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The Future of Truth

June 16, 2017
Shepherdstown Chronicle

With talk of "fake news" and biased media, one can find themselves in a position of great difficulty with the task of discerning which voices are worth listening to, and which are not.

We live in a time when it is easy to acquire vast amounts of knowledge on any subject imaginable. This is a seemingly marvelous development from the so-called Dot-com era, with a few glitches yet to be worked out. One of these proposed glitches is that of truth.

With media outlets such as NBC, ABC and CBS taking a back seat to cable news channels such as CNN, Fox News and MSNBC throughout the late '90s and into the 21st century, even those outlets are quickly finding their voices to be redundant.

Enter the information age. The early part of this decade saw a progressive rise of "alternative" media championing the opinion of the seldom heard - or more accurately the fringe of politics and society. While this trend has been a boon to many social and political causes, it has driven American thought further and further out of the center and into self-affirming corners.

Confirmation bias is running rampant throughout society. With every Liberal digesting news from sources like The Huffington Post, Daily Kos and Salon, and every Conservative eating up Glenn Beck's thoughts on The Blaze or the views of the various contributors at Breitbart, it is no wonder there is such a divide in this country.

The mainstream news sources of a bygone era were not perfect. Let's face it, CBS and NBC only reported to us what they wanted to say. They monopolized information and disseminated said information as they saw fit. However, it was trustworthy. No one seriously questioned whether Walter Cronkite or Peter Jennings were being truthful in their reporting - there was no perceived reason one should. Now all media is viewed with a skeptical eye, and rightfully so.

The downside is that the American public is now flocking to their respective corners, only consuming information that fits the narrative which they have already decided is the truth.

So, the next time a story is released about how many scoops of ice cream President Trump eats, or about whether or not President Obama performed a "secret Muslim hand gesture," ask yourself these two important questions: "Is this really news," and "What is the other side saying about this issue?"

If you find yourself answering either "No" to question one, or "I don't care what they think" to question two, put down the paper, turn off the computer or TV, and read a book or go outside. Your life - and that of others - will guaranteedly be better for it.

 
 
 

 

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