When it comes to politics and the myriad of issues that fall within the political sphere, there are numerous think tanks, foundations, organizations and individual activists trying to advance their agenda. Podcasts can be an excellent and effective way to do this. Whether you are talking about a think tank that advances views on a range of issues or a small, single-issue group trying to advance a specific, narrow agenda, there are numerous benefits to using a podcast. There are, however, also benefits to the listener for utilizing the plethora of podcasts that are available online. The following represent just three of these benefits.
1. A Free and Convenient Way to Become More Informed on a Specific Issue
Podcasts, by their nature, are typically made available as a series of installments that are received automatically by those who have subscribed to them. As opposed to a general news program on television or radio, which would be constrained by having to report in an unbiased manner on many different news items of the day, a particular podcast may be focused on a specific type of issue or a particular political viewpoint on various issues.
They tend to go more in-depth into stories or issues compared to mainstream media, which has to cover a broader range of topics or need to do so from a more neutral viewpoint. Political podcasts enable a listener to get the day’s news or an issue-specific analysis from a group that they agree with politically, according to Louder with Crowder. This is why a libertarian might listen to the podcast put out by the CATO Institute, or a conservative might listen to one put out by the Heritage Foundation, and there are numerous progressive podcasts for those on the political left to listen to.
That podcasts are typically free and extremely convenient is another major benefit. You can listen to one wherever you are on your smartphone without having to be in front of a television or near a radio as you do when watching or listening to conventional media.
2. Expand Your Viewpoint on Issues and on Politics in General
There has been a common complaint voiced over the past couple decades about the proliferation of news sources compared to a time when a few television networks and radio stations disseminated all the news. The criticism of media today, due to the internet, is that most people only watch or listen to media that they agree with. This results in groups of people being increasingly divided due to not getting the same information on various topics and issues.
For the above reason, it is important to occasionally listen to views that challenge our preconceptions. Podcasts are a free and convenient way to accomplish this. If you have trouble comprehending why your friend or neighbor feels a certain way about a particular issue, it can help broaden your understanding by listening to a podcast that is more reflective of that person’s political views.
The proliferation of media puts the responsibility on us to be more careful in selecting podcasts that keep us informed from a myriad of viewpoints. Only then can we avoid deepening the political chasm that threatens to further engulf our nation.
3. Make You a Better Citizen
This benefit is related to points one and two above but is important enough to hold its own place as a separate benefit. Each time you listen to an episode of a podcast you do gain in-depth knowledge on a particular issue, and you do challenge your beliefs when you listen to podcasts that represent different views. However, over the course of listening to many political podcast episodes, you also develop a better general understanding of your government and the workings of your society in general.
It is such a broad understanding that furthers the goal of an informed citizenry. It was Thomas Jefferson who said “An educated citizenry is a vital requisite for our survival as a free people.” The first two benefits to political podcasts mainly benefit us, but by being a more informed citizen, we increase the chances of our not being a liability at the ballot box to our fellow citizens as well.