Sir, – It may sound paradoxical but in order to argue with someone, you need to agree with them, at least up to a point. This reality is relevant to the important challenges raised in Joe Humphreys's Unthinkable column ("Why faith in technology may be the downfall of traditional media", Arts & Ideas, March 25th).
As access to the internet and social media is unfiltered, people lead by algorithms inexorably tend toward extreme viewpoints that reinforce their prejudices. As stated, this coverage “no longer distinguishes between facts and opinions or between facts and framing”.
While traditionally those of differing political perspectives could argue about how societal problems should be addressed, today they cannot agree on whether they are actual problems or are even true.
For instance, seemingly objective matters like climate change, crime statistics, or, during the Trump campaign, the unemployment rate, can now be doubted or questioned. This makes constructive dialogue between the sides impossible.
As Orwell put it, “in such circumstances there can be no argument. The necessary minimum of agreement cannot be reached”.
The challenge facing our media is vast, and of urgent importance. – Yours, etc,