Balanced information diet
March 07, 2017
Want a balanced information diet? Here are some tools to help.
PolitiEcho is a Chrome browser extension that will analyze the political leanings of all your friends on Facebook as well as the political leanings of your newsfeed. Then it invites you to share the results on Facebook. (If your's is as blue as mine, you may hesitate at that point.
If you're alarmed by the results, the only alternative in Facebook, besides getting new friends, is to improve the diversity of views in your newsfeed. Happily, help is at hand. Another browser extension, Escape Your Bubble, seeds your Facebook feed with opposing political views, less the negative ranting that makes it so hard to stomach.
And if you're brave enough to wander outside the Facebook walled garden, here are two sites that do a reasonably good job of explaining conservatism without sinking into ad hominems or crackpot conspiracy theories.
Reason is basically a libertarian publication, funded in part by the Koch family. Its writers have never met a tobacco or oil company they don't admire. But befitting its title, their positions on policy issues are invariably well-reasoned. And they are ideologically consistent. Its writers are not afraid to call "foul" when partisans on either side of the political divide base their arguments on patent lies. See this piece reacting to a proposal President Trump made in his recent address to Congress.
The American Conservative is another thoughtful and well-written website. Although some of its writers spend a lot of time worrying about issues like who should use what bathroom, they usually do a good job of presenting their arguments cogently. Much of its writing is intelligently nuanced and measured. See this piece on heated rhetoric's relationship to hate crimes.
People trapped in a bubble that leans right should occasionally read the columns of Paul Krugman and Bill Galston. The former appears in the New York Times; the latter, in the Wall Street Journal. Both lean left, but they present their arguments intelligently and compellingly.