Polls, #Politics, and Social Media – Where do YOU Get YOUR News?

Category: Weekly Columns

 I often say that “I don’t do politics,” though I’ve occasionally violated that assertion. I figure by touching politics I risk “losing” half my audience. I’d rather be myself and risk losing all my audience. But sometimes, it’s hard to avoid these taboo topics. We actually had a VERY civil discussion on politics at #DadChat recently.

At #DadChat, we’ve discussed religion, politics, and even racial stereotypes. I like to believe the #DadChat community can discuss these issues with respect. After all, our children will be and are affected by the big issues so avoiding them is just like avoiding having the sex-talk with your kids. It’s there and it’s better to deal with it than risk them learning about it from the Internet or ill-informed friends.

How we all get our information is actually subject to bias. Some say that most mainstream media has a political bias. Newspapers clearly do, television networks do, and certainly our college campuses display a bias that is very pronounced at many campuses. The irony is that this is really nothing new.

Newspapers have historically had a left or right bent, but were actually more open about it. Time and Newsweek used to be sort of flip sides of the political football. It’s ironic that Newsweek is finally going out-of-business just when they abandoned their left only point-of-view. I suppose it was simply too little, too late? I’m relatively sure Time will follow suit and be available only online, as well.

With a BIG election around the corner, I’m curious where you get your information and what/whom you believe? Do you believe most of the major polls? Do you believe statistics promoted by either party? Does the editorial page of your local paper sway your views…at all?

When I was getting my MBA from U.C.L.A., I was required to take a statistics class. If there’s ONE thing I got from my post-graduate work it was how easy statistics can be manipulated and how few people are needed to actually have a pretty reliable poll. It’s ironic because polls can be quite accurate, but also easily manipulated. And, these things do not go hand-in-hand, obviously, especially when an election is at stake.

Walter Chronkite "breaking down" upon announcing JFK's assassination

The Internet has significantly changed the way we learn about, process, and communicate The News. It was once only Walter Chronkite that provided the news. Now it is usually on Twitter before any of the networks are “on” it. Similarly, where we counted on our major newspapers for investigative journalism, I believe it’s the bloggers and the Twitterverse that searches faster and harder on the so-called “truth” than our mainstream reporters today.

For that matter, I don’t believe objective journalism exists much anymore. Whenever I express this, my college journalism professor friends get all exorcised and challenge me that that is not what they’re teaching. All I say in response is, “Please provide me a list of who’s spoken at your campus over the past couple of years? Would you say that list represents a broad spectrum of views?”

So, let’s take a poll of our own? Where do you get your news? You can vote once for up to three of the choices below, and afterward see the current tabulations/results. For that matter, you can take me to task with your comments below the poll.

Where do you get your news?

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