Sunday, April 10, 2005

Solomonia on C-SPAN's broadcast

Other bloggers have commented on the April 3 program. Here is an excerpt from Solomonia:

The C-Span Lipstadt Broadcast - Updated

Of course you cannot simply toss both sides out there on equal time and leave it up to the marketplace of ideas to sort out truth from fiction in a one hour program - even without commercials. It is irresponsible to put a truth-teller up against someone who has no qualms about lying with a straight face and expect even an above-average audience to sort out the truth from fiction. First of all, neither side has the time necessary to truly craft their case, nor would most people have the attention-span to focus on it even if they did. The trial took months and the issues cannot possibly be done justice to in a one hour program. Further, most people do not have the resources at hand, nor the ability at hand to fact and context-check every claim. Holocaust-deniers are masters of twisting the truth to form wholely new creations.

Given two reasonable-sounding cases, and little but the presentations themselves to recommend either, many well-meaning people will find themselves being drawn somewhere toward the center - the fallacy of the golden mean is a particularly seductive one.

Think of some controversial issue of which you are somewhat expert but that can easily be misunderstood and the public mislead when presented by someone you know to have a fringe view. Think of some court case or some disagreement you've had in which you know you were 100% right given someone taking the time to really sit down and examine your case, and how dangerous and frustrating it is if they don't - how easily a false impression can result from too little information gleaned too casually.

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