Current Weather
The Spy FM

Is The Internet Closing Our Minds Politically?

Filed by KOSU News in Politics.
April 23, 2012

On the Internet, it’s easy to find like-minded people and to frequent sites whose content you already agree with. And the online world is increasingly tailored to individual preferences and interests — including search engines serving up more personalized results for your queries.

But are we running the risk of getting trapped in information bubbles, where all we read and see falls in line with our political views?

A group of experts took on that topic in the latest Intelligence Squared U.S. debate. They faced off two-against-two in an Oxford-style debate on the motion “When It Comes To Politics, The Internet Is Closing Our Minds.”

Before the debate, the audience at the Skirball Center for the Performing Arts at New York University voted 28 percent for the motion and 37 percent against, with 35 percent undecided. Afterward, the vote was 53 percent for the motion, with 36 percent against — meaning the side arguing the Internet is closing our minds carried the debate. (Eleven percent remained undecided.)

The April 17 debate was moderated by ABC News’ John Donvan. Those debating were:


Eli Pariser is the former executive director of, which at 5 million members is one of the largest citizens’ organizations in American politics, and now sits on its board. He’s currently the CEO of, a new site focused on spreading ideas. In his book The Filter Bubble: What the Internet Is Hiding from You, Pariser argues that personalization undermines the Internet’s original purpose as an open platform for the spread of ideas.

A cultural historian and media scholar, Siva Vaidhyanathan is currently chairman of the Department of Media Studies at the University of Virginia. He also teaches at the University of Virginia School of Law. The author of The Googlization of Everything (And Why We Should Worry), Vaidhyanathan has testified as an expert before the U.S. Copyright Office on the Digital Millennium Copyright Act.


Evgeny Morozov is the author of The Net Delusion: The Dark Side of Internet Freedom. Morozov is currently a visiting scholar in the Liberation Technology program at Stanford University and a Schwartz fellow at the New America Foundation. Before moving to the United States, Morozov was director of new media at Transitions Online, a Prague-based media development NGO active in 29 countries of the former Soviet bloc.

Jacob Weisberg is the editor-in-chief of The Slate Group, a division of The Washington Post Co. From 1989 until 1994, he worked as a writer and editor at The New Republic. Between 1994 and 1996, he wrote the National Interest column for New York Magazine. In the fall of 1996, he joined Slate as chief political correspondent. He succeeded Michael Kinsley as editor of Slate in 2002. [Copyright 2012 National Public Radio]

Leave a Reply

5AM to 9AM Morning Edition

Morning Edition

For more than two decades, NPR's Morning Edition has prepared listeners for the day ahead with two hours of up-to-the-minute news, background analysis, commentary, and coverage of arts and sports.

Listen Live Now!

9AM to 10AM The Takeaway

The Takeaway

A fresh alternative in morning news, "The Takeaway" provides a breadth and depth of world, national and regional news coverage that is unprecedented in public media.

View the program guide!

10AM to 11PM On Point

On Point

On Point unites distinct and provocative voices with passionate discussion as it confronts the stories that are at the center of what is important in the world today. Leaving no perspective unchallenged, On Point digs past the surface and into the core of a subject, exposing each of its real world implications.

View the program guide!

Upcoming Events in your area (Submit your event today!)

Streaming audio and podcasts

Stream KOSU on your smartphone

Phone Streaming

SmartPhone listening options on this page are intended for many iPhones, Blackberries, etc. with low-cost software applications available to listen to our full-time web streams, both News on KOSU-1 and Classical on KOSU-2.

Learn more about our complete range of streaming services

We're perfecting the patient experience - Stillwater Medical Center