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Reading the News (1 Viewer)

Maurile Tremblay

Administrator
Staff member
For most of the past four years, I've subscribed to both the New York Times and the Washington Post. (And to The Atlantic, but I don't really consider that to be news, for the most part.)

As part of a general effort to read more things with staying power (e.g., books) rather than things that won't matter so much a month later, I've unsubscribed from both newspapers recently.

The New York Times is hard to unsubscribe from. For that reason alone, I will never subscribe to them again. If you can sign up via their webpage, you should be able to cancel a subscription via their webpage. You shouldn't have to call a live person and listen to them try to talk you out of unsubscribing. That's terrible.

The Washington Post was easy to unsubscribe from. If I want more news someday, I'll gladly resubscribe to WaPo.

But I don't feel like I need to. While I have unsubscribed, I have not deleted their app from my phone. Back when I was subscribed, I didn't want a zillion notifications, so I checked only the box for super important breaking news, and not the boxes for politics or sports or entertainment or whatever. Nonetheless, I still got more notifications than I really wanted -- 5 to 10 per day, it seemed.

Now that I'm not subscribed anymore, I still get just as many notifications, and I can read all the articles I'm notified about. Sometimes there will be a pop-up saying "If you want to read even more articles, you can pay us $9.99 per month." But man, you're already making me read more articles than I want to. I really don't want more.

So anyway, if we're going to use this thread to provide each other with general tips and tricks for consuming news, my first tip is: download the WaPo app. Pay the $9.99 per month if you want, or don't, but either way you will get bombarded with mucho news.

Here's another tip that I think has a lot of value for people who don't already know it: Don't watch TV. Just don't. I mean, you can watch Better Call Saul. But don't watch TV news.

Also: Come on, don't click on Breitbart or Infowars or whatever. You know better than that. The New York Times is undeniably biased in a lot of ways (mostly not ideological, although it does have an ideological bias as well), but it's just not in the same ballpark as the loony sites.

Okay, that's it for my tips. What are yours?

 
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rockaction

Footballguy
I'd actually relish reading WaPo but am too flinty to subscribe. It's not in the budget, really. The New York Times I don't miss as much if my memory is serving me correctly.

Maurile is right. Do not watch cable or television news unless you absolutely need to know when, where, why. It's on where I live. It's awful. It makes people angry just watching it because it's outrage porn.

I like The Atlantic and The New Yorker and other magazines that do long form journalism or investigative journalism. I've always been interested in stories that aren't really told by traditional media narratives. I don't care that they're generally editorially left. I like the in-depth reporting from smart people who can write. Try and consume long-form. It's the next best thing to the books MT is aspiring to.

If I had to give one tip, it'd be this: If you're going to get news, try to do your best to get it from a variety of sources. Read a variety of articles to find out the general editorial and reporting bias of the paper or outlet you're reading. Because there is one. People never stray too far from their first principles. It may not manifest as a left/right thing. It might be a nanny state/non-nanny state thing. It may be a position of militarism/anti-militarism animating the reporting. Broad sourcing, cobbling together a fact consensus, and a narrative disjointedness is what we must live with if we are to be informed in the modern world. (Don't listen to Radiohead's "Fitter Happier" and all that pessimism. Be an empowered and informed news consumer. Nothing wrong with that.)

And follow authors that aren't unhinged on Twitter and get recommendations from them. I follow Jesse Walker of Reason and he's a standout on my feed. He's not angry. He's just cool, and he links to things that almost always interest me. Find people like that. That aren't part of the outrage porn movements and that enrich your life for having their brain as a public resource.

And for goodness sake, try to find some common ground so that our democracy doesn't constantly feel imperiled. By bof sidez. Yeah, I'm looking at you, turkey.

 

Don Quixote

Footballguy
I subscribe to the dead tree version of the Washington Post. I like the way the paper is curated and organized. Easier to pick out the opinion from the hard news, and get big picture of the world from stuff that may not be the most clicked-on.

