Not Fake News

Since the election–and the explosion of fake news madness–I have seen a number of my friends on Facebook ask, “Where should I be getting my news?” As someone who has been reading the newspaper since I was 7, and who has experience with news creation on various levels, I am going to share my news diet.

These publications are not perfect. They make mistakes. They miss stories. Their reporters and columnists have invisible and visible biases. Objective journalism is an impossible standard. That said–all of these publications are staffed by professionals who do their level best to report quickly, accurately, and fairly. They attempt to create real news, and in doing so they provide an invaluable service.

I subscribe to these publications…

Los Angeles Times
Biggest newspaper on the West Coast

New York Times
The most important newspaper in the world

Libertarian magazine that is always an interesting read

Washington Post
Has probably the best editor and many of the best reporters in the country

The Los Angeles Times is my local newspaper. I recommend you subscribe to your local paper. You may not agree with its views. You might not like the way it reports everything. But: It is the only news organization in your city paying close attention to the people in power. That is valuable.

Other news sources I read…

Associated Press
Worldwide wire service

The Atlantic
News and analysis magazine

Covers business and politics

The Intercept
Investigative news organization

Public radio

New Yorker
It’s liberal, but if you want to know what the smart liberals are talking about, you read the New Yorker

Wall Street Journal (requires a subscription — but here’s a hack around it if you want to see one specific story)
Covers business and politics


The Sunday Long Read
The best long-form articles published every week

And if you would really like to learn more about how the media works…

Read Jack Shafer of Politico. He’s the top media critic out there.

There are many other legit places to get your news. They’re not part of my diet. But they may be part of someone else’s. I am probably forgetting some that I like. I will continue to add to this list.

UPDATE: A few friends whom I trust suggest the following as good sources for news also:

The Economist
London-based opinion and analysis magazine

The Guardian
British newspaper

The Hill
Political website in DC

PBS Frontline
TV newsmagazine


I Didn’t Read Tyler Cowen’s The Complacent Class Because Things Are Going Pretty OK for Me

From what I skimmed, looks very interesting.

Got an advance copy. Between my non-manual-labor job, Netflix’s excellent recommendations (The OA is so good), and virtue-signaling to my in-group on Twitter, I guess I just wasn’t feeling it.

Besides, if I did read The Complacent Class, I’d have to write a review. The review would introduce readers to a bunch of new and challenging ideas about how Americans are losing the desire to embrace rapid change, and then I would explore some of the unexpected ways our complacency hurts us as a country, possibly challenging the author, or adding to his thesis with my own insights. Oh, people say they want new and challenging ideas, but they don’t. They’re happy with their current ideas, and why should I make anyone unhappy? No one ever considers whether the boat wants to be rocked.

Or is that Cowen’s game? To point out that our lack of urgency and general NIMBY-ism have led to less migration, more segregation, more inequality, dulled creativity, increased conformity, and faded activism, all of which portends a coming unavoidable chaos? What’s he after? Is Cowen trying to jolt us out of our zombie states so we can live in the sci-fi future of no diseases and flying cars and robot monkey butlers we all dreamed about when we were kids? I don’t know, man. Maybe. Anything’s possible, right? I literally didn’t read the book.



Dave Barry’s “How to Argue Effectively” Has Aged Well

You can read it here.

My favorite bit:

Use Snappy and Irrelevant Comebacks

You need an arsenal of all-purpose irrelevant phrases to fire back at your opponents when they make valid points. The best are:

You’re begging the question.

You’re being defensive.

Don’t compare apples to oranges.

What are your parameters?

This last one is especially valuable. Nobody other than engineers and policy wonks has the vaguest idea what “parameters” means. Here’s how to use your comeback: You say: “As Abraham Lincoln said in 1873…” Your opponent says: “Lincoln died in 1865.” You say: “You’re begging the question.” You say: “Liberians, like most Asians.. ,” Your opponent says: “Liberia is in Africa.” You say: “You’re being defensive.”


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