An Hour With David Remnick

Friday, January 24, 2014

David Remnick, editor of The New Yorker , talks about his recent Obama profile, his upcoming work with NBC at the Sochi Olympics, and more. Plus an "Ask the Editor" call-in.


David Remnick

Comments [45]

Martin Chuzzlewit from Manhattan

Nobody's Listening to Obama Any More - Peggy Noonan, Wall Street Journal

Jan. 25 2014 06:01 PM
Susan from the far far west of Mahnattan

Well, I have to throw in my admiration for Peter Schjeldahl, art critic for the New Yorker. I have long admired his writing on the visual arts and I can't think another critic who equals him. In fact, his appreciation for art and his way of writing about it are such that the word "critic" feels far too stingy.

Jan. 25 2014 12:12 PM

Remnick has overlooked the fact that the new Goings On font and layout makes it look like advertising rather than editorial guide. When will he correct this error? Don't tell us that the New Yorker is following others in dismantling the fence between the two.

Jan. 24 2014 12:51 PM
Amy from Manhattan

What if you have great ideas for cartoon but aren't much of an artist?

Jan. 24 2014 11:42 AM
Capper from NYC

what happened to the "cursing mommy" column?

Jan. 24 2014 11:40 AM
Capper from NYC

what happened to the "cursing mommy" column?

Jan. 24 2014 11:39 AM
Jennifer from NYC

Remember, Shirley Jackson published her early stories in The New Yorker. In fact, people wrote in because they thought "The Lottery" was actually a true story.

Jan. 24 2014 11:38 AM
Jess from NY

Question for Mr. Remnick: Is the New Yorker open to article ideas from no-name but gifted writers?

I have a piece (or two) I'd like to write and the best home for them would of course be The New Yorker. How best to proceed? Traditional query letter? Is Mr. Remnick interested in unsolicited articles/article ideas? If he'd like to meet for a quick coffee, I can wait until he gets back from Russia. ;)

Jan. 24 2014 11:37 AM
Martin Chuzzlewit from Manhattan

..... or maybe he doesn't meet with his opposition because Obama is a hyper-partsan thug without any inkling about real leadership after 5 years.

Jan. 24 2014 11:35 AM
Karla Fisk from Inwood

Question for Mr. Remnick: Please speak to the following:
Obama has claimed to have "taken unprecedented action to build the foundation for a clean energy economy, tackle the issue of climate change, and protect our environment."

And yet he proudly announces his opening up of millions of acres of public land to oil and gas drilling.

""Over the last three years, I've directed my administration to open up millions of acres for gas and oil exploration across 23 different states. We're opening up more than 75 percent of our potential oil resources offshore. We've quad­rupled the number of operating rigs to a record high. We've added enough new oil and gas pipeline to encircle the Earth, and then some. . . . In fact, the problem . . . is that we're actually producing so much oil and gas . . . that we don't have enough pipeline capacity to transport all of it where it needs to go."

These actions will result in so much greenhouse gas creation, that we will quickly reach the tipping point that will take over the edge the "game over" for our climate. And us.

Please see the piece in Bill Mckibben's latest Rolling Stone piece (link below).

Read more:
Follow us: @rollingstone on Twitter | RollingStone on Facebook

Jan. 24 2014 11:35 AM
John Tymkiw

Can you ask your guest: Haven't the demonstrations in Ukraine moved on from the EU vs Russia debate, and are now mainly about dissatisfaction with politics that are eroding democracy in the country? That's what most online reports (except for RT) would seem to suggest.

Jan. 24 2014 11:33 AM
Lester Shane from Upper East Side

Adding in my question about the new tiny print. Your demographic likely skews older and this is really difficult. Please go back or change.

Jan. 24 2014 11:33 AM
Gil Zicklin from Westchester

Do you have any plans to write about the situation of GLBTQ identified people in Uganda, Nigeria, Zimbabwe, et al.

Jan. 24 2014 11:32 AM
April from Yupper West Side

Mr Remnick seems amazed at Obama's wisdom about the failure of counterinsurgencies. Perhaps he followed a suggestion I posted on the president, that he read William Polk's brilliant book, "Violent Politics" about how counterinsurgencies only work on your own turf. It begins with our revolution against the British and goes up to Iraq and Afghanistan. Covering Brits in Afghanistan, French in Algeria, Brits in Ireland, French in Vietnam, and US in Vietnam. Brian, have him on your show!!!!

