In my search for better news sources in the sea of leftist, rightist, moderate, etc., I have discovered that the news you read is typically aligned with your belief of what resonates as truth. Having had several interactions with people on Twitter lately, I’ve found a very disturbing trend that I think is part of the problem. There are several people who have now blocked me on Twitter after accusing me of being a troll. Whether I’m a troll or not remains to be seen, it meant something different back in the day when I did online gaming. A troll on Twitter seems to be a person that disagrees with your viewpoint or opinion. Oh, were you waiting for a more detailed description or definition? Yeah, me too. My experience is that it has now become impossible to have a debate on Twitter with someone else since it has now become so easy to filter and block out anything or anyone that makes your opinion questionable. No wonder the online space has become so polarized and divisive.
Taking sources of news out of the picture for this paragraph, it would appear to me that a rogue report or stray tweet that seems legit based on the number of retweets and likes will often be taken as fact. Upon further scrutiny though, the report or stray tweet doesn’t hold up and replying as such to the originator of said tweet gets probably one or two volleys before you’re called a troll and summarily blocked. How can that be considered anything other than seeing the world through your own set of rose-colored glasses? Everything requires scrutiny, checking, re-checking. The scientific method is applicable to almost everything in that you can pose a hypothesis, develop a theory, test it, and repeat as often as needed. I ask myself the question “is this real?” as many times as articles and tweets I read. Two or three verifiable sources with multiple facts to back those sources, then checking the facts further generally will yield results that can be trusted. This of course takes time and patience, and as we all are aware, both are in short supply for the majority of the American public.
Now, turning the sites onto the news sources (mainstream media), there is a news source for every walk of life. News is published when there are people to consume it. A site like CounterPunch.org leans right. New York Times and Washington Post leans left. The truth I’ve discovered is that there isn’t any unbiased, non-left, non-right news source out there. They’re all slanted one way or another based on the audience they’re publishing the news for. If you’re aware of a news source that isn’t biased in any way, please share as I’m looking for something that is literally just the facts. As most of my news is typically op-ed’s, I have to take large swaths of time to make sure that what I’m reading is the truth. To share or not to share, that is the question?
No one is really right, or wrong. Technology has created this ideology of an information island. You surround yourself with people that think, feel, and express themselves in the same way. You congregate in blogs, forum groups, Twitter feeds and share news with each other that reinforces the beliefs of the group; in other words, self-reinforcing group-think. Those of us who find their way onto your information island that aren’t cut from the same grain, an anomaly in the matrix, a sneaker in a closet of wing tips; are properly dismissed and thrown to the sharks to find another information island to invade. What we’ve lost the ability to recognize is that in order to grow and learn as a people, we need to question the norm and listen to others that don’t agree with us. The founding fathers, I’m sure, had their detractors and enemies, but they persisted by working together to create the Declaration of Independence; eventually signed by everyone. Abraham Lincoln pushed The Emancipation Proclamation at a time when a war was being waged over the very subject of slavery. I know he had his detractors and enemies, but persisted by finding solutions that forced compromise on all sides for the greater good. The trend to reject a different idea or opinion because technology makes it easy is extremely troubling to me and something I make every attempt not to get sucked into.
I’m proud to follow In Saner Thought and John Liming’s Blog because they both have opinions, views, and ideas that more often than not differ from my own. Regardless of whether I choose to alter my view or not, I’m thankful for the opportunity to offer my own comments, receive comments in return, and in some cases we agree to disagree. That’s OK. We’re entitled to have disagreements and differences, that is truly what makes us such a remarkable species. No one is threatened, no one is fighting. Amazing what adults can accomplish when their minds are open enough to accept that we’re all different in our own ways. The news should be straight facts, like it used to be, so that we can discuss our views and opinions in a healthy manner without the threat of violence. That’s something we’ve started to lose on a scary scale.
Interestingly, I heard a programme on BBC Radio 4 about the very same thing last night. Thanks for more food for thought.
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I’m coming to think such a site doesn’t exist. It’s exhausting to think the filter will always have to be on, but it makes sense, too. It’s almost like we got here by too much trust?
I don’t engage in most “debate” on Twitter, the same way I won’t engage in person. If someone’s entire objective is to say “you’re wrong!” there’s just no willingness to genuinely listen and engage. It’s flame war, not.discourse. I’m looking for opportunity in real life, and it’s yielded some good discussion. Too much happens online right now, so that I truly believe that’s a situation that hurts us. So I’m trying to be careful about when and how I engage, because there’s too little time to waste in useless (even destructive) pursuit.
I miss not having to ask all these questions all the time, but … I should’ve been asking all along. Wish I had, but I’m getting better by the week.
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A debate is healthy when there are two opposing views, discussed respectfully, with the purposes of either learning (from the other person) or teaching (the other person). What we have created with technology is an ability to say “you’re wrong” and then block any further discussion to the contrary. Some people just don’t know how to properly debate or have closed minds, I don’t waste my time with those people.
I need to engage with people because I’m hungry for more data, a close-minded person trying to convince me I’m wrong is like being given an empty plate at dinner. It won’t make my hunger go away. What I need is people like you, R.R Wolfgang, John Liming, Lobotero, Michael Tracey, and Glenn Grenwald. 🙂
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I was just writing a post on “truth”, and this resounds with my own ruminations. How can we grow as a society, if we cut out the “noise” of people who disagree? I was blocked by disagreeing with the hatred someone was spewing, and they labeled me a “mindless idiot” and blocked me simply for expressing a different opinion. I may have insinuated they were being childish for devolving to name-calling, but I can’t quite recall. :p
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