Episode 90: Chuck Todd and John Reiss Interview

For this episode, we flew to Washington, DC to sit down with Chuck Todd, host of Meet the Press, and John Reiss, the Executive Producer of the show for an in-depth interview.  We talk about the Meet the Press brand, the place of the Sunday shows in our new media landscape, how they choose what to cover, who to book, how to question and how they frame the news of the week.  It was a privilege to be invited to the show and we thank Chuck and John for their time and the entire Meet the Press and NBC News team for welcoming us during a busy news week!     

We are firm believers that the Sunday shows influence and shape the news for the entire week. Conversations like this are exactly what we had in mind when we first dreamed up Polilogue. And we’re so thrilled to share this with you—and hope to have more conversations like it in the future.  

Each week on the Polilogue podcast, we discuss the Sunday morning political shows.  We take a critical look at the policy maker, the politician, and the journalist because each is critical and each demands criticism.  To learn more about the Polilogue podcast, visit www.Polilogue.com

If you enjoyed this episode, please consider supporting the show so we can produce more episodes just like it.  Visit our Patreon at www.Patreon.com/Polilogue 

Meet the Press photo with Chuck Todd and John Reiss
Naomi Soto
Episode 89: Defeated, Trump Declares Emergency

On Friday, February 15, President Trump announced he was going to declare a national emergency. The day before on Thursday, February 14, Congress averted a second government shutdown by approving a budget deal. The deal provided $1.375 billion for new border fencing — less than a quarter of the amount Trump originally sought to build his border wall. 

People in both parties do not approve of President Trump’s expanded executive authority and believe he is breaking an important precedent. Since 1976, 59 national emergencies have been declared, but in no instance did a president declare an emergency after Congress had already responded to the issue at hand.

In our second segment, we discuss Amazon’s decision to abruptly pull out of its HQ2 plans in New York City. What does it mean that one of the biggest companies in America would pull out of an agreement with the biggest city in America without any discussion or negotiations due to local community criticisms? And is there room in the Democratic Party for a pro-business progressive? 

Stay tuned this week for a special episode of our interview with Chuck Todd and the executive producer of Meet the Press, John Reiss! 

As always, you can jump to a section of the show by using our available chapters:

  • Introduction

  • Highlight/Lowlight

  • Trump’s Non-Emergency  

  • Amazon Splits with NYC 

  • Show rankings 

  • Closing

The shows we discuss today include:

State of the Union on CNN

Meet the Press on NBC

Face the Nation on CBS

This Week on ABC

Fox News Sunday on FOX

Email us at podcast@polilogue.com or you can send us your feedback @PolilogueCast. You can also follow us at @sotonaomi_ and @bsteidle.

Want to stalk us some more? Check out some of our other work: 

Brendan’s website: www.armisticedesigns.com 
Naomi's website: www.startwithaquestion.org

Naomi Soto
Episode 88: Scandals from Bezos to Virginia

On today’s episode of Polilogue we talk about the explosive allegations from Jeff Bezos that American Media tried to exploit and blackmail him. American Media is the same company that owns the National Enquirer and has a special agreement with the Southern District of New York to cooperate in Trump investigations. 

We also talk about the three scandals hitting Virginia at the same time. Governor Ralph Northam bungles blackface allegation. Two women accuse Lt. Gov Justin Fairfax of sexual assault. And Attorney General confesses to his own participation of blackface when he was in college. Now the state must decide try to figure out who can heal the commonwealth and move it forward. 

As always, you can jump to a section of the show by using our available chapters:

  • Introduction

  • Highlight/Lowlight

  • Bezos exposes AMI  

  • Virginia Officials Embarrass State 

  • Avoiding the Next Shutdown

  • Show rankings 

  • Closing

The shows we discuss today include:

Email us at podcast@polilogue.com or you can send us your feedback @PolilogueCast. You can also follow us at @sotonaomi_ and @bsteidle.

