Information scarcity may lend itself to a measure of credulity: When facts are few, persuading the ignorant is relatively easy. But information abundance, already characteristic of early modern societies, engenders a degree of skepticism: The more there is to know, the more likely we feel that truth is elusive. Information super-abundance, or the condition of “digital plenitude,” as media scholar Jay David Bolter has called it, encourages the view that truth isn’t real: Whatever view you want to validate, you’ll find facts to support it. All information is also now potentially disinformation.
This is a magisterial essay and one that I’m finding to be an orienting point for me amidst the disorientations of 2020.