The News

The News – Week One – No News

When I stopped reading, listening or watching the news at midnight on January 31 here were the headlines in my mind:

  • It’s freezing all over the United States except the west coast because of a polar vortex
  • Russia is using Mueller’s private case files to discredit the Russia Probe
  • Conservatives are mad at the Virginia Governor over a late term abortion bill
  • McConnell is mad about a democratic house bill to make election day a federal holiday
  • Venezuela is in turmoil
  • The EU rejected Theresa May’s plans to change Brexit deal
  • Everybody has measles in Portland/SW Washington
  • The CEO of Starbucks wants to run for president and everyone hates that idea

So after a week of NO NEWS AT ALL, here is what I picked up from people around me in my liberal bubble during the week just by listening to conversations:

  • Liam Neeson said something racist
  • The government of Virginia also did or said some questionably racist things, also something about sexual harassment
  • Women wore white during Trump’s State of the Union, which was filled with bad rhetoric
  • Maroon Five is the worst

If you don’t live in America or only get your news from conservative sources I’m going to guess your headlines looked a lot different. I heard nothing about anything outside of American news and all the news I did pick up included American politicians/celebrities being the absolute worst. I am kind of dying to know what’s happening in Venezuela but I haven’t heard anything.

Damn that’s some shitty reporting from me! Well, except the part about Maroon Five. I didn’t watch a second of the Super Bowl, but I didn’t need a Super Bowl performance by Maroon Five to tell me that they sucked. Everyone loves to hate [insert musician that plays at the Super Bowl]. Doesn’t matter who it is.

I am ITCHING to dig into these four news stories I heard about in passing, but unfortunately it’s week two of my challenge and the only place I can go look up what “really” happened is FOX NEWS. Just to get a taste of what my next post is going to be like let’s do an experiment. I’m going to look up one story on the State of the Union, Liam Neeson and the Virginia government on Fox News and report back right now on what I found.

State of the Union: The night was miserable for congressional democrats. Trump urged for bipartisan cooperation. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez didn’t applaud, Senator Kirsten Gillibrand didn’t even stand up once and Nancy Pelosi clapped weird.

Liam Neeson: Admitted that he once wanted to kill a ‘black bastard’ for revenge. Jesus Christ. Anyway, Fox News is reporting that Michelle Rodriguez said he’s not racist because he stuck his tongue super far down Viola Davis’ throat in the movie Widows. Oooookay. Anyway, Neeson apologized for having those thoughts and Fox News gives us no context as to why he would even bring that shit up, but there you go.

Virginia Government: Lt. Gov. Justin Fairfax is involved in a allegation of sexual assault at the 2004 DNC. State Attorney General Mark Herring admitted to donning blackface at a college party in 1980. Fox News is frothing at the mouth at all the bad things these democrats have done and noting any silence about this on the left.

I already have a headache from this and it’s only been one day of Fox News. Next weeks posts should get weird. I almost miss not know what was going on in the news. I’m also going to make a fun game of how many times the Fox News front pages has a story on Alexandra Ocasio-Cortez, Nancy Pelosi, Elizabeth Warren or Hilary Clinton. We will see who the winner is at the end of the week!

I also finished a really great book this week called Listen Liberal: or whatever happened to the party of the people by Thomas Frank. Check out the review here.

The News

The News – Intro

Dry January is over for me and so it’s the perfect time to start drinking again and focus the month of February on the news media. I honestly can’t imagine doing this challenge completely sober so it’s great timing.

This challenge will change weekly and the goal will be to show that our knowledge of ‘what is happening’ in the world depends on what we are reading, who we are talking to and sometimes even where we live.

The first week will be spent with no news! That’s right. I’m taking January 31st-February 7th off from the news. I will be happily skipping the State of the Union this year. I will not seek the news on Reddit, Google, Facebook, BBC, Fox, MSNBC, CNN, local news, you name it, I’m not having it.

Week one will be a chance to cleanse the pallet. The one exception is I will be able to ask people around me what’s going on in the news if I desire. I will also be able to pick up the news just from listening to people around me talk about it. I’m hoping to show what someone who doesn’t pay attention to the news picks up as news worthy.

Week two (here’s where the drinking comes in) I’ll be only reading Fox News. I don’t have cable so I won’t have to WATCH fox news (thank baby Jesus), but I will be only getting my news and headlines from them. Then I’ll report to you what the news for the week is when I only got my news from Fox.

Then I’ll be moving on to CNN for week three. If you don’t think CNN has a bias then clearly you’ve been reading too much CNN. It’ll be interesting to see the contrast here.

Why is this so important to see things from all sides? Although bias is impossible to get rid of completely (heck I’ve been pretty bias this entire post so far), it’s still important that we look for it and learn how to identify it. Here’s an example of a news story told three different ways:

Via All Sides

Now I realize this challenge focuses solely on AMERICAN news, which is why for the last week (which will bump a bit into March due to the weird way February works) I’ll be reading Al Jazeera, which I think is a fairly balanced world focused news site, although by no means perfect being owned by the government of Qatar. I’ll do an expose on a few different countries for week four via BBC News because they have an excellent search option to narrow down news by world region, and I’ll let you know what the top story is in those countries. News happens in other parts of the world too my American friends!

BBC’s awesome world news menu, which gives a nice overview of news going on in each region of the world.

I’ll also be reading three books this month, one on on the left, one in the middle and one on the right of U.S. politics. They are called Listen Liberal by Thomas Frank, Republican Like Me by Ken Stern and other is called The Loudest Voice in the Room by Gabriel Sherman. Thomas Frank and Ken Stern books are both written by current or former liberals. Frank spends his book so far examining where the left has failed the working class and Stern spends his book getting out of his blue bubble and experiencing some GOP love. Gabriel Sherman’s book gives a deep look into Roger Ailes life and legacy as founder of Fox News.

So that’s the February challenge. No news has already started for me and I’ll be honest, I wanted to check the news several times already today. Help I’m dying.