What Political Podcasts to Listen To
Never been more demand for podcasts or politics, but which one is the right one for you? Here's 10, unranked because rankings aren't objective. Unlikely to find much intersection with the world of Hugh Hewitt and Alex Jones.
- •Fivethirtyeight Politics with Jody Avirgan and crewIf you're a dataphile who's really into polls and wants to hear in three thousand ways why Nate Silver isn't really wrong, even when he kinda is. Occasionally interesting father/son bickering between Silver and 28 year old whiz-kid (?) Harry Enten
- •Pod Save America with Jon Favreau, Dan Pfeiffer, Jon Lovett, and Tommy VietorIf you like the idea of "insiders" even if they've been out of government 5 years and live on the opposite coast. Also if you don't mind hearing the same joke setup ("of course Trump voters went to the polls for (insert weekly anti-populist policy enacted in Washington), didn't they? Haha") every week. Also if you like non-Hollywood types living in/near Hollywood with vaguely Hollywood names - Favreau? Lovett? Pfeiffer? asking you to buy tee-shirts so they don't have to get real jobs
- •The Axe Files with David AxelrodIf you want the most diverse slate of political interviewees. Also if you want to hear a male Barbara Walters go "let's go back to your narrative" three times each episode. Also if you want more evidence that the "Obama Mafia" is a real thing in the podcasting world (keep going for more)
- •Pod Save the World with Tommy VietorIf you've drunk the Obama kool-aid and now want to hear from every individual assembly line worker at the factory. Also if you want a breezy knowledge of contemporary nat-sec issues so you have something to talk about on your next Tinder date. Also a great place for an interviewee to not be challenged at all - case in point, Ben Rhodes and Glenn Greenwald.
- •Off Message with Glenn Thrush (archives only)If you wanted to hear from all the newsmakers of the last election cycle with some pretty interesting interviewing, not particularly challenging but very broad-based and free-wheeling. Also if you don't mind ignoring some terrible attempts at humour from the host. Also if you can make you peace with his apologist attitude towards the terrible job done by the media in election coverage. Thrush quit Politico when he got a gig at NYT.
- •Katie CouricIf you want the most high profile guests try to make a good impression on a broadcasting behemoth, even in her leeward years. If you want a totally inoffensive show that tries to use the broadcast network philosophy of appealing to as demographically disparate a group as possible, in a much more targeted medium. If you want to marvel at the fact that Couric's voice has not aged at all
- •Amicus with Dahlia Lithwick (because the law IS political)If you want to hear an excellent, well-researched, left-leaning, accessible look at the law and all things SCOTUS. Also if you want to decide how you feel about the Merrick Garland/Neil Gorsuch saga. Also if you want to hear SCOTUS litigators talk about the law and want someone to convince Aaron Sorkin to make a West Wing/Good Wife mash up with Stockard Channing and Mary Louise Parker
- •Lovett or Leave It (disclaimer: only 1 episode aired so far) with Jon LovettIf you aren't exhausted with Crooked Media from Monday through Thursday and just need one more show. Also if you find Colbert's smarmy-guy CC character - dialed up about a thousand - charming. Currently a confused mess that is still good-hearted, because Lovett is like a real-life Chandler - he just wants people to laugh at his jokes and like him. Also if you aren't scared after this exchange: "Lovett: 'So how do we fight back?' Michaela Watkins: 'Ummm, you're asking me, an actress?'"
- •With Friends like These with some lady who works at MTV (that's still a media company?)Honestly - I don't know why anyone would listen to this, but I'll try. If you like Jon Favreau so much that you'd listen to a show he's produced, just so that he can continue affording his Sonos. Also if you don't mind a patronizing lady who thinks because she has Republican in-laws she can bring the world together.
- •Primary Concerns with Brian BeutlerIf you want a bitchin' political podcast that is decidedly left-leaning (hello New Republic!) with a hard working host who is able to synthesize all the news events of the week into a single theme and dive deep with a guest. If you want to hear some of the best guests (I routinely follow almost all of them on Twitter after). If you want to hear the best intro music with awesome sound clips and a crisp commentary - hey Beutler, start calling out your sound engineer after Mickey Capper.