Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations
Hear the latest from the WRKF/WWNO Newsroom.
Left, Right & Center
Saturdays at 6am

Left Right & Center is KCRW’s weekly civilized yet provocative confrontation over politics, policy and pop culture, a conversation that is needed more than ever… not just in your feed, but on public radio, available to all. That’s a powerful combination. With a rotating cast of left and right panelists bringing you a wider spectrum of viewpoints, some of these voices will be familiar to many political observers, podcast listeners, and public radio audiences... some may be brand new to you.

For more information on what you heard this week on Left, Right & Center, click here.

  • A temporary pause on fighting in Gaza between Israel and Hamas was agreed upon with the help of President Biden and the Qatari government. It’s a volatile situation, relying on the continued trade-off of hostages and prisoners between the two sides. There aren’t many on the left or the right who have been pleased with Biden’s handling of the situation, even with the desired outcome of released hostages. Will the president’s commitment to nuance continue to withstand the political pressures he faces? The Republican Party’s lack of leadership has left Speaker Mike Johnson — and the future of the GOP — hanging in the balance. Johnson’s position remains vulnerable to the appeasement of his colleagues. Donald Trump’s allegiance can’t be relied upon. Would a new face of the party provide some much-needed stability? Former U.S. Secretary of State Henry Kissinger died at the age of 100 this week. His outsized influence on U.S. foreign policy since the Nixon administration drew the admiration (and the ire) of many. In the wake of his passing, David Greene, Sarah Isgur and Mo Elleithee provide their thoughts on his complicated standing as one of America’s most legendary statesmen.
  • With the primary season just around the corner, voters can expect an influx of polling data. Sorting through it all can be tricky. David Wasserman of the non-partisan Cook Political Report discusses what numbers we should be paying attention to, and explains why questions about poll reliability are valid. Joe Manchin's decision to not run for re-election in West Virginia has stoked suspicions around the senator’s possible third-party candidacy. Can the growing field of third-party candidates expect to make an impact relying on personality over issues? The Boston Tea Party’s 250th anniversary is just around the corner. Author Stacy Schiff discusses the importance of the event in the American Revolution and why it was more than just a riot.
  • Congress agreed to a new spending bill this week to avoid a government shutdown. The bill relies on the same type of structured deadlines that cost former House Speaker Kevin McCarthy his party’s support and eventually his job. New Speaker Mike Johnson chose not to fight for the spending cuts and border funding that Republicans sought in order to get the bill through the House. Will his willingness to compromise lead him down the same path? Israel’s war against Hamas has strong backing from President Biden and Secretary of State Antony Blinken. There’s also been plenty of public support, as seen from a large rally in Washington, D.C. this week. But rising civilian deaths in Gaza have led to calls for a ceasefire from Democratic voters as well as members of the State Department. Can Biden successfully navigate the growing rift over the conflict on the left? Plus, reversing climate change will require forward-thinking solutions. The president of the Good Food Institute talks about his innovation to soften meat production’s impact on the planet.
  • It was Election Day in several states this week. Voters hit the polls to decide on abortion as a constitutional right in Ohio. Kentucky and Mississippi made their choice for governor. And every state legislative seat in Virginia was up for grabs. Democrats saw favorable results across the board. Do those results tell us more about Biden’s chances in 2024, or the struggles Republicans must overcome to get their message across? Democrats and Republicans remain at a standstill on immigration policy. The president has suggested additional funding and new strategies, but some in Congress are unsatisfied. Can they figure out a way forward without direct executive action? Alaska brings in thousands of workers from Ukraine to help keep its crucial seafood industry going. Can the same opportunities work at a larger scale for workers from other countries?
  • President Biden signed a sweeping order focused on reinforcing safety, security, and trust in artificial intelligence. It creates federal guardrails for the continuously evolving technology, while advocating for its development. The government was slow to address calls for regulating social media. Will an aggressive federal approach on AI pay off? The foreign influence behind TikTok remains a major concern for U.S. lawmakers. Some congressional members continue to seek a ban on the popular app. What steps should the government take as a new front emerges in the information war? A new segment aims to zoom in on all 50 states in the lead-up to the next presidential election, starting with a tight gubernatorial race in Mississippi.
  • After an embarrassing three weeks of nominees and almost-elections, the House of Representatives finally chose a new speaker — Republican Rep. Mike Johnson, who tried to help Donald Trump overturn the 2020 election. Now, can Congress get to work on government funding and pressing national crises? In an Oval Office address to the nation, President Biden announced a request to Congress for $106 billion to boost national security. The package would include military aid for Israel, increased arms production for Ukraine, funds for Taiwan, and more security along the U.S.-Mexico border. It was part of the outline for renewing America’s role in protecting democracy at home and abroad. But is that plan outdated for a changing world? The press serves as a pillar of democracy, and that role is under scrutiny after conflicting reports from the Israel-Hamas conflict, including a deadly hospital blast. And at a local level, massive declines in media have contributed to our political polarization. How can the public’s trust — and local journalism — be rebuilt?