Self-congratulatory Horseshit

There is a great deal wrong with this story over at Politifact. But I want to highlight the first three grafs:

At a Republican campaign rally a few years ago, I asked one of the attendees how he got his news.

“I listen to Rush and read NewsMax,” he said. “And to make sure I’m getting a balanced view, I watch Fox.”

My liberal friends get their information from distinctly different sources ”” Huffington Post, Daily Kos and Rachel Maddow. To make sure they get a balanced view, they click

I don’t know a single “liberal” blogger whose only sources of news are those cited above. I for one read the following on a regular basis: Christian Science Monitor, New York Times, Washington Post, L.A. Times. I check the Arts and Letter’s Daily, which highlights stories from both sides of the spectrum and a great deal of academic work, too, and I read the New York Review of Books from cover to cover every day. I frequently read The Atlantic, and too top it all off I listening to NPR in the mornings and many of NPR’s podcasts during the day. As a matter of fact when was the last time I even linked to one of those three mentioned above?

So let’s do a little experiment: go out and ask your liberal friends if the sum total of the new diet is HuffPo, Kos and Maddow?

And then ask any conservative you know what they go to for news. I can guarantee you it isn’t the liberals who have a one-sided news diet.

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Sean Paul Kelley

Traveler of the (real) Silk Road, scholar and historian, photographer and writer - founder of The Agonist.

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  • never reads anything unconnected with his work. I asked him how he stayed informed and he said “Fox News”. What’s worse is he’s into local politics and planning a run for state legislature. 🙁

    I tend to voluntarily read more on the liberal side but cannot avoid the right-wing stuff because it’s pushed out so much more widely and vigorously. At least it gets my blood boiling first thing in the morning, which wakes me up thoroughly. 🙂

    I might note, btw, that much on the leftist side irritates me as well, but for different reasons. Most rightwingers are assholes but at least they know what they want (everything you have) and how to get it (steal, con, bully, oppress, kill). Many who consider themselves left/progressive, however, seem to be vague and unfocused – I get the feeling their politics is a feel-good exercise. Good intentions, perhaps, but they are reluctant to get down-and-dirty, whereas the rightwing has no such compunctions.

    Libertarianism: MiracleGro for the feeble-minded.

  • I enjoy listening to Rachel Maddow. However, if I want to know what conservatives are thinking and talking about I simply check out It has been particularly interesting recently with the chaotic republican primary going on.

  • I have never regularly read Huffpost, I watched Maddow for a while as a tv novelty but I generally don’t do any tv news. Or Radio for that matter. I was an early adopter of Kos. I used to be there a lot both writing and reading. Eventually Kos was just someone I read for mainstream Democratic Party slant. Now I only read Bowers over there.

    FWIW here is a pretty generic internet session. A lot of smaller blogs are not mentioned.

    For what the inside-the-beltway thinks is news I follow Talking Points Memo.

    Next I check on the honest liberal view of stuff from Paul Krugman’s blog. Never read Krugman’s column except if someone has linked to it.

    During hurricane season I check the National Hurricane Center. There’s never been a hurricane in Chicago but you can never be too careful about Chicago weather. Maybe I check because I was in a hurricane in Miami when I was four.

    The only person I check at DailyKos is Chris Bowers. I followed him from MyDD to OpenLeft and now DailyKos.

    For Middle-East stuff I check with Juan Cole. He is a solid liberal even if not radical enough for me generally.

    Bruce Schneier I check for security news.

    Clusterstock I check for mainstream business news but every now and then they sneak in some Keynesian takes.

    After those I generally hit The Agonist here. Here’s the only place I comment or post with any regularity.

    After all that I may check the Gurardian , which much to my chagrin now taylors it’s news to what it thinks I want, meaning more U.S. news and less European news.

    Eventually I need to hit Ian and CounterPunch for radical left/progressive/liberal news/comment.

    Usually once in the evening I will hit BoingBoing for eclectic and web meta related stuff.

  • on the liberal side just get their news from those sources. That being said, I do think that there is a growing trend in liberal circles to mimic the “tribal” culture that exists in conservative media. Maddow is a great example of that, as the Daily Howler has been pointing out for some time.

    Maybe the relevant questions to ask are:
    1) Has there been a concentration in sources of opinion on the liberal side relative to the conservative side?
    2) Have many liberals chosen a handful of existing sources as authoritative?
    3) Has there been a concentration in opinions and ideas on the liberal side relative to the conservative side?

    I’m not certain of (1), as I think conservative media voices are actually a lot more numerous than the Politifact quote above alludes to. As for (2), again I’m not sure but I bet some statistics on viewership/readership could shed some light. (3) is very subjective, but I think I’ll go with “yes” on it. The liberal world has been tribalizing (if that’s even a word) at least since the Bush era and has really picked up the pace since Obama came to office–mainly because a lot of people have been busy pretending up is down and black is white in order to support Obama but hate his predecessor.

    Of course, then you have to contend with the possibility that there are people pushing the idea that both parties are the same and that liberals are just as bad as conservatives now because they want to create apathy among select voter segments to push their agenda(s) through… sigh.

  • Suggesting that media consumption is going align on a particular political axis seems a little reductionist. Not to mention that the terms are rather poorly defined.

    It does seem like the mass media’s presentation of stuff is, in general, targeted to unsophisticated and intellectually lazy people. I was strongly turned off by most of it post-9/11. More than once, I’ve wanted to start a blog with the title ‘Craving Insight’. Alas, a project like that would just leave me depressed.

