In an era where politicians are toting “fake news” and “polarizing, dangerous media” as campaign hot buttons, the legitimacy of information consumption and its effects on democracy, are holding societies accountable for the type of democracy they want to be.
Individuals of all ages are constantly posting, digesting, debating, and sharing news, opinion, and political stories based on their positioning and views, without checking the legitimacy of the claims they are spreading. This is dangerous, when it comes to decision making in democracy, as choices should be as educated as possible, and without accusation of false claims.
The type, tone, and wording of the source, as well as the targeted audience, must be considered, and how it portrays the subject of the content against their reality. I do not believe it is a coincidence that in many countries, censorship is strategic to achieve political aims or submission to totalitarian regimes, as well as the validity of the press being questioned in countries where leadership types have shifted, and transparency is no longer a core value.
We owe it to ourselves and the future of democracy to digest information that is both in support of and against our views, identify trends in writing and sources used that are in the camp of each viewpoint, and hold ourselves accountable for the type of consumption we want to represent us and our democratic results. Numerous studies are being done on the legitimacy of news networks, websites, and blogs, and how neutral or not so they are in putting stories out. The same is being done in our society to divide individuals along all political spectrums, and many times individuals do not realize the brevity of what they are consuming and its effects on democracy.
We are the society we create and wish to represent, and the same should be said for the legitimacy of sources we use to educate and encourage individuals to engage in democratic activity and dynamic discussion.
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