It is kind of interesting that there is a website like Snopes in existence. An entire business has been built on the assumption that people spread rumors, and there needs to be a website that exists for the sole purpose of separating fact from fiction.
Of course, the rumor business has been alive and well for a long time. The National Enquirer was founded in 1926, and it has been spreading the sensational in supermarket checkout lines ever since. Going back almost two millennia, the guards that were assigned to Jesus’ tomb were paid money to spread the rumor that the disciples had stolen the body according to Matthew 28.
False stories are advantageous to someone which explains why they are generated in the first place. The National Enquirer sells papers when there is especially fantastic news, and the Jewish authorities were able to hold on to their power if people began to believe that Jesus was actually dead.
With the election in the thick of it, I have no doubt that we’re going to see plenty of sensational stories. Rumors will be flying, articles will be read and profit will be generated.
However, I don’t mean to insult your intelligence, but I feel like there’s something I have to say at this point.
I know that I have probably stated the obvious, but the simple fact that someone can make a very successful business on debunking false stories tells me that there are plenty of deceptive headlines and half-truths to go around.
Someone always benefit from a false story, and when there is something as important as a presidential election on the line, the incentive to mislead is rarely higher.
What do we do though? I know that we all have our own preferred media sources. Some people like MSNBC, some people like CNN and some people like Fox News. Some people read the Wall Street Journal while others read the New York Times.
If you deny that any of these sources are biased, then you are wrong. Remember my article about worldview way back when I started this website. Everyone has a worldview, and everyone comes to the table with presuppositions. That is human.
Nevertheless, I would like to propose a few ideas over the next two posts that can help everyone analyze the news critically. Be informed, do your homework and think.