InfluenceWatch Podcast

Episode Archive

Episode Archive

255 episodes of InfluenceWatch Podcast since the first episode, which aired on December 7th, 2017.

  • Episode 255: COVID Relief Racism in Georgia and Oklahoma

    February 3rd, 2023  |  23 mins 33 secs

    Equal treatment under the law, regardless of race: One would think that all could agree on that principle, but in states and localities across the country—even in Republican-controlled states—that principle is giving way to programs that restrict eligibility based on skin color. Joining my colleague Sarah Lee and I to discuss these programs and how to challenge them legally is Glenn Roper, an attorney with the Pacific Legal Foundation.

  • Episode 254: The State of School Choice

    January 27th, 2023  |  27 mins 30 secs

    In 2022, Arizona passed one of the most comprehensive school-choice programs in the nation. But later that year, the state elected Katie Hobbs a governor who is backed by the teachers’ unions, and she has targeted that program for elimination, even as other states like Iowa and Texas consider similar expansions to school choice programs. Joining my colleague Hayden Ludwig and I to discuss Arizona’s proposed retreat as other states advance school choice is Jason Bedrick, research fellow in the Center for Education Policy at The Heritage Foundation.

  • Episode 253: George Soros and the Media

    January 20th, 2023  |  29 mins 28 secs

    It is well known that George Soros and his Open Society Foundations are major funders of left-wing advocacy, but a new report from Media Research Center shines the light on one facet of that advocacy. According to MRC’s research, Soros and his associated philanthropies have funded 253 organizations involved in activist media worldwide. Joining me and my colleague Sarah Lee to discuss Soros’s funding of left-wing media, the broader universe of foundation-funded journalism, and what it all means is Media Research Center associate editor Joseph Vazquez.

  • Episode 252: Gas Stoves We'll Defend

    January 13th, 2023  |  31 mins 37 secs

    If you believe Axios and the Washington Post, this is just the latest GOP and conservative culture war: A ban on gas stoves proposed by the Biden administration-controlled Consumer Product Safety Commission. But like so many things that the media tells us aren’t happening, until they are, and then you’re a bigot for opposing them, the Left is coming for gas stoves—and all gas appliances, if not convenience itself. Joining me to discuss the proposed ban on gas stoves, the publishers of the shoddy “science” behind it, and the far-reaching desires of the Left to reduce Americans’ standard of living are my colleagues Ken Braun and Parker Thayer.

  • Episode 251: The Patron Saint of Bad Science: Paul Ehrlich

    January 6th, 2023  |  24 mins 43 secs

    In 1968, Paul Ehrlich claimed that “the battle to feed all of humanity is over” and that mass starvation was imminent. He was completely, utterly, and totally wrong. But because Ehrlich is a leader of the environmentalist movement, just last week, “60 Minutes” brought him back to make more predictions of imminent doom unless we vastly reduce our quality of life. Joining me and my colleague Sarah Lee to discuss Ehrlich’s life, work, and revival to aid the green agenda is Steve Milloy, Senior Legal Fellow at Energy and Environment Legal Institute.

  • Episode 238: BlackRock: ESG Policy or Posturing?

    December 30th, 2022  |  27 mins 32 secs

    The power of the ESG—environmental, social, and corporate governance—investing movement is propelled by powerful allies among funds managers, perhaps none more prominent than BlackRock, which manages over eight trillion dollars in assets. But is Blackrock’s advancement of the environmentalist agenda a sincere commitment or cynical “greenwashing” seeking public relations advantage? Joining me to discuss the question is my Capital Research Center colleague Ken Braun.

  • Episode 250: Abraham's Missing Child with the Philos Project

    December 23rd, 2022  |  33 mins 13 secs

    The Near East is the place of origin of the three Abrahamic religions, Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. Unfortunately, political developments in that region have led to declines in inter-religious pluralism in much of the region, and the Christian communities that have lived in the region since the origins of the Christian religion have dwindled. Joining us to discuss the prospects for Christian communities in the Near East is Robert Nicholson, president of the Philos Project.

  • Episode 249: The Lawsuit Lobby

    December 19th, 2022  |  20 mins 40 secs

    Hello, I’m Michael Watson and this is the InfluenceWatch Podcast. Few professions have earned as low approval ratings as lawyers—in Gallup polling on the public’s perceptions of professions’ ethics, lawyers are underwater, alongside journalists, business executives, and non-federal politicians. But despite the public’s relatively low opinion of the profession, the trial bar maintains a massive “lawsuit lobby” that supports the vast infrastructure of litigation—and lawyers’ fees—that is a part of American life. Joining me to discuss the lawsuit lobby are my colleague and today’s co-host Sarah Lee and my colleague Robert Stilson, whose four-part series on the “lawsuit lobby” is available at

  • Episode 248: Waking up from Woke: Twitter Becomes Transparent

    December 9th, 2022  |  41 mins 4 secs

    Over the past week, new Twitter CEO Elon Musk has directed the release of “The Twitter Files,” internal documents detailing controversial decisions made by senior Twitter staff before Musk’s takeover. The first batch, reviewed and released on Twitter by independent left-leaning journalist Matt Taibbi, concerned the previous Twitter management’s most controversial decision: The suppression of reporting by the New York Post on the contents of a laptop computer left at a repair shop by then-presidential candidate Joe Biden’s son Hunter. Joining me to discuss Musk’s approach, Taibbi’s reporting, and the fallout from both are my colleagues Sarah Lee and Ken Braun.

