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OT: unbiased coverage of election

Hi all

I'm a curious kiwi, I'd like to know what's really going on in the US, particularly in relation to the election. Can anyone suggest an un- (or not too obviously-) bisaed web site that tells the truth, (almost) the whole truth, and not too much else?

Thanks

Nic C-L
Monday, July 19, 2004

Right here. I think we should discuss politics on JoS - might get friendlier.

Philo

Philo
Monday, July 19, 2004

I think the Economist is pretty good.  They lean to the right, but they generally get the facts straight and are pretty level headed about things.  For instance, they supported the Iraq war, but have been more than willing to describe how badly Bush and Blair have been screwing up since the war started, instead of trying to blindly defend them.

As for American sources, the best you can do is, say, read the New York Times and watch Fox news, then try to interpolate between the two to figure out what's really going on.  Or listen to Rush Limbaugh and read/watch Michael Moore to get the farther out perspectives.

Andrew Sullivan is pretty good, too.  He's a conservative homosexual, which puts him in an interesting position in respect to the candidates.  He considers Bush a fundamentalist gay baiter but has serious qualms about Kerry's willingness to defend the country.  And he's a good writer, able to express an opinion without resorting to hyperbole or ad hominem attacks.

http://www.andrewsullivan.com

Google News is good if you just want a sense of which way the journalistic winds are blowing at any particular moment.

http://news.google.com/

Honest question:  what's a good place for intelligent liberal commentary on current affairs?  Something a little more sophisticated than the "Bush is Hitler" stuff.

Jim Rankin
Monday, July 19, 2004

While you're at it, find an unbiased news source about windows vs. linux.  Or about .net vs. java.  Or about donuts vs. bagels.  Or about cubs vs. whitesox.  (insert cricket/rugby/futbol teams here).

There's no such thing as unbiased news ... anyone that tells you otherwise has merely found a site that shares *their* bias.  Your best bet is to either read news from many sources and find the middle ground yourself, or search around until you find a site that more or less agrees with *your* biases and decide to trust them.  If you stick to relatively "mainstream" US media, like the New York Times, CNN, etc, you'll do better than by listening to the obvoiusly-biased (like Rush Limbaugh and Michael Moore).  But they're still biased too.  You might want to counter-balance every NPR with something like the Wall Street Jounal or Fox News.

Michael Kale
Monday, July 19, 2004

+1 for what Michael said.

Google News is your friend. Try to read coverage of the same issue from as many papers as you can. Over time you'll become aware of bias, both subtle and obvious.

Some news sources are only biased on certain hot-button issues (e.g. abortion, Israel), some news sources are biased subtly in a particular direction but then have a token columnist with the opposite viewpoint, etc.

In terms of actual quality, I'd say the Economist is the best for over-all global political and economic coverage. The New York Times is no longer the paper it once was, and standards there have slipped alarmingly (witness recent controversy over Blair, Raines, Iraq, etc.). It's also no longer possible to read the newswires uncritically (particularly Reuters), because their journalism has slipped into subtle editorialising on many issues.

The Atlantic Monthly is a decent magazine. If you want something more "liberal" (whatever you mean by that), you may be interested in Prospect in the UK or the New Yorker in the US.

However: There is no substitute for reading critically, regardless of the source. In fact I'd suggest reading more critically when you "trust" the source, because it's when your guard is down that you may let unwarranted conclusions creep into your brain.

.
Monday, July 19, 2004

I like the News link on Google, you get the same story from media outlets all around the world.

But forget about getting unbiased reporting from any place in the US.

New York Times and CNN unbiased? ROFL. They're as far off the left as Rush is to the right, but not quite as far as USAToday.

Tom H
Monday, July 19, 2004

What's really going on? Everyone has already decided who they are going to vote for if its Bush or Kerry. The rest of us are trying to figure out which 3rd party candidate least misrepresents out views. This is difficult because the media is not just ignoring them, when it does write about these guys, they are accused of being traitors and  losers who are 'spoiling' the 'will of the people'.

Dave Thomas
Monday, July 19, 2004

I'm a big fan of NPR, which is constantly slammed for being too liberal, mostly by people who don't listen to it.  NPR is about as balanced and informative a news source as you're going to find in this country.  In particular, Morning Edition and All Things Considered do a good job of reporting the news.

For webcasts, go either to npr.org or publicradiofan.com.

Cognitive Dissonance
Monday, July 19, 2004

> Your best bet is to either read news from many sources

In that vein, here's Bill Clinton interviewed in _Le Monde_ at http://www.lemonde.fr/web/article/0,1-0@2-3222,36-372917,0.html

Your prognosis on the American presidential election?

