338 "Jussie's Truth, Putin's NATO, China's Games"

The Fifth Column - Analysis, Commentary, Sedition
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Jussie Smollett's years-long legal drama careening toward its conclusion. New York City enacts the countries most expansive (and ill-conceived) COVID restrictions. While the Biden Administration sends diplomatic shots at Xi in China and navigates an increasingly tumultuous situation with Putin in Russia.

  • Kmele's New York State of Mind
  • Creep Show
  • Playin' Journalist
  • Diplomatic Games + Human Rights
  • Blaming Everything on NATO (and Biden)
  • Russia Hawks
  • No Justice for Jussie
  • Elite Lives Matter
  • Yoko/Lennon
  • McLaughlin Psychic Friends Network

w/ Wesley Lowery Correspondent @ CBS - "60 Minutes in 6"

Lowery Wrote A Thing:

"A Reckoning Over Objectivity, Led by Black Journalists" (NYT) - June 23, 2020


Welch Raised Some Objections:

"Journalists Abandoning 'Objectivity' for 'Moral Clarity' Really Just Want To Call People Immoral" (Reason) - June 24, 2020


Some Twitter Drama Ensues.

The Parties Agree to Settle Things Directly.

...And now, here you are. All caught up, ready for the fireworks (literally + figuratively).

Recorded: July 2, 2020

Published: July 6, 2020


w/ Jacob Siegel, Senior Writer @ Tablet

"The New Truth" (June 22nd 2020)


"Journalists Abandoning 'Objectivity' for 'Moral Clarity' Really Just Want To Call People Immoral" (6/24/2020)


- The Lisa "Left Eye" Lopez of Journalism

- The Great Fireworks Conspiracy (continued)

- The NYT Slack

- All The Smoke

- The New Truth

- Rhetorically Invincible

- White Fragility, The Message of the Cross

- Moral Clarity

- World Heritage Sites

- The Wages of Sin

- Ethical Journalism

Recorded: June 25, 2020

Published: July 1, 2020


w/ Jane Coaston, Senior Politics Reporter @ Vox

  • Some Sports Stuff
  • TickTock Swiftboats
  • Tulsa
  • Trumps Party
  • What Comes Next
  • Immigration + Visas
  • The Coaston Plan
  • More Black Lives Matter Talk
  • But What About....
  • Unbundling the Police
  • Liking the Neighborhood Cops

Recorded: June 23, 2020

Published: June 25, 2020


w/ David French, Senior Editor @ The Dispatch and Columnist @ Time

  • Help With Your Down Payment?
  • A Busy Day For SCOTUS
  • 2A, Qualified Immunity (Part I), Expanding Civil Rights
  • Thought Crimes
  • On Racism (and Anti Racism)
  • The Worst Dinner Party
  • The Censorship Impulse
  • Gone With the Wind, Song of the South
  • The Lost Cause... Myth?
  • What Northerners Really Want
  • Still in Love w/ Daisy Duke
  • Anti-racism Must Be Anti-race
  • Walk Humbly, Seek Justice, See the Humanity in Your Ops
  • Qualified Immunity (Part II) -- Why Qualified Immunity Matters

Recorded: June 15, 2020

Published: June 16, 2020


w/ Olivia Nuzzi, Washington Correspondent @ New York Magazine

  • An Unprecedented Movement
  • Defunding the Police... Or Just Abolishing Them
  • Canceling Most Things, Razing The Rest
  • Moral Clarity in the News Room
  • Trump on the Campaign Trail, Biden's Strengths
  • Why Trump and Rudy Can't Stop Talking to Nuzzi

Recorded: June 10, 2020

Published: June 12, 2020

  • A Brief History of Right Now
  • Punk Police
  • It Might Actually Be Legal
  • Black on Black on Black
  • Bending the Knee
  • NYT Civil War
  • Essentialism in Practice
  • Law & Order
  • Passover
  • MLK on Riots


Published: 6/6/2020


Kmele facilitates a follow-up conversation on race, racism, and anti-racism -- this time, in the midst of a global pandemic and increasing social unrest. You can find the first installment in this series of conversations here: http://wethefifth.com/episodes/121


Glenn Loury

Professor of the social sciences and economics at Brown University

Thomas Chatterton Williams

Author, "Self-Portrait in Black and White: Unlearning Race" and "Losing My Cool"


John McWhorter

Professor of Linguistics, Philosophy, and Music at Columbia

Coleman Hughes

Fellow at The Manhattan Institute

Contributing Editor at City Journal


Published: 6/1/2020


She wrote a column in the New York Times. She failed to mention her favorite podcast. She mentioned other podcasts. She texted us asking if she could come on the show to apologize. We agreed. Bari Weiss, the genial and gentle bête noire of woke culture, is back...hat in hand, asking for Fifth forgiveness. But she sticks around to discuss lots of other stuff:

- We are all Stasi agents now

- You're both Karens!

