30 January 2014

A Few of My Favorite Things: N is for News

I’m a news junkie.  I cruise multiple websites often looking for what’s going on in the world.  I almost never watch TV news, and these days almost never read a newspaper, although I still like them, especially when I’m traveling.  But the local paper is a Gannett clone and not worth the time or expense, and the web just makes it too easy to gather information without wasting trees.  I scan a variety of news sources from a variety of viewpoints.  My usual sources include CNN, FoxNews, The Oregonian, The Wall Street Journal, and for a bit more of an international perspective, Reuters.  My sports fix is usually Sports Illustrated, especially Peter King and Don Banks for NFL coverage. 

But my favorite source is The Week magazine.  Published, as the name implies, weekly, The Week reports a striking variety of articles on business, politics, economics, entertainment, and life interest stories.  Its format is simple: Take an issue; briefly explain it; give multiple (usually) opposing viewpoints; let readers make up their own minds whose arguments they find compelling.  While I (not surprisingly) usually side with more conservative commentators, I like hearing what the “other side” has to say, if only to confirm that I disagree with them.  But occasionally I’m confronted with a compelling argument from a liberal viewpoint, like gay marriage.  Or I’m struck by the weakness of a conservative argument, like direct reductions in food stamp benefits to needy families.  In either case, I believe it is healthy and desirable to know what people are saying, particularly those who disagree with you, and to be able to defend or amend your own arguments when confronted with well-reasoned discussions.  The Week doesn’t always present those; sometimes the commentators quoted are partisan hacks; but they’re always informative and entertaining.  And their website is mostly available to non-subscribers.  I highly recommend it to anyone who doesn’t like their news too sanitized.  The death of civil discourse in this country is tragic, and sources like The Week are a step toward stemming the tide of partisan rancor and arrogant ignorance.

What’s your favorite news source?

“The greatest argument against democracy is a five minute conversation with the average voter.” – Winston Churchill 

No comments: