Firing Line with Margaret Hoover Author, feminist, gay rights activist and political commentator Margaret Hoover leads a rigorous exchange of ideas with America's political and cultural newsmakers. In the spirit of William F. Buckley Jr.'s iconic "Firing Line," this refreshing reprisal provides a platform that is diligent in its commitment to civility as Hoover engages with thought leaders on the pivotal issues moving the nation forward. Interviews and debates highlight leading lights from the left and right, complemented by archival material from the original "Firing Line." To watch all episodes, visit the Firing Line website.
Firing Line with Margaret Hoover

Firing Line with Margaret Hoover

From WLIW

Author, feminist, gay rights activist and political commentator Margaret Hoover leads a rigorous exchange of ideas with America's political and cultural newsmakers. In the spirit of William F. Buckley Jr.'s iconic "Firing Line," this refreshing reprisal provides a platform that is diligent in its commitment to civility as Hoover engages with thought leaders on the pivotal issues moving the nation forward. Interviews and debates highlight leading lights from the left and right, complemented by archival material from the original "Firing Line." To watch all episodes, visit the Firing Line website.

Most Recent Episodes

The case for a colorblind America with Coleman Hughes

Coleman Hughes, author of "The End of Race Politics," joins Margaret Hoover to lay out his argument against race-based policies and in favor of a colorblind approach. Hughes, host of the Conversations with Coleman podcast, traces the roots of his colorblind philosophy from the Civil War through the civil rights era, making the case that leaders like Martin Luther King Jr. and Bayard Rustin would have opposed the views of today's anti-racist activists. The descendant of a slave, Hughes tells Hoover why he rejects the notion of inherited trauma and why he believes class-based policies are better suited to combating inequality than race-based ones like affirmative action. He explains why he calls scholars like Robin DiAngelo and Ibram X. Kendi "neoracists" and why he welcomes the backlash against diversity, equity, and inclusion initiatives, but he distances himself from prominent figures on the right like Donald Trump. Hughes also defends his recent Free Press column arguing that Derek Chauvin should have been acquitted of killing George Floyd. Support for "Firing Line for Margaret Hoover" is provided by Robert Granieri, Vanessa and Henry Cornell, The Fairweather Foundation, The Tepper Foundation, Peter and Mary Kalikow, The Asness Family Foundation, The Beth and Ravenel Curry Foundation, Kathleen and Andrew McKenna through The McKenna Family Foundation, Charles R. Schwab, The Eric and Wendy Schmidt Fund for Strategic Innovation, Pritzker Military Foundation on behalf of the Pritzker Military Museum and Library, The Rosalind P. Walter Foundation, Damon Button, Craig Newmark Philanthropies, Roger and Susan Hertog, Cheryl Cohen Effron and Blair Effron, and Al and Kathy Hubbard. Corporate funding is provided by Stephens Inc. and Pfizer Inc.

Futurist Ari Wallach on building a better tomorrow

Futurist Ari Wallach joins Margaret Hoover to discuss "A Brief History of the Future," his new PBS series exploring the ideas and technologies that could help humanity build better tomorrows. Wallach reflects on the "intertidal" moment society currently faces and explains why he believes decisions made in the years ahead will have ramifications for generations to come. He assesses the implications of emerging tools like artificial intelligence and the challenge posed by humanity's innate negativity bias. He calls for "cathedral thinking" to develop long-term solutions to the world's most pressing problems, and he weighs in on Elon Musk's vision for Mars exploration. Wallach explains why "protopias" are preferable to utopias, details what it takes to become great ancestors to our descendants, and reveals what ultimately gives him hope for the future. Support for "Firing Line for Margaret Hoover" is provided by Robert Granieri, Vanessa and Henry Cornell, The Fairweather Foundation, The Tepper Foundation, Peter and Mary Kalikow, The Asness Family Foundation, The Beth and Ravenel Curry Foundation, Kathleen and Andrew McKenna through The McKenna Family Foundation, Charles R. Schwab, The Eric and Wendy Schmidt Fund for Strategic Innovation, Pritzker Military Foundation on behalf of the Pritzker Military Museum and Library, The Rosalind P. Walter Foundation, Damon Button, Craig Newmark Philanthropies, Roger and Susan Hertog, Cheryl Cohen Effron and Blair Effron, and Al and Kathy Hubbard. Corporate funding is provided by Stephens Inc. and Pfizer Inc.

