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To Break Through The News Feed Echo Chamber, Political Opinion Writers Read Opposing Voices


Since algorithms make it harder to find political views we disagree with, where should we go to find them? To find out, we called up several conservative and liberal opinion writers and thinkers and asked them who they read and watch. Amy Goodman, the host of "Democracy Now!," is a voice on the left. She says getting out there and talking to different people is the way she breaks through the silos.

AMY GOODMAN: I read widely so that we are not segregated, you know, on the networks watching many different programs from Fox to Al Jazeera, from MSNBC to CNN, to all of these places.

HU: Here is Jennifer Rubin.

JENNIFER RUBIN: I'm the author of the "Right Turn" blog at The Washington Post. And although many conservatives think I'm not conservative enough, I do report and editorialize from the conservative side of the spectrum.

HU: She regularly reads columnists considered very liberal, including her colleagues at The Post, E.J. Dionne and Eugene Robinson.

RUBIN: When every kid can have a blog and anyone can get on Twitter, you miss those people who have covered presidents and elections and world events for a long time. And so they have a richness of understanding a perspective about how this compares to other events in previous years. And that, I think, is vitally important.

HU: Here's another conservative perspective - Ramesh Ponnuru, editor at National Review. He says even though he disagrees with many progressive opinion writers, he always learns from them.

RAMESH PONNURU: And very often they are trying to respond to the best conservative arguments rather than simply pointing to the worst ones and making fun of them.

HU: Ponnuru follows several liberal writers at The Huffington Post and The Washington Post.

PONNURU: I think that Jonathan Chait of New York Magazine is someone who consistently gives me things to think about and sometimes to agree with but also often to disagree with.

JONATHAN CHAIT: My name is Jonathan Chait, and I write columns about politics from a center left perspective for New York Magazine.

HU: Chait disagrees with most of the conservatives he reads, but he finds Ramesh Ponnuru one of the most interesting. And, no, neither of them knew we were talking to the other. He says he follows commentators and writers across the political spectrum.

CHAIT: I disagree with almost everyone, politically, about something. So there's hardly anyone who I read who I always agree with.

HU: Chait says that making sure he reads and hears other sides of an argument is just common sense.

CHAIT: It's like asking a mathematician, why are you always looking at numbers?

HU: That was Amy Goodman of "Democracy Now!," Jennifer Rubin of The Washington Post, Ramesh Ponnuru of National Review and Jonathan Chait of New York Magazine. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.