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The Era of Misinformation and Multiple Truths

Setting the Stage

I received a fascinating email from a writer friend the other day. Said friend lives in Ohio, I live in Olympia, Washington, and I mention those two facts as important background for what I’m about to tell you.

My friend asked me if I was all right. She was worried about the violence in Seattle, the looting and property damage and, what she saw as lawlessness, taking over our neighbor to the north. She also wanted to know how a once-great city could allow itself to be held hostage by lawless thugs who don’t care about America.

Sheez!

I assured her that I was fine, that Olympia is sixty-miles from Seattle and I am far-removed from the events of Seattle. I then tackled the bigger problem, the one which is hard for so many to grasp: Seattle, and cities like Seattle which are in the news of late i.e. Portland, Oregon, are not being held hostage by lawless thugs. I went on to explain that the Capitol Hill Autonomous Zone (CHAZ), where the most-visible protest activity was occurring in Seattle, is really only a six-block area, including a city park, in a city which is eighty-four square miles in size. It would be like saying one flea has taken over your pet dog. It’s simply not true.

I walked downtown yesterday and saw no lawlessness at all.

I walked downtown yesterday and saw no lawlessness at all.

But She Wasn’t Done

She then went on to ask me why, if the city is so peaceful, that the city police were driven out of that area by force, and I then, calmly, explained that the city police were not driven out of that neighborhood but, in fact, chose to leave the area in an attempt to calm tempers and provide for a cool-down period.

My friend was calmer after our exchange, but I seriously doubt that I convinced her that we are not a lawless bunch of Left-wing radicals in the Pacific Northwest.

Here’s the Problem With My Friend and so Many Others

I asked my friend where she got her information. She told me it was all over the news (FOX, it turns out), and she also read several blogs which were detailing all of the lawlessness. I asked her for the names of the blogs. She couldn’t name all of them off-hand, but she did tell me those blogs were on her Facebook stream, and she would be happy to share those with me, which she did.

One such blog was Obnoxio the Clown!

I swear to God!

She was getting her information from Obnoxio the Clown!

You may be laughing right now; hell, I did; but as ridiculous as that seems, it points to a much-larger problem in our world in 2020 – people are automatically believing the swill which pops up on their social medial platform of choice, without ever questioning it!

For the love of God, when will the madness end?

Any one of these people could be a snake oil sales person, looking for a sucker to buy their product.

Any one of these people could be a snake oil sales person, looking for a sucker to buy their product.

Have You Ever Taken a Debate Course?

I did, back in 1966, and it was one of the toughest courses I have taken in a long, personal history of college courses. I actually took it my freshman year because I thought it would be one easy course to balance out a tough trio of required courses I was also taking. In other words, I thought I would pad my g.p.a. with a simple course like debate.

Oh how wrong I was!

I learned, during that course, how to research an issue. I learned, during that course, how to learn multiple sides of important issues. I learned how to defend my position with logic and facts, and God help me if I ever went into a debate unprepared and lacking in quantifiable information.

I hated it but, at the same time, it was one of the most important courses I have ever taken.

Logic and facts!

Good luck finding that on the social platforms. I’m being a bit facetious when I say that but still, Obnoxio the Clown, for God’s sake!

I’ve Been Around the Block a Few Times

Listen, I get it. I understand the attraction to social media. I actually love Facebook, and spend a fair amount of time on it, but for the most part I do so because I like interacting with people, and it has given me an opportunity to reconnect with some people who are important to me.

But as a news source? Really?

It’s not shocking to me that so many people spend hours on Facebook. What is shocking to me, however, is the number of people who automatically believe, no questions asked, the pig poop which passes as legitimate news on Facebook. Shocking may be too mild, as a matter of fact – it scares the hell out of me.

Obnoxio the Clown? Really?

Give me a couple hundred bucks, and a couple weeks, and I can create a website which will seem quite authentic and professional to all of you. I know I could do it. I could make up a title for the website like “Concerned Citizens for America,” I could add a tagline like “The Website for those who care about the truth,” and I could pass myself off as an expert on all things political. Trust me, I’ve got enough b.s. stored up inside of me, I am absolutely convinced I could do this in such a way that people would follow it and, yes, believe it.

And that is frightening!

Is This What We’ve Really Become as a Citizenry?

We are being played like a trout on a hook, and we don’t even realize it.

Consider, for a moment, the online god Google.

