By now, you should be aware that fake news, otherwise known as non-credible news sources, is a poison in your environment. It is bad for your mental health, and it causes you to attack wrong targets and lose friends. Even when their falsehoods get corrected, you are left with lingering doubts and broken relationships that persist for years.
In the earlier posts, I covered how to recognize fake news and how to prepare yourself to deal with fake news, so in this post, I will address how you can protect yourself from the effects of fake news on an ongoing basis.
There will always be fake news or opinion disguised as news because people with a hidden agenda find it to be an effective way of exerting hidden control over people and groups. The fake news can be blatantly false or covertly hostile, but the intent is the same. Their desire is to create dissension between members of a group so that someone else can take control. Fake news uses falsehoods to create dissension, where whistleblowers use the truth to reveal corruption. Every group has a certain amount of disagreement as to goals and purposes and the best way to achieve them. As long as the arguments are presented truthfully, there is a possibility of an eventual resolution. When opinion is substituted for truth and is not recognized for what it is, there is little chance of achieving a peaceful resolution of any issues.
The presence of major news channels tolerating and distributing fake news creates a toxic environment for all citizens. Even if their fake news is intermingled with actual news, the overall product is compromised. Like rodent poop in coffee, the end product is a health hazard.
You owe it to yourself to learn how you can protect yourself against non-credible news sources forever. It may surprise you to learn that fake news cannot be detected by the fact you do not agree with it. There are ample examples of fake news from both ends and the middle of the political spectrum. Fake news is that news that cannot be verified by several independent sources. Sources like “highly placed officials in the FBI” are not credible sources, neither are unnamed “Presidential Advisers” or any unnamed sources at any level. Claims that some harm has been done by some person with no supporting data is an opinion being presented as fact. Many of the major media outlets are notorious for doing that, and you will have to decide for yourself if that is true for you.
Here is how you can sort these issues out for yourself. Start identifying news sources as reliable or non-credible and continue to follow those which are credible. You can do this every time you look at a news feed. Let’s say a journalist or talking head says that someone is guilty of treason and points out that this scoundrel wants to let people carry arms on their person or wants to burn the American flag.
If you do not know the exact definitions of treason, you might be persuaded that the statement was true. Treason is defined as: The betrayal of allegiance toward one’s own country, especially by committing hostile acts against it or aiding its enemies in committing such acts.
Any news article which presents only one side of an argument can be suspected of containing opinion even if there are no demeaning adjectives used. Any arguments presented in anger are likely to be loaded with opinion rather than sticking to facts.
You might want to apply this four-way test to every news article you read and see how many pass muster:
- Is it the truth?
- Is it fair to all concerned?
- Will it build goodwill and better friendships?
- Will it be beneficial to all concerned?
If this test does not fit your way of thinking, try these questions:
- Where are the recordings of the event?
- Have they been altered?
- What are the names of those involved?
- Are there contrary facts describing the event?
- Are some comments being suppressed?
- Are some contributions being blocked?
If you are getting “no” answers to the first four questions and “yes” answers to the next 6 questions, you are dealing with a non-credible news source and should exclude them from your daily reading. If you do this religiously for the next few weeks, you will find that your disposition improves, and your ability to concentrate also improves.
You may want to expand your reading to include blogs because they provide a known mix of facts and opinions, and reading them may also make you laugh. Before Facebook started dominating the news, there were many fine bloggers who kept us informed of what was happening in different areas of life. They are still there and are experiencing a resurgence of popularity now that mainstream media is so polarized.