Share your favorite news sources. Can you defend your news source as “objective”? How would you describe its editorial bias?

It just so happened that a “smart” phone came into my possession just last week. I could wax ambivalent for no short moment on what I think about becoming a human with an open internet portal perpetually in his pocket. I won’t. I mention it only to say that one of the apps on the phone had me select news agencies I wanted to follow. Without too much deliberation I chose: NPR, PBS Newshour, Politico, Slate, and Vox. I also remember being a bit bummed that Aljazeera English (not to be confused with Aljazeera America, which came and went a few years back) was not an option.

Now, the Forgiving Victim has me deliberating more closely over a perfunctory selection of “likes” and “dislikes”:

I certainly cannot defend my preferred news sources as objective. The top two on the list are clearly state sponsored. They are never going to direct lucid criticism toward the United States government. Sure, they may spotlight “shortcomings in need of repair” or “egregious oversights that must never happen again,” but they will never point to a fundamental flaw in way the republic is structured. Case in point: both these sources may regularly talk about Russian interference in elections (i.e. an external stressor) or uncover the excessive influence of corporate interests in policy making (i.e. internal imbalance), but they will never EVER do a reportage which attempts to do something like: (i) disabuse viewers of the belief that American elections have something to do with decision making and then (ii) explain that elections are mere illusions of choice whose principal effectiveness resides in their ability to pacify a large number of upset people. That is not an external stressor or an internal imbalance; its a a structural deficiency. No state sponsored media address those sorts of flaws.

The next two choices, honestly, I picked just because some “cool” people I know go to these sites. I never actually visited them regularly before.

As for VOX , my selection has more to do with format: they tend to wade a little further into the details than other news sources. They are utterly obsequious in their affirmation of the enlightenment assumption that humans are human because they can be RATIONAL actors—which always chafes me, but even if I’m rubbed raw, I still come away with the appreciation of a few extra policy details.

Now Aljazeera, the reason I wished I could follow it on my fancy phone app was precisely BECAUSE of its bias. I like it when editorials use the term neoliberalism pejoratively. I like it when the term “global south” rings out like a rallying cry to defend those suffering under colonialism. Does this make it a good news source? I guess it depends on what you use the news for.

Sheelah, yes, I have listened to the lesson. In fact, I’m all the way to module 2.4. Let me explain, I download videos and discussion questions to work on at home at a slightly quicker pace. I only post a comment or two on those occasions when I come into town and have ample internet access, which results in me moving at a slightly slower pace through the forums. So, when I said on April 21 that I hadn’t listened to it yet, it was actually only true when I wrote that post about two months previous. [Another example of misleading information due to my comment lag appears in today’s post: I have long since stopped reading Slate for news on my fancy phone app–they are just a little too snarky in tone–though I find I like the pop culture articles they put out.]

I suppose I could dump all my collected comments on the forums at once [right now that would be from 1.5 to 2.4] so as to catch my posting up with my first viewing/thinking/writing. They are all sitting in an open Word doc just one Microsoft Window away. But honestly, Sheelah, I value your feedback too much! If I dumped it all at once, there is no way you would respond to all of it–and, besides, I benefit from the review that happens when I upload a comment I drafted a little while back.