Public Radio Showcase 4-28-12
11:49 am
Tue April 24, 2012

When it Comes To Politics, Is The Internet Closing Our Minds?

Coming Up Saturday, April 28th at 4pm.

NPR presents an Intelligence Squared U.S. debate about the polarizing effect the internet may have on politics.

Does the internet poison politics?

It’s been argued that the rise of “personalization,” the use of algorithms to filter what you see online, and easy access to the like-minded, have served to reinforce our pre-conceptions.

Has the web narrowed your mind? Is the information bubble a myth, or is it undermining civic discourse? Is the rise of social media really broadening our world views, or narrowing them?

Before the Oxford-style debate, moderated by ABC News' John Donvan, the audience voted 28 percent in favor of the motion and 37 percent against the motion, with 35 percent undecided.

After the debate, 53 percent of the audience agreed with the motion that when it comes to politics, the Internet is closing our minds, while 36 percent disagreed — making the side arguing for the motion the winners of the debate; 11 percent of the audience remained undecided.

 

For The Motion

Eli Pariser is the former executive director of MoveOn.org, which at five million members is one of the largest citizens' organizations in American politics, and now sits on the board. He's currently the CEO of Upworthy.com, a new site focused on spreading ideas that matter online. In his renowned book The Filter Bubble: What the Internet Is Hiding from You, Pariser reveals how personalization undermines the Internet's original purpose as an open platform for the spread of ideas.

Siva Vaidhyanathan is a cultural historian and media scholar, and is currently the Robertson Professor and the Chair of the Department of Media Studies at the University of Virginia. He also teaches at the University of Virginia School of Law. The author of The Googlization of Everything and Why We Should Worry, Vaidhyanathan is a frequent contributor to the American Scholar, The Chronicle of Higher Education, New York Times Magazine, The Washington Post, Slate and The Nation. Named “one of academe’s best-known scholars of intellectual property and its role in contemporary culture” by the Chronicle of Higher Education, Vaidhyanathan has testified as an expert before the U.S. Copyright Office on the Digital Millennium Copyright Act.

 

Against The Motion

Evgeny Morozov is the author of The Net Delusion: The Dark Side of Internet Freedom. Morozov is currently a visiting scholar in the Liberation Technology program at Stanford University and a Schwartz fellow at the New America Foundation. He was formerly a Yahoo! fellow at the Institute for the Study of Diplomacy at Georgetown University and a fellow at George Soros's Open Society Foundations, where he also served on the board of the Information Program. Before moving to the US, Morozov was Director of New Media at Transitions Online, a Prague-based media development NGO active in 29 countries of the former Soviet bloc. He's written for The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, The Financial Times, Slate, The New Republic and other publications.

Jacob Weisberg is the Editor-in-Chief of The Slate Group, a division of The Washington Post Company. A native of Chicago, he attended Yale University and New College, Oxford. From 1989 until 1994, he worked as a writer and editor at The New Republic. Between 1994 and 1996, he wrote the National Interest column for New York Magazine. In the fall of 1996, he joined Slate as Chief Political Correspondent. He succeeded Michael Kinsley as editor of Slate in 2002. He has also been a Contributing Writer for The New York Times Magazine, a contributing editor of Vanity Fair and a reporter for Newsweek in London and Washington, and a weekly columnist for the Financial Times. In 2007, Min Magazine named him Web Editor of the Year.

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