Nic, Bupkis and Nichevo

About Nothing, by Nothing, with German-flavored cleavage occasionally thrown in for local color.

Location: Indianapolis, Indiana

You can email me at NicBupkusNichevo at aol dot com. Aren't you excited?

Tuesday, January 18, 2005

From Belmont Club

This process of corruption has pulled a curtain of suspicion over all information products. No longer is it possible to rely on the assurance of a brand name. Each item of news must now be sniffed, examined, poked and weighed to determine its authenticity. Collateral confirmation, once the staple of skeptical intelligence analysts, is now the task of every sophisticated newsreader -- at least those who want to avoid being taken for a ride. Once the media itself became an informational battleground the most natural greeting in the dark became 'who goes there?' That skepticism has in part, empowered the blogosphere, which provides some filtering for readers too busy to do it themselves. Yet the blogosphere is not in principle immune from any of the corroding influences of fear, money or influence, as the readers of Armstrong Williams and the Daily Kos discovered to their disillusionment. We are, in James Jesus Angleton's famous phrase, in a 'Wilderness of Mirrors', though he himself had the idea from T. S. Eliot.

So who *do* you trust? And how can you know if they're truly trustworthy? Obviously, there's no such thing as purely neutral speech and reportage. Critical theory (ugh, yuck, ptooie) teaches that the very act of selecting which information to report automatically puts a slant or a spin on that information. How do you choose to believe, say, the guys at Powerline over Juan Cole? Or Jeff Jarvis over Blackfive? How much is your gut, and how much is comparing notes with other sources to figure out which version of events, which truth, is more believable? And, once you've made that decision, do you reconcile the idea that the truth you've chosen is the "right" one, the one that means everyone who doesn't agree with you is wrong? What do you read and absorb that makes you look at a set of data and see voter fraud where someone else, looking at the exact same data, sees instead poor planning?


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