“Recollect your thoughts,don’t get caught up in the mix cuz the media is full of dirty tricks”-2Pac
If you are like me, you spend a considerable amount of time online. More than likely you also get majority of your news online. There are many advantages to getting your news online. There is the convenience, you are always in the know & the latest news is always at your finger tips. It is common today to see journalists & media houses citing online sources in their news stories. It is also common to see news stories being corrected or retracted. In an effort to be first with breaking news, journalists often fore-go due diligence. Some months ago I decided that I would be more aware of the sources of the news I received. I decided I would pay special attention to the links & news articles that came my way online. What I found out over the course of those months was very compelling. I should point out that even before I made this decision, I would normally question the news I received. (Not necessarily the source.)
I found cases of news articles being used to sway public opinion and/or push an agenda. Then there are those stories that are completely made up and are there just to draw you to the site. (The more sensational the headline, the more likely you are to click on the link.) While I am on this topic, I would recommend you check out the movie Shattered Glass. This is a fact based film about a young journalist (Stephen Glass) who fabricated news stories while working for The New Republic magazine. Of course he was eventually caught & punished. I mention this to say that I am no conspiracy nut (well maybe I am but that’s another story). Fabricating &/or producing misleading news is a real issue & it’s not new. There are times when misleading news is produced entirely in error or because of incompetence. Although this is not acceptable, it is somewhat understandable. The information we receive on a daily basis shapes our thinking & it affects our social interactions whether we like to believe it or not. We should at least make sure that what we are being fed by way of the media is what we really want to consume. We are living in a society where we can’t even trust product reviews. (http://au.news.yahoo.com/thewest/a/-/breaking/17257947/crackdown-on-fake-online-product-reviews/)
Since we spend so much of our time online, I decided to pay special attention to online news. That doesn’t mean I am neglecting the traditional news sources such as media houses & print media. The points raised in this blog post still relate to those as well. Like I mentioned earlier, traditional news media sometimes get their news from online sources. OK, for those that don’t know, The Onion is a satire news organization! I can’t believe that there are still people online that don’t know what The Onion is about. If you have ever been tricked by an Onion story I can guarantee that you only read the headline & not the story itself. If you read the entire story and was still duped, then I bet you also own couple bridges as well.(People fooled by the Onion – http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2012/09/29/fooled-by-the-onion-8-most-embarrassing-fails.html)
If you are going to play online with the big boys (& girls), you have to put on your big boy pants. You have to be able to filter through the bullshit. Spotting fake or ‘suspect’ news & not sharing it, is a big part of being responsible online. How does one identify ‘suspect’ news online? Well this article (http://www.cracked.com/blog/5-easy-ways-to-spot-b.s.-news-story-internet/) from the Cracked website (also a satire news organization) gives you some, if not all that you need to be on your way. I have taken the liberty of highlighting the main points below.
#5. It’s World-Changing News from Some Unknown Website.
#4. It’s From a Tabloid. A Tabloid is a newspaper that emphasizes Sensationalism.
#3. It’s Predicting Some Future Disaster by a Strangely Specific Date
#2. It’s a Poll Disguised as a News Story
#1. It’s About a Miracle Cure for Obesity, Cancer, or Clean Energy
I am not telling you to completely abandon the news sources that might be guilty of one(or all) of these offenses. They do serve their purpose, even if that purpose is solely entertainment. What I am telling you to do is question the news you receive. Try to verify it & put it to the test above. Question everything….even this blog post!
“Believe none of what you hear and half of what you see”-Unknown