A Great Flood of Information

In the wake of the 2016 election, there have been efforts at soul searching by politicians on both left and right. But neither side has been able to focus on the fact that the river of history is at a flood stage and is washing away the banks on both the left and right sides of the river. This has gone unnoticed for the most part, but as with most things in life, it is easy to see if you just change your perspective, and an historical perspective is what is called for here.

In 1440, Johannes Gutenberg invented the movable type printing press by pouring molten lead into molds to form the individual letters which could be moved and reused to print pages and pages of information on a scale never before seen. Prior to this invention, books were hand scribed, illuminated, illustrated and sewn into a binding which, when finished, was more of a work of art than a volume of reference material. The advent of cheaper and more plentiful books resulted in the widespread availability of information and the Age of Enlightenment began.

This new availability of information, in the form of printed books, resulted in a flood of cultural revolutions with high water marks such as the Reformation in religion, the Copernican Revolution in science and ultimately, in the political arena, the American Revolution.

The printing press gave rise to newspaper empires such as the New York Times, the Washington Post, and the UK Guardian. These newspapers help to shape the world we live in today by selecting, or omitting, what information to print based upon editorial guidelines.

Fast Forward to the late 20th Century – in 1989, a man by the name of Tim Berners-Lee, while working at CERN in Switzerland, developed computer code that enabled the Internet to become the ubiquitous font of knowledge in all of our lives. It will be left to future historians what this new age of information should be christened. Arguably, the computer code authored by Tim Berners-Lees is on par with what Gutenberg did. Despite this, it will come as no surprise to the readers of AT that Dr. Berners-Lee has not been recognized for his work by the Nobel Committee in Oslo, Norway.

As a result of this advancement in computer technology the Internet was made available to the public through internet service providers like Prodigy and CompuServe in 1992. The public now had ability to read the Washington Post in Honolulu, Hawaii or the UK Guardian in Jacksonville, Florida. Just as with Gutenberg’s printing press there was an unanticipated outcome of this flood of information. The U.S. House of Representatives changed hands in the election of 1994, when, for the first time in forty years, the Republican Party won a majority of seats. Transparency was having an effect. Oddly, the new Congress saw the World Wide Web as a means for the public to follow, in detail, without filtration, the daily legislative activities of our representatives in Washington and established a portal of unprecedented access in 1995. The portal was christened THOMAS but now has been superseded by Congress.gov which includes a Twitter account to track legislation.

The election results of 2016, when viewed from the perspective numbers, comes into clear focus. The Washington Post has a daily circulation of less than 500,000. The New York Times has a daily Circulation of just over 500,000. By contrast the Drudge Report had more than a billion hits in the month of November. The aggregate numbers dwarf the traditional newspaper circulations and even the viewership of network news outlets. These hard, cold facts make the methodology of selective omission a pointless endeavor on the part of traditional news sources. Broadcast news is not immune to this flood tide and now has to compete with the likes of the syndicated radio talk shows of Rush Limbaugh, Mark Levin, and Sean Hannity, etc. which are heard on hundreds and hundreds of radio stations racking up a daily listenership in the tens of millions over the air waves, and many millions more via the Internet. The rise of Internet-based news channels like GBTV and CRTV will likely begin to produce more floodwaters of information, albeit filtered.

The numbers add up to one undeniable fact; the “mainstream media” is no longer mainstream. The vast majority of millennials obtain their news via internet sites of one kind or another. This is why newspaper circulation and network news shows ratings, have been in a free fall for more than a decade. By contrast, Internet sites like the American Thinker and the Drudge Report continue to see growth. The “mainstream media” has committed the sin of omission by failing to be balanced and objective, and everyone knows it. They no longer report the news, instead they try to shape the narrative. In the past eighteen months, the “mainstream media” tried to do to Donald Trump what they successfully did to Barry Goldwater. They wanted to create an image of Mr. Trump as the apocalyptic candidate. But the reach of the “mainstream media” was not as wide as other more trusted news sources on the World Wide Web, where an alternative narrative was presented.

The current outgoing president, who is now almost irrelevant, stated in Rolling Stone magazine, that the Democrats loss in the 2016 election was due in part to “fake news.” This was an ironic assertion to make to Rolling Stone, which just lost a major court battle concerning a faked news story about a rape on a college campus. The president did not elaborate on what exactly he meant by “fake news,” but the unspoken message might be “fake news” is news that makes the Democrats look bad. Whether the president and other leaders in his party believe this analysis or not, is also almost irrelevant. I would prefer that the leftists remained clueless about how they lost (fortunately, many will).

The Democrats used to say that all politics are local. But the current Democrat party has lost touch with that mantra as they have pushed for more and more globalism created in the image of the European Union. They did this naively believing that we were not watching; or if we were watching, that we are too stupid to understand. The 2016 election has proven that all politics are local. And the localities that voted for Donald Trump were the parts of the country that were not getting ahead in a stagnated economy.

The Democrats, and probably many Republicans too, have failed to see the raging floodwaters of information lapping on the doorstep of every household as any sort of significant force. But the World Wide Web is changing the course of history. Each household can now observe, without filtration, what politicians are “doing on their behalf.” These flood waters of unfiltered information are washing out the stagnated swamp, and as with the Biblical Flood, a new beginning has been ushered in.

