Sunstein’s 2.0, Revenge of the Blogs

In The Guardian, Steven Poole reviews Cass Sunstein’s 2.0:

n this revised edition of his 2001 book, Sunstein sticks to his paternalist view that the internet allows you, via blogs or feeds or personalised news services, to filter out unsolicited facts or viewpoints, so that you can end up conversing entirely within a partisan “echo chamber”. For democracy to flourish, Sunstein thinks, “people should be exposed to materials that they would not have chosen in advance”, which he argues was more likely to happen with old media. Of course, people were never obliged to read newspapers or watch the TV news either, and ignoring what is going on around you is an age-old preference for some. Sunstein never provides any evidence that ignoring what is going on in the world is somehow easier or more likely thanks to the internet, which can after all allow you to find out more about what is going on in the world, if you are so inclined. He wants to regulate the functioning of a communications network, but what he is really annoyed about is people’s desire, or lack of it, for self-education.

Here is a Q&A with Sunstein, and here is Chapter 1 of the book.