We have to be extremely careful about the stories that we hear, whether it is from our friends, a trusted news source, or social media. What we have to be careful about the level of accuracy in the stories.
One example is common, but incorrect, information that entering your PIN backwards at a bank machine will call the police. For some things there are web sites, like Snopes.com, that will allow you to check if a statement is true.
For other things, like statements from or about politicians, there is often some degree of the truth mixed in with some degree of untruth. There are “fact checking” web sites dedicated to showing the background behind particular statements and then rating how true they are.
There are some stories that we hear as being true, then untrue, and then true again. Eating carrots to help you see better in the dark is one of these.
There are some things that we hear that sound just too impossible to not be true – Did man land on the moon? Did aliens land in Roswell, New Mexico? Is the earth flat?
04-Feb-2019 update – Here is a fake story done on a fake site that looks like the real CBC site. It’s about Don Cherry being suspended from Hockey Night In Canada because of violating the rules. Nothing about this story or the site is real, and all of the links point to a site that is designed to gather your information. It’s a blatant example of clickbait and fake information. This type of post will catch a lot of people, but other posts are far more subtle in their use of false information or stretching the truth.
We need to think, critically, about these stories.
In all of these cases we’ve heard something that may or may not be true. We might know the person or we know the news source, and we trust it, so we assume that it is true. Unfortunately, nowadays, we need to confirm everything that we see and hear.
We need to look at everything that we see with a critical eye. We need to ask ourselves:
- Who stands to benefit from spreading the information?
- Who stands to benefit from making up the story in the first place?
- Especially if it sounds like a conspiracy then how many people would it take to create it, maintain it, and cover it up?
- Is there a way that I can check the facts behind it or get the context of the sound bite?
It seems that, especially with this election, this is critically important. We have heard that this is going to be a negative election. We want to make sure that, even if it is, that we will be sharing items that are factual.
We need to make sure that we are basing the future of our country on accurate information. We can’t base it on emotion, memes, or hype. Our country is too important for that.
My commitment to you:
I have been writing a number of blog and social media posts about various topics. In these posts, I will make statements of circumstances that I know or that I believe to be true.
For all of these I will check the background as much as I can. If I’m stating a number or a situation then I’ll do my best to verify it and present the information accurately, even if it doesn’t support my position. In many of my posts, especially my “Issue Of The Month” posts, I have cited every original source that I can find. These sources are usually not news articles, since those often present a biased view of the news.
I commit to be accurate and, as much as possible, to show that my conclusions are based on sound evidence.