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We live in a time of information abundance, which far too many of us see as information overload. With the sum total of human knowledge, past and present, at our fingertips, we’re faced with a crisis of attention: which ideas should we engage with, and why? Big Think is an evolving roadmap to the best thinking on the planet — the ideas that can help you think flexibly and act decisively in a multivariate world.

A word about Big Ideas and Themes — The architecture of Big Think

Big ideas are lenses for envisioning the future. Every article and video on bigthink.com and on our learning platforms is based on an emerging “big idea” that is significant, widely relevant, and actionable. We’re sifting the noise for the questions and insights that have the power to change all of our lives, for decades to come. For example, reverse-engineering is a big idea in that the concept is increasingly useful across multiple disciplines, from education to nanotechnology.

Themes are the seven broad umbrellas under which we organize the hundreds of big ideas that populate Big Think. They include New World Order, Earth and Beyond, 21st Century Living, Going Mental, Extreme Biology, Power and Influence, and Inventing the Future.

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Question: You talk about truth for access, how can the media start asking harder questions?

Arianna Huffington: Well, it’s not just asking harder questions, it’s also asking the follow-up questions. And it’s also not embodying the conventional reasoning, the way, say, Tim Russert does. I call him the conventional reasoning zombie, because he never challenges the conventional reasoning when his guest presented, and he embodies it in his questions. So, I think the press needs to recognize that sometimes you can get the true story without access, and if you simply sell your journalistic credentials to get access, you may end up like Judy Miller, who had an enormous amount of access and she got the story completely wrong on the front pages of the New York Times about WMD and the nuclear capability of Iraq, etc., etc. Or, Bob Woodward, who had almost unlimited access to the White House and the lead-up to the one completely missed the story. I call him in the book “The Dumb Blond of American Journalism.”

Question: The problem seems to be, if the media asks hard questions, their access will be cut…

Arianna Huffington: Well, first of all, any politician, whether on whatever side of the aisle they are, would prefer soft questions to hard questions, but the key here is, are journalists trying to get to the truth? And it’s not asking hard questions for the sake of it. It’s not asking got ‘cha questions, or questions that set the politician up, it’s a question of getting to the truth. I mean, that is the fundamental duty of a journalist, and that’s all we’re talking about.

Recorded on: March 9, 2008


Arianna Huffington on Truth...

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