MINOT — Conservative Forum Columnist Rob Port is putting a new, digital twist on his traditional opinion columns.
Starting Wednesday, March 31, Port, who is widely known for his conservative views on North Dakota and national politics, will be hosting weekly shows on InForum that will feature rotating guest hosts with more liberal takes on the issues. The Plain Talk segments will be live every Wednesday at 2 p.m. and include a live blog where readers and listeners can "join the conversation" by submitting questions and comments in real time.
"My goal is to leave the audience feeling like the issues covered are better illuminated for them, however they might feel about the views I or my guests express," Port said. "Maybe they'll feel persuaded. Maybe they'll feel more committed to what they already believed. Either way, that's a win in my book."
Port's first rotating guest host will be Jonah Lantos, a Minot-based talk show host with the podcast "The Good Talk Network." The idea is to provide a platform on InForum where civil dialogue can happen between two people with opposing views on some of the most hotly debated topics, all while allowing InForum readers to join the conversation.
"I don't want it to be another political cage match," Port said. "We have so much of that these days. Cable news might as well be professional wrestling. I want thoughtful, passionate conversations about news, culture and policy among people who can smile at each other at the end and agree to disagree.
Port, who was a guest on a livestreamed event with OneFargo activist Wess Philome to talk about race, said these kinds of conversations require a willingness to acknowledge that nobody is going to "win."
"In nearly two decades of covering politics, the most concrete thing I've learned is that nobody ever really 'wins' a debate," said Port. "One side may be ascendant for a while, but there are no permanent victories in politics. Time marches on. Attitudes evolve. There's always another election looming. All we can really do is listen and try to understand."
Parts of these livestream shows will be available on Plain Talk with Rob Port, which can be found on InForum or on a variety of podcasting services.
In addition to the Wednesday livestream shows, Port will also begin adding "newsmaker" video interviews with some of his columns, where he'll speak with state leaders and various newsmakers throughout North Dakota. His first is being published this Friday, April 2, with Lt. Gov. Brent Sanford as they talk about the potential sale of the Coal Creek Station.