ST July 3, 2008After all this time, our dear leaders are still tossing out all these same old boring red herrings.
Vivian's visions from the Internet
Political messages in new media are susceptible to populist pitfalls, he says at RI dialogue
By Jeremy Au Yong
WHEN Dr Vivian Balakrishnan gazed into a crystal ball yesterday on how the Internet would change local politics, three visions popped up.
They were: more diverse views, louder political discourse and politicians delivering their messages in stylish, short multimedia packages, a phenomenon he labelled 'YouTube politics'.
But this future is fraught with pitfalls, the Minister for Community Development, Youth and Sports told students of Raffles Institution, which had invited him to give a talk on new media and its impact on politics.
As he spelt them out to the 2,000 students, he urged them to use their heads when reading online: 'In the midst of such an exponential growth in information, determining what is true or false is going to be extremely difficult... I have no easy answer except to ask you to be sceptical and to think and be careful.'
To illustrate one pitfall, he pointed to those who still believe that the sun revolves around the earth: 'Because you have an interconnected world, people with far-out ideas, or even wrong ideas, will be able to find someone who also believes the sun revolves around the earth and reinforces those beliefs.'
A diversity of views did not always end up in a 'fundamental truth'. New media allows wrong ideas to be reinforced, he said.
"In the midst of such an exponential growth in information, determining what is true or false is going to be extremely difficult ..." Vivian says. But suppose you lived in a highly controlled society where information was very limited. Would it then become easier to determine what's true or false?
Heheh, go think about it. Also, go think about who would be in the position to selectively feed you the information that you do get. The controllers of your society, of course.
"New media allows wrong ideas to be reinforced," Vivian says. And what about old media - would it reinforce only the "right" ideas?
Well, perhaps you would say so. Especially if you belong to the ruling party and the state controls all the old media organisations. Including the ideas that the media organisations write about.
In another ST article today, Vivian offers the following remarks:
He also noted that if the traditional press loses credibility, people would go to the new media.Oh certainly, Vivian. In fact, last year, I was even told that the overwhelming majority of readers consider the Straits Times "important" to their lives, and a definite "must-read".
'There are very few national newspapers with as broad a coverage and obsessive attention to detail and accuracy as our mainstream media,' he said.
Who told me this? The Straits Times itself.
And did the Straits Times have the statistics, the figures to prove it? Ah yes, certainly.
And how did the Straits Times come up with those statistics and figures? LOL, click here.