Positively Dreadful

Crooked Media

Positively Dreadful, hosted by Crooked Media’s Editor in Chief Brian Beutler, takes listeners below the headlines of the stories stirring widespread anxiety in today’s news landscape to give them a richer understanding and appreciation of how and why to remain engaged, even in the face of daunting challenges. read less

Our Editor's Take

The Positively Dreadful podcast is on a mission to keep everyone engaged with the news. It comes with the understanding that the news can make people feel anxious and detached. Yet, something within a story should always make people think differently. Brian Beutler, the chief editor of Crooked Media, hosts the podcast. Before this job, he was a writer and reporter for various news sites. He's passionate about finding the balance between optimism and cynicism.

Each week, on Positively Dreadful, Brian discusses a different news story, from Roe v. Wade to what's new on social media. "Disorganized crime" is the topic of conversation in one episode. Brian discusses Washington, DC, and how it's changed over time. Changes include levels of crime and the affordability of housing. A desire to change the criminal code has gone from a local decision by the mayor to President Joe Biden. Brian talks to Slate writer Mark Joseph Stern to find out more.

Another podcast episode, "We'd Like To Spank The Academy," focuses on the film industry. Brian asks listeners not to expect a recap on the latest award ceremonies. This episode reviews how the industry has changed due in part to streaming services and the impact of the pandemic.

Brian believes in the benefits of creating a collective viewing experience through film. Following this idea, Brian and his team have made new award categories and share their honest reviews on the latest films. Categories include "the best mom in movies this year" and "most overhyped movie." They discuss opinions on representation and the latest trends.

Positively Dreadful reviews interesting and complicated news stories. "Press This Mess" is about the accountability of the media and asks the question: can we fix it? "TikTok Dirty To Me" investigates the popular social media app. Is it right to ban the app? Is it influencing political elections? Each episode offers an insightful and informative debate on current topics. New episodes debut each week.

read less
Have AOC and the Squad Become Part of the System?
Aug 11 2023
Have AOC and the Squad Become Part of the System?
A few weeks ago the left-wing writer and critic Freddie DeBoer published an essay in New York magazine, in which he argued that Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez has become “just a regular old Democrat now.” The piece described left-wing dissatisfaction with AOC’s record in Congress as an outgrowth of a larger left-wing disaffection with U.S. politics, and concluded the Democratic Party is simply structurally resistant to socialist change. DeBoer generated a lot of warranted counter-criticism, but also captured something very real about the sentiments of marginal Democrats—the ones who might vote blue as means of blocking authoritarians from victory, or who might abstain from voting when left-wing candidates lose their primaries. In that world, disenchantment with AOC and the left wing of the Democratic Party is palpable, and raises some interesting questions: Is their disenchantment rooted in real grievances? Are Democratic politics really so resistant to left-wing pressure that the Democratic Socialists of America ought to stop deluding themselves? What could DSA or future AOCs do to have a bigger impact on policy, one that wouldn’t leave so many of its members with the sense that it’s all pointless? Host Brian Beutler moderates a debate between Eric Levitz, a New York Magazine writer who wrote a lengthy critique of the DeBoer article, and Ryan Grim, the DC Bureau Chief of The Intercept and author of the forthcoming book The Squad.