Let the Shouting Begin
Earlier I had mentioned the work of the Rand Corporation. The Rand Corporation is a nonprofit and nonpartisan research think tank that provides research and analysis to government agencies. In their recent report Truth Decay they identified consequences of the “selective sorting of facts and evidence” of which “fake news” is just a part of. I am not promoting the Rand Corporation but their listing of consequences makes a lot of sense. They are as follows:
The erosion of civil discourse
Alienation and disengagement of individuals from political and civic institutions
Policy Uncertainty at the National Level
As a reference librarian and news junkie, I see many of these statements happening. People are feeling overwhelmed and confused about who and what to believe so they become disengaged. Policy at the national level seem to be clouded and indecisive because of conflicting information. Many libraries have received grants and training just on how to handle controversial topics and maintain a civil environment. It is hard to have any real conversations when it becomes a shouting match. Maintaining and facilitating civility in a group setting has become a professional job. All of these consequences polarize citizens and can lead to poor policy decisions. I hope these consequences can be reversed.