Our whole society shares this stupidity

Quote of the Day for January 3rd, 2011:

John Sommerville, from an article in the October 1991 issue of First Things, entitled: Why the News Makes Us Dumb

The News can’t be fixed. There is something about daily publication, all by itself, that distorts reality. That is why the addiction to News that so many of us share has brought on a kind of stupidity. Our whole society shares this stupidity, and so we have a hard time recognizing it.

Catching up on some blog reading I missed last week, I noticed that Joe Carter had penned a piece at FirstThings.com on one of my favorite subjects to grouse about: how the Daily News Product industry dominates our culture, and infests it with rampant stupidity. Carter quoted a different passage in this 20 year-old article from Sommerville, which happily appears to be a free article in the First Things on-line archive. According to Carter, this essay was later fleshed out into a book by Sommerville, which I see via Amazon is a rather short one (155 pgs.) published by IVP in 1999, called How the News Makes Us Dumb: The Death of Wisdom in an Information Society. It never ceases to amaze me how many people think the schlock marketed to them as "news" makes them somehow more knowledgeable about the world around them.