Montmartre

The internet polarises opinion: Paris, the Internet, and the Financial Times

Leigh Turner
Leigh Turner

The internet polarises opinion.  Simplifying messages does not always help understanding, but may simply amount to shouting loudest.  

My post “The Internet. 7 reasons why it will destroy civilisation” sets out troubling facts about this most wonderful of inventions.

One of my concerns was that:

“the Internet polarises opinion.  Imagine a billion people in a desert, shouting.  Who can shout loudest?  The best way to attract online attention is to be shocking and extreme.  Slag someone off.  Be outrageous.  You know that famous, reasonable, internet commentary site?  No?  That’s because there isn’t one.  You can’t be reasonable and famous on-line.”

Notes from a wounded city

So I was interested to see this weekend in The Financial Times a piece by Simon Kuper, “Paris attacks: Notes from a wounded city” (NB if you don’t have a subscription to the FT, you can sign up to read the piece – and several more every month – free).

Paris Montmartre

Paris, viewed from Montmartre

Kuper’s piece is characteristically thoughtful. I like his resistance to simplifying everything – particularly anything as tragic as the Paris attacks. But I was most struck by his comment that in the world of punditry and politics, “the people with the clearest messages win“.

Thus, Kuper suggests, if you want to look at the world in a more nuanced way – he quotes a man who asked of the 13 November events “with what perception must I perceive this?” – you are unlikely to be invited onto TV to pontificate about how we should react.

What people want is certainty; and that is what pundits offer.

That is often the equivalent of shouting loudest. But it is not always the best way to approach important issues.

Next steps

Do check out Simon Kuper’s piece, and my earlier blog.

P.S. If you would like to have a look at my other writing, do check out my most recent books.

Share:

Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on pinterest
Share on linkedin
Share on whatsapp
Share on email

Sign up for my update emails

…and receive a FREE short story!

I won’t pass on your details to third parties / unsubscribe whenever you wish

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Related Articles

Kyiv
Journalism

Russia’s war on Ukraine: what’s happening?

Russia’s war on Ukraine has failed on most fronts. But Russian President Putin continues to slaughter vast numbers of his own troops, and Ukrainian soldiers and civilians, in the hope of a military breakthrough. That could yet happen. The top task for countries supporting Ukraine must be to maintain unity for weeks, months or years to come. This will be a challenge.

Read More
Journalism

Reverse conspiracy theories and Ukraine

Reverse conspiracy theories are when instead of blaming shadowy forces for the ills of the world, people blame themselves or their governments for atrocities committed by others.

Read More