Want to stalk us some more? Check out some of our other work: 

Brendan’s website: www.armisticedesigns.com 
Naomi's website: www.startwithaquestion.org

Naomi Soto
Episode 87: Northam Digs In

In the span of ~24 hours, the governor of the commonwealth of Virginia became a man without a party. Last Friday, a racist photo of a man in blackface and another man in a KKK costume was discovered on Governor Ralph Northam’s medical yearbook page. Within hours, he apologized. Then the next day, he denied he was in the picture.

Most people are asking Governor Northham to step down, but he isn’t budging… which leaves everyone to wonder: How does Virginia move forward? And how can Governor Northam possibly lead?

As always, you can jump to a section of the show by using our available chapters:

  • Introduction 

  • Highlight / Lowlight

  • Northam Stays Put

  • Margaret Brennan Interviews Trump

  • Rankings 

  • Closing 

The shows we discuss today include:

Email us at podcast@polilogue.com or you can send us your feedback @PolilogueCast. You can also follow us at @sotonaomi_ and @bsteidle

Want to stalk us some more? Check out some of our other work: 

Brendan’s website: www.armisticedesigns.com 
Naomi's website: www.startwithaquestion.org

Naomi Soto
Episode 86: Notes from a Live Taping of Meet the Press

Due to travel delays, the full recap and analysis of the Sunday shows from February 3 will be released a day late on Tuesday morning, February 5.

Brendan, however, has some exciting observations after attending a live taping of Meet the Press in Washington, DC this morning!

Email us at podcast@polilogue.com or you can send us your feedback @PolilogueCast. You can also follow us at @sotonaomi_ and @bsteidle

Want to stalk us some more? Check out some of our other work: 

Brendan’s website: www.armisticedesigns.com 
Naomi's website: www.startwithaquestion.org

Naomi Soto
Episode 85: The 2020 Race Begins

One of the motivations for starting Polilogue was our frustration of the 2016 election. Trump was allowed to call into the Sunday talk shows. The panels frequently dismissed his campaign and his candidacy. Meanwhile, Hillary Clinton rarely went on the shows. And over and over again, we saw the shows focus on the wrong parts of the Democratic and Republican campaigns.

So for 2020, we’re keeping a close eye on how the Sunday talk shows cover the next presidential election. In today’s episode of Polilogue, we look at how the shows have introduced five early candidates and the performances of these presidential hopefuls.

As always, you can jump to a section of the show by using our available chapters:

  • Introduction 

  • John Delaney

  • Julian Castro

  • Bill DeBlasio

  • Kirsten Gillibrand

  • Tulsi Gabbard

  • Closing 

The shows we discuss today include:

Email us at podcast@polilogue.com or you can send us your feedback @PolilogueCast. You can also follow us at @sotonaomi_ and @bsteidle

Want to stalk us some more? Check out some of our other work: 

Brendan’s website: www.armisticedesigns.com 
Naomi's website: www.startwithaquestion.org

Naomi Soto
Episode 84: The Wall Hits a Wall

In an effort to reopen the government, the  Trump administration proposed temporary protection for immigrants in the DACA and TPS programs for $5.7 billion in border money. Democrats remain firm: no deal until President Trump reopens the government. 

In the midst of this infighting, 800,000 federal workers are without pay and millions of dollars are being lost in communities across the country. 

President Trump’s attorney Rudy Giuliani also made news this morning when he admitted that the Moscow trump tower was an effort up and until the election. 

As always, you can jump to a section of the show by using our available chapters:

  • Introduction 

  • Highlight / Lowlight

  • Shutdown Developments

  • The Wall Hits a Wall

  • One Giuliani, Two Hosts

  • Rankings 

  • Closing 

The shows we discuss today include:

Email us at podcast@polilogue.com or you can send us your feedback @PolilogueCast. You can also follow us at @sotonaomi_ and @bsteidle

Want to stalk us some more? Check out some of our other work: 

Brendan’s website: www.armisticedesigns.com 
Naomi's website: www.startwithaquestion.org

Naomi Soto
Episode 83: Trump Taunts National Emergency

We are officially in the longest government shutdown in American history. As Congressional Democrats and the White House fail to make to any movement on a compromise, President Trump threatens to declare a national emergency to obtain funding for his border wall.

