COLUMN: Trust nothing and no one

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By Marisa Karpes, Columnist

It’s a harsh world out there. There are so many people throwing out so much information that it is impossible to tell what’s real or not. In an especially information-driven society today, it is crucial that the information we take in is accurate. However, today’s society is also a very opinionated one, thus most of the information we are receiving is often manipulated in order to support different opinions.

“Fake news” has become a commonplace in today’s society, and for good reason. The increased amount of technology and media has made information all the more accessible, yet it also becomes easier for people to post complete and utter bullshit that could still be mistaken for fact. 

As a society as a whole, we need to be weary of what we hear from other people, especially online, but also in real life. 

I personally could remember a time when I did not have to worry about it. I thought the one thing that I could not have trust issues with was what I heard on the news and on news sites. From the first time I used the internet, I was told not to believe everything I saw, but now I think it safe to say that things are blown way out of proportion.

Everyone is guilty of telling the little white lie, however, we need to be more conscientious of how the lies we tell affect those around us. Sure, it can be said that things may be less likely to spread on a one-on-one in-person encounter, but nonetheless what we say could have a profound effect on many if we are not careful - especially with today’s media and social media. 

Writers, or even those who want to publish any text at all, have to be especially careful, though all it seems like is that people are more interested in getting their opinion out there than getting the facts right.

We used to live in a world where the news was the most trustworthy place one could go to be up to date with what was going on in the world. Will it ever be possible to go back to that world?

Unfortunately, probably not. However, as educated readers, we could take necessary steps to find the truth or something very close to it.

First of all, do not assume anything you see is automatically the truth. Do your own research and increase its credibility by seeing if other sources claim the same thing. Make sure these sources are diverse ones; similar sources may hold biases around their respective ideologies. Even if the facts do not have any political tie to them as we are defaulted to think, they need to be backed up. Science, math, even just plan old quotes need to be brought right back to the original source.

It’s tough work doing this weeding out in order to get to correct information, but if we want to be able to trust our the news and facts we hear, it is a must.

Providing change also means putting the right things out there as well and becoming educated in our own writing and posting. That means taking the step that many do not dare to take and put the facts first and build whatever argument if any around them. 

Wikipedia has better facts than the whole rest of the world it seems like. Let’s rebuild the trust in our media and in turn in ourselves by projecting the truth and exterminating the lies the best that we can. If it cannot be done on the large scale, it is up to us to do it.