new media and misinformation

someone said:“The explosion of web sites, bloggers, twitter, and other new media has provided fertile ground for individuals and groups of every ilk and along the entire spectrum of legitimacy to provide information to a wide and diverse audience. The upside is that there is now more opportunity than ever for people to become well informed about all sides of issues. The downside, and more apparent scenario, is that those with extreme or self-serving agendas who, in the past wouldn’t have registered on the national radar, now have the ability to influence others to a far greater degree than they deserve.”

my thought:Is the problem on the “supply-side” or the “demand-side” of the mis-information war?

For an intellectually curious information-consumer, the means exist to fact-check… or at the very least, to triangulate opinions from different sides. Watch Fox, MSNBC, CNN and PBS, and you can hear it all and decide what rings true to you. If someone lies on one side, you’ll hear them called out on the other, and you can cross-reference on Wikipedia and your news websites of choice. Scan through Google News and deliberately click links skewed on both sides of the debate to see what they are saying. You can read both left-leaning and right-leaning blogs.

It’s really not that hard, for an intellectually curious consumer.

So do we really lay the lion’s share of the blame on the feet of the opportunists spewing their particular spin?

When a person only wants to seek out news and opinions that makes him comfortable, the dysfunction and misinformation becomes that person’s responsibility. And it’s a shame that Fox News and blogs and all the rest make it easier for a person to tune in to one point of view and tune out everything else… but is Fox News the problem, or a symptom?

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