- A murder in Minneapolis

- Whose more powerful? Jack Dorsey or one of your senators?

- Should corporations be fact-checking politicians?

- Matt explains Section 230

- Moynihan rants about journalists being annoying

- A guest appearance from Nellie Bowles

- A really bad piece about white people and spices

- Kmele squeezes in some China/Hong Kong talk

- And some good news from Spencer!

Recorded: May 27, 2020

Published: May 28, 2020


Balaji Srinivasan (@balajis)

Investor + Entrepreneur, Former CTO @ Coinbase, Partner @ Andreessen Horowitz

Conor Friedersdorf (@conor64)

Staff Writer at The Atlantic, Founding Editor of The Best of Journalism

- How Startups Think About Failure + Survival

- Pandemics, Panics, and Journalistic Incentives

- Forging Societal Truth

- Why the US Failed to Take COVID Seriously

- Why Journalist Hate The Valley

- Believing Half of What You Read

- Epistemology Algorithms 

- A Feature Set for Fixing Journalism

- Looser Arguments

Recorded: May 14th 2020

Published: May 25th 2020


w/ Ethan Strauss Writer @ Athletic, Author "The Victory Machine: The Making and Unmaking of the Warriors Dynasty" (2020)

- Getting Political

- NBA vs China

- Bad Deals and Bad Economics

- The Incomparable Michael Jordan

- 'What is Best In Life'

- Resuming the NBA Season

- Pissing off Kevin Durant

Recorded: May 13th 2020

Published: May 17th 2020


w/ Rep Justin Amash US Congressman (Michigan's 3rd Congressional District) and 2020 Libertarian Presidential Hopeful

U.S. Representative for Michigan's 3rd congressional district since 2011, and currently serving as the first Libertarian Party member of Congress. Amash diagnoses what's wrong with America's politics, parties, and legislative process. And he makes the case for why he's ideally well suited to fix.

Recorded: May 4th 2020

Published: May 6th 2020


w/ Glenn Greenwald Co-founding Editor @ The Intercept, Host @ "System Update"

A once in a century pandemic is producing unique and daunting challenges to civil liberties around the world. What are the necessary compromises? Where are the non-negotiable red lines? And what are those mysterious bright lights people have been seeing in the night sky? (The last one is easy: visitors from another galaxy, here to share their advanced technology with us... for a price).


- Avoiding a Hot War w/ Red-China

- COVID in Brazil

- Reading the YouTube Comments

- Logging Onto CompuServe to Own The Conservatives

- A Kinder, Gentler Greenwald

- Russia-Gate Revisited

- Why FISA Was Always Bullshit

- 'Just the Tip' Socialism

Recorded: April 30th 2020

Published May 2nd 2020


w/ Jonah Goldberg Editor-in-Chief @The Dispatch, Host @ The Remnant Podcast

President Trump has an inspired idea for arresting a global pandemic. It involves ultraviolet rays, disinfectant washes -- and Welch seems convinced that it also has something to do with "butt stuff" -- which, honestly, it wouldn't be the strangest thing you've heard all day.


- Jonah on Political Homelessness

- Define "Prevaricate"

- Presidential Ineptitude and Slothfulness,

- How Shitty Henchmen Keep America Safe

- Why The CDC is So Popular

- Trump Punching is Boring

- The Most Dangerous Debate

- On Tucker Carlson

- The Best Rescue Package

- Georgia: Open for Business (or something)

- Funding Lockdown Protests  

- The Limits of Mitigation

Recorded: April 23rd 2020

Published April 25th 2020


Kmele Foster, Zaid Jilani (@ZaidJilani) and Coleman Hughes (@coldxman) discuss the cacophony of concern about blackness+ racism in the midst of a once in a century global pandemic.


"Do COVID-19 Racial Disparities Matter?" - Coleman Hughes


"Don’t Racialize the Pandemic" - Zaid Jilani


Recorded: April 14th 2020

Published April 20th 2020


- Gender Traitors

- Teddy Pendergrass

- Trump’s Absolute Authority

- Cutting off WHO Funding

- What a Pandemic Can Teach You

- China and The American Free Press

Recorded: April 15th, 2020

Released: April 17th, 2020


"When America catches a cold, black America... " -- well, we should maybe talk about that.

