Al Gore's innerwebs is a grand place, a mysterious place, a place for education, for dummification (yes, I just made up that word), a place in which one can lose hours of productivity. It is also the place from which I get every single tidbit of news. I do not watch a single news show, neither cable nor local. The only time I see anything from television news is if someone posts a YouTube video of something from one of the shows. And I DO watch them on special occasions: the rescue of the miners and election night coverage are the last two events that come to mind. I do not subscribe to any newspapers. I do read assorted newspapers often, however -- but only online.
When I am searching for a reliable story about something, I know where to go and which sites to avoid. Some sites are too partisan and will broadcast anything that helps their side, accuracy be damned. The most recent widespread example of this was all the stories about Obama's "$200-million-a-day trip overseas." If you THINK about this figure for any length of time you can see that it's almost impossible that such a thing could be true. And that is, of course, because it is NOT true. This little detail did not bother many right-wing web sites, however, and it irked me to no end. We just won a smashing victory; we don't need to promote lies. The truth will do nicely.
There are sites that I read and know that I will have to find another source to back up their claims. And there are sites that I avoid like the plague because absolutely nothing is worth wading through the fever swamp.
Here are some sites that are always worth reading. They are written by human beings, however, so one must realize that mistakes will be made. These sites, though, are honest and will correct errors when they do slip through. And take steps to insure that those errors are made infrequently.
National Review Online is always my first stop. I read every single post on The Corner every single day. They have many other blogs, too, that are worth reading if their niche is also your niche. There is The Campaign Spot written by the incomparable Jim Geraghty; if you are not receiving his daily email, shame on you. Sign up for his Morning Jolt here. Immediately. I'll wait. Okay -- The Campaign Spot is about campaigns (I didn't really need to tell you that, did I?).
There is Media Blog, written mostly by Greg Pollowitz about what's happening in various media. (You have noticed, perhaps, that National Review does not go in for a lot of creativity when naming its blogs.) There's Phi Beta Cons, which is a conservative perspective on higher education. The Agenda, written by Reihan Salam, about domestic policy. Exchequer -- Kevin Williamson's take on fiscal issues. And there are others -- on health care, on the courts, individual blogs, weekly video segments, etc. All of the highest quality from reputable journalists and pundits.
You could read National Review's content all day, so I really don't read anything else EVERY DAY. There are sites, however, that I turn to with regularity and know that they are reliable.
There is Power Line -- a smallish blog that was started by a couple of Minneapolis-area attorneys and now includes a DC attorney and a business guy. These are thoughtful men, not given to signing up for the latest fad or conspiracy, and since I have the Power Line app on my iPhone I look at them pretty much daily.
The Weekly Standard is an invaluable site. As content rich as National Review, there is too much here for me to read all of it daily. If I have an interest in a topic, however, I always come here and check out what the guys and gals have to add. They are sober, serious, reliable.
Real Clear Politics was a daily source of information for me leading up to the election (they do a great summary of polls). It is not a conservative site like the others that I have mentioned -- they post links to articles from folks on both sides of the aisle. I have their iPhone app, too, and that's where I do most of my RCP reading. So far today I have read Maureen Dowd's NY Times column (usually she is, of course, quite liberal, but today she posted a letter from her conservative brother), Ruth Marcus' Washington Post column about what Democrats (especially the leadership) are missing about the last election (Marcus is a liberal), and Tim Rutten's LA Times column about Keith Olbermann. RCP is a one-stop shop for headlines from both conservatives and liberals and they tend to pick from reliable sources.
I still go to Townhall now and then, although I mostly go there if I am looking for a specific columnist. They make me uneasy now and then -- they used to be reliably smart but they have posted articles by idiots on occasion and I dislike the authority that their imprimatur implies with regard to these wackos. So be warned. If something sounds like a conspiracy, it probably is. Run. Run away fast. Do NOT be caught up in it. Nothing will ever be proved and if you go to Thanksgiving dinner and only talk about how Obama was born in Indonesia you will be consigned either to the kids table or they will make you sit next to your alcoholic Uncle George who won't be listening to a word you say. Conspiracies NEVER help your team and if they have any effect at all, it is negative.
And really -- that's it. Oh, I will wander over to Michelle Malkin's page or to the Drudge Report or elsewhere from time to time. But I am usually there for a specific reason and I don't rely on them necessarily (Malkin was off on the $200-million-a-day nonsense like a stray dog on a pork chop bone). There are other sites that are excellent -- The Volokh Conspiracy comes to mind -- but I don't go there daily (it's not about conspiracies; Eugene Volokh is a genius legal libertarian guy). If you confine yourself to the sites to which I have linked, you will stay safe. And there is way more than enough information here to keep you going.
There are liberal sites worth checking out as well -- The New Republic, Slate, the editorial pages of most national newspapers. Good to see how the other side lives, you know.
So be smart. Don't let anybody fool you. Get your news from reliable sources and if something sounds strange, get confirmation.