By, Jason Taylor
I can’t tell you the number of times my Republican friends would send me “supposed” news they read about Obama and Clinton. The “news” would have outrageous details that an otherwise intelligent person would debunk. And yet these “intelligent” people would pass on the garbage as truthful. It pained me to read them and the fact that they accepted them as proof.
Donald Trump distracts us with stupendously outrageous lies that he knows will get the attention of every newspaper, TV “analyst” and radio host. We, the supposedly intelligent citizens then obsesses crazily over the incredible lie while the Savant Elect appoints a terribly unqualified, billionaire crony to an important government position. And we’re too busy raging over his “two million illegal votes” tweet to even notice.
The first thing we need to realize is the Internet is like the bathroom stall in a sleazy truck stop. You know, Call Suzy for a good time, 555–1111. Anyone can put anything on it. But as many have pointed out, lazy minds read that stuff and assume because it’s “on the Internet” it’s true.
During the campaign, my girlfriend was constantly asking me if things were true. I would tell her if it doesn’t come from a reputable news source don’t believe it till you see it there. But we have been told repeatedly not to believe the “lame stream” media. Which means we listen to “fair and balanced” and the “no-spin zone”, neither of which what they purport to be. And those eager for reinforcement of their own slanted beliefs have bought into it.
The truth is people look at situations and see what they want to. But more than ever it seems facts are now relative, and truth what I choose to believe. Couple this with everyone has access to the Internet and gets the right to vote and you have a recipe for manipulation. The less discerning, to be polite, are easily manipulated.
Outrageous claims like “I am the only one who can fix it” should not be applauded but immediately viewed with suspicion. Really? In a country of over 300 million, you are the only one?”That makes you either the messiah or the Antichrist. And in my book automatically disqualifies you.
This has been done before in history, with not good results.
Too many people today cannot distinguish between reliable and unreliable sources of information and cannot distinguish between those who know what they’re talking about and those who don’t. Plato worried about the effect of the sophists, who could persuade people that what’s true is false and that what’s false is true purely through skill with rhetoric. He hypothesized that more people would be persuaded to accept what’s false by a skilled rhetorician who knows nothing about the subject than would be persuaded to accept the truth by someone who actually knows something about it. What’s the solution? Perhaps part of the solution is public education that effectively teaches critical thinking and media literacy, as well as respect for truth and genuine expertise.