On the dubious wisdom of crowds
In the used-to-be-popular TV show Who wants to be a millionaire? contestants had the option of using an "ask the audience" lifeline . In the US version, the audience as a whole almost always indicated the correct response. The idea that by putting enough people together we can somehow aggregate their knowledge is a popular one, and certainly true on some level. On the other hand, anyone who has sat through one too many meetings about team building or has tried to convince a stubborn majority they've made a mistake knows that sometimes a whole bunch of people are just a whole bunch of wrong or a whole bunch of dumb =) Definitive proof below the fold...
Ok, so this is somewhat tongue-in-cheek, but I couldn't help but be struck by my jaunt through the liberal blogs recently today. The top diary on MyDD, a bastion of Hillary support, has this gem at the top of their rec list. Now, it's not like their rec list is typically anything to brag about , but at least most of those anti-Obama hit pieces involved a degree of effort. Here is the sum total of original writing in this diary:
In today's conference call, Phil Singer wasn't shy about telling reporters how things are changing in the race. The email announcing the call, entitled "Obama Campaign: Just Words", made the following arguments [snip] Singer continues with a summary of the state of the race now - it's all just words from Camp Obama. [snip]
That's it? That's the best of the best of MyDD, one of the largest non-kos liberal blogs? Or, just as damningly, this is what the MyDD community considers the best it has to offer?
Over now to the big Orange, a bastion of Obama support (since Edwards dropped out, anyway), where we find BREAKING: Clinton Lied About Fundraising Totals on the top, with a plea inside to PLEASE REC. GET THIS STORY OUT THERE! Unfortunately, the story is wrong :
Al misread the LA Times story. As I wrote on his blog, the primary source disproves his interpretation of the story. She transfered the $10 million from her senatorial account last year, and she took the loan in January. In a nutshell, the $35 million figure for February is accurate.
To the diarist's credit, the story has now been updated (edit: story now deleted); to the credit of dKos, numerous people in the comments called for the correction. However, it's another example of people reading what they want to read and refusing to think critically for themselves.
Ok, it's Friday, maybe I'm overreacting... but this to me does not speak highly for the usefulness of online political communities. Our own humble outpost excepted, naturally.