The echo chamber meme strikes again

The echo chamber meme strikes again.
I’m beginning to think that those who foster this concept are really afraid of it, for the pejorative “echo chamber” is really just an illusion, and yet it just won’t go away. Take Mark Glaser’s latest article for the Online Journalism Review, “ Is the Net Polarizing U.S. Political Dialogue?

The Internet is seething with political vitriol, with so many partisan message boards, niche political sites and Weblogs. But the public’s taste for ideological journalism might be more for theater than for closing itself to opposing viewpoints.
I won’t go into details on Mark’s typically well-written article. I simply wish to point out that the concept itself is false, because it’s woven into what I believe is the false assumption of journalism — that there really is a place of objectivity from which a writer can and should observe and write. It necessarily follows, then, that anything to the contrary is (and you need to look down your nose to get this right) propaganda expressing itself as the blind leading the blind (i.e. the echo chamber). Never mind that the father of “professional” journalism, my good buddy Walter Lippmann, helped create the “manufacture of consent” and, in so doing, defined the term “propaganda.”

Lippmann’s whole thing was a belief that people are stupid and need an educated, professional class to lead them. I reject that and am glad that I’ve been able to witness the revolt in my lifetime. People who dismiss citizen journalism through blogging as an echo chamber are seriously delusional and the real blind leading the blind. It’s not about statistics or influence or niches or theater. What we’re witnessing is the return of argument to journalism, and the country is so much better off for it. I read lots of different things, thanks to the Internet, and I think I’m much more average than the echo chamber theorists would have you believe.

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