Today, Explained

News comes at you fast. Join us at the end of your day to understand it. Today, Explained is your all killer, no filler, Monday to Friday news explainer co-hosted by Sean Rameswaram and Noel King. Every episode features the finest reporters from the Vox Media Podcast Network and beyond.

Daily News
Justice For Breonna Taylor (Part II)
One of the three officers who shot at Breonna Taylor’s apartment was indicted ... for endangering her neighbors. Tessa Duvall from the Louisville Courier-Journal explains. And Vox’s Fabiola Cineas says the ruling isn’t surprising.
21 min
Dr. Fauci on pandemic politics
With mounting concerns over the politicization of federal health agencies, Dr. Anthony Fauci explains why Americans should still trust the vaccine approval process.
24 min
Working from work
What do a bus driver, a teacher, a McDonald’s employee, and a project manager with a conference on her calendar all have in common?
21 min
RBG’s seat
Republicans appear ready to fill the seat left vacant by Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg before the end of the year. Vox’s Ian Millhiser explains Democrats’ last defense.
19 min
The fight over Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s Supreme Court seat has already begun, but let’s not forget to celebrate her legendary life.
28 min
Class of Covid-19
Colleges reopened. Outbreaks followed. Robert J. Jones, chancellor of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, explains why he still thinks bringing students back was the right decision.
24 min
ICE and involuntary hysterectomies
A whistleblower complaint alleges immigrants being detained by Immigrations and Customs Enforcement in Georgia have been subjected to involuntary procedures — including hysterectomies. Vox’s Nicole Narea explains.
18 min
A firefighter on battling wildfires
After 16 seasons of wildfires, Glen Haydon has figured out how to cope. For everyone else, there’s an app for that.
21 min
This is the future Joe Biden wants
Trillions spent on the environment, caregiving, manufacturing, and the racial wealth gap: Vox’s Dylan Matthews explains how Biden wants to “Build Back Better.”
22 min
Can the Democrats take the Senate?
Vox’s Ella Nilsen says the implausible is now looking possible.
22 min
The pandemic hasn’t stopped Americans from dating, hooking up, or tying the knot. In fact, lockdown has been helping people get down.
21 min
What was Putin the tea?
A chief political rival of Vladimir Putin has been poisoned in what Foreign Policy’s Amy MacKinnon says is a watershed moment for Russia.
18 min
The truth about herd immunity
Some people think it’s the only way out of the pandemic. Those people are very wrong.
17 min
A Fake News Survival Guide
As the election draws near, of fake news you must steer clear. For you (and your uncle), this episode is here.
20 min
The movies are back*
*But that doesn’t necessarily mean you should go see one.
25 min
Is the stock market bull?
Vox’s Emily Stewart clears up the mystery of the market, and Ella Nilsen offers an update on the stimulus that has collapsed into stalemate.
18 min
Let’s talk about ventilation
Ventilation is key to reopening office buildings safely. But The Atlantic’s Derek Thompson says many workers aren’t going back, even when it’s safer.
22 min
Is Facebook ready for the election?
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg says the company made an “operational mistake” in its handling of Kenosha militia groups. The Verge’s Casey Newton explains whether that has implications for November’s election.
21 min
Wakanda forever
The actor Chadwick Boseman died of cancer on Friday, but because of Black Panther he’ll live forever.
17 min
The Island of Explained: A Summer of Protest
All summer long, we have been explaining complex news stories to kids. In our final summer camp journey to the Island of Explained, we tackle the fight for racial justice in the United States.
24 min
Unconventional (Part II)
The GOP proved that laws were made to be broken at its 2020 convention.
24 min
Jacob Blake was shot in the back multiple times by police and the protests escalated all the way to the NBA. Gina Barton, investigative reporter at the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, explains.
19 min
Optimism in 2020
Being an optimist can seem ridiculous right now, but in the inaugural episode of The Cut podcast, host Avery Trufelman is searching for some well-grounded positivity. She finds it in conversation with Cheer’s La’Darius Marshall.
