President Clinton recently spoke on the Questlove Supreme podcast about the more balanced state of local journalism in the '80s and '90s. During that time, most towns had newspapers that were generally objective, regardless of local political leanings.
He described newspapers as being on the level. Opinions were kept to the editorial pages, and news reporting remained largely unbiased. President Clinton even credited locally owned radio stations as being instrumental in shaping his own career.
Fast forward to today, where social media dominates the news cycle. Quick, viral takes often eclipse objective reporting, leading to a skewed narrative landscape. Platforms like Threads are trying to counteract this by exerting tighter control over the content that spreads to maintain some semblance of order and stability. Presumably they hope that will lead to both a better product experience and an attractive platform for advertisers.
We're clearly at a crossroads in terms of media consumption. The balanced local journalism era President Clinton describes feels like a distant memory in today's social-media-dominated world. Platforms like Threads aim to create a more regulated environment—a move that has both merits and potential drawbacks, particularly around centralized, algorithmic moderation.
As we adapt to the changing media landscape, scrutinizing the information we consume and its origins becomes ever more crucial. Each of us with a smartphone or internet connection has the potential to act as a mini journalist, sharing our take on events and influencing public perception. While this democratization of information has its advantages, it also brings forth a responsibility for each of us to be mindful of what we disseminate.
As consumers and creators of content, we must be aware that our voices, no matter how small, contribute to the larger narrative. It's not just about stating facts or opinions—it's about understanding the ripple effect they can create in our interconnected world. With this power comes the obligation to remain informed, objective, and discerning, recognizing that what we put out there shapes realities and influences decisions.
Whether the tight controls platforms like Threads are implementing will solve or exacerbate current issues remains to be seen. Time will tell, something'll happen.