The Things People Say By Elizabeth Kolbert Essay

The Things People Say By Elizabeth Kolbert Essay

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The internet is a hub of information. It is easy to access this information and resources by simple looking up a simple topic. How much of this information is actually true? In The New Yorker article “The Things People Say” author Elizabeth Kolbert explains the dangers of believing wholeheartedly the information given to us online. She uses logos to prove that the internet can be biased with information through “group polarization” and a site’s inability to upload contradictory information. She fails however with ethos in her paper because she is hypocritical.
Kolbert begins her article with an example of a town hall meeting in Georgetown, Delaware with Mike Castle, a Republican representative. A lady with a baggy full of her personal information, pulls out her birth certificate and begins saying that Obama is not a US citizen therefore he cannot be president. She is a movement that was created by Clinton supporters (and further used by the Republicans) that claimed President Obama was not born in the United States of America. The conspiracy was soon plastered on social media and blogs throughout the web. Even though Obama’s birth certificate was released to the public, so called “document professionals” say that the document was doctored and changed. This illustrates how conspiracies and other movements can gain traction and become a locomotive force on the internet. Kolbert quotes Sunstein writing saying "The most striking power of the emerging technologies is the growing power of consumers to filter what they see"(Kolbert). We are now in an age where technology caters to our beliefs and ideologies. If we wish something to be true then we can make it true and find information that will support you.
Kolbert success...


... middle of paper ...


...extreme right wing conspiracies and agendas with examples of the birther movement, and Fox News, but arguments based on hard left wing movements are little to none. It seems contradictory to speak on how not to polarize your thinking but then to argue only against one side of the political spectrum. There are liberal forums that bash organized religion solely because they do not believe there is a God. This could have been used as a sample of “group polarization.”
In the end, Kolbert successfully states that the Internet, while being a quick and easy source of information, can be misleading due to the author’s bias feelings. Many theories can even be disproven but still be thought of as fact because of this. However, the success of the article can be undermined due to Kolbert’s own bias to only use extreme right wing examples and no examples of left wing extremism.

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