Richard Engel, chief foreign correspondent for NBC News, warned of what he called “censorship by inertia” as social media overwhelms people with information to the point that users are misinformed. become victims of
On Thursday evening in Indianapolis, Engel received the John F. Hogan Distinguished Service Award from the Radio-Television Digital News Association.
Social media, which he once thought would herald the “end of censorship,” has instead created a different kind of problem, Engel said.
“There’s a lot out there. The way to confuse people is to overwhelm them,” Engel said. “I call it censorship in terms of static. I mean static like on your television set when you don’t get good reception.
“When we had television antennas, we got snowed in, so what you have now is censorship in terms of static, where there’s only so much information, a lot of it is false or hearsay or untrue. are important, that the really important voices are drowned out. . . . And it’s a very lousy way to confuse people, to disinterest people, to easily manipulate people.”
He said journalists need to be aware that “there is a new type of information leak that is not just cutting off the source. It is overwhelming people, forcing them to drink from the firehouse.” has been where not everything is necessarily what it seems and some are deliberately put in there to be wrong.”
Engel also warned about the future of democracy, noting that it has actually been the exception to the norm in human history. “For most of what we’ve lived on the planet at this point, at least when we’re fairly familiar with what happened, democracy wasn’t the model. Dictatorship was the model,” he said.
He said the news media has a responsibility to “try and help people understand the world a little bit better, because if we’re just chasing eyeballs and we’re just feeding people more junk food.” are, and in a society that’s struggling with information obesity, I don’t think it’s going to help the planet we’re living in, the country we’re living in, moving forward.”