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The Gist

Updated 7 days ago

Daily News
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News Commentary
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Slate's The Gist with Mike Pesca. A daily afternoon show about news, culture, and whatever else you'll be discussing with friends and family tonight.

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Slate's The Gist with Mike Pesca. A daily afternoon show about news, culture, and whatever else you'll be discussing with friends and family tonight.

iTunes Ratings

2614 Ratings
Average Ratings
2071
242
102
92
107

Wordsmith

By chicagoanlistener - Jan 18 2020
Read more
Love mike’s wordplay great language!

Best news commentary podcast out there

By makewen - Dec 21 2019
Read more
And the only good podcast at Slate

iTunes Ratings

2614 Ratings
Average Ratings
2071
242
102
92
107

Wordsmith

By chicagoanlistener - Jan 18 2020
Read more
Love mike’s wordplay great language!

Best news commentary podcast out there

By makewen - Dec 21 2019
Read more
And the only good podcast at Slate
Cover image of The Gist

The Gist

Latest release on Feb 15, 2020

The Best Episodes Ranked Using User Listens

Updated by OwlTail 7 days ago

Rank #1: Halls of Fame Need Diversity, Too

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On The Gist, it’s tough to find a host for the Oscars.

In the interview, the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame can quickly become incestuous, since past winners get to vote on future inductees. But this year’s 15 nominees break the mold of guitar-slinging dudes with long hair. Sure, Def Leppard is in the running, but so are LL Cool J, Janet Jackson, and Kraftwerk. Music critic Chris Molanphy himself has a vote, and tells us what his ballot looks like. Molanphy is the host of the Slate podcast Hit Parade and writes Slate’s “Why Is This Song No. 1?” column. 

In the Spiel, Andrew Sullivan’s new religions.

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Dec 12 2018

39mins

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Rank #2: The Lesson of Iowa’s Chaos

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On the Gist, the Iowa caucuses was created to disenfranchise babysitters.

In the interview, Mike talks with NPR’s Steve Inskeep about his new book, Imperfect Union: How Jessie and John Frémont Mapped the West, Invented Celebrity, and Helped Cause the Civil War. They discuss the ways in which the Frémonts navigated their world, and the modern currents found in their story.

In the spiel, the Iowa caucuses were a mess.

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Feb 05 2020

29mins

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Rank #3: What “Conservative” Means

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On The Gist, holding Scott Peterson accountable after the Parkland shooting.

In the interview, George Will has led conservative thought for decades, in over a dozen books and a Washington Post column he’s penned since 1974. In his latest work, The Conservative Sensibility, he seeks to define just what “conservative” means. While Mike had him on The Gist, he got Will’s opinion on the lost dignity of the GOP, Elizabeth Warren’s policy proposals (“I think she has a firm grip on half a point”), and the fact that no Democratic candidate is all that close to true socialism. 

In the Spiel, Biden and Warren’s new environmental plans.

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Jun 06 2019

34mins

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Rank #4: Sweep the Left

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On The Gist, nobody move or the economy gets it, Trump says.

The guys behind the left’s most irreverent podcast (Chapo Trap House) want the Democratic Party to forget about Robert Mueller and set their sights on 2020. But in the short term? They’re rooting for a blue wave. Alongside Felix Biederman and Brendan James, Thursday’s guests Matt Christman, Will Menaker, and Virgil Texas are co-authors of The Chapo Guide to Revolution: A Manifesto Against Logic, Facts, and Reason.

In the Spiel, when you hear “everyone does it” down in Washington, you know something’s amiss.

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Aug 23 2018

24mins

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Rank #5: College-Aged Coddling

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On The Gist, guest host John McWhorter considers campus safe spaces. 

In the past few years, college campuses have been shifting away from havens for free speech to safe spaces that bar divisive speakers from campus. But is this the right move, or are we damaging the growth of college students by creating these spaces rather than offering intellectual challenges. Greg Lukianoff and Jonathan Haidt explore this in their new book The Coddling of the American Mind. Lukianoff joins us on the Gist to discuss. 

In the Spiel, are the new models of protest a useful continuation of the civil rights movement?

