My Friend Voldemort is a podcast for emotionally mature adults; the objective is to repair American public discourse by providing insight into political conflicts between right-wing and left-wing politics that result from a lack of authentic dialogue in today's public sphere. This podcast follows Neil Postman's (1985) argument that television's entertainment-driven nature would transform public discourse into entertainment, leading to a decline in thoughtful and informed public conversation. Postman saw this as a significant threat to democracy, as it would lead to a lack of critical thinking and informed debate in the public sphere. For more info, see Postman's "Amusing Ourselves to Death: Public Discourse in the Age of Show Business" (Viking Penguin).
Episode 2: The Rhetoric of Polarization and the Failures of Objectivity in Journalism
In this second episode, Dennis discusses the rhetoric of polarization in connection to the function of shared meaning in the news as it relates to politics. Additionally, this episode builds upon the first episode to advance the conversation on how news in public interest differs from the news as entertainment. We explore the shortcomings of objectivity in journalism in its current form as well as the function of demagoguery and artificial intelligence in the shaping of the rhetoric of polarization; which all serves to cultivate further the "us versus them" American political climate that prevents authentic and engaged public discourse from developing in the media.
Episode 1: An introduction to understanding news as it relates to politics
In this first episode, the host, Dennis Stevens, outlines the influences, history, and present challenges that drive the need to re-establish American public discourse in the news as it relates to politics in the United States. Current examples from the daily news cycle are discussed in light of the broader aim of mediating the ideological divide between the American political left and the political right.