Last year, I faced a terrible conundrum, which no one should have the horror of facing: I was out of backlogged podcast episodes to listen to. Since I’m fairly new to this whole podcast thing, I’m only following a handful of podcasts. With months—and sometimes years—of prior content to listen to on these podcasts, the distress of waiting for new episodes never crossed my mind. So you can imagine my horror as I realized the release date of the latest episode of The Adventure Zone was uncomfortably close to the current date. But, since it was the end of the semester, I decided to push that problem off until the new year. Just like many other school-related problems.
When I got back to school and returned to my 15-minute walks to and from campus each day, I had to face reality. I needed to venture beyond safe harbors, into the untamed wilds of the podcast ocean, and find something new. Or, at least check out what podcasts are trending this week. When I did, one in particular caught my eye. Sitting at number one on trending was Pod Save America. Seeing a portrait of George Washington wearing Apple earbuds and “Crooked Media” as the company name, I was interested.
Pod Save America aims to have “a freewheeling conversation about politics, the press, and the challenges posed by the Trump presidency.” Having become much more interested in politics over the last year, I welcomed the opportunity for further discussion and analysis in a humorous, light-hearted format. I was immediately impressed by the extensive knowledge the podcasters possessed. Not only were they enjoyable to listen to, but they knew their stuff. These were no armchair political pundits, but individuals who spoke from both knowledge and experience. No wonder Pod Save America was trending!
I was probably two or three episodes in before I fully understood the extent of Crooked Media’s resume. The creators of Pod Save America, Jon Favreau, Dan Pfeiffer, Jon Lovett, and Tommy Vietor, aren’t Washington nobodies—in fact, all four were aids to former president Barack Obama. Favreau even served as Obama’s head speechwriter as far back as 2005. To say the group knows their way around White House politics is a bit of an understatement.
In my opinion, this is what puts Pod Save America a step above the rest. Listening to individuals discuss White House politics from the perspective of those who actually lived it is unquestionably more in-depth and interesting than any other political discussion one could have. Their ability to say “I remember when we had a media nightmare during my time with Obama, so I have an idea of what Sean Spicer is experiencing right now” is what makes this an exceptional podcast. They are able to take headlines that are, at their core, disheartening, and make them entertaining, while still conveying the implications of such developments. In addition, their Washington connections allow them to interview those who are still in the trenches, bringing even more experience and insight to the show. Pod Save America is a golden light in the midst of a barren political landscape.