I thoroughly enjoy Trent’s weekly Q&A sessions with his readers at The Simple Dollar. One of the reasons I like his responses are that they’re honest, insightful and authoritative. Whereas I tend to often question myself in my own articles, Trent is confident of his beliefs and it shows in his writing. I think that’s why he has commanded such a large audience of readers (currently over 40,000).
Plus Trent reads A LOT! And he reads a widely diverse set of books, magazines, blogs and news sources. This week’s reader mailbag specifically asked about where he gets his political fix:
I was wondering if you read any political blogs or daily news feeds. I find that Iâ€™m much better at keeping up with information in daily/blog formats & was wondering if you had any suggestions.
I read tons of these online, actually. Since any news source you read has a bias, I try to read multiple accounts of and commentary on news stories.
My usual stops for actual news are Google News, the Wall Street Journal, and several other newspaper sites, and for international perspectives, I also read BBC and Al Jazeera English. I want a good grip on facts from many different angles, and I tend to not trust anything unless I find multiple clear reports on it. Of all of them, I tend to trust the BBC the most, actually.
For commentary, I read some highly left-wing stuff, like Daily Kos and Democratic Underground. I read some highly right-wing stuff like Free Republic and Little Green Footballs. I read centrist commentary like Andrew Sullivan and Glenn Greenwald. I also read Huffington Post and Politico – HP seems fairly left-leaning and Politico seems fairly right-leaning, but they both mix things and criticize both sides quite a bit.
If you start reading a mix of perspectives, you start seeing how much bias some people have out there. I think that if you get all your news from one source and you stick with that source over and over again, your thoughts start getting skewed. For example, the folks on Free Republic cannot conceive that Obama is anything less than evil, while the Democratic Underground folks tend to believe that everything John McCain does is an attempt to strangle America. Neither one is true, and I think that people who subscribe solely to one viewpoint or another is intentionally strangling their own understanding of the world.