Balancing the Fair and Balanced

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While many may agree that the internet has 'abolished both space and time,' as McLuhan predicted, not too many would venture that it has done the same to political ideology. A recent Pew Center study suggests that many in the US are now getting information from sources, especially on the web, that are specifically tailored to political and lifestyle niches, rather than from forms of journalism that value things like 'objectivity.' As the methods by which information is produced and consumed rapidly change, more than a few artists are visualizing critical responses to the shifting infoscape. 'Balance Bar,' an in-progress project by Los Angeles-based artist Mark Daggett, encourages users to 'balance the one-sided and isolated worldview' they find in media outlets. The project, a browser extension, allows individuals to append notes to any online content, all of which can be viewed and further commented on by anyone else browsing with an active 'Balance Bar.' Although the Beta version of 'Balance Bar' will only work in Internet Explorer (PC), a Mozilla extension is in the works. So, get to work archiving those sources to argue with opposing news sites and blogs, and let the balancing begin! - Ryan Griffis