Letter to the editor: We should be smart enough to figure out false news
Monday, December 26, 2016 8:01 AM
I have been reading and listening to the news in regard to the fake news articles published on Facebook and other online sources during the election, and I am really disturbed by the gullibility that we, the public, have exhibited throughout this process.
Instead of being critical readers and thinkers, we have allowed a variety of characters – partisan shills from both political parties, common money grubbers, even foreign entrepreneurs and governments – to distort information that many of us used to decide who would be our next president. Granted, disinformation and propaganda have always played a part in politics. Now, however, false information spreads at lightning speed and reaches an audience of millions because of the internet.
No federal department or online service such as Facebook can help us without sailing into the murky waters of censorship. And frankly, no one should have to help us. We should be smart enough to recognize when someone is trying to manipulate us.
The language used in these articles should be a huge red flag. The writers use words that are loaded with emotions designed to shock and anger us, and to appeal to our ingrained biases. We must learn to be more discerning. We must check facts before we believe what we read, much less pass them on as gospel on Facebook.
The success of our political system depends on citizens who are armed with facts before they help make decisions about the directions taken by our leaders. We cannot allow people who don’t care about us or our country lead us astray.