It should be very close. It seems to me that Bush, barring unexpected events, can no longer win it with a strong majority; John Kerry, himself, can still hope for a nice victory. But the most likely is a close result. There's the enonomy, Iraq, the debate about values, sure. But it's the electors who decide on the problem that's at the center of the election.

If they judge that the question is about the experience and the character determined of Kerry concerning the fight against terrorism, the situation favors Bush. If they reckon that the election is a judgement on the unilateralism and the dogmatic conservatism practiced by Bush, then Kerry has the advantage. I think that Kerry has every chance. He is very well prepared, he's leading an intelligent campaign.

--------

In other news, the CBC web site on the elections is at http://www.cbc.ca/news/background/uselection2004/ ... various articles and stories on the menu at the right-hand-side of the page ... I expect it's more factual than not.

Christopher Wells
Monday, July 19, 2004

"New York Times and CNN unbiased? ROFL. They're as far off the left as Rush is to the right"

tom h- seriously, Rush kicked his drug habit maybe you should lay off the drugs too :P

PopCulture
Monday, July 19, 2004

Don't even bother with the "bought-and-paid-for" national press.  For a left-leaning but diversified website I could recommend several, but CommonDreams.org offers some editorials and news reports from really great writers.

My viewpoint differs mainly in that I'm not sure the Republic can be saved.

Not a Republican
Monday, July 19, 2004

Tom H demonstrates the power of suggestion.  He's been sold that line by the people who tell him what to think.  Don't blame him; he's just a parrot.  [Joel, how's that semicolon?]

Bias, schmias.  Google the following if you want a glimpse at the difference between a highly questionable bias and a deep agenda of manipulation.

Google:  "John Moody" memos fox

Then for more insight...

Google:  fox news study pipa

bobba
Monday, July 19, 2004

http://www.rasmussenreports.com/

Bush and Kerry have been within four points of each other for a few months, except that within the last week Kerry was up by 5.

Agree with the comments attributed to Clinton above.

Scot
Monday, July 19, 2004

Intelligent independant / liberal media sources include
The Nation
  http://www.thenation.com
Mother Jones
  http://www.motherjones.com/
Jim Hightower is a populist who is not very fond of either of the major political parties
  http://www.jimhightower.com/
The Progressive Populist  sometimes has out and out Bush haters but is at its heart a populist publication
  http://www.populist.com/

BTW the NY Times really isn't that liberal, really none of the bought and paid for mainstream media is.  The media has skewed so far to the right that we have forgotten what liberal and conservative really mean.  For example remember when conservatives tried to cut government spending in general rather then just tried to move money into the hands of the ultra wealthy?  Also, remember when liberals actually cared about the needs of the everyday person in the streets rather then were basically following the same agenda as the right except where social issues are concerned???

Whatever happened to reasoned political discourse anyway?

K
Monday, July 19, 2004

Absolutely! The New York Times is one of the most right wing newspapers out there.

Ted
Tuesday, July 20, 2004

Another excellent news source which many people (including myself) tend to forget about is the Christian Science Monitor. Yes, they're owned by a religious group, but it is one of the best and least biased papers out there.

http://www.csmonitor.com/

(The NYT is definately biased. Like many media sources, what they they chose to print or not print is a major aspect of it, even more than the content of the articles which are printed.)

mb
Tuesday, July 20, 2004

Bobba, nothing amuses me more than
"CNN isn't biased at all; not like that right-wing Fox News"

Media outlets that align with your own political beliefs will appear unbiased; those that don't will appear very biased. CNN is generally acknowledged to have a liberal slant, just as Fox News has a Republican slant (I can't bring myself to call it 'conservative', sorry - there are no conservative parties in the US mainstream right now)

On that note, I personally think both parties are two sides of the same coin - they both believe every problem should be solved by the Federal government and Federal spending; they only disagree on which problems should be addressed. A friend of mine refers to them all as factions of the Interventionist Party.

I think that 90% of all of it doesn't belong at the federal level. The "No Child Left Behind Act" is a complete violation of states' rights.

Philo

Philo
Tuesday, July 20, 2004

Outsource your governance!

_
Tuesday, July 20, 2004

Damn right Philo.

I think it's hilarious that the same person can say: "The media has skewed so far to the right" and then ask: "Whatever happened to reasoned political discourse anyway?"

This is the same mentality which leads some reporters to call left-wing organisations "think tanks" and the equivalent right-wing ones "conservative think tanks", i.e. they are only able to see bias on the other side of politics.

.
Tuesday, July 20, 2004

I saw an interesting piece on the BBC last night about the problems in Florida. Looks like its all going to go badly wrong there again.

