Political News Sources You Can Trust (Besides Us)

by JR Thorpe

All media is, to some extent, biased. That's the reality of the world: What people choose to report, how they report it, and what bits they leave in or out are all up for debate. However, there are some organizations whose focus on data collection and political reportage makes them a sturdy foundation for the next four years, if things remain relatively the same. The criteria for these sources is based on nonpartisan interpretation and framing of high-level reportage.

If you want excellent left-leaning coverage of America's woes from foreign outlets, the UK's Guardian is a good place to start. For collections of data that make an attempt to stay nonpartisan, though, I have a few ideas to add to your everyday news tabs. These are investigative news sources you can trust. (Of course, you can also turn to Bustle for your news — that's a solid option, too. I'll just be focusing on other organizations here.)

Obviously, all of these recommendations come with caveats. If the Trump administration makes it hard for effective data to be collected and decent reportage to be done, and obfuscates even the most scrupulous journalists, ascertaining truth is going to be a hard slog. And journalists in Trump's America may not be entirely capable of doing their jobs freely and fairly, though it's in its very early days. (Two have already been given felony charges after being arrested while covering inauguration protests last Friday in Washington DC, and face up to 10 years in prison.)

The Pew Research Center

The Pew Research Center is devotedly nonpartisan. It's focused on American issues, and does the data-crunching on everything from education to political polling, with an explicit vow not to take political positions on anything at all. It's open about its funding, which is charitable and neutral, and stems largely from the Pew Charitable Trusts. And part of its mission is making sure that research into the facts and figures of American life are as accurate as possible, via a lot of work on research methodologies. It also doesn't just look at politics; it gathers and surveys data on everything from population growth to views on science.

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BBC Worldwide

If you're going to go overseas for your news, you could do much, much worse than the BBC. The British Broadcasting Corporation is one of the gold standards of reporting integrity, and, importantly, it's instituted a new system called Reality Check, which checks government spin against available data in the pursuit of accurate coverage. It's their attempt to stem the fake news cycle through thorough debunking. Its televisual arm has launched 100 Days, in which the first 100 days of the Trump Presidency are examined in the context of global politics and shifts in opinion. For bread-and-butter facts, this is probably a good place to start. Media Bias Fact Check, which assesses bias in headlines, sources, word choice and political ideology overall, places it as one of the world's least-biased sources of news, alongside the International Business Times, Gallup, and others.

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The Index On Censorship

If you want to monitor the situation with America's media and problems with journalism worldwide, this is the place to go. The Index on Censorship keeps tabs on press freedom and repression around the world, working as a nonprofit to help writers, artists, and journalists who've been persecuted to disseminate their work and bring attention to their treatment. It keeps tabs on what's happening to the people who make the news, produces press releases, mounts campaigns, and is generally pretty badass.

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This is America's insight into the public face of its politics, and more than ever, it's important to pay attention. C-SPAN's public broadcasting of the everyday processes of the House, the Senate, the White House, and the courts is free of varnish because it has to be. It's completely without annotation. There is no better rebuttal to "I didn't say that" or "I had no idea that was coming" for politicians. And in an administration where what's said is often later denied or whitewashed, keeping track is pretty vital.

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This is one of the most interesting projects going at the moment: fact-checking, word by word, the statements of American politicians. It monitors whether they stayed true to their campaign promises, if their assertions in briefings and press releases reflect fact and statistics, and if they're simply talking nonsense. It's won a Pulitzer for its work, and should be one of your first reads in the morning, even if it makes you so aggravated you dive for the coffee.

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