We are swimming in a world of lies and hype. Politics and the consumer society are mostly based on telling us what we want to hear. And we are happy to hear exactly that. Trump supporters and his haters both. “What do you do,” asked one of Steve Almond’s students, “if, no matter what you write, the reader won’t believe you?” Almond writes, “the nation, as a whole, seems to have no answer for it now.” And boy, we don’t. Even the sober mainstream press is not helping us take our eyes off the car crash that is our national experience at the moment. He goes on to point out that the rhetorical term for all this is “epistemic closure.” “Which is what happens when folks lock themselves inside an ideological echo chamber.”
What we have is “a president for whom lying is not a last resort but a vital political tool. The essential crisis here isn’t that Trump lies. It’s that his lies work because journalists continually debate and debunk them.”
Almond’s conclusion, is that we need to read the stories that are trying to tell us what is really going on. And to read those stories with an eye to where they might be slanted and find others to get as full a story as we can. We will never know all the details, all the facts, but lets live in this world and not some fantasy that feeds our insecurities.
“We need to turn our attention toward those who stand to lose medical insurance or clean drinking water or even the sustenance supplied by a program like Meals on Wheels. All of us must summon the courage to seek out news sources that challenge our beliefs using empiricism, not innuendo.”