The proliferation of fake news, blatantly misleading and sensationalized misinformation, and outdated headlines can be held directly responsible, I believe, for much of the animosity and societal divisions in today’s world.
As human beings, we seek out the information that most closely aligns with our own personal world view. When we find that article, meme, or, headline (click bait), which confirms what we already believe, it becomes firmly solidified into absolute, irrefutable truth in our minds—and—then — we share it.
Therefore, millions of people adamantly claim to have all the facts (and respond with unkind, rude, and vitriolic comments), when, in reality, much of the information they have gathered and latched onto is, absolutely, false, or, at the very best half-truths.
When did we become sheep, simply, believing and regurgitating everything that passes before our eyes or ears? When did we lose our ability and desire to think critically? Why are we so willing to be hoodwinked?
What I really want to know, however, is—when did “smart” become a four- letter word?
I am far from being an intellectual, nevertheless, I am anxious about unwittingly passing on inaccuracies or untruths, simply, because I wanted to believe, or, was lazy and didn’t take the time to do the research. This extends to compulsively investigating grammar and vocabulary usage and explains why I am utterly embarrassed when I find mistakes, after hitting the send or publish buttons, in anything I have written.
Despite appearances to the contrary, especially at this particular point in our history—integrity, wittiness, and professionalism will always be relevant, whether sharing and commenting on a silly meme on social media, sending a little text or snapchat between you and your friends, writing an academic paper, or composing the email that may just be your ticket to a new job. It always pays to research your argument/theory, from multiple sources, and, edit properly. Some may contend that stupidity sells in popular culture, nevertheless, I will maintain that ignorance does nothing to boost either your trustworthiness, reputation, or character, in the long run.
As I often counsel DRC students, question everything, especially if it seems to coincide with your personal ideology, whether you see it on your social media feed, watch it on TV, read it in a magazine, or hear it from your best friend, on the radio, or, even from a teacher. Challenging information is not on par with disrespect. It simply means you are willing, and, excited about seeking out knowledge and thinking for yourself.
I will say it again, question everything, because, similar to the telephone game, every time hearsay is passed from one person to the next, the repercussions increase exponentially until the misconceptions, untruths, and lies are indecipherable from reality.
These sources are useful tools in determining the veracity of news articles or data. One is an article detailing what to look for and the other is a chart.
If you need additional help determining reliable sources, contact your local librarian (this is for you Krista, Ms. Val, and Christian E); they would be honored, and, most likely delighted to help.
Spring Break Workshops - April 17th -21st
DRC has a host of fun and engaging activities, projects, and resources available during Spring Break Programming. Every day will feature different volunteers who all have various talents and skills to share with participants. Sign up on-line or contact Mariahere.
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