I can do a search for something like “homelessness in America,” and my search results will be completely different from the results you obtain using the same search parameters. That’s because Google is designed to personalize your searches based on your previous 180 searches on Google. And it continues to do so. So, if you are Liberal-minded, your Google search results will always be influenced by your Liberal leanings, and if you are Conservative, all you will get are articles leaning to the right.

And that carries over into the social media world. Facebook will dominate your feeds with articles and comments and videos and advertisements based on your Google searches.

Fact!

It’s like being a lab rat constantly being bombarded by controlled stimuli.

Now you know what it was like to be one of Pavlov’s dogs.

So Let’s Talk About Truths

We live in an era of fake news. That’s what we’ve been told by the “leader of the free world.” That’s what we are told by the news agencies we follow. And that’s what we are told constantly in our Google and social media feeds.

And instead of actually doing research on our own, to discover both sides of an issue and actually be informed, we blindly follow the sirens of Greek mythology as they lure us to a destruction of our own making. People want, so badly, to blame someone for their lives going sour, they are willing to believe anyone who points a finger in a convincing manner, and that’s very, very sad.

If all we do is mindlessly believe that which we are fed, we end up poisoned, pure and simple, and we end up doubting the actual truth when it is right in front of us. People now tell me they can’t believe the media, they can’t believe their politicians, and they can’t believe marketing so, they say, what can we believe?

And I say, it seems to me, it’s up to you to find the truth, and stop being a lab rat.

If I told you this lake sat in a volcano's caldera, would you believe me, or is that fake news?

If I told you this lake sat in a volcano's caldera, would you believe me, or is that fake news?

The Point of This All

I honestly don’t know what to say. I don’t know how to convince anyone of anything. Logic seems to be something no one is interested in. I think back to that debate teacher I had, long ago, and wonder what he would think of today’s world. He would probably take to drinking heavily, quite frankly.

My message, then, is a simple one: only we can change this! If we truly care about the world and the important issues we are facing, we will take the time to learn about both sides of an issue, and we will not give up in our search until the real truth is found.

To do less than that is just sad!

2020 William D. Holland (aka billybuc)

Comments

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on October 27, 2020:

Good for you, Jo! We need more responsible people like you. Carry on and thank you!

Jo Miller from Tennessee on October 26, 2020:

I live in the rural South, so I hear this type of rhetoric all the time. And I see it often on facebook. For that reason, in the past few years I have been sharing on facebook reliable news sources to, in my little part of the facebook world, something more reliable. I'll also point out stories that are obviously fake by a link to snopes.

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on October 26, 2020:

Thank you Li-Jen! Unfortunately, this "Clown" is not clowning around. It's a legitimate website out of the UK., and he has a very large following. Quite sad.

I hope this finds you well too, my friend.

Li-Jen Hew on October 25, 2020:

Hi Bill. Obnoxio the Clown, what a funny name. Really just clowning around to pull pranks maybe! I agree that we should discover both sides of an issue, read with scepticism and check the source of the information! Facebook cares more about popularity and money...not facts, I suppose. Thanks for the kind reminder. Hope you and your family are well and staying safe.

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on October 25, 2020:

Treathy, I always think of that little animal, the lemming, rushing headlong, following each other over a cliff, and no power on earth can stop them.

Sad, really! We were given a brain for a reason, me thinks.

Thank you!

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on October 25, 2020:

A self-licking ice cream cone, Greg, is one of the best descriptions I have ever heard. Thanks for that one. Don't be surprised if it shows up in one of my novels some day. Thanks my friend. Be well and ride hard!

Treathyl FOX from Austin, Texas on October 24, 2020:

Getting information from Obnoxious the Clown? That's priceless! LOL. I find it hard to believe there are “multiple truths” and “alternative facts”, etc. I don't find it hard to believe that people use these methods to pull the wool over other people's eyes, fool them, trick them, mislead them, deceive them and LIE!! But, in the end, it's the individual's responsibility to determine what they will believe as TRUE. If you decide that you will follow someone or something BLINDLY and you end up going over a cliff ... just know that it didn't have to be like that.

greg cain from Moscow, Idaho, USA on October 24, 2020:

Bill - yes, indeed. We can find whatever we want to find in order to validate our own opinion. It eventually becomes a self-licking ice cream cone, a terrible cycle that won’t end unless we work to recognize and address it. I have done an experiment and changed channels back and forth from the right side news channel to the left side news channel in order to hear reporting of the same story. It impressed me how they are able to distort facts in such a way as to make the event barely recognizable as what actually happened. It also scared me that we could both be looking at an orange and one of us either sees it as an apple or just blatantly lies and calls it an apple. The standards of logic and evidence have to carry the day or we will be lost, divided so deeply and permanently that we may never recover.

