Monthly Archives: January 2016

Facts, Opinions, and How to Influence Others

falseness

#truth

How do you learn about the news? The local newspaper delivered to your door each morning? The Evening Broadcast on Channel 6? The NY Times you pick up on your way to work? Your favorite online news magazines? Headlines throughout the day posted on Facebook? Other ____?

If we’re being real, which is what this whole post is about, I don’t always read the news from reliable sources. I don’t get the local newspaper, and only read a carefully picked 5 stories a month from the Scranton Times because they charge you for any more than this. I use the Newsstand App on my iPhone where I am subscribed to a ton of my favorite newspapers and magazines, and do my due diligence to read the top headlines each morning, but a lot of time it’s done with blurry sleep ridden eyes and a hazy, non-caffeinated consciousness. And what about Facebook? Is it wrong to say that I read some of my news from Facebook from other friends’ posts, especially when I seem to be sucked into a social media state of numbness on my phone?

I don’t think it’s bad necessarily to get your news from Facebook or other social media outlets, as long as you’re reading such with an open and critical thinking mind. It’s important to take into consideration who shared the news article and is it related to a reputable news source?  Is it just an eye grabbing, attention seeking headline that doesn’t expect you to even click on the link and read the full story? Are you sure it’s a factual piece of writing and not an op-ed hidden in the hazy digital veil of truth-likeness?

I see so many news stories on Facebook and I am growing more and more nervous of their power each day. The issue I see is too many people are willing to just read the headline someone posts and not the full story. And, if the full story is read, it’s just a few paragraphs giving the news source’s opinion disguised as fact and taken out of context. Think Fox News, but remember Fox News isn’t the only news media that is guilty of making readers think their opinions are fact. Liberal media sources do this too.

I am weary of news media outlets that posts stories online that say things like “This is the Dumbest Thing Clinton has said During Her Campaign So Far” and “Putting Sanders in the White House is Like Making a Zebra the King of America”. These are obviously opinion pieces, but are we sure that by reading this we won’t automatically agree with this opinion because it’s easier than thinking for ourselves?

I am 100% guilty of this. I have read articles, such as an article a few months ago published by Mother Jones which was about Jeb Bush and his remarks about people who work 40 hours a week should work more. I was appalled to say the least, but it wasn’t until I took the time to read a few other news sources that I found the whole story, and Mother Jones’ only reported on a small bit in order to entice readers.

I’m worried about the effects this type of understanding of the news, the only reading headlines or carefully crafted opinion pieces that sway the reader to assume this opinion and thus believe it as their truth, is having on us as a nation. It’s really hard to figure out what is truth, what is only part of the story, and what is just opinion of the writer. See, even though I use this blog to air my opinions and thoughts, I also hope that readers will take into consideration my views and challenge them against their own. And if someone doesn’t have their own opinion yet, then it is much easier for me, or anyone, to influence someone into thinking the same way that I do. And that’s dangerous.

 

And sometimes the news is so overwhelming, as performed by Eric Andre:

 

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