Manjoo’s concluding two chapters and epilogue paint a bleak picture for the human race as informed participants in building their own social culture. He presents this idea in the epilogue that I had thought of the entire 2016 presidential with main stream media being denoted as liars by everyone and their mothers. If media is made to address peoples’ existing biases, using actual facts as a basis for pushing an agenda of sorts, and this leads to people being completely misinformed, then why even bother?
Living under a rock seems the only way to avoid biased stories and information, thus making it impossible to stay informed as to facts at the same time. Manjoo only hints at in the earlier chapters, but there is also the occasion where we use our own experience to dictate I something is possible or true, linking with selective perception. So to avoid our own biases from influencing the information we consume, and prevent others’ agendas from coloring the information we are exposed to, it seems being ignorant is truly bliss.
These options, be ignorant or be brainwashed, seem kind of limiting given this growth of possibilities over just the last 30 years. Is the answer to be completely skeptical of everything? Overly critical of even arguments that support your internal motivations? To spend so much time collecting information to be informed enough to make a clear educated conclusion about the topic, that we are risk of being left behind as more events and topics float in? Maybe it’s not even worth keeping up, perhaps at some point giving up is the best and sanest way to go about being influenced by the media. If you are aware of your personal biases and of the slant presented by the various news outlets, you can find a sweet medium between being informed and being ignorant. In being aware of potential influences one can be the right amount of skeptical to stay open minded when presented with conflicting information, but also not over expend resources in trying to reach the dirty details of every possible story out there.
My outlook on the subject is perhaps just as bleak as Manjoo’s on people and their ability to take information in a non-harmful manner. Can’t really give a defense to the contrary, and honestly I don’t really care. This book became exhausting to get through and frustrating to relate to, so I just took on Manjoo’s poor view of people as vehicles for information. And that feeds into the only conclusion I got from this book: we’re all awful and stupid. Cheers to us.