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Political sources primer

February 9th, 2008 · No Comments · Politics


“Democracy isn’t something you have, it’s something you do.”  Granny D (political activist) 1910–2010

People ask me what news sources I trust, and how I use the media to my advantage.

I call it “controlling my sources”

Rules of thumb:

When an interviewer is interviewing 2 people, one a Democrat the other a Republican – hit mute or change channel.  This is NEVER helpful or insightful.  it’s just a debate club exercise and air-time filler.

If the 2 or more guests are non-partisan journalists, DO listen.

I really stress to myself (and therefore to you) to NOT listen to the bad stuff – the demagogs, the ranters, the one-siders, the nut-jobs.  It just serves to turn you off of the process and your democratic duty.

6 – 9 AM – Morning Joe on MSNBC

5 – 6 PM – Hardball (Chris Matthews) on MSNBC

6:30 – 6:38 PM   — evening news on NBC, ABC and CBS

7:00-8:00 – Hardball with Chris Matthews (MSNBC)

8:00 – 8:08 or 8:15 – Countdown with Keith Oberman, MSNBC

11:01 – 11:08 – The Daily Show with Jon Stewart  — only 4 days a week, Mon thru Thurs. – will watch the 2nd & 3rd segments if about politics.

11:36 – 11:40 – Tonight Show, Leno usually opens with the political material.

Sunday Mornings are key:   (from 9AM thru 11AM)

Meet The Press (NBC) – Tim Russert – numero uno;  60 min.

This Week (ABC) – George Stephanopoulos – Bill Clinton’s campaign mgr.

Face The Nation – Bob Scheiffer – very civilized and polite (sadly retiring in January next year);  30 min.

Late Edition – from 11AM – 1PM on CNN

Fridays on PBS – 20 min into the PBS NewsHour with Mark Shields;

and their half-hour show Washington Week In Review (at different times in every city).

#1  Website:

honorable mention to:,

#1  Magazines:  The Economist, Newsweek

#1  Newspapers (online and paper):  {tie}  Washington Post, New York Times – near-top, just click on “politics”

from, left-most column, click on “Politics”

#1  Network TV news dept.:  (in order)  NBC, ABC, CBS

#1  cable TV Network:  C-SPAN (1, 2 and 3), followed by MSNBC, and CNN third.

#1  Polling resource website:

#1 interviewer:  Tim Russert  (NBC, MSNBC)  he asks the best researched questions, and Never interrupts the answers [take note Wolf Blitzer] this alone makes him the best.   And I believe history will show, he was the person to coin the “red state / blue state” phraseology.  (honorable mention to: Chris Matthews)

#1  Radio Station (networks):  NPR!  by a gazillion miles.   CBS stations are the best of the rest.

#1  Columnist:  Tom Friedman  (#2 {but mostly for fun} Maureen Dowd)

#1  Foreign Reporter:  John Burns, NY Times

#1  U.S. National Reporter:    David Broder, Washington Post

#1  Time for Politics on TV:  Sunday mornings (NBC, ABC, CBS, CNN)

#1  Political Strategist:  {tie}  James Carville (Team Clinton) and Howard Dean  (DNC)

#1  For Fun:  “The Daily Show”  11PM most places, Mon-Thursday only.  (Comedy Central)  Stewart has been very ON this summer and fall.

#1  Edward R. Murrow Meets Lenny Bruce Newsman:  Keith Oberman  (MSNBC, 8PM most places)

#1  Wonderful Laugh and Smile of any Political Broadcaster:  Norah O’Donnell (NBC/MSNBC)

Super-smart and unbiased brains / reporters / pollsters etc. I always pay attention to:

Zbigniew Brzezinski – National Security Advisor under Carter, (Polish-born) who I think actually is being retained by the Obama campaign as international affairs advisor.

Seymour Hersh – New Yorker

Fareed Zakaria

David Gergen – U.S. News & World Report

Jonathan Alter – Newsweek

Bill Schnieder – CNN’s brilliant senior pollster

Frank Rich – NY Times

Chuck Todd – NBC / MSNBC – senior political advisor, very smart

Amy Stoddard – The Hill magazine

Howard Fineman, Newsweek’s chief political writer;  NBC/MSNBC analyst

John Harwood – NBC senior political analyst

Charlie Cook  — The Cook Report

Chris Mathews – MSNBC

Jeff Greenfield – CNN

Stuart Rothenberg – Roll Call

the two political operatives geniuses of our time:  James Carville and Howard Dean – I always listen to anything they have to say.



For one of the most historic events in American history — check out my Obama Inauguration Adventures.

For how Woodstock promoter Michael Lang used my reports in his book — check out how Obama’s Inauguration was like Woodstock.

For an account of the most jubilant night in the history of New York — check the Election Night 2008 Adventure

For a night in New York that started out just as joyous — check out the Election Night 2004 Adventure.

For the kind of creations that got us across the historic finish line — check out my poem and video for Where Wayward Jekylls Hyde.

For an on-the-campaign-trail adventure — check out the physical altercation I was in the middle of with Al Franken at a Howard Dean rally in ’04.

For my tribute to a great political reporter — check out my Tim Russert tribute.

For how well these sources work — check out my 2012 election predictions.

… or here’s the 2008 projections — in both, I’m over 98% correct.  😉



Brian Hassett  —   —

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