Just last night, I was explaining to my son, Jack, the reasons for ignoring the media or, if you wish to stay informed, to read the blogosphere as a counter-balance to the MSM (the blogosphere isn’t perfect and it’s not an adequate remedy for the MSM’s ills, but it’s better than nothing).
“Misinformation,” I said, “is far worse than no information.”
I gave him this example: I’m planning on a large greens garden this year: spinach, kale, chard, and ten types of lettuce. Let’s say I hear that a blight is going to wipe out all lettuces this year, so I don’t plant the ten types of lettuce. And then in November I hear that the blight information was bogus. In that case, misinformation cost me.
Of course, the flipside can occur as well: There could be a blight coming and I don’t hear about it, and then I’m out the effort and cost, but this only highlights the need to keep your sphere of knowledge very small: when it comes to something like the garden, I can rely on my own observations, plus I have recourse to first-hand knowledge to verify information and to debunk bogus information.
There is no effective remedy, I told Jack, to the misinformation fed to us from our nation’s capitol and, even worse, the international scene. This is greatly troubling, especially when our leaders want the voters’ support to go to war.
And then this morning, I read this by Theodore Dalrymple:
Having on a few occasions been something of a foreign correspondent myself, I have learned to be skeptical of what I read in such correspondents’ reports. The days of Scoop are by no means over, and unanimity is no guarantee of accuracy. The bar at the one luxury hotel in town is often where the history, or rather report of the history, of an undeveloped country’s crisis is made. Correspondents are more interested in what other correspondents are going to write than in what is happening on their temporary doorstep. Lies repeated become truths, and truths ignored cease ever to have existed. One of the things that surprised me was the ease with which an entire press corps could accept the most obvious untruth, usually convenient to some interested party or other, without any external compulsion to do so.
He was writing about why he would rather get his information from a plumber from the Ukraine rather than the MSM.
His plumber is our blogosphere.Bookmark it: del.icio.us | Reddit | Slashdot | Digg | Facebook | Technorati | Google | StumbleUpon | Window Live | Tailrank | Furl | Netscape | Yahoo | BlinkList