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CNN's Best Podcasts: Audie Cornish & Dr. Sanjay Gupta

CNN Audio is on a roll despite a drop in TV ratings.

By Frank RacioppiPublished 4 months ago 4 min read

Yes, I know. Some people read "CNN" in the title and use their inner voice to scream "fake news" or something a bit more intelligible like "liberal-minded news." I know some of this crowd is locked up in their deep state delusions, but for those I can still reach, here goes. CNN has a new corporate overload, David Zaslav of Discovery. He, of the $246 million annual salary, is a Trump supporter. Therefore, CNN has modulated its political coverage and has returned to its more "middle-of-the-road" coverage, if that position is still even possible.

With that being said, I'd like to propose that CNN has some of the best podcasts in the podcasting universe. Or is it a galaxy?

Despite massive cuts in all the media properties owned by Discovery and Zaslav -- Batgirl, Looney Tunes, Westworld, even Elmo from Sesame Street is now homeless! -- CNN Audio has persevered. It's possible Anderson Cooper is selling his old stuff at a Saturday flea market to maintain budget integrity for these podcasts. Nice goin' A-man.

Anyway, CNN Audio has scored critical and listener-based hits with All There Is with Anderson Cooper, The Assignment with Audie Cornish, CNN 5 Things, CNN One Thing, The Axe Files with David Axelrod, and more. CNN's limited series, Tug Of War, was war journalism at its best, as the show covered the Russian invasion of Ukraine and ran from March 2022 until mid-June.

Two of the best CNN podcasts are The Assignment with Audie Cornish and Chasing Life with Dr. Sanjay Gupta.

You have to hand it to Audie Cornish. She leaves NPR after a long and distinguished career there and joins CNN to, among other duties, host this podcast, and in her first episode she jumps into the deep end of the pool.

CNN markets her new podcast this way: "Fiery Twitter threads and endless news notifications never capture the full story. Each week on The Assignment, host Audie Cornish pulls listeners out of their digital echo chambers to hear from the people who live the headlines. From the sex work economy to the battle over what’s taught in classrooms, no topic is off the table."

CNN Audio’s The Assignment with Audie Cornish premiered its first episode in mid-November 2022. In her maiden voyage, Cornish delves into the fiery debates and screaming matches at school board meetings.

Since then, Cornish's roving eye has settled on topics as diverse as Long COVID, violent race-based traffic stops by the police, why we are not returning to movie theaters, and, most recently, the new state of labor organizers in the form of baristas, grocery workers, and warehouse employees.

Whatever the topic, Cornish is polished, insightful, a journalistic anthropologist of hidden truths, and, most of all, a purveyor of discerning social commentary.

The other CNN podcast of note is Chasing Life with Dr. Sanjay Gupta, which premiered its sixth season on February 14.

In the new season, CNN’s Chief Medical Correspondent, Dr. Sanjay Gupta, brings everyone to the microphone – from members of the Gupta family to content creators and medical professionals – to look for guidance on how to navigate a world surrounded by screens.

Gupta took a constant barrage of virulent criticism from anti-vaxxers, COVID conspiracy theorists, and anti-science advocates during the pandemic. Despite the poisonous nature of some of those attacks, Gupta remained steadfast and reasonable in his commitment to science-based treatments and support for vaccines.

In this new season, Gupta will ask: What is a healthy relationship with technology? Is there a way to be active online, but also protect your privacy? How are families approaching the issue of screentime with their children? Does a cellphone or social media ‘detox’ actually work? Dr. Gupta explores answers to these questions and more as he dives into deep conversations about what science tells us about how our phones are changing our brains.

In the first episode -- How to Raise Kids in the Digital Age -- Dr. Gupta investigates how technology has advanced at breakneck speed over the past decade, and disrupted our lives — the ways we interact with each other, work, learn, and even grow up. Like many parents, this topic is personal for Dr. Gupta. In that first episode, Dr. Gupta speaks with one of the people he worries about most: his daughter Soleil. Plus, a conversation with Jean Twenge, Professor of Psychology at San Diego State University, about how social media is affecting youth mental health.

“I am so excited to launch this new season of Chasing Life because it’s my most personal one yet,” said Dr. Gupta in an interview as the sixth season was about to launch. “As a dad, I’m always thinking about how to navigate screen time and its impact on my three teenage daughters’ brains. It is one of the most challenging parts of being a parent. It was important to me to bring them into the conversation and go on this magical journey of discovery together.”

Check out both podcasts and several CNN podcasts. For the "fake news" crowd, you may enjoy them.


About the Creator

Frank Racioppi

I am a South Jersey-based author who is a writer for the Pod-Alization podcast blog on Substack, Ear Worthy on Medium, Podcast Reports on Blogger, Auditorily on Vocal and The Listening Post on Tealfeed.

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