Last year at Netroots Nation 2012 I did a series of short interviews with politicians and activists I met in various meeting rooms and hallways.
The interview I did with Alan Grayson is here; scroll down to see the whole list of last year’s interviewees. In addition to Mr. Grayson, I spoke with cartoonist Tom Tomorrow, Cliff Schecter who comments regularly on Sam Seder’s Majority.fm and elsewhere, Josh Orton who works with Russ Feingold’s Progressives United, and others.
As interesting as last year’s group was to speak with, this year’s group was even more so. I’d like to begin here, with Sam Seder, the first interview of all. Sam was doing his usual convention workathon, interviewing live for his morning radio show, Majority.fm, and then pretaping interviews with numerous others all afternoon and into the evenings.
I was fortunate enough to catch him on a break and he agreed to record the following.
What is “Five Questions”?
“Five Questions” is a way to structure short interviews with a number of people in which a degree of coherence is brought to the set as a whole. This year I asked everyone the same first three questions — about whether they agreed with me that America is approaching a period of deadlines, about which deadlines are nearest (if they agreed on the first question), and about their best guess on the way the climate crisis would play out in the near-to-intermediate term, the next five or ten years.
The next two questions were tailored to the interviewee, but for many I asked some version of “tell us about your journey, how you got from where you started as a young adult to where you are now.” I found those answers to be fascinating. The pathways are many, and many of these men and women have, to my knowledge, never told that story from start to finish.
Five Questions with Sam Seder
So let’s start with Sam Seder. As you do (or should) know, Sam is an actor who came on most of our radars during the Air America days, especially with his show The Majority Report, co-hosted with Janeane Garofalo. After the collapse of Air America, Sam recreated his show on the website Majority.fm. His work is excellent and his guest list is unparalleled. He is friends with everyone from Chris Hayes to Matt Taibbi to Rich Perlstein to Jeremy Scahill to a great many others.
And after you do, please listen. Sam is fascinating, and the story of his own journey — jump to the 18:00 mark to begin there — will surprise you; it certainly did me. Sam was delightful to talk with, a warm and interesting man. You can hear his playfulness, especially at the start and end of the interview. Enjoy.
I was a little fast on the trigger at the end of the interview, but that changed after this one. The abruptness of the ending is simply my not waiting the extra beat to turn off the recording device.
All Five Questions interviews
Here’s the complete list of this year’s Five Questions interviews. These will be published over the next few weeks in this order:
■ Sam Seder of Majority.fm (this interview)
■ Dave Johnson of Campaign for America’s Future and SeeingTheForest.com
■ Richard (RJ) Eskow of Campaign for America’s Future and Huffington Post
■ digby of Hullabaloo
■ Marcy Wheeler of Emptywheel.net
■ Joel Silberman, actor and media trainer — almost every good congressperson on our side, Joel has worked with them
■ GottaLaff, actress, writer, director and co-proprietress of ThePoliticalCarnival.net
I’ll update this list with links as the interviews are published. Thanks for listening.
To follow or send links: @Gaius_Publius