This is a brilliant piece of expository writing that neatly summarizes my own thoughts on this subject, The author is correct. He didn’t tell us anything that most of us don’t know…even if we haven’t put the pieces together as clearly as Tobias has.
What troubles me more is that the one of the dominant reaction to this article is disengagement, the idea that you can simply stop listening, watching, and reading this onslaught of media. Yes, you, personally, will benefit from not having your emotions played with over and over again, but we, collectively, will suffer dire consequences if we abandon the field of battle to those who espouse one extreme position or another, leaving the middle ground empty of advocates.
The point that the author did not hit hard enough is that we have no other choice but to engage in this battle because the media companies own ALL of the means of communication at our disposal, with the rare and impotent exceptions of the radical press. The other point may could get overlooked is that honest criticism and appraisals of ongoing situations will be drowned out by this media media.
Retreating into the cold comfort of our isolated comfort zones solves nothing. It fact, it becomes part of the problem. Rather than tuning out, Timothy Leary once counseled us to do, we need to tune into this beast and learn to manipulate it
Here’s one suggestion: stack the deck by focusing you — and your group’s — media patronage on those writers, and media the outlets that publish those writers, to swing the parabola of public attention toward those viewpoints. If it’s money they want, show them the money by patronizing the kind of news that you want to read, see and hear.
The counterpoint to this argument is that,by following this advice, you volunteer to live in an intellectual ghetto in which you will not be able to engage with people from differing backgrounds with differing opinions because THEY won’t be there to engage with, and your arguments will become one-side and ineffective without a thorough knowledge of the other team’s arguments.
Well, there’s a solution for that too. Go incognito when you are trolling the oppositions news feeds. When you go incognito — and all browsers have incognito capabilities — you prevent the neural network masters from gathering your preferences, so they don’t see you responding to their bullshit. Then, when you are surfing in your own ocean, do not go incognito so that you can make your preferences felt.
Unfortunately, to have any effect, this requires the cooperation of literally millions of people. Even worse, your opponents will adopt the same strategy so that, in the end, a clever algorithm could still pick up your prefences and pander to your belief systems.
One last point, just in case anyone bothered to read this far, one comment on this thread referred to the manner in which the bots appeal to your politics. It isn’t the politics they are appealing to. It your prejudices that they are pandering to and manipulating. Edward Bernays is getting the last laugh again.
Now, how do I post this on my facebook page?