Best political sites: Liberal, conservative, and nonpartisan

There are people on all sides of the fence who use the following sites as sources for their own political understanding.

Now that the U.S. has witnessed a peaceful transfer of power, some in the country are saying that it's time to unite. And while that may be possible for some, others still frequent political commentary sites that aim to sway public opinion in one way or another.

There are people on both sides of the political fence--left or right--that use the following sites as sources for their own political understanding and to help them formulate their own agenda. To those folks, these biased sites provide value. But to some, nonpartisan sites are important and they want to hear the unbiased truth. Either way, politics is an extremely contentious business. And whether you're looking for liberal-leaning posts on the greatness of President Obama or conservative discussions on the problems with the president's stimulus package, you can find it all in the following sites.


Conservative sites

Drudge Report
Drudge Report may just be a collection of links, but critics say they tend to lean to the right. Perhaps that's because Matt Drudge, the site's founder, became famous by being the first source to break the Monica Lewinsky scandal after Newsweek decided not to publish it.

Since then, Drudge Report has become a daily haven for conservatives who want to take aim at liberals. It works: Drudge Report has over 3 million unique visitors each month, according to its internal figures. Conservative rating: 4 out of 5

Michelle Malkin
Michelle Malkin may be just one person, but her conservative punditry has ignited fierce debate across the Web.

Malkin first started as a newspaper reporter over a decade ago. Since then, she has become a well-known conservative thinker, nationally-syndicated columnist, and author of three antiliberal books. She updates her blog daily with antiliberal and right-leaning opinions. Conservative rating: 5 out 5

National Review Online
National Review Online is the online version of the conservative magazine of the same name. Designed for the Republican or conservative, the site features news, commentary, and opinion on some of the most important political happenings of the day.

The National Review is widely considered one of the most influential conservative publications in the world and as it explains in its "About" page, it constantly aims at providing the "right's take" on political issues facing the world. Conservative rating: 4 out of 5

TownHall
The self-proclaimed, "No. 1 conservative Web site," TownHall provides political commentary and analysis from more than 100 leading conservative columnists to "amplify those conservative voices in America's political debates."

TownHall takes aim at the barriers between news and opinion and provides an arena for conservatives to espouse their opinions on the state of the world. The site is often updated with discussions on why President Obama's policies may hurt the world. Conservative rating: 5 out 5

The Weekly Standard
The Weekly Standard made its debut in 1995. Since then, the publication, which is edited by William Kristol and Fred Barnes, two Fox News contributors, has become one of the leaders in the conservative punditry space.

Unlike National Review, which reports on the news, The Weekly Standard's writers opine on the political events from the week and the site is populated with columns written specifically for the print version of the magazine. Because of that, it doesn't offer much unique online content. Regardless, it's still a popular destination for those who don't want to spend money on the subscription. Conservative rating: 4 out of 5


Sites for liberals

Daily Kos
Started in 2002 by Markos Moulitsas, Daily Kos provides liberals with an outlet to express their anger with the right. The blog is filled with left-leaning opinions on the day's topics and traces its roots back to "those dark days when an oppressive and war-crazed administration suppressed all dissent as unpatriotic and treasonous."

It must be working. The site has more than 2 million daily visits and a full list of paid staffers that churn out content. Liberal rating: 5 out 5

Huffington Post
Although Arianna Huffington, Huffington Post's founder, claims her site does its best to provide content outside politics, the vast majority of its visitors go there for liberal commentary on world events.

That said, Huffington Post does feature many more news stories than it did in the past and most seem to be more objective than those found on other left-leaning sites. But once you dig into the comments and columnist commentary, it becomes blatantly clear that Huffington Post still has a solid liberal following and it does its best to cater to that group. Liberal rating: 3.5 out of 5

LiberalOasis
If you're looking for one of the most liberal sites on the Web, look no further than LiberalOasis. The blog has a stated goal of "revitalizing liberalism" and provides commentary on the political world each morning.

The vast majority of those posts take aim at conservative thinkers and Republicans in Congress, while being apologetic to left-leaning politicians and ideals. The site also features a Links section for those who want more content from liberals and features posts from other sources across the Web that fall in line with its agenda. Liberal rating: 5 out 5

MoveOn.org
More of a political action committee than a content site, MoveOn.org has enjoyed growing popularity thanks to hard-hitting commentary on former President Bush and other major Republican figures.

As the organization's "About" page explains, MoveOn.org "conducts major campaigns, from its work to protect the Supreme Court from a hard-right justice to its campaign to defeat the right wing and elect moderates and progressives in 2008."

Although it stumbled in 2004 when Bush won the presidential election handily over Senator John Kerry, MoveOn's influence helped Democrats take control of both houses of Congress in 2006 and see President Barack Obama become the 44th president of the U.S. Liberal rating: 5 out of 5

The Nation
The Nation proudly calls itself "the flagship of the left." It should: the publication, which has been operating since 1865, frequently attacks conservative thinkers (a recent blog post pokes fun at conservative pundit, William Kristol, for losing his column in The New York Times op-ed page) and heaps praise on the left.

The Nation provides readers with videos, podcasts, and a student section where it aims to enlighten those in post-secondary schools. All the while, it plans to "wage war upon the vices of violence, exaggeration, and misrepresentation." Liberal rating: 4 out of 5


Nonpartisan sites

Not every political site has an agenda, however. Here are sites that, by not taking anyone's side and focusing on in-depth research, provide a nonpartisan view of the world of politics.

FactCheck.org
FactCheck.org is a self-proclaimed "nonpartisan" site that tries to hold politicians accountable. And by providing a wealth of research, it does a fine job.

Instead of espousing one side's beliefs, FactCheck.org tackles a politician's record or major issue and sets the record straight. It performs in-depth research to find out if both sides are being truthful in their statements on a subject and allows the reader to formulate their own opinions off the collected facts. It's a great source for those who want to cut through all the politics.

Political Base
Political Base is a structured wiki that allows readers to edit much of the text, giving the site's community the opportunity to compare data, while still creating and editing the political content. The site is broken down into money, people, issues, elections, and other categories and each features posts taking one side or another.

Political Base also provides information on political candidates, including public data on campaign donations and a full listing of celebrity donations. The site features commentary from all sides. And although some posts are extremely liberal and others are extremely conservative, the simple fact remains: the site provides all views.

Disclosure: Political Base was founded by CNET Co-Founder, Shelby Bonnie

Project Vote Smart
"Picture this: thousands of citizens (conservative and liberal alike) working together, spending endless hours researching the backgrounds and records of thousands of political candidates and elected officials to discover their voting records, campaign contributions, public statements, biographical data (including their work history) and evaluations of them generated by over 100 competing special interest groups."

That's Project Vote Smart in a nutshell. The organization provides outstanding information on every current or prospective elected official and does what it can to inform the public about the respective person's entire history. Its research is exhaustive and its accuracy is never put into question. Project Vote Smart is one of the best nonpartisan sites on the Web.

Spot-On
Spot-On originally started in 2003 as a forum for Chris Nolan, the site's founder, to express her opinions on politics. Since then, the site has grown into a syndication platform where clients can acquire articles on the site and place them into their own publication.

Armed with more than 10 writers, Spot-On provides readers with viewpoints from both sides of the aisle and allows its writers to say whatever they think. The content is individually liberal or individually conservative, but taken together, the site's vision is nonpartisan.

About the author

Don Reisinger is a technology columnist who has covered everything from HDTVs to computers to Flowbee Haircut Systems. Besides his work with CNET, Don's work has been featured in a variety of other publications including PC World and a host of Ziff-Davis publications.

 

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