Kara Swisher is one of the most influential tech journalists, in part, because she’s been covering the industry since the 1990s. She’s also an outspoken leftist who once described herself as the “liberal lesbian Donald Trump of San Francisco.”
Swisher does not hesitate to share her opinions about what tech and social media companies should do — such as cracking down on former President Donald Trump or banning conspiracy theorist Alex Jones. In addition to writing for Recode and The New York Times opinion, she is an avid podcaster. At Vox Media, she created and hosted Recode Decode for five years and still co-hosts the Pivot podcast with New York Magazine. In 2020, she left Recode Decode to launch the Sway podcast for NYT Opinion.
In a Reddit “Ask Me Anything,” Swisher described herself as “mouthy but accurate” and not a pundit, but someone who states opinions based on their reporting and research.
In an interview with YouTube CEO Susan Wojcicki at the Lesbians Who Tech conference, Swisher said if it were up to her she “would” ban conservative Ben Shapiro. In the same conversation, Swisher called him an “idiot,” a “gateway drug” to outspoken Canadian psychologist Jordan Peterson and just three clicks away from Neo-Nazi content on YouTube. When Shapiro criticized Swisher on Twitter for wanting to ban him, she clarified, “I was saying that for me then obviously said no, no to her [Susan] when she asked directly.”
She told Yahoo! Finance editor-in-chief Andy Serwer in April 2020, the government will need to regulate tech companies more heavily through antitrust laws. In the same interview, she dismissed Texas Republican Sen. Ted Cruz’s and other conservatives’ concerns that their online speech is being suppressed as “nonsense.” Swisher also called Trump a “clown” and an “epic troll” and called his administration “incompetent.”
Swisher worked for The Washington Post and The Wall Street Journal before moving to a new tech journalism outlet, All Things D, in 2007. The site was owned by Dow Jones & Company. In 2014, Swisher and Walter Mossberg founded their own tech outlet: Re/code, which they sold to Vox Media group in 2015. Business Insider called Swisher and Mossberg “the most powerful media duo in Silicon Valley.”
- After Facebook started labeling Trump posts about mail-in ballots, she railed at the company in her Times column, “Clean Up Your Act Facebook, or We’re Leaving.” She wrote, “I’d like to let you know: You get zero claps for doing a tiny right thing after doing the wrong thing for far too long. Last week, you announced that you are finally labeling the most egregious dreck that is broadcast on Facebook by President Trump, after years of his escalating behavior. But it’s too little, too late.” She announced she had already deactivated her pages to leave the platform.
- Swisher praised Reddit’s ban of “an out-of-control Trump community” and Twitch’s Trump suspension for “hateful” content as “long overdue changes.”
- In May 2020, after Trump issued an executive order to demand the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) consider changes to Section 230, Swisher said he was throwing a “tantrum” and going about regulating tech the wrong way. “I believe in sensible regulation of tech companies done in a way it will stick, not this bullshit.”
- “The sooner we get rid of this clown the better,” she said of Trump on Yahoo’s Influencers show in April 2020. In the wide-ranging conversation, she also called the Facebook Oversight Board a “banana republic,” complained about Facebook choosing to let politicians lie, said Alex Jones “should be jailed” for all the harm he has caused, and that she is allowed to argue with Trump on Twitter because she is a “personality” who left the “fair and balanced world long ago.”
- In Swisher’s view, tech companies have become a new kind of media company, but with “all the benefits and none of the responsibilities.” She told NPR, “I would like them to step up and have responsibilities ... I want them to have values and rules and standards like I have to have on my site and any media company has to have.”
- In 2016, Swisher told the San Francisco Chronicle she would like to run for mayor of the city some day. In an interview with Inc., she said she was serious and her priorities would be encouraging “density” housing development, changing workplace issues (gig worker treatment) and how to regulate work to protect employees and legalizing marijuana.
- “I think powerful companies are dangerous by their very nature of being so powerful,” Swisher said in a 2014 Business Insider interview.