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on October 24, 2020:

I do believe so, Zulma! I looked up his website, and he made some reference to the UK, and made it sound like he lived there. A whole bunch of stuff about Brexit, as I recall.

Anyway, I think I would have liked you very much in your younger years. I can so relate to that way of handling matters. lol

But I like you now, too, so there you go!

Happy weekend, my friend!

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on October 24, 2020:

Indeed, Nithya! It's worth the time and effort to actually research a bit, rather than be a lab rat in some very large experiment.

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on October 24, 2020:

They are very good at it, Manatita, and we must always beware of those who would manipulate us. It's a strange world we live in, my friend, and yet it's also fascinating.

Blessings always

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on October 24, 2020:

Personally, I don't think so either, MG. Racism never really dies. The best we can hope for is that it lessens.

On fire? Not yet, but I understand what you are saying. It's much more "fun" to report the bad as a news agency. If that's all anyone sees, they begin to believe it's the norm, eh?

Zulma Burgos-Dudgeon from United Kingdom on October 24, 2020:

Obnoxio lives here? On this island? I am both not surprised and saddened by this.

Thankfully, I had already put my coffee down when I read this. Otherwise, there would have been coffee dripping off my monitor from the spit-take.

In my younger years, my first reaction would have been to track him down and have a not-so-civil discussion about why he needs to stop his nonsense. And then smash his computer just to drive the point home.

Now with years of experience behind me, I know it would be an exercise in futility. Knock him down and ten more will rise to take his place. The best one can do is not let people like him get in your head.

Have a good weekend, Bill.

Nithya Venkat from Dubai on October 23, 2020:

Fake news is in abundance in social media. Facebook is flooded with fake news and as you say we have to research and find out both sides of an issue and find out what is actually going on.

manatita44 from london on October 23, 2020:

Yes, Bro.

Your point is very valid and yes, even you and I could create fear. There is the fear of dying, of loneliness and isolation ... but there's is an increasing fear that comes from listening to the Media and Fox? Reads like the devil incarnate!

Trouble is that many of the sinister has mastered this art of misinformation and many are either not aware, or question like you and I would. So much is false! When my friend was in the body he would tell us some things and you would be surprised that some of the things we take as gospel today, were actually fabricated.

My hats off to anyone who questions what they read. Many lobbyists are paid phenomenal amounts to tell you what they want you to hear. They are very good at it. Peace.

MG Singh emge from Singapore on October 23, 2020:

The first thing when I read your article was that perceptions change because of propaganda. Reminded me of the time when Dr. Gobbles said a lie repeat it 100 times becomes the truth. To the outside world, it looks like America is on fire but I know better as I've been there so many times and there is nothing like this. But again there is a problem and that goes around color and race and I do not know if it'll ever go away. Personally, I don't think so.

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on October 23, 2020:

Sha, I limit myself to 30-minutes of news per day. That's all I can handle and stay sane and happy. :)

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on October 23, 2020:

Great point, Chrish! Thank you for that comment.

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on October 23, 2020:

Right on, Mr. Happy! I have done countless home improvements, using skills I learned from others. I had no problem admitting I knew nothing, and I'm grateful I had the ability and willingness to learn.

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on October 23, 2020:

Eric, I made critical thinking and logic a part of every class I taught. I had parents complain about it, which I find to be ridiculous, but it was a fight worth fighting. Kids need to think for themselves, and that thinking needs to be based on fact.

Anyway, have a great weekend, buddy!

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on October 23, 2020:

And the amazing thing, Zulma, is Obnoxio is a real person, and if I'm not mistaken, he calls the UK his home. Shame on all you Brits! lol

It's a scary world out there, my friend. I don't think what you are doing is a cop out at all. We do need to put our mental health first. Otherwise we won't be worth a damn for those who need us and love us.

Happy Weekend, my friend!

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on October 23, 2020:

There you go, Rosina! Good for you! When in doubt, work on self-improvement and positive attitude. Well done!

