Let’s be real. Regardless of your political beliefs, keeping up with the endless stream of national and global news is exhausting. The world seems to be growing more out of control, to the point that it’s adding personal distress to nearly every individual, and adding that stress to our stress of being UC Berkeley students? No thanks! Don’t have time to watch the news every night or read news articles? Don’t want to be an ignorant nerd who doesn’t know about current events? Listen to some of these podcasts to help you stay updated during your commute to work, while you’re walking to class or while you’re getting ready in the morning. More importantly, these podcasts won’t depress you too much.
“Lovett or Leave It”
This podcast definitely takes the depressing state of American politics and translates it into prime political humor. Hosted by Jon Lovett, a speechwriter for former president Barack Obama, “Lovett or Leave It“ is one of the podcasts under Crooked Media — a political media company founded by Lovett himself along with two other former Obama senior staffers, Jon Favreau and Tommy Vietor.
Although all the podcasts under Crooked Media are incredible, “Lovett or Leave It” is unique from any other podcast, as it is recorded in front of a live audience and is formatted like a game show.
A new episode is released every Saturday, so listen to it on your morning weekend run (if you’re one of those people) or on your Monday commute. You will definitely laugh and cry at how sad the political environment is (but really just laugh and cry from laughing).
“The Daily” is a New York Times podcast hosted by reporter Michael Barbaro. You may have guessed by its title that new episodes are released daily, and they are typically 20 to 30 minutes long, making this the perfect podcast to listen to while getting ready in the morning or on your way to classes.
However, the podcast is not like an audio reading of dry news briefings. “The Daily” has grown popular, regularly topping the charts for the most-listened-to podcast, because of how well it integrates narrative and journalistic aspects in ways that engage listeners every day. Each episode also includes interviews from top New York Times reporters in all fields, as well as other guests, depending on the episode’s subject. From a story about a Honduran family being separated at the border to an analysis of the meeting between President Donald Trump and Kim Jong Un, to a historical examination of Roe v. Wade and its aftermath, “The Daily” offers in-depth, concise accounts on a variety of current issues and events.
“Pod Save the People”
Another podcast from Crooked Media, “Pod Save the People“ takes a comprehensive dive into social justice, culture and politics in the United States. Hosted by organizer and activist DeRay Mckesson, “Pod Save the People” is arguably one of the best political mediums that emphasizes grassroots movements and explores themes of race relations, discrimination and social inequalities.
Although at times “Pod Save the People” takes on a more serious tone than other Crooked Media podcasts, it’s informative and insightful, offering well-thought-out discussions with regular co-hosts Brittany Packnett, Clint Smith and Samuel Sinyangwe as well as engrossing interviews with notable guests such as Edward Snowden, Katy Perry and John Legend.
Each “Pod Save the People” episode is roughly an hour long and is released every Tuesday.
“Left, Right & Center”
Nowadays, it seems to be growing rarer that people can have a civil discussion on differing political perspectives. It seems that more people see others with opposite political ideals as irrational or even dangerous. And if you’re one of these people who thinks, “How the hell does the other side think?” then “Left, Right & Center” may be the perfect antidote to this issue.
“Left, Right & Center” has three co-hosts of differing political affiliations: Josh Barro, a Business Insider senior editor, represents the center and acts as the moderator; Rich Lowry, editor of the National Review, represents the right; and Katrina vanden Heuvel, editor and publisher of The Nation, represents the left. Each week, the hosts get together to discuss their varying views on the latest political news, policies and pop culture. And they do so without screaming into the microphone, patronizing each other or bursting out expletive terms.
Start learning how to reach across the aisle and listen to the podcast every Friday.
Don’t have an hour or even half an hour to spare to get your news updates? Or simply cannot handle investing that much time to listen to the bleakest news?
Subscribe to NPR’s podcast “Up First,” which gives you a briefing on the world’s biggest stories in just 10 minutes!
Not much to say about the best, shortest news podcast, is there?
These are just some of the best political and news podcasts to listen to this summer. While living in Berkeley, it’s good to keep up with news like this. Enjoy listening!