Time to abolish the Electoral College? A Firing Line forum

Margaret Hoover hosts a forum at Hofstra University on whether America should abolish the Electoral College with writers Jesse Wegman and Trent England. Wegman, author of "Let the People Pick the President" and a member of The New York Times editorial board, makes the case that the current system is unfair and undemocratic, empowering a handful of swing states to decide who leads the whole country. England, who founded Save Our States and wrote "Why We Must Defend the Electoral College," argues the Electoral College makes presidential campaigns both more national and more granular at the same time, forcing candidates to appeal to diverse factions of voters across the country who otherwise would have little influence. Wegman and England discuss the history of the Electoral College, the intent of the nation's founders, and how it all relates to slavery. They also debate the merits of a national popular vote and whether other reforms are possible, and they take questions from the student audience. Support for "Firing Line for Margaret Hoover" is provided by Robert Granieri, Vanessa and Henry Cornell, The Fairweather Foundation, The Tepper Foundation, Peter and Mary Kalikow, The Asness Family Foundation, The Beth and Ravenel Curry Foundation, Kathleen and Andrew McKenna through The McKenna Family Foundation, Charles R. Schwab, The Eric and Wendy Schmidt Fund for Strategic Innovation, Pritzker Military Foundation on behalf of the Pritzker Military Museum and Library, The Rosalind P. Walter Foundation, Damon Button, Craig Newmark Philanthropies, Roger and Susan Hertog, Cheryl Cohen Effron and Blair Effron, and Al and Kathy Hubbard. Corporate funding is provided by Stephens Inc. and Pfizer Inc.

Two conservatives debate the impact of Trump 2.0

In a special Firing Line forum recorded before a student audience at Hofstra University, Margaret Hoover talks to conservatives Amanda Carpenter and Mike Gonzalez about the potential ramifications of another Donald Trump presidency. Carpenter, a writer and editor for Protect Democracy, believes a second Trump term would be far more damaging than the first, citing the former president's threats to punish his enemies and promises to reward his allies. She warns the institutional guardrails that constrained him in the past would be weakened or eliminated in a new administration. Gonzalez, who contributed to the Heritage Foundation's Project 2025 guidebook for the next conservative president, downplays concerns Trump would abuse power if he returned to office. He maintains the U.S. and the world were better off during Trump's first three years in office than in President Biden's first three years. Carpenter and Gonzalez discuss Trump's plans for immigration, foreign policy, and rooting out the "deep state" in the federal bureaucracy. Responding to questions from students, they also address the future of the Republican Party and what to expect in an eventual post-Trump America. Mike Gonzalez serves as a Senior Fellow at The Heritage Foundation. The Heritage Foundation is listed for identification purposes only; no endorsement of a candidate by the organization is implied. Support for "Firing Line for Margaret Hoover" is provided by Robert Granieri, Vanessa and Henry Cornell, The Fairweather Foundation, The Tepper Foundation, Peter and Mary Kalikow, The Asness Family Foundation, The Beth and Ravenel Curry Foundation, Kathleen and Andrew McKenna through The McKenna Family Foundation, Charles R. Schwab, Pritzker Military Foundation on behalf of the Pritzker Military Museum and Library, The Rosalind P. Walter Foundation, Damon Button, Craig Newmark Philanthropies, Roger and Susan Hertog, Cheryl Cohen Effron and Blair Effron, and Al and Kathy Hubbard. Corporate funding is provided by Stephens Inc. and Pfizer Inc.

'Life After Power' author Jared Cohen on why the post-presidency matters

Margaret Hoover sits down with Jared Cohen, author of "Life After Power: Seven Presidents and Their Search for Purpose Beyond the White House," to discuss the unique role of the post-presidency in American democracy. Cohen's book explores how different ex-presidents have handled being out of power from Thomas Jefferson to George W. Bush. He explains why examining the lives of former presidents interested him and what can be learned from their experiences. He reflects on John Quincy Adams' "second act" as an abolitionist congressman, contrasts Herbert Hoover's reputation as president with the notable accomplishments of his post-presidency, and details how Jimmy Carter redefined the position of ex-president for modern times. Cohen explains how Grover Cleveland's return to the White House could offer a cautionary tale for a second Donald Trump term, and he reflects on what it will mean to have more ex-presidents alive at the same time in the decades to come. Support for "Firing Line for Margaret Hoover" is provided by Robert Granieri, Stephens Inc., Vanessa and Henry Cornell, The Fairweather Foundation, The Tepper Foundation, Peter and Mary Kalikow, The Asness Family Foundation, The Beth and Ravenel Curry Foundation, Kathleen and Andrew McKenna through The McKenna Family Foundation, Pfizer Inc., Charles R. Schwab, Pritzker Military Foundation on behalf of the Pritzker Military Museum and Library, The Rosalind P. Walter Foundation, Damon Button, Craig Newmark Philanthropies, Roger and Susan Hertog, Cheryl Cohen Effron and Blair Effron, and Al and Kathy Hubbard.

