A Straight Shot of Politics

A blog from a gentleman of the Liberal political persuasion dedicated to right reason, clear thinking, cogent argument, and the public good.

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Location: Columbus, Ohio, United States

I have returned from darkness and quiet. I used to style myself as "Joe Claus", Santa Claus’ younger brother because that is what I still look like. I wrote my heart out about liberal politics until June of 2006, when all that could be said had been said. I wrote until I could write no more and I wrote what I best liked to read when I was young and hopeful: the short familiar essays in Engish and American periodicals of 50 to 100 years ago. The archetype of them were those of G.K. Chesterton, written in newspapers and gathered into numerous small books. I am ready to write them again. I am ready to write about life as seen by the impoverished, by the mentally ill, by the thirty years and more of American Buddhist converts, and by the sharp eyed people [so few now in number] with the watcher's disease, the people who watch and watch and watch. I am all of these.

Wednesday, January 12, 2005

Where the Real News is to be found

Well, I suppose its time to remark on the CBS News firings. Predictably, the conservative blogosphere is dissatisfied. Nothing less than Dan Rather's head on a pole and the bankruptcy of Viacom (CBS's parent) from viewer desertion would have satisfied them, I think.

CBS News certainly has to win back our trust after a massive and inexcusable failure. And until everybody else sounds exactly like Fox News or the Drudge Report, certain quarters will not be happy. But for anyone else, I will report on where I look most to get significant news and commentary, and what I have found. I work principally off of Google News. The Google algorithm throws up all sorts of news sources as the top coverages on any given story, even college newspapers. The advantage of this is I get a look at world, regional, and local newspapers that otherwise I would never even know about.

I also do my best to get to broad coverage of hard news directly from the AP and, particularly, the Reuters wire. I also watch the ticker on CNN, and I have hopes that with the demise of Crossfire, CNN will get back in the business of world hard news reporting in the way that they used to do--before they were terrified into submission to the Bush Administration's raised eyebrows--as well as the flags on the lapels of everybody at Fox News--after the start of the war in Iraq. If they do, I'll be watching the rest of the screen, with the mute button off, a whole lot more.

So much for hard news, for analysis I go first to Knight-Ridder Washington Bureau, and I owe a great debt to Matthew Ygelsias for turning me on to them. I agree wholly with him that these guys are the best news operation in the United States and the last holdout of how good the news organizations (particularly CBS News in the Murrow to Cronkite years) really were once in this country, before the bottom line began to overshadow the deadline.

I also give high marks to National Public Radio on the in-depth commentary side--particularly its fearlessness in recent days (after Ray Kroc's widow gave them a spinal transfusion of money) at discussion of the real situation abroad and the real creakiness of the underpinnings of our economy at home. I also salute Lou Dobbs on CNN for similar backbone--he and Anderson Cooper are the two talking heads at CNN whom I mute the least.

Whom do I mute the most? Judy Woodruff and Wolf Blitzer, hands down. Reporting should be far more than rehashing Bush Administration or DNC press releases!

For informed opinion I go to CBS, but not to the television side of the operation, rather (no pun intended!) to CBSNEWS.com, where you can have at your fingertips National Review, The Weekly Standard, The Nation, The New Republic, and The American Prospect. And, as a bonus, you get their in-house commentator on legal affairs, Andrew Cohen, who is my absolute favorite opinionmeister. He has said more of substance, and said it more lucidly, about the real deterioration of America over the past four years than anyone else I know.

Finally, for truly straight talk, I go to Guardian Unlimited. They are everything opinion and opinion driven news coverage on the left should be in this country, but isn't. By comparison, every liberal commentator on this side of the Big Pond is a stuffed-shirted, milk-and-water dweeb.

Even yours truly.


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