reply to post by schrodingers dog
I'll have to read the paper here after while, since I'm currently precluded from extended periods at my PC. I'll definitely comment appropriately
after a full read, since I've taken a light interest in psychology and behavior lately. I'm reading "Society and It's Discontents" by Freud..
(wonder if it'll explain ATSers?) while I wait for Steve Pinker's Blank Slate: Modern Denial of Human Nature which, I gather, discusses how
evolutionary behaviors and instincts our ancestors carried continue to play active roles in human society - and how the idea of being born with no
inherent programing is wrong
Now, I thought this tendency to seek out complimentary rather than contradictory views was already rather well established and accounted for?
Complimentary views validate our opinions, and boost our self assurance. They provide comfort in communities of like minds where members are generally
friendly to each other so a to work towards vague set of common goals with familiar moral dispositions and outlooks. Contrary views tend to be avoided
as they involve wandering into alien territory where different moral metrics you're not familiar with are favored, and flared egos can quickly lead
dissenting opinion into defensive actions if your views come under attack - leading to verbal or physical conflict. Not to mention humans are
opportunistic creatures, and if we can avoid attrition or the diligent effort to ensure the reasons we hold the views we do are correct regardless of
preference - then many simply will. Rather than confront their own opinions with as neutral a mindset as can be and work to refine them - it's simply
easier for many to not question their established opinions and morals, insulate themselves in a tribe or group with similar views, and rely on
strength in numbers than put their own ass on the line.
"If you want truth to stand clear before you, never be for or against. The struggle between "for" and "against" is the mind's worst disease."
This is nothing new, though since this study was published in 2009, it's probably an effort to provide serious investigation, gather raw data, and
learn just how well the results matched up to our predictions and previous assumptions. According to a Pew Research study in 2007, people who got
their news from the internet were generally no more well informed on world events and politics than those who watched mainstream outlets - meaning
that those people that advocate getting their news online over the MSM are roughly equivalently misinformed as the MSM viewers. I don't have time to
dig through all the data now, but it's
here if you want to
check it out yourself.
One of the reasons proposed for this increased misinformation is the increased demand for local amateur news reporters (bloggers) and the speed at
which the news must be reported. Inexperience, bias, and strict deadlines increase the rate at which misconceptions and errors are reported - and once
online, it's propagation is far too fast to offer retractions or corrections. You can't "stop the presses" online. Once it's passed at least a
cursory editing and it's published to the web, it's worldwide for everyone to read, and it can't be rescinded.
Once again, the above is an oversimplification due to time. The article can be found at the following link.
Internet News: The changing nature of Journalism
My initial take (which may be covered in those papers) is that while the above papers make some valid arguments - I wonder to how much does the
propagation of lazy pundit style reporting (more speculation and sensationalism than information) and partisan politics to independently run news
blogs and social networking sites. Since news is "interpreted" or commented on by each blog owner, you have far greater opportunities for
misinformation to grow and spread due to the myriad of blogs and social networking groups which have popped up and gained followings in ever divergent
ranges of views which cater to specific ratios of shared morality and views among their attracted readers... instead of more even handed slanted
reporting by major news outlets trying to cater to a much more divergent crowd.
Too many cooks in the kitchen spoiled the soup, as it were.
And of course, this is possible because - as your OP stated - many people find it easier and more comforting to simply gravitate to like minds and
like morals, than to force dialog between contrary viewpoints.
Personally, I try to make a conscious effort to seek out contrary opinions and hear what they have to say as well as speak my mind. For instance, I'm
not a conspiracy theorist and I do not - in any fashion - consider ATS to be a reliable source of accurate information. Frankly, some of the members
here make me almost physically ill reading their abandonment of reason for superstition and their utter abandonment of humanism and philanthropy in
favor of narcissistic social policies that (if actually instituted by a government) could only be seen as totalitarian.
Yet here I am.