This has the most troubling implications in non-fiction and current events. We’re more likely to accept, without thinking, what we hear on TV.
In the LA Times, another commentator, Mitchell Stephens, speaks to the benefit of reading explaining that with the written word “the correspondences, connections or contradictions among various statements can be carefully examined.” In practical terms, that means that a deeper understanding of issues can be achieved from newspapers and magazines than from news broadcasts that take place in “real time” and do not allow for reflection.
In my opinion, people simply think better within a reading context. Again, according to Stephens, “Controversial subjects are losing the seriousness and intellectual content print gave them as they are transformed into ‘show business’ to meet the needs of electronic media.” Nowhere has his been more dramatically demonstrated than in the rhetoric of the recent presidential election and the gun control debate. To cut to the chase, if you really want to learn about a subject – read about it.