True Enough

Just finished True Enough by Farhad Manjoo. Overall a really interesting book. The thesis is that we live in a world in which we no longer agree on the facts that ought to shape our policies and political debates.  Despite anyone’s judgment on the particulars, the basic issue is one worthy of consideration. Why can’t we agree? It’s because we select the evidence we like, surround ourselves with people and news sources which agree with our preferred views, and so on. I don’t think I can argue with that reality. And the internet and new media make this more likely.

Just a couple of weaknesses. First, the author is from Salon, so there are some moments where left-bias creeps in. It begins and ends with issues likely to more annoy the right (Swift Boat at the beginning; right wing PR firms show up near the end). And I can’t really blame the author, because he too sees different facts than I or others see! A few glancing name-calling things really undercut the force of the argument too. But there are things to annoy the left as well: 9-11 Truthers, Robert Kennedy and Lou Dobbs all come in for various attacks. So, I won’t be too critical on that point. Second, it’s a couple of years old and a few of the particulars suffer due to that. Comments on Iraq and some current political debates are differently fact-shaped today than they would have been when the book was written. But I guess that supports the basic thesis as well!

I’ll be sharing some info from this in some of my classes this fall, I think, so I consider it a worthwhile read.


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