Clay Shirky’s “What I Read” asks the question, how do people deal with the massive amounts of information being dumped on them on a daily basis?
- Random Fox News coverage.
My media diet is the standard American fix. A bold mix of biased, partisan nonsense who’s influence can only be dissuaded by my own skeptical nature. The number one trait of a good journalist is someone who can always ask a question. Personally, I don’t feel like what I watch or everything I read particularly means anything about me. As long as you can keep an objective mind state during a Fox News presentation, you can get the information you need to form your own opinions.
It’s like a judge in a court room. He does not state a verdict based on who spoke longer, the defense or the prosecutor. He listens to both sides who are clearly working in their own self interest (and may not even care a damn about the defendant) and he makes his own assessment of the facts.
What I read, outside of print news which is virtually the same as broadcast news, are books like Malcolm Gladwell’s “Tipping Point” or “Blink.” Paulo Coelho’s “The Alchemist” (currently). Books on spirituality and the way some men perceive the universe to work.
What I take from these books is very similar to how I handle my news. Being a devout Baptist, I do not read Charles Darwin and say “He’s right. Absolutely right. God is some creation of man.” I read Darwin and accepts his theories as just that, explanations of how things work. Darwin does not tell me to believe anything outside of facts, like the existence of God but, I figured that one out on my own.
Journalists have a few key roles in society. One is the watch dog role. To always be watching and always keep the world in check. We cannot succeed in our watch dog responsibilities without asking the necessary questions, following significant leads to get every last possible fact.
Sometimes we should believe and advocate nothing until we read and watch everything.
P.S. Malcolm Gladwell’s books are phenomenal.