For debate to be of any use, it must be informed. Yet the process of being informed is inherently a flawed one. What follows is my list of links that I consider essential and which have largely shaped my own thoughts on the domestic and political issues of the day. This list will help others understand what my biases and filters are as well as (hopefully) help diversify the range of information that others use. If other bloggers make similar lists, especially bloggers who disagree with me on many of my opinions, then I too will benefit.
I should also make one note about the role of blogs in this. Blogs allow for freedom from some of the limitations of print journalism. Especially when written by journalists, blogs are essential in helping clarify debate because they often can cut straight to the point without the structural meandering imposed by the print column format. Kevin Drum (formerly Calpundit, now writing for the Washington Monthly) has a specific example of the limitations I referred to. Many excellent professional journalists such as Ryan Lizza and Josh Marshall run blogs that are absolutely first-rate as a resources in helping to process the information overload from the media. These "professional" bloggers play a complementary role to "analyst" bloggers (examples; Kevin Drum, Matthew Yglesias) who have no formal journalist credentials and thus often lack access to the sources that the pros have. But the pros themselves are still bound by what they can say, whereas the analysts have fewer constraints. It is essential to sample both.
Here's my list, which is continually under revision, so please chime in with your recommendations in the comments! Also, I've enabled Trackback, so if you post a similar list to your blog, please ping me.
Media analysis and summary
Columbia Journalism Review's Campaign Desk blog
debunks/responds to spin from major media outlets / journalists
ABC's The Note
irreverent daily roundup of links to opinion and analysis
Iraq War and Occupation
The New Republic's Iraq'd blog
run by Spencer Ackerman, a pro-war liberal. Here's an excerpt explaining the blog's purpose: "[I]f we believe that Iraqi democracy would be a model for the region, then the converse is also true ... Iraq'd will highlight developments in Iraq and the Middle East to call attention to this danger."
Juan Cole's Informed Comment
Professor at U Michigan who is an expert on Iraq and Shi'a. He reads the daily Arabic newspapers and provides translations to try and convey the attitudes of the Iraqis and Arabs towards the occupation more realistically than what we perceive through the US media filter. Basically, he provides a window into the Arab media filter.
The New Republic's Campaign Journal blog
run by Ryan Lizza, an excellent writer at TNR. The blog is devoted to the 2004 campaign and the specific media strategies that are being used by both sides.
Political Analysis Blogs
The American Prospect's TAPPED
Joshua Marshall's Talking Points Memo
Kevin Drum's Political Animal
Jim Henley's Unqualified Offering
Steven Den Beste's USS Clueless
The American Prospect (print, online)
The Hill (print, online)
Center for American Progress (online)
Washington Monthly (print, online)
Newspapers and Radio
The Washington Post
NPR All Things Considered
Note that the above isn't my blogroll, which is a list of links that I often read. Rather, it's a list of sources that influence my thinking. Some of them are indeed on my blogroll, but others are not, and I only go there when others bring it to my attention. They are all sources of info that I try to keep an eye on. No one said that keeping informed was an easy task!