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We all need to be journalists now

We live in an age which has seen a massive erosion of trust in traditional sources of news and information. Given President-elect Trump’s struggle with honesty (he keeps falling off the wagon), it’s unlikely to get better in the short-term.

Bias and agenda are ‘seen’ everywhere and the rise of ‘fake news’ or so-called ‘independent news sites’ are just two signs of this. So conspiracy theorist Alex Jones publishes a list of fake News Providers and it’s all the mainstream news outlets.

These trends are perhaps more evident in the US than in Europe or the UK which probably has higher levels of trust in established news providers but that is weakening and weakening fast.

I read this on Slate Star Codex and you can understand why:

A Muslim woman who claimed that a white man threatened to set her on fire for wearing a hijab just after the Election of Donald Trump is to be charged with a felony for filing a false report after a police investigation. This one makes me angry because it was in Ann Arbor (where I work) and really freaked out one of my patients; it’s important to remember that these kinds of things have real-world consequences beyond The Internet Discourse.

Related: during the election, a black church was set on fire and covered with Trump graffiti; a black member of the church has now been charged with the crime. Related: pro-Trump swastikas and KKK graffiti across Nassau Community College apparently drawn by Indian-American man.

I do not want to cherry-pick/Chinese-robber false hate crimes, but I think these were the three top hate crime stories I heard during the election and it concerns me that it’s not being more widely reported that all three were false. Also related: SLPC investigation of hate crimes after Trump election covered up 2,000 reports of hate incidents against white students.

When it comes to news and information, too many people (myself included) have just swallowed news as it has been fed to us and as a result we have swallowed bias, agenda, world-view and increasingly falsity and hoaxes. The problem is that while basic fact-checking (done by professional journalists but probably not by your mate down the pub) helps but not enough.

But few of us are equipped to sort out the fact from the fiction. Would I lie to you is a TV game show, it’s not supposed to be life.

This post first appeared on The Simple Pastor | Write. Read. Run. Lead., please read the originial post: here

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We all need to be journalists now


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