Do you think our instant access to opinions and information through the Internet is helping our political process or hindering it?
You know, once upon a time when we read say a political essay, we pretty much knew that, whatever side that person was on, they had some responsibility to be writing truth. If they did not, the newspaper or magazine for which they worked, would fire them, Today people read blogs, listen to radio programs and have no clue how much that person really knows, what their expertise might be, and even whether they lie. But they take what is said as gospel when it fits their preconceived opinion and is on their side of the political divide. If you have a certain agenda to press, it's not hard to find a lot of links to buttress up your viewpoint or make it look like it is solid information. Frank Rich talked about this on Sunday --
Thanks to the Internet, writers can put out a post without spelling anything, knowing how to use punctuation and with places like Twitter and Facebook, it's not even possible to tell if they know how... or even if they wrote the words-- yet by some it will be taken as truth without further checking. These sites and the 'information' (using that word loosely) on them are not accountable to anybody. If they are popular, whatever they say will yield thousands of drones pressing 'like' who think they just heard something deep and important.
Worse when I turn on any news program, I am likely to have to hear what the robo-politicians said; so even if I avoid Facebook for my truth meter, I will hear the statement on a regular news program which in my case might be intended to horrify me but for others hearing it on say Fox, it'll be-- yep, that's how it is. Is it?
Part of me thinks this new media, with its speed of getting out ideas, is great. We can research things that we'd have spent months doing before-- but how do we know our research site is truthful? No publisher is fact checking much if any of it.
Part of me thinks this whole thing is proving very useful for a certain group of people, people with a lot of money, and they don't have my best interests at heart. Yet with newspapers going down, less magazines, limited numbers of news programs on television and mostly owned by a few people, what is our choice for getting information today?