At some point, I plan to post my theory of media and audience, but it requires more thought and skill than one cup of java can provide, so it'll wait another day, possibly tomorrow. I thought, just for fun though, I'd list all of the publications I read on a daily basis. And when I say 'read', I don't mean an article here or there, I mean the whole dang thing. There are very few articles or sections I don't read; sports, though, I usually just scan headlines -- I'm only interested in tennis, the Olympics, ice-skating, gymnastics and how the home baseball team is doing. Just for fun, I'll even post in the order I read them in, because as some of you know, I'm a terrible creature of habit and I like routine. Very, very much.
- NY Times
- Washington Post
- Houston Chronicle
- USA Today
- Christian Science Monitor
- Bloomberg News
- ABC News
( I used to also read the LA Times, but browser problems have frakked up that site for me, so unless it comes across on an aggregate, for the most part, I can't read it. I also occasionally read the San Jose Mercury News, the Boston Globe, and the free sections of the Wall Street Journal).
- Yahoo News -- usually where I pick up the Reuters or Associated Press feed
- Google News -- usually where I pick up stories from world newspapers/sources like Al-Jeezera or the Financial Times of London etc
Just for Fun
I thought about listing some of the blogs I read here, but I very rarely define my opinions based on blogs because I've found -- regardless of leaning -- they inadvartently leave out huge chunks of the story to fit their point of view. I read conservative blogs to understand other points of view are, but I don't read liberal blogs hardly at all. I also asterisk a lot of things I find in "Salon", because it's left-leaning (that doesn't mean I don't agree with it, though, 9 times out of 10).
In my mind, it's not enough to read or one two newspapers a day to get an idea of what the world is all about, what the true story about what has happened is. Most peole don't have time to read more than a newspaper or watch a 30-minute broadcast on television; I'm lucky that my job requires me to be this in tune with what's going on and so I have to read at least this much every day (I purposely did not mention the trade publications/periodicals/newspapers I read to keep up with my industry).
Time constraints and sheer volume of information out there is probably among the reasons why opinions are so polarized right now. There simply isn't enough time to sift through all the variations on a story and come up with a basic understanding and/or truth of what happened, nor is there any way to even determine whether a source has any credibility or not. As I said, I tend to stick to mainstream media because in my eyes, they have more credibility and accountability to get a story right than the average blogger. I'll take Fox News any day over a liberal blogger's spin on the news, for instance.
But a lot of times, I think people just want to hear their opinions parroted back to them and it's easier to just go read something quickly that a reader doesn't have to question what they're reading. I admit, that's why I read "Salon" because I can go there and I know that 9 times out of 10, they're going to say what I'm already thinking and believing. But at least I know that and admit it. To balance "Salon" out, I occasionally read the "Washington Times" or drop by Michelle Malkin's. There's no excuse, mho, in not trying to at least hear/read what 'the opposition' is saying, if one is determined to read only partisan publications.
Maybe it's because I was once part of the great media, but I don't think it's enough to just be a reader or watcher of television news and just take what they're saying passively. It should be everyone's responsibility to actively question what is going on, what the people in power are doing, and if the media isn't asking those questions, they need to be held accountable. Those questions, btw, should cross partisan lines.
For instance, I still wonder to this day while people were more interested in Monica Lewinsky than taking Clinton to task for ignoring the genocide in Rwanda? And I certainly don't think it's unpatriotic to ask President Bush what the heck we're doing in Iraq and what's the plan. Without those questions and without willingness to move past the boundaries we've put ourselves into -- seeking answers we already intuitively want or require -- I don't think it's possible to move past polarization.
BTW, I freely admit to shutting down in the face of opposition, because it annoys to have to listen to other opinions that are different than your own. But I think it's necessary and I've been trying to become more open-minded lately and research before frothing at the mouth, which is why I refused to rush to judgement on President Bush before I had more information re his actions during Katrina.