For many activist parents, 5 minutes here and there are sometimes all we get. Between jobs, making healthy meals from scratch (haha- just kidding I mean plop some fish sticks down and consider a handful of goldfish a “nutritious side”), and getting to the bottom of that damn hamper there remains little time for anything else.
So how can you make a difference? I’ve broken it down into manageable parts because I get it- life is overwhelming enough and if your life is like mine you probably had to pause reading this several times to do parenty things like clean hummus out a kid’s hair or yell at kids to stop drawing on the dog. Seriously, how hard is it to NOT draw on a dog. Come ON, tiny people! But tangents aside– So fellow newbie parent activists, we will just dip our unmanicured toe in nice and slowly….
The first step to any activism is to know what you are all about. Frankly, you don’t want to sound like a total dumbass when you talk about the issues. Not that being completely uninformed has ever stopped Trump…
Here are the sources I use to 1. learn what’s going on 2. understand what it means and 3. learn why I should care.
I’ve included links because I care about you.
- Newspapers– print or online. Hands down still the best way to get information. Watch out for those biased sources! My favorites are NYT, Washington Post
- Online Websites– again with the caveat of being careful to choose wisely.
- Late Night TV– WHAT?! You might be asking yourself if I’ve gone nuts. Actually a lot of comedians are bringing serious issues to the forefront in a very entertaining way. Be aware- the bias is strong with this one, but if you are aware of that you can still get some solid information. Truthfully, this is also how I connect with the other adult in my life, the Husband. We watch, we laugh, and we talk about what we are seeing.
- Last Week Tonight with John Oliver– this guy is great. He’s British so he pretty much hates everything and has zero compunction about admitting that. He is my spirit animal. His stories are well researched and exquisitely presented. My biggest complaint is that current events sometimes get too little coverage because he delves deep into one main topic during the show. For those people without HBO, he has a YouTube channel .-so really you have no excuse not to check him out.
- Late Night Show with Seth Meyers– His “closer look” segment is well done and if you are looking for a way to make your argument stronger this is a good show. You aren’t really going to learn anything new and its quite biased, but the logic on his arguments are solid and sometimes it feels good to yell “RIGHT!?” at a tv.
- Real Time with Bill Maher– I have deep appreciation for people who don’t mince words. Tell it like it is without sparing anyone’s feelings. If you can stomach some offensive material this show is excellent. He regularly has fantastic intelligent guests with a variety of view points. He suffers no fools, but also gives credit where its due.
- The Daily Show– I really haven’t been a fan since my one true love Jon Stewart left, but the couple episodes I saw were well done and Trevor Noah seems to have his shit together.
- Full Frontal- I don’t have TBS…. if someone wants to pay for me to get it I’ll gladly watch Full Frontal and add my opinions here….
- Podcasts– I am admittedly super new to this particular type of media and had to have my skinny jean wearing millennial brother in law explain it. I LOVE PodSaveAmerica, PodSavetheWorld and pretty much anything from Crooked Media. I really can’t rave enough about these guys. They explain current events in really accessible hilarious way. I usually listen while doing dishes, folding laundry or all those other glamorous things parents do. Warning- the language can get salty so ear muffin the kids…
- As I find more I’ll post and feel free (as always) to comment with your suggestions
I think listening to a variety of sources is important because not only do you get a wide range of opinions and information, but you also may learn about a topic you never thought you would find interesting. Like John Oliver’s episode on Civil Forfeiture or standardized testing.
But how do I know my source isn’t biased? Well, all sources are biased, they are written by imperfect people after all. I believe there is a fundamental between bias and unreliable. For example, Pod Save America is done by very outspoken former Obama staffers. We KNOW how they feel. They hide it as well as Trump hides his affection for fried chicken , but do I still trust their information? Yes, their interviews and current event roundups are still reliable. Fox News is biased in such a way that they do not present either a complete picture of a story or blatantly skew the side they are presented. Always be wary of a source that hides its bias, but never manages to present the other side in a fair light.
Certainly you’ve seen infographics like this and this, but I don’t think you can just boil down a source’s bias into a handy dandy little infographic. Bias and reliability vary not just from source to source, but from also within the source. For example, I consider Chris Wallace’s reporting to be heads above the rest at Fox news.
Additional Resources/ Interesting Pieces