All posts tagged: fake news

Reading the News as a Spiritual Exercise

We know there is a problem with the way we disseminate, consume, and respond to the news. We also generally share some sense of where the problem lies. It has something to do with a complex interaction of factors like the structure of digital media, the industries that support those technologies, and our cultural, economic, and political climate. Somehow those factors both foster and are fostered by trends such as narrowing echo chambers, a fractured accountability to diverse publics, comments that fail to respect and engage others, decreasing attention spans, and the exhaustion and despair that fester before the parade of emergencies that counts our days and disciplines our emotions like a liturgical calendar. Something is wrong with how we pursue the truth together in a digital society. Reasonable suggestions for how to address this problem generally come in two flavors. The first approach emphasizes the structure of our news technologies and the corporations that develop and profit from them. We must fix Google, Facebook, and Twitter through legislation and consumer pressure. The second approach …

Democracy Dies in Distortion

SPOILER ALERT: This review does indeed contain spoilers. In late 1965, U.S. military analyst Daniel Ellsberg was embedded with combat troops fighting America’s long, costly and deadly war in South Vietnam. He stayed at their campsite; he witnessed soldiers patrol the thick forest as they were overcome by enemy fire; he reported observations to Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara. To a few, McNamara admitted the Vietnam War was getting worse instead of progressing. To the press, the defense secretary presented a distorted truth, saying the U.S. was making ground. McNamara (Bruce Greenwood) and U.S. political leaders crafted a story for the U.S. people. Ellsberg (Matthew Rhys), an American journalists portrayed in Steven Spielberg’s The Post, relentlessly pursued the story. The search for truth comes with tenacious dilemmas and agonizing decisions. Katherine Graham (Meryl Streep) captured the weight of this responsibility as she reckoned with her duty as the first female publisher of The Washington Post. Ellsberg leaked the classified Pentagon Papers, which detailed the nation’s fraught military and political involvements in Vietnam, to The New …