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The best political podcasts for 2021

Let’s not beat around the bush: Politics is pretty confusing at the moment. Everything seems highly charged, opinions and beliefs are colliding into each other from almost every direction, and it’s becoming increasingly hard to disentangle truth from spin, misrepresentation, and downright misinformation. Fortunately, there is a growing range of political podcasts to listen to, and some of them are very good. This is why we’ve put together a list of the best political podcasts you can listen to right now, to help you cut through the noise.

Also, check out our articles on the best podcasts and the best music podcasts if you’re interested in more than just politics.

The NPR Politics Podcast

The NPR Politics Podcast

Here’s a podcast for anyone who wants a digest of the latest political news and goings-on, but doesn’t have enough time to read a newspaper or watch an entire news broadcast. Every weekday, NPR’s team of political journalists and reports take about 15 minutes of your time to explain and unpack political news emerging mostly out of the U.S. The format is accessible, yet the hosts manage to provide enough important information for you to be left with a better understanding of what has been happening.

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Left, Right & Center

Aiming to provide more of a balanced approach to political discussion, Left, Right & Center is a weekly podcast assembled by Los Angeles radio station KCRW. Hosted by Josh Barro, Rich Lowry, and a range of special guests, the podcast takes a debate format, with the hosts aiming to analyze the most important political news from a variety of viewpoints.

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Pod Save America

Pod Save America

Pod Save America describes itself as a no-nonsense (we won’t use the term they actually use) conversation about politics. Rather than being hosted by political reporters or “everywoman/everyman” type presenters, it’s chaired by former Obama aides Jon Favreau, Jon Lovett, Dan Pfeiffer, and Tommy Vietor, who are able to shine a more specialized light on political events. New episodes are published every Monday and Thursday, with the hosts being joined by a range of journalists, academics, and politicians to discuss politics in greater depth than you might find elsewhere.

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Democracy Now

Hosted by investigative journalists Amy Goodman and Juan Gonzalez, Democracy Now! aims to expose corporate and government abuses of power while covering important stories of ordinary people cooperating in order to achieve political change. New episodes are produced on a daily basis, with the hosts’ analysis of events being supplemented by in-depth interviews with people at the heart of each story.

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In the Thick

In The ThickHere’s a podcast that covers politics from more diverse perspectives. Its hosts are all journalists of color who use their backgrounds to highlight and illuminate what’s missing from mainstream news coverage. While it hasn’t been on the scene for long, it’s already making waves and is highly recommended for anyone who wants a bit more depth and breadth from political journalism.

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Slow Burn

Slow Burn political podcast

Produced by Slate, Slow Burn is for listeners who want to catch up on past political events they may have missed or not fully understood. It gets really in-depth, spending entire seasons looking at such watershed political moments as Watergate, the Clinton impeachment, and the rise and fall of David Duke. These all may be in the past, but Slow Burn does a good job of highlighting their relevance and showing how they’ve shaped politics today.

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Originally launched as a podcast focusing on the Jeffrey Epstein case, TrueAnon has quickly become a favorite among politically minded listeners of a more left-wing orientation. Hosted by the bantering Liz Franczak and Brace Belden, each episode (or series of episodes) tends to focus on a political story or issue in the present or recent past, with the hosts being joined by expert guests who help put things in a wider context. Previous podcasts have focused on the World Economic Forum, K, Julian Assange, the 2019 Bolivian election, 9/11, and more.


Gaslit Nation

Hosted by writers Sarah Kendzior (View from Flyover Country) and Andrea Chalupa, Gaslit Nation is a political podcast that looks to dig under the surface of political stories, finding out what is really driving recent events and issues. Its hosts have backgrounds researching and reporting on authoritarian states, and they accordingly concentrate much of their time on the abuses of power.

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Citations Needed

Citations Needed best political podcasts

Here’s a political podcast that casts its net wider than formal politics, looking at how the media and PR industry shape, create, and maintain political power. It’s hosted by Nima Shirazi and Adam Johnson, who are joined by range of specialists, advisers, and academics to discuss a particular issue each week. Recent episodes have focused on the use of inquiries and investigations by politicians to silence activists, and on Hollywood’s relationship with America’s security services.

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Rational Security

Rational Security best political podcasts

If you consider yourself a political “nerd,” then Rational Security may be the political podcast for you. Produced by the Lawfare Institute, it focuses mostly on national security and foreign policy news, with the Washington Post’s Shane Harris being joined by a panel of Brookings Institute scholars: Tamara Cofman Wittes, Benjamin Wittes, and Susan Hennessey. It comes out once a week, which each episode concentrating on a particular issue or event, which is explained and analyzed in rigorous depth by the panel of scholars and assorted guests.

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Intercepted political podcast

You may have heard of The Intercept, an investigative news site that’s most well-known for covering stories on national security leaks. Well, it has its own weekly podcast, Intercepted, which takes a closer look at political issues making (or not making) the headlines each week. The podcast is hosted by The Intercept’s co-founder, Jeremy Scahill, but features a range of notable guests and experts, with Naomi Klein being a recent contributor. Also, check out The Intercept’s other political podcast, Deconstructed, if you like what you hear.

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Slate Political Gabfest

Voted “Favorite Political Podcast” by Apple Podcasts listeners, Slate’s Political Gabfest is a weekly political news roundup that combines close analysis with a smattering of good humor. Hosts David Plotz, John Dickerson, and Emily Bazelon focus predominantly on domestic U.S. politics, with their irreverent discussions providing wider context on the political news making the headlines.

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The Weeds

Another political podcast for self-professed “wonks”, Vox’s The Weeds delves into the finer details of policy and political events. New episodes are posted every Tuesday and Friday, with host Matthew Yglesias joined by Vox journalists Ezra Klein, Dara Lind, and Jane Coaston as they point a magnifying glass at important national issues, covering healthcare, immigration, housing, and pretty much everything else.

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Editors' Recommendations