Because the Internet is so new we still don�t really understand what it is. We mistake it for a type of publishing or broadcasting, because that�s what we�re used to. So people complain that there�s a lot of rubbish online, or that it�s dominated by Americans, or that you can�t necessarily trust what you read on the web. Imagine trying to apply any of those criticisms to what you hear on the telephone. Of course you can�t �trust� what people tell you on the web anymore than you can �trust� what people tell you on megaphones, postcards or in restaurants. Working out the social politics of who you can trust and why is, quite literally, what a very large part of our brain has evolved to do. For some batty reason we turn off this natural scepticism when we see things in any medium which require a lot of work or resources to work in, or in which we can�t easily answer back � like newspapers, television or granite. Hence �carved in stone.� What should concern us is not that we can�t take what we read on the internet on trust � of course you can�t, it�s just people talking � but that we ever got into the dangerous habit of believing what we read in the newspapers or saw on the TV � a mistake that no one who has met an actual journalist would ever make. One of the most important things you learn from the internet is that there is no �them� out there. It�s just an awful lot of �us�.
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