How do you get your news?
Most of us don’t really think about it. We turn on the television and get fed whatever the networks think we ought to hear. Podcasts offer a different experience entirely. It’s like stepping back in time, to the era when people used to sit by the radio and listen to news, comedy, and music together each night. However, podcasts give you the added ability to choose the source of your information — and that can be a very valuable thing.
I talk a lot about changing your perspective on this blog, so here are a few of the podcasts I listen to regularly to help me hear about news and current events from several different vantage points.
If you want the conservative evangelical perspective on today’s current events, then The Briefing is the place to go. Mohler offers a 20-minute daily podcast covering three or four current issues or events in the news. Even if you don’t agree with everything he says, he must be admired for the sheer determination and discipline he has displayed in writing out (he reads his podcasts from a script) a 2,000-word summary of relevant news events, every day, for the past several years.
If you want a perspective that is clearly, undeniably from the other end of the political spectrum, please listen to Ezra Klein. Again, though you may not agree with everything he says, there is plenty of reason to respect Klein — Klein, for his ability to put together interview after interview with prominent political personalities. Especially good was his interview with Brian Stevenson, executive director of the Equal Justice Initiative.
If you’re like me, and you watched the NBC sitcom 30 Rock at all, then it’s hard to listen to Alec Baldwin’s voice for any length of time without breaking into laughter. That’s a compliment, not an insult — he may be one of the funniest actors I’ve ever watched. But this podcast is good — especially for it’s interviews with some great singers and musicians from the 20th century. If you want to check it out, listen to this incredible interview with the great American singer/songwriter Gordon Lightfoot.
What can I say? This may truly be one of the greatest podcasts ever produced. If you’ve read Outliers, David and Goliath, The Tipping Point, or any of Gladwell’s other books, you know that Gladwell can put together facts like no one else on earth to make you truly understand trends and events from a new perspective. Please listen to the unbelievable story of Brown v. Board of Education from a surprising angle in the episode “Mrs. Buchanan’s Period of Adjustment“.
It is important to listen to people, even if you don’t agree with everything they say. As I near the end, I’m going to recommend Bell’s podcast for his positive message and his committment to keep communicating. Bell offers a very good treatment of The Sermon on the Mount and tackles something he calls “The Lie of Redemptive Violence” — and it is worth listening to.
And as we end the list, it wouldn’t be complete without Tim Keller. For foundational truth, there is nowhere better to turn but here. It is primarily sermons, as Keller is the pastor of Redeemer Church in Manhattan, but the length of each episode is generally shorter than Klein, Gladwell, or Bell — about 40 minutes. I have episodes that I will listen to over and over again. If you’ve never listened to Keller, here’s a good place to start: “Absolutism: Don’t we all have to find truth for ourselves?”