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billvon

The age of American unreason

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Susan Jacoby's book talks about the confluence of several factors that are moving us towards an age of unreason - an age where factual evidence is discarded in favor of opinion, where short-attention-span videos replace written material, where pull media allows one to construct a media bubble where one's own opinions are echoed and amplified, completely divorced from reality.

I've noticed a trend on a few other forums (Facebook most notably) where people are posting blatantly false material.  This is nothing new, but their approach to it is.  "OK so it's not really true.  But what matters is the message!"   "Maybe she didn't say that but you know she would have."  "I posted that for information; I'm not claiming it's 100% true."   "It's what they are all thinking."  "What matters is the formatting, not the numbers in the post!"  (yes, I actually saw that one today.)

It's probably not the first time in history this approach has been taken, but it's definitely the first time I've seen it on display so blatantly.

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12 minutes ago, billvon said:

Susan Jacoby's book talks about the confluence of several factors that are moving us towards an age of unreason - an age where factual evidence is discarded in favor of opinion, where short-attention-span videos replace written material, where pull media allows one to construct a media bubble where one's own opinions are echoed and amplified, completely divorced from reality.

I've noticed a trend on a few other forums (Facebook most notably) where people are posting blatantly false material.  This is nothing new, but their approach to it is.  "OK so it's not really true.  But what matters is the message!"   "Maybe she didn't say that but you know she would have."  "I posted that for information; I'm not claiming it's 100% true."   "It's what they are all thinking."  "What matters is the formatting, not the numbers in the post!"  (yes, I actually saw that one today.)

It's probably not the first time in history this approach has been taken, but it's definitely the first time I've seen it on display so blatantly.

Being able to reach so many people at once in such a short time makes it a first, I think.

Great point by the way.  I don't do Facebook much.  I do see what you are saying about the falsehoods though.

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It's also almost impossible to fight.

A facebook friend yesterday shared a post with a massive list of celebrities and liberal types stating they'd been confirmed as pedo's (and some satanists) associated with Epstein, then a source link at the bottom. I checked the source, picked a bunch of names from the list (starting with Obama) - surprise surprise, nothing comes up from the document.

I reply pointing out that the post they are sharing is literal fake news, the source doesn't match the claims in any way. They counter that there are other documents and that these people have definitely been named. I request a source, they provide a link to a 638 page doc of recently unsealed records from some of Maxwell's suits.

I read it, all of it - much was legal preamble or duplicates, so thankfully wasn't as long as I feared. It confirmed my initial rebuttal - the lists are made up to bait people who just want to believe the left is full of baby-eaters. The majority of the docs are deposition transcripts from suits involving Jane Doe #3. I considered her a very credible witness by the end of the reading and learned a lot more about Epstein and Maxwell's activities.

I reply to the Facebook thread with my full assessment - the list is made up, Bill Clinton *is* mentioned as present at times on the island but is not accused of abuse, Prince Andrew probably has some explaining to do, and pretty much every other celeb ever mentioned as part of Epstein's circle were just on his plane or at parties, they're not accused. Basically, I did the research my mate said he'd done to inform himself and concluded he hadn't researched shit, but held short of calling him out on that.

He dug his heels in, said as part of his reply "While yeah ok maybe it will come out that all those names weren't guilty but who are you trying to defend, people are most likely pedos and a part of sex trafficking" then ended the conversation.

No one wants to do the work.

 

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I had a "friend" on FB a while back that posted a meme about Reagan that was completely false. I don't remember what it was, but that is irrelevant at this point. I first politely said that his numbers were off and Reagan never did what he claimed. He insisted that I was wrong. I then found numerous sources that proved that what he claimed was incorrect. I posted the links to those sources. Much to my surprise he admitted that he had been mistaken after reading the sources. You would think that would be the end of it. Maybe he would even delete the post.

Later that day (after admitting that what he posted originally was incorrect) he posted another version of the meme claiming the exact same thing. When I pointed out that he had already admitted that the information was incorrect, he told me that it was his FB page and he could post whatever he wanted on it, then unfriended and blocked me.

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The Pride of Ignorance. Facebook has the capability to block or identify false memes and the groups that trade in them. The alt-right has brought back into fashion traditional tenets of the reactionary, xenophobic, and often racist far-right, bigotry that drives its thinking. Yet Zuckerberg has refused to act because it assists profits.

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Sometime back a my FB "news" feed showed a FB friend in a discussion thread with some other people I knew. The link they were discussing looked questionable as hell, and 2 minutes on Snopes verified the story was bogus. I responded by just posting the Snopes link in the thread.

Then I was promptly attacked by the friend. Their rationale seemed to be along the lines of "it doesn't matter if it is false because it fits our opinion". I didn't bother to respond.

More recently, this persons SO shared the video from Trumps favorite demon/alien-DNA witch doctor.

Now here is the punchline: I became acquainted with this person way back when they were a frequent poster right here in SC, and were (in my opinion), a very good source of information in discussions. They have changed radically since then, apparently falling down the Fox News rabbit hole.

