Just as the Internet has changed most Americans shopping habits, i.e., stay at home and shop online, it now seems that you can now shop for your news and take your pick of what you like. Recent polls show that many of us have burrowed into our own echo chambers of information where we can “shop” for the news that will confirm our own opinions. For years, technologists and other utopians have argued that the online news would be a boon for our democracy. That has not been the case.
If you study the dynamics of how information moves online today, pretty much everything conspires against the truth. Let’s take the traditional standard of documentary proof. Thanks to Photoshop, for example, any digital image can be doctored. Any bit of inconvenient documentary evidence can be freely dismissed as having been somehow altered. Of course, our own behavioral standards play a role in all this. Surveys show that people who liked Mr. Trump saw the Access Hollywood tape where he casually referenced groping women as mere “locker room talk”; those who didn’t like him considered it the worst thing in the world.
Research has has shown that we all tend to filter documentary evidence through our own biases. I think the Internet just makes it easier for us to select only the news with which we agree, or “fits” our definition of the truth.