WashingtonPost: Doing your own research is a good way to end up being wrong

Credit: Free photo of man reading downloaded from https://stocksnap.io/photo/man-reading-Q8ZB5OUXFY

The internet has been a huge boon for the accessibility of information. There are very few barriers to consuming classic literature or detailed scientific analyses or catalogues of news reports. There is also an exorbitant amount of garbage information, of course, and an entire universe of people who say stuff that they think will get people to click links that will earn themselves money.

While confidence in American institutions has been in decline for some time, it’s not hard to imagine how the economic incentives of the internet contribute. There is an outsize appetite for derogatory, counterintuitive or anti-institutional assessments of the world around us. This is in part because alleged scandals are interesting and in part because Americans like to view themselves as independent analysts of the world around us.

The result is that there is both a supply and a demand for nonsense or appealingly framed errors. Americans who have little trust in the system can easily find something to reinforce their skepticism. They often do.