Random Posts

Monday, January 30, 2017

Be a Berean!

     Now the Berean Jews were of more noble character than those in Thessalonica, for they received the message with great eagerness and examined the Scriptures every day to see if what Paul said was true. - Acts 17:11 

Real newsmen! Walter Cronkite and Douglas Edwards
     The internet has made it possible for knowledge to be available in ways that once could only have dreamed of, but as Winston Churchill said, "A lie gets halfway around the world before the truth has a chance to get its pants on". 
     I am tired of Yahoo and other sites putting out fake news. I expect it on Facebook, but not Yahoo. Undiscerning people read things and never check facts and then act on them. They should be more like the Bereans! 
     These fake news stories cause people to make death threats, bully and commit violent acts and, what's worse, even social and political leaders are getting in on the act. And, the news agencies have little regard for their integrity and sometimes engage in the same tactics. Fake news stories on the recent presidential election abounded and President Obama correctly observed that fake news threatens democracy. 
     Research indicates an increasing number of adults are getting their news from social media and they believe it. There are hundreds of fake news websites which are deliberately made to imitate real newspapers, government sites, and even those who admit in the fine print that their stories are satire and parodies. But...who reads the fine print? 
     The owner of one site that publishes satire and misinformation told BBC Trending, "There are highs that you get from watching traffic spikes and kind of baiting people into the story. I just find it to be a lot of fun." He also added, "Beyond the headline and the first couple of paragraphs people totally stop reading, so as long as the first two or three paragraphs sound like legitimate news then you can do whatever you want at the end of the story and make it ridiculous." 
     One reason these fellows put out this stuff is...money!   These sites host advertising that can generate thousands of dollars from just one made up story. The reason people believe some of this nonsense is conformation bias.  People are being exploited by these fake news stories which reinforce their beliefs and falsely confirm their prejudices. 
     Buzzfeed's Craig Silverman said, "A fake news website might publish a hoax, then because it's getting social attention another site might pick it up, write that story as though it's true and may not link back to the original fake news website...From there it's a chain reaction until at some point a journalist at a largely credible outlet might see it and quickly write something up, because many journalists are trying to write as many stories as possible and write stories that get traffic and social attention. The incentive is towards producing more and checking less." 
     The solution: BE LIKE THE BEREANS

No comments:

Post a Comment