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7 minutes ago, ryoder said:

Sometime back a my FB "news" feed showed a FB friend in a discussion thread with some other people I knew. The link they were discussing looked questionable as hell, and 2 minutes on Snopes verified the story was bogus. I responded by just posting the Snopes link in the thread.

Then I was promptly attacked by the friend. Their rationale seemed to be along the lines of "it doesn't matter if it is false because it fits our opinion". I didn't bother to respond.

More recently, this persons SO shared the video from Trumps favorite demon/alien-DNA witch doctor.

Now here is the punchline: I became acquainted with this person way back when they were a frequent poster right here in SC, and were (in my opinion), a very good source of information in discussions. They have changed radically since then, apparently falling down the Fox News rabbit hole.

There is a well established psychology associated with this. The first way to think about it is a lie repeated often enough becomes a fact. The second is that people who only associate with certain realms of thinking are drawn into the core of that thought. Its like how different married people come to think more and more the same. Obviously Kellyanne Conway and her husband an exception.

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I have been presenting this message for some. All the smart ones through statistics, academic articles, pejorative insults, and biased/prejudiced opinions, and yet, the fact remains that it takes more than reason to change personal beliefs.

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1 hour ago, RonD1120 said:

I have been presenting this message for some. All the smart ones through statistics, academic articles, pejorative insults, and biased/prejudiced opinions, and yet, the fact remains that it takes more than reason to change personal beliefs.

Hi Ron,

'Et tu, Brute?'

Jerry Baumchen

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Over the last decade, it has been scary watching the polarization of mass media. Even scarier is that there are enough: cable TV, youtube, Facebook, Twitter, TikTok, etc. channels that people can chose to only watch those channels that agree with their pre-conceived notions.

Almost 30 years ago, I drove half-way across the USA with Manley Butler, who turned out to be a hard-core Rush Limbaugh fan. He had the Limbaugh Letter, Limbaugh cassette tapes and lists of every time Limbaugh broadcast on any American radio station. By the end of that trip, I had listened to my lifetime quota of Limbaugh!

Now my dilemna is remaining courteous to my Conservative co-workers while also biting my tongue around some of the hard-core Liberal ... who are we kidding ... New Democratic Party ... tree-huggers at my church. 

Bottom line, I need to read a half-dozen sources before reaching my own conclusions.

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There was a little study done and it concluded that the self identified, most extreme conservatives were responsible for 26% of the fake news, while the self identified, most extreme liberals shared 17.5 percent of the fake news. (got mailboxes?)

The reasoning was that conservatives are more cohesive and politically aligned.

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I think this forum is a great way to get a view of both sides of most of the issues of the day.  Sadly some of my friends aren't seeing anything other than what they want to see.

I blame it mostly on the echo chamber that retail has polluted the interwebs with.

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I don't think it's retail that's polluted the web, unless you mean the need of news sources to support themselves, often through the placement of retail ads. People choose what they're interested in, and the internet makes it much easier to tailor your experience, just as churches, housing prices, red-lining, and school choice make it easier to tailor your communities.

One good thing about the smaller number of channels in the past, as well as the smaller number of news sources when we took the paper, was that more people were exposed to the same information. They might read it differently, and focus on different parts of it, but they were reading or watching the same thing. Now we all watch different people's interpretations of the same thing, and think we're watching reality.

Wendy P.

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23 hours ago, ryoder said:

....Now here is the punchline: I became acquainted with this person way back when they were a frequent poster right here in SC, and were (in my opinion), a very good source of information in discussions. They have changed radically since then, apparently falling down the Fox News rabbit hole.

This is the part that really scares me, the degree to which people can change in a short period of time.  People really are susceptible to the influence of their leaders and the people around them.   

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8 hours ago, Coreece said:

There was a little study done and it concluded that the self identified, most extreme conservatives were responsible for 26% of the fake news, while the self identified, most extreme liberals shared 17.5 percent of the fake news. (got mailboxes?)

The reasoning was that conservatives are more cohesive and politically aligned.

2 hours ago, wmw999 said:

I would love to look at that; it'd make a great discussion for a class I'm taking. Of course, if it's your FB friends, it's probably not so rigorous... ;)

Wendy P.

I got it from reading this article that was referencing this study.

The part about being more cohesive and politically aligned was my paraphrase of commentary I've heard on the issue.  Not sure if jives with the study or not.  And I probably should've said "more ideologically aligned" rather than "politically."

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1 hour ago, airdvr said:

I think this forum is a great way to get a view of both sides of most of the issues of the day.  Sadly some of my friends aren't seeing anything other than what they want to see.

I blame it mostly on the echo chamber that retail has polluted the interwebs with.

Just out of curiosity, how has 'retail' polluted the web? How have they created the echo chambers?
Honest question. I see it as more of the 'groups' that form FB pages or join 'subject' forums. 

