There is an overload of “information” out there about the Russian invasion of Ukraine — some true, some false and a lot in-between. How can anybody make sense of it? We asked two trusted, news-savvy friends for help. Tom Jones is senior media writer at the Poynter Institute, which owns the Tampa Bay Times. He puts together a daily newsletter, and he is accustomed to sorting out the truth. So is Angie Drobnic Holan, the editor-in-chief of PolitiFact, the fact-checking website owned by Poynter. What sources to turn to for incisive analysis on the quickly unfolding situation? Here is Tom’s guide and Angie’s list.
* Clarissa Ward and Matthew Chance, CNN reporters in Ukraine. Nothing beats feet-on-the-ground reporting and CNN has set itself apart from all networks because of its extensive and exhaustive coverage from Ukraine. These two reporters — Ward and Chance — in particular have shown their exemplary prowess and courage by going into areas and reporting on the human condition of a brutal war. Chance even landed an interview in an undisclosed bunker with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky.
* Jennifer Griffin, national security correspondent at the Pentagon for Fox News. There are times when Fox News guests and even some commentators stray from the facts to make a partisan point. What makes Griffin so good and valuable is her experience and knowledge allows her to fact-check those guests and commentators in real time. Several times since the crisis in Ukraine began, Griffin has called out comments on Fox News that simply haven’t been true. That helps give Fox News credibility when they easily could have not had it.
* The Kyiv Independent Twitter feed. Over the past two weeks, the Twitter feed of this English-language journalism outlet has been invaluable because of their real-time reporting. In addition, so has the Twitter feed of Kyiv Independent editor-in-chief Olga Rudenko and The Kyiv Post.
* The New York Times, Washington Post, NPR. Yes, these are obvious, but these news outlets have reporters actually in Ukraine and nothing beats reporting from those who are actually there to see, hear, smell and feel what’s going on. NPR’s coverage is notable for being able to tell the often gut-wrenching stories of everyday Ukrainians who are trying to survive this brutal invasion.
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* PolitiFact. My colleagues at the Pulitzer Prize-winning site go through extensive dissection of stories and quotes, as well as deep reporting, to decipher what’s true and what is not. A go-to site to find out what you can and should not believe.
I get my day-to-day coverage from the Washington Post, the PBS Newshour, the New York Times and CNN. In addition to those sources, I read and listen to the following people:
* Journalist and historian Anne Applebaum of The Atlantic has been writing updates and analysis of the unfolding situation in Ukraine that combine both American and European perspectives with key historical context. Her prescient book, “Twilight of Democracy: The Seductive Lure of Authoritarianism” foresaw the political currents that led to Putin’s invasion of Ukraine, and it’s well worth reading for anyone who’s interested in Urkaine and the growing sympathy for authoritarianism in America.
* Tom Nichols’ email newsletter Peacefield, also housed at The Atlantic, promises “a newsletter about the survival of liberal democracy in the United States and around the world, plus contrary, often curmudgeonly takes about everything from nuclear weapons to classic rock.” Nichols is a specialist on international security, including U.S.-Russia relations, nuclear strategy and NATO issues. Recent topics have included how the U.S. should respond to Russia’s nuclear provocation and Putin’s lack of exit strategy for its invasion.
* Charlie Sykes, the founder of The Bulwark, hosts a weekday podcast that typically focuses on U.S. politics, offering a conservative critique of the far-right. Lately, though, Sykes has focused on the Russian invasion of Ukraine and its implications for democracy. His guests have included former chess champion and democracy activist Garry Kasparov, security specialist Clint Watts and journalists covering the conflict.
* Fact-checking news organizations in Ukraine include VoxUkraine and Stop Fake. Both groups offer English language versions of their work, and both are verified signatories of the International Fact-checking Network’s code of principles, which means they’ve been evaluated for their independence, fairness and transparency.