'Life After Power' author Jared Cohen on why the post-presidency matters

BET co-founder Sheila Johnson on 'Walking through Fire' and the secrets to her success

Entrepreneur Sheila Johnson–who co-founded BET and went on to become America's first Black female billionaire–sits down with Margaret Hoover to discuss her memoir and the personal and professional obstacles she has overcome to achieve success. Johnson, who recently released "Walk Through Fire: A Memoir of Love, Loss, and Triumph," reflects on her childhood and what she describes as an abusive first marriage to Bob Johnson, with whom she launched Black Entertainment Television in the early days of cable. She explains the original vision behind BET and the role she believes it could still play in society today. Johnson used her profits from the 2001 sale of BET to open Salamander Resort in Middleburg, Virginia, the first in a chain of luxury hotels. She also purchased a stake in the WNBA's Washington Mystics, as well as the Washington Capitals and the Washington Wizards. She reflects on the massive pay gap between the WNBA and the NBA and what can be done about it. Johnson, a supporter of President Joe Biden, assesses the stakes of the 2024 election and details her fears for a second Trump term. The prominent philanthropist also comments on the fallout from the Supreme Court's affirmative action decision and the need to create new opportunities for students of color. Support for "Firing Line for Margaret Hoover" is provided by Robert Granieri, Stephens Inc., Vanessa and Henry Cornell, The Fairweather Foundation, The Tepper Foundation, Peter and Mary Kalikow, The Asness Family Foundation, The Beth and Ravenel Curry Foundation, Kathleen and Andrew McKenna through The McKenna Family Foundation, Pfizer Inc., Charles R. Schwab, Pritzker Military Foundation on behalf of the Pritzker Military Museum and Library, The Rosalind P. Walter Foundation, Damon Button, Craig Newmark Philanthropies, Roger and Susan Hertog, Cheryl Cohen Effron and Blair Effron, and Al and Kathy Hubbard.

BET co-founder Sheila Johnson on 'Walking through Fire' and the secrets to her success

Gen. David Petraeus on deadly drone attack: 'They can not get away with this'

Retired Gen. David Petraeus sits down with Margaret Hoover to discuss retaliation for a fatal drone attack on U.S. troops in Jordan, as well as the latest developments in the wars in Gaza and Ukraine. Petraeus, co-author of Conflict: The Evolution of Warfare from 1945 to Ukraine, offers insight into the Biden administration's deliberations on a response to the attack by an Iran-backed militia and why restoring deterrence against Iran is crucial. The former four-star general, who led troops in Iraq and Afghanistan, reflects on the "fiendishly difficult" challenges Israel faces in its effort to destroy Hamas and the importance of planning to rebuild Gaza after the war. He comments on the controversy over UN relief workers allegedly assisting Hamas and the status of ongoing hostage negotiations. Petraeus also addresses resistance to continued aid for Ukraine in Congress, and he explains how the conflict relates to preventing a potentially catastrophic war in China. Support for "Firing Line for Margaret Hoover" is provided by Robert Granieri, Stephens Inc., Vanessa and Henry Cornell, The Fairweather Foundation, The Tepper Foundation, Peter and Mary Kalikow, The Asness Family Foundation, The Beth and Ravenel Curry Foundation, Kathleen and Andrew McKenna through The McKenna Family Foundation, Pfizer Inc., Charles R. Schwab, The Rosalind P. Walter Foundation, Damon Button, Craig Newmark Philanthropies, Roger and Susan Hertog, Cheryl Cohen Effron and Blair Effron, and Al and Kathy Hubbard.

