In a country as lucky as ours, the First Amendment protects the right of any industrious individual to create a blog and put down his thoughts on everything from Nazism to quantum mechanics. That, of course, doesn”t mean their musings are right. The role of gatekeepers”whether in media, academia, or art”is to sift through the bullshit and incorporate novel thoughts into the existing body of accepted truth. W.H. Auden wrote that “we have all accepted the notion that the right to know is absolute and unlimited.” The idea that “the only knowledge which can be true for us is the knowledge we can live up to” is “crazy and almost immoral” to us. The rise of the internet has only exacerbated that belief.
The mind-set dooms efforts to build a common understanding. Societies without trusted arbiters of truth devolve into intellectually chaotic messes. Just look at the puerile babble happening on college campuses. Students are creating their own realities, and forcing them onto the rest of us. Nobody can tell them “no” because they reject any voice that isn”t their own.
When President Obama recently denounced the “wild, wild west” atmosphere of news curation, he was excoriated by the right for flirting with censorship. He had a point, though: The internet is full of fallacies. But the only reason people are going to alternative sites like Drudge Report is because the media is so rotten to the core, the smell turns away anyone who isn”t a blind Hillary voter.
The mess is the press” own doing. Until they purge the activists pretending to be journalists from their ranks, fringe outlets will continue to have sway. The chances of that happening, though, are about the same as Bill Clinton wearing a chastity belt.
At least we have Trump TV to look forward to.
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