In our last articles we have looked at how corporations and politicians can use our loyalty and desire to believe in something good for their own evil ends. Today I will offer you the one best tool to prevent yourself from being made to look like a numpty by promoting fake news (we’ve all done it).
It’s as simple as this – Question everything.
Re-frame everything you see and ask “How would I feel if…”
How would I feel if…
President Obama had mocked people with disabilities?
President Trump had subverted democracy?
Hillary Clinton had praised a racist (wait, that did happen. A few times…)?
How would these things sit with you? Are you somehow able to justify or excuse the bad behavior of a candidate because you approve of the majority of what they do or the party they belong to? Are you as upset at the person you like as you would be the one you don’t like? Would you light up social media in righteous anger if the person you don’t like did something, but remain silent (or even defend) the same thing if the person you support did it?
You can “fake news” proof yourself by simply asking questions and forming your own answers, but most of all, judge each situation for what it is, not whether you support a candidate or not. Is rigging elections in a democracy wrong? This is a serious question to answer. A democracy is formed on free and open elections with the will of the people being carried. Is there any integrity in complaining about foreign interference in an election but somehow forgetting domestic interference? Democracy is democracy – either you are offended that it is subverted and the will of the people disregarded, or you are not.
Fake news (and I am including the biased cable networks Fox, CNN, MSNBC, ABC… etc. in this) only has power and influence because people, you and me, don’t check the reality of what we are reading. We somehow justify things when the outcome suits us.
So Hillary rigged it? Big deal – she was going to win anyway… (Was she? It’s very likely, but we’ll never know).
Trump and his campaign spoke to Russians who then paid for ads that influenced the election. (Did it? The IG report said it didn’t, but once again, who knows?)
Both of these situations could have been avoided if we would just dig a little deeper and ask questions – Is this real? But instead we give fake news power by asking “Do I want this to be real?”
The only fix is for us to investigate everything. I can guarantee without exception that you will learn things you wish you hadn’t, and find other information to support some positions. In the end, you may be able to achieve the one thing no politician wants and drop the labels of “Democrat” or “Republican” and take the tag “Independent”. All it takes is brutal honesty, a desire to not be tricked by people with an agenda, and an open mind.
Here are the three takeaways for today:
1 – Consider the action, not the person who did it. Are you able to justify/condone/defend the action no matter who did it?
2 – Don’t believe the echo chamber. Democrats were devastated by the last election results because many didn’t believe losing was a possibility. When you create your own enclosed system you shut off from reality.
3 – Question everything. Question the event, the context, the impact. Everything.
We feel safe when we find a group we identify with. It is insecurity that leads us to become extreme in our positions, and the more insecure we are, the more extreme our behaviours. The more we question, learn, grow, and understand, the more secure we become. You can fake-news-proof yourself by simply questioning.