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on October 23, 2020:

I suspect your last point is true, Linda, and I find that very sad. Thanks for the comment. Let's hope logic wins out sooner rather than later, my friend.

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on October 23, 2020:

And I believe in Audrey Hunt, and others like you, and that's not a bad way to live.

love,

bill

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on October 23, 2020:

That's a good one, Lori! Love it!

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on October 23, 2020:

Mr. Happy, I'm glad you're almost done with that kitchen renovation. Good job! Mr. Diligent, I'll call you. ha-ha.

Good education - got to have it - we need to emphasize critical thinking and logic - and now I feel like I'm wasting my time preaching. The U.S. education system is mired in the past, and it ain't working.

Sigh! All we can do is do our part, my friend, and hope others figure it out.

Be well!

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on October 23, 2020:

Thank you Dream On! We are both doing well. In fact, I almost feel guilty, because we are relatively untouched by the pandemic and the problems with the economy. Somehow we skated through it all but then, to be fair, we planned for something like this, as best we could, for years prior to the pandemic.

Anyway, thank you again. I hope this finds you well.

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on October 23, 2020:

Rodric, thank you! I appreciate your comment, and I'm very happy you enjoyed it. This is a serious problem today, I believe, and we, as a people, need to know about it and take steps to combat it. Otherwise we live our lives as sheep.

Take care, my friend.

Shauna L Bowling from Central Florida on October 22, 2020:

Bill, the first thing my son does when he gets up is read political feeds on his phone. I'm sure most if not all are Facebook threads or some other social media stalking/stomping ground. He makes comments to me about them and frankly, I don't want to hear it. And he shouldn't open himself to such blasphemy. It's almost as if he wants to be pissed off. Well, I don't. I'll keep my neck in the sand and when I come up for air, I'll have on my rose-colored glasses.

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on October 22, 2020:

Thank you Ruby! It's always good to hear from you, dear friend. I hope you are well.

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on October 22, 2020:

Scary it is, Meg, and there actually is an Obnoxio the Clown. I looked his website up. Oh my God!!!!

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on October 22, 2020:

Denise, I've become a cynic as well, and that bothers me as well. I'm hoping it's just a passing phase for me, and it will end in 2021 with the new inauguration of a new president. :)

Blessings always, my friend!

bill

Chrish Canosa from Manila Philippines on October 22, 2020:

Anywho can be mistaken, we can correct them if we want

But with caution. No one knows how fragile a person is and or how they accept corrections some may feel persecuted whenever they are being contradicted but remember people we all need corrections don't see it as an insultment.

Great message!

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on October 22, 2020:

I love your outlook, Bill. Thanks for sharing it. Actually I agree with you. I think this particular chapter in our history is about to end, and we will find our way out of the darkness.

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on October 22, 2020:

Marlene, if you get a chance, watch the documentary "Social Dilemma." It will open your eyes about Google.

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on October 22, 2020:

Thank you Cynthia! It makes me happy that you take the time to verify information. It gives me hope that others are doing that as well.

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on October 22, 2020:

James, that is beyond bizarre, the fact Facebook wouldn't allow that. We are living in an alternate universe, and here's hoping it doesn't become the norm in the future.

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on October 22, 2020:

Heidi, I'm with you regarding voting. As soon as ballots were sent out to Washington residents, Biden took the electoral lead. That made me smile. :)

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on October 22, 2020:

Thank you John! As for your country, you do make our news on occasion, but it has to be something big like a major fire or a factory explosion. I'm afraid you are a bit off our radar here in the States.

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on October 22, 2020:

Linda, it does appear to be the dumbing down of society, but I think the source of it is fear. I think there are millions out there who feel their lives are spiraling out of control, they are terrified of that, and they need someone to blame for it. Sad!

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on October 22, 2020:

Peggy, your observation is right on. It is cult-like, and I believe cults to be dangerous. The only way to end it is through education. If we care about this country, we will take the time to form an informed opinion.

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on October 22, 2020:

Indeed, Liz, and I think we have all had similar situations. One cannot be too careful these days.

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on October 22, 2020:

Thank you Brenda! I'm reminded of the old saying "an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure," or something like that. Do the damned research, everyone!

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on October 22, 2020:

I love reading your opinion, Ashutosh! Thanks for sharing it. Best wishes to you.

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on October 22, 2020:

Thank you Umesh! Obviously I agree with you. I appreciate your views on this.

