The September 4th service afforded us a look at the subject of the modern media and specifically how we get our news and information. Prior to the Industrial Revolution (steam-engine powered printing presses made the 19th Century business of newspapers) and the electronic age - radio, TV and the Internet - it wasn't that easy to find out what was happening in the world. The famous Battle of New Orleans during the War of 1812 was fought AFTER the peace treaty had been signed!
Every innovation has brought good and bad and the bad of so many people getting so much of their news and information from social media and blogs is that so much of it is false or misleading. Why? Not because of some big conspiracy but because of the need to pay for it with advertising. Advertising revenues depend on an audience. And an audience depends on sensational attention-grabbing - and often deceptive - content that the media has little time (and little incentive) to fact-check and verify. Episodes like the forced resignation of USDA employee Shirley Sherrod in 2010 are among the foreseeable results. The integrity and quality of public discourse about important public issues are also adversely affected.
We also had a Moment of Science about Yale researchers finding that the simple act of searching the internet makes people overconfident about their knowledge and understanding of unrelated subjects.
What do you think about the media and its role in and effects on society?
Postings about each monthly service includes topics discussed and an open forum to further discuss those topics.
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