Congressional Gridlock, Town Hall Vitriol...and the Information Environment
ARMY WAR COLL CARLISLE BARRACKS PA CENTER FOR STRATEGIC LEADERSHIP
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Speed, access to news, connectivity.... The information age, as Thomas Friedman likes to remind us, has made the world flat. From many perspectives, thats good news. You can access news from anywhere, at any time with a click of a mouse. You have the capability to watch literally hundreds of television channels, in multiple languages from the comfort of your couch. You can listen to rock, jazz, metal or classical music without interruption driving from coast to coast...or you can listen to talk radio a mind-numbing 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. And the future will only bring more capability, more options, and more information. With more access to information, you can easily become more informed. It follows that you can then better engage in national dialog. Your decisions will be borne of the multi-dimensional research that the plethora of information at your fingertips enables.... But, why is it then, that apparently a rather significant number of Americans believe that Barack Obama is not a U.S. citizen Why is it that Lindsay and Paris get so much ink or is it electrons that we know them by their first names, and a Presidential candidate used them in election ads Information access is a two-edged sword. Newspapers, which once competed for knowledge as a scarce resource, today compete for a new scarce resource the readers or listeners in the case of broadcast media attention. Perhaps that is why increasing numbers of young adults turn to the Comedy Channels The Daily Show for their news. Jon Stewart, the shows host, scoffs at this, but his ratings are such that politicians, celebrities and even military leaders clamor to be his guests. Of course in an environment where the speed of breaking news means viewership, and thus advertising dollars, accuracy is sometimes sacrificed as well.
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