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Political podcasts across the ideological spectrum

  • 20 political podcasts across the ideological spectrum

    Political discourse on cable TV is great, as long as you're into talking heads in opposing camps yelling over each other while competing for the best sound bite during 30-second verbal shootouts. If you're trying to stay informed on the commute to work, political radio offers the options of an echo chamber on the right or an echo chamber on the left—each with more commercial breaks than content.

    Podcasts, however, have changed all that.

    The long-form structure of podcasts allows for real dialogue on complex issues without the censorship, time limitations, or oversight from corporations and advertisers that burden traditional news media. Whether you lean to the left or the right, whether you're libertarian or socialist, whether you're frustrated with the recitation of talking points on the cable news networks or simply looking to expand your mind while staying informed, there's a podcast for you.

    Here are 20 of the most engaging, compelling, and popular podcasts from all over the political spectrum.

  • FiveThirtyEight Politics Podcast

    FiveThirtyEight is a political publication that stands out for its focus on statistics, polling, and analysis. Its podcast, called the "Politics Podcast," examines issues through the FiveThirtyEight lens of data, polling trends, and hard numbers.

  • The Weeds

    "The Weeds" is an hour-long podcast that airs twice a week, produced by news and current events site Vox. As the name implies, "The Weeds" goes beyond the well-worn headlines and delves into the issues within the issues, which are discussed by pundits Ezra Klein, Sarah Kliff, and Matthew Yglesias.

  • Political Gabfest

    Published by Slate, "Political Gabfest" is an informal, off-the-cuff, and often irreverent discussion between hosts John Dickerson, David Plotz, and Emily Bazelon. The podcast, which "The Late Show" host Stephen Colbert personally recommended to his audience, was also voted "Favorite Political Podcast" by iTunes listeners.

  • The Federalist Radio Hour

    The writers and editors of The Federalist web magazine sit down to discuss everything from politics and religion to news and culture in the publication's namesake podcast. Hosted by Ben Domenech, the discussion features regular guests David Harsanyi, and Mollie Hemingway, who address "controversies in America from a contrarian point of view," according to the podcast's homepage.

  • Pod Save America

    Four former aides to President Barack Obama—Dan Pfeiffer, Jon Lovett, Tommy Vietor ,and Jon Favreau—host this popular podcast. The crew welcomes everyone from activists and journalists to comedians and politicians to join the discussion.

  • Left, Right and Center

    Pop culture, politics, and policy are always up for debate on "Left, Right and Center," which is produced by KCRW. The aptly named show features one left-leaning host, one conservative host, and one that acts as a neutral referee.

  • The Pollsters

    "The Pollsters" features two prominent polling professionals: Democrat Margie Omero and Republican Kristen Soltis Anderson. Although they sometimes interview outside experts, the pair generally spends  their podcast time interpreting polling data to put a fresh spin on the biggest stories of the week.

  • NPR Politics Podcast

    "NPR Politics Podcast" gives listeners the inside scoop on current events and news stories through candid conversations between National Public Radio's top political reporters. The show, one of the most popular politics podcasts on iTunes, also offers quick takes on daily news and roundups of the week's news.

  • The Daily

    Presented by the New York Times, "The Daily" is unique for its rapid-fire format. Unlike many long-form podcasts with several days between episodes, this podcast, hosted by Michael Barbaro, condenses the news into 20-minute chunks five days a week. The podcast is ready for listening by 6 a.m. each weekday morning.

  • On the Media

    "On the Media" examines the week's most important stories with a skeptical eye on how the media presented those stories. Dedicated to free speech, the First Amendment and government transparency, the podcast, as well as the award-winning radio show on which it's based, examines the hidden narratives embedded in the news stories, delivered to the American public 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

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