From : onlinephilosophyclub.com/forums/viewtop ... ;start=435
I think this is a rich topic and one where we can express our issues with "fact finding", knowing how to interpret data, and being on guard regarding the general sensationalism necessarily present in todays media climate. Given that most people don't have either the time nor the inclination to visit their local libraries and sift through the epic works of renown scholars, what is it that they can do to best get a fuller picture of world/local events?
Post #440 from above link.
I guess this is now the question of how we decide how to assess sources of information for accuracy. I suppose in theory we should be able to just read a single source, like the Guardian or whatever, because one of the basic skills that professional journalists should have, and exercise, is the ability to assimilate information from several different sources. So they should be doing the job of checking sources, and not just relying on one, for you.
But we all know that it doesn't entirely work like that and we have to do some of that cross-checking from multiple sources ourselves. I suppose the extent to which we have to (or can) do that now is what is sometimes called the rise of "citizen journalism".
That is a very important debate for todays environment and could create some very lively and much needed discussion. There seems to be a very horrible habit of cherry-picked scientific data that is purposefully misrepresented and sensationalized simply to sell some products, be they stories or actual item for practical usage.
I have heard some of the 'top journalists' talk about how most people in the field are hacks who do little to no research. A hard-working and dedicated journalist, in my mind, would be one that repeatedly amends and revisits certain articles they've put into print before (sadly I imagine the "news companies" tend not to encourage such actions, and that public opinion may very well sway toward discrediting anything the journalist says if they admit they may have missed some information.)
I remember hearing about Orwell commenting on his work in the BBC where he knew he was lying (hence Room 101), but for the purposes of war propaganda I guess he had a reasonable enough understanding of the world to see the need for counter propaganda in such harsh and dangerous times.
I have mentioned (maybe not here?) how Alan Moore is very critical of fiction too. He is obsessed with research and feels it is extremely important. Today I can imagine that many writers and journalists pushed to meet certain deadlines simply type into google and pull up information that way rather than actually doing some scholarly work. This is why I have great appreciation of scholars who present information in very long and drawn out monotonous text. They at least invest themselves into presenting the subject they are studying without frills or ribbons.
Yes! It's a constant struggle. This tends to be why I am so hard on myself, and others too most likely! I truly believe that the best way to understand anything is to present contradictory evidence and try to build as much counter evidence as you can to challenge your own position.
The problem with doing this is that people will tend to pigeon-hole you as being leftist, rightist, Marxist, liberal, atheist, theist, sociopathic, over emotional, etc.,. I think if you find that you're being looked at by others as holding to a whole amalgam of contradictory positions then you're at least exposing yourself to even more possible angles of counter argumentation than you alone can provide to yourself.
The best we can do is present our take on the information we have and be unafraid of looking stupid. Often the biggest hurdle to get over is our own steadfast positions because we are not inclined to socially expose our intellectual failings without fighting back.