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Posts Tagged ‘entertainment’

Last Saturday, Miami Herald columnist Leonard Pitts wrote an article entitled “Get Ready for Conservative Bible” – http://www.miamiherald.com/opinion/columnists/story/1287092.html.  The column appeared in this morning’s Oregonian, my daily newspaper.  Pitts makes a more universal point in talking about the fact that the Conservapedia web site is “correcting” the Bible according to conservative principles and interpretations.  That point is this: we are becoming a society where we only have to listen to, or read, information with which we agree.  Here’s how Pitts puts it in his column: 

“Rather than trust those beliefs to stand or fall in the free market of ideas, some conservatives now apply a kind of intellectual protectionism. So now you have your conservative newspaper, your conservative radio station, your conservative university, your conservative “facts” and, apparently, your conservative God, and you may build yourself a conservative life in a conservative bubble where you need never contend with ideas that challenge, contradict — or refine — your own.

“But here’s the thing: When no authority can be regarded as unimpeachable by both right and left, when no fact can be universally accepted as such, when anything you prefer not to believe is automatically dismissed as a product of “bias,” you impoverish intellect and render informed debate impossible.”

Those of us engaged in tracking new media and teaching it; those of us engaged in public communication of any type, whether making a living or just following trends, have been worried about this for a long time.  No, not worried about conservatives taking over the universe; worried about the larger point of how people are tuning out information, opinions and dialogue with which they disagree.  Complicating the issue is that it had become increasingly difficult to sort out truth from opinion from entertainment.  Witness the mainstream media last week, falling for the story of a complete 180-degree turn by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce on its position regarding climate change:  http://theplumline.whorunsgov.com/climate-change/whoops-reuters-acknowledges-that-hoax-story-on-climate-change-could-have-moved-financial-markets/ 

News moves at warp speed anymore, and in trying to keep up, much of which passes for news is just not credible stuff.  How do we educate our young people to have discerning minds without turning them into complete cynics?  How do we once again grow a country which is intellectually rigorous and willing to consider different information which may actually change our minds?  These are questions we’ll be having to answer for a long time in the future.

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