03/25/14 — Non-knowledge: Digital age is making truth and facts less accessible

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Non-knowledge: Digital age is making truth and facts less accessible

How ironic is it that in the age when just about everybody has the access to information, so few people seem to be interested in learning more about the things that matter.

Ask about the latest Top 10 iTunes downloads, or perhaps the latest celebrity gossip on the Kardashians, and the answer is immediate.

Ask about concerns over the Russian takeover of Crimea -- and the potential implications for the country's defense budget -- not so much.

And it is not an international news problem either. It is shocking how many Americans today -- especially young Americans -- have no idea what is going on in their local, state and national governments and those decisions could affect their lives.

If you really want to get depressed, ask about the Constitution or for the name of key members of the president's Cabinet. Crickets.

The problem with the Internet as a news source is that it is -- immediate and untested for veracity. Truth is, news is only as good as the sources reporting it, and on the web, that could be anyone.

So, even if they are absorbing news about the world they live in, many of those device-dependent consumers are only getting half the story.

Convenience is great, and so is technology.

But the bottom line is, we need reliable and factual coverage and people who understand the importance of being aware of their world. And they could use a little perspective, too -- a sense of why the context of the world in which they live is determined by all sorts of information and opinions, not one monotonous drone.

Without that balance, we will be raising generations of citizens with no clue how to protect their freedom or how to watch over their governments, let alone take care of our country and our world.

And perhaps that means instead of megabytes of education, we get them back to books instead.

Then, we would have an educated society with the tools and desire to think for itself.

Published in Editorials on March 25, 2014 11:52 AM