Monday, January 31, 2011

The Freeman had previously incorrectly reported that charges against the driver who caused the accident were unlikely. I'm relieved that the prior reporting was wrong on this point, but I think it highlights something that Bob and I were discussing earlier today.

We want more information about Egypt, but what is out there is insufficient, biased, and most likely contains lots of incorrect information. I first heard of the unrest in an email from a student who was there visiting. She wrote about the massacre at the church and said the atmosphere was tense and felt like it could explode at any moment. Then shortly afterwards at church Fr. George mentioned the violence toward Coptic Christians. Even afterwards, there was nothing much reported in the news. I know this because I was actively seeking to learn more and came up short.

That's the sense we have, on this and every issue (both trivial and significant, local and far away): television, newspapers big and small, and Internet sources are not trustworthy. "News" is a combination of omissions, outright distortions, and careless mistakes. This can be easily detected on local stories that you can quickly fact check - because you have witnessed the event. The only story you can trust is what you collect firsthand with your own senses. So naturally we turn away and disconnect.

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