What you read is what you become
All that noise in the digital world is what fills your mind. Do you trust the world to keep it neat?
Traditional media holds much sway over public perception. Media can make or break people, campaigns, events. A couple of examples:
By focusing intensely on topics they want us to notice, media can make us notice certain topics that we wouldn’t otherwise want to notice. Also, by taking up our attention and exhausting it, media prevents us from noticing other things that are worth noticing.
For example, Gujarat Files, which’s a scary book about a “Prison Break” style state control over citizens, has gone unnoticed by media outlets and therefore wouldn’t be noticed as easily by public.
Media is mostly concerned about what’s newsworthy. And news is dangerous and should be avoided [pdf, 0.5MB]. For example, if 100 people die of diabetes on a day there’s no coverage of that, but if the same 100 people die in an accident, the story is all over the news. And therein lies one of the many reasons why news isn’t all good [same pdf as above].
If traditional media is so dangerous, what about the newer media?
Newer media (social media, instant messaging apps) are designed to hijack people’s minds. These are more dangerous than traditional media in that they not only create crap for you to see, but also control what you see (censoring, silencing, promoting, being biased, abusing power) and keeps you coming back for the same.
Facebook’s “trending topics” has recently been discussed for possible biases but the entire newsfeed of Facebook is a much more dangerous biased stream.
And, we have not even begun to politically regulate websites.
The filter bubble is getting stronger by the day. People are having radically different ideas about the same topic because they live in echo chambers where they see what they like and do not see what they do not like.
What we can do is to stop giving them too much power
- Stop consuming junk news.
- Quit Facebook, at least install add-ons like PrivacyBadger that prevents sites like Facebook from tracking you all over the web.
- Promote good journalism by reading long, insightful articles from investigative journalists.
- Read books.
- Go back and read all the links I put in this post.