A lie gets halfway around the world before the truth has a chance to get its pants on.
– Winston Churchill
When you post a “news” article, please verify the truth of that article using an objective source. Over recent months I have seen ridiculous misinformation and outright lies circulated as truth from a variety of sources and on a variety of topics – everything from health and environmental issues to religious and political issues on every side of every argument. An statement’s appearance in an article in print or on the internet does not make it true.
I have this blog, right? I got the name and site in about 15 minutes for about $30 dollars a year. I could have named it any available domain name – iknoweverything.com, foodfacts4real.com, middletnnewswatch.com, whatever – and I could have filled it with any content I chose. I can write or say anything that strikes my fancy. Guess who fact checks my posts. Me. I do. There is literally no one other than yours truly who makes certain that my statements are true or that they can be verified before I post them up for the world to see and share. I can say that the Mayan god Gukumatz was a time-traveling surfer dude a la Jeff Spicoli. I can say people of Nordic descent will soon have to start wearing winged helmets at all times. I can say that six lemon drops qualify as a serving of fruit. I can say that global warming can be reversed if we all keep open refrigerators on our front porches. I can say anything! My pants will not spontaneously ignite.
I can say anything! And someone will post it.
I have told (and will continue to tell) you that I am an expert only in my own experiences and ideas. Because I am not a dietitian, nutritionist or doctor, and because it is important to me to share valid information, I back up my statistics from reputable sources like the American Heart Association, the National Institutes of Health, the Center for Disease Control and the like. Not all bloggers will do that. Not all journalists do that.
Be smart. Be wary. Verify.
For instance, these memes are two that I regularly see making the rounds:
That is not Jesus, people. That is Ewan McGregor as Obi Wan Kenobi. While he is surely as handsome as a matinee idol, that does not give him actual deific status.
And that is the cast of the movie Tropic Thunder. They are not now, nor have they ever been, Vietnam War veterans. You honor no one by posting this picture – no one except Kirk Lazarus who was a dude, playing a dude, disguised as another dude.
While these examples are silly, there are many more false news stories out there that are inflammatory and which do nothing to edify us as people or as a nation. So, before you share that article which confirms your personal bias, make sure it confirms truth, as well.
Ignorance shouted and shared is still ignorance. If we cannot make all of our posts edifying, let’s at least make them true.