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.

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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.

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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 
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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.

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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: 

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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 
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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
Episode 70: A Different Kind of Sunday

We’re back after two days at Politicon! It was great to meet listeners and other people as interested in political dialogue as we are. After of making the show for over a year, it was awesome to have more civil political discourse in-person with strangers.

One of the most common questions we heard were:

  • “Why don’t you include Fox News Sunday?”

    and…

  • “Why isn’t Fareed Zakaria GPS on your list?”

There’s a couple of reasons for that:

  1. Sheer capacity limits! We’re a two person team. We do all the research, prep, recording, and editing ourselves! It’s unlikely we would be able to get this show out on Monday mornings if we added additional shows.

  2. When we started Polilogue, Meet the Press, This Week, State of the Union, and Face the Nation were the shows we knew best. We felt we could fairly summarize and critique the performances because we knew the shows so well.

But we recognize that tons of people watch other Sunday talk shows. So for this special Politicon weekend, we decided to take their advice. This week we look at Fox News Sunday with Chris Wallace and Fareed Zakaria GPS… and see how their approach compares with the Sunday shows we know.

Also, don’t forget to catch our special in-between episode on Thursday where we’ll release our full Politicon recap.

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

  • Introduction

  • Politicon Report

  • Impressions of Fox and Fareed

  • Fox News Sunday

  • Fareed Kazaria GPS

  • Dialogue Challenge

  • 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 
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Naomi Soto
Episode 69: Where is Jamal Khashoggi?

On Oct. 2, a journalist went missing. 

Jamal Khashoggi is a US permanent resident and journalist who went into the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul, but after going into the consulate, he was never seen again. Khashoggi was a Saudi citizen and a sharp critic of his government. He lived in the United States and wrote for the Washington Post.

At best, it can be assumed that the Saudis took Khashoggi prisoner. However, because he was never seen leaving the consulate, most reports assume that Khashoggi was murdered by a Saudi hit team, and possibly dismembered. 

The White House response has not been in defense of a free, strong press. President Trump said he wants to get all the facts first before making assumptions about what the Saudi’s have or have not done. Trump was clear in pointing out that Khashoggi was not a US citizen. And President Trump also made clear that he will not consider an arms ban against Saudi Arabia. 

Saudia Arabia has always been an important ally to America. But how can America be a leader in human rights, if we can look past this gruesome act?

On today episode of Polilogue, we discuss Khashoggi’s disappearance. We also look at a few of the rising political stars gaining notice in the midterms. 

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

  • Introduction

  • Highlight/Lowlight

  • A journalist goes missing

  • Rising Political Stars 

  • The state of the midterms 

  • 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 
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Naomi Soto
Episode 68: Justice Kavanaugh Confirmed

On Saturday with a 50-48 vote in the US Senate, Judge Kavanaugh become Associate Justice Brett Kavanaugh.

The confirmation of Judge Kavanaugh is one of the most narrowly decided confirmations in generations. This decision came after months of speculation about his sparely released paper record and weeks of outcry after several women accused him of sexual assault. The confirmation later turned much uglier with a public hearing of Kavanaugh and his first accuser, Dr. Christine Blasey Ford. There was criticism about Kavanaugh’s partisan temperament in his prepared remarks. Then, Senators Flake and Coons were able to secure a 1-week supplemental FBI investigation.

The ugly confirmation process was too much for a few swing Senators like Heidi Heithamp (D-North Dakota), Joe Donnelly (D-Indiana), and Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska), who all voted against Judge Kavanaugh.

In the end, the backlash and outrage against Judge Kavanaugh wasn’t enough: Senators Susan Collins (R-Maine), Jeff Flake (R-Arizona), and Joe Manchin (D-West Virginia) voted to confirm the judge giving President Trump the conservative Court he promised during the campaign.

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

  • Introduction

  • Highlight/Lowlight

  • Face the Nation 

  • State of the Union

  • This Week

  • Meet the Press

  • 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 
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Naomi Soto
Episode 67: The FBI Investigates Kavanaugh

Like last week’s episode of Polilogue, we’re talking exclusively about the the Supreme Court nomination of Judge Brett Kavanaugh… because what.a.week. Last Thursday two powerful testimonies overtook the Judiciary Committee and the news cycle as we know it.  Dr. Christine Blasey Ford shared her sexual assault allegation against Judge Kavanaugh; and Judge Kavanaugh shared his furious denial. Both testimonies were full of raw emotion and vulnerability and in Judge Kavanaugh’s case — partisan anger and posturing. 

