Blogging and political information: truth or truthiness?
- 563 Downloads
Does the blogosphere generate truth, or what Stephen Colbert calls ‘truthiness,’ facts or concepts one only wishes or believes were true? Bloggers and the mainstream media face the same difficulties if they wish to rely on the blogosphere as a generator of truth. First, both bloggers and media converge on a small number of key blogs as sources of information. But the proprietors of these elite blogs are likely to resist information that doesn’t conform to their existing attitudes and beliefs, precisely because they are already highly aware of politics. Second, blogs and blog readers are likely to separate themselves into smaller networks according to their particular tastes. However, under some circumstances the blogosphere may still approximate a parallel processing statistical estimator of the truth with ‘nice’ properties. The key to this outcome is that judgments are independent, and that problems of polarization are mitigated.
KeywordsTruth Truthiness Blogs US politics Hayek
Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.
- American Dialect Society. (2006). Truthiness voted 2005 word of the year by American Dialect Society. http://www.americandialect.org/Words_of_the_Year_2005.pdf (accessed May 2006).
- Aristotle. Politics. Translated by Benjamin Jowett. http://classics.mit.edu/Aristotle/politics.html (accessed May 2006).
- Cox, A. M. (2004). Televised speech, presented to the Online News Association 11/11/2004, shown on C-SPAN (rtsp://video.c-span.org/project/c04/c04_rwh112804.rm).
- Cyberalert. (2004). The 1,868th CyberAlert. Tracking liberal media bias since 1996 9:35am EST, Wednesday, 24 November 2004 (Vol. 9, no. 231). http://www.mediaresearch.org/cyberalerts/2004/cyb20041124.asp1 (accessed November 2006).
- Hayek, F. (1988). The fatal conceit. Collected works of F. A. Hayek (Vol. I). W. W. Bartleby III (Ed.). Chicago: University of Chicago Press. Google Scholar
- Kuhn, T. (1963). The structure of scientific revolutions. Chicago: University of Chicago Press. Google Scholar
- Language Log. (2005) Truthiness or trustiness? http://itre.cis.upenn.edu/~myl/languagelog/archives/002586.html (accessed November 2006).
- Liberman, M. (2004). You couldn’t have a starker contrast. Language Log http://itre.cis.upenn.edu/~myl/languagelog/archives/001459.html (accessed May 2006).
- Miller, N. R. (1986). Information, electorates, and democracy: some extensions and interpretations of the Condorcet jury theorem. In B. Grofman & G. Owen (Eds.), Information pooling and group decision making. Greenwich: JAI. Google Scholar
- Sunstein, C. (2001). Republic.com. Princeton: Princeton University Press. Google Scholar
- Sunstein, C. R. (2003). Why societies need dissent. Cambridge: Harvard University Press. Google Scholar
- Sunstein, C. R. (2007) Neither Hayek nor Habermas (this volume). Google Scholar
- Surowiecki, J. (2004). The wisdom of crowds. Why the many are smarter than the few and how collective wisdom shapes business, economies, societies and nations. New York: Random House. Google Scholar
- Thornburg, D., & Boccardi, L. (5 January 2005). Report of the Independent review panel on the 8 September 2004 60 minutes Wednesday segment ‘for the record’ concerning president Bush’s Texas Air National Guard Service. Washington, DC. http://wwwimage.cbsnews.com/htdocs/pdf/complete_report/CBS_Report.pdf (accessed May 2006).
- Zuckerman, E. (2007). Meet the bridgebloggers: who’s speaking and who’s listening in the international blogosphere. Public Choice (this volume) Google Scholar