It seems we have entered the era of information overload. Our access to ideas, products, opinions, and research has grown exponentially over the past 20 years. Now anyone can publish their writing and anyone around the world can read what they’ve written. Through the internet the sharing of ideas, beliefs, perceptions and perspectives has become truly democratic. This is a boon, but also a danger, for with this abundance of information, there is a growing abundance of disinformation.
Without some of the checks and balances of more traditional book, newspaper, or magazine publishing, the accuracy of the “information” you take in is increasingly up for grabs. Probably this is a necessary tradeoff for the gift of the internet. But there is danger in this dilution of accuracy. For example, political ads have shown that, for the right price, deceptive and outright false statements can get commercial air time, and lots of it. Carefully filtered and intentionally distorted news stands side-by-side with more objective reporting in both the internet and the mainstream media. Bias in news and writing is nothing new, but its volume and intensity are becoming epidemic. More and more we are experiencing an information/disinformation free-for-all. As the white noise of disinformation grows in volume, it becomes harder to discern the truth from the lies.
Gradually, a culture of intellectual and moral relativity is being created. The background hum of disinformation is starting to drown out the faltering drumbeats of truth. People become bewildered and start to give up trying to sort the truth from the lies. This ocean of disinformation has taken on a life of its own and its growth is not entirely accidental. This movement clearly benefits those with the money and power to yell the loudest and inundate others with a tidal wave of lies.
How do you prevent an informed public? Overwhelm them with lies and an information network in which “truth” is sold to the highest bidder.