Background Briefing (5am)

Background Briefing with Ian Masters – May 10, 2023

We begin with the verdict today in a civil trial in a Manhattan Federal Court that found former President Donald Trump liable for sexual assault and defamation fining him $5 million in damages. Joining us to gauge the reaction from Republicans and rival Republican candidates to determine whether morality will become an issue for a party that includes a sizable evangelical and Christian fundamentalist constituency is Anthea Butler, the Geraldine R. Segal Professor in American Social Thought and Chair of Religious Studies at the University of Pennsylvania. She is the author of a number of books including The Rise of the New Religious Right and, most recently, White Evangelical Racism: The Politics of Morality in America and we discuss how much Trump has lowered the bar in terms of America’s moral outrage now that a former president has been found guilty of sexual assault in what would have been just a few years ago, a huge scandal with exploding headlines.

Then with today’s White House meeting between President Biden and House and Senate Republican and Democratic leaders over the debt limit having concluded without and agreement over the debt ceiling, we speak with Robert Hockett, who has first-hand experience working at the International Monetary Fund and the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, and continues to consult for a number of US federal, state and local legislators and regulators. He drafted Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s “Green New Deal” resolution for the House of Representatives and officially advises her on economic policy. He is the Edward Cornell Professor of Law and a Professor of Public Policy at Cornell University whose latest books are Money from Nothing Or, Why We Should Stop Worrying About Debt and Learn to Love the Federal Reserve, Financing the Green New Deal: A Plan of Action and Renewal, and The Citizens’ Ledger: Digitizing Our Money, Democratizing Our Finance. We discuss his article at The New York Times, “This Is What Would Happen if Biden Ignores the Debt Ceiling and Calls McCarthy’s Bluff.

Then finally we look into why the Writers’ Guild strike has much broader significance beyond Hollywood in terms of the labor movement, growing inequality, the creeping gig economy and the corporate embrace of AI, Artificial Intelligence as a tool to replace human workers. Joining us is Hamilton Nolan, a labor writer for In These Times who has spent the past decade writing about labor and politics for Gawker, Splinter, The Guardian, and elsewhere. He is currently writing a book on the labor movement and more of his work can be found at his Substack page at We discuss his latest article at The Guardian, “This Historic Writers’ Strike Matters for Everyone – Not Just Hollywood.”


Artist Song Album Label
Ben HarperExcuse Me Mr.Fight For Your MindUMG - Virgin
Janelle MonáeMr. PresidentMr. PresidentWMG - Bad Boy
Billy PaulLet the Dollar CirculateDisco Music History, Vol. 9Halidon/Milestone Records Ltd
Los LobosOne Time One NightJust Another Band From East L.A.: A CollectionRhino/Warner Bros.