29 December 2006

Banking on Benkler

Trust Yochai to give us a way forward - and some hope:

In the mass media environment, there was a general culture of "I saw it in print, therefore it must be true." This culture led to a relative atrophy of critical faculties, and made the public sphere highly manipulable, or simply prone to error. It is not, for example, that well-trained media critics could not point out the dozens of ways in which any given news report or television program were biased or incomplete. They could. But the readers, viewers, and listeners by and large adopted a trusting relationship to their media. We long spoke about the need to teach critical television watching. But that never happened, really. I think as a new generation grows up reading things that never have a clear voice of authority, that have only provisional status as inputs, we will begin to see a more critical, investigative form of reading, as well as listening and viewing. The act of reading will be more like an act of investigation, as one picks up pieces of evidence with variable levels of credibility, triangulates them, and arrives at a conclusion that continues, nonetheless, to be revisable and falsifiable. This is the essence of the scientific method. It is high time that people adopt it more broadly. I embrace this uncertainty, for with it comes critical reading. This trend is then strengthened by the widespread practices of cultural production, what I have characterized as the re-emergence of a new folk culture in the digital environment. People who create know how to be more critical users.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

If Bush and Blair say its true "its just gotta be true.p