- Welch Makes a Baseball Analogy

- Moynihan helps Governor Cuomo shame the traitorous scum who refuse to STAY IN DOORS

- Amid growing concern about the disproportionate impact COVID-19 may be having on black folks in America -- Kmele has thoughts

- When Billionaires Give Money Away (it's never enough -- and it's never good enough -- for Moynihan?)

- China is Using Fake Numbers

- A Briefing Full of Jim Acostas

- President Trump Lies, Frequently -- Accept When He's Telling the Truth

- Trump's Greatest Failure

- Foreign Policy Tea Leaves

Recorded: April 7th, 2020

Released: April 8th, 2020


With more than 80% of Americans under some form of movement restrictions, civil liberties are in retreat, authoritarians are gaining ground, and Kmele is feeling positively messianic.

PLUS "The Fifth Column's Pandemic Shopping Guide: How to beat the system, score hard to find paper products, and avoid deadly CHINESE pathogens"

- Keep Buggering On

Recorded: March 31st, 2020

Released: April 2ndth, 2020


- The lads are losing it in quarantine

- New York is "authentic" again / full of crackhead zombies

- Being entrepreneurial in a time of crisis

- So what's happening in COVID world

- And what does Kmele think *now*?

- Is this all capitalism's fault?

- More studies, more confusion

- The shitty media is even shittier than ever

- Hating on De Blasio

- Manufacturing scientific consent

- It's MH370. And we're inside the plane

- A wee bit of mail from a wee Scot Trot 

- Is there anything to talk about *but* COVID?

- Kmele has a new telescope/is a huge nerd in the woods

Recorded: March 26th, 2020

Released: March 27th, 2020


The quarantine continues...the Fifth Columnists have thoughts...

- Kmele is the Kurtz/Lauren Hill of Virginia

- Some listener mail

- We have the results! (Calm down Todd)

- Updates on the COVID

- Is it all going to fall apart? Probably

- Are we are at war? Not really

- Some more listener mail

- Some audiobooks to listen to while quarantined

- Some more sports to watch while no sports is happening

- Kmele really needs to bring it back to COVID

- An Italian friend drunk texts, loses her mind

- More disaster socialism

- The most important thing about COVID is what Trump calls it

- Some book recommendations

Released: March 19, 2020


UPDATE: The original version of this episode was uploaded out of sync. It has been replaced with a corrected version. We regret the error. But stop complaining. It's free.

The bat virus apocalypse continues. The Fifth Column soldiers on, shouting ¡No pasarán!

- Kmele is in the woods, Matt is in South Brooklyn, Moynihan is in hiding

- All COVID, all the time!

- Wait, so does he have it or not?

- Kmele questions the consensus

- Disaster capitalism becomes disaster socialism

- Money is fake. Let's give everyone a billion dollars, ok?

- Masked and bonding with the Hasids

- Why Matt can't smoke weed? (Yes, it involves Central Europe and the First Gulf War)

- Ken Burns gives it away

- Let's rerun 70s baseball and hockey games

- More on this damn virus

- We totally missed the Andrew Gillum wedding party

- Dude. The drugs were on the floor

- Pick some books. Let's read them

- And so very much more 

Recorded: March 16th, 2020

Released: March 17th, 2020


w/ Ross Douthat Columnist @ New York Times - Author of "The Decadent Society: How We Became the Victims of Our Own Successes"


- Decadence, Low and High

- The Four Horseman

- “Giving Decadence Its Due”

- Birth Rates, Populations, Populism

- It’s Manifesto Season on the American Right

- Ross Still Wants to Ban Porn

- TVs Golden Age

- The Case for Joe Biden

- Don Jr's GOP

- A New York Times Conservative


w/ Eli Lake ( Columnist @ Bloomberg Opinion)

- Typhoid Welch

- Biden crushes South Carolina and Super Tuesday

- Good 'ol Uncle Joe or Cognitive Decline

- "Democratic" Socialism?

