To start off, this was not only an interesting read, but an incredibly important one in the time period we live in. Obviously. The fact that this was written in 2008 means that Manjoo will hopefully come back to this topic and update it based on what he has seen since.
This is a topic near and dear to me so it brought up a lot of powerful emotions, which mixed with my achy dizzy recovering from influenza mind to hopefully bring about some meaningful words. Hopefully coherent, at the very least.
The fact that the book starts with John Kerry and discusses his Vietnam background was awesome because I saw this reaction unfolding firsthand with my mom. Her knowledge on these topics was, and always has been, very limited as she goes by what she hears rather than what she researches and sees for herself, so she very much fell into the trap of thinking these un-backed claims about Kerry were true.
To this day, she still argues with me about Starbucks’ stance on “not supporting the troops” because she still has the letter sent out by Sgt. Wright. Even though, I continually tell her about his second letter that says this:
Almost 5 months ago I sent an email to you my faithful friends. I did a wrong thou that needs to be cleared up. I heard from word of mouth about how Starbucks said they didn’t support the war and all. I was having enough of that kind of talk and didn’t do my research properly like I should have. This is not true. Starbucks supports the men and women in uniform. They have personally contacted me and I have been sent many of their Company’s policy on this issue. So I apologize for this quick wrong letter I sent out to you. Now I ask that you all pass this email around to everyone you passed the last one to. Thank you very much for understanding about this.
This book really resonated with me because it definitely touched on some of these issues that I have experienced first hand. I thought for sure she would realize that her long hatred of all things Starbucks was unfounded when I proved that the initial letter was not true, but instead she just shook her head and said she won’t go there. For context, my brother is in the military so these emotions she felt for Starbucks, thinking they didn’t support the troops, were intensely strong. So strong, that “facts” meant nothing.
More to talk about…
I think this infographic above is really important and I would like to touch on it some in relation to the reading.
Here is the link to the article describing this infographic where it explains a few of the changes that have happened since it was made: http://www.businessinsider.com/these-6-corporations-control-90-of-the-media-in-america-2012-6
I think this is incredibly important because as we are able to access more and more information on the Internet, not only are we exposed to stuff that can be 100% fake, we are also put into this weird position of both 1) acknowledging that due to the limited nature of the options surrounding MSM it is most likely going to be somewhat biased and 2) needing something with the reputation of MSM in order to see it as a viable source of news.
While I get that Manjoo’s description of the open bar story with people sharing information at random can be incredibly dangerous in terms of spreading “fake news”, I also think it’s dangerous to rely too heavily on corporations. Sources have never been more important than they are today. Just ask the people in Bowling Green and the people in Sweden.