Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Fake News Part I

This post started germinating in my mind after two text conversations. 

Bro. Scott Morris text me about the multitudes of "prophecies" concerning the end of the world or the coming of the Lord. His thoughts were that all of this may be an evil plan to cause people to grow numb to the message that the Lord IS coming back again although we do not know when.

My brother Steve and I had a conversation about fake news and how that everything looks like fake news now days. Do we swallow it all? Do we even know what is real and what is fake?

What about "Fake" news? Is it a real thing? My opinion is that most news has been partially fake for a long time. It has become a "thing" to point out now, but it is not a new thing or a surprising thing.

First, most stories have at least one inaccuracy and sometimes many inaccuracies in them. We have been in a position several times to know about various events that were later reported in the news. Some of those stories were reported locally and some nationally.

Absolutely every time a story was reported that we had previous knowledge about, there were real known facts that were reported completely wrong. Every time. Whether it was a story about a family, an accident, a fire, a church, a special event or whatever. They always get some fact askew.

Most of the time the blunders were relatively minor. The city was incorrect, the age was wrong, they were mistaken about a hometown or name, the color or make of the car was inaccurate or the dates were erroneous.

At times it seems that a reporter made things up out of thin air but most of the time it could obviously be attributed to lazy reporting. The facts that were misstated were very easily verifiable IF someone had tried to verify them.

That is the second thing about news. Do we even have any real reporters? I am sure they are out there some where doing their job but here is the way a bunch of stories read.

"It has been reported else where..."
"A reputable news service is reporting..."
"The Facebook post has been deleted but here is a screenshot of what they posted this morning..."
"They tweeted moments ago..."
"An anonymous source said..."
"A police source that was not authorized to speak said..."

What about a reporter getting up out of his/her chair and actually going down to the scene of the tumult and investigating, you know, gathering facts?

Here is an absurd example:

One report says that twelve people were shot multiple times with a gun, probably an assault rifle, purchased undoubtedly at a gun show. Witnesses tweeted that the bearded gunman escaped in a Chick-fil-A van with a "I Love Dobson, Duck Dynasty and the Duggars" bumper sticker. He was wearing a blond wig and stiletto heels and shouting "Put Hillary in jail and Trump in 2020." 

That report is blasted on ten social media platforms and 439 lazy reporters Google the story and write their own versions of the tale complete with all the "facts" in the original.

Soon all the 24 hour news stations are breathlessly interviewing congressmen, senators, gun control "experts", animal rights advocates and vegans that are screaming about the gun show loophole, crazy president Trump, Rush Limbaugh working right wing gun nuts into a frenzy and the horrible evils of Chick-fil-A. 

The talking heads desperately hope the attacker is a white male Christian republican homophobe and life time member of the NRA. They are most irate because the mention of the bearded gunman escaping wearing stiletto heels and a blond wig was insensitive to the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender community. 

Only the facts are wrong every time. When the dust settles the gun man was a disgruntled ex-employee that shot his boss with a stolen gun and was stopped by a good guy with a gun before he was able to kill a bunch more. 

The only time they mention the good guy with the gun is when they point out it is never a good idea to confront an active shooter. That is what 911 is for. They refuse to mention the many lives were saved by a well trained, armed good guy.

Most likely the bad guy never listens to Rush Limbaugh, hates Trump, believes in outlawing guns, hugs trees, is anti coal, anti oil and anti fracking and maybe even voted for Hillary Clinton for president. Yeah, I made those facts up too, but my made up facts are as fair and accurate as their made up facts. Plus, I admit my facts are made up.

I am convinced that many stories are written in front of a computer by a "reporter" that understands nothing more about the story than you do. They are only regurgitating what they read on social media or in other news reports.

No wonder news is so fake. We have come to accept whatever we read as fact and since we readily accept it, that is what we are fed each and every day.

As I said before, news reports about events that we know about personally always have inaccuracies in easily verifiable areas.

Yet, when I read a story about which I know nothing, I forget that most stories have inaccuracies and I am quick to believe everything the story says. I know nothing about the facts so I assume the writer is writing facts.

The endless repeating of biased supposition mixed with preconceived ideas along with lazy reporting lends itself to creating fraudulent news. It all has an element of fakeness. 

If I were a touch more cynical I would believe absolutely nothing I read! But hold on to your hats, there is one source I believe completely. 

I have rambled on long enough. I will get into that source tomorrow by His grace.

Thanks for reading.


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