立場新聞 Stand News


2015/5/6 — 17:23


書名:The News: A User’s Manual
作者:Alain de Botton

在一個理想的國度,新聞(News)本應可以擔當一個「教育者」的角色,讓大眾從每天吸收的各類新聞資訊的過程中增進知識,掃除偏見,消除愚昧。但在這個已經沒有多少人再會認真看報紙雜誌,「蘋果動新聞 + facebook 朋友分享 + Whatsapp group 轉載」漸已成為大多數人獲取新聞的主要來源的年代,新聞的存在價值和功能還剩下什麼?當我們每天每分每秒都在忙著查看手機,接收著來自各個網絡媒體的新聞的同時,我們是否察覺,原來在經過十多年的填鴨式教學後,我們終究還是逃不了淪為新聞填鴨的命運?


英國著名作家 Alain de Botton 在去年出了一本新聞使用者手冊《The News: A User’s Manual》,深入探討新聞在當下社會的意義。在這本被南方朔先生評為「富有哲學和人文關懷厚度的佳作」中,作者提出了一個重要的問題:當我們在學校完成了基本教育後,新聞其實就是我們每一個人最重要的人生導師,但何解在我們的成長過程中,好像從來沒有人為我們解說應該如何選擇、接受、分析、解讀新聞?究竟是傳媒有心透過出於各種政治╱社會╱經濟考量而編製出來的新聞,潛移默化思想改造一代又一代的受眾?還是愚昧的群眾天生習慣了被動地和無意識地接收新聞資訊,對這些每天某程度上其實正在為我們的是非╱道德╱倫理價值觀洗腦的媒體照單全收?我們在書中大概不會找到確切答案,但至少我們可以開始獨立思考,反思我們每天從媒體中獲取是什麼樣的新聞。

以下為《The News: A User’s Manual》節錄:



Societies become modern when news replaces religion as our central source guidance and our touchstone of authority. In the developed economies, the news now occupies a position of power at least equal to that formerly enjoyed by the faiths.


The news knows how to render its own mechanics almost invisible and therefore hard to question. It speaks to us in a natural unaccented voice, without reference to its own assumption-laden perspective. It fails to disclose that it does not merely report on the world, but is instead constantly at work crafting a new planet in our minds in line with its own often highly distinctive priorities.


What should be laudable in a news organisation is not a simple capacity to collect facts, but a skill - honed by intelligent bias - at teasing out their relevance ... And yet the news as it exits is woefully short on the work of coordination, distillation and curation. We are in danger of getting so distracted by the ever-changing agenda of the news that we wind up unable to develop political positions of any kind. We may lose track of which of the many outrages really matters to us and what it was that we felt we cared so passionately about only hours ago.


A contemporary dictator wishing to establish power would not need to do anything so obviously sinister as banning the news; he or she would only have to see to it that news organisations broadcast a flow of random-sounding bulletins, in great numbers but with little explanation of context, within an agenda that kept changing, without giving any sense of the ongoing relevance of an issue that had seemed pressing only a short while before ... This would be quite enough to undermine most people's capacity to grasp political reality - as well as any resolve they might otherwise have summoned to alter it. The status quo could confidently remain forever undisturbed by a flood of, rather than a ban on, news.


The job of the news is to make the celebrity section no less exciting than it is now, while ensuring that it provides us with psychologically rich, pedagogic portraits of certain noble- minded individuals who will spark our imaginations because they properly help us to address the flaws in our personalities and the knots in our ambitions. Celebrity news should, in its mature form, be a serious and respectable medium through which we learn to become more than we currently are.


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