Friday, February 17

Oxygen Depleted Discussions -

Although I often enjoy skimming the Meme-orandum group of websites, too often this business deteriorates into a shopworn echo chamber of squawking parrots. I tend to become more acutely aware of this problem when I have already been following an issue myself.

A good illustration of this problem is the recent book deal between HarperCollins and the Perugia study abroad Seattle student. Mediagazer uses the same sources over and over again until they exhaust all the oxygen in the room. What is left is stale air.

Mediagazer lists its main source as Julie Bosman at Media Decoder, which is deceptive and misleading. Media Decoder is just a blog at the NY Times. After a brief synopsis comes "Discussion," but there is no discussion.

None of those listed contribute anything new to the public discourse. There's no new commentary or analysis. Just the same parrots squawking the same stale information over and over again.

This makes for a very comfortable circle jerk for those inside the echo chamber of Mediagazer, but, by now, this group of parrots has used up all the oxygen in the room and their repetitions are just tiresome noise.

What does this mean for the rest of us? It means that it is important to get your news from a variety of sources and that the sources we depend on shouldn't always be the same sources.

At this point, Epistemologists are probably laughing up their sleeves, because it is becoming easier and easier every week to spoof the news.

Easier than ever to report stuff which cannot be verified, which is pure confabulation, which is concocted and then endlessly repeated until it becomes almost an Urban Myth.

The American Media has been very busy lately creating its own form of Reality TV in which avatars are being used simply for their entertainment value.

The obligatory cautionary note:

Don't believe everything you read.