Fake News Destroys Facts
Lately, conversations regarding fake news, alternative facts, sensationalism, and fear-mongering have plagued the discourse of the nation. Some have (to varying degrees of sincerity) pointed to us living in a “post-truth” era—a time when truth is unknowable. This, of course, is a misnomer…as long as science is used as a basis for understanding. Unfortunately, many don’t use the scientific method to evaluate information.
But we all should; it can save us.
The advance of the internet and digital media has allowed fake news items and clickbait to have a pronounced effect on our conversations—and our minds. Of course, propaganda has been around much longer than even traditional media, but now it can be disseminated with a simple click, and that kind of power can have disastrous consequences.
Take the “pizzagate” conspiracy as an example. A man entered an innocent establishment and fired shots from a semi-automatic weapon based off of fabricated information aimed at harming Hillary Clinton’s campaign for the presidency. But “fake news” is not reserved for just the political arena. The entire anti-vaccination movement is rooted in erroneous and misleading reports. The resurgence of dangerous diseases, such as measles, can be directly attributed to the efforts of anti-vaxxers who post erroneous information.
And then there are the “alternative facts.” Kellyanne Conway, Counselor to Donald Trump, recently stated that “a provable falsehood” uttered by one of Trump’s team was really just an “alternative fact.” Let’s be clear: A fact either is or is not. There is no alternative.
But, if you are ever having trouble sorting through the “alternative facts” and “fake news,” just turn to science…
Read More: In Science, There Are No “Alternative Facts”