We also examine the disturbing news by the New York Times that the FBI opened an investigation into President Trump to determine if he was secretly working for Russia. Most Sunday news treated this news as just another piece of White House chaos. Meet the Press was the only show to explain the gravity of the Times’ reporting. 

As always, you can jump to a section of the show by using our available chapters:

  • Introduction

  • Highlight/Lowlight

  • Shutdown Negotiation Stalls 

  • What’s an Emergency?

  • Obstruction may be Collusion 

  • Show rankings 

  • Closing

The shows we discuss today include:

You can read the New York Times article we discuss in segment three here.

Email us at podcast@polilogue.com or you can send us your feedback @PolilogueCast. You can also follow us at @sotonaomi_ and @bsteidle

Want to stalk us some more? Check out some of our other work: 

Brendan’s website: www.armisticedesigns.com 
Naomi's website: www.startwithaquestion.org


Naomi Soto
Episode 82: Shutdown Showdown

The White House and Congressional Democrats are no closer to ending the now-three week partial government shutdown. It seems very likely that 800,000+ furloughed federal employees will miss their next paycheck on Jan. 17. 

Other Americans could be impacted by the shutdown as well. Food-insecure families could be without food stamps, rent vouchers may not arrive in time, and tax refunds could be delayed for millions of households.

Today on Polilogue, we question if and when this standstill will be over. We also review a powerful interview with Sarah Huckabee Sanders on a show we normally don’t review: Fox News Sunday wit hChris Wallace !

As always, you can jump to a section of the show by using our available chapters:

  • Introduction

  • Highlight/Lowlight

  • Sarah Sanders Stumbles

  • Republicans Won’t Budge 

  • Democrats Stand Firm 

  • Early 2020 Candidates

  • Show rankings 

  • Closing

The shows we discuss today include:

Email us at podcast@polilogue.com or you can send us your feedback @PolilogueCast. You can also follow us at @sotonaomi_ and @bsteidle.

Want to stalk us some more? Check out some of our other work: 

Brendan’s website: www.armisticedesigns.com 
Naomi's website: www.startwithaquestion.org

Naomi Soto
Episode 81: The 'Wall' and Climate Change

Ten days into the partial government shutdown — and a compromise between congressional Democrats and the White House is still no where in sight. 

On today’s episode of Polilogue, we look at the various proposals to open the government back up. We also look at a special climate change-focused episode of Meet the Press.

As always, you can jump to a section of the show by using our available chapters:

  • Intro

  • Highlight/Lowlight

  • The ‘Wall’ Shutdown

  • The MTP Climate Special

  • Rankings

  • Closing

The shows we discuss today include:

Articles and research we cite:

Email us at podcast@polilogue.com or you can send us your feedback @PolilogueCast. You can also follow us at @sotonaomi_ and @bsteidle.

Want to stalk us some more? Check out some of our other work: 

Brendan’s website: www.armisticedesigns.com 
Naomi's website: www.startwithaquestion.org

Naomi Soto
Episode 80: Merry Shutdown and Withdrawal Greetings

After two chaotic years in office, President Trump struggles to maintain any semblance of control. And even for a dysfunctional administration like this one, the turmoil was more pronounced than ever this week.

Despite the objections of his Cabinet, Trump unilaterally decides to withdraw US troops from Syria— enraging Congress and dumbfounding allies; Secretary of Defense James Mattison and presidential anti-ISIS envoy Brett McGurk both resign in protest; the government partially shuts four three days before Christmas, and the stock market has its worst week in a decade.

How will Congress maintain a check on this administration when it feels like the wheels are coming off? And is the White House ready for an even more chaotic next two years?

