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The Loss of Truth In the Media Is a Threat to Our Democracy — Ray Dalio

Summary:
While I have reflected on the corrosive effects that fake and distorted media are having on our society’s well-being for the past few years, I am now more concerned about it than ever. To me media distortions + great polarity + the upcoming elections = a significant risk to quality democracy.It is no longer controversial to say that media distortions are a serious problem. Even most of the media folks I speak with share my concern. As Martin Baron, the Washington Post's Executive Editor, said in reflecting on the problem, "If you have a society where people can't agree on the basic facts, how do you have a functioning democracy?" Gaslighting.There are three reasons for this:1. Propaganda.Narrative control and shaping is the sine qua non of maintaining social and political control.2.

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While I have reflected on the corrosive effects that fake and distorted media are having on our society’s well-being for the past few years, I am now more concerned about it than ever. To me media distortions + great polarity + the upcoming elections = a significant risk to quality democracy.

It is no longer controversial to say that media distortions are a serious problem. Even most of the media folks I speak with share my concern. As Martin Baron, the Washington Post's Executive Editor, said in reflecting on the problem, "If you have a society where people can't agree on the basic facts, how do you have a functioning democracy?"
Gaslighting.

There are three reasons for this:

1. Propaganda.

Narrative control and shaping is the sine qua non of maintaining social and political control.

2. Economics.

"A number of media writers have in private told me that their editors have specifically hired them to write negative, sensationalistic stories because they sell best. They explained that the financial decline of print media and the public’s short attention span have required them to produce such attention-grabbing headlines and stories or face financial decline."

This is the Murdoch model, and it leads to crapification of the media.

3. Cognitive bias.

People really do see the facts differently since the mind is not a mirror of data presented to it,  but rather it constructs information based on its own structures.

This is a short piece and ends with questions, asking for reflection on the issues. The principle issue is how to deal with the issues without negatively influencing press freedom.


Mike Norman
Mike Norman is an economist and veteran trader whose career has spanned over 30 years on Wall Street. He is a former member and trader on the CME, NYMEX, COMEX and NYFE and he managed money for one of the largest hedge funds and ran a prop trading desk for Credit Suisse.

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