If God intended coffee to have milk, sugar, syrup, or anything else in it, it would be in the bean. Even coffee is best when enjoyed in its purest form. I know, that is a subjective statement, but I use it here to introduce a concept. Bear with me, please. Should I prefer additives in my coffee I am free to exercise my own choice. Many do. As true as that is, you may have guessed that this post is not about coffee, and you would be correct. It is about the long lasting and current state of news media, and its determined assault upon our sensibilities.

For the record and to be perfectly transparent, it should come as no surprise to readers of this blog that I tend toward conservative thought, balanced by high regard for life, freedom, and God-given rights. I do believe that there is a right and wrong, and that each of us is accountable for their choices. Beyond that, I try to stay out of the way unless someone or something starts to trample on my rights. And that is why we are here today.

Try to find an unbiased news source in today’s mass media. That is a tall order. The vast majority, and I do mean vast, are biased and agenda driven. The volume of liberal media out shouts staunchly conservative outlets by a wide margin, but both are present. Finding a sensible middle ground takes work. Basically, my view is that today’s news on both sides of the liberal/conservative divide is nothing more than propaganda, and their goal is to divide us in service to their masters. Watching major news outlets and their host of acolyte wanna-be’s on YouTube and other platforms is akin to raising one’s hand and begging to be brainwashed.

The worst part is that we let them get away with it. Most folks lean one way or the other, and readily accept as truth what their preferred talking heads or newspapers tell them they should be thinking and believing. We have surrendered our ability to think for ourselves. In doing so we participate in the dumbing down of our societies and erosion of characteristics that empower civil discourse, like respect, honor, civility, and basic decency.

A citizen’s responsibility is to inform themselves with facts, judge those facts against their own values and morals, and decide for themselves how they will believe, act, and vote. That is a citizen’s job description. We are smart enough to listen, observe, and reach our own conclusions. Many of us, however, have decided we don’t care enough to do so. To use the coffee analogy again, we accept whatever additives the news barista decides to fill us with, without complaint. Shame on us.

Okay, I’ve made my point. It will be fair for you to ask how I solve this problem. How does a guy who refuses to listen to or watch agenda driven news outlets inform himself? Like I said, it isn’t easy. There are, however, outlets that do a better job than most; one just has to find them. To help, there are organizations that rate news organizations for content, bias, and writing. The Pew Research Center and Forbes are among those I use but there are others as well. Every so often I do a search to find the best unbiased news sources.  For the last three years I’ve been in the same place after doing the legwork. These are all names you will recognize and which are readily available on various technology platforms. Here is my list and why each is on it.

The Wall Street Journal: Yes, the WSJ tends a bit toward the conservative side, but it also tells it like it is. If you doubt that, read a few of the articles in which they take president Trump to task for his various foibles. That aside, the WSJ presents fact-based in-depth reporting of the sort that used to be the norm. They do not tell you how to think, they give you the information you need to think. The Journal’s investigative reporting is among the finest. And, I’ve saved the best for last … Peggy Noonan’s op-ed writing is insightful, in touch, and compassionate. There is a reason she won a Pulitzer for her editorials during the last general election cycle. I consider her a national treasure and wish I could find more like her elsewhere.

The Associated Press and Reuters are almost always at or near the top of unbiased news lists, with AP having a slight edge. I find little difference in them and occasionally read both just to see if there is a bias in one direction or the other on a particular issue. A preference between the two is likely to be based in writing style or even the intuitiveness of their website. It’s that close. Both organizations have a long heritage of rooting out and reporting the facts and have a stated policy of informing over influencing.

That’s it. These three outlets are where I get my daily news. Are there others that will pass the test? Most assuredly. Do your own research, but I challenge you to look for outlets that inform you as a citizen instead of weaponizing you as a voter. Get the facts, think for yourself, and let your values and core beliefs guide you. Do that and you can stand for yourself on matters of import, because you will have done the work of a citizen.