As always, you can jump to a section of the show by using our available chapters:

  • Intro

  • Highlight/Lowlight

  • Withdrawal from Syria  

  • Christmas Government Shutdown 

  • Rankings

  • Closing

The shows we discuss today include:

Check out Brendan’s analysis of Chris Christie’s Mic-Takeover Analysis :

Christie takes over the panel on  This Week

Email us at podcast@polilogue.com or you can send us your feedback @PolilogueCast. You can also follow us at @sotonaomi_ and @bsteidle.

Want to stalk us some more? Check out some of our other work: 

Brendan’s website: www.armisticedesigns.com 
Naomi's website: www.startwithaquestion.org

Naomi Soto
Episode 79: Investigations Isolate President Trump

In a normal presidential administration, mid-December could be a quiet month. Instead, we are  realizing that every organization connected to the President is currently under investigation: Trump University, the Trump campaign, the Trump organization, the Trump Inaugural Committee, and the Trump White House. At the same time, we are 5 days away from a government shut down, because President Trump demands that Congress authorize him $5 billion to build a border wall.

Today on Polilogue, we look at how two prominent voices defend President Trump: Rudy Giuliani and Advisor Stephen Miller. We also discuss how the rest of Washington tries to find solutions despite the priorities of the White House. 

As always, you can jump to a section of the show by using our available chapters:

  • Introduction

  • Highlight/Lowlight

  • Investigations Surround Trump

  • Trump’s Shutdown Showdown

  • Show rankings 

  • Closing

The shows we discuss today include:

Email us at podcast@polilogue.com or you can send us your feedback @PolilogueCast. You can also follow us at @sotonaomi_ and @bsteidle.

Want to stalk us some more? Check out some of our other work: 

Brendan’s website: www.armisticedesigns.com 
Naomi's website: www.startwithaquestion.org


Naomi Soto
Episode 78: Broadcast News Special

This week we have a very special episode of Polilogue.  A review of the movie Broadcast News

Broadcast News is about the people who create a daily political news show.  The film was written and directed by James Brooks and inspired by the real-life CBS producer, Susan Zirinsky. The show stars Holly Hunter as Jane Craig—a driven and passionate producer— and how she works and interacts with two co-workers with very different ambitions and priorities.

Broadcast News is a film that explores the life of journalists, and it’s a film that asks that asks us what kind of journalism matters— in other words, a perfect film for a Polilogue discussion. 

And as always, you can jump to a certain discussion in today’s episode:

  • Introduction

  • The Story

  • Highlight/Lowlight

  • The Characters

  • The Journalism

  • Today’s Version of the Story

  • Grading the Film

  • For Sunday Show Moderators

  • Closing

For other links about the film:

Naomi Soto
Episode 77: A Different Republican President

Last Friday, George Herbert Walker Bush passed away in his home in Houston, TX. George H.W. Bush was the 41st president for four years, the 40th vice-president for eight years, and even the 11th CIA Director!

But George H.W. Bush was more than just a former president, he was a representation of a previous time. A previous Republican Party that demanded decency and humility. Today on Polilogue we examine Bush 41’s presidency and his life in public service.

We also look at new developments in the Mueller investigation. Most notably: the plea deals of Michael Cohen, President Trump’s former personal attorney, who recently admitted he lied to Congress. 

As always, you can jump to a section of the show by using our available chapters:

  • Introduction

  • Highlight/Lowlight

  • The George H.W. Bush Presidency

  • George H.W. Bush: The Man

  • Cohen Pleads Guilty

  • Get the Popcorn

  • Show rankings

  • Closing 

The shows we discuss today include:

Email us at podcast@polilogue.com or you can send us your feedback @PolilogueCast. You can also follow us at @sotonaomi_ and @bsteidle.

Want to stalk us some more? Check out some of our other work: 


Brendan’s website: www.armisticedesigns.com 
Naomi's website: www.startwithaquestion.org


Naomi Soto
Episode 76: A Sneak Peak at 2020 Strategies

The midterms were almost 2 weeks ago, so it it official yet? Have the 2020 campaigns for president started?

