Our legacy media has its hands full managing the official narrative that right-wing extremism is Idaho’s gravest threat. Of course, they’re also desperately trying to discredit or smear all alternative viewpoints.
Why isn’t it enough to simply report the facts and let people draw their own conclusions?
A few years ago, I was among a number of individuals and organizations that used social media to share eyewitness updates of what was happening in the trial of Cliven, Ammon, and Ryan Bundy in Las Vegas. It was surprising how many people were willing to look past the official sources for information that hadn’t been run through the mass media’s ideological filter.
Journalists from national and regional media outlets attended this trial, yet it became clear that a large number of people weren’t relying solely on these organizations for the story. Many followed the trial via alternative outlets like grassroots journalists’ Facebook and Twitter feeds or Redoubt News.
These alternatives were popular because they offered real-time updates and the ability to access the Bundy family directly, including the defendants once they were granted supervised release during the trial. These independent sources were almost always getting accurate information before their mainstream counterparts.
To be fair, both universes had elements of truth and bias. But the major difference was that only one of these universes was willing to admit their bias and let their viewers and readers make their own determinations. The narrative was no longer limited to one that favored those in power.
Naturally, this was upsetting to those members of the legacy media who believe it is their job to keep the public safely within the boundaries of allowable opinion.
There are plenty of nominal journalists who consider themselves the enforcers of the official narrative. Even so, these self-appointed enforcers rarely present a coherent deconstruction of ideas or arguments with which they disagree.
They instead promote ideological purity by smearing dissenters as being “extremist” without ever having to specify exactly what makes them so. Is the free exchange of ideas—both good and bad—too dangerous for our fragile minds to handle?
For that matter, why should we trust such ideologically-driven individuals and organizations to act as our philosophical shepherds?
The onus of vetting whatever information we are considering falls squarely on our own shoulders. Anyone foolish enough to implicitly trust another person or outlet to do their thinking for them is asking to be misled.
Just because there are strange and often incomplete narratives being served up across the political spectrum, doesn’t mean we need greater uniformity in our information.
Instead, it’s a perfect opportunity for the market to provide what is needed through competition. Truth is never at a disadvantage under such conditions.
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