CBS Sunday Morning aired a segment today about the rise of the Flat Earth movement. They didn’t suggest there was any credibility to it. Rather, the focus was on how it exists at all.
I don’t have a problem with a news program covering an issue like this as long as enough weight is given to sensible voices — and that happened in this segment. Plus, the best thing about a crazy fringe movement is that their most credible voices are, by definition, still crazy.
In this case, Flat Earther Patricia Steere explained that every photo of Earth taken from space was “completely and utterly false,” the Sun and Moon are “probably about the same size,” and the Mars Rover is part of a broader conspiracy.
At least national security expert (and guy who lives in reality) Tom Nichols had the most sensible thing to say in the entire segment, rebutting the idea that if it’s on the internet and if a lot of people believe it, there must be some credibility to it.
Younger people will say, “The internet is a big library.” That’s wrong. The internet is a big dumpster. There’s no guarantee that anything you find on it is true.
Right on. The New Yorker‘s Jelani Cobb was talking about Kanye West when he wrote the following, but it applies here as well: “It’s not uncommon for men unburdened by rigorous thinking but convinced of the superiority of their intellects to presume that a minority opinion is the most valid one.”
Being a contrarian doesn’t always mean you’re smart. It’s ironic that, for people who believe in a Flat Earth, their power comes from living in a bubble.