Friday, October 14, 2011

Keeping it real

I am really wanting to fully understand and educate myself more on politics. I've realized that what I thought I knew, really wasn't shit. But I also realized that there really isn't anywhere on this damn internet to find unbiased information. Even websites like the Washington Post and New York Times are slanted to the left. At the same time, I don't want to read anything slanted to the right, either. I want to read facts and form my own opinion without any of these sites trying to sway me. (which they won't, but I digress.)

It's the same thing with television. Every political channel or show is either left or right, regardless of whether they claim to be unbiased or not.

But maybe I'm missing something? There HAS to be SOMEWHERE that I can get FACTS that doesn't have opinion scattered in, right? I should surely be able to find information that isn't manipulated to appear a certain way, right? There are studies out there that aren't funded by some rich liberal or conservative, right? Studies that just show the pure, cold, hard facts with a clear, concise objective and method, right?

Maybe there isn't. If there is, please tell me where to find it. Because I'm so, so tired of reading so much conflicting information. And I'm sick of reading opinions in places where I should be reading FACTS.

Listen, I'm not saying that there isn't legitimate information on these left or right leaning sites and tv stations. I'm just saying that I don't want to get my information from them. I don't want to get my information from anywhere that has a stake in any political party, even remotely. Maybe that sounds naive, but that's how I feel.

Also, I've been doing a lot of reading into the Occupy Wall Street protests. Until I read more and form a complete, educated opinion I'm only going to say this..

Deep Throat of the Day: a Port-A-Potty is not a basic human right, especially when you're protesting.

19 comments:

Joe Nobody said...

You could go to one of the gov. sites and see how each person votes on certain bills. That is the only place I know where you can see facts about someone and not have an opinion about it.

As far as occupy wall street goes I am not sure some of them know why they are protesting. I saw an interview with the Charlotte NC spokesman and he could not really give an answer as to why they were out there. All he said was he thought the wealth should be spread around to everyone and not just the rich.

Anonymous said...

"But maybe I'm missing something? There HAS to be SOMEWHERE that I can get FACTS that doesn't have opinion scattered in, right?"

There's no place to do that, and probably never was.

The Wall Street Journal has an opinion page that's pretty slanted towards a free-market (arguably "right-wing") view. They're owned by Rupert Murdoch now. But the rest of their paper - their straight-up news reporting - is probably as unbiased as I'm familiar with. They have good reporters and most of their stuff is well-sourced and well-written.

You can also go to any news story on Yahoo! or CBS News and read the comments section. The advantage of that is that you get to see various points of view from regular, everyday citizens. The disadvantage is that perhaps 80% of regular, everyday citizens are idiots or worse.

So, yeah, gathering good information is hard. I totally agree with you.

Hope you're doing well.

April said...

Joe, I think a lot of people are protesting for a lot of different reasons. I don't believe that everyone protesting is in some of the positions they're in because of Wall Street and/or the government. Many are, but not all of them. (This is my opinion, of course. There is no way for me or anyone to know the exact reasons anyone got into the positions they're in.)

NYC has already spent almost 2 million dollars just in overtime because of these protests and then when the company who owns the park wanted to clean it, they had the nerve to ask for port-a-potties and dumpsters? One protester even said that having a port-a-potty is a basic human right. Um, no, it isn't.

That is a privately owned park and they're already NOT following the rules by having tarps and sleeping bags BEFORE they wanted to clean the park. And really, if you plan on staying anywhere for a prolonged period of time, you have to think about where the hell you're going to go to the bathroom. That is YOUR OWN PERSONAL RESPONSIBILITY! NOT the responsibility of the city or the store owners surrounding the park as far as I'm concerned. I read that the store owners are running out of toilet paper left and right and that the people aren't even purchasing anything from them.

I'm all for the right to assemble. Truly I am. And I believe that there is a huge problem in this country and these protesters have legitimate concerns. But I do not feel that it the responsibility of NYC to cater to protesters and I feel that if you're going to protest on privately owned property, you should follow the rules! If you don't want to follow the rules, go somewhere else.

These people were breaking the rules without consequences for almost a month. The owners wanted to clean the park and even told them they could come back as long as they followed the rules this time. Because you know, they let them BREAK THE RULES for almost a month and said, "We're going to get this place squeaky clean for you to come back! Could you please just abide by our rules this time? This is our park after all."

But, hey, people don't have jobs, or healthcare, and are losing their houses and have lots of debt and student loans. Fuck the rules, right?

Jim McKee said...

Try these, they seem decent...

http://www.votesmart.org/
http://thisnation.com/
http://publius.org/

I would steer you away from Factcheck.org... which CLAIMS to be unbiased... but they are funded by the Annenberg Foundation... which has ties to Barack Obama...

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chicago_Annenberg_Challenge

...you do the math.

NOTE: I have to be honest, I am very conservative. However, I am also a firm believer in the truth, and in laying all the facts out and allowing/ENCOURAGING people to think for themselves and form their own opinions. This is what you're doing, and however you choose to go, I commend you.

April said...