Usually our answer is No. Please no. Is it really necessary to go for one election straight to the next? Can we work on governing at all?

But this week we heard from several potential presidential candidates with very different strategies and tactics. We are 2 years out. Many of these strategies will evolve. But even still, it’s fascinating to see political leaders testing messaging and seeing what sticks.

As always, you can jump to a section of the show by using our available chapters:

  • Introduction

  • Highlight/Lowlight

  • 2020 campaign messaging

  • Trump fails to drown climate report

  • Show rankings 

  • Closing

The shows we discuss today include:

Reports and articles prominently discussed include:

  • Molly Ball’s profile on Nancy Pelosi in Time Magazine

  • Climate change report by 13 federal government agencies (Fourth National Climate Assessment - Volume II: Impacts, Risks, and Adaptation in the United States)

Email us at podcast@polilogue.com or you can send us your feedback @PolilogueCast. You can also follow us at @sotonaomi_ and @bsteidle.

Want to stalk us some more? Check out some of our other work: 

Brendan’s website: www.armisticedesigns.com 
Naomi's website: www.startwithaquestion.org



Naomi Soto
Episode 75: McConnell Has No Sunday Friends

Every week, each host on the Sunday news shows makes dozens of decisions: who to book, what topics to focus on, how to prep, how aggressive to be, and on and on. Most weeks the pertinent topics are consistent across the shows, and so the differences from one show to the next is about journalistic style— not about a question about what matters and what does not.

Today was not one of those weeks.

There was variance across the shows at every decision point. Some shows had full segments on the California wildfires, others relegated the natural disaster to a couple of minutes on their political panel, and one did not even talk about it all. Some hosts asked follow up questions of policy substance. Other focused on rhetoric and style.

In a time when there is so much news that it can feel close to impossible to keep up, we ask each other: whose journalistic judgment do you trust?

As always, you can jump to a section of the show by using our available chapters:

  • Introduction

  • Highlight/Lowlight

  • This Week’s Raddatz Shines

  • Jake Tapper Pursues Rhetorical Truth

  • Brennan Presses Rand for Action

  • Todd and Graham Converse on McConnell 

  • Show rankings 

  • Closing

The shows we discuss today include:

Email us at podcast@polilogue.com or you can send us your feedback @PolilogueCast. You can also follow us at @sotonaomi_ and @bsteidle.

Want to stalk us some more? Check out some of our other work: 

Brendan’s website: www.armisticedesigns.com 
Naomi's website: www.startwithaquestion.org

Naomi Soto
Episode 74: Midterm Election Debrief

Congressman Adam Schiff said the Democratic Party needs to “ruthlessly prioritize” investigations to achieve their legislative priorities on the latest episode of Meet the Press.

Well the same could be said for the Sunday political shows.

In a news-dense week, the shows had to decide from the following big stories: a historic midterm election, where Democrats won control of the House; a Florida recount; an uncalled Senate race in Arizona; lawsuits in Georgia for the gubernatorial seat; the forced-resignation of Jeff Sessions; backlash over the interim Attorney General; another mass shooting that left 12 dead in Thousand Oaks, CA; three deadly and brutal California wildfires; Trump attacks on black female journalists; and Europe distancing themselves from Trump—again. 

The shows couldn’t talk about everything— and neither could we. But each of these stories are hugely important and we implore our listeners to make room for dialogue that goes beyond the biggest headlines. 

Today’s episode has three segments: 1.) the Democrats’ incoming strategy; 2.) Republican fight for Arizona, Florida, and Georgia; and 3.) the new interim Attorney General Matthew Whitaker. 

As always, you can jump to a section of the show by using our available chapters:

  • Introduction

  • Highlight/Lowlight

  • Democrats control the House

  • Republicans call foul(s)! 

