Blogging – Too Much News? Too Many Questions?

This recent article about how a well-written blog has made the case against the White House and Justice Dept. for the firing of federal lawyers has me thinking about a more general issue: As blogging becomes an increasingly larger force in how we get and interpret the news, will news itself become more gossip-oriented, and more prone to creating near-irrelevant issues from which complaints can be based on?

It seems like the answer is “yes,” but let us not be so quick to move there. For it is true that good media provides information and lets us decide for ourselves, and blogs have been a valuable source for me regarding getting news that has otherwise been neglected. Furthermore, blogging allows access to the local and the specialized, and that cannot be dismissed as something minor. It makes the “news” less “news,” and more about connecting with people who are real citizens with real issues and learning what their concerns are, and what solutions they want.

And yet, all those positive things blogging does can be seen as the reason why “news” will get more gossipy and more receptive to conspiracy theories as it will have less a sense of what should be a priority. A tremendous amount of information, even if it pertains to a particular locality or is being analyzed by someone who knows better about a field, does not by itself guarantee any sort of rationality on the part of those receiving (or even giving!) the information. In fact, think about the people you know in your life who are legitimate experts on certain topics. They are unrelenting sometimes in their views – they couldn’t possibly be wrong about such-and-such because they know better; they have to know better, for the topic is already narrow, they can tell a ton about it, and they are supposedly expert.

Aristotle begins his inquiries into Ethics and Politics starting from what he calls “common opinions” (endoxa, if i remember correctly, “en” = in & “doxa” from “dokeo,” “to seem”). Such “common opinions” he considers authoritative if they are uncontradicted by anything else. His reasoning may have to do with their lack of making claims to having expert, particular, voluminous knowledge on a topic, but rather is based in how they seem to claim authority from their usefulness, that society gets by everyday without questioning too rigorously. Our society says to question everything, and in that initial movement, perhaps, we lose sight of what is most important.

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1 Comment

  1. Hi Ashok. By the way, your blog’s not boring! And I like the way you think — with logic and lots of common sense! I read your comment at ProBlogger, where the post was about having a blogging partner. You were saying that sometimes one does not appreciate another’s talent, and does not choose another when they should. That’s an excellent point. I have been reading through this blog, and you have many excellent points, and I haven’t found a post I haven’t agreed with yet. Perhaps I need to put you on my blog roll. Actually, I don’t have the blog roll yet. I just started my blog, in the sense that I just moved it from AOL, in which AOL blogs just closed down, and I had to migrate the blog, and am just now fixing it up. So if you check it out, keep in mind that it is not how I want it yet, with the widgets I want yet!

    Okay, I’m going to go poke around a little bit more in this blog, then head off to my own. Have a nice rest of the week.

    Krissy :)

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