Saturday, July 9, 2011

“On the Media” and “Internet Facts”

Recently, “On the Media” examined a sensational, horrifying news story that traveled quickly around the world, but turned out to not be true. The “On the Media” piece explored the increasingly blurry line between television news reporting and social media. In internet-based “news,” fact-checking standards are often much looser or even non-existent. But the public is not always savvy about that. In that context, something that is completely false can become widely recognized as a “fact,” thus the coining of the term “internet fact.”

In listening to the “On the Media” report, it seemed to me that as news consumers we are often too believing. And it seems that is even more the case when the “news” source is one like social media. We need to be less trusting and we need to think critically about the media we consume—regardless of its source. But we need to be particularly skeptical when the source is an informal one where the authority in question may or may not have thoroughly investigated the claims it is making.

The transcript of the “On the Media” report is available below.

Proverbs 14:18

Foolish dreamers live in a world of illusion; wise realists plant their feet on the ground.

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