Jan. 24 2014 11:32 AM
Bebe from Queens


Many commenters and listeners including me would like to you to ask Mr. Remnick about the New York Public Library trustees' plans to sell off important parts of the Library. This is a debacle in the making.

Jan. 24 2014 11:30 AM
Bonn from East Village

I love the magazine, and I am a long-time subscriber. BUT, the Goings On section is a mess, from the font and layout to the lack of information about hours, addresses, etc. If it ain't broke....
By the way, this week's Cartoon Caption Contest: First time I don't understand ANY of the Finalists' responses.

Jan. 24 2014 11:30 AM
Ted Glass from Lower Eastside

The best recent change in the magazine is that the mailing label can now be pealed off without marring the cover.

Jan. 24 2014 11:26 AM
Tracy Kahley from New York, New York

My daughter, who is 9, has looked forward to coming up with her own captions for the cartoon contest for every issue since she was 5 years old. She loves the New Yorker, and while I sometimes question the age-appropriateness of the articles she's flipping through, I love that she loves it.

Jan. 24 2014 11:26 AM
Bob from Huntington

Mr. Remnick

More an observation than a question: Why has The New Yorker resorted to using such an incredibly tiny font size in the listings section? It's very difficult to read parts of it and makes many readers reluctant to even bother.

Jan. 24 2014 11:25 AM
Capper from NYC

To maintain print, every now and then you should add a blow in of a small original piece of artwork for any random lucky recipient.

Jan. 24 2014 11:25 AM
Yourgo from Astoria


Ukraine is not the 2nd most populous country in Europe it is the 7th after Russia, Germany, France, United Kingdom, Italy, Spain, then Ukraine.

Ukraine is the 2nd largest country in Europe by size. after Russia.

Jan. 24 2014 11:22 AM

Why did David Remnick and The New Yorker give Barack Obama quote approval, a practice widely held to be a violation of journalistic ethics?

Jan. 24 2014 11:22 AM
Margot Jacqz from new york city

Curious how DR balances the roles of working journalist/ writer and editor of an outstanding weekly magazine. Both products of consistently high caliber.

Jan. 24 2014 11:21 AM
Sheldon from Brooklyn

I think that the Russian government's treatment of gays is despicable. However, for Americans to act with moral superiority on the rights of gays, is laughable. Obama only successfully "evolved" on marriage equality after he was safely re-elected. Half of our union still do not recognize "gay" marriage. I'm certain that I will not see an openly gay president in my life time, and it will be a generation before we see a gay couple in a national ad campaign.

Jan. 24 2014 11:21 AM
jgarbuz from Queens

I disagree with Remnick about Putin and his motivations. He certainly bemoaned the fall of the Soviet Union as an ex-KGB officer, but he sees Russia as the product of out of the ORthodox Christian experience that many Russians viscerally identify with. I think he would preferred to have been the constitutional Czar of Russia.

Jan. 24 2014 11:20 AM
lk from Brooklyn

Why is Mr Remnick and The New Yorker silent on the destruction of the brilliant democratic NY Library System? As a NYPL Trustee he needs to work to preserve, not destroy the libraries. Real Estate interests have taken over our libraries plundering books and selling off valuable real estate that happen to be library buildings in Manhattan and Brooklyn. Millions of public money and private money are being spent on PR firm Parkside, on the removal of books from libraries and reconfiguring the 42nd St library to prepare for the sale of these buildings. These are public assets for the public not for plunder by the real estate industry.

Jan. 24 2014 11:17 AM
Barbara from Manhattan

How does Remnick as a White American man compensate for unrecognized biases he may have against a Black Americn man as president?

Jan. 24 2014 11:15 AM
blacksocialist from BKbaby

becky - hahaha, awake like zombies...

Jan. 24 2014 11:14 AM

Too soon for an effective assessment of the Obama presidency. The question now being ballyhooed by the Right is "Obama's incompetency"...What fantasy! Obama is clearly more competent (by an order of magnitude) than the dim-bulb that held the office before him. There can be no argument about that, really. (Ed Gillespie will learn how low an opinion we still hold Bush and Bush's enablers.)

