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Hello, Emily Allison coming at you from my blog Good Stewards, a community of people dedicated to being good stewards of their health, lives, and world. Today I want to talk about a very important topic that we’re hearing and seeing all over social media and the news which is the term “misinformation.” A couple weeks ago I was talking about the news media and the projections they were making about the election, and I used the term “credible” when I was speaking about alternative forms of information. This incited some alarm and curiosity from my liberal followers, and I ended up surprisingly actually having some really good and open conversations about this subject. The big question I got was, what do I consider to be a “credible source”. My answer is this:
I would consider a credible source any source that is conducting true journalism, which is non biased and simply reporting the facts. I think within any media outlet you can find reporters who do that very well and ones that are clearly biased and reporting for political objectives. I also find it helpful to look at funding, where different networks or journalists get their funding from and that often shows what political bias they may be pressured to work under. For the particular topic of the election, media projections made before voting is done or in states where voting process has violated the laws made by that state’s legislature (legislatures make the laws about voting procedures per state, so no election commission, post office, etc. can legally make different ones) and is therefore under review, I would consider not remotely credible because those numbers are not confirmed as legitimate yet.
Even if not one single vote is found fraudulent and all the numbers stay as is, I would consider main stream media to not be a credible source due to their polls that were incredibly inaccurate both in 2016 and in this election. The percentage points and the house and senate seat projections were completely off and inaccurate reporting certainly discredits any media outlet.
I also think people from all parties coming forward to expose the fraud they have witnessed at risk of losing their jobs and being intimidated and harassed on social media and in their communities is more credible than reporters who have everything to gain from repeating narratives they are paid to promote and that will significantly help them climb the ladder in their professions.
Another way I try to navigate a credible source is by looking into their sources. If something is fact checked as false, I look into who the fact checker is and what their sources and reasoning was for saying something was false.
Now in one of these conversations I had, my liberal friend expressed her concern about the fact that with social media there is so much information and that paves the way for misinformation, so it requires a lot of critical thinking to be able to tell what is true and what isn’t. I couldn’t agree more! However, Although I agree that more and more people are relying on social media and that does mean critical thinking and more research on the part of the consumer, I think that what is concerning is that information is being censored at all. I believe people have the right to be wrong, to have different opinions, and to share information and have educated debate about those opinions, no matter what political party they are from or whether their narrative goes against the mainstream media.
I think no matter what a person’s political stance is, most of us can come together and agree that we want unity in our country, we want truth, we want fair and free elections and we want to make sure without a shadow of a doubt that we can trust the integrity of our voting system. I think MOST of us can agree on this. I do not think the mainstream media or big tech or the democratic elites want that. If they did, they wouldn’t be censoring only information that goes against what is politically and financially beneficial for them.
Alright, so if you’re a liberal, and you’re concerned about misinformation, which we ALL should be. If we are honestly and genuinely seeking the TRUTH in the world events around us, then we ALL should be very wary of the information we consume, no matter what platform we find it on- whether that’s social media and the internet or news channels on TV. So, if we are concerned about misinformation, that is why MUST advocate for more freedom of information and less censorship. Here’s why:
You know what the influx of alternative sources of information (on the internet & social media) will do to the mainstream news media? It will make it better. It will raise the standard. It will require Media outlets’ stories to be more accurate, reporters to search out and verify more facts, and headlines and narratives to show less political bias. Because if they don’t do a good job, people will know, and they will take their views and their money somewhere else. Freedom of information will create honest competition for the coveted title of credibility, and it will restore true journalism in America to what it should be: Reporting facts in the search for truth, not packaging narratives for political gain. They will make sure they do their best to get it right, because if they get it wrong, they will bear the consequences.
Having one avenue to access one official narrative does not require the public to have to think less. It requires them to have to find the ins and outs and back ways of finding actual facts so they can verify if what the media is saying is true at all- and how can they do that when the other facts are being heavily censored and in many cases erased all together? How will the American people know the official narrative was false if the media refuses to report on it? How would they know there was a longer video of George Floyd’s death that showed the whole story if the media never mentions it and big tech buries it? How will they keep the media accountable to reporting facts and truth if they can never know when they’re lying?
Limiting access to information and punishing those who dare to share it does not create truth. It does not eliminate the need for critical thinking and each person doing their own research. If anything, it increases it.
The news media has already discredited themselves through wildly inaccurate polling, false projections, and refusal to report developing stories if that story doesn’t fit their prepackaged narrative. Inaccurate information should discredit any news media outlet. This is why we need people sharing information. This is why we need a variety of access to information, of narratives, and of opinions.
There will be false information on the internet just as there is false information on the news. The American people can share information, do their own research, and come to their own conclusions. They could do so more easily and come to more truthful conclusions if the information they find in their research wasn’t censored and politically biased.
Freedom of information, educated debate, and higher standards of factual reporting will create more truth, more transparency, and more unity in our country and across the world.
If you think the media trying to manipulate people’s minds to produce politically convenient outcomes is far-fetched, then crack a history book, or learn about how the media is used in autocracies in the world today. Propaganda and political and religious censorship is a tale as old as time, and we want to make sure it isn’t allowed to happen in our country.
It all boils down to a question of human rights: Do human beings have a right to their own minds? Do they have a right to their own opinions? Should big tech financial elites decide for you what you’re allowed to think, say, and believe? Come on America. Say no to censorship. Stop fearing so called “misinformation”. Advocate for the rights of all Americans, even the ones you disagree with, and together let’s instill truth, unity, and educated discourse back into our political culture.
Alright, be blessed, be encouraged, and be a good steward of what God has given you.