The Epistemic Closure Market

Ben Smith and Ruby Cramer report on it: [U]nskewing reality is now a booming industry. Chambers, the original unskewer, has since launched Unskewed Media and Unskewed Politcs sites. The former site trumpets skepticism on the jobs numbers from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The latter site, meanwhile, links an article by Chambers that seeks to explain away the methodological complication that Romney … Continue reading The Epistemic Closure Market

Breivik’s Epistemic Closure

Chris Bertram analyzes it: We may be, now, in the world that Cass Sunstein worried about, a world where people select themselves into groups which ramp up their more-or-less internally coherent belief systems into increasingly extreme forms by confirming to one another their perceived “truths” (about Islam, or Obama’s birth certificate, or whatever) and shutting … Continue reading Breivik’s Epistemic Closure

Epistemic Closure Watch

On a daily basis, the Andrew Breitbart family of Web sites posts a lot of poorly researched, badly reasoned commentary on all sorts of subjects, all crafted to flatter the ideological prejudices of the audience. Take Big Government, where a recent post bemoaned the fact that Nevada is one of the western states that is receiving money to help restore salmon populations.

Hmm…Last time we checked, Nevada was landlocked and didn’t remotely touch the Pacific Ocean or any of the tributaries of the Columbia River (which run extensively through Idaho.) Now, how would Nevada get to be eligible for grants to protect the Pacific Salmon. Do the fish have a gambling addiction?

Well, no, actually. The reason, in this case, is that Nevada long enjoyed access to Pacific salmon, as anyone can discover by spending less than a minute on Google. That's how long it took The Dish to come across this informative article:

Epistemic Closure Watch

David Frum's piece in the NYT magazine is well worth your time – about as elegant and as devastating a critique of current Republicanism as you can find in one place. This is where he challenges the most:

Too often, conservatives dupe themselves. They wrap themselves in closed information systems based upon pretend information. In this closed information system, banks can collapse without injuring the rest of the economy, tax cuts always pay for themselves and Congressional earmarks cause the federal budget deficit. Even the market collapse has not shaken some conservatives out of their closed information system. It enfolded them more closely within it.

This is how to understand the Glenn Beck phenomenon.