- MAGA Corps and Bernie Bros Will Excuse Almost Anything Their Candidates Do

- Elizabeth Warren Lost -- It's Empirically Not HER Fault

- DNC Subterfuge

- Biden's Lies About Getting Arrested, Mandela Thanking

- Preview of the Biden v Bernie Debate

- Schumer SCOTUS Threat

- The FISA "Rubber Stamp"

- The Horrifying Books on Your Sshelf

- President Trump's *Disgraceful* Peace Deal w/ the Taliban

- Eli's Libertarian War Powers Fetish

- Steve Kornacki: Legend

- Chris Matthews

- Billionaire Lives Matter


Recorded: March 5th, 2020

Released: March 6th, 2020


w/ Aaron Maté (Host @ PushBack, Contributor @ The Nation)

- Throwin Up Gang Signs

- COVID-19

- Cuban History 101

- Giving China Credit

- Billionaires and Unicorns

- Harvey Weinstein

Recorded: February 26th, 2020

Released: February 27th, 2020


w/ Asawin Suebsaeng and Lachlan Markay (White House Reporters @ The Daily Beast)

Co Authors: ""Sinking in the Swamp" How Trump's Minions and Misfits Poisoned Washington"


- Moynihan's Vocal Fry and "Actually Good" Accents

- Searching for "Henry Hills" in Trumpworld

- Lachlan's Conservative Apostasy

- Al Gore: Most Boring Interview Subject Ever

- Rats and Snitches

- Daily Beast: A "High-brow Tabloid"

- Woke (Racist?) Bloomberg

- The Muslim Ban

- From Seb Gorka to Hunter Biden

- Reporters vs Opinion Pundits

- Will the Press Scrutinize the Next President as Aggressively?

- The Never Trumpers Who End Up in the White House Anyway

- John Bolton's Next Act

- Swin/Lachlan's "Badgers Story"

- Drama Queens

- Bob Woodward

- Godfather 3, still bad

- Gore Vidal + Timothy McVeigh

Recorded: February 18th, 2020

Released: February 19th, 2020



- Black History Month

- There's no Barbecue Sauce in American Dirt

- Believe Some Death Threats, Leverage Others

- Oscar Obsession (Beautiful Mind Edition)

- Yang Dead Is Dead, Long Live Yang Gang

- Bernie's Ceiling, Biden's Ebony Firewall

- A SHOCKING Presidential Endorsement

- Bloomberg's Stop + Frisk Memory Hole

- ADL: "White Supremacy is On The Rise!"

Recorded: February 12th, 2020

Released: February 13th, 2020


The last time we did this, we said don't get used to it. Well, we meant it. But we're also feeling overly generous. So here is last week's Patreon-only dispatch, featuring Moynihan and Kmele. You're welcome.


Kmele and Moynihan are back in Williamsburg drinking bad wine and talking shit...while trying to figure out why Welch isn't returning anyone's calls. 

Moynihan returns to Iowa and remembers why he hates journalists. Bumbling around the Hawkeye State, he chats with Andrew Yang, hangs with hardcore Trump types and fanatical Bernie bros. And they're all Iowa nice. 

Kmele has a black "Big Chill" weekend in Pennsylvania and opens about up his parents--to a gobsmacked Moynihan.


As usual, the lads try to catch up on a bunch of listener mail, provoking discussions about tattoos, Chile, Northern Ireland, Goop, The Central Park Five, and the "Preppy Killer" Robert Chambers.


And twenty years after it debuted, Kmele finally watches Curb Your Enthusiasm.

Outro music: RIP Andy Gill.

Recorded February 4, 2020



- Kmele's Inner MAGA

- State of the Union Theatrics

- “Oh, God -- Fire the Media!”

- "The Big Lie" (and other nonsense)

- Mitt Romney’s Moment

- Trump’s Criminal Justice Reform

- Iowa Fiasco

- Waiting for Bernie to Turn on MSNBC

- Preview of Upcoming Patreon Episodes

Recorded: February 5th, 2020

Released: February 6th, 2020



- When the mob came for the Fifth

- Hong Kong: Proto Police State

- The Democratic Field

- Bernie's Got a Shot, The Joe Rogan Bounce

- Criminalizing Disinformation

- Watching Lou Dobbs

- Fearing the Bern

- Truthy Skepticism

- An Impeachment Drive-By

- Eli on the FBI

- Some Idiot Wrote This (and this... and this...)

Recorded: January 29, 2020

Released: January 30, 2020



Miriam Elder, senior political reporter for BuzzFeed News and former Russia correspondent for The Guardian. (@MiriamElder)


Our fake bios

Miriam's seven years in Moscow

Get Shorty, Alex Jones, and the D-list bullshit artists

Matt’s Russophobia isn’t as bad as MSNBC’s

Political theater provides cover to Putin’s authoritarianism 

Moynihan and Elder throw down over Bernie's alleged sexism. Plus: Is believing Warren or Sanders a #MeToo lesson?

