Indeed, it is very ironic that people live in the age of information abundance, yet some lack crucial knowledge, as indicated in “Are People Better Informed in the Information Society” reading. Many researchers have been done and proved that people now know as much as before or maybe less; two experts in public opinion and political behavior find that many citizens are remarkably informed about the details of politics, while equally large numbers are nearly ignorant of political facts. (Carpini, 1997). But the question here is, why lacking information is a big issue?
In general, considering traditional media alone in acquiring information is not a good idea since it became a powerful political institution and a subject to bias, according to Cook. Therefore, people tend to utilize web 2.0 tools such as blogging, forums and other online communities in collecting political information, “I believe in democracy above everything. I believe that the best government is one in which the people are allowed to govern themselves. I believe, as Thomas Jefferson did, that Americans must participate fully in democracy for it to work. And I believe the internet is the best tool we’ve ever created to help achieve that”, (Trippi, 2004, p. 226). Learning from all news media collectively is effective in information inquiry.
To have certain knowledge about national or sometimes international politics is vital. For example, Surveys have showed that voters are remarkably ignorant about names of congressional candidates. Many Americans can’t recall their governor’s name, according to Robinson. In 1989, 74% could come up with Dan Quayle’s name when asked who the vice president is. In 2007, somewhat fewer than 69% were able to recall Dick Cheney. The whole findings suggest little change in overall levels of public knowledge. Despite the fact that news formats are changing, they are not having a great deal of impact on how much the public knows about national and international affairs, (What Americans Know, 2007).
People learn about politics to achieve different goals:
- To protect themselves, their family and societies
- To make the right decision about each candidates
- To build a better future for the next generation
- Ignorance will enable news media to power
- To affect what candidates can do or what decisions they make, lack of knowledge will affect how candidates speak about everything.