In September 2017, The Atlantic issued an article titled “How America Lost Its Mind””. Robert Andersen, the author of this article, tracks the development of post-truth within modern society. In addition, he also highlights the negative and positive attributes that comes with post-truth and the effect it has on American politics. With regards to contemporary politics, there is an overbearing presence of subjectivity and how politics has been infiltrated by irrationality and incompetence due to a person’s own convictions. Consequently, Andersen argues, truth has become relative and it has lead to backlash such as people seeking out personal vendettas and invasive behaviors that frightens others. “The Business of Internet Outrage, ”a recent episode of the New York Times’ podcast The Daily reflects this notion of invasiveness and exploitation that many individuals have demonstrated because of post truth and the influence it has had on them financially or politically. The podcast details a media news website that reports about conservative opinion but it uses vulgar and aggressive diction to anger its viewers.
The Business of Internet Outrage characterizes American politics as an environment where citizens are influenced by misinformation which is created by fake news and tabloids. Within the last few minutes of the podcast, reporter Kevin Roose noted a particular protest that was done outside of a synagogue in Pittsburgh. Within the protest, protesters exclaimed, “ Words have meaning”. This was referring to the fake news that has been circulating around about certain groups or individuals and how it impacts the emotions of others. Additionally, the impact of a word is considered miniscule even though there are events that prove otherwise. For instance, Cesar Sayoc was found posting on his facebook page many extremist conservative views with content coming from Mad World News. Mad World news is a conservative tabloid magazine that depicts democratic hatred and conservative promotion. Without concern or regard for others, Mad World News openly admits to writing news so that it can rile up emotions. However, Mad World News sees no problem in writing in such a manner because they have the free will to believe in anything they say even if it’s wrong. Since they are tabloid and they do attract viewers and readers, many viewers will follow their ideologies. Subsequently, the viewers will put those words into actions and that is when you have incidents such as Cesar Sayoc. And so, the slogan “Words have meaning”, symbolizes the downplay of truth and the uprising of subjectivity. Furthermore, convictions and the belief in certain ideologies has empowered to certain individuals to become insensitive and close-minded.
Andersen displays the different forms of truth and how it has devolved from objectivity to subjectivity. In the article, “ How America Lost its Mind”, Anderson speaks about counterculture and how there was a movement of anti-establishment and anti-government. There were many novels and pieces of works that highlight this movement such as “The Greening of America”. The Greening of America exemplified the youth’s pursuit of self-righteousness. Andersen notes, “After the ’60s, truth was relative, criticizing was equal to victimizing, individual liberty became absolute, and everyone was permitted to believe or disbelieve whatever they wished”. The main takeaway within this era was that reality is subjective without anyone’s viewpoint being equally false or equally true.
The Daily’s Podcast and the content that it provided is a clear example for subjectivity and how it has plagued American society. Realizing that there is no rationality within American politicians, Tabloids and politicians have converted American politics into a reality show. For example, Mad World News and their convictions highlights the relativism of truth. These tabloids are allowed to report about controversial topics without any facts but solely based on opinions and emotions. Due to the 1960’s and their subjective revolution, Criticism is seen as victimizing and it has played a role in the development of news outlet in contemporary America.