Are We Unknowingly Dispensing Alternate Facts?
We live in an age of instant gratification when it is easy to disregard the fact that humans still process information in real-time while moving in real-time.
Our planet is sending and receiving high volumes of information exceedingly faster than ever before thanks to advancements we have made in the modern way we distribute our news.
We have become conditioned to expect this knowledge immediately on our PC’s and our handheld devices.
That same technology updates us instantly with new information the second it becomes available well before our brains have had a chance to process whatever data we already received.
Social Media and this lightning-fast technology have made it almost impossible for us to form our own unblemished opinion with the knowledge before us on events happening throughout the world.
We are all familiar with the phrase“to err is human;” Humans will make mistakes. The news of the day is brought to us by varied and conflicting sources in a never-ending all-encompassing cycle, and we could be unknowingly communicating misinformation and distorted facts that may leave a lasting harmful impression on us all.
I apprehensively speculate that this environment of instant data will eventually be damaging to us and could produce unnecessary wars.
Consider the 2012 coordinated attack against two United States government facilities in Benghazi, Libya by members of the Islamic militant group Ansar al-Sharia.
News spread quickly of the attacks, and there was a sense of absolute urgency for on-the-spot answers.
There were so many questions that needed answers, often they were demanded quickly, and answers were presented haphazardly with the knowledge available at that second.
I have no doubt that people misheard things and some answers given for the sake of giving.
If we move in real time but we needed the answers yesterday, and billions of people sound in today, I sense we may reach a period when we won’t know what we can trust, we won’t recognize the trustworthy, and all accuracy will be absent from the message we are broadcasting to trustful and naive people.
The Age of Periodicals
When I was twelve years old, my younger brother and I delivered the now-defunct newspaper publication “The Dallas Times Herald” to local subscribers.
We would each toss a folded paper bound by a thin rubber band onto the lawns of Farmers Branch, Texas from our bicycles while other times as we both sat on the tailgate of my father’s pick-up truck with our legs dangling close to the road, as dad drove leisurely up and down the streets of our modest suburb.
We did that once a day.
The world could get additional information on news and other events of the day by watching the evening news or listening to the radio.
That was it.
There were no 24-hour news channels back then. We were mostly all about the paper.
Today’s youth missed out on the easeful activity of opening a newspaper at the breakfast table and having the leisure of proceeding at your own pace. We had sufficient time to process the newsworthy events we read about, and we formed our own opinions.
Our society is at a significant disadvantage if we remain a knee-jerk reactionary audience, with our quick analysis of a situation while forming an uneducated opinion as millions of people comment at any time with biased views and fake news in a neverending circle.
As I was researching the benefits of daily news distributed via social media and other online outlets against the traditional delivery of newspapers, I came across an insightful article by Farhad Manjoo, a columnist who tried an interesting social experiment.
The piece he wrote is For Two Months; I Got My News From Print Newspapers. Here’s What I Learned.
Mr. Manjoo begins the narrative hearing about the school shootings that occurred in Parkland, Florida on the day it happened and then hearing hardly anything on the incident for 24 hours by staying on terra firma and not surfing the net for further details.
“There was a lot I was glad to miss,” Manjoo starts, “For instance, I didn’t see the false claims — possibly amplified by propaganda bots — that the killer was a leftist, an anarchist, a member of ISIS and perhaps just one of multiple shooters. I missed the Fox News report tying him to Syrian resistance groups even before his name had been released. I also didn’t see the claim circulated by many news outlets (including The New York Times) as well as by Senator Bernie Sanders and other liberals on Twitter that the massacre had been the 18th school shooting of the year, which wasn’t true.”
Mr. Manjoo had avoided the innocent mistakes — and the more malicious misdirection — that had saturated the first hours after the shooting. His first experience of the news was an accurate account of the actual events of the day.
This malicious misdirection is something we all have noticed.
Thankfully, there are people compelled to investigate further and look for where the information sources as facts are collected, and then we have others that are blindly steeped in every last word because it suits the conversation they want to buy in.
That has manifested people like Charlie Kirk and tweets like this:
“The left hates Chick-Fil-A because they unapologetically defend their deeply held Christian beliefs and run their company with high moral conduct and standards They honor the Sabbath, treat their workers well, greet all customers wonderfully, and have the best waffle fries ever.”
Charlie is correct in that I do dislike Chick-Fil-A, but not because the company closes all their stores all day on Sunday.
I respect the fact that honoring the Sabbath in this way is something endeared to their brand of Christianity and that belief system. I would never refuse them that, and I will maintain their right to do so.
He states that liberal hate stems from the company and the bar they have set in regards to moral conduct and references the company’s high standards.
I hope standards means pertaining to their product and in the cleanliness of their workspaces, as well as their dedication to employees and customers. I have no problem with that. We need businesses to maintain a high standard when it comes to nurturing and appreciating the people who make them successful while including the consumer that provides them revenue.
Kirk’s statement is just some words he pulled out of his ass to make a dull and opinionated Tweet.
I have not enjoyed the waffle fries, but I will take his word that they are to die for.
So why does he insist on making a factless statement like this one?
Is it to spread an alternative truth and get people worked up?
He’s aware that his followers have no regard for the opposing opinion of others.
We know this by reading the deplorable replies that many like-minded keyboard activist merely echo.
Why does he try to start a controversy with his usual pointless diar-rhetoric Yankee Doodle yacking?
The reason for my animosity towards the chain is that the company continues to donate millions of dollars each year to anti-LGBTQ organizations via its Winshape nonprofit organization.
You know, as black Jesus did.
That’s my reason, Charlie, pure and real.