Hunger for Truth
The Internet has developed into a revolutionary communication
tool. It gives us the ability to find information from anywhere in the
world. With the growth of social media it has allowed us to communicate
and interact easier. Its popularity has driven traditional media forms,
such as newspapers and magazines to the brink of extinction as more and
more people utilize the internet not just on there computers but on
their smart phones and tablets. Its explosive growth has given us
access to more information and let us be the gatekeepers of what
stories and news sources we want to read from. Our hunger for truth has
given us access to more information but now our own biases are limiting
the spectrum of opinions to various niche media.
The Old Media Guard relayed information to us with very little
interaction between us and them. There were very fewer news sources and
information was only given to us on set schedules. Television News gave
us news at specific times from a “trusted anchor” whose deep baritone
voice added legitimacy to their newscast. If we wanted to gain more
insight we had to wait till the next morning for your local newspaper.
A major reason why people were turned off to these news sources was the
structure behind their deliveries. They designed the schedule and we
had to follow it or we would miss our chance to be informed.
With the birth of the Internet we had the opportunity to
choose when we wanted to read and what we wanted to read. Mainly due to
this new freedom many started to question media biases and their
motives. With the decline of mainstream media millions of niche
Internet media sources popped up. We had the choice to choose what
sites we wanted to read and which we would ignore. The amount of ways
we access information is remarkable considering 15 years ago we were
just limited to newsprint, the radio, and TV. Information has
become readily available and also has made us more selective of what we
As websites become more specialized we could visit sites that
target our own biases. Politically, both the left and the right have
sites geared towards these biases. Here issues you don’t care about are
not reported and your oppponents are ridiculed. In the US, Internet
reading habits have transferred directly to cable news. The
top two news networks are Fox News (right-wing) and MSNBC (left-wing)
while CNN who tries to be neutral is third because they haven’t aligned
themselves with a side which makes them “boring”. Polarizing websites
have not expanded our knowledge but have made our society more
divisive. More quantity of information has not improved the quality of
our news sources. Wikileaks released thousands of leaked
documents but very few actually visited to their website. Instead we
learned about wikileaks from the mainstream media. With more
information available we are not receiving more accurate information.
The rise of the internet has given us such new terms as “truthiness”.
Truthiness as defined on wikipedia, is a "truth" that a person
claims to know intuitively "from the gut" without regard to evidence,
logic, intellectual examination, or facts.
Our own personal desire not to look at the world objectively
has given rise to truthiness. Stephen Colbert created this term, and
"Who's Britannica to tell that the Panama Canal was built in
1914? If I want to say that it was built in 1941, that's my right as an
Making snap judgments on our biases is irresponsible. In the US, over half of Republicans believe Obama wasn’t born there. The state of Hawaii said he was born there, there was a birth announcement in the newspaper the next day of after he was born but for some it just doesn’t feel right. We should not be so ignorant to accept that an idea is true just because it feels good. If we want our media to be objective, we need to be objective.
But is the challenge new? Not every book printed on the
printing press was true, not every voice on radio or TV was telling the
truth. Throughout civilization we’ve hungered for truth. We’ve
continuously strived to find the truth and ideas that were proven not
to be true disappeared. The Internet and Social Media are not providing
us with ideas but simply are new technologies that are making us easier
to share information. With these new tools established media
organizations are going to disappear from their conventional forms on
newsprint but they will be reborn in the new medium where we will need
experts to evaluate the legitimacy of new sources. We have two choices,
do we want to be objective like Socrates:
"The only true wisdom is in knowing you know nothing."
Or like Baltasar Gracian.
“Better mad with the rest of the world than wise alone.”
Triumph of the Right
Nut Free Nation
Collaborative vs Divisive Politics
Updated: March 17, 2011
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