Got a couple of questions
I'd meant to ask them before. So let's ask each other now. Also, 7 other things worth knowing today.
As I mentioned yesterday, I’m planning to do an Ask Me Anything event next week. Anyone can offer a question or topic idea (link below).
I’ll schedule the event for Tuesday at 3 p.m. ET, via live video stream for premium subscribers. Also, I’m happy to have a few premium members actually appear on the video with me, so you can ask questions in real time and we can make this more of a discussion than a simple Q&A.
Now, since you’re going to get a chance to ask me questions, maybe I can ask you to answer a couple more for me in return. In fact, there’s a big, glaring topic that I kind of forgot to ask about in the survey we did just a few weeks ago.
In short, I’d like to ask about your politics and your media habits.
This comes up all the time with readers—asking me about my political stances, and why I choose to write about some things and not others, and why I link to one source over another.
I can understand why people want to know, especially when I think some readers think they have me figured out. Heck, I think I’ve written here about the two emails I got back to back, in response to the exact same newsletter, from a pair of readers with obviously differing views:
Reader #1: “You're clearly in the tank for Trump but for some reason I like reading you anyway.”
Reader #2: “I would call you a ‘libtard’ but that wouldn't be polite. Even so you're my favorite ‘libtard,’ the only one I can stomach.”
More recently: Last week, I heard from a reader calling me out for linking to Fox News and the New York Post in the “7 other things” section,” and from another reader criticizing that I cite the New York Times and The Washington Post.
Now, I’ve come to believe that Understandably has two great strengths. Well, maybe more, but these are the two I’m thinking of.
The first strength is the immense store of collective wisdom and experience, encompassing all kinds of things. I could list 100 examples here, but time and space are short.
The second strength is that I know for sure that our readers don’t all agree with each other—far from it. Almost every other media entrepreneur in 2022 would say this is a big problem with Understandably as a media venture.
Obviously, I don’t agree. I think it’s extremely valuable to be one of the only places I’m aware of where people who vehemently disagree with each other somehow manage to do so without being at each other’s throats.
(Last week, YouGov.com, which is a serious polling company despite having kind of a silly name, released a study on trust in media and political affiliations. It turned out as you might expect: We’re a divided country and we can’t agree even on basic sources of facts.
The only source of information that Democrats and Republicans even roughly agreed on? The Weather Channel.)
Anyway, I’m not planning to change anything, but I am very curious to know who you trust, and where you stand—behind a piecemeal, “whoever happens to feel strongly enough to email me” sample set.
So, as a bit more than a typical Friday comment thread, I hope you’ll take a look and answer the questions. I’ve kept this survey anonymous, too, just like the other recent one.
It’s shorter. And at the very end, you’ll find the “Ask Bill Anything” suggestion link. I hope you’ll check it out.
7 other things worth knowing today
President Emmanuel Macron and far-right rival Marine Le Pen on Thursday launched a final push for votes in working class heartlands of France after a pre-election debate marked by bitter clashes. The stakes are huge in the election Sunday, a rematch of the 2017 run-off between the two candidates. That earlier contest was easily won by Macron but the margin is far narrower this time. (France24)
Applications for unemployment benefits inched down last week as the total number of Americans collecting aid fell to its lowest level in more than 50 years. About 1.42 million Americans were collecting traditional unemployment benefits in the week of April 9, the fewest since February 21, 1970. (AP)
Warner Bros. Discovery is shutting down CNN+ as of April 30, marking one of the company’s first significant maneuvers since completing the merger of WarnerMedia and Discovery less than two weeks ago. Reportedly only 10,000 people were watching it each day. (Variety)
Actor Cuba Gooding Jr. pleaded guilty to forcibly kissing a worker at a New York nightclub in 2018, calling himself a “celebrity figure” who meant no harm. (ABC News)
The Russian foreign ministry announced Thursday that it's sanctioning more than two dozen U.S. citizens, including Vice President Kamala Harris, by denying them entry to the country. (NBC News)
Officials in Houston, Texas, have voted to require all bars, convenience stores, game rooms, nightclubs, or sexually-oriented businesses to install surveillance cameras and make footage from them readily available to police. To access video from the cameras, police officers will not need a warrant. (Reason)
Older people are kinder and more satisfied with their lives, in part due to the fact that their bodies produce and release oxytocin, a neurochemical widely known for its role in social attachment, interpersonal trust, and generosity. "It’s also known as the 'love hormone.'” (Brain Tomorrow)
And of course—please consider filling out the (shorter) survey on political beliefs and trust in media.
Thanks for reading. Photo credit: Pixabay. Want to see all my mistakes? Click here.