Mar. 6th, 2017

garote: (chips challenge eprom)
Traditional journalism pursued three things: 1. An impartial presentation, 2. From verified sources, 3. Of information that can be used to participate meaningfully in society. That third thing has a subjective element to it, and it is often what journalists spend the most time struggling with, because it's how they determine what to pursue, and what to ignore.

Needless to say, almost every single piece of "news" that crosses our path via the internet is none of those things.

We should keep that in mind, as we fritter away our time online getting "informed".

There is almost no such thing as mainstream or traditional media at this point. Sure, we've still got some good sources - off the top of my head, there's the Associated Press, chunks of CBS news, chunks of NPR - but these sources are separated from us by a massive filtering apparatus, made up of our friends and family, our peer group, and algorithms designed by corporations.

Because of this, what is the "mainstream media", to our current American society, from children to adults? When we are asked to identify the "mainstream media", where should we be pointing?

At ourselves.

Clickbait, editorializing, blog posts, "free" content wrapped in advertisements... For some reason, we assume that the information we feel most interested in consuming next should also be the most unbiased, truthful, and useful to us. Being highly-educated is no escape: It makes the assumption stronger. Even though the highly-educated might make fewer mistakes, their self-confidence leads them to cause much more damage when they do make a mistake. The problem goes deeper than lack of education.

Here's what I think happened: We all got collectively sick of sitting in a dull schoolhouse learning about civics and finance and history, so we got up and wandered over to the amusement park. Now years have passed, and we're complaining that the merry-go-round and the hall of mirrors haven't made us any smarter.

We know what's missing, but we're not willing to leave the amusement park.

How do we get out of here? Or, should we even be trying to leave, knowing that the dull schoolhouse will just make us pine for the amusement park again?


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