Washington Post

I subscribed to the online editions of The Washington Post. Yes it’s a US news company! At USD$19 for an entire year it was an easy decision. I live in the UK but haven’t yet done the same for any other UK news organisation, apart from giving a few pounds to The Guardian (paywall-free.) Incidentally, both ‘newspapers’ are running very similar headlines today, very encouraging.

Yeah, sure I pay an annual Licence Fee to the BBC and read their news, watch their telly, but the reporting is often infuriatingly bland and airs weeks past the time I’ve already seen it elsewhere.

Where was I? Yes, one of the reasons I subscribed to the Washington Post was reporter David Fahrenthold’s tenacious examination of Donald Trump’s assertions that the President-to-be gave away millions to charity. What is certain is the majority of charitable donations were falsely recorded and that the work won Mr Fahrenthold a Pulitzer Prize for National Reporting. And the reporting of his humanity, non-superhero ordinariness, in connection with that glitter gun.

I’m conscious of drawing from perhaps a greater breadth of sources than most other people when formulating my position on often complex ideas. And often simple ideas. Last year I asked around and gratefully received suggestions for people and media companies from which I could draw a wide range of opinions. With hindsight I bit off more than I could comfortably chew and had to step away from the process.

I can’t say I’m much wiser now but the perspectives I’ve gained have led me to a more balanced approach than you’d know by reading some of last year’s blog posts, e.g. ‘Regrexit’ and ‘Chainsaws’.

In public at least.

The Washington Post subscription includes (from the welcome email):

(My emphasis above.)

Do they have any idea how inappropriate ‘Optimist’ will be for me‽

Joking aside I remember Martyn Lewis, a national UK news anchor saying he wanted to insert one ‘feel-good’ story into every bulletin. His rationale being that there’s too much depressing news. At the time I agreed; now though it’s entirely the wrong message to send to ordinary people. Given the magnitude of the worldwide change we’re living through, I believe it’s important to focus on the bad stuff.

There’s one big problem with my current reasoning: if you make reporting so detailed that people don’t want to watch they’ll go to where the grass is greener, airbrushed, astroturfed… Yeah. Fairness, balance.

And finally, here’s a link to a web page with a photo of a squirrel with big nuts:

For the avoidance of doubt as to my motives here at the end, Fark.com is my all-time favourite news-related site; the comment pages there are awesome. Awesome in a mainly US-centric, rounded but occasionally very unbalanced, good way. I pay them to remove ads.