Over the last few weeks I have had many discussions with friends, family, and associates in the United States. These conversations broadly fall into one of two social contexts:
Those who believe that CNN, MSNBC, NYT, and WaPo are legitimate journalism; late night comedy shows are funny and informative; Hollywood makes film art; Donald Trump is a criminal narcissist ruining the country.
Those who believe that CNN, MSNBC, NYT, and WaPo are criminal enterprises; late night comedy shows are vile and deceitful; Hollywood makes evil propaganda; Donald Trump is an honourable warrior saving the country.
It hardly needs stating that these are opposing paradigms, even if there may be nuance in individual views. Whilst there may be common ground — “Jeffrey Epstein didn’t kill himself” — the situation is best characterised by a divergence of perspectives. It seems fair to say that we are in a societal battle to define what “real information about reality” is.
This “perception problem” transcends traditional politics. My purpose in writing this missive is to share my observations at the philosophical and media studies level, rather than to opine on world affairs or advocate for a movement. What might be the appropriate “thinking tools” to help us to ground our perspective of reality?