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ElectionLine Podcast Hits The Campaign Trail With Melissa Benoist & ‘Girls On The Bus’ EP Amy Chozick, TikTok Ban Bill, & The Long Road To November

Editor’s note: Running until the final general election results come in, the Deadline ElectionLine podcast spotlights the 2024 campaign and the blurred lines between politics and entertainment in modern America. Hosted by Washington bureau chief Ted Johnson and senior editor Dominic Patten, the podcast features commentary and interviews with top lawmakers and entertainment figures. At the same time, you can follow all the news in Biden & Trump rematch and more on the ElectionLine hub on Deadline.

“I really take into consideration how I digest my news now because I’m thinking about the people that are bringing it to me,” reveals The Girls on the Bus star Melissa Benoist today on the Deadline ElectionLine podcast.

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Benoist and Girls on the Bus executive producer Amy Chozick join us this morning on the podcast – as you can hear above.

Having debuted its first two episodes on MAX on March 14, the 10-episode first season of The Girls on the Bus is based on former New York Times reporter Chozick’s 2018 book Chasing Hillary, about her stints covering Hillary Clinton’s 2008 and 2016 bids for the White House. Starring Carla Gugino, Natasha Behnam, Christina Elmore and former Supergirl Benoist (who is also a producer) as said female journalists on said bus on the campaign trail with an assortment of semi-fictional Democrats, the multi-generational dramedy was co-created by Chozick and Julie Plec.

Brought to the small screen by showrunner Rina Mimoun, this contemporary campaign road trip is part a “Sex & The City brunch” ( in Chozick’s words) reimagined through the lens of social media and the news echo chambers. It is also literally and figuratively partially the legacy of classics like Timothy Crouse’s The Boys on the Bus and Hunter S. Thompson’s Fear and Loathing on the Campaign Trail ’72.

‘Girls on the Bus’
‘Girls on the Bus’

“Early on Julie and I thought it was very interesting to craft four girls who are completely different ideologically, and from different media outlets, but also generationally,” Chozick says. “I ran into a senior Times editor, and she was saying …this debate that is really rocking every newsroom about objectivity versus authenticity. Do people really believe that journalists don’t have opinions or personal bias going into a story?”

As the show says, get on the bus.

TikTok logo
TikTok logo

In other news: Will TikTok be banned?

Maybe.

After years of inaction on any kind of guardrails around tech, Congress is now moving uncharacteristically swiftly to try to force a divestiture of TikTok by its Chinese-owned parent. As the overwhelmingly bipartisan bill passed by the House of Representatives this week revealed, lawmakers on both sides of the aisle are embracing the effort to restrict the app, calling out the national security implications.

While there is a degree of political risk to targeting a top news source of the under 30 crowd, lawmakers seem to have calculated that it is a winning issue when it comes to parents weary of their kids’ social media habits. What’s the blowback to shutting down a platform enjoyed by over 170 million Americans? Why is Donald Trump against the possible ban? Why is his former Treasury Secretary thinking of trying to buy TikTok? Does a ban have any real hope of passing in the Senate?

If we could find a way to turn our answers into a dance routine, should we film it and post it?

These are some of the questions we’re pondering as spring begins to bloom in America.

Robert Costa Q&A
Donald Trump and President Joe Biden

From social media to the bid for the White House, American politics truly is all over the map right now.

We all pretty much knew the outcome months ago, but the 2024 primary race is officially over now that Joe Biden and Donald Trump have clinched their party nominations this week.

Now what?

With seven months still to go until Election Day, this stands to be one of the longest general election campaigns ever. It also stands as a grudge match packed with unknowns as two incumbents face off for the second election in a row.

So many questions.

Will Biden take Trump’s bait for an ASAP debate? In a vacuum, could the ever hungry news media give an attention boost to third party candidates like Robert F. Kennedy Jr. and his parade of possible Veep selections? Are Donald Trump’s legal travails going to help or hurt him at the ballot box? What’s the unexpected twist that will throw this incumbents rematch?

We have some suggestions – take a listen

Stick with ElectionLine all the way to Election Day: Subscribe to the Deadline ElectionLine podcast on Spotify, Apple Music, iHeart, and all podcast platforms

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