Progressive Spotlight: John Iadarola.

The Nice Guy of Progressive Politics: TYT’s Iadarola and His Loyal Dragon Squad.

Art for The Damage Report with John Iadarola. Image Description: Art for The Damage Report with John Iadarola.

Summary: The host of the The Young Turks’ ‘Damage Report,’ John Iadarola offers blistering commentary with a smile. Iadarola’s brand of empathy and keen political insight makes him unique in the streaming talk show space.

The Young Turks’ John Iadarola makes a compelling case for the distinction of most beloved progressive political commentator on the internet, and we’re not even sure that it’s close.

The broadcaster has established such a durable and genuine connection with his audience that they even have a pet name for each other: The Dragon Squad.

The intense power manifested by the mythical beast that inspired the label belies the gravitational pull that Iadarola’s empathetic and sincere personality has on his viewers. Who said politics—and the Wild Wild West of streaming political talk shows—has to be mean-spirited?

Not Iadarola, that’s for sure.

For the uninitiated, Iadarola hosts and produces “The Damage Report,” a daily show from TYT that breezes through the news of the day. In the Trump years, the show doubled as a therapy session for concerned voters on the left. Iadarola was also a calming influence during the COVID-19 pandemic, airing telecasts from his home or alone in TYT’s California studios.

While he occasionally operates solo, Iadarola often invites a diverse range of progressives to fill in as his co-host for the day, including the indomitable Francesca Fiorentini of the “Bitchuation Room” podcast. Iadarola shines when he’s able to engage with his fellow leftists in a way that doesn’t feel rehearsed or forced. Again, it’s all genuine—and it comes across in his interactions with the face on the other side of the split screen or viewers spilling their souls in the comments. There are real people on the other side of the stream—and his best talent is in recognizing the humanity in anyone spending their personal time consuming his analysis, which is raw and authentic.

TYT’s ‘The Damage Report’

Testament to his appeal among the TYT audience and broader progressive community, “The Damage Report,” boasts nearly 1 million subscribers on YouTube.

While his success can be partly attributed to TYT’s influence in the progressive space, it’s inarguable that Iadarola has carved out a unique spot on the network. Whether it’s being the face of “The Damage Report,” moderating a panel, or contributing to the so-called “main show”—the one hosted by TYT’s Cenk Uygur and Ana Kasparian—Iadarola can more than hold his own. In fact, when Uygur was relegated to “guest” on his own network during the TYT’s co-creator’s 2020 congressional race, Iadarola was the personality tapped as Uygur’s replacement on the early evening show (if you’re on the East Coast).

As for “The Damage Report,” Iadarola spends each day running through various topics related to politics and culture, offering his insights. While the news can often drive the coverage, Iadarola finds time to inject causes important to progressives in his rundown, including the climate crisis, economic inequality and unfettered capitalism, social justice, civil liberties, and more. Perhaps one reason for people’s appreciation for his brand of journalism is his coverage of issues neglected by the corporate media.

Importantly, the audience always knows where Iadarola stands. He’s a staunch progressive and long-time Bernie Sanders supporter. He’s skeptical of the Democratic establishment, effortlessly exposes hypocrisy in contemporary politics—especially within the GOP—and will speak out against policies that harm disenfranchised or marginalized communities. He also has fun at the expense of particularly reprehensible right wingers. Among the segments that routinely appears on “The Damage Report” is one dubbed “Garbage People” in which he excoriates GOPers for unhinged comments. (You know what they say about waking up a sleeping dragon.)

As Iadarola repeatedly reaffirms, his passion is in the community he’s helped create.

“Waking up each day to the new insanity is bearable knowing that together we’ve created a community that is welcoming, accepting, curious, and compassionate,” he wrote in 2022. “And, looking beyond the first two years to the future, I take strength from knowing that we’ll meet our challenges with the raw power and fury of a flight of fire-breathing dragons.”

Image Source

  • Art for The Damage Report with John Iadarola via Changes were made.

Rashed Mian is the managing editor of News Beat. Mian previously covered civil liberties and the Muslim American community for Long Island Press. Mian graduated with a degree in journalism from Hofstra University. Mian is interested in under-reported stories that impact disenfranchised communities as well as issues related to civil liberties.