Beyond fake news: the "constructed realities" of the polarized world


#1

Originally published at: http://boingboing.net/2016/11/25/beyond-fake-news-the-constr.html


#2

With increased political polarization, amplified by homophily — our preference to connect to people like us — and algorithmic recommender systems, we’re effectively constructing our own realities.

Fair enough. However, it’s also fair to say that certain constructed realities are more grounded in actual reality than others by small matters like empirical evidence, larger context, and background knowledge (to name just a few).


#3

Bless your heart, but I’ll stick with manifold-forwarded emails from my elderly relatives, thank you very much!


#4

I find this post on Boing Boing highly ironic.


#5

Then you misunderstand Boingboingers. Most of the people here are well-educated and seek to be well-informed. The fact that there are so many good arguments here is evident of a good variation of viewpoint. The fact that Drumpf doesn’t get much support here may have more to do with validity of arguments rather than variance.


#6

I’ll be magnanimous and simply say that Boingboingers != Boing Boing. This site’s editors certainly participate in a fair amount of “reality construction.”


#7

While each has their own bias (they’re only human), each I believe is attempting to be informative rather than just constructing click-bait. They do much better than what’s out there, providing citations, etc, and generally provide a good venue for discourse.


#8

Cheerfully disagree! : ) Though they are better than most sites who basically don’t even try at all.


#9

You also get to be ironic here as well :wink:


#10

Those illustrations are gorgeous! The visualized the flow of information across networks resembles an MRI scan given to the collective consciousness of the entire human race (or, at least, the Anglosphere). I wish I could generate my own.


#11

What news sites would you consider superior at providing unbiased less biased news? (If you have one we might not know, lay it on us!)

eta: sorta fixed


#12

No such thing. One usually reads multiple sources with different agenda, being aware of their bias, to try to construct something that at least resembles actual facts. There’s no source of truly unbiased news anywhere, that I know of.


#13

Facts are so counter to the new post-reality order. Didn’t you know that even science is a cultural construct?

(It is, but not in the way the post-modernists think.)


#14

Over the past 2 years we’ve had numerous reports of 20,000, 40,000, 80,000 or even 150,000 “Russian Troops Massing on Ukraine Border”.
Google
Google News
I have not seen any reports that they have unmassed, so I guess they are still massing there, if I believe the media.

Or it could be fake news.


#15

Are you skilled at disagreeing agreeably? I have suspicions, but it’s an honest question.


#16

As do we all. Including you just there.

Now, are they as mendacious as some of these outlets, thats a valid question which I don’t see you asking or addressing. Do you think the boingers are mendacious?


#17

This article isn’t really discussing fake news, so I’m not sure where mendacity comes into play. It’s talking about the filter bubble, users having a limited, self-selected cultural diet, and sites which gladly accommodate that “constructed reality.”

And yes, Boing Boing absolutely does this. Do they do it as much as other sites? I’d say no, but on a scale of 1 to 10, I’d put them at maybe a 6, middle of the road.

There are very few sites that even come close to a 1, though, and there are plenty of 10s.


#18

You assume “actual reality” can be directly perceived by “rational people.” But then why does a traffic accident, for example, elicit ten different eyewitness accounts? Even if one is for Trump and another is for Clinton, there’s still eight more who are, one would assume, even more irrational? Which one is the “rational person?”


#19

I mean, I can name a few that I certainly feel offer much more nuanced worldviews (which is about the best you can hope for)

The Economist
Foreign Policy
Wall Street Journal (outside of the op-eds)
Christian Science Monitor

And then usually if I want specific policy or facts, I’ll go straight to the think tanks: Brookings, Kaiser, Heritage, Human Rights Watch, RAND, etc. Again, understanding they’re usually (but not always) biased, but they at least point you to the actual research being done which is way more than most sites.

And to be totally clear, there is no single site today which really offers comprehensive, full-spectrum political news. It’d be paradoxically expensive to operate but harder to monetize. Again, because people want news ( and pop culture blogs ) that agree with them.


#20

My point is that three of those ten people are denying there was a traffic accident at all, despite the presence of the wrecked cars the other seven witnesses saw (and a traffic camera recorded) running into each-other. Those seven other eyewitnesses’ constructed realities may vary in the details, and among them one is likely to be closer to actual reality than the other six, but at least they agree that there was an accident.