Kennedy, The Podcast Candidate

Kennedy, The Podcast Candidate
Adam Garrie | April 12, 2024

Adam Garrie, The Kennedy Beacon

As legacy media and its allied public relations masters of spin continue to try to reduce Robert F. Kennedy Jr. to misleading soundbites and “wacky” policies, podcasts have given Kennedy a platform on which to go deeper and counter the non-stop, escalating attacks.

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If Donald Trump is the Twitter-turned-Truth-Social candidate and Biden the “

In his widely listened to appearance on the Joe Rogan Experience, for example, Kennedy devoted nearly an hour to detailing the intricacies of big pharma’s relationship with the federal government, dating back decades. In the wide ranging discussion, Kennedy unraveled the series of events that led to some of the world’s biggest corporations escaping most normal forms of product liability that apply to other major sectors.

Podcasts are a vital source of information for millions of Americans because they bypass media gatekeepers and allow a candidate to speak in long-form conversations to hosts who come from vastly more diverse backgrounds than those on network or cable news.

While legacy broadcast media and its cousin, the newspaper, often ask what a candidate can do for those already in powerful positions, podcasts help voters to identify whether or not a candidate actually sees life and experiences life in a way that is relatable to the average listener.

Beyond this, because most podcasts are not structured around strictly timed ad breaks and fast- paced segments, the conversations on this format are rarely edited. Episodes of the Joe Rogan Experience, for example, the world’s most popular podcast with an estimated 11 million listeners, typically involve a no-frills interview that can last over three hours.

While many legacy media interviews of Kennedy force the presidential candidate to clarify seemingly intentionally misunderstood or miss-contextualized remarks, the podcast format lends itself to a dialogue in which Kennedy is able to freely develop his points, explain the evidence on which his conclusions are based, and paint a broad picture of the policies he intends to implement as president. While cable news interviews with Kennedy are similar to a tabloid style cross examination, his podcast interviews are casual but highly informative lectures that detail how and why Kennedy holds the positions that he does.

When appearing with his wife Cheryl Hines on the Theo Von podcast, Kennedy explained how major asset management firms have inflated housing costs for those struggling to qualify for mortgages and those struggling to pay rent.

On an edition of What Bitcoin Did, Kennedy defended bitcoin against regulations that would harm individuals attempting to secure their futures while exploring the ways in which the emergency of cryptocurrencies can help to stabilize the national economy.

This podcast has proved highly effective for a candidate like Kennedy, whose approach to policy involves thoughtful explorations of evidence that bypasses focus groups, PR agencies and the whims of bureaucrats. Kennedy is also the only major candidate in the 2024 election who started his own podcast prior to declaring his candidacy. As podcast host, Kennedy listens to a wide swath of Americans and speaks to audiences hungry for knowledge rather than soundbites.

According to Exploding Topics, 32 million Americans listened to podcasts in 2013 while in 2023, that number had spiked to around 164 million. While cable news, terrestrial radio and newspapers continue to see their numbers tank, podcasts continue to grow. This not only represents tremendous outreach but can also be categorized as free publicity for political candidates and activists.

Modern electoral history has often been shaped by technological developments, with candidates embracing the new media of the day, often winning over important demographics attached to the latest delivery technology. Although Warren G. Harding was the first president to address the public on radio, FDR’s Fireside Chats became must-listen radio for a nation battling depression and facing an uncertain future.

Kennedy’s uncle, JFK, participated in the first-ever televised presidential debate. The debate is often cited as an example of television’s impact on society. From Reagan’s smooth delivery in front of the teleprompter to Obama’s famous Blackberry, the media often shapes the message in a presidential election cycle.

Podcasts prove that the average person has a longer and more manifold attention span than corporate media heads today would have us believe. Podcasts implicitly rebel against the tired, sound-bite culture of an evening news broadcast or a short radio news “package.” Because many podcasts are independent of large media companies, the format has remained authentic and indigenous to hosts rather than pre-determined by corporate ‘suits’ making decisions about the flow and size of the content produced, based on algorithms.

The podcast format gives voters an unscripted insight into the mind of a man seeking the world’s most powerful elected office. Just as social media is now indispensable for all candidates, come 2028, it may well be that the road to the White House will be through the podcasting trail blazed by Kennedy.

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