29 min
Covid’s hottest new treatment is plasma. Vox’s Umair Irfan explains why, and where the world stands on a vaccine.
19 min
What is QAnon?
As the Republican National Convention gets underway, a bonkers (and dangerous) conspiracy theory is gaining a foothold inside the GOP. President Trump appears to be okay with it.
19 min
The Democrats proved a virtual convention doesn't have to be a downer. Especially when Rhode Island brings calamari.
21 min
Who polices the police?
ProPublica's Eric Umansky explains how the New York Police Department's Civilian Complaint Review Board has struggled for decades to hold the NYPD to account.
26 min
Class is in quarantine
Schools in the US are reopening even though kids play a key role in community transmission of Covid-19. Georgia Public Broadcasting reporter Ellen Eldridge explains how going back to school in her state became a national controversy.
23 min
A woman’s place is at the polls
The 19th Amendment’s centenary is today, but the fight for universal suffrage in the United States continues.
22 min
The mail, man
The House of Representatives is cutting its vacation short to block changes at the United States Postal Service that could affect the integrity and outcome of the election. Rep. Gerry Connolly explains why he's going a step further and calling for the postmaster general to resign.
20 min
The Island of Explained: Escape from Boredom
After hearing from kids around the world who are grappling with serious boredom, Noam Hassenfeld and Byrd Pinkerton venture deep into the belly of a whale to learn how to have fun in quarantine.
20 min
Well, this is awkward
The coronavirus is complicating our relationships with family, friends, and strangers. But it’s also making us better at life??
20 min
2020 makes no census
The 2020 census is fighting a losing battle against the coronavirus and President Trump. NPR’s Hansi Lo Wang explains how a decade of money and power are at stake.
21 min
Biden picked Harris. Vox’s Fabiola Cineas explains the role race is already playing in the election, and Ezra Klein argues Donald Trump is making things easy for his opponents.
18 min
The dictator vs. the homemaker
The longtime leader of Belarus, Alexander Lukashenko, is facing nationwide protests and accusations that he stole Sunday’s election. His opponent, a 37-year-old homemaker who entered the race in place of her imprisoned husband, has fled the country.
19 min
How Trump’s relief plan helps and hurts
President Trump wants to resolve the congressional deadlock over stimulus relief by himself. Vox’s Li Zhou rummages through the mixed bag.
18 min
TikTok, on the clock, Donald says your time is up
President Trump is threatening to ban TikTok, but Microsoft might be able to stop the clock.
22 min
Florida’s Covid-19 tragedy
The state saw Covid-19 coming. It still became an outbreak epicenter.
19 min
What’s going on in Lebanon
A chemical blast has made a very bad situation worse for Lebanon. Journalist Habib Battah explains from Beirut.
18 min
Everything that could go wrong with the Novembe...
A worsening pandemic. A poll worker shortage. A hobbled postal service. Russian hacking. Donald Trump. Vox’s Ella Nilsen explains the many obstacles facing the United States as Election Day nears.
17 min
Who’s “Karen?” And what’s BIPOC?
A Washington Post columnist named Karen explains her feelings about “Karen.” A University of Arizona linguist named Sonja explains BIPOC and the capitalization of “Black” and “White.”
19 min
The Island of Explained: Election Day
It’s Election Day on the Island of Explained! Will the candidate with the most votes win, or will the island’s Electoral College determine a different leader?
23 min
Tim, Mark, Jeff, and Sundar
The leaders of Apple, Facebook, Amazon, and Google testified before Congress on Wednesday in what The Verge’s Casey Newton says might have been the most important Webex in human history.
24 min
Life after Covid-19, explained by Carl (who had...
Some people walk away from Covid-19 feeling fine. Others are dealing with a long list of lingering health issues.
19 min
Stimulating America
Democrats and Republicans have a $2 trillion disagreement on how to relieve Americans from the economic crisis caused by the coronavirus.
21 min
Rural America meets Black Lives Matter
In Bethel, Ohio, a Black Lives Matter rally became a standoff between armed bikers and peaceful protesters. BuzzFeed’s Anne Helen Petersen explains.
