By Anna Kubiak
October 16, 2020
As political biases in our country continue to widen the divide between Americans, there are a few simple tools that can be used to find nonpartisan news sources to better understand the ever-changing world of politics around us.
To start, it is important to understand the funding that allows news corporations to spread their messages to their audiences. Many news sources such as Fox News or CNN are funded by an ad-based revenue which has the potential to make them vulnerable to partisan political pressures. To find nonpartisan news sources, simply follow the funding. Independent news sources such as Associated Press and Reuters are considered more reliable by people who wish to strictly stick to the facts. While following the funding is one way to find nonpartisan information there are alternative options presented by sources such as AllSides which offers a unique perspective by providing articles from every side for each topic they cover allowing their supporters to choose how they view each topic either right leaning, left leaning, or centrist. This tool is useful as it clearly displays the difference in reporting for each political affiliation. Another tool worth sticking in your back pocket is a website called PolitiFact. PolitiFact is dedicated to fact checking statements made by individuals or news sources to ensure accuracy. Any comment or story can be searched and verified on a truth scale from ‘true’ to ‘pants on fire false’ complete with their sources listed.
As the stakes for each election rise, some organizations are dedicating themselves to creating more user-friendly outlets for voters to become engaged and educated in the process of government.
Genesee Community College joined the ranks of local democracy supporters this summer when they were selected along with ten other schools to partner with TurboVote, a novel voting platform, for a free three-year membership. TurboVote is sponsored by Democracy Works, an organization that is committed to expanding voter knowledge on all levels of government from local to federal. Director of Student Engagement and Inclusion at GCC Miguel Baique expressed his hope that this partnership will encourage young voters to become “familiar” with the process of voting. Mr. Baique called voting a “civic duty”, one that GCC hopes to promote in its diverse student demographic, including those who are too young to vote, but wish to be engaged in politics in other ways. TurboVote seeks to help voters register, provide information about communities that is correct and easy to understand in a concerted effort to make voting easier overall. By registering, participants will receive information about how to register to vote, when elections will be held, and information about the candidates. Mr. Baique hopes that the easy to use platform will encourage voters to get engaged with their local as well as the federal elections. He spreads the message that all beliefs matter and focuses on an individual’s ability to impact positive change in their communities. He urges people to become educated about local representation and become involved in causes they believe in by reaching out to legislatures and grassroots organizations and communicating with them via meeting or writing to correspondents.
In addition to their partnership with TurboVote, GCC has also made a commitment to an idea known as the 20 in 2020 Democracy Challenge which calls upon voters to spread voting awareness to 20 other people. Mr. Baique hopes that this challenge will encourage students to share useful voting resources and tools with others to promote a culture of civic responsibility. In this time of turbulent opinions Mr. Baique stressed that “[voting] is not about opposition, but about expressing your beliefs” and he hopes that all students will be empowered through taking charge of the direction taken by their legislation and using their voices for positive change within their communities.
These tips can help you navigate a complicated political landscape as well as organizations and platforms solely dedicated to providing you with the tools and information you need to perform your civic duty to the best of your ability. GCC’s dedication to supporting all voters through their partnerships and challenges is a legacy they hope to bestow on as many students as they can.
By Anna Kubiak