03.05.18 | Truth in Media

There may be no better way to close out the subject of Truth in the postmodern world than with a reckoning of social media’s role in shaping perception. 

An article published in the current issue of the Boulder Weekly, Democracy Destroyer Democracy destroyer, chronicles what’s essentially the print media’s Faustian bargain as it trades its collective soul for eyeballs. The pact is understandable at one level. Print media, having been decimated by declining ad and subscription revenue, hunger for an expanded reach.

Social media's internet platform thereby beckons. But at a cost. The cost is that print media are forced to play in a different world — a world more commonly associated with the reptilian brain than the neocortex. Reliance on social media traffic thereby threatens to suck the news outlets into a vortex of defining deviancy down.

Facebook to print media: who’s my bitch.

Truth becomes the first casualty. The postmodernist notion that truth is (can be) a matter of perception clears the way for a feedback loop between news and pop culture. The loss of the traditional editorial function further threatens the demarcation. Facebook has, in fact, replaced much flesh-and-blood judgement with algorithms.

Over-hype and emotionalism (sub-thinking) thereby threaten to prevail. Witness the (reported) Russian fake news ads to fan the flames. Accordingly: “You hear what Red just said about you? . . . You hear what Blue just did? Ain’t Red awful! Damn, Blue’s awful! Let’s you and Red fight!” Even induced strife can work to tear apart a country.

We will be joined in our session by Joel Dyer, editor of the Boulder Weekly and author of the Commentary Commentary: It takes a village… of idiots accompanying the focus article. Our discussion will center around the contention that the current click-bait news media dynamics no longer best serve a functioning democracy.

We will discuss the Boulder Weekly's journalistic dedication to the needs of an informed electorate rather than to some social media algorithm. Solid independent journalism is needed now more than ever.

- Steve Smith.

Steve SmithComment