[FoRK] Democracy is for Brights

J. Andrew Rogers andrew at jarbox.org
Sun Mar 4 15:20:03 PST 2012

On Mar 4, 2012, at 2:06 PM, Stephen Williams wrote:
> The rise in blatantly dishonest talk radio (Rush) and TV/"News" (Faux(non-local Fox)) seems directly aimed at co-opting these mechanisms to encourage poor choices.  Sad.  While there have been disinformation campaigns before, these are particularly well polished and consistent.  

This did not start with Fox News or talk radio, it is as old as journalism. People interpret the news media confirming their biases as honesty. Everyone thinks everyone else's preferred news source is chock full of highly polished disinformation. And they are all correct.

When I find myself agreeing with a journalism outlet on some topic, I take it as a sign of my own ignorance. The source does not matter. This heuristic has proven to be highly robust, almost without exception.

If you compare some popular topic as presented in the media to the totality of academic work on that topic done to date, all mass media outlets are blatantly dishonest in a way that transparently supports some popular agenda. No one is interested in honest, best-effort media; it is boring, technical, and requires thinking. People want their biases to be confirmed, dammit!

> It seems their discredit is growing slowly though.  The only analog in the US at similar scale was religious organizations, some of which have now been discredited and diminished quite a bit.  (Listen to Catholic leaders about sex much?)

Nothing has changed. Do not conflate people choosing different blatantly dishonest sources of information with a reduction in blatant dishonesty consumed.

J. Andrew Rogers
Twitter: @jandrewrogers

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