The Ezra Klein Show

Winner of the 2020 Webby and People's Voice awards for best interview podcast. Ezra Klein brings you far-reaching conversations about hard problems, big ideas, illuminating theories, and cutting-edge research. Want to know how Stacey Abrams feels about identity politics? How Hasan Minhaj is reinventing political comedy? The plans behind Elizabeth Warren’s plans? How Michael Lewis reads minds? This is the podcast for you. Produced by Vox and the Vox Media Podcast Network.


episode 273: How social media makes us antisocial

Andrew Marantz is a writer at the New Yorker who, for years, has been deeply immersed in the world of conservative trolls, alt-right social media personalities, and online conspiracy theorists. His most recent book Antisocial has been viewed as a brilliant ethnography of the bizarre universe that is the alt-right. 

But I’m interested in it for a different reason: Somehow, these folks have figured out how to manipulate the social media ecosystem that frames our political discourse. Thus, they represent an important window into understanding how that ecosystem functions, who it advantages, and where it dramatically falls short. We discuss:

- Why Mark Zuckerberg’s defenses of Facebook so obviously fail

- Where the conversation about “free speech” in America went completely off the rails

- How alt-right personality Mike Cernovich cracked social media algorithms to influence the 2016 news cycle

- What Marantz calls the “primary laws of social media mechanics” and how they can be manipulated to bring out the worst in human nature

- Why conflict has become the primary way to garner attention and influence online while more constructive social interactions remain in obscurity

- How a kid from a progressive, upper-middle-class family became one of the nation’s leading neo-Nazis

- The role the social justice left plays in fomenting online extremism

And much more.

Book recommendations:

Contingency, Irony and Solidarity by Richard Rorty 

The Captive Mind by Czesław Miłosz

Uncanny Valley by Anna Wiener

My book is available for pre-order! You can find it at

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Producer and Editor - Jeff Geld

Researcher - Roge Karma

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 2019-11-11  1h35m