Monday, January 14, 2008

Information & Bulletins

The other day I read a bulletin on Myspace. It was one of those bulletins that implores you to forward it to everyone you know. The subject matter? Barrack Obama.
It was a collection of half truths and lies specifically designed to place doubt in peoples heads about Barracks personal history. FOX news is fond of saying Barrack is a Muslim. Fact is, he's not. It also went on to say Obama refused to put his hand over his heart at a campaign stop when people sang God Bless America.
Wow! That's your proof? I'm sold.
A photo shown without any context can have any caption attached to it. Hell, we can photoshop most anything now.
The part that cracked me up the most was where the information supposedly came from.
Ever been? It's not a bad site actually. They track down the source of Urban Legends and assign a truth value to news stories. Some facts are completely false and get a red dot next to them. some facts are indeed the truth. They get a green dot next to them. Others are a bit more complicated, but you get the idea. The bulletin tells you that everything in it was easily found at Problem is, if you actually bother to hit the site, you see that everything the bulletin presents as fact has mostly been given a red dot. In other words, it's false.

We no longer have one central location where the truth is kept. You can find a source of information depending on your political point of view. You believe global warming is an important issue, you watch CNN. You believe there is a war on Christmas, you watch FOX. Problem is, we can't even agree on what facts are anymore. There is even a conservative version of wikipedia. No more is there a single source you can point to and say, Here. Your ideology determines where you get your information from. I think this is a little dangerous. How many times have you been in a heated discussion with someone about politics and when you state a well proven fact they just look at you and ask, "Where did you hear that from?"
As soon as you say where you heard, saw or read it, they spit the name back at you and say, "Figures."
We can't even talk about the issues anymore because everyone has their own set of facts from their own trusted sources. It's dangerous. Getting information from a source that tells you want you want to hear leaves more ignorant than before.

In the bulletin, it went on to say that the Muslims want to destroy the country from the inside out. They don't call Obama a radical Muslim outright, they just place a wild accusation next to his name and weak minded lazy people who don't bother to check sources think the information is true. Besides, if the radical Muslims truly wanted to destroy America, they would find a way to keep Bush President forever. Think about it, he has done more to benefit the cause of radical Muslims than Osama has. After all, we know where Osama is hiding. We just don't bother going after him for some reason. Bush and Saddam had a few things in common too. They both hated radical Muslims and did everything they could to keep them out of their countries. It was only after our invasion of Iraq that Al Quedia got inside the country.
Now that might sound like my take on things, but it is a fact.

Myspace is great if your a 13 year old girl who wants to find just the right sparkle font to spell your name in. It's a lousy source of information. Course, the entire Internet is a lousy source of information. Thats the problem with the information super highway, it's just content. Information is not facts. Information is not truth. Information is just content. Unfortunately, there is no pop up warning telling you what your about to read is fabricated. It just has capitol letters yelling at you to forward it to everyone you know.

No comments: