The issue for technoprogressives should be obvious: unless people (especially those who make and influence crucial decisions) are able to receive accurate information about important matters, they can't make good choices.
At theaters across the US this summer, Americans will learn the truth about global warming from the man who almost became their president. An Inconvenient Truth is the film adaptation of a slide show that Al Gore has presented thousands of times to hundreds of thousands of people around the world. You -- and your 10,000 best friends -- should see this movie. . .
About halfway through, Gore cites two studies to explain why so many people remain so skeptical about global warming. The first looked at a random sample of almost 1,000 abstracts on climate change in peer-reviewed scientific journals from 1993 to 2003 and found that exactly zero doubted “that we’re causing global warming.” The second surveyed a random sample of more than 600 articles about global warming in popular media between 1988 and 2002 and discovered that 53 percent questioned “that we’re causing global warming.”
Good journalism likes two sides to every story. Lazy journalism fails to distinguish between objective sources and interested parties – and this issue has interested parties aplenty, from industry-funded think tanks to hired PR firms, feeding the press the disinformation it needs to make the story sound balanced. This is the media’s own inconvenient truth – that the institution charged with reporting the facts is so easily manipulated. . .
Gore wants to change how we act by changing how we think about global warming. Yet An Inconvenient Truth can inspire progress only if the audience is responsive. Of course, the audience best prepared to fix global warming – the government – has already been corrupted by the same money that plays the puppet press so well. Likewise with the media’s inconvenient truth: If any of the networks were so impertinent as to report what scientists know about global warming, could it withstand the inevitably well-orchestrated charge of bias? These truths may be inconvenient, but the forces resisting their acceptance are extraordinarily powerful.
One of the problems with a free press is that it is susceptible to being bought. Of course, freedom of the press certainly is preferable to having a controlled press, even if the controlling party is supposedly benign, but maintaining the value of a free press requires constant vigilance.
During the last 20 years or so, America's independent media has been largely gobbled up by corporate monoliths. If not for the rise of the netroots and the blogosphere, there might be no voice left to oppose the megacorp-neocon "truth" machine.