Information Disorder: Toward an interdisciplinary framework for research and policy making

Claire Wardle, Hossein Derakhshan, Shorenstein Center, Nov 05, 2017
Commentary by Stephen Downes

In view of the epistemic crisis in the U.S. today this report on informaation disorders (109 page PDF) is a timely contribution. But I fear it does little better than identify the problem; the solutions are stale, sterile, and would be ineffective. The analysis is interesting: it proposes that media are being used not for the transmission of information, but rather the conduct of a ritual. "A ritual view of communication does not consider the act of reading a newspaper to be driven by the need for new information. Rather, it likens it to attending a church service. It’s a performance in which nothing is learned, but a particular view of the world is portrayed and confirmed." Or as McLuhan said of newspapers, "You get into them, like a warm bath." But the solutions they propose show no recognition of the consequenses of this analysis. Media collaboration, fatc-checking, metadata sharing, etc., will have no impact on the phenomenon. Via Michael Caulfield.

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