Web-Accessible Sources of News, Information and Commentary
Journals and Newspapers
The Washington Post, available (free) at http://www.washingtonpost.com/
provides a broad view of the political scene in Washington in well-researched, readable accounts and commentary ranging from left of center to old-style Republican outlook and values integrity. – A good place to find the “common understanding” of an issue.
The Nation. From Wikipedia – “According to The Nation’s founding prospectus of 1865, “The Nation will not be the organ of any party, sect, or body. It will, on the contrary, make an earnest effort to bring to the discussion of political and social questions a really critical spirit, and to wage war upon the vices of violence, exaggeration and misrepresentation by which so much of the political writing of the day is marred.””
Its editorial policy has remained true to this founding ethos! It still relentlessly takes on news that’s apparently not “fit to print” in the New York Times. Its early identification of the insidiousness of ALEC’s influence in state and federal legislatures exemplifies its value.
The Guardian, a highly respected conscience-driven British newspaper that tenaciously pursues issues until they reach public consciousness, as in the Murdoch scandals of telephone hacking in Britain. The fully-accessible online editions (US and UK) of the Guardian also provide extensive, insightful and painstakingly reliable reporting of political and public policy issues in the US. http://www.guardian.co.uk
Foreign Affairs, published by the non-profit Council on Foreign Affairs, by its own accounting to – “… deal with questions of international interest today. [Articles] will cover a broad range of subjects, not only political but historical and economic, … There will be numerous foreign contributors, but the interest and profit of the American reader are a first consideration … .”
“In pursuance of its ideals Foreign Affairs will not devote itself to … any one cause, however worthy. … it will tolerate wide differences of opinion. Its articles will not represent any consensus of beliefs. … they shall be competent and well informed, representing honest opinions seriously held and convincingly expressed. We do not expect … readers [to] sympathize with all the sentiments they find there, for some of our writers will flatly disagree with others; but we hold that while keeping clear of mere vagaries Foreign Affairs can do more to guide American public opinion by a broad hospitality to divergent ideas than it can by identifying itself with one school. It does not accept responsibility for the views expressed [but] … it does accept … responsibility for giving them a chance to appear there.”
Indeed, Foreign Affairs offers refreshing synthesis of many areas of concern, including medicine and science. Unfortunately, its free access is limited, but still valuable. http://www.foreignaffairs.com
Aggregating News Services
Thanks to web searching technologies, these services offer something different from traditional news organizations. They piggyback on the reporter services of other news organizations by largely selectively extracting articles about particular subjects or with particular slants from a wide range of sources including blogs, newspapers, journals and magazines that are also available, often by subscription, on the web. There are now many, some associated with established newspapers including the New York Times and The Washington Post, and others are fiercely maintained by donation and independently of advertisement influence and include Truthout and Reader Supported News. These each offer something a little different in focusing on particular concerns as 501(c)3 non-profit organizations. They are the source of many of the articles posted here.
readersupportednews.org It avidly supported the “occupy” movement and relays links to many articles from the Guardian, the NYT (including Paul Krugman) and Robert Reich’s blog.
truth-out.org describes itself as “fearless and independent”, publishing a daily summary of articles posted on and linked to its website including a number written for truth-out itself.
A variety of websites offer distinction between fact and fiction, urban legend and history, and the truth of stories circulating on the web, as well as the veracity, sources and contexts of quotes. Googling “fact check” finds lots of them, but several in common use are:
www.Snopes.com appears to be a Wikipedia-like organization and covers enormous breadth of material, as a start in a search for truth.
www.FactCheck.org, operated by the Annenberg Public Policy Center at the University of Pennsylvania, monitors the accuracy of facts relayed in public speeches, debates, interviews, etc. Its mission as “a nonpartisan, nonprofit “consumer advocate” for voters that aims to reduce the level of deception and confusion in U.S. politics. It posts its checking on its home page.
www.vikitech.com provides a list of 6 websites that specialize in different kinds of information as described on its front page. These include the two listed above and, interestingly, www.PolitiFact.com, which includes an “Obamameter” that tracks promises (recording a stunning number made good!).
These offer running commentary about events of the moment. Two of particular value in understanding the implications and consequences of political and economic affairs are:
Paul Krugman, The Conscience of a Liberal, http://krugman.blogs.nytimes.com/ A widely knowledgeable and highly respected pragmatic Keynesian economist (and Nobel prize winner), his commentaries bring wit, clarity and perspective to complex issues.
Robert Reich, www.robertreich.org. Secretary of Labor in the Clinton administration and now Professor of Public Policy at UC Berkeley, Reich brings his own experience of what works in government, how good government brings thriving social and economic livelihoods, and how many aspects of government have changed in recent times. Also see his recent book: Capitalism: how we can make it work …
Brennan Center for Justice at New York University School of Law at www.brennancenter.org where it describes itself as follows –
The Brennan Center for Justice at New York University School of Law is a non-partisan public policy and law institute that focuses on the fundamental issues of democracy and justice. Our work ranges from voting rights to campaign finance reform, from racial justice in criminal law to Constitutional protection in the fight against terrorism. A singular institution — part think tank, part public interest law firm, part advocacy group — the Brennan Center combines scholarship, legislative and legal advocacy, and communications to win meaningful, measurable change in the public sector.
This is also a singular website providing a host of readable articles that track issues that make this year’s election different from those of probably at least the last decades of US political history: voting rights and elections, money in politics, justice for all and Liberty and National Security.
Union of Concerned Scientists is an organization with a mission to promote “science for a healthy planet and a safer world” at www.ucsa.org
As a large group of conscience-driven scientists and engineers, it provides assessments and reports of issues in science that interface, critically, with public policy and economic practice. Its major concerns are clean energy, clean vehicles, food and agriculture, global warming, nuclear power and nuclear weapons. Many articles about these are available on its website.