Dear Madame L,
I'm having such a hard time caring about the Republican presidential candidates and their shenanigans. I'm trying to be a good citizen and pay attention. I even tried to watch that debate last week, but I kept having to change the channel because it was so painful. I've gone back to getting my news from The Daily Show and The Colbert Report.
Do you have any suggestions for how to be an informed voter and responsible citizen, without having to watch people bash each other, tell lies, and pretend to be decent people when they've behaved despicably in the past?
Not Into the Fray
Dear Not Into It,
Madame L has several suggestions that might help you. First, though, she gives you props for getting your news from Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert. So, further suggestions and random thoughts:
---Saturday Night Live sketches often cut to the bone in the same way that Stewart and Colbert do.
---Madame L finds the standard network news broadcasts to be generally reliable, too.
---Madame L likes to watch "The Last Word" with Lawrence O'Donnell on MSNBC for his generally reliable, and liberal, take on the political news.
---Madame L used to watch and would like to continue to watch Rachel Maddow except that Madame L hates to be lectured and talked down to.
---Madame L watches "Hardball" with Chris Matthews sometimes, but not as often as she used to, because Madame L hates to be shouted at and even to watch other people shouting at each other.
---Madame L never watches watch Fox News any more, because it affects her the same way the debates seem to affect you.
---If reading would be less emotionally troubling than watching the debates, Madame L suggests you try the network news stations' websites. For example, here's a full transcript from ABC News of tlast week's Iowa Republican candidate debates.
---Other bloggers often post summaries and analyses. For example, Erin McBride's blog "Swing State Voter" provides information about the candidates and the debates; and Erin makes it clear what her own views are (conservative and libertarian), so you don't have to wonder where she stands or if she's trying to pull something on you.
---Online newspapers also have blogs about the caucuses and debates. Here's the NY Times political blog; here are the Washington Post's political columns and blogs; and here are links to the liberal Slate Magazine's news and political pages and Salon.com's political pages.
Other Dear Readers, please feel free to offer your suggestions.
(Full disclosure: In case you haven't noticed, Madame L's politics run to the liberal side. While she welcomes civil and helpful suggestions from her Dear and Careful Readers on this topic, as she does on every topic, she doesn't want to have an argument or even a mild disagreement with anyone about politics. She's just answering this question, not trying to start a debate.)