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The 5 Political Voices that Mattered the Most This Election Year

By Dustin Rowles | Politics | November 3, 2016 |

By Dustin Rowles | Politics | November 3, 2016 |

The election season is almost over. I know we’re all very happy about that, but before Tuesday rolls around, I wanted to give a shout-out to the tireless efforts of several journalists who have been doing much of the hard work this year. Whatever else Donald Trump wants to say about the media, he can’t fault them for being lazy. These folks have produced insightful, thoughtful, and informative reporting and analysis for the last year, often while traveling around the country 24/7. They deserve respect and recognition.

Katy Tur (NBC) — I don’t watch NBC or MSNBC or the Today show, so most of my exposure to Katy Tur comes from Twitter, or the political reporting that she does on the Trump campaign that frequently show up in my newsfeeds. She’s been embedded in the Trump campaign for a year and a half (God bless), and she has provided insightful, objective, and engaging coverage since the beginning. I genuinely don’t know how she’s managed to remain both insightful and completely professional throughout. I also don’t know how she’s avoided nervous breakdowns. There have been at least two occasions where Donald Trump himself has called her out and provoked large crowds into taunting her during a campaign rally, but Tur remains — as ever — a reporter first. Yesterday, while hundreds of people were yelling at her, Tur offered only:

Despite having endured the abuse of Trump, she doesn’t turn on him personally in her reporting, which makes her criticism of his policies and her coverage of his scandals feel more genuine. After having to be escorted out of a rally by Secret Service agents because of the danger that Donald Trump created, I would probably go on an extended rant about what a sleazy, dangerous asshole he is. Tur does her job instead:

She elegantly spoke of the experience yesterday as a journalist, and not as a target of bullying.

David Fahrenthold (The Washington Post)


Maybe more than any other journalist during this election, Fahrenthold has done what old-school journalists used to do: Find one issue, become an expert on it, and report the living hell out of it. He’s this election’s Spotlight. Fahrenthold has been following Trump’s charitable contributions for months, and he blew the doors off the issue. He’s phoned hundreds of charities to track down contributions that Trump says that he has made (I think he’s only found verification of one), and he uncovered most of the sleaze surrounding Trump’s family foundation (including the fact that Trump hasn’t contributed to it himself in 8 years, and that all the money is used for self-serving purposes). I don’t know that any of it will ultimately make a difference in the outcome of this election, but when it’s over, it may be what puts Donald Trump in serious legal hot water.

Maggie Haberman (The NYTimes)


This is really more of a shout-out to the entire NYTimes political desk, but it’s Haberman’s name I see the most, and it is Haberman who I follow on Twitter. There’s very little that’s objective about the news anymore — cable news and the Internet have made sure of that — so I frequent the Times for reality checks. The political coverage is fair — despite what Trump or even Clinton supporters at times would have us believe — and if things are going bad for either candidate, it’s reflected in the headlines of the paper. The Times keeps me grounded after I’ve had a heavy dose of the more politically progressive publications.

Sam Sanders (NPR)


The entire NPR Politics podcast team is fantastic and has managed to keep me sane for most of the election season. Much of what is discussed on the podcast has already been digested and dissected on the interwebs by the time the podcast airs, but Sam Sanders and Co., weed out the crazy and deliver a heavy dose of politics two or three times a week with charm, wit, and humor. I love these people, and I especially love the way Sam Sanders has so earnestly filtered much of this political campaign through his own background. I have no idea what the political affiliation of the podcasting team is, although they are good, kind people so I assume they are Democrats (with maybe an old-school Republican mixed in), but it doesn’t matter. The only slant in the podcast is toward facts and common sense.

(I also love Keepin’ It 1600 with Jon Favreau, Dan Pfeiffer, Jon Lovett, but that’s not journalism. It’s fantastic, funny, insightful, and validating punditry).

Matthew Yglesias (Vox)


For political coverage and think pieces from the left, there’s no one more thorough than Yglesias (I also like Judd Legum over on ThinkProgress, but he is way more biased, while Yglesias will at least offer criticism of the left where it is warranted). Basically, Yglesias covers everything, big and small, and it’s a full-time job just keeping up with all of his analysis. You like Todd Vanderwerff? You should, because he’s the best TV critic in the business. Yglesias is to politics what Vanderwerff is to TV: Insightful, thoughtful, reasoned, and progressive. Also, funny. And even if you don’t read everything he writes, his Twitter feed is like the perfect aggregator of politics.

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Dustin is the founder and co-owner of Pajiba. You may email him here, follow him on Twitter, or listen to his weekly TV podcast, Podjiba.