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Saturday, May 12, 2012

Do you want news or affirmation?

As I think about our hyper environment these days...instant access to news and information in particular... I am am amazed at how many people confuse the very basic concepts of "news" and "affirmation".

Now before I go any further I will say right up front that every source of information has a bias. Hell, as human beings I don't think that we can help ourselves when it comes to bias. It permeates just about everything we do, and that's okay. No (specific) slam against Fox News intended, but there really is NO SUCH THING as a truly "fair and balanced" news gathering organization. Period.

Given my point that all news reporting is biased, I contend that there really are only two kinds of current events information consumers out there:

Those who seek to be informed
Those who seek to be affirmed

And there isn't much in-between these two camps.

How are these two groups differentiated? I think the easiest test lies in where each group gets its information. Those seeking affirmation seem to almost always rely on a single source for information. My younger brother is a great example: he would not even consider geting his news from any source other than Fox News. Conversely, my mother rarely moves the news dial past MSNBC. While both organizations may occupy different ends of the news spectrum, they both have something in common: a certain predictability that those seeking affirmation find appealing. With predictability comes comfort...comfort knowing that orthodoxy isn't going to be challenged...comfort knowing that the effort required to be informed is greatly minimized.

Personally I seek news, not affirmation. I want my conventions and suppositions to be challenged. I don't want comfort in my information gathering...I want information. I recognize and embrace the bias I see, read and hear in the news. Here is a typical news gathering cycle for me, roughly in a daily chronological order:

NPR/ Morning Edition (radio)
Drudgereport (web)
Fox News (web)
MSNBC (web)
Scranton Times (print)
CNN (web)
CNET (web)
Varoius Blogs (local and national)

It seems like a lot, but it really isn't, and in point of fact I don't spend hours reading the news each day. I do find, however, that somewhere between the reportiing of each news organization most likely lies the truth, whateverr thar truth might actually might be.

Am I claiming that it is better to be informed than affirmed? Not necessarily. I am claiming though that seeking affirmation instead of information represents a different perspective. Oh, and being affirmed does not make you well informed.
posted from Bloggeroid

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