Listen to the Top 5 ‘FRONTLINE Dispatch’ Podcast Episodes of 2022

Listen to the 5 most-downloaded new-in-2022 episodes of 'The FRONTLINE Dispatch' podcast.

Listen to the 5 most-downloaded new-in-2022 episodes of 'The FRONTLINE Dispatch' podcast.

December 22, 2022

Russia’s war on Ukraine. Threats to democracy in the United States. The quest for police accountability. Fossil fuel companies’ efforts to delay climate change action.

The FRONTLINE Dispatch podcast probed these stories and more as 2022 unfolded, through provocative conversations with leading journalists and documentary filmmakers.

As the year draws to a close, we’ve collected the five most-downloaded new episodes from The FRONTLINE Dispatch based on total downloads across all podcast players as of press time.

Listen to the episodes that made the list below — and if you haven’t already, subscribe to The FRONTLINE Dispatch on Apple Podcasts, Stitcher, Spotify or wherever you get your podcasts. For more audio journalism, explore our other award-winning podcast series, I’m Not a Monster and Un(re)solved, and catch up on our FRONTLINE Film Audio Tracks.

5. Covering Minneapolis in the Wake of George Floyd

Since the murder of George Floyd in May 2020, FRONTLINE’s Minnesota-based local journalism partner, the Star Tribune, has chronicled the aftermath of that pivotal event — from the protests that spread globally, to the trial and murder conviction of former police officer Derek Chauvin, to ongoing struggles for police accountability and reform in Minneapolis.

The May 2022 documentary Police on Trial, from FRONTLINE and the Star Tribune, drew on unique on-the-ground reporting and filming to examine the police department at the center of the story. Days later, in the above June 2022 episode of The FRONTLINE Dispatch, Star Tribune Editor Suki Dardarian joined FRONTLINE Editor-in-Chief and Executive Producer Raney Aronson-Rath to discuss the newsroom’s Pulitzer-winning reporting, Police on Trial, and piecing together what Dardarian called “the bigger story, which is not just about one cop who behaved badly, but the system that surrounded that.”

Related Documentary: Police on Trial is now streaming on FRONTLINE’s website, the PBS App and FRONTLINE’s YouTube channel.

4. Inside Big Oil’s Push Against Climate Change Action

The fossil fuel industry cast doubt on climate change for decades, even as the scientific evidence grew stronger and the warnings more dire.

In this May 2022 episode of The FRONTLINE Dispatch, investigative reporter Russell Gold joined Aronson-Rath to discuss the three-part documentary series The Power of Big Oil and the role of the fossil fuel industry played in delaying action on climate change.

“I was really struck by the number of key players that we were able to get to sit for interviews who talked so candidly about the mistakes they had made and how they felt they were misled,” said Gold, a senior editor at Texas Monthly, who served as an editorial consultant on the docuseries and previously covered stories such as the Deepwater Horizon oil spill and California’s 2018 Camp Fire for The Wall Street Journal.

Related Documentary: Watch all three episodes of The Power of Big Oil on FRONTLINE’s website, the PBS App and FRONTLINE’s YouTube channel.

3. The Making of an Election Myth

More than a year after President Joe Biden’s inauguration, around two-thirds of Republican voters believed his election was illegitimate. How did a stolen election myth make its way to the center of American politics?

In this April 2022 episode, director and producer Samuel Black and correspondent A.C. Thompson, part of the team behind the 2022 FRONTLINE and ProPublica documentary Plot to Overturn the Election, sat down with Aronson-Rath, to discuss the process of making the film and how a handful of people had an outsized impact on the U.S. crisis of democratic legitimacy.

“The way we wanted to approach this … was to go through it methodically and show how the myth was created, soup to nuts … going back to election night and then showing how we ended up in this place where there’s a mass movement of people who are now campaigning on this issue and leading protests on this issue,” Black told Aronson-Rath.

Related Documentary: Stream Plot to Overturn the Election on FRONTLINE’s website, in the PBS App and on FRONTLINE’s YouTube channel.

2. How American Democracy Reached a Moment of ‘Existential Crisis’

As the 2022 midterms drew near amid continuing false claims that the 2020 presidential election was stolen, FRONTLINE’s September 2022 documentary, Lies, Politics and Democracy, examined how American democracy reached this point. The two-hour documentary from FRONTLINE filmmaker Michael Kirk and his team, structured as a countdown to the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol, illuminated critical decisions that have profoundly undermined faith in the electoral process, leading to what journalist Tim Alberta said in the film was an “existential crisis for the United States of America.”

In the above September 2022 podcast episode, Kirk discussed a series of “inflection points” in which Republican leaders embraced the rhetoric of former President Donald Trump even as warning signs mounted. 

“This was the leadership agreeing to be silent,” Kirk said, “agreeing to think they were gonna manipulate him, and then being manipulated themselves.”

Related Documentary: Lies, Politics and Democracy is streaming on FRONTLINE’s website, the PBS App and FRONTLINE’s YouTube channel.

1. Julia Ioffe on Putin’s Road to War

Soon after Russian President Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine began in February, journalist Julia Ioffe sat down with producer Mike Wiser for an interview for FRONTLINE’s March documentary Putin’s Road to War. This FRONTLINE Dispatch episode released days ahead of the documentary features an excerpt of that interview, in which Ioffe discussed how Putin, and the world, reached a dangerous tipping point.

“What he has opened up with this invasion is unthinkable,” said Ioffe, an American journalist who was born in Russia and is a founding partner of the media company Puck. “And because he is losing, and because the sanctions and the Ukrainians are humiliating him, because he is backed into a corner, he is the most dangerous he has ever been, because it is now existential for him.”

Related Documentary: Stream Putin’s Road to War (our most-streamed new documentary of 2022) on FRONTLINE’s website, the PBS App and FRONTLINE’s YouTube channel.

Subscribe to The FRONTLINE Dispatch on Apple Podcasts, Stitcher, Spotify or wherever you get your podcasts.

Patrice Taddonio

Patrice Taddonio, Digital Writer & Audience Development Strategist, FRONTLINE



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