Sunday, January 26, 2014

The Importance of Finding The Truth

This is a letter to the editor, published in the Springfield News-Leader on January 22, 2014.  I was pleased to get feedback from a professor from St. Louis, and my first hate mail of 2014.  It makes a girl feel special.

There is an extreme word limit on the letters, so I had to keep it to the point.  Because the archives don't keep them forever, here is the content in its entirety:

We are swamped in misinformation.
From well-meaning, but incorrect, Facebook posts to outright media lies, we cannot trust the information we see. It’s more important than ever to seek the truth and educate ourselves about what sources we can trust.
It is pure vanity to put our beliefs ahead of the facts before us. I know some honest people who would never lie in “real life” share things online that are faked. They fail a simple Google or check.
When confronted, most people shrug and say it’s “close enough to the truth.” No. It’s close enough to what they want to be true. And that’s where the ego comes in.
The Internet is a great resource. So are libraries, common sense and a desire to do a little thinking before shouting, and some research before misleading.
Once upon a time, the media had to print verified facts or face consequences. Those times are past and we are responsible for double checking our information before spreading it.
That requires stepping outside of ourselves and accepting it when the facts don’t add up the way we like.
It happens. Dust off that ego and try to find where the mistake was, to avoid making it again.
The truth is out there, and it really isn’t that hard to find.