A better question is "Was Obama an effective leader?" He was unprepared to fight and fight hard to maintain a majority in the House and this (for me) was his biggest failing. After the 2010 election, he (and the country) have been pulled by the GOP into one financial quagmire after another. The GOP strategy has been to set one fire after another...Nice strategy until you realize that without more responsible representation, the small fires that they have been setting could burn the entire place down!

Five years AFTER Obama leaves office - and hopefully during the second term of the first WOMAN to hold the office - we can better answer to what degree did occult racism (i.e. citizens who felt empowered to disagree with the President because he was not like them) blunt Obama's effectiveness as the nation's chief executive.

Jan. 24 2014 11:12 AM
antonio from baySide

I'd have to disagree. I feel the President can charm the likes of John Boehner, however it's being challenged in a primary which causes Boehner to recoil...

Jan. 24 2014 11:11 AM
Sheldon from Brooklyn

As opposed to sister Hillary, when she speaks at black churches?

Jan. 24 2014 11:10 AM
Bev from Manhattan

David Remnick is obviously super-smart and a progressive thinker. So, Brian, can you please ask him how we can fix the world?

No, really, what are D.R.'s thoughts on any ways to make Washington work (better) again?

Jan. 24 2014 11:09 AM
Caesar Romaine from Manhattan

Sure - let's talk to the unbiased journalist.

"Oh, no... I can't comment on that. That is for the OpEd pages..."
Follow that up with the comment "well, Obabmacare could do wonderful things for our country but it didn't go far enough like single payer, which I want..."

Jan. 24 2014 11:08 AM
The Truth from Becky

Here they are awake now.

Jan. 24 2014 11:08 AM
antonio from baySide

So does the President have to endorse Hillary for President cause of the unforgettable speech Bill made at the democratic convention? Like is there any possibility he'd go for Senator Warren?

Jan. 24 2014 11:01 AM

Why is nobody asking Mr. Remnick

why he had not asked Obama

why Obama is not prosecuting Wall Street criminals and is "standing between banksters and pitchforks"???

Jan. 24 2014 10:39 AM
Carol Krinsky from Manhattan

Apart from his position at The New Yorker, Mr. Remnick is a trustee of the NY Public Library that plans to sell the Mid-Manhattan and the Science-Business-Industry Libraries and destroy the stacks at the 42nd St. Library that used to hold over 3 million research books. Not a word of this has appeared in The New Yorker. The Library's public relations prose about increasing "public space" at 42nd Street is meaningless. We go to libraries for books. For other causes, Mr. Remnick's writers pounce on cant. Selling Mid-Manhattan feels like a real estate bonus for a developer (remember the Donnell Library?). Mr. Remnick and his fellow trustees may be able to do little about President Obama's policies but they can keep our essential research library functioning efficiently. Just upgrade the climate controls and fire safety in the 42nd Street stacks and return the books now in storage. This will cost less than the $350 million ($150 of that to come from taxpayers)estimated for the Library's plan. I am sorry that Library matters are not part of a conversation with Mr. Remnick.

Jan. 24 2014 10:25 AM
Mary Hearst from Upper West Side

Question about Obama article.
I found the description of Obama's fifteen thousand pound limo, The Beast, very intriguing. It left me with a nagging question. How does The Beast get around? Does it fly on Air Force One? Does it go ahead by other means? I would love to know the answer.
Thank you.

Jan. 24 2014 10:10 AM
MIchael D. D. White from Brooklyn Heights

What Mr. Remnick and the rest of the NYPL trustees seem to be blindly oblivious about respecting the elimination of space and books at NYPL's flagship, destination libraries:

Are NYPL Trustees Flying Blind on The Basics? Numbers To Inform Them About The Drastic Dwindling of Books In Manhattan’s Principal Libraries Are Missing From Their Minutes

See also:

Extra Useful Links About Libraries In Manhattan And The Central Library Plan (Including The 42nd Street Mid-Manhattan Library, SIBL and Donnell Library)

Jan. 24 2014 09:44 AM
Martin Chuzzlewit from Manhattan

An article that better reflects Obama’s final three years -


(see it at international news aggregator- )

