BLOG. Republic.com 2.0
I really enjoyed reading Sunstein’s book Republic.com 2.0 because what he talks about in the book are I also have thought of once as well so while was reading the book, I was glad to see that a lot of my ideas seemed to match with his ideas.
In Chapter one, I really liked how the book talked about how in our generation we have a perfect media. How our media is so sorted out and selected, we can pick what we want to see, hear, and read about. It’s true, we have generated a perfect media by letting the media know what we want and do not want. Everyone obviously has their own opinion on what kind of news they are interested in. The news is spread out to where you can “read your own magazines and newspapers with only things you want to know in them”. Today people read what they want to read, people are going to watch the news when they want to watch the news… and that is, normally when something big is going on. Whether it may be that our president is talking on the news about some new change he plans on making, or something totally opposite like young teens passing away in a drunk driving car accident, we’re going to watch what sounds interesting and what catches our eyes. Sunstein points all these facts out. Our society has come to the point where we only care if it is BIG news or something really interesting on, not debates or who has better points about politics. It would be nice to see people wanting to learn about all the not so noticeable things in life but most of the time, that’s just not going to happen.
To me, I found chapter one to be fascinating, since it discussed how people can sensor themselves through personalizing all of their news and ways of life. In the present day with the internet, you can read what you want to read about without having to deal with news that you “do not want to see” or may think you do not want to see. Through narrowing down the news to only a few topics, people cannot see other points of view or even other stories of the world. For example, if you read only conservative articles or television programs, you will never understand how liberals are trying to fix certain problems, even if what they are doing is better than what the conservatives are doing. Another example of this is if you only read news about basketball, you will never know about the problems of our world, such as the Tsunamis and earthquakes in Japan or politics in the United States. The reading states that this could affect democracy by making it so people no longer think for and govern themselves, since they will be fed information on only a select few things. Sunstein says there are two main points to free expression and democracy; people should be exposed to topics they would not necessarily personally choose to explore, and people in a society should all have a range of common experiences. For these two things to come to fruition, people must read about a variety of news so they can share their opinions with other people, and therefore learn about the problems of our country and world. Democracy is constantly building upon itself to further improve the lives of its citizens, and without the public knowing about the current events of our nation, we cannot move forward as a democracy. This is why Sunstein says it is vital for people to evenly distribute their personal news coverage to a variety of topics, so as to allow our country to grow.
Then, in chapter two Sunstein begins the chapter by outlining the reasons why free speech and free press are not luxuries but are necessities for a well structured society. Sunstein boldly states that in a country with free speech and press there should be no starvation due to famine. This is because of the fact that in a country with free press the government officials should be pressured by the people to ensure that everyone has access to food. Sunstein then expands on this to include damage due to other natural disasters such as hurricanes and earthquakes.If freedom is genuinely protected then there would be greater communication between the people and their government thus making the government more accountable for taking care of its people during crisis.
I agree with Sustein when he says that every country needs freedom of speech and press. A lot of people might think that America is bad because comedians can make fun of their own presidents without getting in trouble. People in the US have the freedom of drawing Barrack Obama with huge ears. They are allowed to make jokes about him putting a “KFC” in the white house. Americans are allowed to do all this but which a lot of people think is wrong, but then again how many people will tell you that America is the best country in the world. Without freedom of speech or press the leaders of the nation don’t know what they are doing wrong. North Korea will never improve unless someone stands up to Kim Jong-il (then again they don’t have any freedom at all so they don’t even know any better.) Its called corrective criticism here in the US. Thats why so many people migrate to America; to enjoy the freedom we all withhold. So i do agree when Sustein labels freedom of speech and press and luxuries.