BOSTON (CBS) – When cable TV and the internet came of age with the promise of news on demand and an endless supply of information at your fingertips, we were told it would make us the best-informed citizens ever.


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The web, it turns out, is the most prolific conduit of lies and disinformation ever created. And while it’s true that all sorts of source material is readily available, you still have to seek it out. Letting others do the work for you is a terrible mistake.

Which brings us to Monday’s disclosures of the indictment of former Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort and an aide on an array of fraud and conspiracy charges, and the plea deal with a former Trump campaign advisor who admits to a range of contacts with Russian officials and an interest in dirt they said they had on Hillary Clinton. These documents are readily available online. You can read both of them in about 15 minutes.

Why bother?

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Because you can judge for yourself if the Manafort allegations sound plausible, and draw some useful insight into who he is that can help you analyze additional info about him that may become public later.

In the case of the advisor, George Papadopolous, he has pleaded guilty to the charges therein, so you can add those agreed-upon facts to your understanding of the Trump operation.

Since these stories came out, partisans on both sides have been furiously promoting their spin on what they mean.

My advice is, don’t out-source your opinion to them.

Read the documents here and here and make up your own mind. Being an informed news consumer means sometimes, you have to work at it.

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Talk back to me via email at, or use Twitter, @kelleratlarge.