Jan. 24 2014 09:25 AM
Susan Bernofsky from Manhattan

I've been disappointed by The New Yorker's complete lack of coverage of the controversy surrounding the New York Public Library's proposed demolition of the research stacks at the 42nd St. Library and the proposed sale of the hugely popular Mid-Manhattan Library and the Science, Industry and Business Library in the old B. Altman Building. Leading intellectuals in the city (Pulitzer Prize, MacArthur etc. winning authors and scholars) including David Levering Lewis, Edmund Morris, David Nasaw, Joan W. Scott, Annalyn Swan, Stanley N. Katz and others have been fighting inside and outside the courts to stop the NYPL Board of Trustees from doing what many see as irreparable harm to our Manhattan libraries. Would you ask Remnick, who is an NYPL Trustee, how much NYPL is spending each month on the services of the PR firm Parkside, hired to make the plan appear more palatable to the public, and why NYPL sent out a deceptive petition last week trying to get its supporters to send letters to Bill de Blasio supporting the renovation but without making it clear to them what they were signing? (Details here: The petition prompted a disgusted tweet from Michael Kimmelman on Jan. 17: "NYPL petition unbecoming: dodgy in asking support for Central Branch, where $$ reno will destroy historic core." State Senator Brad Hoylman is the latest to speak out against the NYPL Trustees' flawed stewardship of the library:

Jan. 24 2014 09:20 AM
F. Leghorn from Loon-Y-Tune

Ahsay ahsay unctuoussss flummahry! LO-, ahsay LOL! Yah rehpeat ahsay yah rehpeat yahself, Boy! LOL ... LOL ....

Jan. 24 2014 09:02 AM
Michael D. D. White from Brooklyn Heights

The New Yorker used to treat the reckless destruction and disappearance from public availability of materials intended to be protected and preserved in libraries as supremely important and worthy of attention. A call-to-arms on the subject was Nicholson Baker’s 1996 article in the New Yorker describing how substantial holdings of the San Francisco Public Library were trashed with the removal of rare and valuable books and information with over 200,000 books being carelessly sent for landfill.

(For more a link to the Baker article and more go to:

Mr. Remnick is a trustee of the NYPL which is undertaking destructive plans like the Central Library Plan highly reminiscent of what Nicholson Baker so ably criticized. . . with the NYPL’s demolition of the research stacks at the 42nd Street Central Reference Library, sale of Mid-Manhattan and SIBL libraries, extreme contraction of space (reducing over 380,000 square feet of space to less than 80,000 square feet) and banishing and reduction of available books (13 million book previously in Manhattan’s flagship destination libraries is headed down to a number more like 3 million).. . .

. . . But Mr. Remnick has not criticized these destructions as a trustee, nor has the New Yorker covered the subject as it should. They are both MIA on the subject.

Is Mr. Remnick even aware of these things? How libraries are being sold off (like Donnell) with real estate deals being the priority, or how valuable books the public needs are improperly being consigned to dustheaps? There is no indication that he does.

Citizens Defending Libraries (with its petition) is doing what it can to step into this breach.

Jan. 24 2014 08:51 AM
Martin Chuzzlewit from Manhattan

This article is unctuous flummery.

One thousand ninety-two days and two hours (at show time) until Obama leaves the White House and our nightmarish, disastrous experiment with affirmative action in the Oval Office is over.

LOL, well, Remnick got ONE thing right ....

"He is said to be a reluctant politician: aloof, insular, diffident, arrogant, inert, unwilling to jolly his allies along the fairway and take a 9-iron to his enemies. He doesn't know anyone in Congress. No one in the House or in the Senate, no one in foreign capitals fears him. He gives a great speech, but he doesn't understand power. He is a poor executive. Doesn't it seem as if he hates the job?"

Jan. 24 2014 08:47 AM
Wayne Johnson Ph.D. from BK

Many of us awoke this morning to a picture on the front page of the Times of a caisson rolling into Section 60 of Arlington National carrying the body of Sgt. Peter C. Bohler age 29 who died in Afghanistan. Mr. Remnick has managed to write a book and a long form article without pressing Barack Obama about the debacle that is not much different than Vietnam. Then we were propping up the corrupt Diem,now the corrupt Karzai. Obama is LBJ and Gates was his MdcNamara (all in and marginally repentant afterwards). Why has the liberal press given this President a free pass on this war: a war that an overwhelming number of the American people oppose.

Jan. 24 2014 08:16 AM

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