Different River

”You can never step in the same river twice.” –Heraclitus

January 2, 2005

Tidal Wave of Confusion

Filed under: — Different River @ 3:53 pm

The Glittering Eye summarizes and links to this post at Choire Sicha which has an interesting collection of newspaper headlines on the relief effort from December 31. Interesting, that is, because some of them seem to contradict each other. If you belief all of them, relief is “pour[ing] in” and “arriv[ing] slowly” and “tied up [by] red tape” and “trickl[ing] in.”

Of course, it’s possible that these are all true of particular strains of the relief effort — but more likely, it is just different reporters’ or headline-writers’ take on the same situation. Which means, basically, that reading a newspaper is not a reliable way to get the news: if you read only one newspaper, you are a prisoner to one person’s point of view on each story. And since people tend to hire like-minded people, you are probably exposed to only a narrow range of viewpoints for all the stories put together.

The scary thing is, all the papers cited are from different cities — and in the pre-Internet world, we would each have easy access to only the paper(s) in our own city. Which means — if people relied on newspapers as their main source of news — people in different cities would be seeing different worlds.

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