Letter: Learn to think critically, get news from credible sources

To the editor:

With the national major media outlets pushing the idea of “fake news” I think that it is important that the people supporting the censorship of this “fake news” take a step back from this narrative to see what is truly being peddled to you: The abolition of free speech.

I have seen the arguments against free speech platforms, especially online, and none of them will solve the problem of “fake news” because all news has something in common. They “spin” the news to fit their political agenda with clickbait titles and half quotes. Who are you going to trust to give you the “real news?”

Misinformation is a real thing, but does any thinking person really believe that by handing the keys to a few “trustworthy” news sources to report their version of the news, and only their version, is in any way remotely a good idea?

The most alarming part is that the very organizations that engaged in some of the “fake news” are now the ones that are telling us not to listen to “fake news.”

All of those 24 hour news channels engage in unsubstantiated reports all the time without repercussions. To punish the smaller news channels for doing the same thing with a different ideological position seems very Orwellian to me.

Here’s a better idea. Learn to think critically instead of letting your news source or, God forbid, your government decide for you. For every claim that any news source makes, demand evidence. For every instance of evidence, know where it came from and how credible it is. Know the bias of your newspaper, and the news channels you watch, and then watch the opposition.

Always try to think of the counter-argument and if it is a better choice, no matter how uncomfortable it is to think outside your comfort zone. This is the true way that truth is discovered among the various misleading talking points and canned responses that we are conditioned to scream at our opponents.

All of those talking points are fed to you constantly by news organizations that are determined to make you think like they do and condition you to stop thinking independently because, like the news tells you, you already have the answer that they gave you.

If you actually take this bait you’ll start believing a very dangerous thing —  that everybody who disagrees must just be stupid or a bigot. We are all better than that.

Kaleb Elijah Herndon