Lefty podcasts that engage with other viewpoints
October 27, 2018 10:35 AM   Subscribe

I'm a fan of The Dig and I've been branching out to a few other lefty podcasts recently. But it all starts to feel a bit one-sided sometimes. Are there any podcasts with a leftist focus that engage directly and in good faith with other viewpoints? Where the ideas or people they are disagreeing with are actually there at the mic or otherwise able to speak for themselves?

The last related question I can find on the green is from 2011 (please consider Intelligence Squared and Bloggingheads already suggested). Structured debates are ok, but I'm looking more for critical interviews or open-ended discussions between thoughtful, informed people willing to at least be respectfully skeptical of each other.

Please tell me such a podcast exists! Thanks.
posted by ropeladder to Media & Arts (13 answers total) 14 users marked this as a favorite
A friend was telling me about Left, Right and Center - I haven't listened to it yet it sounds like what you're looking for.

Also, Make America Relate Again
posted by bunderful at 10:40 AM on October 27, 2018

This is the mission of With Friends Like These. It is supposed to be about having difficult conversations with people we disagree with. I think it’s a lot more about showcasing liberal/left people from different coalitions, with the occasional tame NeverTrumper or conservative climate realist.
posted by chrchr at 10:52 AM on October 27, 2018 [1 favorite]

Left, Right and Center is pretty much exactly what you're describing.
posted by BlahLaLa at 11:16 AM on October 27, 2018

Ezra Klein likes to talk to people he doesn’t necessarily agree with on his podcast, The Ezra Klein Show.
posted by Orlop at 11:23 AM on October 27, 2018 [3 favorites]

It's not overtly partisan and the conversation is not typically adversarial, but one of the things that I really enjoy about Amicus is that the host respectfully pushes her guests to address the inconsistencies in their arguments and the merits of the opposing position. This tends to be more the case when the show is discussing a particular Supreme Court case, rather than off-season episodes that go further afield. One example that stands out to me: even though I remain disgusted and horrified by the Muslim ban and the descendant executive orders, and I believe the folks running Amicus feel the same, listening to the podcast did convince me (before the Supreme Court decision was announced) that the EOs probably were constitutional, and that there is certainly a fair and justifiable legal argument to be made on both sides (again, on the question of constitutionality, not on the question of whether it's defensible policy).
posted by exutima at 1:40 PM on October 27, 2018 [1 favorite]

Seconding Amicus. Another standout episode was Masterpiece Cake Shop, where it felt like they were presenting some hard truths to idealists like me. At the same time, Dahlia Lithwick is forthright about her biases in a way that makes the show feel really honest.

It reminds me in some ways of Marketplace, which also may suit you here. Kai Ryssdal is definitely a capitalist and he talks with CEOs aplenty, yet it's intellectually honest in a way that still makes me feel like nobody's trying to pull any punches.
posted by dbx at 4:02 PM on October 27, 2018 [1 favorite]

The Gist is a daily news/interview show hosted by Mike Pesca out of Slate. Mike is a moderate liberal, but he does a good job examining lots of positions, including his own. While it’s not a daily part of his show, he does interview conservatives. This interview with Reihan Salam seems like the kind of thing you’re looking for.
posted by Betelgeuse at 6:30 PM on October 27, 2018 [1 favorite]

Not sure if it’s exactly what you’re looking for, but The Argument is a new weekly podcast from three members of the NYT’s editorial team...one liberal, one conservative, and one centrist. It’s been pretty good so far...sometimes they really do argue, and even yell at each other, but they also seem to respect one another even while disagreeing.
posted by lhauser at 10:19 PM on October 27, 2018

I don’t listen to it because I’m perpetually over-quota on political content, but Pantsuit Politics may be up your alley. It has a liberal and a conservative host and the objective is to discuss respectfully.
posted by lakeroon at 10:20 PM on October 27, 2018

While it's not an explicit trend that left vs right politics come into the topic, Conversations With People Who Hate Me is a textbook example of how to engage with opposing viewpoints without debate or antagonism. It's hosted by Dylan Marron (whom you may recognise as the voice of Carlos from Welcome To Night Vale), and he has an astonishingly thoughtful approach to the engagements that is understanding and open without capitulating.

The show's tagline is "Empathy is not Endorsement" and he really lives up to it. Season one was largely Marron calling up people who had posted rude or negative comments on posts of his online, while in season two he has mainly been mediating conversations between two people who have been on either end of a rude or hateful comment.
posted by rum-soaked space hobo at 10:04 AM on October 28, 2018 [1 favorite]

People recommending podcasts, can you please also recommend a representative (or particularly good) episode of it?
posted by Baeria at 10:43 AM on October 28, 2018

Best answer: I think the Current Affairs podcast (and the publication) are some of the best around at this. They don't generally have right-wing guests on the show, but they are great at engaging with the arguments their ideological opponents are actually making.

Nathan J. Robinson, editor-in-chief of Current Affairs, recently publicly debated Daniel J. Mitchell of the Cato Institute, which debate can be viewed in the links from this article.

He's also written about figures like Jordan Peterson, Ben Shapiro, and Dinesh D'Souza in ways that thoroughly examine their work and attempt to understand their appeal.
posted by ludwig_van at 1:04 PM on October 28, 2018

Response by poster: Belated thanks for all the suggestions! I'm marking the Current Affairs podcast as best answer because I was (perhaps unclearly) looking for podcasts from a more "left" than "liberal" perspective and am more interested in left-vs-mainstream than left-vs-right dialogue, but I'll be checking out all of these.
posted by ropeladder at 5:46 PM on November 1, 2018 [1 favorite]

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