Alright, people, it's time for a “come to Jesus moment,” if you will. There’s something you should know about the media and all of those sources available to us out there. People don’t tell the truth. Facts and ideas get twisted so easily with everyone and their mother writing about them. If you believe everything you see on social media then you need a swift, educated kick to the a**. People don’t have to tell the truth; heck, I don’t have to tell you the truth. So, because of everything going on, within the political sphere especially, I have put together a few tips on how to be media savvy and avoid the whirlwind of lies that surround us.
1. Check the source
This may be the most obvious one, but clearly, people don't get it. There are media outlets out there who aim at being satirical and not informative. These sources are hilarious and eye-opening... if you understand that they are not created as an educational source in which to gain information from. There are other sources who are known to twist information in order to target certain audiences. As a writer, you are told to write for an audience. You write to gain views and share your words and so you choose careful wording and phrases in order to interest certain groups of people that you want to relate to. It's not always lying necessarily, but it can definitely be sketchy. And please, please do not just share something on Facebook based entirely on the title of the article — READ IT!
2. Fact check
Simply make sure all the facts they are spouting out are actually true. If they give you a statistic, look it up for yourself. If they have a direct quote, search that quote and the context in which it was said in. If they paraphrase something, make sure they aren't twisting around the words in order to create a certain vibe of the situation.
3. Check for sources
If they don't give you any sources for their information, I'd say that's an obvious sign that something is up. If they give sources from similar outlets, that also could be a bit sketchy. Make sure that the sources they use are reputable and not biased towards any one opinion. If they don't give any sources, use the following tip especially.
4. Research further
Never believe anything you read. Always, always research a topic further before you go around telling people all of these things you've read because you will either make yourself look ignorant, or even worse, create false ideas that can lead to anger and distrust that is only based on inaccuracy. It's very simple to type into any search engine and see if other, reputable sources are talking about the matter, too.
It's easy to get caught up in those articles you see on Facebook or Twitter, but don't believe everything you read. Do your research and be someone who can discuss in an educated manner, rather than an ignorant believer who will argue with anyone and everything.