We Are All Journalists

Media is defined as a means of mass communication.  If we use social media, by the inherited definition of media, we are journalists.  We just don’t get paid for it.  And if that is the case, we have to be held personally accountable for what we post.  So if we are to be held accountable for what we post, we have to check for factual errors, shouldn’t we?  Now I am not referring to libel or any murky waters of the legal world.  It’s more of a self-regulation.  Thinking before we post.

It’s so easy to fall into the trap of “I’ll post this article/meme/rant because I agree with the conclusion” without seeing all the flawed thinking behind it.  For example, I have this blog post that appeared on my Facebook feed written by a woman named Marcella Piper-Terry, founder of VaxTruth.org, all about her declaration of independence from government tyranny after California enacted a law requiring specific vaccinations for children (with medical exemptions) enrolling in public school.  My main point is not to argue with Ms. Piper-Terry’s anti-vaccination stance.  It’s the way she makes her argument.  If you read her post, she admits that she is a poor student of American history, and then she goes on to Google bits of it to co-opt major figures of our past in inaccurate and inflammatory ways to support her point of view about how our civil liberties are being crushed.  Instead of putting out a cohesive, thoughtful argument, she is playing on our emotions and using the same tactics that the politicians that she criticizes use to manipulate the public.  And you know what that is called?  Propaganda.  It’s hypocrisy writ large.

Or, let’s get to my bugbear…crappy, ill-conceived memes.

fingerobama

I hardly had to scroll to find this one when I Googled “Obama meme”.  Regardless of how you feel about President Obama, in what way is any of this true, and is this any way to write about our president?  Like he has this much power over the United States’s economy.  Right.  Where’s the proof of this monetary catastrophe to this ill-mannered child?  There is no satire or important points made either.  So, how does this meme add to the national dialogue in any way?  Of course, we all know that it doesn’t.  So the amateur journalists are really falling down on the job on this one, big time.  If I were their editor, their tuchuses would have been pinkslipped ages ago.  And maybe even the rest of their bodies.

Now I am an advocate of 1st Amendment, but can’t we make more of an effort to not propagate the waste, so we can get to what is worth reading a little more easily?  Is that too much to ask?  No one is expecting hours of research behind every little thing that comes across everyone’s screen.  However, all of us who read these things have the responsibility to stop posts and other useless bits like these in their tracks instead of passing them on.  Is it so hard to stop and question the validity of what we are seeing?  I know I have hit the forward and share buttons and then exclaimed, “Aw shit, it was a hoax.”  But that is when I go back and correct my mistakes when I do get the facts.  Now I am a lot more careful with what I do share.

Casting a critical eye on the information you take in, even in the face of what you believe is right, is an essential skill to have in a world where the reality is in shades of gray.  It’s not the easiest way to live, but it makes you more adaptable to the flux that modern life brings.

Maybe we have to start a “Think Before You Click” campaign?

21 thoughts on “We Are All Journalists

  1. You know…. This is in part why I stopped listening to the ‘news’ on TV and radio networks. it’s big time propaganda and I’ve had enough. Obama is a puppet who’s strings are plucked and pulled by those in the shadows who actually call the plays but he (Obama) is the single biggest blunder the American people have made in my opinion, in my lifetime. President Clinton was a saint compared to this guy.

    And it has absolute zero to do with ethnicity.

    This is also one reason I despise Facebook as well as many other social media platforms. I’ve explained many times to my wife why WordPress is far above Facebook in my opinion and gave specific reasons why, including having total control over who says what on your site. But, more power to ya baby. Stay on Facebook… A photography site does not carry with it the baggage that journal sites do, at least not in my opinion. Photography is a much better medium of expression.

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    1. I just realized I completely missed your comment here, John. I am so sorry.

      I read my news from multiple sources for the reasons you mentioned above. And I have not been impressed with Washington as a whole, so for me, Obama is just part of the machine.

      I stay on Facebook because I have family and friends scattered throughout North America and Europe. It’s how I keep in touch in them. If I could get them here, I would be pleased as punch.

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  2. I completely agree – make sure your facts and reasoning are sound. And call people out for bad reasoning! Obviously wrong assumptions, flawed logic – things of that nature. That’s the only real way to encourage raising the bar of public discourse. Just because you agree with the conclusion doesn’t make the reasoning good; just because you disagree with the conclusion doesn’t make the reasoning bad.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. There should be some ‘critical reading’ and Logic courses taught. Might help see through other extremist propaganda as well. While I don’t really use my maths major the concept of proof and logic are hard for me to ignore.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Critical thinking batteries were taught in my school, but they were confined to the gifted program. And they made sure they were as dry and boring as possible. I think how I was raised made more of an impact on how I look at the world than what I learned in school. Critical thinking and logic has to be applied and having someone help you along the way matters. The Boffin and I are there for the Sprog to do just that.

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  4. Hi there, came over from Cher’s Blog Party 🙂 This is a great post – so many times I’ve had to either stop and look twice at something, or gently remind FB friends that, just because it’s on the internet doesn’t mean it’s true. And the way news is reported varies from country to country – the same story can be told ten different ways. I pretty much feel that, unless I’m actually there to verify the facts, all news needs to be taken with a grain of salt.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much. I wrote this after I reached my breaking point on Facebook with a few posts. Like I said, I have shared inaccurate things in the past, but I try to do at least to some sort of first-level research now. It is so easy to just click and share.

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      1. Sure, I think we’ve all done it. My personal bugbear is the Britain First posts – I always direct people to find out more about them before sharing the posts. It is so easy though, as you say, to just click and share 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

  5. “Think Before You Click”

    I try to avoid confirming the biases of others. I am more interested in challenging my own views. If someone has a well-written, well-reasoned view that contradicts everything I believe, I leap to read it.

    If you can be proven wrong, you know at least you head is in the right place.

    Hey, thanks for the tip on the Blog Party. Never did get the pepperoni though.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I understand where you are coming from.

      One of the best things about being married to the Boffin is that he looks at the world so differently than me. We value the same things, but our approaches are so different. We are constantly having to find the middle ground and understanding in real life, so it is natural for me to look for that in other areas.

      I married an engineer. I’m used to being wrong constantly. 🙂

      You’re welcome. I skipped the pizza. I can get it in real life.

      Liked by 1 person

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