A show about the power of television, and how it affects and reflects

How to broadcast live TV from the moon… in 1969
Jul 18, 2019 • 39 min
Robert Stone directed the new PBS series “Chasing the Moon.” It’s chock full of new archival footage from the period. And behind all that footage – some fascinating stories. Stone tells Emily VanDerWerff about a very famous, very recognizable piece of…
How Nixon’s TV strategy paved the way for Trump
Jun 13, 2019 • 23 min
Richard Nixon’s political career paralleled the rise of television. He discovered how TV could make or break a politician. His successes and flops set a precedent for politicians who came after him, especially Donald Trump. Both men used television to…
The TV Presidents: Reagan and Obama
Jun 5, 2019 • 19 min
While they had radically different styles and politics, Presidents Reagan and Obama had at least one thing in common: They were both masters of the small screen. We’ll explore how both presidents used the medium to communicate their message directly to…
When the vice president took on a sitcom character
May 30, 2019 • 20 min
In May 1992, the TV character Murphy Brown gave birth to a baby boy. The following day, Vice President Dan Quayle publicly blamed Brown for “mocking the importance of fathers by bearing a child alone and calling it just another lifestyle choice.” But…
The fictional presidencies of Hillary Clinton
May 23, 2019 • 19 min
Fictional women in power on TV have a lot in common with Hillary Rodham Clinton. Characters on The Good Wife, Scandal, House of Cards, Commander in Chief — the list goes on and on. On this episode, we examine these characters to find out what they reveal…
24’s twisted relationship with the war on terror
May 16, 2019 • 23 min
24 premiered less than two months after the 9/11 terror attacks. That timing — and the show’s subject matter — affected the way a lot of important people, at the highest levels of United States government, think about terrorism, torture, and America’s…
Why Washington can’t escape The West Wing
May 9, 2019 • 25 min
When The West Wing was on the air, during the Clinton and Bush years, a lot of liberal viewers were pining for a Democratic president with a strong sense of right and wrong — someone like President Bartlet. His fictional administration made for great…
Introducing Primetime
Apr 29, 2019 • 2 min
Welcome to Primetime, a podcast about the power of television and how it affects and reflects our culture. In the first season, host Todd VanDerWerff, Vox’s critic at large, explores the American presidency on TV: stories about how presidents have used TV…