On today’s pod we focus on the problem of the absence of news and how humans fill that hole with their beliefs rather than facts. We dive deep in to these issues with Professor Sandy Goldberg from Northwestern University’s Department of Philosophy. Goldberg recently authored an opinion editorial in the Chicago Tribune focused on the dangers posed when people fill the whole left by a lack of news on a topic with their beliefs about an issue that of course fit their political beliefs.
Goldberg’s research focuses on Epistemology which is the investigation of what distinguishes justified belief from opinion. While this topic is incredibly meaningful given the how divisive the political rhetoric is in America it is especially important given the state of the discourse around justice reform in Chicago. Chicagoans are convinced that crime and violence are out of control and that these issues are unique to Chicago in a manner that it can only be dealt with by changing local responses. This of course flies in the face of the reality that crime and violence is up in cities around the country and that local responses seem not to impact whether a city is experiencing increased levels.
Also important to note is that the public’s lack of trust in the news and the news media certainly plays in to exacerbating this issue. Many in the alt right in Chicago are convinced that local justice reform is responsible for the increases in crime and violence despite media reporting on data that proves this just isn’t the case. When confronted by these facts the alt right just ignores them and relies on their political beliefs as enough to reinforce their beliefs despite being challenged by the news media with the facts. There is also the case that the fact that the news media is not reporting on individual aspects of the social circumstances in Chicago means they cannot be contributing to the underlying causes of crime and violence.