We are being trolled at record levels these days & it’s not just by anonymous folks who start a site & post whatever they want. We’re being trolled by major publications who have been believed in the past to be reputable sources of information. As we saw over the last election cycle, the game has changed & “news” coverage is not what it used to be. Word has traveled from blogs to mainstream media that a lot of attention can be garnered with clickbait & now we find ourselves having to question everything.
Now fake news ranges from everything to outright lies to conscious misinformation. It is now even being called “alternative facts”. It can be someone taking a rumor & running with it or just taking some weird theory they have & reporting on it like real headline news. In the fallout of the election it has been brought to our attention that a lot of the information circulating, particularly towards the end of the election cycle, was either inaccurate or just plan not true. We’re used to questioning the headlines on a lot of blogs, though too many people still just believe what they read, but we didn’t realize that many publications that have been around for decades have sacrificed journalistic integrity for clickbait.
The reason is clear. Most publications don’t even print anymore. It’s all digital which means that it’s a race for exclusives. Because of social media we learn about things just about as soon as they happen. That means that whoever gets to it first is king. That also means that there is not time for fact checking or any other real sources. Just jump on it as soon as it’s out. Worst case scenario, delete the tweets & posts & act like it never happened. That’s a problem, but worst is that it has spilled into politics. People are saying anything & nobody is sure what is true anymore. There is a fine line between so called fake news & propaganda. We have to be especially careful these days about the information we take in & what we believe.
It is crucial that you make use of the Google that is so readily available to us. If you can post on social media, you can do a little research. Do not allow other people to think for you. One of the symptoms of being in the information age is that we are constantly getting things flung at us. We have to take the time to discern fact from fiction. Believe half of what you see & even less of what you hear. I make sure that I look up at least three reliable sources before I believe something. Otherwise you find yourself believing & spreading false information. For instance, no millions of illegal votes were not a factor in the election. That is ridiculous & the exact rhetoric that has been used in the past for voter suppression. Keep your eyes & ears open & do not be gullible.
We’re living in a different time now. Things have already changed quite a bit. Vigilance is necessary. Understand what you can believe & what you can’t. Those sources you’ve trusted in the past are not as trustworthy. Honestly, I think blogs & mainstream media are on damn near equal footing nowadays. Do not be fooled by people speaking with authority. We have seen in the past what muckraking & propaganda. Think twice about everything & keep your ears open.