Sunday, April 10, 2011

Bust your news silo!

By Nick Sorrentino

It’s funny. There seems to be 2 streams of news and debate right now. There is the debate that is going on on TV and in the pages of the New York Times and the Washington Post. Then there is the discussion going on online and on Facebook and in other social media. They reflect 2 completely different realities.

This morning I am watching Fox News Sunday (don’t worry I’ll watch Chris Mathews too) and the panel is discussing whether the budget compromise was a win for the President of for the GOP. The left folks Mara Liaison, and Juan Williams are working up a lather, and so is Bill Crystal. Brett Hume is not because his heart wont beat faster than 50 beats per minute. They are all convinced that what happened on the Hill this weekend really matters.

It does of course. But not nearly as much as the folks on TV think.
For people who believe that the sun rises and sets depending on what the federal government decrees it is entirely understandable. They truly believe that world will end if the government is “shutdown.”

Many Americans agree with them. But I think many of the people who continue to agree with what is still the mainstream consensus also get most of their information from “legacy” media. This has more to do with age I think than political disposition.

My mother still watches the nightly news like it’s 1985. She still reads the local newspaper, in newspaper form. My bet is that many of my parent’s generation , the generation that votes in disproportionate numbers, continues to get its information from establishment sources.

I admit it. This irritates me. There is so much more information out there than there used to be just a few years ago. Interesting news with interesting perspectives from interesting news sources abound. Just go online and poke around. There is no comparison in terms of quality of information with the old way of doing things.

Most readers of this column know that my political disposition is that of a libertarian, but I am very thankful that if I choose to I can read the Communist Party’s news online, and then contrast it with what is going on over at Reason Magazine. And I can do this in minutes.

Sprinkle in some Huffington Post, a little National Review Online, the Wall Street Journal, and a little Zerohedge.com, and you get a pretty good sense of what is going on- what’s really going on. So lets take a look at what the headline is of each source at this moment.

The commies at Peoplesworld.com: Federal probe demanded in Wisconsin election scandal

The libertarians over at Reason: The Truth About Spending Cuts

The “liberals” at Huffpo: RELIEF AND DISGUST
Comfort Marred By Contempt In Wake Of Budget Deal

The establishment “conservatives” at the National Review: Boehner Wins Big

The establishment money folks at the WSJ: Fighting Flares Across Eastern Libya

The antiestablishment money folks at Zerohedge: The Only Two Charts That Matter For The US, And A Q&A On The Fiscal "Debate" From Goldman Sachs

Drudgereport is a must also.

This is just one recipe for busting silos. There are infinitely more. I switch it up all the time in an effort to be informed, and I don’t spend all day doing it. 20 minutes a day, less time than it takes to watch the evening news should be sufficient.

Once one breaks out of one’s news silo I think that like me one will recognize that that people with widely diverging view points from one’s own can have important insight. So go bust those silos even if you’re over 50.

About Me

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Nick Sorrentino is the Editor of The Liberty and Economics Review and CEO of Exelorix.com a social media management company.