Thank you for your letter concerning the increasing popularity of health food, the involvement of independent media sources helping to promote it and the correlation between how those sources will eventually breakdown traditional politics.
Increasing Popularity of Health Food items in Stores
Ponder for a moment about how many people you know of who are knowledgeable in a particular area for which you are not. Many of us could think of people who are experts in a particular field of study and who’ve dedicated some of their free time in expanding their knowledge in that area. We may personally know people who’ve studied medicine, law, mathematics, finance, music, sports, ect. – and who represent our guides whenever we wish to learn more about the subject. Before technology gave us the ability to communicate rapidly with others, the only way to learn from an expert was to have a discourse with them face-to-face. Technology gives us access to experts who’ve taken the time to either blog or make videos about their expertise.
Health conscious individuals have most likely been around since the time of Hippocrates. The ability to transfer data rapidly between experts and non-experts, however, was not. Obviously the Gutenberg press helped this by giving rise to more readers and writers and connecting the plebeian with the knowledge of scholars. Despite the goodness of this technology, it also gave rise to Holy Wars. In economics there always exists a trade-off between one favorable thing against another. The invention of the printing press was not absolved from the paradox of this structure; both good and bad information was proliferated by the device (as both good and bad men took to writing their ideologies). You could have Emmanual Kant’s Critique of Pure Reason or Adolf Hitler’s Mein Kampf. In the end I would consider it fair to say that the expansion of reading and writing has been an all around positive boon for civilization – both economically and socially.
So too does this become parallel for the proliferation of blogs and independent print media for all sources of knowledge. Our job in the 21st century is no longer having to take the laborious trip to our library but instead sifting through the conglomerate of data sources that we call blogs and news articles. With encyclopedic knowledge at our finger tips we are at least more comforted in our health choices about food so long as we find multiple sources to prove what we’re looking for. If I can find multiple articles citing work from reputable sources agreeing upon the cancer preventing attributes of broccoli, chances are I’m following good information. I am able to access the expertise of people who spend their time learning about nutrition.
As people learn more about nutrition the ire people exhibit towards unhealthy food begins to grow. Independent news outlets and blogs begin reporting the smallest instances of food mismanagement, the negative treatment of animals and the various ways our food is packaged. Social media outlets are quick data exchanges for people who do not have time to read entire articles but who want to keep informed. (Later on, when they’re not so busy, they may take the time to further investigate the issue.) The conversational water-cooler moments explode into multiple topics – health being a major one – and the speed at which information spreads compounds.
Are Politicians Holding Back our News Sources
I am not aware of evidence showing politicians apprehending news outlets from promoting their writings. This is something I would be interested in learning more about. Although it’s true that Wikileaks helped to promote Edward Snowden and Bradley Manning’s previously hidden information, the Guardian also participated in the expansion of this news and they are a large, reputable source. I believe that competition for good, accurate news will be what compels the larger news outlets to change their strategy and be less manipulated by politics. I think independent media sources are the competitors against the large and more popular sources. This competition is great for the news market because it challenges us to seek multiple sources for our information.
Independent media outlets have allowed people to write about so many different topics that are not popularized by mainstream media. If it’s not on CNN, BBC, FOX, MSNBC, and others, then you may never know about it. The zeitgeist of seeking knowledge from independent media sources has certainly enabled less popular news outlets to gaining recognition. Perhaps this is precisely what is needed in order for us to be cognizant and empathetic of a wide array of issues for which being pigeon-hold into one political party prevents us.