I must agree with Sommerville that news does indeed make us dumb! Our class has proven the fact with the many examples that we have shown from our recent news. I have really enjoyed read Sommerville’s book. He confirms my (not fully formed) thoughts on the news. I do not watch the news and I do not read papers. Any news I take in is from the internet, word-of-mouth, and information gathering to confirm any news I’ve heard from questionable sources.
I am by no means an excellent researcher, but I try to search out the truth when I hear a piece of news. It is a daunting task. There is so much information on the internet that it is difficult to sort through it and find the gems of truth.
It is also difficult to see the big picture in light of historicity. I believe Sommerville desires us be informed through other sources and to put our knowledge into historical context. Sommerville states, “My recommenation is that news be put in its place, perhaps on a monthly schedule but in more substantial amounts, and that it be read after we’ve read more substantial fare, if there’s time.” (1999, p. 142)
You can see from the above quote that he desires us to do other intellectual activities that naturally cause us to learn in a whole and productive way. “Now the news industry and its intellectual proponents will naturally respond, ‘But look how ill-informed the younger generation is already. Are you seriously proposing that they need less news?’ Yes.” (Sommerville, 1999, p. 149)
I believe our ability to find abundant examples of bad news this week shows us that he is correct. We need to focus not on this moment, but rather this decade or century.
Sommerville, S. J. (1999). How the news makes us dumb: The death of wisdom in an information society. Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity.