Author & Columnist: Kevin Baker

Kevin Baker is the renown fiction and non-fiction author whose work also appears in The New York Times, The New Republic, Politico and the Village Voice. His most recent book is “America The Ingenious.” Kevin joins Michael to talk about his recent article, “The America We Lost When Trump Won,” and also comments on the actions already taken in the early weeks of the new White House administration.

The Love Story/Spy Story/War Story: Amanda Matti, Author of “A Foreign Affair”

“The combined efforts of the NSA, CIA and NCIS could not stop true love.” Amanda Matti, former NSA analyst in Iraq and the author of her amazing true life story, “A Foreign Affair,” joins the Mean to cover it all! “When 22-year-old US Navy Intelligence Analyst Amanda Matti deploys to Baghdad, Iraq in the summer of 2005, she does her best to prepare mentally and physically to face the horrors of war. What she isn’t prepared for is to fall in love…with someone on the ‘ther side.’ For Amanda and her Iraqi translator Fahdi, it’s love at first sight. While serving together near the front lines of the Iraq War, the two realize their connection transcends cultures, countries and politics. Amanda knows she may have to choose between Fahdi and her career in the military, but actually finds herself at the center of an international criminal investigation spearheaded by...

The Press Pro: Tom Rosenstiel, Exec. Director, American Press Institute

Is it okay for reporters to say that President Trump “lies?” Should journalists regurgitate each tweet from the President? Does emerging media in the 21st century require new coverage strategies for the news media? One of the foremost authorities on the subject of journalism, Tom Rosenstiel of the American Press Institute, takes on these questions and others as he joins Michael on the “Mean.”

The Progressive: Neera Tanden, President, Center for American Progress

Neera Tanden is the President of the Center for American Progress in Washington, D.C., and has served as a top policy and political operative for Senator Hillary Clinton and President Barack Obama. Neera talks to Michael about the upcoming Trump presidency, including the potlicial fight over the Affordable Care Act, which she played an instrumental role in designing. (Michael served as a Senior Fellow in 2016 at the Center’s Democracy and Government Reform Program)

Anti-Defamation League CEO: Jonathan Greenblatt

The grandson of a Holocaust survivor, Jonathan Greenblatt now heads up the Anti-Defamation League, one of America’s premier civil rights and human relations organizations. Prior to ADL, Jonathan cofounded Ethos Brands and also served as Special Assistant to President Barack Obama and Director of the White House Office of Social Innovation and Civic Participation. On this episode of the Mean, Jonathan talks with Michael about his career journey, anti-Semitism trends in the United States, the dangers of the Alt-right, and his strategy for leading the ADL into the future.

The Analyst: Paul Lisnek, WGN-TV

Paul Lisnek is the Emmy-award winning host of Politics Tonight on CLTV News in Chicago and the political analyst at WGN-TV. In our final episode of 2016, Lisnek weighs in on the historic year in presidential politics, the challenges of social media and the responsibilities of news providers – and consumers.

The Obama Chronicler: David Mendell

David Mendell is an award-winning journalist and author of the 2007 book, Obama: From Promise To Power. David covered Barack Obama all the way back in 2003 when the Illinois State Senator ran as a candidate for the U.S. Senate race. Now, with just five weeks left in his second term in White House, Mendell talks about his memories of the the man when nobody knew him – and about Obama’s high points and low points as our country’s 44th president. Michael quotes the Afterword of the upcoming re-issue of Mendell’s book, scheduled for release in February, 2017.

Village Voice Contributor: Ross Barkan

During the summer of 2016, while covering the Donald Trump presidential campaign for the newspaper owned by Trump’s son in law, reporter Ross Barkan took a stand. He saw a conflict of interest, called it out, and risked his own career to do what he believed was right. Ross tells his true tale on this edition of the Mean, and also analyzes the challenges ahead both for the President-Elect and the Democratic Party.

The Scholarship Provider: David Scherer, Cofounder, One Million Degrees

On Thanksgiving Day, David Scherer and Michael talk about the scholarship program they cofounded 10 years ago. One Million Degrees has raised more than $12 million and currently serves 668 community college scholars in the state of Illinois. With a graduation rate above 70 percent, OMD empowers hard-working scholars to achieve their degrees and build successful careers. David tells the story of how it all started and why the program continues to thrive!

Post-Election Commentary & Author Jonathan Rauch

Three days after the election of Donald Trump and Republican majorities in the U.S. House and Senate, the “Mean” breaks it all down. In the first part of the program, Michael shares his thoughts about the race and what may lay ahead. Then we hear from Jonathan Rauch, Brookings Scholar and author of “Political Realism: How hacks, machines, big money, and back-room deals can strengthen American democracy.”

“I’ve always been curious about and attracted to innovative ideas and the people who turn them into realities. That intrigue was the genesis of ‘The Golden Mean.’ I hope you'll tune in here for fascinating one-on-one interviews with a diverse spectrum of captivating personalities and interesting thinkers. Please give us a listen!”