  • Episode 247: A Crisis In Our Classrooms With Armstrong Williams part 2

    December 2nd, 2022  |  27 mins 48 secs

    CRC President Scott Walter sits in the host chair and interviews TV host and author Armstrong Williams about his book "Crisis in the Classroom," a revealing look at education in America co-authored by Dr. Ben Carson and civil rights activist Benjamin Crump. This is part one of a two-part series.

  • Episode 246: A Crisis In Our Classrooms With Armstrong Williams, Part 1

    November 25th, 2022  |  19 mins 30 secs
    armstrong williams, ben carson, ben crump, crisis, education, teacher union

    CRC President Scott Walter sits in the host chair and interviews TV host and author Armstrong Williams about his book "Crisis in the Classroom," a revealing look at education in America co-authored by Dr. Ben Carson and civil rights activist Benjamin Crump. This is part one of a two-part series.

  • Episode 245: Legalities of Student Loan Forgiveness

    November 18th, 2022  |  17 mins 27 secs

    Hello, I’m Michael Watson and this is the InfluenceWatch Podcast. A few months ago, President Joe Biden announced that the government would “forgive” up to $10,000 per borrower in federal student loan debt with at best dubious legal justification, with a cost to the Treasury estimated at $300 billion if it were to go into effect. Lawsuits immediately flew. One such lawsuit was filed in Texas with the support of the Job Creators Network Foundation, challenging the action as unconstitutional. Last week, the program was struck down at the trial court level; joining us to discuss the litigation is JCN Foundation’s Chief Legal Officer Karen Harned.

  • Episode 244: Building a Better Midterm

    November 11th, 2022  |  20 mins 13 secs

    Hello, I’m Michael Watson and this is the InfluenceWatch Podcast. Like the 2020 elections, which saw then-President Trump’s coalition prove unexpectedly resilient amid a horrible national environment dominated by COVID despite his loss to Joe Biden, the 2022 elections did not go as expected…but this time the other way, with Biden’s Democrats defying the apparent “fundamentals.” While others will discuss candidates, issues, and swings, I’m joined by Capital Research Center president Scott Walter to discuss some of the institutional structures that might have contributed to the midterms results.

  • Episode 243: Building a Trusted Election Infrastructure

    November 4th, 2022  |  16 mins 21 secs

    Following the 2020 election, and one very strange Time Magazine article detailing a “shadow” campaign of left-leaning operatives that “saved” the 2020 election by “fortifying” it, conservative groups began to get serious about election integrity.

    Some efforts to re-instill faith in American elections had pre-existed 2020, but news reports of poll watchers being barred from carrying out their duties, concerns over near-ubiquitous ballot drop-boxes, and the heavy promotion of mail-in ballots as an answer to keeping people safe during COVID, had conservative groups taking a more active approach to making sure American elections could be trusted for all participants on all sides of the political divide.

    One of the groups that got to work was Tea Party Patriots Action, who’ve spent the last year planning, preparing, and training to assure honest and fair oversight of elections.

    Joining the podcast today is Jenny Beth Martin, Honorary Chairman of TPPA, to discuss those efforts, why conservative groups felt a coordinated effort to focus on these things was necessary, and how they’ve done in their efforts.

  • Episode 242: Meet ERIC

    October 28th, 2022  |  20 mins 28 secs

    Today, we meet ERIC—the Electronic Registration Information Center. Created with the aid of the left-of-center Pew Charitable Trusts to help states maintain their voter rolls, recent years have seen it expand into voter registration drives. With those drives comes concern about ERIC’s connections to left-wing figures. Joining me to discuss ERIC and its ties to the political left is my Capital Research Center colleague Hayden Ludwig, who wrote about the group for The American Conservative.

  • Episode 241: Decoding the Iranian Protests

    October 21st, 2022  |  24 mins 49 secs

    For the past several weeks, Iranians—especially Iranian women—have taken bold stands against the nation’s theocratic government, discarding compulsory headscarves and cutting their hair. This isn’t the first time that mass demonstrations have contested the control of the Iranian regime; can they succeed this time? Joining me to discuss the situation in Iran and its relation to American policy is Gabriel Noronha, a former State Department advisor on Iran under Secretary Mike Pompeo and current fellow at the Jewish Institute for National Security of America (JINSA).