The Good Fight, with Ben Wikler








January 2015
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Want more Good Fight magic in the world? This is the moment to help, at We're running a Kickstarter campaign to raise $100,000 for our second year of shows, and we're already halfway there—but if we don't raise $50,000 more in the next seven days, it all disappears. 
Chip in now, and then read this special message from Ben Wikler: Seven reasons to back The Good Fight. 
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1. Our guests should be household names.
Frank Mugisha is the leading gay rights activist—in Uganda. Sister Simone Campbell is a powerhouse lobbyist... nun. Jose Antonio Vargas won his Pulitzer Prize at age 26, four years before he came out of the closet as undocumented. 
 Six Good Fight guests.
Ai-jen Poo helped launch a nanny uprising. Garlin Gilchrist II is reversing the Detroit diaspora. And Larry Lessig is on a shoot-for-the-moon quest to kick big money out of politics. 
They're just a few of the amazing people we've been lucky enough to introduce to our listeners. There are so many more out there. Some are well-known already. All of them should be. 
2. We're doing something no one else is doing.
This isn't talk radio, and it isn't NPR. We don't rant, we don't pretend every argument is equally valid, and we don't obsess over horse-race minutia.
For us, politics isn't a game. But it is insanely fun. Battles for justice are the greatest stories on earth. They're like The Princess Bride: full of, as the grandfather put it, "fencing, fighting, torture, revenge, giants, monsters, chases, escapes... True love! Miracles!"
On The Good Fight, we interview genuine heroes winning fights that matter. Then we take those interviews, edit like crazy, stir in original music, narration, and archival audio—and craft spellbinding real-life David vs Goliath radio stories, told from the behind-the-slingshot point of view. And then we ask our listeners to get involved. 
3. A golden age of podcasts is dawning. A huge new audience awaits.
Every week, nine out of ten Americans listen to the radio. That's no surprise: radio is uniquely intimate. We've all had "driveway moments"—when you're sitting in your car, right outside your house, unable to move until the story on the radio is done. 
Now it's moving online. Suddenly, America is discovering that podcasts—radio shows on the Internet—can be just as powerful. Thanks to Serial, iPhones, and connected cars, millions of people are tuning in to podcasts for the first time. 
The question now is whether podcasts can become, for progressives, the answer to what conservatives did with talk radio in the last century. 
This is the moment I've been dreaming of. The moment I've been preparing for. 

4. People love The Good Fight
Here's what they're saying: 
  • "Refreshingly anti-cynical... expertly produced and presented... a welcome reminder that news doesn't always have to be bad." – The Telegraph
  • "At first, I was skeptical – it reminded me of the hundreds of activist emails piled up in my inbox. But this show, I quickly found, is no guilt trip. It's funny and stimulating... It's great." - The Guardian
  • "Best of 2013" – Apple
  • "Exciting! How do you get it to play?" – My mom
We hit a million downloads in our first year. In case you haven't heard the show, or haven't tuned in for a while, we've posted excerpts right here on the Kickstarter page. And if enough of us join in, a lot more great ones are coming soon.
Wait, you haven't seen it yet? Go watch it. Note: the first ending is fake. Stick around for the part with Al Franken. 
Host Ben Wikler pauses for a moment during The Good Fight's Kickstarter video
6. Seriously, though: this means the world to me.  
Ever since I was a kid, I've been fascinated by the place where politics and media collide. My first job out of college was producing Al Franken's show on Air America Radio. Five years ago, I made up my mind to try and launch a show—but it wasn't until a friend signed on to help, a programmer and activist named Aaron Swartz, that I summoned up the courage to actually give it a shot. 
On a wintry January day three years ago, with me on the mic and Aaron running the mixing board—all in my bedroom closet—we produced our first podcast. 
And from that first moment, I loved it. 
January 2012: Aaron and Ben celebrate their first podcast
But it was more a dream than a job. We both had a lot going on. My son, Mac, had just been born. Aaron was leading the fight against SOPA, and wrestling with an unjust prosecution. The show's only sponsor was the bagel store on 7th Avenue—and it paid us in cream cheese. 
A year later, to my delight, agreed to help me get the show off the ground. But by that point, Aaron was consumed by the court case. On the day I started working on the show full-time, he took his own life. 
Today, for me, the show is a way that I can honor his memory. The fundamental vision that has always driven it forward, the one that inspired him to join—the idea that the most important fights are also the most fascinating stories, and that by telling them, we can build the empathy and hope and love that are foundational to social change—that vision has never wavered. 
7. The stories we tell, the heroes we lift up, define who we become.
We have a choice to make. We can exalt wealth and status and fame—or we can measure our lives by the difference we make in the lives of others.
Researchers have shown that hearing stories about others' moral decisions affects the choices we make for ourselves. Hearing stories of heroes draws out the best in each of us. I know that a single podcast can't shift the moral center of our culture. But it's better to light a candle than to curse the darkness. 
The Good Fight is my candle. 
I hope you'll help me spread the light. 

With gratitude, 

P.S.: Whether or not you can give, there are a lot of ways to help. You can forward this email to friends, with a personal note. You can share our video on Facebook by clicking here—or even "donate" your Facebook account to contribute a daily post until the deadline next week. Believe me: appreciate absolutely all the help that anyone can provide. 
And, oh wait a second, I almost forgot: REWARDS!
Kickstarter campaigns aren't charity: back the show, and we'll send you stuff! 
For $20, you can adorn your forearm, or the family-appropriate body part of your choosing, with a Good Fight temporary tattoo, featuring our beloved behind-the-slingshot logo: 
David models the Good Fight temporary tattoo that he helped inspire
For $40, you can simultaneously prepare yourself for fights against Goliath and share The Good Fight with a friend—by plugging two sets of headphones into the world-exclusive slingshot-shaped Good Fight headphone splitters!
 Good Fight production coordinator and host Ben Wikler enjoy their new splitter.
For $75, you get a t-shirt. For $100, you get all of the above. There are reward levels for everyone! $1500 buys you the only existing Good Fight Google Glass, modeled below by my son Mac: 
 Mac Wikler: the only person on earth who makes Google Glass look cool
To find out all about all of the other mind-blowing tiers, check out The Good Fight's page on Kickstarter. They make great gifts. And remember, the Kickstarter ends at the stroke of midnight on February 6—so there's no time for delay. Claim your reward, spread the word, and forever join the ranks of Team Good Fight! 
Direct download: TGF_Kickstarter_-_1.13.15_-_720p_Ending_Edit.mp4
Category:general -- posted at: 6:22pm EDT