|President Obama visits what's left of Exit Glacier in Seward, Alaska.|
The new media ecosystem “means everything is true and nothing is true,” Obama told me later. “An explanation of climate change from a Nobel Prize-winning physicist looks exactly the same on your Facebook page as the denial of climate change by somebody on the Koch brothers’ payroll. And the capacity to disseminate misinformation, wild conspiracy theories, to paint the opposition in wildly negative light without any rebuttal—that has accelerated in ways that much more sharply polarize the electorate and make it very difficult to have a common conversation.”
That marked a decisive change from previous political eras, he maintained. “Ideally, in a democracy, everybody would agree that climate change is the consequence of man-made behavior, because that’s what ninety-nine per cent of scientists tell us,” he said. “And then we would have a debate about how to fix it. That’s how, in the seventies, eighties, and nineties, you had Republicans supporting the Clean Air Act and you had a market-based fix for acid rain rather than a command-and-control approach. So you’d argue about means, but there was a baseline of facts that we could all work off of. And now we just don’t have that.”
So it appears that Facebook not only helped to undermine our democracy, but may also keep us from saving our planet.
So much for a simple platform for keeping in touch with friends and family.
In the possible good news department, it looks like Donald Trump might be softening his stance on Climate Change:
Asked if thought human activity was linked to climate change; he responded: “I think there is some connectivity. Some, something. It depends on how much.”
He also said he would keep an open mind on whether he would pull the US out of a landmark international climate change deal.
I also read that Trump has secretly met with the President a few times, so perhaps Obama is chipping away at his stupidity.
P.S. By the way this New Yorker article is extremely good, and though I only talked about the climate change portion there is a whole lot more in there that is also quite interesting and informative.