Fake News & More…

First, where did Friday the 13th come from?  If Wikipedia can be trusted (and today it is very difficult to know who or what to trust as we’ll see later), this is the story:

“The superstition surrounding this day may have arisen in the Middle Ages, ‘originating from the story of Jesus’ last supper and crucifixion’ in which there were 13 individuals present in the Upper Room on the 13th of Nisan Maundy Thursday, the night before his death on Good Friday.”

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The whole “Fake News” thing is maddening, confusing, disruptive, deceiving, and no doubt leading many to wrong conclusions, both those who believe there is ‘fake news’ and those who decry the notion of ‘fake news’.  Those who relish the content of the latest thing to be labeled ‘fake news’ think there is only real news which is based on fact.

We have become very trusting, maybe overly trusting, of all that finds its way into print or what we believe to be trustworthy media of all types.  We have potentially made ourselves very susceptible to whatever is defined as ‘fake news’ by believing that whatever we use for the purpose of gathering facts is the real deal.

There is a place, I believe, for healthy skepticism of any and all media pieces.  Healthy skepticism would consist of one relying on multiple sources to attempt to reach a reasonable conclusion as to the reliability of what it was that we consumed.  BUT, that would take time and too many of us have too little time available to permit the kind of research necessary to determine the truth about a story.

We have become very susceptible to the twisting of details or to the slant given to certain things we read or watch or listen to through the course of a day, a week, a month or a year because we have forgotten to be even a bit skeptical.

I have been reading a wide cross section of pieces intentionally for the past several months to try to find one or more that I believe to be reliable and least likely to twist the facts to make them something other than what they are.  There are several that I thought would be even-handed but found them not to be.  The information provided by Time, for example, is quite decidedly tilted in the liberal direction as I see things.  CNN is in that same sphere.  USA Today leans in that direction and its recent acquisition of my local newspaper shows in that publication more now than it did prior to its sale.  The Weekly Standard bills itself as conservative and is true to its word.  I continue to look at these sources BUT I see them through a prism that I wouldn’t have used before the experiment.

‘Fact-checking’ has become all the rage, but we have to be careful of what we accept from those pieces as truth.  They can easily be twisted by those who are charged with finding “the facts” in the manner in which those “facts” are portrayed.  The personal persuasion of the fact checker(s) is easily transferred to the finished product.  We need to be our own “fact-checkers”.

I am a skeptic and I intentionally seek out different versions of the same news item as I work to see the reality of the particular subject.  I have the time and the desire to do so where many, or even most, I suspect, do not.  This move to the left-of-center has been slow and pervasive but it has been happening.  How many of us do not see that this has occurred?  How many of us have been glued to the same source(s) for most, if not all, of the news we consume?

The recent ‘revelation’ of a supposed dalliance by our President-Elect’s attorney in a foreign country is a case-in-point.  The story was salacious and therefore found its way into many different streams of information.  After a couple of days of this repetition, it was believed to be fact by a lot of people.  Trump even had to call his attorney to task and found, by looking at his travel documents that he had not been where and when he was supposedly involved in this dalliance.

If those, who would have us confused by ‘fake news’ so as to believe it is real, have their way, we will be in a world of perpetual disbelief and that will make us very susceptible to believing anything we’re fed if that has always been our primary source of information.  If it is printed in a newspaper it must be true.  If it is aired on national television, it must be true.  If it is believed and passed on by our best friend, it must be true.

Unfortunately, this will become even more widespread with the swearing in of Donald Trump, and you will, if you watch carefully, see it in the left-leaning media even as that media preaches it is fair and even and without bias.

By the way, I make no claim other than to be a conservative male.

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