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Aug 28 2013

How do you get your information?

Mano has a great post on the strange disdain for bloggers.

I move in circles (socially and at work) where people tend to be politically interested but surprisingly ignorant of many facts. I blame it on the fact that they spend far too much time following a few big name sources of TV and print news that they think are comprehensive and giving them the full picture, but in fact are very narrow. When I discuss politics with them and point out all manner of things that they do not know, they sometimes ask me how I get information that they were unaware of. I tell them that I read a lot of blogs that monitor a wide range of news sources and alert me to news that I would otherwise have missed, in addition to providing valuable insights and commentary.

But it is surprising to see the disdain that the words ‘blogs’ still conjure up in these people as soon as I say it. Some of them proudly say that they never have and never will read blogs.

Because any damn fool can set up a blog, therefore they must all be terrible. Uh huh. On the other hand, bloggers can be more independent than people who work for Major Media™, and the good ones combine independence with other valuable qualities. People who never read blogs aren’t in a position to find this out.

16 comments

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  1. 1
    chigau (違う)

    I haven’t turned on my TV in almost three years.
    Do they still have “News” on there?

  2. 2
    Stella

    Chigau,

    No.

    Stella

  3. 3
    StevoR : Free West Papua, free Tibet, let the Chagossians return!

    @1. chigau (違う) : Well it depends how you look at it. They call it “news” but often on many channels, it leaves a lot to be desired information and importance ~wise.

    ***

    To answer the question How do I get my information – a wide range of sources from print to blogs to radio & TV. I use these to check each other and assess the accuracy of each.

    I read a wide range of non-fiction books and magazines on topics I’m especially interested in. These are usually a bit out of date but a lot better checked and usually more reliable with extra information and context and a broad range of viewpoints.

    I read the local newspapers the Messenger, Advertiser and the Australian – the latter two are Murdoch press which push a strong political and sometimes anti-science agenda so taken with a mine of halite.

    I listen to the radio especially 891 ABC channel and another more regional one.

    I watch (& visit the websites of) (Aussie) ABC news, SBS and BBC world news -shown late at nights here in Oz on ABC News-24 my default TV channel. I also watch Aljazeera on again late at nights sometimes.

    Plus I visit FTB, the Bad Astronomy blog, Stonekettle station and many others which I enjoy reading and find useful and generally reliable sources of information on news among other things.

  4. 4
    Lofty

    I stopped watching TV “news” a couple of years ago when I was getting RSI of the mute button finger. Basically 95% of the content was what I dubbed “olds” i.e. last night’s/week’s/month’s/year’s content rehashed for people with limited attention spans. So now I filter the news from a wide variety of internet sources, but mostly to see what the less read are reacting to.

  5. 5
    Brony

    This is how I get my information (the single comment).
    http://www.ponychan.net/chan/dis/res/68830.html#68858

    I tried to teach how I rationally combine a bunch of things. It’s probably the most important thing I have ever written.

  6. 6
    believerskeptic

    I think the aversion to blogs is right here. The comments. There’s a reason why “Don’t read the comments” is such an oft-repeated phrase.

  7. 7
    Beatrice, an amateur cynic looking for a happy thought

    Comment threads on blogs are much better indicators of post quality than comment threads on various news outlets. If I don’t like the comments, I rarely keep reading the blog (with some exceptions, like Heteronormative Patriarchy for Men).
    With good commenter following, a blog’s value doubles. I can learn interesting new stuff not just from the blogger, but also from commenters. I can click through to other recommended blogs or good articles. Often on some barely related topic, which altogether makes for a rather broad education and absorption of new information about things I didn’t even know I would be interested in.

    Other than blogs, I regularly check BBC News and Le Monde, with the second providing both an alternative view to some world news and a daily French lesson. And then I go back to FTB and can often find someone discussing some of the news I just read on BBC and get a new perspective on what I’ve read.

    TV news? What’s that? On rare occasions when I watch those, I’ve already read about the topic, and seem to know more about it than the reporter.

