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
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
The Reopening States of America
Dr. Richard Besser, former head of the Centers for Disease Control, explains how states can reopen without putting lives in danger. Transcript at
19 min
Why Sweden stayed open
The Kingdom of Sweden watched the world lock down and decided to do the opposite. Swedish journalist Nathalie Rothschild explains. Transcript at
18 min
How to be happy
The most popular course in Yale's 300-year history is all about achieving happiness. The pandemic has made it more relevant than ever.
22 min
Tara Reade alleges, Joe Biden denies
Vox's Laura McGann explains the sexual assault allegation against former Vice President Joe Biden, and the implications for his campaign. Transcript at
16 min
The Island of Explained
Come with us to the magical Island of Explained, where we’ll climb trees and venture into caves to answer kids’ biggest coronavirus questions. Go to to find supplemental activities, from testing how far snot travels to coloring in a map of the Island of Explained. Transcript at
23 min
The Invisible Man
Vox's Alex Ward explains what's going on with North Korea's Kim Jong Un.
17 min
Overflowing farms, desperate food banks
American farmers are destroying their crops while demand is mounting at food banks. Politico food and agriculture reporter Helena Bottemiller Evich explains.
24 min
Inside the world's biggest lockdown
Prime Minister Narendra Modi ordered 1.4 billion Indians to stay home. The world had never seen anything like it.
22 min
Oil is broke. Green New Deal with it?
Oil just went negative for the first time in history. Vox's David Roberts says that creates an opportunity to make more history.
21 min
Georgia on my mind
As the state reopens, Vox's Jillian Weinberger zooms to rural Georgia to hear how a Covid-19 outbreak spiraled out of control.
16 min
Vox’s science editor, Eliza Barclay, arms you with the facts you need to fight your uncle’s favorite coronavirus conspiracy theories.
22 min
This one's for Earth
Cryptic treehunters. Unknown apples. Flowers fighting back. On the 50th anniversary of Earth Day, Vox’s Umair Irfan and Brian Resnick explain what we learned about the planet in the last year.
19 min
One day, three healthcare workers
A nurse, a paramedic, and a physician’s assistant record themselves throughout the course of a day in the fight against Covid-19.
21 min
The epicenter of the epicenter
Covid-19's victims, and the people they leave behind.
23 min
Long shot
It could be a year or more before the vaccine is ready, but there’s a radical plan to speed up the process.
25 min
Zeke Emanuel’s exit strategy
President Trump wants to reopen the country yesterday. Bioethicist Zeke Emanuel, who served as a health policy advisor to former President Obama, offers a safe path.
25 min
Death Cab for The Postal Service?
The United States Postal Service is on the brink of collapse. Vox's Matthew Yglesias explains how and why the country should save it.
25 min
All praise, no pay
Essential workers in the food, transportation, and retail industries are being called American heroes. They want to be paid as such.
25 min
Elizabeth Warren has a plan for this, too
Friend of the show Ezra Klein speaks to Sen. Elizabeth Warren about several plans she has proposed to combat this pandemic.
51 min
The loneliness pandemic
Coronavirus has led to another pandemic: social isolation. Vox’s Ezra Klein says this sickness has a cure.
19 min
Six feet away from God
While a few religious leaders flout shelter in place ordinances, Easter, Passover, and Ramadan are inspiring most to get creative with worship.
24 min
Vote and die
Wisconsinites had to choose between catching Covid-19 and voting on Tuesday. Is the rest of the country next?
24 min
"The Great Equalizer"
Madonna was wrong. Covid-19 isn't an equalizer. It's coming for America's most vulnerable populations.
22 min
The immunity test
A vaccine will take a while, but Vox's Umair Irfan says the global effort to test for immunity and treat Covid-19 is well underway.
19 min
Mask on? Mask off?
In an about-face, the Centers for Disease Control would now like you to cover your mouth and nose when you go outside.
25 min
6.6 million more unemployed
Last week's unemployment numbers shattered all records. This week, they doubled. Vox's Matthew Yglesias, host of The Weeds podcast, proposes a way out of this mess.
26 min
Lockdown while locked up
Arthur Longworth calls Sean from Washington State Reformatory to explain what it's like to serve a life sentence at a prison where the coronavirus is spreading.
25 min
The trouble with Trump’s daily briefings
Part rally, part media-bashing, part critical updates on the coronavirus crisis, President Trump's daily press briefings are muddying the message.
25 min
How Covid-19 attacks your body
In this episode of Vox's Reset podcast Ed Yong from The Atlantic explains how a little spiky ball called SARS-CoV2 brought the world to its knees.
23 min
Your coronavirus questions, answered (Part II)
On today's show, more listener questions: Why isn't everyone social distancing? Will I be immune after I get it? When will this end? My anxiety is spiking!
23 min
The emergency room emergency
The Atlantic's James Hamblin explains why America has a critical shortage of medical supplies. New York City ER doctor Calvin Sun says, “It’s like a lottery that we don’t want to play, but we’re forced to play.”
25 min
The two trillion dollar question
Congress has settled on an historic stimulus package, but Ezra Klein is worried it might not be enough.
24 min
Asia's second wave
Taiwan, Hong Kong, and Singapore managed to contain Covid-19, but now things look less promising.
21 min
Giving birth in a pandemic
Vox's Julia Belluz went from covering the global coronavirus pandemic to giving birth in the middle of it.
23 min
Your coronavirus questions, answered
A team of experts answer listener questions: Why is there no TP? Will we run out of food? Can I get the virus from sex? Should I finally write my will? How can I help?
22 min
Six feet away
Vox’s Brian Resnick (safely) meets Sean in a Washington, D.C. park to deliver the Five Commandments of social distancing. Start your #SixFeetAwaySong journey at
19 min
TFW your dad gives you Covid-19
Sean speaks to a Brooklyn family that has Covid-19, and Vox’s Dylan Scott explains how the United States is still trying to get its act together on testing. Subscribe to the Voxcare newsletter here:
27 min
Can President Trump fix this?
After dismissing coronavirus concerns for months, President Donald is pivoting to serious action to slow the crisis in the United States.
22 min
School's out for Covid
The country’s largest school district told a million kids to stay home during the coronavirus pandemic. It’s creating chaos for teachers, students, and parents.
16 min
Living in lockdown
Italy has quarantined the whole country in an effort to slow the spread of coronavirus. Vox’s Julia Belluz explains why the US might look like Italy soon.
17 min
How to slow down coronavirus
President Trump has banned most Europeans from traveling to the US. Vox’s Jen Kirby explains why that won’t stop the novel coronavirus from spreading, and Eliza Barclay tells us what we can do to slow the spread.
18 min
Old Country for Old Men
After last night, Joe Biden is one step closer to the nomination, but no matter who wins, the next president will be over 70. The Atlantic’s Derek Thompson explains why that could be a problem.
22 min
Coronavirus hits the markets
The stock market’s going haywire. Major companies are telling their employees to stay home. Austin has canceled SXSW. Vox’s Matthew Yglesias says governments across the world have to act fast to save the global economy.
17 min
James Carville thinks Trump will lose
The veteran political strategist argues that Democrats are well-positioned to win back not only the White House, but the Senate, too.
19 min
So you think you have Covid-19
Thus far, the United States hasn't been doing the best job of testing for the novel coronavirus. ProPublica's Caroline Chen explains why.
20 min
Roe v. Wade v. Roberts
There's a new fight over abortion at the Supreme Court and Chief Justice John Roberts is in the swing position.
17 min
Thanks, Obama
Vox's Andrew Prokop runs through Super Tuesday results, before Laura McGann explains Vice President Biden's "Joementum."
21 min
Covid-19, explained by Carl (who has it)
Carl Goldman was on the Diamond Princess cruise ship and now he has Covid-19. He speaks to Sean Rameswaram from a CDC quarantine in Omaha, Nebraska.
23 min
Tuesday, Explained
Vox's Andrew Prokop explains what makes this Tuesday so super and performs some basic arithmetic to suggest how Democrats could end up with a contested convention.
21 min
Make America Doubt Again
McKay Coppins built a fake Facebook profile to fully experience President Trump's 2020 digital strategy. It didn't take long for him to start doubting reality.
24 min
The last stronghold in Syria
Idlib province in northwestern Syria is now the last stronghold of opposition to President Bashar al-Assad and one of the world’s greatest humanitarian crises.
18 min
Covid-19 may be on the brink of becoming a pandemic. Vox’s Julia Belluz explains what that p-word means and Brian Resnick breaks down what an outbreak response might look like in the United States.
26 min
Putin his thumb on the scale
Russian interference in U.S. elections could go from Vlad to worse as President Trump sidelines U.S. intelligence agencies.
18 min
Weekend at Bernie’s
Bernie Sanders took Nevada with a landslide coalition so diverse it has left Joe Biden feeling nervous heading into South Carolina.
21 min
The sixth sense (the real one)
A study at the National Institutes of Health offers a window into some of science’s biggest mysteries, from the origins of pain to how consciousness works.
22 min