Complicit in the Murder Program: Podcasting Dystopia in The Intercept’s Evening at the Talk House (2018)

Hanne Nijtmans


Podcasting is an increasingly popular audio-only, on-demand narrative form that draws millions of listeners, both within the U.S. and worldwide. While podcast scholars are excited about podcasts’ potential to create content that finds no place in the mainstream media, they have not yet investigated how contemporary fictional podcasts can create societal critiques. This paper investigates the political potential of critical news platform The Intercept’s special feature audio play Evening at the Talk House (2018) by analyzing its content, form, and funding model. I will argue that Evening at the Talk House effectively uses the affordances of both the podcast and the dystopian narrative mode to expose the U.S. empire for American citizens by collapsing the distinction between the ‘good’ and safe homeland and the evil ‘other’ abroad. Evening at the Talk House, thus, raises questions about the complicity of regular citizens in enabling ‘murder programs’ (e.g. drone strikes, wars in Iraq and Afghanistan) as citizens actively take part in and become the victims of imperial violence. However, consistent with The Intercept’s daily reporting, Talk House fails to address a major motivation of the U.S. empire: establishing and maintaining global capitalism. This neglect can be explained by considering how the platform was established, as tech billionaire Pierre Omidyar provided its funding.


podcasts; dystopia; ideology critique; American empire; drones; investigative journalism

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Data publikacji: 2022-12-28 15:00:03
Data złożenia artykułu: 2022-01-31 17:46:53


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