The first three in particular I would highly recommend as models of what discourse on politics, culture and economics should
be like. They have long, hard, but cordial conversations with people they disagree with.
Waking Up by Sam Harris: Harris made his national reputation with two big books
attacking religion, but has since moved into other issues (which he had been working on before, but below
the radar) including meditation, neuroscience, philosophy, technology, violence, ethics and, since the rise of Trump, even some
politics. I think Harris has a sense of what the really important meta-issues of our time are, and connects them to the eternal question
of how it is we want to live. Harris's interviews are very good examples of where our discourse should be heading. He
invites people on and explores issues, agreeing and disagreeing as he goes, but pressing the issue and taking time - as much
as needed - to go into detail, while always keeping things polite and on track. This podcast has no pre-determined length. The
conversation takes as long as it takes - typically 90 minutes to two hours.
The Rubin Report: These are one-on-one interviews with various entertainers, pundits,
authors and others with some (for me annoying) pop-culture references, but a lot about politics. His big issues appear to be
free speech and exploring the meaning of "liberalism." If anything, the host here is too non-confrontational. He rarely disagrees
and presses the issue, his disagreements mostly being with what has become known as the "regressive left."
Econ Talk: This isn't just about economics. In fact, only a few episodes are narrowly about
economics at all. The guests are usually authors plugging recent books and the host explores the book with the guest. The host
often brings an economic line of questioning into the topic of the week, but even people with little interest in economics will
find much of interest here: politics, technology, science, history and ethics with sidetracks all over the place. Disagreements
here can be much more substantial that in the Rubin Report, but are not as rigorously pursued as with Sam Harris.
The CATO Institute's daily podcast: These are short interviews with in-house experts at CATO about
ongoing issues of government policy and court decisions at state and federal level.
Freakonomics: This is a fun collage of interviews which takes a quirky
angle on politics or economics, often applying an economics outlook on questions not usually considered directly related to
economics. This is the only one of my favorites with any advertizing.
Favorite News Sources
Over and above the usual passive and active consumption of whatever news I catch on the German TV and radio and a little bit
of CNN or the occasional newsstand purchase, these are my subscriptions:
City Journal and
Reason Magazine are treasure-troves of alternative versions of the big stories and
issues of the day and for anecdotes and examples for my classroom teaching on politics and economics.
The Atlantic Monthly is where I go for lengthy, thoughful articles on
various subjects. They won me over in April 2015 with a great article on ISIS.