Type in “Barack Obama” or “John McCain” and you’ll get about 66,400,000 results. Yet, finding unbiased, useful and honest information about a candidate is ever somuch harder. Luckily, several non-profit organizations and media companies have popped up websites to help the public deal with a deficit of good information.
An idiosyncratic website, www.procon.org, lays out the proponents arguments and the detractors arguments for some of today’s most controversial political issues, like the Israeli Palestinian conflict, medical marijuana and felon voting.
Combining easy-to-read charts and graphs, giving bite-size statistics as well as giving an overview of the arguments for and against may help voters decide where they stand on propositions such as gay marriage before the November ballot. And for the few that view drinking milk as a hot button political issue, www.procon.org has a section dedicated to the discussion on whether milk is healthy for humans.
Project Vote Smart, whose website is www.votesmart.org, has a much more in-depth website but is mainly focused on candidates rather than political issues. Aside from giving the basic biographical information, www.votesmart.org highlights voting records of each candidate, gives transcripts of speeches, and summarizes their campaign finances. Perhaps the most useful tool on www.votesmart.org is the interest group ratings. Interest groups from the ACLU to the NRA rate candidates based on the proximity between the organization’s political beliefs and the candidates. For example, NARAL gave Obama a score of 100 percent while the National Right to Life Committee gave him zero percent. The website includes candidates running for congressional seats and for governor.
Another unbiased website focused on candidates is www.ontheissues.org. This website is good for short attention spans. Want to understand Sarah Palin’s view on gun control without sifting through interest group endorsements and her recent voting activity?
This website gives five to 10 bullet points which are telling evidence of her position. For example, Palin is a lifelong NRA member and supports ending Washington D.C.’s 32-year ban on handguns.
To find out what is political myth and what is actually going on, www.factcheck.org is a good source. Denouncing the lies in campaign ads, Political Action Committee Reports and that chain e-mail your cousin just sent you, www.factcheck.org finds a rumor, finds out what various candidates have said, and what the truth is.