20 min
Houston, we have a problem
Baseball’s back, but fans won’t get the chance to boo the cheating Astros.
20 min
The Anti-maskers
The United States has now confirmed 4 million cases of Covid-19. Some Americans still don’t want to wear a mask.
19 min
Biden’s $2 trillion climate plan
Joe Biden is tacking to the left and embracing a historic climate plan. Vox’s David Roberts explains whether it stands a chance.
18 min
Tucker Carlson’s America
The most popular host in the history of cable news returned from a week-long vacation after his head writer was exposed as a raging bigot. The Washington Post’s Erik Wemple explains why the scandal won’t stick.
23 min
When the feds came to Portland
They came in military camouflage and unmarked vans. Now the state of Oregon is suing the federal government over its policing tactics. Oregon Public Broadcasting’s Conrad Wilson explains.
18 min
The Island of Explained: Vaccines
We return to the magical Island of Explained with a microbiologist and a talking moth to find out what it will take to produce a coronavirus vaccine.
23 min
Eviction bans and expanded unemployment benefits are expiring, leaving millions of Americans at risk of losing their homes by the end of the summer.
19 min
What happened to California?
California once looked like an example of how to handle the pandemic. Now it’s a warning for other states looking to reopen.
21 min
The Washington Football Team
The District of Columbia's football team is abandoning the name it adopted almost a century ago. Paul Chaat Smith, a curator at the National Museum of the American Indian, hopes the country is at long last ready to reckon with its past.
16 min
Stone free
President Trump commuted Roger Stone’s sentence in what Vox’s Andrew Prokop says is a particularly troubling variety of political corruption.
23 min
A million international students in limbo
The Trump administration announced it would send a million international students home this week. But Vox’s Nicole Narea says the students are collateral in a bigger political play.
20 min
Supreme Tax Court
The Supreme Court issued its remaining decisions today for the 2020 term, including the biggie: Trump’s tax returns.
18 min
President Trump says students and teachers must return to the classroom. Reality says this is going to be the toughest reopening yet.
18 min
Surfaces vs. droplets vs. aerosols
239 scientists have signed a letter urging the WHO to warn people about airborne transmission of the coronavirus.
21 min
Netflix has no chill
How Netflix has upended tech, Hollywood, and how we spend our free time.
39 min
How AI makes policing more racist
Turns out it’s just as biased as people are.
17 min
A bounty on American troops
Russia allegedly paid the Taliban to attack US soldiers in Afghanistan. But President Trump’s response may be the real scandal.
19 min
Helicopter policing
Police across the country have responded to recent protests with military tactics and equipment. The Washington Post’s Alex Horton investigated how two military helicopters were used as a show of force against protesters in the nation’s capital.
19 min
Lockdown, reopen, repeat
Hospitals are stretched to their breaking point in Texas, Arizona, and other states where Covid-19 cases are rising sharply. Vox’s Dylan Scott says the US could be in store for more lockdowns. And more reopenings. And more lockdowns…
18 min
Justice for Breonna Taylor
There hasn’t been an arrest in the case in the three months since police shot and killed Taylor in her home in Louisville, Kentucky. But now the “Justice for Breonna” movement has the potential to unseat Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell.
27 min
Black Lives Matter is working
America is undergoing a new racial reckoning. The Atlantic’s Adam Serwer explains why this time is different.
20 min
Brazil’s coronavirus disaster
President Jair Bolsonaro called it the "sniffles" and recommended hydroxychloroquine. Now the country has over a million confirmed cases. Reporter Gustavo Ribeiro explains how Brazil could become the next epicenter.
18 min
A world without bail?
With the wave of protests came waves of arrests and record-breaking donations to bail funds across the US, but reformers hope for a reckoning of one of the only for-profit bail systems in the world.
19 min
How not to fire someone
Attorney General William Barr tried to quietly push out the top federal prosecutor in Manhattan on Friday night. Then everybody noticed.
18 min
Celebrate Juneteenth!
The celebration of emancipation is as vital today as ever.
16 min
A good day for DREAMers
In a major decision from the Supreme Court, DACA lives to fight another day. But it's not in the clear yet.
