In the words of the inimitable A.C. Cowlings, you know who we are, dammit.
But for those of you who don’t, who have somehow missed six years of America’s smartest, funniest, and intermittently most offensive podcast, who wandered here in a spasm of bored clicking...you’ve got a lot of catching up to do.
Because in these uniquely stupid times, you desperately need The Fifth Column, your weekly rhetorical assault on the news cycle, the people who make it, and occasionally themselves.
Back in 2016, grizzled media veterans Kmele Foster, Michael Moynihan, and Matt Welch started The Fifth Column with a simple premise: contemporary journalism had been overwhelmed by screeching partisans and language-policing fanatics. And so the lads rather pompously assigned themselves the task of desecrating the Church of Journalism, ridiculing its high priests, and sneering at its Holy Writ.
As The Fifth Column’s remit has grown, so too has its audience. While the podcast has remained both free and ad-free, the hungry citizens of the Fifdom demanded more (note: the free episodes, for all of you skinflints and freeloaders, will forever be available from all of your favorite podcast providers). So for the last two years, many thousands of you have been privy to a weekly bonus episode, live events, Zoom calls, and tons of other extra content. If you’re late to the game, don’t fret—sign up now, and those 100+ plus paid episodes are all yours!
Paying subscribers also get access to the comments section, as well as prioritization for merch, in-person shows, and (for Founding Members) a monthly live listen-in on a recording.
Need to sample the product? All right, future junkies. Here are four fan faves that give a fair taste:
Episode 200: Uncancellable Andrew and the Great Media Miasma. In which Andrew Sullivan, extremely fresh off of being shown the door at New York magazine, waxes about the future of media (including Substack!), the challenges of speaking to younger gays, and the joys of letting one’s balls get sloshed around in the tidepools.
Episode 194: Moral Clarity, Objectivity, and ALL THE SMOKE. Chopping it up with journalist/media thinker Wesley Lowery about his controversial call for “moral clarity” to replace journalistic objectivity in the post-George Floyd era.
Episode 349: Moynihan Taps In From Ukraine. In which our intrepid correspondent gives a late-night hotel-room account of having just crossed back into Poland after a week in war-torn Ukraine.
Episode 121: On Anti-Racism w/ Glenn Loury, John McWhorter, Coleman Hughes, Thomas Chatterton Williams. A wide-ranging, boundary-busting conversation with some of the most fearless thinkers around, hosted by a solo Kmele Foster.
Oh, and if you want to hear how the Members Only dispatches are…different, here’s one of the handful we have unlocked—Special Dispatch #104: Everyone Is Dumb.
“The Fifth Column podcast…[became] something like must-see-TV for me in the turbulent years since the summer of George Floyd,” Texas journalist Sarah Hepola recently wrote. “I listened to those guys talk about the troubled state of journalism, the troubled state of race relations….And when I listened to them, I felt calmer, I felt smarter, I felt grounded at a groundless time. Maybe it was distraction, maybe it was escape, but I liked to think of it as something else. I’d found my people.”
Oh—and if you want to email the boys, use firstname.lastname@example.org. Thanks!