America Explained wants to help you understand American politics, foreign policy & culture through original analysis and interviews. But our vision goes beyond that. As the first European-based podcast dedicated to understanding the United States, we are staking out a new space in the media ecosystem. America Explained is new. It will evolve. But its guiding principles will always be: truth, not lies; informed, but not insular; topical, but not a slave to the news cycle. That’s our vision. Here’s why:
- Right now, as Nathan Robinson has written, the truth is paywalled, but the lies are free. The majority of free media about American politics on the internet is created by people with an active interest in deceiving you. Stephen Bannon, the creator of Breitbart, has openly mocked people who believe that his site’s content is true. He got caught saying it; most others don’t. And while some great free explanatory coverage of the United states exists – like Vox.com, which we love – it never totally escapes a second problem:
- The American media is too insular; the international media is too clueless. Coverage of American politics, foreign policy & culture in the American media is aimed mostly at Americans. That’s perfectly natural. But it often leads to the exclusion of an international perspective. Those outside of the United States have a different take on its strengths, weaknesses, promises, and disappointments, because we see them in a different context. There’s a huge audience of people all over the world who want to understand this strange, vexing, amazing country. But they’re often let down by their own media, who make the wrong calls when the going gets tough – like this BBC “fact check” repeating the right-wing lie that Donald Trump never said there were “very fine people on both sides” in Charlottesville.
- Finally, something we all know: social media is changing our relationship to current events. Something happens, but within a few hours we’re talking not about the original event and its significance, but who tweeted what and how offended we are by it. Too much media now is newsy rather than topical, breathlessly following every twist and turn while losing sight of the big picture. It plays right into the hands of politicians and bad actors in the media who want to mislead and mobilize their core supporters while undermining the common basis of understanding and trust needed to tie the country – and the world – together.
America Explained is an APD Media production © 2020