Tuesday, October 22, 2019

United States of Distraction - Is slow news the antidote for "fake news?"

Chapter one

Is slow news the antidote to "fake news?"

Today we will begin studying the ideas in the United States Of Distraction: Media Manipulation in Post - Truth America (and What We Can Do About It) by Nolan Higdon and Mickey Huff. Get a copy and read along and comment as you are moved.

I don't agree with Donald Trump about much but his complaint about "fake news" seems to me to be legitimate. With the advent and growth of electronic, digital communication platforms and the dying of newspapers and other forms of communication which benefited from editing, it seems that conspiracy theories, misinformation, disinformation, and downright lies and manipulations no matter how suave and sophisticated seem to be the rule these days. Without a public educated in what is called "media literacy" our democracy is doomed to "alternative facts," sensationalism, manipulation, and mob rule.

Ralph Nader writes the forward for the book and he writes in the first paragraph, 

Given the inherent pragmatism of the human mind, the oppressed have often found it safer to believe rather than think, to obey rather than dissent. Today, such a path is reinforced by a plutocratic political economy that allows corporations to dominate mass media, education, and the production of knowledge and memory.

Huff, Mickey. United States of Distraction (City Lights Open Media) . City Lights Publishers. p.15

And so we begin a study of how the corporate media and the digital communication platforms do damage to our national mind and soul.

So much of our media these days are sensationalized, exaggerated, and designed to be "click bait" because it is emotionally arousing rather than informative. To counter act this practice of hyperbole and "breaking news!!!" we have created this blog devoted to what some call "slow news," meaning news that has stood to some extent the test of time. The news cycle for slow news is measured in months and years not in hours and days. As you watch or read the news, you might ask yourself, is this going to important to me one year from now, five years from now, ten years from now?

Action steps:

Name the 3 media providers that you most trust and 3 that you don't trust. Explain your choices.

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