In the wake of the 2016 election, there have been efforts at soul searching by politicians on both left and right. But neither side has been able to focus on the fact that the river of history is at a flood stage and is washing away the banks on both the left and right sides of the river. This has gone unnoticed for the most part, but as with most things in life, it is easy to see if you just change your perspective, and an historical perspective is what is called for here.

In 1440, Johannes Gutenberg invented the movable type printing press by pouring molten lead into molds to form the individual letters which could be moved and reused to print pages and pages of information on a scale never before seen. Prior to this invention, books were hand scribed, illuminated, illustrated and sewn into a binding which, when finished, was more of a work of art than a volume of reference material. The advent of cheaper and more plentiful books resulted in the widespread availability of information and the Age of Enlightenment began.

This new availability of information, in the form of printed books, resulted in a flood of cultural revolutions with high water marks such as the Reformation in religion, the Copernican Revolution in science and ultimately, in the political arena, the American Revolution.

The printing press gave rise to newspaper empires such as the New York Times, the Washington Post, and the UK Guardian. These newspapers help to shape the world we live in today by selecting, or omitting, what information to print based upon editorial guidelines.

Fast Forward to the late 20th Century – in 1989, a man by the name of Tim Berners-Lee, while working at CERN in Switzerland, developed computer code that enabled the Internet to become the ubiquitous font of knowledge in all of our lives. It will be left to future historians what this new age of information should be christened. Arguably, the computer code authored by Tim Berners-Lees is on par with what Gutenberg did. Despite this, it will come as no surprise to the readers of AT that Dr. Berners-Lee has not been recognized for his work by the Nobel Committee in Oslo, Norway.

As a result of this advancement in computer technology the Internet was made available to the public through internet service providers like Prodigy and CompuServe in 1992. The public now had ability to read the Washington Post in Honolulu, Hawaii or the UK Guardian in Jacksonville, Florida. Just as with Gutenberg’s printing press there was an unanticipated outcome of this flood of information. The U.S. House of Representatives changed hands in the election of 1994, when, for the first time in forty years, the Republican Party won a majority of seats. Transparency was having an effect. Oddly, the new Congress saw the World Wide Web as a means for the public to follow, in detail, without filtration, the daily legislative activities of our representatives in Washington and established a portal of unprecedented access in 1995. The portal was christened THOMAS but now has been superseded by Congress.gov which includes a Twitter account to track legislation.

The election results of 2016, when viewed from the perspective numbers, comes into clear focus. The Washington Post has a daily circulation of less than 500,000. The New York Times has a daily Circulation of just over 500,000. By contrast the Drudge Report had more than a billion hits in the month of November. The aggregate numbers dwarf the traditional newspaper circulations and even the viewership of network news outlets. These hard, cold facts make the methodology of selective omission a pointless endeavor on the part of traditional news sources. Broadcast news is not immune to this flood tide and now has to compete with the likes of the syndicated radio talk shows of Rush Limbaugh, Mark Levin, and Sean Hannity, etc. which are heard on hundreds and hundreds of radio stations racking up a daily listenership in the tens of millions over the air waves, and many millions more via the Internet. The rise of Internet-based news channels like GBTV and CRTV will likely begin to produce more floodwaters of information, albeit filtered.

The numbers add up to one undeniable fact; the “mainstream media” is no longer mainstream. The vast majority of millennials obtain their news via internet sites of one kind or another. This is why newspaper circulation and network news shows ratings, have been in a free fall for more than a decade. By contrast, Internet sites like the American Thinker and the Drudge Report continue to see growth. The “mainstream media” has committed the sin of omission by failing to be balanced and objective, and everyone knows it. They no longer report the news, instead they try to shape the narrative. In the past eighteen months, the “mainstream media” tried to do to Donald Trump what they successfully did to Barry Goldwater. They wanted to create an image of Mr. Trump as the apocalyptic candidate. But the reach of the “mainstream media” was not as wide as other more trusted news sources on the World Wide Web, where an alternative narrative was presented.

The current outgoing president, who is now almost irrelevant, stated in Rolling Stone magazine, that the Democrats loss in the 2016 election was due in part to “fake news.” This was an ironic assertion to make to Rolling Stone, which just lost a major court battle concerning a faked news story about a rape on a college campus. The president did not elaborate on what exactly he meant by “fake news,” but the unspoken message might be “fake news” is news that makes the Democrats look bad. Whether the president and other leaders in his party believe this analysis or not, is also almost irrelevant. I would prefer that the leftists remained clueless about how they lost (fortunately, many will).

The Democrats used to say that all politics are local. But the current Democrat party has lost touch with that mantra as they have pushed for more and more globalism created in the image of the European Union. They did this naively believing that we were not watching; or if we were watching, that we are too stupid to understand. The 2016 election has proven that all politics are local. And the localities that voted for Donald Trump were the parts of the country that were not getting ahead in a stagnated economy.

The Democrats, and probably many Republicans too, have failed to see the raging floodwaters of information lapping on the doorstep of every household as any sort of significant force. But the World Wide Web is changing the course of history. Each household can now observe, without filtration, what politicians are “doing on their behalf.” These flood waters of unfiltered information are washing out the stagnated swamp, and as with the Biblical Flood, a new beginning has been ushered in.