(This is part 7, read part 1 here).
This issue has it's roots in the excessive level of anonymity. I gave several links on that subject in the post on anonymity, but here's one more, on a study of the behavior of masked trick-o-treaters, and the increase in bad behavior associated with anonymity. People say all kinds of awful things online, under the cloak of anonymity, with virtually no fear of consequences.
But the accountability issue goes far beyond that. Watch the news coverage of any major story. The "Facts" are all over the place. Here are a few links regarding a couple of recent events...
Many of these fallacies did not come from random bloggers or anonymous attention seekers. These came from the "Hallowed halls of Journalism". The people we are supposed to be able to trust to get the story correct.
There is a certain irony in that last link. Walter Cronkite was considered the most trusted man in America at one point. He was thorough, meticulous, fair, impartial, and accurate in his reporting. It is said he personally required three solid sources to verify a fact.
No longer is this the case. And why would it be? There is really no consequence for getting it wrong. It is more important to get it first, than to get it right. In a few months, these crimes of inaccuracy will be forgotten. And those who perpetrated them will have moved on to the next great misadventure.
And thus we, the citizens of 21st century earth find ourselves swimming in a morass of misinformation, disinformation. and non-information.
Is it fixable? Yes, I believe it is. Not easily though. I suspect it will take something rather drastic, something approaching a "new world order".
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