I don't watch TV news, as I hate the talking head pundit kind of stuff.  I like in-depth documentary coverage of the news in stuff like Frontline though.  Although there are less and less examples like it out there, as it is cheaper for cable networks to put whatever person stayed in a Holiday Inn last night on its broadcast to engage in a battle on who can shout their views the loudest on TV.

 
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I try to follow a diverse group of people on Twitter. Watch zero TV entertainment news channels. Don't subscribe to any papers apps, if they have interesting stories I'll get the details. 

 

-jb-

Footballguy
posted here a bunch already, but Rising is good.  I tend to not watch the panel pieces much.

 

Dinsy Ejotuz

Footballguy
I like The Atlantic and The New Yorker and other magazines that do long form journalism or investigative journalism.
The Atlantic, The New Yorker and PBS News Hour every night is a fantastic way to keep up with the world without subjecting yourself to stupid or crazy.  Because each issue/episode only covers a few topics you have to stick with it on the regular, but if you do you'll build a deep and broad understanding of the world IMO.  I can't do that anymore because I don't commute now and... kids.

Creating a news feed with heavily curated content is another way -- there are a ton of quality niche sites (or authors) that you can build your own "newspaper" out of, but you have to pick and choose what you actually read or you'll drown.

YMMV

 
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FairWarning

Footballguy
NY Times, but probably dropping it

Chicago Tribune and Sun-Times

LA Times

Epoch Times

Reuters

DW (germany)

BBC

CBC

ABC (australia)

France 24

Al Jazerra

The foreign channels are best for our news as its just reporting the news.

 

Snorkelson

Footballguy
If you ever run into a pay wall for an article just type the headline into google and you can find it somewhere for free usually.

 

Maurile Tremblay

Administrator
Staff member
The Washington Post was easy to unsubscribe from. If I want more news someday, I'll gladly resubscribe to WaPo.
They roped me back in by offering me a year's subscription for $29. Can't say no to that. (I just have to remember to unsubscribe within 12 months so I don't get charged $100 to renew in a year.)

 

Shatner!

Footballguy
I get my WaPo digital subscription thru my Prime membership. It's only $3.99 a month. I like how they have held politicians feet to the fire so I'll gladly shell out a couple bucks a month to support the fourth estate and our democracy.

 

supermike80

Footballguy
Good thread.  I have a news ap on my phone which is provided by google.  So it's all headlines and I can pick and choose which headline I want to read more of.  Generally they won't link to paywall sites but it can happen.  It also tells you the source.  Now google messed with it so you can't block specific news outlets but whatever.  I just pick the ones that seem interesting to me.  

I watch the local news with the wife generally.  Do like to see what's going on around Detroit.  Not too into the national news stories.

For sports, twitter is my go to.  I follow a handful of local sports talk radio folks and one journalist and they link enough where I can get more than enough info on the local sports teams I'm interested in.

I barely use facebook....so nothing there in fact over the years I have been able to block almost every political source my friends would post.  Thats' a handy facebook feature.  So when I do check out FB, it is almost entirely politics free.

Instagram is used exclusively for looking at girls.  🙂

 

Joe Mammy

Footballguy
I recently came up on my 1 year anniversary for the NY Times online sub @ $1 a week. They notified me it was going up to $17 per month. When I went to cancel they offered me another year @ $4 per month. I agreed. For me just the book reviews on Sunday is worth a buck.

 

Psychopav

Help us, Joebi-Wan Brynobi, you're our only ho
The Daily Skimm - decent headline aggregator, aspires to neutrality (but does lean left and woman-biased)

Drudge

Dallas Morning News - left leaning but local

The Loop from Catholic Vote - right leaning but with Catholic bias so gives me some headlines I wouldn't otherwise see

The Flip Side - daily issues aggregator, selects one current event and provides sources for each political side of the issue

 

Joe Bryant

Guide
Staff member
Good thread @Maurile Tremblay

My only inputs would be:

1. Less is probably better. Doom scrolling is a real thing. You can get the info and understanding you need without scrolling forever on it. 

