As Canwest Newspapers and television news faded from legitimacy, alternative news sources became vital for any reader aiming to be informed about politics. Voices from all parts of the spectrum are available on the web, from legitimate philosophical conservatives and right wing partisans to similar types on the progressive or left wing side and of course people in between.
I like to read viewpoints from all persuasions, as long as thoughtful considerations are expressed. Silly people (most loyal supporters of specific parties) are pointless reads if they simply repeat partisan talking points prepared by whichever central authority they follow.
It’s easy for a reader to identify web sites worth regular visits. Some of those are amateur commentators who enjoy the exchange of ideas and web interactivity. Others are writers with a purpose, perhaps commercial, perhaps philosophical. This is an open marketplace of ideas and that is good for everyone. Each of us should value strongly the right to free expression – it’s not that common in the world – and add our own voice to the conversations.
Bloggers are commentators who often rely on first hand information gathering done by others. I don’t suppose there is one of us who doesn’t regularly read the professional pundits, the people directly interacting with politicians. Whether or not you agree with thoughts published at an information source is irrelevant, if it is honestly informative. If you judge the site worthwhile, support it financially. For example, Sean Holman at Public Eye Online invites readers to contribute $10 a month, or whatever you can, to enable continuation of his valuable work. I encourage you to do so.
The Tyee is an important voice as well. Sure, it leans left and usually provides progressive points of view but, remember, it’s only one of your sources. You shouldn’t miss Sean Holman at Public Eye, nor should you fail to read Andrew MacLeod and Will McMartin and others at The Tyee. These writers provide political detail and backgrounders that main stream journalists are not allowed to tell.
The Tyee experimented with a special fundraiser this past year to fund new levels of investigative journalism. No doubt, that opportunity will come around again or you can simply offer a voluntary contribution. Also, please be aware that advertisements that appear may provide a modest income to the website but, probably, that depends on reader click-throughs. If you see an interesting product or service advertised, clicking on it may help continuation of the site you are visiting.
Of course, one of the most original blogs is that of RossK, AKA The Gazetteer. I think Ross works professionally in the world of science but that his real passion is music, cycling and family and the blog is an excuse to reveal a little of those elements. However, when Ross bites into a news subject, as he is doing now over the miasma surrounding Paragon, Turner, BCLC and, of course, our friends in the BC Liberal machine, he requires full attention. Ross enjoys word games and expects readers to come armed with knowledge or be prepared to search for meaning in occasional references.
Most blog readers are probably aware of Alex G. Tsakumis, Rebel With a Clause. I’ve written elsewhere that Alex, while a conservative voice, is an unpredictable one likely to have an original take on most issues. Plus, his style is fun to read so that makes him a can’t miss writer.
It’s hard to list worthy web writers without missing important contributors. I assume that people who follow Northern Insights are already familiar with:
- BC Mary at The Legislature Raids, the single best repository of information about a major ongoing theft of public assets.
- Laila Yuile, where you find wide ranging commentary on public affairs, always with logical humanity and usually accompanied by excellent reader participation. Laila’s been on assignment and doing research lately so she’s temporarily quiet but we all anticipate a quick return.
- David Berner at David Talks / The Berner Monologues, is a polymath with something to say about nearly everything, particularly politics, the arts, health, addiction rehab, and most everything else. Berner’s life has gone in so many directions that it is impossible to describe him with a single word such as actor, counselor, teacher, writer, broadcaster, etc. David shows signs of heading for cranky old man status because he tends to be impatient with stupidity and there is so much of that around.
- Harvey Oberfeld at Keeping it Real, is another blog on temporary hiatus. H.O. is different from most of us because he actually knows what he writes about, having spent years as a fine reporter and TV news man. Harvey has dealt directly with Prime Ministers and politicians and everyone up the social scale from there.
- Paul Willcocks at Paying Attention (
also on break) is a senior working journalist who presents his own views with what I consider is near infallible judgment. Paul is unlike most bloggers and I don’t simply mean that he is a fine writer, which he is. Obviously, he is well informed but he also believes in studied fairness, often reserving his own opinions while inviting readers to decide issues for themselves, based on (egad!) proven fact. I’ve argued directly with Paul that examining a public figure’s actions allows you to attribute motivations. Paul thinks that imprecise and fraught with error. I know, as a professional, he is correct but I believe the blog scene allows a little bias toward our passions and I admit to it.
- Another web participant worth following is David Schreck at Strategic Thoughts. This former NDP economist is certainly a progressive voice but his expertise, combined with lengthy public service, gives him qualifications to speak clearly on political economics. You find his words at The Tyee periodically. David’s recent article at the Tyee was accompanied by this drawing of the wonderful BC artist Ingrid Rice.
It was a fool’s game to start describing participants in the online commentary world because I’ve failed to include ones that I value and read regularly. For example: smart transportation writer Stephen Rees, long time blog participant Bill Tieleman and photographer Doug Pyper who communicates with words and images. He’ll be returning soon from months in South America with, I’m sure, much to tell us.
However, on the left sidebar, is a more complete list of blogs I follow. Create your own list by establishing a blogger profile or add your favorites here. Share all the good stuff.