In Part I I began a long rant against internet disinformation. I’m against it for two reasons: I don’t like false information; I don’t like to look foolish when I fall for it.
Here are other areas where we need to show some healthy skepticism:
Echo Chamber Effect
In 2015 the social media were packed with people reporting that Pope Francis had announced that Islam and Christianity were the same and that the Koran and the Bible were basically the same message. “Jesus Christ, Jehovah, Allah. These are all names employed to describe an entity that is distinctly the same across the world.”
People were outraged! The Vatican denied it which, for some of us, was evidence that it must have really happened. It appeared on the bogus Washingtonpost.com.co, conservativebyte.com, also civictribune.com (which altered the story, so that the pope supposedly said this at the White House). So, I have seen the same exact story, usually quoted verbatim, on four websites. Does this mean there are four “sources”? No, only one, and that original source (National Report again!) said they were just joking! But the echo effect means that the reader senses that, “It must be so, because everybody is talking about it!”
For the Christian there is a special sort of news source, the Prophetic Site. If one blogger says he, I don’t know, saw four grim horsemen riding around in the field ‘back of his farm, then the story will spread far and wide within days, if not hours.
Ah, for the days when tabloids were clearly labeled and placed at the supermarket checkout. Then you could give a quick glance and find out when Elvis was spotted with what Venusian or how a Wolf-Boy was loose in the Maine woods.
Here’s one you won’t soon forget:
Now you just have to click on and find tabloids online, for example, WorldNewsDailyReport.com. Read all about it! “Man who spend 57 Years Counting the Bricks in the Great Wall of China.”
Of course, (more…)