Bari Weiss is a former New York Times journalist, the founder and editor of The Free Press, and host of the podcast Honestly. On her show, some of the most taboo topics in American culture are brought out of the closet and served up for discussion. Keep reading to learn more about Weiss and the Honestly podcast.
The Creator Behind the Podcast
Bari Weiss was an opinion writer and editor for the New York Times between 2017 and 2020. Prior to that, Weiss was an op-ed and book review editor at The Wall Street Journal and a senior editor at Tablet Magazine. Her first book, “How to Fight Anti-Semitism,” was the winner of a 2019 National Jewish Book Award. Weiss received the LA Press Club’s 2021 Daniel Pearl Award for Courage and Integrity in Journalism. She also received the Reason Foundation’s 2018 Bastiat Prize.
Weiss received notoriety for her public resignation from the New York Times due to frustrations around journalist censorship. Today, she is the host of the Honestly podcast and the founder of The Free Press, a media company “built on the ideals that once were the bedrock of great journalism: honesty, doggedness, and fierce independence.”
Weiss grew up in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania and currently lives with her wife and daughter in Los Angeles.
Themes and Topics Covered
Honestly was born out of Weiss’ desire to bring the taboo topics of today’s American society into the light for candid discussion. Each week, Weiss hosts interesting guests and covers a wide range of topics, including politics, the economy, and culture.
Here are three summaries of recent episodes:
Bari Weiss in Conversation with Kim Kardashian
In this episode, Bari interviews American socialite, Kim Kardashian. Bari asks Kim what it’s like to juggle being a mom, influencer, and business mogul. They also discuss her split from rapper Kanye West, her thoughts on Donald Trump, and cancel culture. Kim shares her thoughts on potentially running for office and the advice she’d give her 18 year old self. She also talks about her journey of becoming a lawyer, parenting advice, and how fame has molded and impacted her life.
Why Winston Marshall Quit Mumford & Sons
Receiving 98,000 views on YouTube, Honestly’s episode featuring the former lead guitarist of the band Mumford & Sons is one of the podcasts most popular to date. Despite the band’s massive success, Winston Marshall decided to walk away from Mumford & Sons in order to speak more freely on topics he’s passionate about.
Marshall came under criticism after tweeting support for a book by conservative author Andy Ngo that exposed the left wing radicalism of Antifa. Marshall wrote a piece on the blogging site Medium explaining his decision. His choice mirrors Bari’s choice to leave the New York Times and the two spend the episode in deep discussion about their journeys.
Andrew Yang on the Failures of the Democrats
American businessman, lobbyist, and politician Andrew Yang joins Bari on the Honestly podcast to discuss the current state of the Democratic party. Yang ran for United States president as well as the Mayor of New York City. Although his campaigns were ultimately unsuccessful, he announced the formation of a new political party: the Forward Party.
Here, Weiss and Yang discuss his plans to take on the two-party system, and what the 2021 elections revealed about the state of the nation. The two also dive into universal basic income, Dave Chapelle, open primary voting, establishment politics, and cryptocurrency.
Reach of the Honestly Podcast
The Honestly podcast has just under 7,000 subscribers on YouTube. Bari Weiss also has 3,400 followers on her Instagram account and 983,000 followers on Twitter. On YouTube, where view statistics are readily available it appears that the average podcast receives between 1,000 views and 10,000 views per episode. It’s worth noting that only some of the show’s episodes are posted on YouTube.
As of March 2023, Honestly was ranked as #237 out of all US podcasts, and #41 under the Society and Culture category on Apple Music. Based on this analysis we estimated that Honestly receives 5k listens each time an episode goes out across Apple, Google, Youtube and Spotify podcast networks.
The Format of the Podcast
On Honestly, Bari Weiss aims to bring the most interesting conversations in American life out of the closet. She covers some of today’s most controversial subjects and interviews celebrities, politicians, journalists, and public figures.
Each podcast episode of Honestly is about an hour in length. Weiss releases new episodes each week. Each episode features a guest and the format of the show is a standard interview session. Guests can submit questions for the show’s “Quick Questions” segment or suggest a topic for an episode by submitting an email here.
Reception and Impact
Honestly receives a great deal of praise from fans and criticism from those who feel the show’s topics and guests are too controversial. Supporters rave about Weiss’ courage to cover taboo subjects and counteract today’s cancel culture mob:
“Bari, I never get tired of saying it – you have the best crafted podcast in the game. Every minute detail in the show is so well polished. I love that you are covering the J.K. Rowling controversy. Keep up the awesome work. Such a huge fan.”
On the other hand, critics believe she leans too far to the right and has her own political agenda:
“Shame to ruin what could’ve been a great podcast. We should’ve heard more about what the guest was trying to convey without all of the political jargon. I guess Bari has her agenda that she needs to shove down our throats every chance she gets.”
The show currently has a rating of 4.7 out of 5 stars on Apple Podcasts.
If you want to dive deeper into the most controversial conversations in American life, check out Honestly. You can listen to Bari Weiss’ podcast on most of the major podcasting platforms, including Apple Podcasts, Audible, and Spotify. You can also view some of the most popular episodes on the show’s YouTube channel.