  • Goodbye Jeff Sessions 

  • Show rankings 

  • Closing

A couple of other links mentioned in today’s episode:

Email us at podcast@polilogue.com or you can send us your feedback @PolilogueCast. You can also follow us at @sotonaomi_ and @bsteidle.

Want to stalk us some more? Check out some of our other work: 

Brendan’s website: www.armisticedesigns.com 
Naomi's website: www.startwithaquestion.org

Naomi Soto
Episode 73: Preparing for the Midterms

On today's agenda it’s all about the midterms! It’s practically the only thing that anyone was talking about… and it makes sense. In about less than two days the polls will open for the 2018 midterms. But we noticed today that the approach for the shows varied. Some shows focused on the horse race. Others went after the substance of campaign rheortic.

So we asked ourselves: which Sunday news shows gave the viewer context about trends they were seeing and provided relevant considerations for Tuesday’s votes And which shows were just excited for another political fight?

As always, you can always jump to a section of the show by using our available chapters:

  • Introduction

  • Highlight/Lowlight

  • The Political Horse Race

  • Diving into Policies

  • Show rankings 

  • Closing

Email us at podcast@polilogue.com or you can send us your feedback @PolilogueCast. You can also follow us at @sotonaomi_ and @bsteidle.

Want to stalk us some more? Check out some of our other work: 

Brendan’s website: www.armisticedesigns.com 
Naomi's website: www.startwithaquestion.org

Naomi Soto
Episode 72: Mourning Pittsburgh

On today's episode of Polilogue, we — look at the devastatingly violent week in America. In the last seven days: a man in Florida was arrested for mailing 17 pipebombs to prominent critics of President Trump, including the Clintons, the Obamas, Eric Holder, Joe Biden, and other national leaders. Then a man in Kentucky attempted to enter a black church. When he couldn’t, he walked into a grocery store and killed two black Americans. Then, most recently, a man in Pittsburgh went into synagogue and killed 11 people and injured 6 people. 

There’s so much to say about these instances of domestic terrorism. The Sunday talk shows focused primarily on the Pittsburgh shooting — and today’s episode will also focus mainly on that shooting. It should go without saying, but apparently it must in this day and age, the violence in this country is completely unacceptable. Our hearts break for all the families, friends, and communities targeted and affected by this violence. We deserve a country better than this. 

And that’s what we talk about today. The country we deserve to have and should strive for. 

As always, you can always jump to a section of the show by using our available chapters:

  • Introduction

  • Highlight/Lowlight

  • The consequences of Trump’s rhetoric

  • Republicans deflect

  • Show rankings 

  • Closing

Email us at podcast@polilogue.com or you can send us your feedback @PolilogueCast. You can also follow us at @sotonaomi_ and @bsteidle.

Want to stalk us some more? Check out some of our other work: 

Brendan’s website: www.armisticedesigns.com 
Naomi's website: www.startwithaquestion.org

Naomi Soto
Episode 71: Voices of POLITICON

We have a special episode of Polilogue — clips from the field!

This episode is a synopsis of the interesting conversations we had with people we met at Politicon. Some people found value in the Sunday morning talk shows; other people felt frustrated. We especially appreciated connecting with journalists about what it’s like to cover the Trump administration and even hearing from a former Face the Nation producer about her experience in making compelling journalism.

Special thank you to the following people who participated in our first episode recorded not-in-studio:

Media / Presenters

  • Charlie Mahtesian, Senior Politics Editor at Politico

  • Jeanne Ringe, former producer at Face the Nation; now Director of Development at Procon.org

Attendees

Vendors

Big thanks to Haven AQ who did this awesome caricature of us. Haven was our exhibitor-neighbor and did all the illustrations for Deplorables the Game. He’s an incredible artist and you should book him asap for your next event.

Big thanks to Haven AQ who did this awesome caricature of us. Haven was our exhibitor-neighbor and did all the illustrations for Deplorables the Game. He’s an incredible artist and you should book him asap for your next event.

Naomi Soto