Voting machines that failed to register thousands of votes, black people mysteriously appearing on a list of ex-cons who were not allowed to vote (even if they had no criminal record), Hispanic criminals who were allowed to vote, etc.

Why can't the US just copy our UK "democracy" and vote the way The Sun says ? Surely, that'd be much less troublesome ;-)

Steve Jones (UK)
Tuesday, July 20, 2004

For those who don't fully understand Philo's point of view about conservativism and states' self-determination, it's discussed in detail at
http://www.jerrypournelle.com/

It is surrealistic to see election coverage without much analysis on the initiative the US's attackers have on deciding it (as in Spain), but I suppose few want to dwell on unpleasant things.

Tayssir John Gabbour
Tuesday, July 20, 2004

> CNN is generally acknowledged to have a liberal slant

Speaking as a "liberal" I have to say "you must be fucking joking".

Oh, wait. I'm just "biased".
Tuesday, July 20, 2004

> Why can't the US just copy our UK "democracy" and vote the way The Sun says ?

Ballot
------

Conservative [ ]
Labour      [ ]
Lib/Dem      [ ]
One with the biggest tits [ ]


Tuesday, July 20, 2004

You forgot the pre-printed check mark in the "One with the biggest tits [ ]" option, as would happen in Florida ;-)

Steve Jones (UK)
Tuesday, July 20, 2004

I seem to remember something similar worked in Italy, where a porn star got voted into their national parliament. Perhaps Florida should try that.

Florida: They put the crass in democracy.

Steve Jones (UK)
Tuesday, July 20, 2004

Being the person who asked "What ever happened to reasoned political discourse anyway?' let me state for the record that I believe that it is perfectly possible for the media (or anyone or any organization for that matter) to have a political bias and still participate in reasoned political discourse.  However at this point in our history in the United States political discourse is mostly polarized shouting matches.

At one point it was possible to discus issues - even sensitive issues - and concede that both sides had valid points and work to a compromise.  Frequently we ended up with pretty decent leaders when they did this kind of thing. 

Right now issue groups have a "you're either with us or against us" mentality and will not allow for compromise or for the possibility that someone on the opposite side of the issue has anything to say that might be valid.

this is where I was going when I was asking for reasoned political discourse, seen anything like it lately?

K
Tuesday, July 20, 2004

Rather than the biggest tits, if it were a vote for the party with the most tits the Tories would win by a mile.

.....
Tuesday, July 20, 2004

K, on that score, I agree with you 100%.

There is essentially no well-intentioned political discussion between camps these days - people have their views of the world, and that's it. There's no point discussing things with people of opposing viewpoints, because the final decision has been made.

That attitude might be appropriate for someone who is very well educated, has a consistent political philosophy, and is loath to compromise their principles, but there are very few of those people around.

When you look at what passes for principle in the major parties today, and when you consider how often those "principles" are betrayed, you have to wonder why "liberals" and "conservatives" bother labelling themselves at all - every couple of years they switch seats and pretend to have been sitting in their current one the whole time. Who could have predicted a Republican President imposing steel tariffs and encouraging intervention abroad on grounds of remaking democracy in oppressed countries? That's a Democratic script. And yet it's the Democrats who are up in arms! There are so many examples of this, it's frightening.

It reminds me of Groucho Marx's comment: "These are my principles. If you don't like them, I have others."

.
Tuesday, July 20, 2004

He's not Hitla.  He's George the Third.
Show some respect for the demented.

trollop
Tuesday, July 20, 2004

"Rather than the biggest tits, if it were a vote for the party with the most tits the Tories would win by a mile."

Yeah, I guess you're right there, but Labour would still win the biggest pair of tits election, for Tiny Blur and Two Jags.

The strange thing is, the British MPs are all turning into Spitting Image puppets, getting more silly by the week.

Steve Jones (UK)
Tuesday, July 20, 2004

"At one point it was possible to discus issues - even sensitive issues - and concede that both sides had valid points and work to a compromise.  Frequently we ended up with pretty decent leaders when they did this kind of thing. "

Dude, you seriously need to read some U.S. history.

Yea, everyone was calm and collected and rational and unbiased during the civil rights movement.  And the Civil War.  And during the women's suffrage movement.  The Founding Fathers certainly had some pretty good rows, too.

Actually, I thank God that we can express our differences so strongly.  What worries me is censorship in the name of "tolerance".

I think Michael Moore's views are moronic, but thank God that I live in a country where he can make a ton of money criticizing the government and the government doesn't can't its power to stop him.

Jim Rankin
Tuesday, July 20, 2004

"One with the biggest tits [ ]"

Would that be Bush or Kerry?

Jim Rankin
Tuesday, July 20, 2004

And here is a fun look at bias.

Seems Clinton's former national security advisor stole classified terrorism documents from a secure reading room.

It's the top story at drudgereport.com.  Bold type, large font.

NYTimes, BBC, and CNN has it in small print well down the page.  I never would have noticed it if I hadn't already seen the headline on Drudge.

Jim Rankin
Tuesday, July 20, 2004

"...and the government doesn't can't its power to stop him."

bleah, make that "...and the government can't stop him."

Jim Rankin
Tuesday, July 20, 2004

Unbiased or biased isn't the issue.  Ask instead, does this news analysis proceed from a conceptual clarity on the underlying ideas, or is it just the same old stink rising from a swamp of contradictory and unquestioned emotionalisms ("family good" or "sex bad" or "world opinion good" or "big business bad", etc).

Agree or disagree with this, it's clear all the way down:
http://www.intellectualactivist.com/


Tuesday, July 20, 2004

from Boortz -

"Don't believe anything you read on this web page, or, for that matter, anything you hear on The Neal Boortz Show, unless it is consistent with what you already know to be true, or unless you have taken the time to research the matter to prove its accuracy to your satisfaction. This is known as "doing your homework."


Do your homework, read many sources of news and then form your opinion.

Yo
Tuesday, July 20, 2004

I'll join the chorus of people who say you can't possibly be unbiased with just one news source, the same way you can't build a stable one-legged stool.  I suggest three or more different news sources: left, right, and center.

My favorite political blog is [ http://www.tacitus.org/ ].  The site maintainer is conservative, but some of his guest contributers are pretty far to the left as well.

It's doubly hard to be unbiased about this election.  Our current president is objectively a miserable failure.  (His challenger may also be one too, but I say let's elect the guy and find out).  You really have to scrap to find something good to write about Bush; I almost expect one day to see some reporter throw him a fig leaf along the lines of "but at least he doesn't kick his dog".

Alyosha`
Tuesday, July 20, 2004

"I seem to remember something similar worked in Italy, where a porn star got voted into their national parliament."

Miss Ciccolina is hardly a porn star. A worn out prostitute, maybe.

But to be a star requires talent.

Tony Maxwell
Tuesday, July 20, 2004

Someone recommended the Christian Science Monitor, and I must say this is one of the most succinct summaries of the war on terror I have read anywhere:

"Despite the US-led war against Saddam Hussein, the real battle against terrorism in the Middle East is the steady push for government reforms in every capital that will result in elected leaders who truly seek peace in the region."

From a commentary titled "Intifada Turns on Arafat"

http://www.csmonitor.com/2004/0720/p08s03-comv.html

Jim Rankin
Tuesday, July 20, 2004

"> CNN is generally acknowledged to have a liberal slant

Speaking as a "liberal" I have to say "you must be fucking joking".

Oh, wait. I'm just "biased"."

Yep. You're farther left than they are. ;-)

Philo

Philo
Tuesday, July 20, 2004

+1 for the Intellectual Activist reference. Very high quality articles. I remember reading one on the California energy crisis a year or two ago and it was light years better than anything else I read on the same issue.

.
Tuesday, July 20, 2004

My advice is to ignore every American paper, and just read the reports from the US correspondents of other newspapers.

Well better still forget about following the election and download a load of porn instead. Better for the blood pressure.

I've posted the link below in another thread, but seeing it's all the more relevant to this one, I'll commit the mortal sin of double-posting.


An excellent article on the current rash of conspiracy theories in the States from "The Guardian".
http://www.guardian.co.uk/usa/story/0,12271,1265652,00.html
A couple of tasters:

"his accounts for liberal America's ready embrace of Fahrenheit 9/11, Michael Moore's slapdash confection of strong documentary footage and connect-the-dots paranoia. Whenever Moore puts himself in the centre of the picture, he's pure Barbecue Man, brimming with "intel" that sounds even older and less reliable than that of Ashcroft. But Moore has rightly gauged the mood of his audience. People are hungry for classified information on their rulers, in part because their rulers are so busy collecting classified information on them, "

"This is an extraordinary moment in American history. Half the country - including all the people I know best - believes it is trembling on the very lip of outright tyranny, while the other half believes that only the Bush administration stands between it and national collapse into atheism, socialism, black helicopters, and gay marriage."

Stephen Jones
Wednesday, July 21, 2004

The Intellectual Activist seems a strange combination of a rabidly right-wing simplistic political agenda and a highly perceptive analysis of the political process, often within the same article.

Stephen Jones
Wednesday, July 21, 2004

CNN isn't biased?

Did you notice the picture of Arnold Schwartznegger they ran next to the story about him calling the CA legislators girly-men?

A simple picture of him waving to a crowd. But his left hand was down at his side, and his right hand was captured while it was straight out in front of him; it had him in a classic Nazi salute. But it's just a coincidence that they happened to select that one picture of him waving to a crowd, right? No attempt at a subliminal message there.

Tom H
Wednesday, July 21, 2004

"The Intellectual Activist seems a strange combination of a rabidly right-wing simplistic political agenda and a highly perceptive analysis of the political process, often within the same article."

This statement is a perfect encapsulation of liberal elitism.

"Conservative, yet seemingly intelligent?  Does not compute does not compute does not compute does not compute does not compute does not compute does not compute..."

Jim Rankin
Wednesday, July 21, 2004

So according to Stephen Jones, a publication in which I  have read articles arguing in principle for a) the right to abortion and b) the use of reason over faith, has a "rabidly right-wing simplistic political agenda"? So Stephen I guess all the rabid right-wingers you know must be pro-abortion and anti-religion. Interesting world you live in.

.
Wednesday, July 21, 2004

As OP, thanks for your insightful comments and suggestions.

Nic C-L
Wednesday, July 21, 2004

Another example of bias: Reuters has run a number of pieces regarding Dick Cheney recently (over the last couple of months). I don't have the links at hand, but the photo selected for each piece has been of him at a podium, with the Star of David clearly visible behind him along with the US flag. Each photo was subtly different, but all appear to have been taken at the same event, some months ago. For the reporter to choose this photo, he would have to ignore any more recent photos available, or any that might relate to the actual story he is writing and go back to his collection of Cheney with the Israeli flag. The fact that it continues to happen indicates it is deliberate bias (which wouldn't be surprising coming from Reuters).

.
Wednesday, July 21, 2004

Maybe the other authors are different from the editor or maybe he is socially liberal but economically and politically extreme.

I read two articles; one quoted Ayn Rand approvingly about altruism, which he claimed was akin to cannibalism since any form of supporting the poor meant you were 'eating the rich' and the other talked about Kerry's real agenda as being violent antii-Americanism.

As I said, he can be very insightful but certainly can't be trusted to give an impartial account of your elections. The fact that someone's biases are eclectic doesn't make them any the less biased.

Stephen Jones
Wednesday, July 21, 2004

So Stephen, should we trust your biases?

.
Thursday, July 22, 2004

"Yes"

dot against dot
Thursday, July 22, 2004

Theoretically, the US election comes down to those who are making good cash the way things are and want to keep it that way (republicans), and those who would like to see society's largesse more evenly distributed (democrats). It gets complicated because both political parties are awash in serious boatloads of cash and are thoroughly republican, it's just that one (the Democrats) gets votes by making token gestures towards liberal principles and the other (the Republicans) co-opts the non-rich by cynically goosing so-called wedge issues like abortion, gun-control, tax-hatred, jingoism and Christian fundamentalism - all the socially regressive issues.

To help you sort this out, mainstream media is utterly, completely useless. Fox makes 1950's era Pravda seem like a paragon of journalism. CNN is Corporate Nitwit News, USA Today makes Homer Simpson seem intellectual. CBS, ABC, NBC, MSNBC, etc is just pablum to mildly exercise the emotions between commercials for irresponsibly huge automobiles. The NY Times is basically gossip gussied up as news with a pro- big-business pro-Israel core but is about as close to a reliable paper of record as there is. Wall Street Journal, LA Times and Washington Post are similar and reasonable alternatives with variously lesser degrees of faux-left pose on social issues.  Limbaugh and O'Reilly are insincere rabble rousers, mere entertainers on the make, and are beyond the pale. (Moore is a sincere rabble rouser, a quite different animal.)

The New Yorker magazine is outstanding. About the only publication I'm aware of consistently doing real journalism about the the current fuckwits in power (on both sides of the aisle) and, especially, our essentially ritualistic slaughter and terrorism of brown skinned Muslims that is having an impact on the mainstream (though only indirectly, it itself is not a mainstream publication). Honorable mention to Harper's and the Atlantic Monthly, but as monthlies, they are more a source of analysis rather than news.

Lots of good info on blogs. www.talkingpointsmemo.com, www.billmon.org, www.washingtonmonthly.com, rogerailes.blogspot.com, www.counterpunch.org  to name just a few that haven't already been mentioned.

Last, but not least, the hilarious Jesus's General at patriotboy.blogspot.com.

my two cents
Thursday, July 22, 2004

At this point it may be prudent to mention Hitler.

.
Friday, July 23, 2004

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