Mr. Happy from Toronto, Canada on October 22, 2020:

"Most resist that as it might mean they are inferior." - Mr. Eric nailed it here! That is very often the problem: trying to teach people things, they get the feeling that if they "submit" to teaching, that means they do not know something, which means they are inferior. That is so not the case though: bad logic.

I knew nothing about tiling five years ago but I listened to those who knew about tiling, I watched, asked questions, practiced and now I am tiling my kitchen. It's not a shame to not know. It is a shame to not want to know, especially when "knowing" could help us out. One is not a donkey for not knowing but one can be a donkey for being ignorant/not wanting to know (depending on the subject/circumstances).

Anyway, ya ... it's the ego that stands in the way of learning for some people; many, many times. The bloody ego ... lol

Eric Dierker from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A. on October 22, 2020:

Bill I was blessed to study, debate, sociology and logic, and how to think in my school years. People get offended if you try to tell them how to think without saying what to think. Perhaps it is the concept of each of us being equal, leaving out (In the eyes of the Lord - or in the eyes of the law)

We must in fact, somehow be trained to think. Most resist that as it might mean they are inferior. Well I hate to be a downer but most people just don't do it naturally. After all who is certified to teach thinking.

Zulma Burgos-Dudgeon from United Kingdom on October 22, 2020:

I'm trying to understand the type of mentality that would think someone who goes by the name Obnoxio the Clown would be a good source of factual content. I'm going to stop now because it's hurting my head.

It's alarming how many people believe whatever they're told, no questions asked. I'm not that sort of person and can't understand those who are. I'm not talking about uneducated people either. College grads, who I presume should know a thing or two about critical thinking and logic, seem quite happy to munch on fake news biscuits with a Kool-Aid chaser.

I only go on FB to check on friends and family and view any cute animal videos in my feed. Twitter is just for keeping up with new trends related to my hobbies. Relying on these sites for factual news? Why?

This world is just too crazy and that's why I prefer to stay in my own little bubble. That must sound like a cop-out but I have to put my mental health first.

Good article, Bill, and thanks for the video. They were quite useful in learning how to separate fact from fiction.

Have an awesome day.

Rosina S Khan on October 21, 2020:

Bill, I do not rely on Facebook for news. Rather I interact with it for connecting with friends and family. It's been a while I have stopped watching the news as it's full of negativity. I love to read self-help content which indeed affects me positively.

Thank you for sharing this article.

Linda Crampton from British Columbia, Canada on October 21, 2020:

Thank you for writing this article, Bill. You have brought up some points of major concern for me. The situation on social media seems to be getting worse, especially as the election approaches. People share things that support their point of view without checking whether it's true. I suspect that in some cases they don't care whether or not it's true as long as it supports their opinion.

Audrey Hunt from Idyllwild Ca. on October 21, 2020:

I believe nothing that I hear and not much of what I see anymore. Fake news, fake people, and fake food. I believe in my HP friends, my family, and my dog.

I believe in Bill Holland.

love,

audrey

Lori Colbo from United States on October 21, 2020:

I like fb too but you are right, theres a lot of fake stuff which can trigger rants and quarrels. I think they should rename Facebok to discracebook and twitter to Litter.

Mr. Happy from Toronto, Canada on October 21, 2020:

"I can create a website which will seem quite authentic and professional to all of you. I know I could do it." - That's exactly what many, many people do and they have a paypal button on their website too, for people to fund their nonsense. Some indeed do, haha!!

Look, I spent the other day about twenty minutes dissecting an article here on Hub-pages about masks. It had so many things wrong with it: wrong facts, conflicting arguments, illogical arguments, etc. Many people lack the ability of critical analysis. Sigh ... it's in my own family too, not regarding politics but other things.

We need good education for people so they can learn how to discern things, how to do research, how to know facts from "alternative facts", etc. This doesn't just drop on people. It takes time, exercise and someone to teach. That's why I urge improvements to our educational systems, from here to US, to Romania and everywhere in between. If the educational system improved considerably in the States, we might accept annexing You guys at some point. Haha!!

"We are being played like a trout on a hook" - I love trout; rainbow trout to be precise. It's up there with halibut and pickerel for me.

"my search results will be completely different from the results you obtain" - Please use DuckDuckGo. Make that homepage and You will search without being tracked and without that Google nonsense.

