We are inundated with ‘news’ and if we are truly ‘news junkies’ we are buried moreso than most others. This link purports to identify what we can usually rely on vs. that upon which we should never rely: https://docs.google.com/document/d/10eA5-mCZLSS4MQY5QGb5ewC3VAL6pLkT53V_81ZyitM/edit.
This is a 34-page spreadsheet, by the way, to give you an idea of the magnitude of the potential threat of fake or bogus or simply unreliable sources for news these days. This is likely not the ‘end all and be all’ on the subject. I wouldn’t be surprised to learn that the lists of fake news sources change quite often.
There is a danger in relying too heavily on much of what we find on the Internet. I suspect that you would agree. And yet, there is a lot of time spent aimlessly cruising the Internet; and yes, some of that time is spent while we’re on the boss’s payroll. I am my own boss, so I can get away with that. How else would I have found this 34-page listing? Google can be addicting, too.
There is a very serious side to all this, however. Too many people are too gullible and take whatever they’d like to believe is true as fact simply because it proves their particular theory or political position. I suspect that some of the self-claimed fact checkers are likely the worst offenders and this 34 pages would seem to lend credence to that supposition.
The more insidious kind of ‘news’ is that which is dressed as news but is, in fact, nothing more than embellished opinion. My blog is my opinion, almost always based on fact but still my opinion, and you can choose to believe it or disbelieve it. There are no pretenses involved.
If you do take the time to look through this list, you’ll note the number of websites that mimic real news sites, and that purport to be something they’re not. If you or I weren’t being very careful, we could easily hit ‘enter’ and find ourselves in a bad place so far as legitimate news is concerned. This applies not to just to flat-out bogus sites but also to some of the ‘almost real’ news sites. I have been ‘misdirected’ by search engines that assume what I must be seeking based on a few keystrokes and taking me to what they have determined I want demonstrating how great they are.
Some of us are old enough to remember the ‘carny hucksters’ we’d encounter at the local fair. They were glib and had a degree of showmanship that drew you in for their whole song and dance routine. Sometimes this was coupled with that scantily-clad pulchritudinous young lady who took your mind off what the huckster was saying just enough to confuse you into the purchase.
What we face today is far more insidious than that huckster, and yet we seem too often to forget that the Internet is not always our friend.
We are not just talking about some gimmicky product that we can hold in our hands either. More and more we are talking about ideas that are espoused as meaning one thing but, in fact, are disguised so that we’ll be lulled into the false sense that we need this or that law passed by Congress. Yes, there are political ‘hucksters’ and we’re exposed to their words and insinuations daily if we permit that to occur.
How many well-named bills get passed only to later be found as having been misleading? We thought we’re voting for ‘this’ when, in fact, we voted for ‘that’. The old-time ‘carny huckster would take us for a twenty dollar bill. These political hucksters will take us for millions of tax dollars if we permit that. That is bad enough, but then they come home to campaign for re-election, and they ‘snow’ us again because we’re just plain gullible and can’t believe that someone might not be as honest as are we. Or, the bill has a great name that we later learn was the exact opposite of what the bill was really about.
My sweetheart protects me from these types of decisions because she usually is not a ‘see it and buy it’ person, but rather needs to sleep on the idea for a night or two. I can’t imagine the angst she has saved us from feeling, although I confess I’m a bit peeved going home without the purchase that day.
Our parents, if yours were like mine, saved us from some of this by instilling in us the old saw; “if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is”. Be sure of your facts when politics are involved. Try to see both sides of issues; that often exposes the weakness of your side as well as of their side.
BE EXTREMELY CAREFUL ON THE INTERNET. Much is not what it would seem, except for the following shameless commercial:
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