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Pod Save the World

Can Pods Save America?

February 9, 2017

Dear Reader,

President Trump’s first post-election press conference drove me into the Grey Lady’s arms. I bought a Times subscription nearly the moment the words “fake news” leapt from his lips. I have come to know intimately the frisson of fear and curiosity each time a New York Times alert promises another update. A close friend of mine told me recently that he reads his Times Morning Briefing as soon as he wakes up, eager to know what could have happened in the last seven hours. I’ve become equally addicted to the quick-drip of information. It doesn’t feel like it’s possible to keep up, inspiring me to download a speed reading app and attempt to understand Twitter. I don’t think my friend and I are the only ones eager to keep ourselves abreast of everything in the world of politics; it is one vaguely healthy(?) response to current circumstances.

One reason I think I’m not alone in my coping strategy is the debut of several new podcasts all aimed at providing information and analysis on politics/current events. Here are the ones I have been finding most useful. Warning: Do not listen to all of these unless you are an insatiable politics nerd. Pick approximately two if you are a normal person.

Pod Save America: From those charming guys from Keepin’ It 1600, former speechwriters and aides to President Obama, comes a new hilarious and insightful podcast. Jon Lovett, Jon Favreau, and Tommy Vietor sit down and discuss the political aburdities of the week, pull in some fascinating and often very funny guests (Obama is a hoot), and bring some clarity to some complex issues. This podcast is for you if you’re looking to listen in on three informed guys chatting about the news of the week. For bonus Crooked Media, check out Pod Save the World, the foreign policy arm of this fabulous threesome.

The Week Unwrapped: This is from our “special relationship” partners across the water. Host Olly Mann brings together some smart and funny people (there seem to be so many in podcasting) and chats about the news of the week with one specific focus: news that has flown under the radar. The hosts each bring up a news story that they think will impact us all long term, but hasn’t been covered sufficiently. Some previous stories have included the debate in Britain over who should care for the elderly, if squatting is ever morally justified, and if life might have been better before the iPhone. This podcast is for you if you want to dip out of the main(lame?)stream media.

The Daily: This is a new podcast from Michael Barbaro of the New York Times. Five days a week for 20 minutes, The Daily gives a rundown of what stories are featured in the NYT. As someone who reads it as much as I can, but often has trouble reaching into some of its corners due to time constraints, listening to insightful snippets helps me get ready for the day.

Can He Do That?┬áThis is a new weekly podcast from the Washington Post that examines a specific controversial move from the Trump administration per episode and tries to answer the question “can Trump do that?” Each episode features a reporter from the Washington Post, sharing their particular depth of knowledge and experience. This podcast is great if you are looking for a bit of a civics primer. They do a great job of explaining the rudiments of government and examining what powers each branch actually possesses to accomplish their diverse campaign promises.

That’s probably enough to be getting on with. But I’ve got more, friends, so catch up soon on all of these so I can recommend some more loveliness to fill up your ears.