Then on Friday, after intense last minute negotiations in the Judiciary Committee… Senator Flake approved Judge Kavanaugh’s nomination out of committee with one important caveat: that the full Senate vote be delayed to allow for a one-week FBI week investigation into Dr. Blasey Ford’s accusation.

Today on Polilogue we explore the reactions of the two testimonies and the lingering questions and expectations of Senators from both sides of the aisle.

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

  • Introduction

  • Highlight/Lowlight

  • Believing Dr. Blasey Ford

  • Kavanaugh’s performance

  • The FBI Steps In  

  • 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 
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Naomi Soto
Episode 66: Allegations Rock Kavanaugh Nomination

Unlike last week the Sunday talk shows barely made a peep about Judge Brett Kavanaugh, today almost all conversations focused exclusively about the Supreme Court nomination of Kavanaugh. 

It was a heavy news week leading up to today’s shows: 

Last week a woman — Dr. Christine Blasey Ford — came forward with an allegation that Kavanaugh attempted to rape her at a drunken high school party. Since coming forward, there have been death threats against her, she has gone into hiding, along with her whole family. Many Senators demanded that the vote be delayed and to allow for Dr. Blasey Ford and Kavanugh to answer to these allegations.  While Senator Grassley, chairman of the Senate Judiciary committee refused to allow for an independent FBI investigation, there is now a tentative meeting planned for this upcoming Thursday. 

Since the Sunday talk shows aired… literally the hour before we got our microphones out… news exploded again: 

A second woman, Deborah Ramirez, came forward with an allegation against Kavanaugh in The New Yorker. In this latest story, Ramirez accuses Kavanaugh of sexual assault at another drunken party during Kavanaugh’s freshman year at Yale. Democrats are clamoring even louder for an FBI investigation— but, so far, the White House and Republican leadership are standing by their nominee. 

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

  • Introduction

  • Highlight/Lowlight

  • Republicans defend Kavanaugh

  • Demands for an independent FBI investigation

  • What is the burden of proof? 

  • 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 
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Naomi Soto
Episode 65: Florence and Maria Take on Trump

The Trump administration grapples with current and past natural disasters. While attempting to prepare and support the residents of North and South Carolina as Florence makes landfall, President Trump disputes Puerto Rican casualty numbers from Hurricane Maria. Leaving many Americans to wonder: is there anything this president won’t politicize?

Other priorities of the Trump Administration were also affected. This week former Trump campaign Chairman Paul Manafort pled guilty and agreed to cooperate with the Mueller investigation. Plus, a woman from Bret Kavanaugh’s past accuses him of sexual assault.

As always, you can jump to a section of the show by clicking on a chapter name (in supported podcast players): 

  • Introduction

  • Highlight/Lowlight

  • Hurricane Chaos

  • Manafort Pleads Guilty

  • Kavanaugh Accused of Assault

  • Closing

Email us at podcast@polilogue.com or you can send us your feedback on Twitter @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 
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Naomi Soto
Episode 64: 'TREASON?'

The Sunday morning political shows were back to the most familiar topic: White House chaos.  

Two instances of explosive journalism are roiling the President. First, Bob Woodward's new book, Fear, will soon be available for everyone to read. In the excerpts already available, the book details an extreme state of dysfunction. General dysfunction has been assumed and reported on since President Trump was inaugurated, but Woodward's reporting illuminates details and direct examples of a White House that does not trust the President. 

Also this week, an anonymous editorial was published in The New York Times. The editorial, penned by a Senior White House Official, confirms the theory of an internal resistance that aims to prevent President Trump from acting on his worst inclinations. This led to a Tweet by President Trump that read simply: "Treason?" 

In our second segment, we look at a fascinating interview of Trump campaign aide George Papadopoulos on This Week. Papodopoulos confessed to lying to the FBI about his meetings and contacts with Russian officials while he worked for the Trump campaign.  Last week, he was sentenced to 14 days in jail.  

