“Beware of false knowledge; it is more dangerous than ignorance.” – George Bernard Shaw
If you follow any of the news today, you have to read it with a healthy dose of skepticism. It seems that every day some media outlet makes a claim and then, within hours or days, they must retract, when the real story comes out. In many cases these stories are nothing more than “click bait”.
Our society has become so polarized that each side of the argument now has their own news outlets to listen to or read, only to be further polarized by the now “propaganda-like” stories. I don’t care if you are on the left or the right, both sides are becoming more divided and pursue almost ridiculous lines of inquiry.
So, what are we to do? Think critically. Thinking critically involves considering the source of your information, looking for the reason behind a person’s article or posting, and looking at multiple points of view. Once you have done this, you can make your decision about what you believe.
The challenge we have today is created by the vast amount of information we have access to. The days of three television stations and a few respected newspapers are long gone. Now the news is regurgitated from one source to the next, almost like a gaggle of gossipers who don’t refute a rumor but propagate it.
If you see a news story, read it. Then begin looking at different sources of information. I look at folks like Rush Limbaugh, the Daily Wire, and The Drudge Report. I also look at MSNBC, CNN, the New York Times, the Washington Post, and NPR. Once I have looked at a topic, I make a decision. If I am looking at a true-blue topic, say like climate change, I really dig into all the information and the science. I look at the source of the information I’m consuming. I read books.
I’m retired and have a lot of time on my hands. I get it when people tell me they don’t have that time. The best action you can take in these situations is to remain a skeptic. What purpose does the story have, who is writing it, why did they write it, where did they get their information from? These basic questions can help you out quite a bit when you take the time to really understand the story, behind the story.
I wish I could go to one source and trust it. Unfortunately, in our world, this is not the case. The news we consume is likely a biased, poorly researched, and regurgitated story, altered to fit the line or political bias the news outlet is aligned with. Whether the news we receive is from a left-oriented story or a right-oriented story, we need to take the time to look at alternative points of view and understand the purpose behind a news outlet’s story.
If you can use your common sense, do a little digging around, and make your own judgement call about what you believe is right, you’ll be able to dispense with the blockbuster story that is “gas-lighting” twitter or some other social media channel. We have access to so much information. Take your time doing some analysis before you go off the deep end and follow one of these stories down their respective rabbit hole. You’ll be less stressed, more informed, and you’ll be able to formulate your own opinion about a topic area.
Until next time…