host brought their own quirks and interests to the mic but remained true to Vox’s and the Weeds’ original spirit. Of late, as other reviewers have highlighted, the Weeds seems to be getting away from deep dives and wonky policy discussions and stepping towards becoming something of a general news discussion podcast. While there is nothing wrong with that, it is not what has brought fans of the Weeds back week after week for hundreds of episodes. I am someone who has listened to this podcast for years and considered it among my favorites; I even attended a live taping some years back. The last few months of episodes have made me question whether it is essential listening the way it once was. If this podcast is moving towards more general explainer fare, it should probably rename itself. My hope is that it will stay true to its animating spirit.
Read more
Sam, longtime fan
Very rapidly going downhill!
Have listened weekly for years but I think it’s time to cut the cord. Feels like this podcast has abandoned its old audience in search of a few new listeners. Conversation has shifted to become very surface level.
What happened to this?
Long time listener. This now feels like a high school class not a college level class. You all lost your way in a great brand Vox had. Rename or recast please!
Used to be a weekly listen.
Has really gone down hill since all of the original hosts and their original replacements left. I couldn’t stand the new format
A long slide from greatness
When I first started listening to the weeds, I heard exciting, smart, and heterodox analysis that always made me think harder about the issues, and learn about new issues to boot. I don’t know who decided on this new host and format, but now it’s a basic explainer fare interview show that doesn’t offer any new information to the policy junkie for whom this show is supposedly intended for. I don’t need a q&a to learn about basic definitions and political economy 101 - bring the deep cuts back, please
Read more
Liked it before, I like it now
Pretty disappointed
I have listened to this podcast for a bit and have generally felt better informed, but I can no longer say that. The past couple have been subpar, but this one about inflation was maddening. Poor communication and bad answers, and little respect for the fact that the very rich are doing great. No talk of stock buybacks or estate taxes, just poor commentary
DO get into the weeds!
The Weeds is a podcast I discovered via Fresh Air, and an interview with Sarah Kliff about health care insurance. This intrepid trio are so well-read, and so curious about the ways and means of economics and governance, that I often have to pause and rewind, so that I can grok the conversation. They have no interest in making what they're talking about entertaining. They're 3 folks talking about their subject, and they chime in with their areas of expertise, and often agree to disagree. I highly recommend this podcast for those who want to get smarter about politics, government, and the economy. Update: loving the new hosts, with the same acumen and curiosity. If only more Americans were willing to wade in to experience dispassionate discussions of policy, we might not have such a dysfunctional national or regional system of politics and governance 👏🏼👏🏼♥️
Read more
Dumbed down
I used to go to the Weeds to learn more about a subject than I already knew.
A shadow of its former self
I used to love this podcast but find myself less and less excited to listen to it.
Needs better guests
Jonathan Guyer is a pretty sub-par Weeds guest. Rather than going into specific alternative policies for the War on Terror, he simply jumps from one topic to the next always posing questions but never detailed alternatives. Zach is pretty good host.
Missed opportunities w/ recent SCOTUS pod
I’ve yet to hear many news sources speak about the churches involvement. You got six conservatives that are Catholic and what’s Vatican say no abortion or contraception and they have open border policy. And not to mention group prayers with one side presenting certain cases.
Like, ya’ know, it’s pretty good?
Like, Dara and, like, the Dylans seem, like, in a competition with each other to, like, see who can, like, ya’ know, fit the most ‘likes’ into every sentence? And apparently in, like, this competition there’s, like, bonus points given for, ya know, additional Millennial speech artifacts, like vocal fry and, like, finishing declarative sentences in the tone of a question? The hosts and frequent guests of this show are obviously very intelligent, and I love the concept of deep dive discussions into policy-related topics, but their unprofessional manner of speaking is very distracting and makes them sound a lot less smart than they are. I’ll be skipping episodes when any of these three appear.
Read more
Only 1 L in Law
I realize this is very side point, but why is the host saying “lawl?” It’s law. Not lawl. You pronounce words for a living. Fix it. Pleasel.
devil zilla
Why we fight
After listening the episode of “why we fight” I remembered a book I read that might help you think a bit deeper…Braiding Sweetgrass” and I especially direct your attention to the chapter “Allegiance to Gratitude.” pp105-117. The best conflict avoiding advice ever.
Conceited and Bias
These kids sound like they grew up in a very sheltered environment and think they know everything. They’re like Clueless meets band camp. Everything is presented from a left view, without serious alternatives. They are obviously smart but it gets hard to listen to after a while. I preferred Matt Yglesias.
Reasonable Seattleite
Love this podcast…so informative…many perspectives…
Constanza from NY
Excellent podcast
Jerusalem is awesome - always enjoy hearing her thoughts. Appreciate the deep dives with subject matter experts too
go pirates!
Too much style bleeding in from today explained
I regularly skip episodes with the current lineup of hosts and guests. I used to love the show but I miss the days where the hosts would argue productively but fiercely with each other about issues; that fire is completely cold. Modern episodes sound almost choreographed rather than free flowing in any sense of the words and I feel the hosts treat the audience as “other people” that they are educating by powerpoint or Prezi in a way the old lineup of individuals actively worked to avoid. I regularly confused Matthews and Lopez when they hosted together because there wasn’t enough difference between them academically or politically to distinguish between their similar voices. If I wanted to hear people agree with each other I’d put daytime talk TV on. Oh well.
Read more
Slow down!
I had to stop listening because Jerusalem talks WAY too fast!! I can’t be the first or only one to comment on this. I literally checked to see if I had accidentally hit the speed and had it playing on 2x speed. Holy cow.
Load more