Wednesday, April 21, 2010

We know how you feel, Bill. 

In an interview with Phil Bronstein, Bill Gates talks about today's journalism.

Phil: It seems to me that technology might provide an answer it hasn't provided yet. Is there a way to narrow Twitter to verifiable information useful to journalists? Is there a technological fix for verifying information?

Bill: The trusting is hard. Just look at coverage of vaccination even by mainstream media in U.S. and their willingness to give a voice to the anti-vaccine crowd, it is hard. Trust has always been hard. The sense of 'Oh it has to get out right away' really is a problem. What is really going on? Are we being thoughtful about this? There will be voices that emerge... We need more reporters and editors to say, 'we're going to put global health on our front page today,' to elevate something up and create that broader awareness, not just [focus on] something that's interesting and got a lot of traffic.

We know how you feel, Bill, and how we're irritated by the supposedly mainstream media giving equal platform to the two opposing sides of the debate, no matter what their respective relevance is. Anti-vaccine lunatics; global warming deniers; intelligent design proponents; people fear-mongering about death panels; Sarah Palin; and Republicans now saying that an anti-bailout law is actually pro-bailout. It does not matter if an opinion is too outrageous, too ridiculous, too ludicrous, it is taken seriously at face value if it "balances" another statement.

That journalism can die, and no one will miss it. And Phil, to reply to your question: technology won't save it!

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