Review of Rachel Maddow’s Podcast Ultra Rating *****
Rachel Maddow’s last podcast, Bagman, was about the corrupt Nixon and Spiro Agnew administration. Her latest podcasts deals with corrupt politicians in the early 1940s. The story she tells parallels the current and recent political climate: Foreign interference in elections, propaganda and misinformation, fascism, anti-semitic speech, autocracy, and the weaponization of the justice department.
As much as I enjoy listening to audiobooks, podcasts offer something more – audio immersion. Rather than set in quotes what was said, a Podcaster can provide the actual speaker making the quote. Add in some music and a few sound effects, and the listening experience is totally different. Rachel makes good use of embedding audio from recent interviews as well as audio from various archives.
The story concerns Germany’s attempt to sway U.S. public opinion toward the Hitler regime using U.S. members of Congress and Senators to spread propaganda. As the facts concerning this seditious activity come to light, those same members of Congress and Senators do everything they can to thwart the investigations that followed.
It’s interesting to hear politicians from the 1940s talking about witchhunts and political hit jobs. There’s even a trial that foreshadows what a prosecution of Trump and his co-conspirators would look like should they ever find themselves in a courtroom facing criminal charges.
As bad as things could have been had these corrupt politicians succeeded, the American people saved democracy when they voted them all out of office. Lastly, the ultra in the title refers to the ultra-right.
Add this podcast to your listening queue. I listened on Spotify. As an added bonus, there is a very informative website containing images of the various people in this story at MSNBC.com/ULtra.