Are Bloggers Trustworthy?
Two bloggers write two articles about the same subject and come to opposite conclusions. Even the headlines of the post tell you which direction or slant the writer is going to take. A switch inside the readers head either says ‘yes’ to reading or ‘no’ to step over the article and read something else. Sometimes a post may have an interesting title and other time we know the writer so there is an inclination to read. Once having read sometime there is a stronger inclination to disagree with every word written. There is kind of, “What the…” factor about some posts that seem to make startling claims or angry rants. Two posts down and the conviction is the same but the side is different. How can two opposing posts both be correct? Could they both be wrong?
If you go to some of the Blogging sites you will see this behavior repeated everywhere. It is almost as if people are writing posts to counter posts that were only placed there a few hours previous. At Digg.com I saw a story about a woman who went in to a hospital for childbirth and had her arm and legs cut off. Was this a horror story about hospital mistakes? Ten posts below was a post saying that it was telling the real story of what happened. The woman became infected with a disease and here arms and legs were amputated to save her life. This is still a horror story but not the same as a hospital the cuts off arms and legs by mistake.
YouTube has the advantage of seeing is believing, right? Wrong. One of the hottest stories was about the official US website of George Bush’s ‘Mission Accomplished’ speech. The skinny fellow had a theory that the words ‘Mission Accomplished’ had been cropped from the official photograph to save embarrassment to GWB. He showed images of Bush’s head clearly in front of the sign and the official sight which had only a tower of the aircraft carrier. As if to the rescue of a billion deceived minds another video was placed on YouTube to counter the claim. A chubby person this time, (I love the weight equality of this) but with the same smug sense of satisfaction explains how several photographs taken from several angles would show different background. This explanation was quite logical and plausible even if you cannot stand Bush.
After almost any controversial debate there is an inclination to defend you own side and to counter the enemy. If the enemy is seen as unreasonably dangerous, how far would people go? Would they create evidence, select evidence from questionable sources or would they just tell direct lies? Karl Marx said that a lie is anything that is against the State and some use this attitude as justification to tell any lie to protect an ideal.
People have loyalties and that is possibly unavoidable. Yet are these loyalties subject to a sense of integrity that the truth is important and any deception is wrong? Would anyone like to see a Blog site over run by people with a vested interest posing as a concerned member of the public? What if a commercial interest for the tobacco industry decided set up a blog of misleading information? What if political party was using their blog to point people to fundraising sites without declaring their intentions? What if a government agency hired people to create blogs and to place posts to follow a political agenda without people knowing? This last case has been touted as being used by the Bush administration.
This not about censorship and control but it is about trust. Do we trust the information that we see in blogs and do we see blogger’s as a trustworthy mob?
Perhaps what I have written is true, but could I just be trying to mislead you?
How would you ever know?