On news: beginnings

I first started trying to figure out the world, and especially politics, after September 11th. Before that, it was a topic of tangential concern. Afterwards, of course, it seemed critically important. My roommate at the time was a rather strong adherent to Fox News. I started reading weblogs that were pretty much the polar opposite in opinion. Somewhere in the middle, I frequently watched _The Daily Show_. I say they’re in the middle because, roughly speaking, they are not left or right wing but *anti-idiot*.

I quickly discovered two things.

First, _everyone_ has an axe to grind. Trying to figure out that person’s axe is an unfortunate necessity to understanding whether they are a good source of news and opinion.

Second, twenty-four hour news and dozens of weblog posts a day are just too twitchy. To support that rate of production, you have to make a big deal about lots of things that are really no big deal at all. A daily news cycle is better but still intolerable. One week is the shortest term over which you can stand back and start to decide which events are meaningful.

Long-story short: I recognize Fox News as propaganda, dismiss CNN and MSNBC as too twitchy, realize that weblogs are too spazzy and that, in general, people are colored by their opinions and vetting them is not interesting to me.