Where do you get your news from?

A few days ago, my daughter asked me who my favorite YouTuber was when I was little. I told her that not only did we not have YouTube, we didn’t even have the internet. She just couldn’t comprehend. 

But now we do have the internet, and there are a million places to take in information.

Does anyone still watch the evening news? I did for a while but it was mainly for the cute weatherman. Since then, my husband and I have gotten rid of cable TV altogether. We just don’t need it.

So where do you get your news from?

The other day I was watching Good Morning America on Hulu. Well, I wasn’t really watching it; it was more for background noise while I was cleaning. My husband came home, looked at the TV, and said it sounded like one big advertisement. He’s totally right.

My husband hates anything that smells like capitalism. I agree with him although I’m not as passionate as he is.

My husband listens to a podcast called Breaking Points. That’s where he gets his news.

I think I mainly get news from social media, and I now get the weather forecast from an app on my phone. Sorry, cute weatherman.

I’m really curious; Where do you get your news from? Is it trustworthy? Reliable? How do you know? Give me some new websites and podcasts to check out.


  1. says

    I have a curated feed in my rss reader, a combination of blogs and traditional-ish media (Poynter, The Atlantic, The Economist (know your enemy), Wonkette, The Root, Think Progress, BBC, The Guardian, NPR, truthout, Jacobin, Reuters) and what my friends post to social media.

    I also seek out more in depth essays or research from reputable instiutions/experts to get into the weeds of anything I’m interested in.

    I don’t find any of them to be inherently trustworthy. I consider the known biases of the outlet/writer (there are some writers at some outlets that I automatically ignore anything with their byline), the sources, and the story itself (e.g. if it’s saying essentially comparable things to other outlets across the spectrum I consider that a reasonable thumbnail of the issue).

  2. JM says

    I have a list of websites I check. A small list I check daily or more often and a larger list that I stop by when bored or looking into a specific issue. The daily list is CNN (generic overview), Slashdot (technical and science), Democrat Underground (highly slanted but anything politically important will show up), Vox (generic with more political), The Guardian (often provides better coverage of US news then any US site), Io9 (for fiction and gaming news, it’s the best of a very weak field) and Digg (random stuff).
    I’m also looking for some good Youtube channels but I have not had much luck yet. On political and atheist matters there tends to be a problem with them either being short click bait or 30 minutes+ explanations of trivialities. Robert Reich is good even if he doesn’t provide details.
    I also follow Paul Krugman via threadreaderapp which builds single page stories out of twitter/X multiposts.

  3. says

    I get my news from the BBC, with occasional visits to newspaper websites, especially The Guardian. And random internet stuff.
    The BBC is usually accurate, but possibly incomplete. The Guardian does, of course, have a bit of a bias to be considered. And random internet stuff has to be approached as if it was on Wikipedia – check the sources!

  4. sonofrojblake says

    Although if you were to examine what I actually read on there, “news” per se is probably 30% or less.
    I used to be a news junkie, listening to “Today” on Radio 4 on the way into work, and “PM” on the way home. I haven’t done that for years. When the Brexit vote happened, and Trump was elected, I more or less checked out of paying close attention to current affairs. There didn’t seem much point.

    Is it trustworthy? Reliable? How do you know?

    No, and no, and here’s how. I have had occasion three times in the last forty years or so to have had personal direct connection to a story that made the national news in the UK. In all three cases I was impressed by the stories that journalists presented – impressed mainly by how little resemblance they bore to what I personally knew to be the facts. The “stories” were just that – constructed narratives that fit a word-count, had an identifiable narrative, conformed to the audience’s expectations and so on. They bore a loose connection to the facts, for sure – the people and places in the stories existed, for example – but you could say that about some of the characters in “Inglourius Basterds”.
    Note: I’m not referring here to some hysterical expose of the wrongdoings of some dodgy local politician in a worthless shamelessly partisan rag like the Daily Mail or one of the red-tops. I’m talking about ostensibly sober reporting of straightforward fact-based stories in sources including the BBC and the Guardian. In each case, there were disingenuous elisions, omissions and outright lies that rendered what was reported worse than worthless, but rather actively misleading.
    And that’s what I get from the sources I’m supposed to trust the most – in EVERY SINGLE CASE where I have personal knowledge, that leads me to believe they’re either twisting the story or simply making shit up to fit a predetermined agenda.
    It’s safe to ignore what’s reported in the Daily Mail, the Daily Express and the red-tops, and I’ve known that since I was a child. But I did for far too long labour under the illusion that the broadsheets and the BBC hewed to a higher standard. Now I know that’s false, “news” has become just another entertainment channel, like the “Culture” or “Lifestyle” sections.
    If you believe what you read in the papers or on the internet, I can only assume you’ve never had direct involvement in any story that’s got in there, because if you had, you’d know how much weight to place on any of it – i.e. none.

  5. John Morales says

    I think it’s not so much about specific sites, it’s about more than one source.
    About consilience.
    See something more or less remarkable in some site, check others.
    Perspective. Parallax.
    No single point of failure, then.

  6. sonofrojblake says

    “No single point of failure” is a principle you can usefully apply to, say, building a belay halfway up a multi-pitch climbing route.

    Rather my point, however, was that if you’re dealing with stories in the media – online, broadcast or print – then you can check and compare as many as you like, and impute your own impression of reliability to them as the whim takes you. It makes no difference, and you are wasting your time.

    To return to the climbing analogy: it doesn’t matter how many anchors you place or how secure your knots are if the carabiners are made of lime jelly and the ropes are made of wet tissue paper.

  7. billseymour says

    I do watch some news on TV.  At 4:00PM on weekdays in St. Louis, our PBS affiliate has an english language broadcast from DW News in Germany, which is the only TV news from which I can find out what’s going on in Ukraine.