I fully agree with the first part of your statement.

I'm part of a car forum. The free 'user' membership doesn't include access to the 'off topic' section, so I don't see that.

But considering that the vast majority of the people on that forum are older, white males, the political section is pretty much a conservative echo chamber. A few of the discussions have 'leaked' over to the tech part, and I also read the FB groups for the car. Some of those allow a fair amount of political discussion. 
Not surprisingly, it's pretty strong conservative, and not willing to listen to or consider alternative viewpoints. Very much an echo chamber.

Not here. Although many of the Trump supporters have gone away, there are still a wide variety of views. And not just American ones. 

That's a good thing, IMO.

I'm fairly set in my opinions, but I'm not so conceited that I think everything I believe is correct. 

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4 hours ago, wmw999 said:

I would love to look at that; it'd make a great discussion for a class I'm taking. Of course, if it's your FB friends, it's probably not so rigorous... ;)

Also, I meant to add that the thread seemed to be a bit one-sided so I only really mentioned the study to say "see, liberals do it too!" ;)

 

Also, I don't do facebook or any of that.  My lady showed me a couple things and that place just drives me nuts.  I do have some business related accounts but that's only so prospective clients don't say "wtf, he doesn't have facebook?  How can this be a legitimate business!" :p

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4 hours ago, wmw999 said:

Now we all watch different people's interpretations of the same thing, and think we're watching reality.

A quote from an old science fiction story:

Advanced thinkers, like Vashti, had always held it foolish to visit the surface of the earth.  . . . So [trips] were abolished, and with them, of course, the terrestrial vehicles, and except for a few lecturers, who complained that they were debarred access to their subject- matter, the development was accepted quietly. Those who still wanted to know what the earth was like had after all only to listen to some gramophone, or to look into some cinematophote. And even the lecturers acquiesced when they found that a lecture on the sea was none the less stimulating when compiled out of other lectures that had already been delivered on the same subject. 'Beware of first- hand ideas!' exclaimed one of the most advanced of them. 'First-hand ideas do not really exist. They are but the physical impressions produced by love and fear, and on this gross foundation who could erect a philosophy? Let your ideas be second-hand, and if possible tenth-hand, for then they will be far removed from that disturbing element – direct observation. Do not learn anything about this subject of mine – the French Revolution. Learn instead what I think that Enicharmon thought Urizen thought Gutch thought Ho-Yung thought Chi-Bo-Sing thought Lafcadio Hearn thought Carlyle thought Mirabeau said about the French Revolution.

Through the medium of these eight great minds, the blood that was shed at Paris and the windows that were broken at Versailles will be clarified to an idea which you may employ most profitably in your daily lives. But be sure that the intermediates are many and varied, for in history one authority exists to counteract another. Urizen must counteract the scepticism of Ho-Yung and Enicharmon, I must myself counteract the impetuosity of Gutch. You who listen to me are in a better position to judge about the French Revolution than I am. Your descendants will be even in a better position than you, for they will learn what you think I think, and yet another intermediate will be added to the chain. And in time' – his voice rose – 'there will come a generation that had got beyond facts, beyond impressions, a generation absolutely colourless, a generation seraphically free from taint of personality,'

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Quote

Just out of curiosity, how has 'retail' polluted the web? How have they created the echo chambers?
Honest question. I see it as more of the 'groups' that form FB pages or join 'subject' forums. 

I think cookies played a huge part and when the news services got ahold of that info they force fed us our own beliefs.

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(edited)
32 minutes ago, airdvr said:

I think cookies played a huge part and when the news services got ahold of that info they force fed us our own beliefs.

 

 

It's really not that far from the truth when you see how people eat up all that crap on FB.

Edited by Coreece

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42 minutes ago, airdvr said:

I think cookies played a huge part and when the news services got ahold of that info they force fed us our own beliefs.

Read that back to yourself and see if it makes sense.

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(edited)
28 minutes ago, jakee said:

Read that back to yourself and see if it makes sense.

No I think he raises a very valid point, albeit maybe not stated in a technically accurate format.

Cookies were the first component of webpages to give "persistence" to a users presence online, designed to give a better user experience - remembering you're logged in, user preferences etc.

Big tech over time took that basic concept and expanded it dramatically to build much more fleshed-out user ID's that would remain persistent over multiple sites (Facebook and Google being the two primary culprits). Again, the use-case is for a much better/easier experience for the user, but at this point the goal for the provider is also to be able to target ads at you in as many places online as they can.

And now we have the addition of algorithms that will take note of your preferences and trends within your ID, and use that to spam the shit out of you with anything that looks remotely like it would appeal to you.

As soon as you start looking down a rabbit hole of weirdness, now the tech originally designed for helping you will gleefully strap a rocket to your back and send you straight down the hole, without a care in the world about what dangers lie below. It doesn't matter if you are effected by what you find, only that you consume and consume and they get that sweet ad money.

Edited by mistercwood

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