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  • Rolf Terje

Selective media syndrome

"Fake News" and the challenging of the traditional media, is now becoming one of the biggest threats to democracy and human society as we know it.

We are giving it a name for the purpose of discussion, and that name is "Selective media syndrome", or SMS.

Are we now selecting our own reality?

The implication of a selective media life, creates a world where that which you are presented with, will confirm your world view and its ideals.

You are free to pick and choose your sources of information and can present contradicting arguments to almost anything.

There are many examples of organizations and nations alike, where political or cultural beliefs are free to evolve unchallenged by actual facts or the rest of society knowing about it.

Our new digital era of communication is making big improvements in how and when we are able to reach each other, but is at the same time opening the door to a multitude of different challenges.

With the amount of information available to us, we are bound to choose the outlets where we get our truths from. But what is truth in today's extreme media world? Does your perspective dictate your understanding to a larger degree, and are we able to accept challenges to our own world views?

The tree of information, where is your information rooted?

A fundamental truth about the media, is that everything springs from the same roots. The understanding that we all will have different perspectives on the "core issue", and different solutions, is quite possibly one of the best tools to understand our collective selective media syndrome.

How often have you heard someone argue about something, and then resolve the issue with "but that's how i feel about it", "we must agree to disagree" or "statistics show that..."?

Our belief that we are able to convince someone about our perspective is misleading us into polarizing debates, creating social media echo chambers and making us search for statistics or arguments that will support our own, rather than actually listening to other ideas.

It seems that our ability to select our perspectives on facts, is making a more defined ideological grouping of people, not inherent to any nation. Thus giving birth to a new political agenda in europe: The alternative political activists. They are not bound by a traditional geo-political agenda, and deny any association to the political scale system of left and right wing politics.

Dismissing other viewpoints than your own, or fake news as its also called.

The problem with our new selective media world presents itself when we have evolving extremist views in otherwise dormant areas.

In our native Norway, the right wing political agenda have adopted the new media strategies for selective media with its own Norwegian style.

Making big and bold statements, unlike anything seen before in Norwegian politics, they are making themselves the loudest voice. Unable to answer their new media strategy, the traditional social democratic agenda is struggling to present their own politics, as they are too busy commenting on their adversaries outbursts.

When you can't get your ideas into the discussion, you are just discussing the ones put forward by your counterpart, effectively becoming their advocate.

In essence, the current Norwegian administration has no real opposition, as their political opposites are failing the new forms of communication. The labor party's traditional media handling does not resonate with the population and the idea that they are outdated gains strength every passing day.

In a wider scale, we can see this happening all through Europe. The ideas that are put forward are possibly more suited to the new form of media, but are they really the most viable option for how we evolve our societies? Can we continue our increasingly polarizing debate form, where you are either against or with us, or will we again reach a more moderate way of discussion?

Media handling and understanding is going to be important for both people and politicians alike, and very relevant to how our societies will look in the future.

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