Using Technology to Access More Balanced Political News

The third presidential debate was a doozy. It felt like my kids and I were watching reality TV. The disrespectful banter between the candidates at the Al Smith Dinner was even more shocking. How can I cut through inappropriate election discourse in search of facts and information to cast a confident vote on November 8th? Thankfully, I’m finding ways to use technology to access more balanced political news. Let’s review how.

Aggregate a spectrum of news from websites, apps, podcasts and Twitter

From MSNBC and Fox News to CNN, CSPAN, NPR and Politico, there is no shortage of news to digest. Tap into the sources, and make your own decisions about which organizations are the most biased.

It’s pretty darn interesting, for example, to line them all up on a Twitter list to see who is saying what. I enjoyed reading my politics Twitter feed during a live event because I could see how each network emphasized or bypassed main points.

Meanwhile, apps like CNN Politics do a decent job of summarizing key insights while offering a scrolling view of the latest headline news.

Still in doubt about which political statements are true? Fact check on, and make it a fun family game by doing challenges on their app, Settle It!

Do you have a long drive or commute ahead of you? Try podcasts, like NPR Politics, to hear what they have to say.

Developer: NPR
Price: Free

Use On Demand or online video to watch election debates and speeches (if you didn’t catch them live)

Live network television is not the only option for watching election debates and speeches. My cable company offers replay services like On Demand, and sites like YouTube have videos of past events for easy access. Curious to watch the infamous 3rd debate? Here it is on CSPAN’s YouTube Channel.

By watching this debate directly, I can draw my own conclusion about who won versus distilling opinions from spin doctors.

Visit campaign websites and social media channels directly

Since the third debate, I’ve been interested in the follow up speeches to observe how each candidate chooses to recover. By going to their websites and Facebook pages directly, I can access their campaign schedule and key comments to voters. What messages are they emphasizing? What messages are they deflecting? Comparing each candidate page by page gives me a sense of their respective characters.

Developer: Facebook, Inc.
Price: Free

Join a few mailing lists during the election season

Email is a handy way to stay in the loop even when life gets busy. While doing research for this article, I came across the Atlantic’s Politics and Policy daily newsletter and subscribed. Now at least I can receive some highlights of the day in my inbox and pursue the issues that seem interesting.

Curious about the polls?

The race is on! Check out the latest poll results on a number of sites. I found the layout on the NYTimes website to be informative because it’s broken down nationally and by state.

Interact with the issues

Ready to engage more directly? is a civic engagement platform that operates at community, state and national levels. I especially enjoyed taking one of their polls to think more deeply about certain political issues.

Price: Free

What are your thoughts on the 2016 U.S. presidential campaign? What news sources do you use most? Please share your thoughts or tips in comments, and good luck on November 8th!

Lorraine Akemann | Co-Founder and Editor | Moms With Apps

Photo credit Flickr Creative Commons

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