    That’s followed at 4:30 by BBC World News America which, I guess, gives me a non-U.S. slant on things; but I’m by no means sure of that.  (And like with Ashes’ “cute weatherman”, I confess to getting started on this one because of Katty Kay.)

    After that, I switch to local news on our NBC affiliate, although I usually have the audio muted, and I’m doing something else on my computer, until they get past the leads that bleed, which sometimes doesn’t happen until the weather report around the middle of the program.

    By the time I get to NBC Nightly News at 5:30 and PBS Newshour at 6:00, it’s mostly “old news”, the latter with a rather obvious “centrist Democratic” slant.

    I used to be totally dedicated to Sunday Morning on CBS back in the Charles Kuralt days; but I became less interested in the show when he left; and lately, it’s been a lot of “lifestyles of rentiers and the infamous”.

    On the Internet, I confess to being mostly stuck in the Freethought Blogs bubble*, although Mike the Mad Biologist reminds me that COVID isn’t over.  I also subscribe to regular e-mails from Robert Reich explaining economics in ways that I can understand; but that generally results only in reinforcing my existing beliefs.

    I don’t have cable TV, and I’ve never used any of the “social media” stuff.  The only YouTube videos I watch are ones that FtBloggers (mostly Abe Drayton) link to.

    I hope that I’m better informed than, say, folks who get all their information from FOX News et al.; but I do tend to concentrate on the “progressive” bubble.  OTOH, I think that sonofrojblake @7 makes a good point:  as a practical matter, no hearing of right-wing opinions will get me voting for Republicans.


    *I regularly follow, in alphabetic order, A Trivial Knot, Affinity, The Bolingbrook Babbler, From the Ashes of Faith, Intransitive, Mano Singham, Oceanoxia, Pharyngula, and stderr; and I subscribe to Great American Satan so that I get an e-mail message when they have a new post.  I sorely miss Ed Brayton’s Dispatches from the Culture Wars.

    Back in the scienceblogs days, there was a young woman whose posts on geology I liked; but I can’t remember her name.  Is she still around blogging?

  8. flex says

    Everywhere, but leavened with 40 years of experience to ignore the fnords.

    Most news is an attempt to get you concerned about something which you can do nothing about. The big news in my area at the moment is the UAW negotiations with the Big Three automakers (GM, Ford, Stellantis [A.K.A. Chrysler, Daimler-Chrysler, FCA]). The only people who really know how the negotiations are going are those people who are involved in the negotiations. And as both the UAW and the Big Three are not in agreement going into the negotiations, neither side is going to agree until the last minute. Why would they wait until the last minute? Because something might happen up to that point which may give them an advantage. An earthquake in Shanghai would strengthen the position of the UAW, a resurgence of COVID would strengthen the position of the Big Three. So no deals will be made until the last minute.

    But the press would like those of us who are dependent on the success of the Big Three to be concerned about the progress of the negotiations. Sure, if there is a general strike I would probably be furloughed and lose some weeks of salary which I can ill afford. But the only thing I can do about it is to look for another job which is not dependent on a successful union negotiation. Worrying about it, which is what the news media wants me to do so that I would consume more of their output, will not change the outcome. And we cannot know anything about the possible outcome until the negotiations succeed or fail. So why should I worry about it? To give the news media more clicks?

    At one point my workplace used to get copies of the Wall Street Journal. I would read it regularly because the bias was so easy to spot. The headline might read, “Indian Markets Plummet”. Then the article would be about how a typhoon killed 5,000 people in Mumbai. I got the news, 5,000 people killed in Mumbai, but didn’t get the human interest stories about how a man saved their cat. I could easily ignore the headline.

    The Guardian seems to have some of the better reporting. But even the Guardian needs to be filtered through a mesh of rationality, skepticism, and common sense.

    There are a few things to keep in mind about any news story. The story can never contain all the information. There is no one who considers themselves evil. Everyone is acting in what they perceive to be the best. People are idiots, who are regularly wrong and do stupid things. I am a people, and so I’m also regularly wrong and do stupid things. Keep those ideas in mind and a lot of the craziness of the world starts to make some sense. Not rational sense, but understandable sense.

    Learn to recognize the fnords.

  9. StevoR says

    I mainly get my news from Australia’s public, national ABC – TV & online, plus SBVS sometimes NITV also for world news & some sport notably F1 racing BBC. Also see Al Jazeera mostly online, occassional bits from DW news, NHK (Japanese news) and others that are sometimes watched via ABC news channel News 24. Also PBS Newshour watched at least a few times most weeks and their website. I look at the Times of Israel online FWIW.

    For astronomy and space exploration news Space dot com is a regular haunt of mine and for science in general Phys org plus some others. I’ll follow NASA and their various mission page son line and on fb plus ISRO and other space agencuies there and on youtube. Also Google and wikipedia are resources and blogs like, well, FTB among others.

    Reliability of scources does vary and all media sources come with their own biases so I try to use multiple sites to confirm and check and compare coverage and angles and see.

  10. StevoR says

    That’s SBS not SBVS for clarity : https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/SBS_(Australian_TV_channel)
    With NITV being kinda associated with them : https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/National_Indigenous_Television
    Both channels having fb pages and websites too and often screening good docos and sometimes good news shows and movies.
    Phil Plait’s Bad Astronomy blog : https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Phil_Plait#Blog was an absolutely wonderful source for astronomy, science and at times political news and had its own great little community of commentators much like Pharyngula until it sorta vanished going behind a paywall. Sigh.
    I also really miss Ed Brayton and his Dispatches from the Culture Wars and the community of the comments there.

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