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Don’t believe everything you read

John Villarose VI
Staff Writer

This just in: President Obama wants to raise taxes on children and give all of our jobs, money and guns to whatever country we don’t like right now. If you just ran off to go tweet that to hundreds of friends, you just might be part of the problem.

Not everyone wants to talk about politics, and there’s nothing wrong with that. Some people want to express their political opinions whenever possible, and there’s not necessarily anything wrong with that either. Some information should be shared, and good for you for staying informed.

The Internet has drastically changed how we spread and receive information, allowing everyone to keep up-to-date with news as soon as it happens.

Unfortunately, some take advantage of that.

Too many times have I gone on Facebook to see some ridiculous article about the Obama administration or the FBI which usually includes some phrase along the lines of “just the facts.” I look down, and of course, it has thousands of shares.

fake

The poster has commented something about how this always happens and everyone who doesn’t see the government corruption the way they do is blind or naive. Yet, if you happen to actually open one of these articles, you’re likely to find nothing but unsourced rantings and speculation or, on more humorous occasions, an article from an intentional satire website such as The Onion.

It’s not always just a simple case of blatant lies or unproved accusations. Too often these are intermixed with pictures and articles headlined by sweeping generalizations, such as saying all government is evil and all politicians are evil and everyone that doesn’t think the same way they do is beneath them; perhaps that’s one of the biggest issues of all.

Not only is misinformation being spread, but those not simply willing to buy into that misinformation are labeled as, and I hate to even write this word, “sheeple.”

We need to hold ourselves to a higher standard than this. When it comes to information posted on the Internet, the first rule should always be to check the source. If there isn’t one, it probably isn’t true. If there is a source, but it’s a group or website that’s obviously biased or won’t specify where they get their information, it probably isn’t true.

Ironically, those who constantly try to speak out about their caricatured version of the government or, in particularly extreme cases, the Illuminati, seem to desperately cling to the phrase, “Don’t believe what you hear on TV.”

It’s not a bad idea; everyone should be self-aware when listening to news sources or public figures, watching out for any bias that may be affecting the information being relayed. However, the same idea needs to be applied, in a much greater extent, to the Internet.

Don’t believe everything you read on the Internet. Don’t try to oversimplify complicated matters to prove a point. Don’t expect others to listen to your ideas if you’re not willing to do the work to back them up. Don’t put down anyone for not agreeing with your world outlook. And please, please, never use the word “sheeple.”