Anon: I am doing well, thank you. I also hope you're doing well. I read a LOT of comments when I do read articles and I couldn't agree with you more. I usually never chime in because I don't know enough on the subject. I wish more people would be like that, you know? If they took the time to educate themselves and ask questions rather than just pretending to know everything, could you imagine? Oh and I'll look into the WSJ. Thanks!

Jim, Thank you! I will definitely check out those sites. Joe definitely falls under the conservative side of the spectrum, but he asks questions and will be a little more open-minded than other, far right conservatives. I'm pretty liberal with social issues like abortion, gay marriage, etc. He and I have had a lot of talks about that and I've opened him up and changed his mind on several issues. However I'm still trying to convince him that gays are born gay...

I also am a firm believer in the truth and encouraging people to think for themselves. This is the basis (or part of it) for my next post on voting that I'll hopefully finish before the year is over.

What I really want to learn about is how taxes truly affect our economy. I might have to become and economic major to figure that shit out because there seems to be conflicting information on that, even among economists. I'm wondering if that has to do with which party the economist is affiliated with?

Sigh. There's just so much to learn and so much bullshit to sift through. I better put on my boots and get to wading.

Joker_SATX said...

I have had a lifetime of lies. I have just learned to adapt. What I will say is this. I have voted and year after year, I feel that my vote means dick.

Just sayin....

alana said...

You're asking for something that can't exist because we're limited beings. Two people can have a conversation and experience totally different things. It's just the way things work unfortunately. The only thing we can do is get our news from a variety of places and be as informed as we can.

Even I don't want to read articles that are obviously slanted for liberals.

alana said...

Oh and about the economy: I honestly think the problem is that it's such a huge and multifaceted subject. It also doesn't help that many of the people who talk about the economy on news sites/shows are not economists. I'm not saying you have to be an economist to have an opinion, but I think there's a huge disconnect between the people who are actual experts on the issue and people we give a false sense of authority to.

alana said...

Omg sorry for commenting again! I should read the comments first, but I disagree pretty strongly that the WSJ is as good as it gets. Just my opinion though.

Joe Nobody said...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=uE2M7g_IWSE

Watch this April. But be warned your IQ will drop afterwards.

April said...

Alana, you comment as much as you want!

I just want the facts. Facts have to exist. I just want them to stem from a politically neutral place so I can form my own opinions. Why can't a place or places like that exist? Facts do not have a political affiliation, it's people who give those facts their leftness or rightness. (those are words, I swear!)

See, the problem I'm finding is that when I read something on a website that lists a figure, siting it as fact, quoting the source even, I go to that source and then start questioning that source and how they came up with that figure and if that figure is even accurate. Figures can be easily manipulated.

Then I hear all these "highly qualified" people on tv (NOT Fox) giving extremely different opinions on taxes and whether or not raising them for the rich is beneficial or detrimental to the economy.

Sigh. I know there is a LOT to learn and it's extremely complicated and that some of it is truly based on opinion and not the facts. But I'm intrigued and I want to learn as much as I can and form my own opinions and make the most informed votes from here on out. Because since I was 18, I haven't been as informed as I thought I was.

Anonymous said...

@ Alana - the WSJ has a section of Op/Ed pages that are most definitely slanted. They either admit this, or don't seriously try to hide it. It might have become worse since Murdoch took-over, but it always had a pretty conservative/finance-industry oriented angle.

Their front section, though, is pretty neutral (in my experience). Their article are very well-sourced and a little broader than, say, the Post.

Just my opinion, everyone has a different take on the news.

@ April - you already probably know more than three-quarters of the idiots on TV, I wouldn't hope to learn anything from them. Newspapers are a little better, but it's hard to find time to read all the way through them.

How are the dogs?

April said...

Anon: The dogs are doing well. Scotty has what the vet believes is a cyst on his shoulder. It still could be a mast cell tumor, which is curable, but only time will tell. It's not really bothering him though. Other than that, everything's great! (are you going to tell me who you are?)

April said...

Oh and Joe, that video is pretty funny. Though I don't believe it's an accurate representation of the majority of people protesting. (how can you blame capitalism for your boss not seeing you as a human being?)

alana said...

But you'll never get neutrality. As you pointed out, most of the "facts" out there come from somebody funded by someone. And often times people are trying to guess what might happen based on information that may no longer fit the situation. IDK...I get why you're frustrated but I honestly don't think there's a simple solution.

Molly Rene said...

Most newspapers tend to have a "slant" in their editorial sections and that's been true for decades. However, I have never seen much evidence of bias in the rest of the section, either to the left in the NYT or WaPo or to the right in the WSJ. Have you tried NPR or the BBC? If you're looking for solid economics reporting, I'd suggest The Economist as well as the Planet Money podcast from NPR.

Hubman said...

I know that another reader commented against http://www.factcheck.org/ but I'm a fan of it.

Good luck! My head is spinning with all of the politic BS these days...

Clairebell said...

The best thing you can do is read both sides and draw your own conclusions. Try and steer clear of pubs that go a off the deep end. Try European papers as well for another perspective. (BBC, Reuters)

It's a pain in the petunia and a whole lot of we said/they said, but it's a big part of the critical thinking process and can be used in other areas of your day to day.

Clairebell said...

Ooh! I also like theatlantic.com. I am sure it has spin, but it doesn't offend me and I'm a moderate.