How do people deal with the torrent of information pouring down on us all? What sources can't they live without? We regularly reach out to prominent figures in media, entertainment, politics, the arts, and the literary world to hear their answers. This is drawn from a conversation with Gavin Newsom, the former mayor of San Francisco, the current lieutenant governor of California, and the author of Citizenville.
The first face I stare into every morning is Chuck Todd's, who looks right back at me in the mirror while I'm brushing my teeth. I'm obsessive about the placement of the TVs in my house so I keep one right next to the sink. Every morning at 7 a.m., I'll rotate through the morning shows from CBS to ABC, but Chuck Todd is a constant.
The device I go to next is my iPad for Mike Allen's Playbook. I'm a West Coaster so I discovered that newsletter a bit later, but it's become my must-read. After that, I work my way into local media. (A must for any California official.) Thus, it's the Sacrament Bee, the San Francisco Chronicle and the L.A. Times.
Next I go to one of my favorite apps: Flipboard. It's essentially a personalized magazine that has my Twitter stream, Facebook feed, Google Plus and blogs all in one place. In terms of websites, it's got everything you'd expect from a politician with a bias toward technology. I read Mashable, I read All Things D. I'm not sucking up, I promise, I'm a longtime fan of The Atlantic Wire. I also read BuzzFeed Politics, Time, Slate, Salon, Drudge (I admit it), HuffPo, Ezra Klein and Guy Kawasaki, someone I admire greatly.
Another key app in my morning routine is Nuzzel. It's still in beta, but it takes all the news trending on Twitter from my follows and easily represents it in the app. My mornings used to get crushed by everything happening on Twitter, so Nuzzel is a huge plus. One of its founders is the guy who started Friendster.
For social, I have to confess, I'm developing a bias for Google Plus. The circle of friends is interesting and I'm getting more richness and depth and creativity than I do on Facebook.
I was in the restaurant and wine business before I got into politics so food magazines are great when I have the time, like Wine Spectator or Wine Advocate, the bible of wine periodicals. In terms of politics, I'm a good Democrat, but I've become more appreciative of David Brooks. He's the guy standing on the balcony when we're all on the dance floor caught up in the stats of the day. Then there's Tom Friedman. He's not just on the balcony, he's 30,000 feet up looking at the broader trend lines.
For TV, I enjoy Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert. But also, let me just say, I would be desperately happy to guest star on Veep. Every time Selina walks in and asks if the president called, and the secretary says "No ma'am," there's a familiarity there that rings a bell. I'm not going to understate how much I appreciate the narrative and the brilliant writing. Maybe I could carry the vice president's coffee as a new intern. If you know anyone on the show, I'm just saying, I'm cheap. I'll pay my own way.
What I disdain in punditry is self-righteousness and the over-indulgence of ideology. If I had to name one pundit who gets under my skin it would be Michael Savage. I listen to him periodically and he'd be very proud to hear me say this because he goes after me every other week: He gets under my skin but he's entertaining. In fact, he's an unbelievably entertaining. Much better than Rush Limbaugh, who I find boring and empty inside. Nothing inspires Savage's hatred more than San Francisco, but the guy's here three to four nights a week! When I was mayor, he just had a field day. It was 2004 and it was gay marriage and you couldn't have written a better script for him. He just had a lot of fun at my expense and I hate to be objective about it, but it's so bloody entertaining I just sit there and say 'Damn, not bad.' But Limbaugh I just find boring.