The Decembrist has a fascinating post on how to read a presidential budget.

But as this month of strategic leaks begins, it’s time for a reminder that presidential budgets are political documents — they are not actually guides to what the government will really spend in the next fiscal year. And to understand this one as a political document, here is a brief guide to the four different kinds of cuts that will be in play.

I’m not going to read the presidential budget, of course, but it feels good to know that I’m not even qualified to do so. This is really why trust is the most important thing when it comes to being a consumer of media. In the new Internet world, you can find the original source documents for just about everything, but interpreting most source documents takes a level of expertise that is out of reach for just about everyone who isn’t a pro in that field. So while you may be able to fact check people, checking their analysis is another thing entirely. It then comes down to deciding who you can trust and then cross checking where you can to make sure your judgement is still valid. Staying informed is a tough job.