"Facebook will dominate your feeds with articles and comments and videos and advertisements based on your Google searches." - Great! I don't use Facebook, or Google. Haha!!

"It’s like being a lab rat constantly being bombarded by controlled stimuli." - And that is exactly why I do not use them. No clue why others who know this continue to use them.

"People want, so badly, to blame someone for their lives going sour" - But it's so easy this way and as You know, humans always search for the "easy way".

"If I told you this lake sat in a volcano's caldera, would you believe me, or is that fake news?" - I don't know. What lake is that? I'll let You know.

"Logic seems to be something no one is interested in." - I never took a course in logic but I hear there are such courses. Maybe they should be made mandatory.

"only we can change this!" - Yes we can. I'm a Mexi-can, not a Mexi-can't. : )

"To do less than that is just sad!" - Ya, I don't know if it's sad as much as it is dismaying. I am mind-blown by the Trump cult, by the QAnon lunacies and by all the racism that is bubbling up to the surface of our societies on full display. Don't even get me started on the "plandemic" and mask deniers. It's like many people simply lost all their pebbles.

I'm going to finish this kitchen renovation and off to the Forest I go. Haha!! You be well - cheers!

DREAM ON on October 21, 2020:

Once again a timeless article that covers such a relevant topic of today. When you find that both sides are slanted to make their view seem the only way then I tend to back away and distrust both sources. The reason I love writing poems so much is you can have any view you want and it is not just o.k. but welcome. Because then I can see a side I never have seen before. Maybe at the same time, you might see a different approach and think just a little bit more. More of a mix. A happy medium. A pleasant surprise from fresh eyes. I never got to see the nightly news growing up because I was working when the six o'clock and the eleven o'clock news was on. Then I was sleeping when the news came on at noon. For years I thought I missed out on so much. Now I am not so sure. I didn't get hooked like other big tuna's because I am just a little tiny fish. I get to swim away. I get to live one more day. Thank you for always helping your readers decide for themselves. My father would say you can lead a horse to water but you can't make it drink. I heard it means you can provide someone with a nice opportunity but you can't make them take it. Here you are asking people to learn the facts before jumping over the edge. My father would also say if someone is going to jump off the cliff are you going to follow them? What I do decide to is think and think some more before I make a move.So I may not have the answers. I am a little closer than when I started. Thank you for your years of informational and inspiring hubs. I hope you and your wife are safe and happy. Have a great night.

Rodric Anthony from Surprise, Arizona on October 21, 2020:

This is a magnificent piece that has to be shared. It does not pander to anything but the truths that we can discover with a little effort. I am in the middle of writing something, a self-expose on the matter. People tend to like it when writers expose their folly in my experience. It gives the writing more gravitas, I suppose. I don't know that.

My favorite part:

"And instead of actually doing research on our own, to discover both sides of an issue and actually be informed, we blindly follow the sirens of Greek mythology as they lure us to a destruction of our own making. People want, so badly, to blame someone for their lives going sour, they are willing to believe anyone who points a finger in a convincing manner, and that’s very, very sad."

When you put the part in there about the sirens it triggered such understanding in my mind of the message you convey. I don't know if it is because I love Grecco-Roman mythology or if I have heard the siren calls! It could be both. This is great work. I approve this message!

Oh! And I have to go to my old university library to do research because of the Google search issues. I don't pay much, not any, but much mind to Facebook anymore. I tend to assume it is fake if the news is on that platform.

Ruby Jean Richert from Southern Illinois on October 21, 2020:

Now I know why I stay away from Facebook. A good down to earth article Bill. I do listen to the world news nightly, but I take it with a grain of salt.

RoadMonkey on October 21, 2020:

This is so true! There are a great many Obnoxio the Clowns around and millions (literally) of bots that are trying to keep people from questioning what they are being told. And if you try to point out facts and logic - they do not want to know. They would rather live in a bubble of denial!

Denise McGill from Fresno CA on October 21, 2020:

I am truly concerned for the citizens of this country as well. It seems research and fact-checking is just too much trouble. Jumping to conclusions is so much easier and then repeating what isn't true. And it spreads like a pandemic. When I homeschooled my kids I told them that I didn't expect them to know everything. I expected them to know where to look for the answers. If only we could do that, the world would be a better place. I hate being lied to. I used to expect people to be honest until they proved they weren't. Now I expect them to be dishonest until they proved they aren't. I've become cynical and I hate that too. I have certainly changed over my 66 years. Is it any wonder I prefer fairy tales over Obnoxio the Clown?

