We have gotten to a point that our predecessor citizens didn’t have to be very concerned about. During World War II, for example, our parents and grandparents could believe virtually everything they saw in print or heard on the radio. True, there were sometimes corrections but those were done when something earlier reported was found to have been untrue or misrepresented.
Today, there are many different sources for information. Many of these sources have evolved and proved themselves to be almost 100% reliable. Many other sources are new to us. If we are a regular consumer of information, a source we’re not familiar with likely ought to be viewed skeptically unless and until we have learned they are valid sources.
I see ‘new’ sources of supposed factual news regularly and am surprised to learn that I was bamboozled by one or more. I watch these things almost daily, so my discoveries of fact or fiction usually come before I become addicted to one or another as a daily source. These bogus sites usually make some fantastical prediction or statements of “fact” which simply look fake at first glance. If this is the only place you’ve seen or heard this “news” and you are a regular consumer of news from several feeds, you can be reasonably sure you are not getting actual valid news.
The more difficult outlets are those that spike valid news stories with a ‘fact’ you only saw in that location. Maybe they just did a better job of gathering information but I would watch them closely over the next week or two to be sure they are what they claim to be before you begin to refer to their “news” in discussions with others. That is a reminder, too, that we can be victimized by friends if they have been tricked. If something sounds too good or too bad to be true, I usually look for corroboration before assuming it to be true.
I have an advantage in that I grew into adulthood without all the modern communications devices that many carry from the time they awaken to the time they go to sleep. That experience has served me well because I tend to view the information spewed out at me a bit more skeptically than another might.
Blog topics are usually researched over several days and/or information is gathered from previously proved reliable feeds. If I state an opinion, that is identifiable to any and all who might see it. My opinion of this or that is quite obviously an opinion and is often stated as such.
Opinion pieces are also on my reading lists and most of those are the opinions of well-known people who do not have a habit of making up their “facts”. Those are very enjoyable because I rely heavily on my own opinions in writing and enjoy seeing the opinions of others for whom I have developed respect or have known of for a long time.
There is the old adage that “if it is too good to be true, it probably is not true”. That is probably a very good thought to hold as you hear or read anything. If you begin to get a tingle that something isn’t quite right, you may be looking at just that. Something that isn’t quite right. There are so many different sources of information today that verification of fact or fiction is usually not too difficult or time-consuming.
Now, politics is the one battleground where information can easily have been distorted or where something we see or hear has been intentionally disguised as fact. I find, frankly, that the major networks are not beyond spinning a bit where politics are concerned. Anything anti-Trump is an automatic item to be verified through some other source before I accept or reject it. More than once I have seen the same story on two different networks and they seemed the opposite of each other.
It is a shame we are reduced to this but the proliferation of “news” organizations today is far more easily understood given the range of vehicles available to the common person. Each likely has a bias of some sort and that doesn’t make them bad or good, it just is a fact to be considered.
Sorry to be so ‘preachy’ but several recent occurrences caused me to think this might be helpful either just as a reminder or a whole new revelation.