Be Informed, Don’t be Misled.

Presidential debates have been happening left and right (pun not actually intended) and terrorist attacks are occurring far too often. During these events, candidates, the media, and friends on social media often present information that is posed as a fact, but is indeed an opinion or simply false.

There is of course a lot to be said about Syrian refugees and the attacks on Paris, Beirut and the many other countries. I’m not here to talk about any of that. If you know me, you know my opinion on the situation. I won’t discuss it further, however, in the heat of all of this, I have seen some very outrageous things on Facebook, from news sources, in videos, etc. Unfortunately, social media allows for these outrageous things to be propagated to thousands, if not millions, of people. Similarly, some of these outrageous things come from the very mouths of presidential candidates or news anchors who we trust so easily.

I am writing this post to plead with you to first, consider your source, and second, research the material. I have witnessed far too many people sharing false information. There is only one person that you should trust to vet the material you share and propagate, you.

The most important part is not to just vet the things that you are against. For instance, when I see something I disagree with, I am very quick to research the topic and check to see if it is true. It is much more difficult and crucial for you to see someone you trust or a candidate you have faith in say something and turn around and verify that it is factual.

There is even a website that can help you verify a lot of the things said by presidential candidates, news sources and even movie stars. Politifact.com rates comments that people make on a scale of “True, Mostly True, Half True, Mostly False, False, and Pants on Fire.” Politifact is not politically biased and draws a full analysis of the comment and provides a factual conclusion. Here are some political figures and their “Truth-o-meter”:

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You can also find groups such as the ACLU and NRA and even your favorite Hogwarts witch, Emma Watson. For statements that are not on Politifact, it is very simply to do research of your own on the specific comment and the person making the comment. The media and politicians feast on the hope that you will not double-check their remarks. Be informed, don’t be misled.

2 comments

  1. Perhaps I’m very old fashioned, but I fact-check by corroborating with at least three sources independent from (unrelated to) each other, the way I was taught in journalism courses. Politifact is a pretty good one. I also tend to trust BBC news sites, and some source focused on debunking all types of memes, urban legends and conspiracy theories, like Snopes.com.

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