Thursday, June 07, 2007
I read it in a magazine
It never ceases to amaze me how many people will spout information and when pressed for their source, they'll smugly tell you, "I read it in a magazine." Well, then of course it is true.
I'm willing to bet that a majority of the articles in popular magazines are written by people whose sources are also other magazines or worse yet, the Internet. I find it frightening that people will Google a topic, read the first several pages they find on the Web and then become an expert on the topic. This is especially frightening when I discover via my blog stats that nine out of ten people who pop into Dizgraceland do so by conducting a Web search on some serious topic. Trust me people, I am not a "source" you should be quoting anywhere.
Why is it we think that something becomes true when we find it written down? It is getting so you can't even trust photos, video or eyewitness accounts anymore. It is just too pitifully easy to fake anything.
So what can you trust? Oh, I suppose there are a few legimate sources of information left in the world. The first being your own common sense. Obviously if something seems to good to be true, it likely isn't.
Before you trust a fact, cross check it. Keep in mind, however, even if several news sources cite the same fact it doesn't confirm it. Lazy reporters sometimes rely on news services and each other for facts. One bit of false information can easily spread quickly before it is tripped up by the truth.
Also keep in mind that truth is a relative thing. The Rush Limbaugh news network isn't likely to give you an unbiased opinion of the lates Democratic platform. And the Beef Farmer's Association isn't the best source for nutritional facts on how healthy red meat is.
Finally, blogs, especially those that regurgitate the news, should be your last source of the truth. Are you really ready to put lots of faith in someone who spends nine hours a day obsessively surfing the Web for topics that support their own theories and beliefs?
I guess when it comes down to it, the X-Files was right: Trust No One.