A friend asked the following on the Facebook social networking site:
"Who would you consider to be the most balanced, bi-partisan or "fair" news source for American politics?"
My response: there is no single, balanced source. There are no shortcuts. It takes time and effort to stay informed.
There's no substitute for consumers actively reading a variety of sources. I read news wires (Associated Press (AP), United Press International (UPI), Reuters, McClatchy DC), some "left" leaning sources (e.g., The New York Times, National Public Radio, Slate), some "right" leaning sources (e.g., Fox News, Breitbart News), and foreign sources (e.g., BBC, Guardian UK).
For news about a specific federal, state, or local government agency I visit that agency's website: Federal Trade Commission (FTC), Federal Communications Commission (FCC), Department of Justice (DOJ), Securities & Exchange Commission (SEC), Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), Department of Labor (DOL), and the attorney general in each state.
One needs a variety of news sources in order to maintain a WORLD view... and not a myopic USA-only view... and not a myopic view slanted by a political party. With so much free content online, there is no excuse for consumers to read a variety of sources.
A key problem I often see in sites claiming to be news sites: video content without accompanying transcripts.. This is poor reporting for several reasons. First, transcripts provide readers with the opportunity to fact check, check spelling, and follow embedded links to learn more. Some might call that critical thinking. I view sites which fail to provide transcripts with video as untrustworthy.
Second, the lack of transcripts favors sighted readers. Some online users have disabilities (e.g., blind, hearing loss). The lack of video transcripts makes it difficult to impossible for them to consume this content. Maybe this is a by-product of the "mobile first design" strategy with website development. Or maybe it is plain laziness. Regardless, it's unacceptable.
I found it somewhat unsettling that the person asking this question used "who" instead of "what." That may imply a personality-driven or celebrity-focused view of news sources.
What do you think? What do you read?