Who is the nihilist candidate?

Banning lies on Facebook

Can a bully be funny?

The “Independents” couple forever

Recorded: January 16, 2020

Released: January 18, 2020


GUEST: Noah Rothman

Associate Editor@ Commentary -- Contributor @ MSNBC/NBC News

Author: “Unjust: Social Justice and the Unmaking of America” (Jan 2019)


- Why the Washington Bullets became the Wizard 

- Bomb Iran?

- Will Americans ever support another Middle East War again?

- International commerce —> global middle class —> less war

- Trump thinks China should police the Strait of Hormuz

- What if we did NOTHING?

- Brian Stelter praises Tucker Carlson

- John Bolton might testify

- Moynihan shows up late

- Elizabeth Wurtzel

- Facebooks deep fake 'Problem'

- Thanks for the swags, and the booze

Recorded: January 7, 2019

Published: January 8, 2019



- Neighborhood Watch

- Moynihan’s Anti-Brit Streak

- Bernie’s Fundraising Clout

- Ron Paul’s Newsletters and Everlasting Ice Cream

- Buttigieg Wants to Decriminalize All Drugs

- Iran’s Quds Force commander Soleiman Killed in Iraq

- Media Malpractice on Vaping

- Chuck Todd's Fake News special

- About That Memo

Recorded: January 2, 2020

Published: January 3, 2020


Happy Kwanza -- We've UNLOCKED a Patreon Only dispatch just for you (and everyone else)! Enjoy it, but don't get used to it.

The Williamsburg Tapes (Dispatch #4)

"Losing Our Religion"


It's a pre-Christmas miracle! The Fifth Columnists are back at the stammtisch (stupid table) in Williamsburg for a long-ass special dispatch, mostly discussing things distant from the news cycle. Kmele watches "Mandingo" and, to the shock of both Welch and Moynihan, is slack-jawed by how racist it is. The lads answer some reader mail and discuss Michael Collins, the Pete Best of Apollo 11; offer some meandering thoughts on Catholicism and Seventh Day Adventism; ruminate on tragedy and loss; blather about the Richard Jewell movie nontroversy; recommend books about Israel; and provide two-plus hours of assorted other nonsense.

Recorded: 12/??/2019

Published: 12/25/2019


GUEST: Conor Friedersdorf

Staff Writer @ The Atlantic


- Patreon-only Preview

- Chapo Trap vs Conor

- An Underreported Attack in Jersey City

- Afghanistan Mea Culpa

- Something About Impeachment

- Reauthorize Every War, Every Year

- Biden, Dove of the Obama Administration

- Complicated Brexit voters

- Gesture politics

- The Paternalism of Blooombergism

- The Pronoun Talk

- Civility, Without Obsessing Over Identity

Recorded: December 17, 2019

Published: December 18, 2019



- Kmele’s Dog Ate His Own Tail

- Debunking mediums and magicians

- UK elections, the problem with Jeremy Corbyn

- WaPo’s “Afghanistan Papers”

- IG report and the FBI's no-good, very bad behavior

- Mispronouncing Nunes

- Acela Wars

- Greta Thunberg: Person of the Year

- The case against Welches Case Against Impeachment

Recorded: December 12, 2019

Published: December 14, 2019



- [ GRRT, BAOW ]

- Dragonball Z

- Kamala Drops Out, A Narrative Quickly Take Shape

- A De-platforming in South Bend

- 1619 and Historical Skepticism

- Are the Democratic Primaries Racist? (Can We Call It Seeding or Naw?)

- A Farewell to NATO? And the WTO? And the EU too?

- "Impeachment", The Board Game

- "The Irishman", A Review

Recorded: December 6, 2019

Published: December 8, 2019


The director of classic documentaries "The Thin Blue Line," "Fog of War," and "Standard Operation Procedure," Errol Morris has long been the doyen of critics...until he made "American Dharma," a film exploring the worldview and influence of former Breitbart boss and Trump campaign chief executive Steve Bannon. Predictably, Morris was accused of "platforming" Bannon and, for the first time in his career, America's most famous documentarian couldn't find a distributor for his film. On the day "American Dharma" opened in New York, Morris sat down with Michael Moynihan to discuss the controversy, whether or not Bannon is a "fascist," and why he thinks his most controversial movie is also his best.

Recorded: November 1, 2019