As always, you can jump to a section of the show by clicking on a chapter name (in supported podcast players): 

  • Introduction
  • Highlight/Lowlight
  • Woodward and the Op-Ed Writer
  • Papodopoulos Comes Clean 
  • Show Rankings 
  • Closing

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

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

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Naomi Soto
Episode 63: McCain’s Last Rebuke

John McCain had four different services to honor his life. Correspondingly, the Sunday talk shows continued their conversations from last week about the recently passed senator. However, these conversations went beyond McCain’s service; each show also discussed the elephant that was in the room of every single service: President Donald Trump. President Trump was not invited to attend any service, but that doesn’t mean his absence wasn’t noticed-- or commented on. 

On this week's episode of Polilogue, we discuss McCain's funeral services and what kind of rebuke they made about our current political discourse. We also discuss Brett Kavanaugh’s upcoming nomination hearings and the 2018 midterm elections. 

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

  • Introduction
  • Highlight/Lowlight
  • John McCain’s Last Statement on Trump
  • Can the Dems stop Kavanaugh?
  • 2018 Midterms and Hateful Rhetoric  
  • 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 
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Naomi Soto
Episode 62: In Remembrance of John McCain

On Saturday, August 25, 2018 four days before his 82nd birthday: Senator John McCain passed away. McCain was diagnosed with an aggressive form of brain cancer a year ago— but he had shared his fighting spirit with all Americans long before then. He was nicknamed The Maverick, because he bucked norms and expectations throughout his public service. As a prisoner of war during the Vietnam War, he refused to be released before other POWs were released; in his bid for the presidency in 2000 and 2008, he ran blunt and straightforward campaigns; and for 20+ years, he was an Arizona senator who demanded compromise and civil discourse, even when his party didn't. 

John McCain wasn’t a perfect man. He made mistakes. He had a temper. But he would apologize and he would collaborate with the the most unlikely colleagues. On this episode of Polilogue, we look at McCain's long life of public service — and say thank you. 

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

  • Introduction
  • John McCain in his own words 
  • Stories and reflections of McCain
  • McCain’s legacy lives on
  • Trump’s legal woes worsen 
  • Not 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 
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Naomi Soto
Episode 61: Truth is Nowhere to be Found

There is always some kind of drama coming from the White House. This week the attention centered on two interviews on Meet the Press. Chuck Todd interviewed former CIA Director John Brennan, who recently had his security clearance revoked and Rudy Giuliani, who struggles with the very basic concept of truth. 

Then in the second segment, we ask a heavy question: can we trust spiritual leaders? Ever?

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

  • Introduction
  • Highlight/Lowlight
  • Trump Revokes a Security Clearance
  • Martha Raddatz Grills John Bolton
  • Giuliani Says Truth is Not Truth 
  • Widespread abuse in the Catholic Church 
  • 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

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Naomi Soto
Episode 60: Race, Firings, and Strong Interviews

On the one year anniversary of the Charlottesville attack, all shows focused significantly on racial division in America. Face the Nation, in particular, devoted the full length of the show to reflect on Charlottesville. Additionally, two powerful interviews demand answers from women who have a special relationship with President Trump. On This Week, Jonathan Karl interviews Special Assistant to the President Kellyanne Conway; on Meet the Press, Chuck Todd has an exclusive interview with White House former advisor Omarosa Manigault-Newman.

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

  • Introduction
  • Highlight/Lowlight
  • Charlottesville and Race
  • Kellyanne Faces Karl
  • Omarosa Faces Todd
  • Show rankings
  • Closing

If you haven’t yet seen Nanette, what are you waiting for?!

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 
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Naomi Soto
Episode 59: A New-ish Trump Legal Defense

We get a break from Rudy Guiliani’s nonsensical responses and hear instead from President Trump’s other attorney: Jay Sekulow. In the Sekulow interview on This Week, we see George Stephanopoulos summarize and frame the numerous White House explanatory pivots about Russia’s 2016 election meddling. But most importantly, Stephanopoulos interrogates Sekulow in a way that is firm and fair, so that the veracity of what Sekelow says is left up to the audience to decipher. 

We also hear from governors across the country on their igniting their respective bases for the upcoming midterm elections-- which is fewer than 100 days away.

As always, our show chapters:

  • Introduction
  • Highlight/Lowlight
  • Trump’s legal quagmire 
  • Midterm momentum
  • Closing
Naomi Soto