Why read a newspaper when you have a blog

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The Internet has made me the laziest man alive, and I don’t care. Instead of wading through 14 major national newspapers every day, which I’m sure people did right after they finished walking uphill both ways to school in six feet of snow, I get lazy.

The online political news world has changed me. I didn’t do this to myself. I blame friends, clever Internet advertisements, and message boards. Whatever your personal opinion is of blogs and blogging, that medium’s unedited reach is undeniable.

Political Wire (politicalwire.com) is the most complete political news blog I’ve come across since I’ve been conscious of the two-party system. The site links the reader, through well-worded paraphrases and quotations, to high-profile articles of the day. It’s easy-to-read format and multiple updates per day from major national news sources keeps me sounding smart. And although it has specific versions geared toward the surfer’s political preference, its main page definitely leans in the right direction: left. How else would I have found Mr. Bush’s exact quote, “Brownie, you’re doing a heck of a job”?

Daily Kos (dailykos.com) is probably the second most complete political news blog out there, as long as you can stand the writer and contributors’ political slant. Every day, editorials from major newspapers are posted and analyzed, linked to, and double-referenced. Kos and Co., not exactly a fan of Mr. Bush, keeps it entertaining, and more often than not finds quotes from someone in the administration nobody else has heard. The Daily Kos roll call – a list of other blogs – is also fairly complete.

Ron Gunzberger’s Politics1 (politics1.com) was my friends and my favorite place to go for election news leading up to last November’s elections. Gunzberger’s personal beliefs and advocacy issues, including his “adoption” of a group of soldiers in Iraq, make it kind of a fun read. I think Ron took some time off after the November defeat, but the site is still where I’d go for election race updates from across the country. Ron’s ability to pull polling information from the craziest places is impressive. He keeps me up to date on obscure Illinois elections better than major media outlets did when I lived there.

Jerome Armstrong’s MyDD blog (mydd.com) is one I only go to when the other three fail to whet my whistle. This blog, which definitely East Coast in nature, has some really good 2006 election hype and polling, as well as some decent interview snatches. For some reason, both Armstrong and blogger Scott Shields write a lot about Medicare, which seems to at least come up once or twice a week. And like all of the others, every now and then it posts an open thread, which essentially lets readers react to or begin conversations about pressing issues of the day.

These four sites help me keep my pocketbook safe from the monsters of the newspaper industry.

Now, like the Wall Street Journal or the Economist or Playboy.com, I have to bust out a credit card if I want to read an article. That’s not cool. Let’s hope the Los Angeles Times never gets to that desperate point.

Until then, the blog wire can keep you up to speed. One 20-minute session at the end of the day can provide you with plenty of ammunition the next morning, and will be sure to make you sound like you’ve read six newspapers when you’ve only read one.

Ryan Denham can be reached at ryan.denham@csun.edu.