2. It's impossible to eliminate fully, but try to be aware of bias. And separating news from op / eds. In the old newspaper days, that was easy as the news was in the front and the op / eds were in the back. Online makes that delineation way less clear.  

3. Do your best to identify your own "tribalism". When someone who disagrees with much of what you stand for does something, ask yourself how you'd feel if someone did the same thing that disagrees with much of what you stand for.

 
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NorvilleBarnes

Footballguy
Not sure why my posts are getting deleted but I'll try one last time.

I love getting my news from CNN & NYT. I can almost hear James Earl Jones say "This . . . is CNN" when I read one of their articles or tweets. And the NYT? I mean, the "Grey Lady".

I especially love their coverage of the ongoing BLM/Antifa domestic terrorism and riots.  There's just nothing better than thorough unbiased news reporting of the days important events  :thumbup:

 

Maurile Tremblay

Administrator
Staff member
A fantasy league for public intellectuals?

Arnold Kling: Who is in my tribe?

His list is quite good. I approve of everyone on it. (Zvi Mowshowitz, Megan McArdle, Emily Oster, John McWhorter, Scott Alexander, Glenn Loury, Russ Roberts, Julia Galef, Andrew Sullivan, Tyler Cowen, Bryan Caplan, Matt Yglesias.)

To his list, I'd add: Kelsey Piper, Adam Grant, Phil Tetlock, Yascha Mounk, Alex Tabarrok, Paul Graham, Steven Pinker, Nate Silver, Noah Smith, Jesse Singal, Robin Hanson.

 

Dinsy Ejotuz

Footballguy
Several leftish sites that aren't factually wrong but are super biased in terms of stories covered and inflaming passions: business insider, slate, huff post, independent uk, Newsweek and salon.  These show up in Reddit Politics threads over and over and are virtually always blowing up small pieces of a story and feeding liberals what they want to hear.  Would scratch all of them from a source list.

 

Joe Bryant

Guide
Staff member
A fantasy league for public intellectuals?

Arnold Kling: Who is in my tribe?

His list is quite good. I approve of everyone on it. (Zvi Mowshowitz, Megan McArdle, Emily Oster, John McWhorter, Scott Alexander, Glenn Loury, Russ Roberts, Julia Galef, Andrew Sullivan, Tyler Cowen, Bryan Caplan, Matt Yglesias.)

To his list, I'd add: Kelsey Piper, Adam Grant, Phil Tetlock, Yascha Mounk, Alex Tabarrok, Paul Graham, Steven Pinker, Nate Silver, Noah Smith, Jesse Singal, Robin Hanson.
Thank you Buddy. I love this kind of thinking and not surprising you'd share this. Maurile know this about me but I'm a fan of "B" category. "thinking in Bets by stating the odds that something will turn out to happen or turn out to be proven true"

I dislike when in the fantasy football industry people won't take a stand. It seems like everyone either wants to stand strong on a shock value type hot take. Or they go super soft and cover themselves with a ton of outs. 

The "It'll be interesting to see how it plays out" are some of the least value add words one can use when writing about projecting performance. I'm guilty too. 

I always ask "what % chance do you think this happens?" Or, "Where would you set the over / under on this?". People don't like it as it makes them decide but it brings much more value to the reader.

I asked a friend something the other like this and I asked him what percentage of our friends would think a thing we were talking about. He said, "I have no idea.". That's simply not true. You have SOME idea. He may not be confident in his idea. But he has some idea. 

 

Dinsy Ejotuz

Footballguy
Thank you @Dinsy Ejotuz can you give us the cliff notes summary?
It's worth a read, but gist is how people don't necessarily speak up when someone they generally agree with is wrong, or might be wrong.

