In this day and age of fake news being peddled by those looking to profit heavily by pushing blatant fabrications, along with Donald Trump and the right-wing’s continued embrace of conspiracy theories, it’s become increasingly difficult for many to figure out who is or isn’t trustworthy when it comes to news and factually-based opinion commentary.
While I could write an extensive viral article listing dozens of liberal and conservative pundits, “writers” and websites that seem to only care about sensationalizing everything, spreading lies and making tons of money, I think our “media accountability” category here at Forward Progressives covers that topic thoroughly. We’ve published hundreds of fact-checks and op-eds over the last several years calling out various elements of the mainstream media, as well as the independent and social media blogosphere. The problem is, we’ve fact-checked some of the most viral and misleading nonsense in the liberal and conservative media countless times, and yet many of those same bogus “sources” on the left and the right still have some of the largest (and growing) followings in politics. Frankly, a lot of that is due to Facebook and Twitter (and millions of people using those platforms) historically not giving much of a damn about the tactics and trickery people have used to build their reach and get content to go viral.
So, seeing as I often get asked who I trust when it comes to news and information, I thought I’d make a quick list of 10 people or sources I follow that I think others should as well. Obviously these won’t be all the people or sources I follow and trust. Depending on the feedback this article gets, if people find it worthwhile, I might do another list with even more.
That said, let’s get started.
1. Jake Tapper: For starters, if you have Twitter, he’s a must-follow. He’s never afraid to speak his mind, call people out, and has no problem being rather snarky on social media. While I’m sure Trump supporters might disagree, I’ve always found Tapper to be incredibly fair, honest, and not afraid to ask tough questions or call out lies.
2. Ana Navarro: A staunch anti-Trump conservative, she’s not shy about calling out Trump or anyone who tries to defend him. Navarro isn’t afraid to say exactly what’s on her mind — even if that means repeatedly saying “pu–y” on live television while ripping into a Trump supporter following the release of the infamous Access Hollywood video.
3. Evan McMullin: A former member of the GOP, an independent presidential candidate who also worked for the CIA, McMullin is one of my favorite follows on Twitter. He’s always provided insightful commentary on the dangers of Trump and the hypocrisy of the so-called “conservatives” who support him.
4. Crooks and Liars: Another site I enjoy a lot. I’ve never found their content to be untrustworthy or misleading and their Managing Editor, Karoli Kuns, is definitely worth a follow on Twitter.
5. Rick Wilson: Like Navarro, he’s another anti-Trump conservative who’s become one of my favorite follows on Twitter. He’s an extremely intelligent individual who definitely isn’t shy to speak his mind about the current “president” and the sad state of the modern Republican Party.
6. Talking Points Memo: Without a doubt, TPM is one of the first sites I go to every day. With articles and commentary that are always well-sourced, they often take important stories you can find other places and delve a little deeper into them. They might not get your attention with flashy, overly sensationalized headlines or “shocking stories,” but their content is solid and I can’t remember a time where I ever questioned their credibility.
7. Charles Johnson of Little Green Footballs: I like Johnson because while I might agree with most of what he says and writes, I don’t agree with all of it — but I also trust him to be someone who speaks his mind. I’ve found one flaw many people make is believing that sources they follow need to always tell them exactly what they want to hear. As if it’s normal to agree with everyone you know 100 percent of the time. One quality I look for in people I follow is genuine honesty. I might sometimes think they’re wrong, or I might simply disagree with their opinion on an issue, but if I think they’re being truthful about how they feel about something, that’s how they earn my respect. If you enjoy someone who’s not afraid to call out the more radical parts of the right-wing, then Johnson is definitely someone worth following.
8. Charlie Sykes: A more traditional conservative I think than Navarro or Wilson, Sykes is someone I started following after checking out his book, How The Right Lost Its Mind. If you’re looking for something new to read, I’d highly recommend it. It’s an inside look at the devolution of the Republican Party and how the conservative media has essentially sold its soul to push racism, bigotry, fear, hate, hypocrisy, and white nationalism. How millions of conservatives believe in a reality that doesn’t really exist because sources like Fox News, Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, Ann Coulter, and Donald Trump have manipulated them into living a mostly fact-free existence. I haven’t finished his book yet, but it’s definitely worth reading.
9. Shep Smith/Chris Wallace: I included these two gentlemen in the same category because they’re two of the few people on Fox News who have the courage to speak the truth, stand up to Trump’s lies, and call out the Republican Party. Again, I might not always agree with everything they have to say (I tend to think Wallace sometimes leans a little more to the right — though not too much), for the most part I’ve found both to be mostly fair and honest. Again, we shouldn’t only follow sources who tell us exactly what we want to hear all of the time, nor can we dismiss credible sources of information simply because they happen to work for Fox News, a “news” network that’s morphed into Trump’s own version of state-run media.
10. Joy Reid: I absolutely love how Joy Reid’s not afraid to speak her mind, call out people trying to peddle Trump’s lies, and is unapologetic for being brutally honest. I’m drawn to people who I feel are genuine in their commentary and Reid strikes me as someone who is most definitely honest about what she thinks and how she feels.
Reaching #10 I realized this list isn’t nearly long enough. There are people like Rachel Maddow, Dan Rather, Chris Cillizza, Samantha Bee, Nicolle Wallace, Kurt Eichenwald, Robert Reich, and quite a few other solid journalists who have been fair and honest with their analysis over the years.
Again, if this list gets positive feedback, perhaps I’ll do another. Until then, I hope this will serve as a good resource for those who decided to read it and might help people discover new sources they might not have followed otherwise.