The Age Of Misinformation
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The Age Of Misinformation

It’s time to start thinking about where we get our facts.

The Age Of Misinformation

You might read the title of this article and think to yourself, “Nah, I’m pretty knowledgeable about current events and the news,” but I can guarantee that’s very often not true. These days, our news typically comes from questionable sources, and even when it is reliable, facts are often wrong. Yet we rarely think twice while skimming an article — admit it, how many times do you actually focus on every word in a newspaper? — and then unconsciously declaring ourselves an expert on the subject.

That’s how it usually goes. We read one article on the Egyptian plane that went down or on the Orlando shootings and when someone brings the subject up, we talk about it as though we’re the ones who wrote the news. How often, when we have this mindset, do you think we actually perpetuate false information? I don’t have the specific numbers, because I’m sure most of the time we don’t realize we’re doing it, but I feel that it’s safe to say this is what happens the majority of the time.

Whenever students have to write a research paper, teachers and professors often want multiple sources to back up each specific piece of evidence. What makes a fact credible is both the quantity of those who write about it and the quality of the writers’ credentials. However, when we research a current event for our own knowledge, we disregard who’s written the article, what news source it comes from, and even what other writers are saying about it. We click the first link that pops up in its Google results, scan the information that may or may not be true, and assume that it is.

Because we have access to so much information thanks to the Internet, it’s easy to learn about whatever subject we want to. But with all that information floating around on the Web, there to consume at our leisure, we never consider whether the ease has an impact in itself. It takes only a few clicks to create a website, a few taps to write an article or blogpost saying literally anything. Not every writer has a fact checker or editor to go over their words before it’s released to the general public, and many people post their own opinions as if they are facts.

It’s time that we start questioning the credibility of what we’re reading. With all that’s going on in the world today, we can’t let ourselves remain ignorant of the real facts, just because we don’t feel like checking multiple sources. It’s time to force ourselves to be students again, to ask our own questions and not to settle when the answers we get are mediocre at best. Our job is to know the world around us through self-education, not to let others pour misinformation into our ears.

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
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