Blessings,

Denise

William Leverne Smith from Hollister, MO on October 21, 2020:

Actually, Bill, I believe a growing percentage of the people in this country are following your advise. We still have the (decreasing) 30-40 of the people who are as you describe. Note church participation continues to drop. These are the people who want to be told what to do. After a few months of transition, I'm confident in the American people, on the whole, to set things right. This has been an excruciating year in so many ways, but better days are ahead.

Marlene Bertrand from USA on October 21, 2020:

So true!

A friend and I were sitting in the same room with our computers. We were collaborating on a subject of which we had differing opinions. We decided to go to Google to start our research. To our amazement, Google brought up two extremely varied results. We didn't know where to go from there.

Cynthia Zirkwitz from Vancouver Island, Canada on October 21, 2020:

Hi Bill,

I appreciate all the information you have included in this well-written article that will help me unscramble the veracity from the lies in what I read and hear as news. I already use FactCheck.org and Snopes but am happy to have the other two suggestions cited in the second video.i also find that Wikipedia can sometimes offer references to authoratative research to disprove supposed sensationalist claims (ex., search "Irish Slavery Myth")

Good work!

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on October 21, 2020:

Thank you Pamela. I used to watch about 90 minutes of news each day. Now I have to limit it to 30 minutes or it really affects me negatively.

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on October 21, 2020:

Val, thank you my friend. This is the strangest time I've seen in my life. It would be fascinating, but there is a hint of malice in it all, you know?

Of course you do!

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on October 21, 2020:

Thank you William! Strange times we live in, my friend.

James C Moore from The Great Midwest on October 21, 2020:

It seems like more avenues to access info amounts to more means to spread lies. QAnon- enough said. Also, Facebook distorts its conversations. On this past 9-11 anniversary, I took a picture of my flag and accompanied it with encouraging words about its first responders and patriotic comments. However, Facebook wouldn't post it in my story or in its news feed. Apparently, I wasn't outlandish enough for what they want to publish. Gotta curse and rant more often.

Heidi Thorne from Chicago Area on October 21, 2020:

Well, I'm from the Chicago area. And as you can guess, people have similar views of our city and region. Before my parents made Chicago their home, their families thought it was all gangsters like Al Capone. Yes, gangsters were active here back in the day. But like in your area, the worst is usually confined to a limited area. Sad that our cities get tarnished by a few and by the media.

I also think that everyone should take a debate or rhetoric course. You really learn to get your story and research straight. And not from Obnoxio (that really made my day by the way).

I also don't use social media as a news source. It's called "social," right? So that's what I use it for.

I won't get into all the fake news nonsense. But I will say that I voted this week. Actions such as voting are how you make change in the world.

John Hansen from Queensland Australia on October 21, 2020:

This needed to be said Bill. There has to be some “common sense”....hmm that term doesn’t even seem right any more. I have stopped watching the news and I pick and choose what news articles I read. The best way to find out the truth is to talk to someone who is there on the spot.

Damn, I am so far away from what happens in your country And the news could distort and show us anything..how are we to know any better? I’d rather ask one of my friends on HubPages and get their opinion if it’s happening in their area.

It makes me wonder how much false info You guys get fed about Australia, if in fact we even make the news much over there.

As Val said, there is not going to be an end to stupidity anytime soon. A debate course? I can’t think of anything more difficult.

Thank you for writing this.

Linda Lum from Washington State, USA on October 21, 2020:

Bill, the spokesperson for that so called leader of the free world told us that there are alternative facts. (@#$!!)

This topic is the one that drives me near madness. My younger daughter received her degree in Journalism and worked for a daily newspaper for years. There was a time that a journalist was respected (as we're published authors). Now anyone with a keyboard and internet access can "publish news stories" (and can be a published authors as well.)

We are witnessing the dumbing down of our society. Is it laziness, sensory overload, or indifference? And this is how people decide for whom they will cast their vote? God help us.

Peggy Woods from Houston, Texas on October 21, 2020:

Sadly, many people get their news from social media, and even worse, they believe much of that garbage. When people act a certain way, say things that are recorded and documented, and then tell people not to believe it...their devoted followers continue to believe them despite seeing with their own eyes, and hearing with their own ears, what has transpired. That is cult-like behavior. Where is the intelligence in that?

