[First posted on skepolitical.com on 3/24/12)
One of the few political podcasts I listen to is “Best of the Left,” which plays clips from various liberal tv, radio, and podcast sources based on a specific subject for each episode. Jay Tomlinson, the straight white male host/producer, takes a few minutes at the end of each episode for some editorializing, and recently he has been using this to explore difficult issues related to animal rights, race, gender, and the like. I emailed him earlier this week to commend him on his willingness to display this process in full “view” of his substantial listenership. It takes great humility to admit that you’re wrong about something or even that you have more to learn, and this tends to be especially true for those who are politically motivated. I think this humility is central to what it means to be a good skeptic, and I told Jay that I was very impressed and pleased to see such skepticism exemplified in a public way. On the 3/20 episode, called “The lives and tragic deaths of media tyrants (media)“, Jay used his editorial slot not to explore a new issue related to oppressed groups but to describe, in great detail, the email exchange he had had with me earlier in the week He didn’t refer to me by name, but he did describe me as someone who considers himself first and foremost a “Skeptic,” and he said that he would be revisiting this topic in future episodes. This is a really nice development, and I hope the listeners to The Best of the Left are influenced to become a bit more skeptical by this and future explorations by Jay. What skeptics really need is for everyone to become more skeptical, but I guess we need to start with whoever is most receptive. I’m really quite excited to have helped precipitate a potential discussion of skepticism amongst liberals. The 3/23 episode has just been uploaded, and I’m tempted to skip to the end to hear the voicemails and editorials. Check it out if you have the time.