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Can you trust the media?

Media & Politics: Do Facts Matter

From Facebook to politics, and television, does it seem like facts don’t matter anymore?

Do you remember when paying for things in cash wasn’t suspicious and asking questions wasn’t considered rude and combative? I do, and I miss them.

Have you ever had anyone get angry with you because you asked them where they heard something or if they could back it up?

Most of us can’t back it up, myself included. A good friend who is a journalist and fact finding genius has re-trained me to be more diligent in what I repeat as fact or truth by challenging me all the time. Fortunately, I like the challenge, but I find many people don’t like being asked on what they base their opinions or where they got their “facts.”

Another new barrier to critical thinking is the internet. I am guilty on occasion of “Liking” or sharing a web page that prints facts about science, celebrities, or politics, but provides no links or references to cite where the information they are authoritatively writing about came from.

Guilty, but I’m changing. I’m working on slowing down and before I “Like” someone’s post or share an article, I look for references that I can check. It all takes so much time, so I have to ask is this worth the time, and if the answer is no I move on.

FactCheck.org – Does the Fact Checking So We Don’t Have To

nonpartisan, nonprofit “consumer advocate” for voters that aims to reduce the level of deception and confusion in U.S. politics. We monitor the factual accuracy of what is said by major U.S. political players in the form of TV ads, debates, speeches, interviews and news releases. Our goal is to apply the best practices of both journalism and scholarship and to increase public knowledge and understanding.

FactCheck looks at the information we see in the media and checks the facts for us. They take the content of political speeches and commentary and fact check them. You can even submit your own request for them to fact check an issue, maybe the one you bet $20 on.

And example might look like this:

Q: Did President Obama cut benefits for veterans by $2.6 billion to give the money to Syrian refugees? A: No. The Department of Veterans Affairs transferred funds to close a $2.6 billion gap in a health care program. The transfer is unrelated to Syrian refugee aid.

In a country that seems to value how you feel and how you look, over facts and reality, it worries me. That’s why I encourage you to pause before you Like and consider that even those with similar opinions and politics are just as capable to of posting misinformation Sometimes, ironically in response to an unsubstantiated opposing opinion or “facts.”

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