Monday, December 31, 2012

The Year in Media: Part 1, Politics and Discussion

I thought it might be interesting to take a look back at some of the more memorable media I've been digesting for the past year.  Aside from music, books and film, it occurred to me for a second that I might include media journalism in this category, but I quickly realized how daunting a task it might be to find and collate everything interesting I've read in the past 12 months.  I could however, simply list my sort of regular, go-to sources for information:

NY Times
Reality Based Community
Kevin Drum
The Awl
Science Blogs

The Week

Up w/Chris Hayes
Daily Show
Colbert Report
NBC Nightly News

The Liberal Oasis
Little Atoms
New Yorker Outloud
The Slate Political Gabfest
On the Media
Fresh Air
Point of Inquiry
Vox & Friends

It's kind of interesting to see someone's little media universe.  I, of course, am not completely limited to these sources as there are always stories posted to my facebook feed, or otherwise linked somewhere.  And the NY Times doesn't tell you anything very specific about my information habits.  I will say that I've spent much less time reading about education.  Other than the fact that the level of public discourse around the subject is maddeningly misinformed, there just seems less and less to say.  Honestly, I don't know that I haven't said about all I have to say on the topic on this blog, and where I am at on the issue seems incredibly distant from where the front lines actually are in the debate, in terms of Democrats and Republicans largely thinking about the issue in similar ways.  And ultimately, the self interest of middle class Americans and the fact that the problem of education is at root a structural problem with capitalism itself makes the issue much more scary than most Americans are really interested in dealing with.

But back to media.  I listen to the bloggingheads podcasts a lot.  Doing dishes.  Mowing the lawn.  Driving to work.  The basic premise, for those who haven't checked it out, is to try and get really smart people on the left and the right to debate important issues of the day.  It tends to be moderates from both sides, with a good deal of libertarians sprinkled in.  Some of the regular participants are too annoying bother with, and my ears generally glaze over during the wonky foreign affairs discussions.  But overall I find the serious back and forth across partisan lines fascinating. 

Other mentions on the list: The New Yorker Out Loud podcast  is probably the closest I'll ever get to actually reading the magazine.  The authors themselves being interviewed is, while maybe not quite as good as the real story, a special thing in its own right.  I do most of my commenting on the Reality Based Community site.  The community of commenters there are top-notch, and often as interesting as the original post.  Up w/Chris Hayes is sometimes a bit too wonky, and for a supposedly inclusive talk show, gratuitously liberal, but Hayes is very sharp and fun to follow as he tries in earnest to pull out the substance from all sides.  Little Atoms is my most recent discovery and now one of my favorites.  The baseline is secular humanism and free thought, but the range of topics is vast and the conversations always intriguing.

I think I'll stop here and leave the "arts"  - music, books and film for next time.

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