Dangerous Media, part 2
I have talked about some of the dangerous aspects of main stream media in the past. Recently I was reading The Black Swan, in which the author argues that watching TV news, listening to news on the radio, and even reading newspapers actually makes you less informed (and dangerously so) than if you were to tune out completely.
The argument goes that all media is biased, and if you watch, listen or read more, it simply enhances that bias while giving you a false sense that you are getting more information and different perspectives. And since all of the one-to-many forms listed above have the same inherent biases and incentives, your confidence goes up without increasing your actual knowledge. A lot of biased information and misinformation is worse than none at all.
While The Black Swan makes this point somewhat tangentially, Jeff Cohen brings home the point from the perspective of a former main stream journalist who was forced out for raising these very issues.
Not that I needed any more excuse to opt out of following main stream news, but the above examples and arguments have been enough to make me consciously avoid all network, cable and local television news, not read newspapers, and only listen to radio news as it comes up on NPR* between the shows that I like listening to.
The way I stay up on what’s going on in the world is via osmosis, internet news aggregators like Digg and Reddit, and a few selected forms such as 60 Minutes and The Daily Show (which actually does a great job of highlighting the bias, spin and manipulation coming from MSM). I suspect I’m not alone in this shift. I also realize that my mix is not perfect, especially when it comes to information about the world outside the U.S. So, I’m wondering, how do others get their information about current events, and what are some sources and methods for becoming better informed about the world as a whole?