I just started using FairSpin a few days ago and have really enjoyed it. And I think you and your kids will too.
I like to think that I am pretty open-minded but still find myself getting a lot of my information from certain news outlets and web sites. We often get in the rut of reading and listening to only those that we agree with and it can become a problem. (See True Enough by Farhad Manjoo.) FairSpin gives us all a place to get information from a variety of perspectives, allowing for better conversations and deeper thinking.
FairSpin is basically a web site that lets you see all the top news literally from left to right. Click on titles to read stories, decide for yourself if they are biased, then vote your mind. This process not encourages us to read and think a bit outside our comfort zone but allows provides a great place to start discussions with your kids.
FairSpin’s take on themselves?
Political discourse in this country is more polarized than ever, and part of the problem is how we get our news. The distinction between “news” and “opinion” has become clouded as reporters, writers, pundits, and talking heads all search for new ways to hold onto our attention. With so many voices shouting at us, it’s getting harder to know who to listen to.
This is a huge problem for our society because journalism provides the raw materials for democracy. If we don’t have the whole story, or if we don’t believe the person who is telling it, how can we form well-reasoned opinions, have a real debate about the issues, and ultimately make progress?
All of this noise, confusion, and outright bias is killing the conversation, driving us apart, and making it harder for people to find common ground.
FairSpin is a modest attempt to change all this.
FairSpin is a site that collects the full spectrum of political news and opinion and lets the community sort it out. By voting if a particular story leans left or right (or not at all), the community works together to separate news from opinion (opinions are great, they just shouldn’t masquerade as news). By creating a complete view of the political spectrum, FairSpin helps you make your own judgments about the headlines of the day and the people writing them.
The site lets you do research on the news source itself and encourages users to vote on the bias of particular stories. It’s a sweet place to do research, start current event conversations and discuss perspective.
I truly believe that a well-informed public is essential to a democracy and without quality journalists (and people who read their stuff), democracy will not work. FairSpin is one more tool we can use to keep the sunlight shining into all the dark recesses of government.
As Thomas Jefferson once said,
If I had to choose between government without newspapers or newspapers without government, I wouldn’t hesitate to choose the latter.