Friday, March 29, 2013

Chaos and Order

I've been reading newspapers lately, especially the Wall Street Journal and the New York Times (because I've got direct access to the papers). I'm more of a new news media person myself, but I can never really forget the time I spent reading our local paper when I didn't have access to the internet at a younger age. I naively and presumptuously read the newspaper thinking most of what they wrote was likely true, or at least reliable. I hold no more such illusions.

It makes me laugh, though, when I read comments from members of the old news corps drumming a beat against the new media. The new media is chaotic, they say. Unreliable. Disordered. Contradictory. The old way was better, they say: "...I think we were better off as a society when we had fallible but reasonable people sorting out what mattered and what you needed to know about it." 

I wonder if they even see the arrogance of their own position. They act as if they were the only people reasonable enough to sort the news and choose what was important. I do agree with them on one point, though: the new media is disordered, unreliable, and contradictory. Personally, though, I'd rather have contradictory reports that I can sort out myself than ordered sources convinced of their own superiority feeding to me what they've decided is important. At least the new media acts as if their readers are smart enough to analyze things on their own.

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