  8. 8
    SallyStrange

    There’s a reason why “Don’t read the comments” is such an oft-repeated phrase.

    The comments around HERE are fucking awesome, except when you’re participating, believerskeptic.

  9. 9
    SallyStrange

    Avicenna gave you a whole post devoted to your “racism gotcha” comment. But you haven’t commented yet, believerskeptic. Why’s that?

  10. 10
    kevinalexander

    I think of bloggers as friends who are way smarter than me. Some of the commenters too. Not that I read uncritically, I learned long ago that it’s the smartest people who say the stupidest things.
    You can’t trust commercial news because it’s a product so it’s manufactured to have the greatest sales appeal. They start with the truth as a raw material then process it.

  11. 11
    Brony

    @ believerskeptic

    There’s a reason why “Don’t read the comments” is such an oft-repeated phrase.

    And that reason is implicit to each group of people within each community and their shared understanding of why one should not read the comments. Since you obviously are not part of the implicit knowledge set here you are lazily expecting us to do your thinking for us and do not explain your earlier part.

    I think the aversion to blogs is right here. The comments.

    You see, you simply assert and do not demonstrate. Sheer laziness followed by a pretended obvious observation. Not even remotely convincing.

  12. 12
    Joerg

    Yes, that’s lucky for the power structure that people think that. That not everyone can become a news reporter or analyst is a bad thing, since it means that the filters that are successfully working to let only those people come up in media that like the power structure. news in the US are so bad that I yet have to find an actual news site. I’m still reading German news sites for that. They are not good, but at least they still try to give the illusion of actual news here and there. The only really good US news site I know is Al-Jazeera.

  13. 13
    CaitieCat, in no way a robot nosireebot

    I get my news from Al Jazeera, the Guardian, the SDZ, Правда, and Le Monde. By looking at all of them on any given topic of large interest, I can arrive at something that is probably reasonably close to truth, through inference from the various positions they stake out. Ideally, I’d be reading Al Jazeera in Arabic, but I don’t read that anywhere near well enough to do yet. The others I read in the original.

    I avoid US news sources because most of the US mass media are basically mouthpieces for their ownership, the same plutocrats who are creating most of the problems we’re facing, and they only rarely interrogate Their Master’s Voice.

    Canada’s major papers are all fairly partisan in one direction or another, just none of them in my direction – Globe is Tory, Star is big-L Liberal, Sun is working-class white-supremacist, National Post is white-supremacist for rich people. CBC has some good news people on their radio show, but the production of CBC Newsworld, their 24-hour news station, has in some ways brought down their journalism level: they just have So Much Airtime to fill. I despise and avoid any form of “celebrity” news, and since this is by far their largest source of “filler” material, it’s just too hard to find the signal in the noise.

    I don’t have cable anymore, because the amount they charge was so hugely disproportionate to the use I got out of them; it’s so much easier to just find the few shows I want online or on DVD/Blue Ray, and even to pay for them directly when I can, than to pay 20 times as much for 300 times as much stuff, 299/300 of which is crap.

  14. 14
    Brony

    Oh my news! That other stuff was how I try to look up “information” in general.

    Well I have a series of bloggers that talk about current issues that I care about, whose ethics and honesty I am impressed by, who point me to the articles worth knowing about because I really don’t want to wade through the collected crap represented by legacy media. Whatever ethics print and television media are supposed to have are utterly useless if they collectively choose to ignore things worth reporting on, and over-hype things that are worth ignoring so that they can get their advertising media and political drama.

    Yeah, it’s basically all sensationalist drama and obsession with access to the dramatic people, and setting them up as a one one one battle, and we can’t get our political wrestling superstar in there if we embarrass them so don’t look at that Glenn Greenwald guys topics please.

  15. 15
    medivh

    @SallyStrange: maybe we should stop reading BelieverSkeptic’s comments? Is that what they’re saying? (It’s what I’m interpreting, certainly.)

  16. 16
    pHred

    @SallyStrange and medivh

    I think you got it! That would certainly save time and make for a more lucid and luminating reading experience.

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