Don’t Be Ignorant

In a post-truth era, it's up to us to work to understand rather than be understood

Lately I’m bombarded by tweets and, well, one thing I think we can all agree from our president is that there is such a thing called “fake news”. Now that I’ve got my radar up, I’m seeing it more and more. Stories on TV and online without confirmed sources. These stories don’t wait to get the story right. Now it’s about the first person to publish the story. We seem to be casualties in the competition. I know one thing this past presidential election has brought out is who we trust. Do we trust our government? Our president? Our local leadership? Our news? It’s interesting now more than ever, with newspapers closing down regularly, there has become a renewed interest in freedom of the press and reporting with integrity. Washington Post and New York Times have begun to carve out a niche as a place people can go to for news, not opinion. Here’s an article and research on most news sources and where they fall with regard to bias:

News Source Bias Graph

How to Combat Ignorance

Check out the Ignorance Project at Gapminder. It’s a real-deal organization focused on facts and data you can consume and make determinations. From Gapminder:

Journalists and lobbyists tell dramatic stories. That’s their job. They tell stories about extraordinary events and unusual people. The piles of dramatic stories pile up in people’s minds into an overdramatic worldview and strong negative stress feelings: “The world is getting worse!”, “It’s we vs. them!” , “Other people are strange!”, “The population just keeps growing!” and “Nobody cares!” Instead of wasting our time blaming the media or condemning the human brain, we develop free teaching material to dismantle misconceptions and promote a fact-based worldview.

“The problem isn’t the people don’t listen and read the media, the problem is that the media doesn’t know them self.” If the media is filling our time on TV, web and social, are we being misled? And if so, how can we make sure we have perspective and know what’s true? How can we use facts, not “alternative facts”?

Bottom line is that there’s too much information today. Much of it lives in the spaces between truth and falsehood. It’s causing us to be reactionary which then moves us to become people who are ready to attack and defend. The fallout from this creates relationships that center more around what divides us rather than what brings us together. I’m trying to relax a bit more these days. Trying to not overreact as much. Trying to seek more truth and less opinion. I wonder if we’d all be a little less tense and more at peace if we did. At least, that’s my opinion.

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