The best thing about the iPhone is that it lets you keep in touch and up-to-date with everything you care about. That might mean checking social networking sites every few seconds, or texting your friends until your eyes melt. It might also mean a near-constant barrage of political commentary and updates. We know you have opinions, and these handy iPhone apps will serve you a high-quality stream of political news, whatever your personal leanings.
National Public Radio is one of the most-respected sources of non-partisan news, in part because the public radio model frees its reporting from commercial interests. Regardless of whether you’re a year-round listener, NPR really shines during election seasons. The NPR News iPhone app makes a good thing even better. Listen to hourly news updates, read written stories, and stream podcasts on demand. It’s as free as always, but donations are always welcome.
The Atlantic Magazine: Digital Edition
If your personal tastes are a little right of center, The Atlantic Monthly is a good place to turn for analysis of the news. Recently, The Atlantic Media Company has gotten in the business of blogging in a huge way, thanks to the ever-popular and ever-controversial Andrew Sullivan. The Atlantic app for iPhone is a convenient way to stay on top of Sullivan’s Daily Dish posts, as well as those of the other members of The Atlantic’s blogging family. The app also contains a dedicated political news channel as something to digest between blog posts.
Believe it or not, the father of communism and the father of capitalism— namely, Karl Marx and Adam Smith— belonged to the same intellectual institution, The Royal Society of the Arts. The RSA is chiefly interested in spreading enlightenment values, like reasoned argument and scientific rigor. It also puts out some really great, TED-style lecture videos. If intelligent discourse on politics and culture is your thing, the RSA Vision app for iPhone is a great place to spend some time. Be sure to check out their engrossing “RSA Animate” series of shorts.
Democracy Now! is a news program for those who are tired of the hype-heavy 24-hour news cycle. The program is just one hour a day, and it’s a condensed, to-the-point summary of world politics and events, with an emphasis on populist freedom movements. That also means it’s a bit left-leaning for some. If you like it, you’re in luck: Democracy Now! has a superbly useful, minimal iPhone app. Democracy Now! for the iPhone features free streaming audio and video of the day’s news, plus the entire archive of back episodes.
Here’s another one for conservatives. The Drudge Report is an old favorite for political junkies, in part because it often breaks stories before the big papers — such as the Monica Lewinsky scandal — and in part because of its uniquely stripped-down, no frills layout. The Drudge Report app brings what’s good about the full site to the iPhone. The stories are still minimal, often ad-free, and helpfully reformatted for the small screen. It also has some handy bonus features, like full-screen viewing and an offline reading mode.
Rachel Maddow has earned a reputation as a liberal pundit and intellectual heir to the Olbermann school of indignant screaming. But this characterization is a little unfair. While Maddow certainly has her liberal views, she is no mere pundit, and she brings a lot of calm, reasoned original analysis, always with good humor and often with a lot of empathy for her opponents. The Rachel Maddow app, by any measure, is a very generous source of content. Stream whole episodes, catch up on Twitter, and listen to the audio podcast, all for free. Also keep an eye out for an Easter egg that features some great cocktail recipes.
The Huffington Post
Here’s one more for the lefties. The Huffington Post is kind of like The Drudge Report for liberals. Instead of the curmudgeonly Matt Drudge, we’re treated to the sensibilities of author and public radio favorite Arianna Huffington. HuffPo is basically a news aggregator with some original commentary thrown in for good measure. The Huffington Post iPhone app is fine way to get all that content, be it news, opinion, or even just some funny viral videos.
Did we forget your favorite political app? Do you think it’s because we have a secret agenda? Let us know in the comments!