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Oct 01 2018

28mins

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Rank #6: Have a Job? Thank Yourself, Not Trump.

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On The Gist, anti-abortion state legislatures know full well that the Supreme Court could one day turn on Roe v. Wade.

In the interview, Chuck Rosenberg is a former U.S. attorney who also once worked for Robert Mueller. He’s here to talk about his new podcast The Oath, where he sits down with other former government officials like Preet Bharara and James Comey and discusses the ins and outs of public service. Mike gets Chuck to dive into the Mueller report with him. 

In the Spiel, is low unemployment a sign of good federal governance? No. Just look at the U.K.

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May 16 2019

33mins

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Rank #7: The First “Welfare Queen”

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On The Gist, the gift to the Morehouse graduates is great, but should it be celebrated or just the standard?

In the interview, Linda Taylor committed many crimes, but only one of them—welfare fraud—really mattered to politicians, the press, and the public. Anecdotes about kidnapping and possible murder would only get in the way of the portrait Ronald Reagan presented to American voters in 1976, of a woman whose defrauding of taxpayer money was typical among those dependent on social programs. Slate national editor Josh Levin wrote Slate’s most read story ever, and has expanded it into a book—The Queen: The Forgotten Life Behind an American Myth—and a Slate podcast: The Queen, available now wherever you get your podcasts. 

In the Spiel, Anand Giridharadas fact checking Jared Diamond.

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May 21 2019

36mins

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Rank #8: The Impeachment Special

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President Trump may yet face impeachment proceedings, so we’re bringing you a roundup of two previous Gist interviews on the topic. The first is with the youngest woman ever elected to the House, Liz Holtzman—who participated in the Nixon impeachment hearings—and CIA alumnus David Priess, who worked at the agency under both Bill Clinton and George W. Bush. Both have recently published books on impeachment. Holtzman is the author of The Case For Impeaching Trump; Priess is the author of How to Get Rid of a President: History’s Guide to Removing Unpopular, Unable, or Unfit Chief Executives.

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May 27 2019

34mins

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Rank #9: When the President Speaks …

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On The Gist, President Trump interrupted Nancy Pelosi because he interrupts everyone.

In the interview, the deputy executive director of U.N. Women, Åsa Regnér, knows how to bring more women into politics. Countries like Bolivia, Rwanda, and those in Scandinavia have achieved more equal representation. So how useful are quotas? Does religion play a role? How can gender parity be seen not just as a rights issue but something smarter for policymaking, the economy, and the health of the country?

In the Spiel, putting a dollar value on the election fraud in North Carolina’s 9th Congressional District.

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Dec 13 2018

29mins

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Rank #10: The Real Crimes of the TV Show Cops

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On The Gist, Theresa May’s resignation.

In the interview, Dan Taberski’s latest podcast series Running From Cops digs into the long-running reality series Cops to understand what’s actually going on in those arrests on screen and how accurate the stories that we see are. He’s here to talk about why the show is so watchable, how the cops work with cameramen to exploit those being arrested, and how the nature of reality television has made us slow to notice such exploitation.  

In the Spiel, learning from history when it’s always changing. 

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May 24 2019

33mins

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Rank #11: Oregon, Lab for Democracy

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On the Gist, how Elizabeth Warren inspires her supporters before the Iowa caucuses.

In the interview, Gov. Kate Brown of Oregon is here to discuss how the state has the highest voter-turnout rate, the possibility of granting 16-year-olds the vote, rent-control, and her favorite sketch from the show Portlandia.

In the spiel, the kingdom of the Kansas City Chiefs.

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Feb 04 2020

29mins

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Rank #12: The Mystery of Ivanka Trump

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On The Gist, journalist and podcast host Lauren Ober was shocked to realize Chelsea Manning is back in jail.

In the interview, Ober talks with journalist Vanessa Grigoriadis about the new podcast Tabloid: The Making of Ivanka Trump. What’s it like to go from aspiring socialite to familial lackey? Is there any room for pity? And when is she headed for Burning Man?

In the Spiel, female political fashion.

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Want to see a special episode of The Gist live in New York? Get your tickets here!

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Aug 28 2019

33mins

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Rank #13: The Mueller Dud

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On The Gist, it’s a shoe! It’s a phone! It’s… both?

