Friday, April 11, 2008

What To Do In a Blizzard of Information

Whew. I used to feel a bit superior to the average Joe because I fancied myself well-informed. But it becomes more and more clear to me that I'm basically clueless. Sure, I grab hold of a few bits of info about what's up in the world every day, but from the torrent of information--mis-, dis-, and regular--I am able to snatch up only the tiniest bit, and make only the hastiest judgments about its value. And the more actual work I get done on the things I'm, ya know, paid to do, the worse this problem gets.

And surely it's not just me, right?

I realize that the thing to do is to find some reliable sources of news and analysis, but the two best candidates, the WaPo and the NYT both have--ahem--something of an orientation. For much of my life I've been able to put at least some faith in the pronouncements of the government, but we all know that that's not currently the case. CNN is so vapid as to be almost useless, TNR is a mess...and all the righty sources seem to have gone a bit mad, plagued by BDS (Bush Defense Syndrome) (the only allowable criticism of Bush, of course, is that he's not conservative enough...). I used to try to read equally from the right and the leftish, but I've had to temporarily swear off the righty sights lest I get pushed even farther left by the current madness there. And I don't need that in my life right now...


So if you've got any good suggestions for straight-up places to get the straight dope, lemme know. Currently I'm basically down to The News Hour...


Blogger Random Michelle K said...

I'm discovering that I'm growing dumber as I get older--and I don't even have kids to point it out to me.

My news comes from: NPR, US News & World Report, and Time. In that order. (I got Time for my grandmother, because the Washington Post doesn't deliver around here for some reason, and the local paper is worse than useless, but she likes to read the news, as her hearing is not so great.)

Does that make me better informed. Not really. But at least I never have to read/hear about Brittney Spears.

3:03 PM  
Blogger Tom Van Dyke said...

Beware Dowdisms.

Lefty blog:

There was once a blog called Joe Biden Is Thugged Out. (I swear this is true.) Biden just proved why. He asked Ryan Crocker, who used to be ambassador to Pakistan, whether it would be better for U.S. interests to go after Al Qaeda on the Afghanistan-Pakistan border or Al Qaeda in Iraq.

Crocker, in an impossible political position -- give the correct answer and humiliate the Bush administration; give the administration's answer and look like a fool -- dodged as much as he could. Then Biden forced him down. Crocker: "I would therefore pick Al Qaeda on the Afghanistan-Pakistan border."

Actual quote:

BIDEN: Mr. Ambassador, is Al Qaeda a greater threat to US interests in Iraq, or in the Afghan-Pakistan border region?

CROCKER: Mr. Chairman, al Qaeda is a strategic threat to the United States wherever it is--

BIDEN: Where is most of it? If you could take it out, you had a choice, the Lord Almighty came down and sat in the middle of the table there, and said, 'Mr. Ambassador, you can eliminate every al Qaeda source in Afghanistan and Pakistan, or every al Qaeda personnel in Iraq, which would you pick?'

CROCKER: Well, given the progress that has been made against al Qaeda in Iraq, the significant decrease in its capabilities, the fact that it is solidly on the defensive and not in a position as far--

BIDEN: Which would you pick?

CROCKER: I would therefore pick Al Qaeda in the Pakistan-Afghanistan border area.

1:33 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I wouldn't put a lefty blog as a news source, but as a commentary with the facts subject to checking at all times by the user, with the use of Google News and other sources as needed.

Confederate Yankee has his own issues:

Obama Lies


In the clip above, everything Barack Obama said was a lie… probably including the part where he said he spoke with an Army Captain (has anyone checked to seek if Deval Patrick spoke with Jesse McBeth?).

Barack Obama is a liar. He (or someone he plagiarized) simply made the tale up out of the whole cloth.

Barack Obama is a rube. Anyone with any sense of how the military works at all would immediately sniff this out as a series of false stories. Perhaps Barack Obama, the man who would be Commander in Cheif, is so ignorant of all matters military that he could be easily fooled by a fraud.

Neither possibility says anything good about Obama.

Update: Over at ABC News Blog , Political Punch, Jake Tapper gets in touch with the officer in question and states that Obama’s claim was therefore true.

Uh, no.


11:30 AM  
Blogger Tom Van Dyke said...

DA, I agree with everything you said, with colors reversed. I didn't mean to imply that righty blogs would be any more accurate. People are people.

A big problem is that we take people's accounts of what was said instead of finding the source material.

I used Confererate Yankee only for the source material of what Crocker actually said. The rest of your point is very well taken---blogs [and other news sources] are useless as maps, but are helpful as compasses to the thoughtful reader.

3:43 PM  
Blogger lovable liberal said...

That blizzard is not information. It's bullshit. With tax day looming, I needed a post, so the real stuff is here.

10:37 PM  

Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home