I have been paying close attention to Brookings’ political podcast database over the past week and a half to see how discussion of the war is taking shape. This is a highly underrated tool and an essential one if you care about the state of political podcasting. It looks at the top political podcasts on the left and right on Apple Podcasts (i.e., no Rogan) and catalogs what they’re talking about. One feature breaks out the most-discussed topics on each side, and the language used is telling about how conservative podcasters are approaching the topic versus liberal ones.
Immediately after the terrorist attacks on October 7th, conservative podcasters cornered the conversation. While “Israel” was the number one topic for conservative shows, it didn’t crack the top 10 on liberal shows. That has changed as the conflict has escalated into war, with “Israel” being the number one topic for both sides in the past week, but you can still see the difference in language and approach.
For conservative podcasts, you can see the hawkish bent, with “Hamas,” “Biden,” and “war” toward the top. On the liberal side, you see “Gaza” and “Jordan,” likely focusing on the humanitarian and diplomatic aspects. You can also see an avoidance of topics they would rather not touch. “Hamas” doesn’t appear on the top 10 for left-leaning podcasts, while “Gaza” ranks 10th on right-wing shows.