‘Worrying that people can’t discern truth from fiction’
TIMES NEWS NETWORK
We live in a world where information is accessible to everyone, yet many people find it hard to discern truth from fiction, said American journalist, author and podcast host Guy Raz at the Times LitFest in conversation with Shaili Chopra.
Raz, author of the book How I Built This, based on his eponymous podcast, said that he was concerned by the state of media today, especially in western liberal democracies. “When I came to this profession, there was a feeling that news organisations were there to speak truth to power, but over the past 20 years we have seen a significant shift in how the public perceives the media and how the media perceives itself.”
He went on to talk about the two famous British futurist writers of the 20th century – George Orwell, who “warned of a future where books would be burnt”, and Aldous Huxley who “warned of a future where there would be such a deluge of information that you wouldn’t know what the truth was”. “It seems that the Aldous Huxley version is the one we’re living in,” Raz observed.
Raz’s business podcast ‘How I Built This’ focuses on entrepreneurs behind the world’s major brands. “I wanted people to hear stories of iconic companies and understand that the people behind them are ordinary people, who somehow found the courage to start these companies and went through strife and challenges to make it happen.” Speaking of the impact of the coronavirus pandemic, he added, “This past year has required businesses to engage in radical thinking just to survive… these entrepreneurs have been swinging for the fences because they had no choice.”
At the same time, the show has made Raz think about the free market and capitalistic systems. “While they have enabled incredible innovation, they’ve also created winners and losers,” he said.