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The Age of Misinformation? - Comments (0)
Tyler Steele - 9/8/2011
he Age of Misinformation?
Many people say that we are living in the age of information. We have more information readily available to us than our predecessors ever dreamed of. However, how much of this information can we trust? The news media communicates vast volumes of information, and people rely on it to keep them informed. But is the media really telling us the whole truth? Are they leaving out important information? I recently heard that Wisconsin now has a significant budget surplus due to the controversial laws passed in March of this year. You may remember this event. Gov. Scott Walker and the Republicans tried to enact laws that reduced the collective bargaining rights of the teachers’ union. There were protests at the state capitol and the Senate Democrats left the state, but everything was finally passed. The media covered the protests against those laws very well; everyone knew about it. But not a word has been breathed about the issue since then. So, to find out more about this budget surplus I did some research. The only article I found that discussed the current issue stated that there is now a $300 million surplus. However, the article went on to say that only one-third of that surplus is guaranteed and that it will not be available until the next budget year. The other two-thirds is dependent on the reinstatement of a state estate tax. Interesting. Two other articles however were surprising. From two different articles I read two different accounts of the budget situation in Wisconsin before the March laws were passed. One said that Wisconsin’s deficit arose from Republican political over-spending. Another contradicted that, saying that Wisconsin had a deficit due to large outstanding debts. Both cited the same independent report. In fact, as I continued I found more contradicting, but supposedly reliable information. The truth is much harder to find than it should be. It looks to me like one could find an article supporting any position with seemingly credible reports and figures. But if one were to look at another article, the opposite position is supported by reports just as credible. Why is there not one truth!? These articles can’t all be right. Unfortunately the few major agencies that dominate the news can manipulate the truth to say whatever they want. The truth is out there, but it is sometimes buried beneath a sea of contradictions. We need news organizations dedicated to propagating the whole truth and founded on moral integrity. But until such news agencies exist, we must not accept what we are told at face value. We must carefully evaluate and seek out the whole truth. Otherwise, we may one day wake up to a nation that has changed in ways we never intended but that we brought on ourselves.
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