I’ve have been debating with friends about how best to deal with the new president and his administration. Some say, “Give him a chance,” while others think he’s already gone too far. A former president made the point far better than I could have, and so I’m simply going to quote him:
The President is merely the most important among a large number of public servants. He should be supported or opposed exactly to the degree which is warranted by his good conduct or bad conduct, his efficiency or inefficiency in rendering loyal, able, and disinterested service to the Nation as a whole. Therefore it is absolutely necessary that there should be full liberty to tell the truth about his acts, and this means that it is exactly necessary to blame him when he does wrong as to praise him when he does right. Any other attitude in an American citizen is both base and servile. To announce that there must be no criticism of the President, or that we are to stand by the President, right or wrong, is not only unpatriotic and servile, but is morally treasonable to the American public. Nothing but the truth should be spoken about him or any one else. But it is even more important to tell the truth, pleasant or unpleasant, about him than about any one else.
Teddy Roosevelt, in a letter to the Kansas City Star, 18 May 1918
A while back, I went on a tear about Fox News and just how bad they are at actually delivering news, and how people who listen to them need to hold themselves accountable. Since then, I think someone defriended me on FaceBook for the note. I suppose I had one too many friend. Fox is part of a right wing media conglomerate controlled by Rupert Murdoch, where his goal is to control the message, and thereby have a strong say in our government. And he’s very successful through truly deceitful means. Even the name of the conglomerate is deceitful- News Corp. It’s not. It’s lies with a bit of truth sprinkled in to help people suspend disbelief about the lies. He’s not the first to do it, but seemingly he’s the most effective. Let’s take a moment to pay tribute to the master, however, William Randolph Hearst, the newspaper magnate.
Is there a good honest news source? My preferred news sources these days are as follows:
This is perhaps the most popular news aggregator there is. Google doesn’t actually do any of the reporting but just groups together related stories, and I can compare points of view based on the source of the story. Say, Fox versus The Guardian.
NPR remains a strong source of news with stories that one can listen to on the radio that are more than just sound bites. They have in depth interviews with key political players as well as scientists. I have always found their business reporting to be somewhat limiting. This leads to a more controversial preference.
The Journal is the paper of record for business news, even though they are part of News Corp. It is rare that you read a retraction on a story that matters (I can’t remember one, actually). But they are a relatively recent addition to the conglomerate, and so the impact has been limited to what stories they choose to report, headlines, and their editorial staff. Hosting a shady character like Karl Rove immediately disqualifies what was already a colored view, even prior to the takeover.
Note that nowhere in my list are any of the major television networks. That’s largely due to several factors:
I live outside the United States and so my access to network programming is somewhat limited;
Their stories tend to be short and lack depth, except for news magazines, which I don’t have access to.