Internet poisons political discourse

Tuesday September 18, 2012

I love the Internet! What a great way to keep in touch with friends, pay bills, find scads of useful information in a wink, store important information, buy things, especially when they are not available locally, and even amuse yourself playing games.

However, the use of it in the past few months bothers me and at times scares me. Most recently, the scores of riots in the Middle East and elsewhere, many ending in deaths, based on a video created by an obscure group in America blows my mind. I recognize that there is more to this than the video itself, but that video on the Internet lit the fuse.

I have been increasingly disturbed by the avalanche and explosive nature of the political messages I get on the Internet. The information, spread blatantly, can be misleading and is frequently downright false.

Unfortunately, many people follow the axiom "I saw it on the Internet so it has to be true." Those messages can reach thousands or many more almost instantly. I think this more insidious than the unbelievable number of political ads which are disgustingly negative this year because if you’re like me you’ll either mute it, change channels, or resume reading the paper until it’s over.

Let’s hope more people do research on the political issues before the coming election than they get from the Internet.




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