    Just like the pols, the talking heads seem more interested in cynical self-promotion than in performing their nominal task. And, to be honest, that’s not really surprising since the real business most of them are in is selling your eyeballs or ears to advertisers.

    In light of that, the seemingly endless crescendo of sensationalism and demagoguery in the news should be pretty unsurprising. At the end of the day, most of it really seems to be “a tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing.”

  • …How about Al Jazeera, Democracy Now, The Guardian, BBC, The Statesman, and Asia Times? TRNN is pretty good as well, as is Tom Dispatch. So many good news sources out there for but a little looking…

    Find out just what any people will quietly submit to and you have found out the exact measure of injustice and wrong which will be imposed upon them,and these will continue till they are resisted with either words or blows,or with both~FDouglas

  • 🙂 It’s so easy to follow into the trap of corporate media and the conservative – false liberal ‘opposition’. For contrast you need to go someplace like Molly’s Blog…an anarchist and union supporter. People are so afraid to use the internet to annihilate distance between disparate peoples and views. Forums and societies help start wall crumbling. So does seeking out ‘brave new words to explore.’

  • And I would call them all middle of the road, not liberal.
    I can’t stand the Kos guy nor can I stand the insufferably smug Ms Maddow (if Gweneth Paltrow were a talking head, she’d be Maddow), even if I would probably agree with 90% of what she says. She’s only slightly better than NPR on a good day (I *really* can’t stand those twits).
    I first look at Google news and if I see a story, I normally pick what might be the most reliable source (that usually means foreign). Then I go to blogs like Krugman (don’t look at anything else in the WMDTimes), Eschaton for something quick and dirty, Digby for something long and involved, Emptywheel to see what who has left skidmarks on the constitution today, Calculated Risk, Rueters, Wolcott at Vanity Fair, Baseline Scenario, then Agonist and Ian Welsh. Then I go to whatever links those may spark my interest.
    As for exposure to conservatives, you only have to wade into the comments sections of liberal blogs to see what those mouth-breather trolls are mumbling about. Plus, most of the liberal blogs address specific conservative arguments and assaults on liberty. Whereas folks like Rush or O’Lielly just rant about generalities (liberals hate god/freedom/war/success/etc ergo liberals hate America). I get plenty of exposure to conservatives at work and in my family. It’s not like there are enough liberals where we can actually have an echochamber unless you really really try.

  • are the last place I look for nuanced info or stories, and also TPM. I noticed the other day that TPM is doing a political series for The Guardian.

  • I don’t read HuffPo ever since they tried to screw the writers. I refuse to read Kos because the guy is a self-inflated jerk (and yes, that’s the visual I intended) and Maddow comes on too late for me to do anything but drool into my pillow.

    I read the Times (NY & LA). I read Google news, which has a curious amount of links to FOX articles, so I laugh.

  • Sean Paul said, “I can guarantee you it isn’t the liberals who have a one-sided news diet.”

    Isn’t that sort of the definition of Liberal?

    So to underline my point I said, “define: liberal” to the Googracle and it said…

    Open to new behavior or opinions and willing to discard traditional values.
    A person of liberal views.

    I’m a Liberal, thus by definition I absorb new ideas and opinions from all sources, often letting them “sit” in my mind without attaching a value Judgement to them until I have understood the full implication of them.

    You are just repeating the definition of Liberal in slightly different words.

    But then I dug deeper in following links to Merriam-Webster and and the trail became very murky indeed.

    Perhaps that’s part of the problem… people are forgetting what the word means, or the meaning of the word is slipping into something else.

      liberal pronunciation [lib-er-uhl, lib-ruhl]

    1. favorable to progress or reform, as in political or religious affairs.
    2. (often initial capital letter) noting or pertaining to a political party advocating measures of progressive political reform.
    3. of, pertaining to, based on, or advocating liberalism.
    4. favorable to or in accord with concepts of maximum individual freedom possible, especially as guaranteed by law and secured by governmental protection of civil liberties.
    5. favoring or permitting freedom of action, especially with respect to matters of personal belief or expression: a liberal policy toward dissident artists and writers.

    adj \ˈli-b(ə-)rəl\
    Definition of LIBERAL
    1.a : of, relating to, or based on the liberal arts 1.b archaic : of or befitting a man of free birth
    2.a : marked by generosity : openhanded <a liberal giver>
    2.b : given or provided in a generous and openhanded way <a liberal meal>
    2.c : ample, full
    3 obsolete : lacking moral restraint : licentious
    4 : not literal or strict : loose <a liberal translation>
    5: broad-minded; especially : not bound by authoritarianism, orthodoxy, or traditional forms
    6.a : of, favoring, or based upon the principles of liberalism
    6.b capitalized : of or constituting a political party advocating or associated with the principles of political liberalism; especially : of or constituting a political party in the United Kingdom associated with ideals of individual especially economic freedom, greater individual participation in government, and constitutional, political, and administrative reforms designed to secure these objectives

    The Free Dictionary’s definition corresponds a bit more with my self-identification with the word…

    lib·er·al (lbr-l, lbrl)
    1.a. Not limited to or by established, traditional, orthodox, or authoritarian attitudes, views, or dogmas; free from bigotry.
    1.b. Favoring proposals for reform, open to new ideas for progress, and tolerant of the ideas and behavior of others; broad-minded.

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