I like to hear both sides of an issue and then make up my own mind after further research. We will soon see election results in our country to see which way our country will be governed in the years ahead. I am hopeful that the cult-like behavior will not prevail.

Liz Westwood from UK on October 21, 2020:

This is a very relevant and interesting article. I am even beginning to get a little sceptical of mainstream news channels. Early on in the pandemic I got caught out with a message about the dangers of a certain medication for young people. It came from a good friend. I guessed that she had checked it out. So I forwarded it. I was slightly embarrassed when another friend sent an article disproving the theory. I am much more careful now!

BRENDA ARLEDGE from Washington Court House on October 21, 2020:

Bill,

You are right! I do wish people woukd research before jumping ship.

It is sad that we are told fake news to begin with...and you are probably right about us being " Lab Rats!"

I have always been one to research everything. My doctors hate me looking things up...saying I should not believe everything I read. ( and I don't)

But I am not going to go blindly into anything.

Facebook does come in handy if something is going on in my little town...it is posted on there pretty quickly.

People should look at the source though before believing everything to heart.

Love your article!

Ashutosh Joshi from New Delhi, India on October 21, 2020:

I think we're arriving at that point where trust, truth etc becomes irrelevant - We can't isolate ourselves and we can't make any amends either. We know this is fake and that is fake, but we'll have to choose either one and that choice even if initially forced, eventually would become a part of our programing.

This all may sound cock n bull or seem like a slippery slope but even the point at which we are today felt the same a decade back.

Umesh Chandra Bhatt from Kharghar, Navi Mumbai, India on October 21, 2020:

We have to mend our innocent ways of believing all that is available there in the net or social media. We will have to do it if we want to save ourselves as well as the humanity.

You have presented it nicely. Thanks for sharing.

Pamela Oglesby from Sunny Florida on October 21, 2020:

This is a very good article. I do not think there is an honest news agency. None of them seem to report the news but they are like a bunch of editorials to me. Everyone has an opinion! So what? I do not care.

I am only on Facebook long enough to check on family and close friends. That is not a place to get your political news.

I try to pay attention to actions and not words as I don't think I can trust the words of any news organization. I try to limit how much I hear as it is all so negative. I think we live in a good country that has a lot of problems right now, and I wish I had some answers.

Val Karas from Canada on October 21, 2020:

Bill -- The observable factual reality tells us that all of us who read your article are the ones leaning towards logicalness -- whereas those who won't bother reading anything past its title love to go "creative" about truth.

There is no hope that things will ever look different. my friend, simply because intelligence is not distributed evenly in this human race of ours. We just can't hope that stupidity will ever jump out of the equation of "human condition", and voluntarily disappear.

And we can't beat it with either logic or otherwise. I am an optimist in many other areas, but not in this one. God must have loved variety when He set this Grand Game into motion.

The simple truth remains intact that we, the public, know nothing about politics, we just fancy that -- other than for voting -- our voice means something. So we cherry-pick from trees that don't even have to look like cherry-trees. We feel important. We discharge our private frustrations, our pissed mentality in the political arena.

And the Media is laughing all the way to the bank by keeping the news polarized, so there is something for everyone there, both camps fed with enough contradictory information. They are in the first place an enterprise, a business -- not "reporters of facts". Their ratings are important to them above anything else.

Well, look at me, how easily I got motivated to respond to logic -- the same is true for all others who have "something to add" to what they read, logical or not. We all just display our intellectual tastes -- intellect-or-not being present.

A great article, my friend.

William Kovacic from Pleasant Gap, PA on October 21, 2020:

¨. . . we end up doubting the actual truth when it is right in front of us.¨ I get that, Bill. It´s so crazy, people deny what´s right in front of them. Thanks for your thoughts - and the warning.

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on October 21, 2020:

That's it exactly, Susan! I don't care if people disagree with me, but do they have to be so damned rude while doing it? What's the point in rudeness? It sure isn't going to win me over to their side.

Happy Hump Day, my friend!

Susan Zutautas from Ontario, Canada on October 21, 2020:

Great piece of writing, Bill. When I got to the part that she was watching FOX news, I said to myself well that explains a lot. :)

It's a crazy world we are all living in lately. I wish that we could all learn to get along and play nice together. (Referring to so many of the comments I see on Facebook and Twitter. Have a great week.