Specific instance is Tom Cotton's statements around Wuhan Lab being gradually escalated and misstated, and how "consensus" on the issue wasn't ever really the consensus.

The last couple paragraphs are right on point for this topic.

 

Joe Bryant

Guide
Staff member
It's worth a read, but gist is how people don't necessarily speak up when someone they generally agree with is wrong, or might be wrong.

Specific instance is Tom Cotton's statements around Wuhan Lab being gradually escalated and misstated, and how "consensus" on the issue wasn't ever really the consensus.

The last couple paragraphs are right on point for this topic.
Thanks. I agree with that for sure.

I think that's human nature. 

But it also drives everyone crazy as it's easy for that to jump into hypocrisy. It becomes "Oh NOW you care about this thing that you didn't care about last year..."

I get it. 

 

Joe Bryant

Guide
Staff member
From the article @Dinsy Ejotuz linked:

But in economics, which I do know well, I think it’s a big issue. If someone tweets something you agree with, it is easy to bless it with an RT or a little heart. To take issue with it is to start a fight. And conversely, it’s much more pleasant to do a tweet that is greeted with lots of RTs and little hearts rather than one that starts fights. So I know from talking to econ PhD-havers that almost everyone is disproportionately avoiding statements they believe to be locally unpopular in their community. There is just more disagreement and dissension than you would know unless you took the time to reach out to people and speak to them in a more relaxed way.

My strong suspicion is that this is true across domains of expertise, and is creating a lot of bubbles of fake consensus that can become very misleading. And I don’t have a solution.
I'm sure there are real names for this kind of stuff but I lump a lot of it into "beware what you don't know".

His example of seeing the positive reinforcement with the "likes" vs not seeing anything is a good example. There could very well be "unlikes" there. But people may not add them for lots of different reasons. Doesn't mean they're not there. You just can't see it.

We get the same thing with content we post online. The vast majority of feedback we (or I'm guessing most content providers) get is negative. It's people disagreeing with a take. Or pointing out an error. Or a typo. The forum is the same with some talking about how they're no longer going to subscribe for whatever reason. Yet we have an awesome retention rate in customers year to year. Meaning they overwhelming like the content enough to keep subscribing. 

But reading the feedback, you'd think everyone hated us. 

It's not that. It's just people are way more likely to comment pointing out an error (which is super helpful) or a disagreement than they are to say "great job". It's just life. 

So you have to be careful with what you see. And understand there's often a LOT you're not seeing. 

 
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Terminalxylem

Footballguy
Beyond professional journals, I’m pretty much a functional illiterate. In general though, I agree with those who believe that less is more. News and especially politics are increasingly toxic, so I don’t go out of my way to read or view more content. The time is better spent doing something active, or socializing with family and friends.

At this point I get most of my news from NPR while driving. Limiting listening to my short commute ensures I don’t get too engrossed in the badness. Also, this site gives me a rough idea what’s going on in the world, at least through the lens of the fantasy football playing demographic.

 

Maurile Tremblay

Administrator
Staff member
This is an interesting site:

https://ground.news/

Click on a story and the site gives you links to articles about it from sources that lean left, center, and right.

There's also a blindspot tracker that shows you stories you might miss if you generally consume a left-leaning (or right-leaning) media diet.

 

Maurile Tremblay

Administrator
Staff member
In a similar spirit, here's a newsletter that summarizes both left-leaning and right-leaning comments about current news stories:

https://www.readtangle.com/

I've read only a few installments so far, but it seems quite good. (ETA: After reading more of the archive, I'm confident endorsing this.)

 
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Opie

Footballguy
Hey, Ope.  Maybe you didn't get the message:  There is ZERO bias in the media.  It's all fair across the board.  Not only has the media told you that, the DNC and lefty posters have also told you that.

Get with the plan already.  ;)
Yeah...I've heard that.

Fortunately, my parents taught me HOW to think long before anyone could tell me WHAT to think.

 
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