Originally published November 4, 2016.
Recently, President Obama said he wanted a truthiness test for information. (To hear it, click the link and go to chronomark 1:00:00 and listen for about four and a half minutes.) I believe he was focusing on scientific information (climate change in particular, of course), but he made an interesting analogy with the news media.
We are going to have to rebuild, within this wild, wild west of information flow, some sort of curating function…
It used to be there were three television stations, and Walter Cronkite was there…generally people trusted a basic body of information…
There has to be some sort of way we can sort through information that passes some sort of truthiness test.
This wasn’t quite as bad as it sounds out of context (almost!), but I recalled his words while reading the newspaper today and it made me think Obama was revealing a broader mindset that is about to be rolled out.
The first article I read was about a recent appearance by Melania Trump during which she, no doubt sweetly and innocently (I mean that, I’m not being sarcastic),
lamented an increasingly coarse culture in which users of social media, especially children, belittle each other.
“Our culture has gotten too mean and too tough, especially to children and teenagers,” Mrs. Trump said. “We have to find a better way to talk to each other, to disagree with each other, to respect each other.”
I didn’t think too much about Melania’s comments and didn’t put them together with Obama’s until later, when