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What is the Feiler Faster Thesis?

The Feiler Faster Thesis is an intriguing concept introduced by journalist Bruce Feiler in a 2000 article for The New York Times. It posits that the pace at which society processes information and adapts to new situations is accelerating, largely due to advancements in technology and communication. This thesis suggests that people are able to digest news, trends, and changes in their environment more quickly than ever before, leading to a faster-paced political, social, and cultural cycle. The implications of this theory touch on everything from election campaigns to consumer behavior, as the window for engaging with the public continually narrows.


While the Feiler Faster Thesis is not without its critics, it's supported by the observable uptick in the speed of news cycles and the rapid dissemination of information via social media platforms. For instance, a Pew Research Center study found that 68% of American adults get at least some of their news on social media, where information spreads swiftly. This fast-paced information exchange can lead to quicker public opinion shifts and more dynamic societal trends, underscoring the importance of staying current in an ever-accelerating world. As we navigate this landscape, understanding the Feiler Faster Thesis can help us better anticipate and react to the rapid changes around us.

Niki Foster
Niki Foster
Niki Foster
Niki Foster

The Feiler Faster Thesis (FFT) is a term used in modern journalism which holds that the increasing pace of society, particularly as seen in American politics, is matched and perhaps driven by the media's ability to report news and the public's desire for information. It is named after author Bruce Feiler, who is credited with developing the concept in regards to the 2000 primaries. Journalist Mickey Kaus coined the term "Feiler Faster Thesis" in an article published on 9 March 2000.

Mickey Kaus first wrote about the Feiler Faster Thesis on 24 February 2000 in his blog, Kausfiles, and in an article in the online magazine Slate, though he did not yet give it a name. In this article and the later one, Kaus explained that such technology as the Internet and 24-hour cable news allowed information to be reported at an accelerated rate. He also noted the compressed schedule of the 2000 US general election primaries and wrote that the trend of accelerated media coverage lessened the impact of the increased pace of politics. An important part of the Feiler Faster Thesis is that modern society is able to process information at an increased rate, not just that the rate of reporting information has increased.

The Feiler Faster Thesis holds that the accelerated pace of media coverage helps to quicken the pace of areas that are covered, such as politics.
The Feiler Faster Thesis holds that the accelerated pace of media coverage helps to quicken the pace of areas that are covered, such as politics.

The Feiler Faster Thesis traces its roots back further than Feiler, to a 1999 book by James Gleick called Faster. The main thesis of the book is that the pace of society, particularly in America, has increased in tandem with modern technology. People lead faster-paced, more hectic lives, spending less time on any given task in order to fit more in. Efficiency is the goal of our times, in everyday life, in politics, and in the exchange of information.

The Feiler Faster Thesis is related to the ability of the Internet to accelerate the manner in which news is reported.
The Feiler Faster Thesis is related to the ability of the Internet to accelerate the manner in which news is reported.

While one can easily see the Feiler Faster Thesis in action on a day-to-day basis, it remains unclear to what extent and in which direction the media, politics, and the general public are influencing each other to become faster and faster. Whether the driving force is people's desire for information or the sophistication of today's technology remains a matter of speculation.

Niki Foster
Niki Foster

In addition to her role as a InfoBloom editor, Niki enjoys educating herself about interesting and unusual topics in order to get ideas for her own articles. She is a graduate of UCLA, where she majored in Linguistics and Anthropology.

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Niki Foster
Niki Foster

In addition to her role as a InfoBloom editor, Niki enjoys educating herself about interesting and unusual topics in order to get ideas for her own articles. She is a graduate of UCLA, where she majored in Linguistics and Anthropology.

Learn more...

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Discussion Comments

anon149555

What a total crock of self-aggrandizing rubbish by professional disseminators of dis/mis-information. The news media is owned and operated by a very small and extremely wealthy group of individuals who are part of the power elite. Hidden agendas, spin doctor twisting of fact; the whole profession is in total disrepute. What passes for “news” is little more than yellow journalism dressed up for prime time television. Bunch of wasters the lot of them.

As for the alleged thesis? Yet more garbage. Cognitive load theory and the known threshold of human capacity for processing new – novel information alone make the whole slant to be just so much brain addled drivel.

anon149268

One of my professors, in my psychiatric residency back in 1977, said there was a theory that whenever there is an explosion of information in society, there is also a marked increase in certain mental illnesses, such as schizophrenia, in individuals who cannot cope with the faster pace of life, and also a revival of religious values and cults among people who are trying to make sense of their lives midst all the chaos.

He pointed to the parallel timing of the European renaissance and the witchcraft hysteria, and also the religious revivals and Utopian societies in England and the US, occurring during the 19th century industrialization of both nations.

He predicted we would see more of all of the above as our society got increasingly loaded with available information. I think he was spot on.

anon149195

I think the Feiler Faster Thesis is not, in reality a thesis, but is more of a concept in which the idea of faster digression of information is given a name. It's too bad that Kaus did not care to mention that journalism no longer follows its own Code of Ethics particularly since reporting the news has become very biased and is reported with a political stance.

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    • The Feiler Faster Thesis holds that the accelerated pace of media coverage helps to quicken the pace of areas that are covered, such as politics.
      By: wellphoto
      The Feiler Faster Thesis holds that the accelerated pace of media coverage helps to quicken the pace of areas that are covered, such as politics.
    • The Feiler Faster Thesis is related to the ability of the Internet to accelerate the manner in which news is reported.
      By: Rawpixel
      The Feiler Faster Thesis is related to the ability of the Internet to accelerate the manner in which news is reported.