I've had the belief for a long time that the blogosphere was a breeding ground for intolerance. Now read this –
Jon Fleischman ( a 39-year old conservative blogger)has never aspired to be a reporter; "fair and balanced" is decidedly not his thing. "I don't pretend to be objective," the longtime GOP activist said last week in his modest tract home in Orange County, his blog headquarters. "I operate under the premise that conservatives are right and liberals are wrong."
That attitude has made his nearly 2-year-old Web site, Flash Report, a powerful bully pulpit…
Courtesy San Jose Mercury News
There is no doubt that the Internet has been great for community building. I myself am a member of more than one forum and support group. Through the blog I have been lucky to meet people who have become my virtual friends.
But the flip side of this is that there is really no need for an exchange of ideas any more. Whatever your extreme opinions may be , you are sure to find validation for them out there in the ether. And should you encounter a contrary point of view, God forbid, why, that is what the 'delete comment' feature is there for.
In a real life gathering, we are forced to examine our assumptions and defend our hypotheses because the alternative is to face public censure. The anonymity of the Internet allows us to give free rein to our most base instincts. Let's face it, the veneer of civility that is imposed by our upbringing and our education is painfully thin. The increasing vitriol of the blogosphere is a testament to how fragile our civilization is.
My theory is that the increasing partisanship of politics is, to a large part, due to blogs. Once John Q. Public has taken a stand on an issue, however ill-informed, he can find enough bricks to cement his position without having to worry about pesky things like facts. Think Hillary is gay? Just type it into any search engine and you will find enough fodder. Think Barack is Chinese? I bet there are some kooks out there just like you who believe that too.
The one-sided nature of blogs is rather frightening. George Bernard Shaw once said "The moment we want to believe something, we suddenly see all the arguments for it, and become blind to the arguments against it." That is human nature and blogs magnify our intrinsic prejudices. I see this unstoppable train roll inexorably over objectivity and detachment and create a world which has no brick walls but many virtual ones.