Fake News

Hello.  It’s been quite awhile since I’ve posted anything on here.  I guess I got to the point where I felt like I was complaining about everything and not being very productive.  So I took a couple of years off from posting and focused on my farm and my job.  There have been so many times I’ve thought about jumping on here to vent about all the crazy things going on with our country, but instead of spending my time writing about them to maybe a few readers, I took the time to write letters to senators and congressmen instead.  Did it do any good?  Probably not.  Did it make me feel better?  A little.

There is one topic that continues to eat away at me, however, so I wanted to take a few minutes to spell out my thoughts while I’m waiting on a contractor to arrive to do some masonry repair.  So here goes…

I just think it can be so frustrating to hear a news story that you either know cannot be accurate, or you believe it to be true only later to find out that you were tricked!  It is very, very frustrating! 

This seems to be the world we live in now.  Actually, come to think of it, I guess I’ve been seeing fake news for many, many years.  When I was a kid and I would see wild story titles on the front of magazines while waiting in the checkout grocery lines, I’m sure I was reading fake news.  Of course, as a child I didn’t know those stories were not real.  Instead, they seemed quite scary.  Titles like “Man Disappears with Alien Life Form” or “Baby Born with Five Heads” would really give me the creeps.

As I aged, I guess I just learned to not pay much attention to stories like those ones.  Or perhaps I went through an age range when I didn’t read or listen to much news at all.  Today, though, with news flashing before our eyes constantly (on magazine covers, newspapers, television, laptops, cell phones, etc.) real or fake news stories are hard to avoid.

Fake news is defined as, “a type of yellow journalism or propaganda that consists of deliberate misinformation or hoaxes”.  Fake news actually developed decades ago; however, it seems to have made a vigorous comeback in the last several years.  It is often associated in the United States with politics.  Perhaps you remember the controversial stories that appeared immediately following Donald Trump’s Inauguration and the accurate size of the crowds in Washington, DC on that particular day?

As an adult, one fake news scenario that touched me more than most, was the controversy around childhood vaccines and whether or not they contributed to autism.  I remember feeling torn between parents protecting their children against terrible, yet preventable diseases and the possibility of one of the kids acquiring autism.  Only later in life when I learned that story was classified as fake news, did I feel relief and frustration all at the same moment.

Other stories in today’s society involve fake news deaths, individual’s opinions (or not), individual’s specific locations (especially when related to popular events), or who said what?  I believe as far as my own personal opinion is today, is that there are a couple of things that I have learned and try to remind myself of regularly.  First, it is important to take some news stories with a “grain of salt”, especially until the entire news story evolves completely, and second, consider the news source and decide for myself which ones I’m going to believe, or not. 

Pete