InfluenceWatch Podcast

Episode Archive

Episode Archive

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

  • Episode 262: The Authoritarian Legal Left

    March 24th, 2023  |  25 mins 5 secs

    What connects the disruptive protests against a conservative judge’s speech to Stanford Law and the arrests of over two dozen demonstrators outside Atlanta? Both involved people aligned with the National Lawyers Guild, a radical-left association of attorneys, law students, legal workers, and jailhouse lawyers. Joining me to discuss the NLG is our colleague Robert Stilson, who has written and researched extensively on the history of the Guild.

  • Episode 261: Stolen Youth

    March 17th, 2023  |  21 mins 38 secs

    To readers of the Capital Research Center or InfluenceWatch, none of the findings reported by New York Post columnist Karol Markowicz and stay-at-home mother, children’s book editor, and political commentator Bethany Mandel in their book Stolen Youth: How Radicals are Erasing Innocence and Indoctrinating a Generation will be that surprising; capture of institutions ranging from school boards to the American Academy of Pediatrics by left-of-center interests will be familiar. But the details and personal accounts Mandel and Markowicz summon to warn parents about the direct challenges by left-wing interests to their children’s well-being are alarming. Joining me to discuss the book is co-author Bethany Mandel.

  • Episode 260: Are Unions Coming to College Sports?

    March 10th, 2023  |  33 mins 30 secs

    In late 2021, following a class action suit in which the Supreme Court decided some college athletes should be allowed to earn money off their image and likeness, a Biden administration lawyer with the National Labor Relations Board named Jennifer Abruzzo issued a memo clarifying that some college athletes could now be considered employees of state universities.This memo led to breathless articles from well-known, hard left outlets like In These Times arguing that employees of the state designation meant potential unionization of college athletes and, as In These Times said, “a new progressive institution powerful enough to bend the South to its will.”This idea gained traction in December of last year when the NLRB determined that the Pac 12 Conference and the University of Southern California were indeed employers of athletes at the school and were violating the law by failing to treat student basketball and football players as employees.Joining me today to discuss sports unions and the possibility of collective bargaining at the collegiate level is my colleague Mike Watson.

  • Episode 259: Gore's Climate Errors

    March 3rd, 2023  |  30 mins 51 secs

    Thirty years ago, Al Gore took office as Vice President of the United States. Over the intervening period, he has lost a campaign for President and reinvented himself as the Nobel Peace Laureate-branded conscience of the climate movement. But years removed from his film An Inconvenient Truth and with countries like Germany following his environmentalist policy prescriptions, has Gore’s vision borne out? Joining me to assess are my colleagues Ken Braun and Parker Thayer.

  • Episode 258: How to Save the West with Spencer Klavan

    February 24th, 2023  |  23 mins 48 secs

    Are America and broader Western Civilization in crisis? Today’s guest, author Spencer Klavan, says yes, and he has written How to Save the West: Ancient Wisdom for 5 Modern Crises to outline the problems facing the West and the philosophical resources that its defenders have to fall back on in its defense.

  • Episode 257: Labor Questions

    February 17th, 2023  |  28 mins 20 secs

    We’re doing something a little different this week: We are joined by Rusty Brown of the Freedom Foundation for a bit of government-worker union wonkery. Brown and his colleagues have been researching certain financial products that the National Education Association markets to its members, and they have many questions about how it all works and whether members are being taken for a ride.

  • Episode 256: The Right to Self Defense

    February 10th, 2023  |  39 mins 28 secs

    The recent Supreme Court case New York State Rifle & Pistol Association v. Bruen that curtailed a state's ability to infringe on Americans' right to carry publicly for their own self defense has brought the 2nd Amendment fight back to the headlines as defenders celebrate and gun control activists plan to counter the ruling. Larry Correia, a firearms expert and successful novelist, chose this time to write a nonfiction book called "In Defense of the Second Amendment," to both explain why winning this particular culture war is necessary and to dismantle arguments from the left about gun control. He addresses everything from the importance of self defense as a core tenet of free societies, to the statistics about gun crime and gun ownership, to the benefit of getting trained and involved in the fight against mass shooters and tyranny. Mr. Correia joins the Influence Watch podcast this week to discuss his book. 

  • 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.