16 min
The return of sports
There are two ways to do it: safely or not so safely. Guess which one we’re heading toward in the United States?
17 min
Welcome to CHAZ
Some are calling six blocks of a Seattle neighborhood the Capitol Hill Autonomous Zone. KUOW’s Casey Martin spent a week within its loosely guarded walls.
16 min
A landmark LGBTQ ruling
The Supreme Court of the United States has decided the Civil Rights Act of 1964 applies to discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity.
14 min
After 33 seasons, the reality TV show Cops was canceled this week. Should scripted police dramas follow?
20 min
Is this the second wave?
Vox’s Dylan Scott says it’s hard to tell because the United States is riding 50 different Covid-19 waves.
16 min
Can Congress reform the police?
The United States has a policing problem and Congress wants to fix it. Vox’s Li Zhou explains whether the Democrats’ new bill will go anywhere.
21 min
Minneapolis commits to “dismantling” the police
Minneapolis City Council member Alondra Cano explains what the city wants to do and what might get in the way.
19 min
Biden his time
Pandemic, protests, and the best poll numbers yet for Joe Biden.
17 min
The Talk
Two mothers talk to their teenage sons about race and police brutality in the United States.
23 min
What “abolish the police” means
It’s not what you think.
17 min
The problem with police unions
Even after Derek Chauvin was captured on video killing George Floyd, he could still get his job back. BuzzFeed’s Melissa Segura explains how.
19 min
President Trump wants to blame the unrest on antifa. Vox’s Zack Beauchamp explains why he can’t.
22 min
American Nightmare
Professor Ibram X. Kendi explains how the protests and unrest are a result of black America’s living nightmare and what it will take to wake up.
19 min
“I can’t breathe.” Again.
The former police officer who killed George Floyd has been charged with murder. But Floyd’s case is just one of many recent incidents of police brutality in Minneapolis. The Marshall Project’s Simone Weichselbaum explains why police reform hasn’t worked in the city.
16 min
100,000 is an undercount
It could take years for all the Covid-19 deaths to be counted properly. Vox’s Matthew Yglesias explains why the Trump administration is pushing for an undercount.
17 min
"First Hong Kong, then the world"
While most of the world was distracted by the pandemic, China unveiled a law to strip Hong Kong of its autonomy, setting off a new wave of protests in the city.
14 min
One giant leap for SpaceX
For the first time in almost a decade, an American rocket is launching people into space. The Verge’s Loren Grush explains why the launch could fundamentally alter the future of spaceflight.
18 min
Today, Explained: Greatest Hits
Sean and Noam break down all the original songs in Today, Explained's back catalog.
24 min
Blame WHO?
President Trump would like to.
18 min
The case for reopening parks
Reopening America’s parks could help fight the pandemic. It’s a good time to rethink streets, too.
15 min
Is this Trump's fault?
Ezra Klein has some thoughts.
20 min
Elon Musk fought the law and Elon won. Transcript at
24 min
The Class of 2020
Graduate? In this economy!? The Atlantic's Annie Lowrey explains the economic reality new graduates face and Sean offers one graduating senior a commencement speech.
22 min
Facebook’s PTSD payout
Facebook has agreed to pay a $52 million settlement to its content moderators. Reporting by The Verge’s Casey Newton was a game changer.
22 min
Covid, kids, and a mystery illness
Dozens of children have fallen ill with an inflammatory syndrome that may be linked to Covid-19. Harvard Medical School’s Dr. Kevin Friedman explains.
15 min
Will Ahmaud Arbery’s killing change Georgia law?
Two white men are accused of killing a black jogger. Georgia state Rep. Jasmine Clark wants to change the laws that could be used to defend them.
21 min
A few men in fishing boats try to take Venezuela
While the world was distracted by a pandemic, a ragtag team of Americans and Venezuelans attempted to overthrow President Maduro.
15 min
Quarantine dreams
Think you’ve been having exceptionally strange dreams lately? Harvard psychologist Deirdre Barrett says it’s not a figment of your imagination.
23 min