Gen. David Petraeus on deadly drone attack: 'They can not get away with this'

U.S. antisemitism envoy Deborah Lipstadt: This is a 'defining moment' for western democracies

Deborah Lipstadt, the State Department's special envoy to monitor and combat antisemitism, joins Margaret Hoover to talk about the surge of hatred against Jews worldwide since October 7th and why she considers it a threat to democracy. Lipstadt, who has studied antisemitism and Holocaust denialism for decades, details the double standard she sees in the muted response to the Hamas attack from organizations and corporations that have quickly spoken out against racism and other injustices in the past. She also questions why women's rights groups have not been more vocal about Hamas' use of sexual violence against women. She reflects on the attitudes driving protests against Israel on college campuses and elsewhere, as well as the prospect that diplomatic progress in the Middle East could quell hostility toward Jews. In addition, Lipstadt addresses China's promotion of antisemitism, dissent within the Biden administration over the war in Gaza, and allegations that Israel is committing genocide. Support for "Firing Line for Margaret Hoover" is provided by Robert Granieri, Stephens Inc., Vanessa and Henry Cornell, The Fairweather Foundation, The Tepper Foundation, Peter and Mary Kalikow, The Asness Family Foundation, The Beth and Ravenel Curry Foundation, Kathleen and Andrew McKenna through The McKenna Family Foundation, Pfizer Inc., Charles R. Schwab, The Rosalind P. Walter Foundation, Damon Button, Craig Newmark Philanthropies, Roger and Susan Hertog, Cheryl Cohen Effron and Blair Effron, and Al and Kathy Hubbard.

U.S. antisemitism envoy Deborah Lipstadt: This is a 'defining moment' for western democracies

NH Gov. Chris Sununu wants Haley over Trump: 'I'm so tired of losing with this guy'

New Hampshire Governor Chris Sununu sits down with Margaret Hoover in Concord to make his case for Nikki Haley ahead of next week's pivotal Republican presidential primary. Sununu explains why he believes the former South Carolina governor is well-positioned to take on Donald Trump despite Trump's decisive victory in Iowa and how his state's independent streak and history of supporting underdogs could give her an edge. The fourth-term governor contrasts Haley's experience and electability with Trump, discusses their policy proposals, and reflects on what the outcome of the race could mean for the future of the GOP. Despite his endorsement of Haley and his concerns about January 6th, Sununu defends his commitment to supporting Trump if he is the Republican nominee, and he argues a second Trump presidency would be better for the country than four more years of Joe Biden. Support for "Firing Line for Margaret Hoover" is provided by Robert Granieri, Stephens Inc., Vanessa and Henry Cornell, The Fairweather Foundation, The Tepper Foundation, Peter and Mary Kalikow, The Asness Family Foundation, The Beth and Ravenel Curry Foundation, Kathleen and Andrew McKenna through The McKenna Family Foundation, Pfizer Inc., Charles R. Schwab, The Rosalind P. Walter Foundation, Damon Button, Craig Newmark Philanthropies, Roger and Susan Hertog, Cheryl Cohen Effron and Blair Effron, and Al and Kathy Hubbard.

NH Gov. Chris Sununu wants Haley over Trump: 'I'm so tired of losing with this guy'

'There is no end in sight,' GOP Rep. Tony Gonzales says of the border crisis

Texas Republican Rep. Tony Gonzales sits down with Margaret Hoover to talk about the record influx of migrants at the southern border and what it will take for Washington to confront the crisis. Gonzales, whose district includes nearly half the U.S.-Mexico border, explains why the surge of migration is happening now, how it is different from previous upticks, and how its economic and social impact is increasingly being felt across the country. He details his proposals to improve border security and protect legal immigration, as well as the challenge of convincing members of both parties to set aside politics and pursue real solutions. He also assesses the status of bipartisan immigration negotiations in the Senate. Gonzales discusses GOP efforts to impeach Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas, his endorsement of Donald Trump for president in 2024, and his own reelection race. Support for "Firing Line for Margaret Hoover" is provided by Robert Granieri, Stephens Inc., Vanessa and Henry Cornell, The Fairweather Foundation, The Tepper Foundation, Peter and Mary Kalikow, The Asness Family Foundation, The Beth and Ravenel Curry Foundation, Kathleen and Andrew McKenna through The McKenna Family Foundation, Pfizer Inc., Charles R. Schwab, The Rosalind P. Walter Foundation, Damon Button, Craig Newmark Philanthropies, Roger and Susan Hertog, Cheryl Cohen Effron and Blair Effron, and Al and Kathy Hubbard.

'There is no end in sight,' GOP Rep. Tony Gonzales says of the border crisis