In the interview, Darrick Hamilton’s ideas and research have the attention of more than one Democratic candidate for president. The Ohio State University professor—and head of the Kirwan Institute—studies income inequality and the policies that might help close it. He joins The Gist to talk baby bonds, inherited wealth, and the potential in a federal job guarantee. 

In the Spiel, special Robert Mueller’s statement at the DOJ contained nothing new, and yet still it still moved the needle on impeachment.

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May 30 2019

29mins

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Rank #14: Democratic Socialists of America, for the Win?

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On The Gist, Vladimir Putin, RT, and the Salisbury poisoning.  

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez might have scary values to conservatives. But to the national director of the Democratic Socialists of America, she’s a moderate. Maria Svart calls the DSA a “big tent organization,” meaning it makes room for everything from AOC’s Scandinavian-style social policies to the more radical workforce ownership of businesses. 

In the Spiel, the end of primary season.

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Sep 15 2018

31mins

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Rank #15: The Gist of the Past Five Years

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On The Gist, do we need primary debates?

We're starting our fifth anniversary celebration week with a look back at the past. Radiolab’s Jad Abumrad was a guest on the first episode of The Gist so he’s back to reflect on the last five years, how podcasting has changed, and the impact of the medium. 

In the Spiel, podcasts aren’t perfect, but they are progress. 

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May 06 2019

34mins

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Rank #16: Warren’s Wealth Tax Isn’t Enough

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On The Gist, Democrats bob and weave around the question of abortion.

In the interview, victims of crimes are often sidelined in the judicial process—the perpetrator is punished, but his or her target isn’t given the opportunity to set up the kind of face-to-face meeting that might help them heal. Restorative justice seeks to change that, and Lara Bazelon is out with a book on how it applies to those who have been exonerated after wrongful convictions. Bazelon is an associate professor at the University of San Francisco School of Law, and the author of Rectify: The Power of Restorative Justice After Wrongful Conviction

In the Spiel, even with every benefit of the doubt, Elizabeth Warren’s policy ideas just aren’t fundable.

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Jun 11 2019

38mins

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Rank #17: The Melodies of Evil

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On The Gist, Joe Biden's careful moderation leads him astray on abortion rights.

In the interview, Slate’s Dahlia Lithwick is back to talk all about the Supreme Court. How the recent abortion laws passed in the South impact the continued dismantling of Roe v Wade? And why aren’t the Democrats more animated by the outrageous things happening to our courts? Dahlia is the host of Slate’s Amicus podcast. 

In the Spiel, where there’s a jingle, there’s a questionable set of business practices… 

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Jun 06 2019

31mins

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Rank #18: Jon Favreau’s The Wilderness

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On the Gist, Bloomberg will join the debate stage.

In the interview, Crooked Media’s Jon Favreau is here to talk about the new season of his series The Wilderness, where he goes to different parts of the country and explores politic tastes with focus groups. He and Mike discuss the four types of voters he targeted, what people want from a Democratic candidate, and the importance of the upcoming election.

In the spiel, landmines and military.

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Feb 01 2020

32mins

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Rank #19: The Same Old Mike, Plus The New One

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On The Gist, Donald Trump is to "wall" as zombies are to "braaaains."

In his Broadway show (The New One) Mike Birbiglia tells you why procreation is a terrible idea, before waxing lyrical on the joys of raising a daughter—it’s complicated; he’s complicated. On The Gist, he spares a thought for how to tip at an Olive Garden, the future of email leaks, and Fox News’ underwhelming Christmas tree.

In the Spiel, abandoning arguments of good (or bad) faith.

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Dec 22 2018

32mins

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Rank #20: Acosta Is Out

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On The Gist, they.

In the interview, Emily Bazelon writes for the New York Times magazine, co-hosts Slate’s Political Gabfest, and she’s out with the new book Charged: The New Movement to Transform American Prosecution and End Mass Incarceration, and its companion podcast. She’s here to talk with Mike about her new projects, Kamala Harris, Joe Biden, Jeffrey Epstein and New York City gun laws. 

In the Spiel, Acosta quits.

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Jul 13 2019

38mins

Play