Are you participating in fake news?

Are you participating in fake news? Do you know whether the photo of Emma González ripping up the Constitution is real or fake?

Have you seen the image that appears to show Emma González ripping up the U.S. Constitution? Do you know for a fact whether it’s real or fake?

If you hang around The Thinkery very long, you’ll get the message that you should think for yourself. Thinking is a process that takes time and effort, so the intellectually lazy won’t do it. That’s why the intellectually lazy accept mistakes and deceptions as truth and, worse, pass them along to others.

Did she or didn’t she?

González, a survivor of the Parkland school shooting on February 14, has become a nationally-known advocate for tougher gun laws. Multiple sources say that González did not rip up the Constitution and that the image was digitally manipulated. The source of the image (a social network called Gab, created by Andrew Torba) admitted that the image was “obviously a parody/satire” — hours after it had been published. See the image here.

Fake news flies in all directions. Keep your brain engaged. How?

  • If it doesn’t look or sound right, check it out.
  • If someone would benefit from creating a deception about it, check it out.
  • If there is conflicting information, check it out.
  • If it’s significant, check it out.
  • If you want to take a position on it, check it out.
  • If you want to pass it on, check it out.

This not to say that you must spend hours researching everything or that you’ll always be able to verify information (it’s increasingly difficult to do so). But, if you don’t or can’t verify something, do not make a judgment about it or pass it on to someone else.

(By the way, if you’re a purveyor of fake news, you’re only hurting your cause and personal reputation, because truth will out.)

Motivated by malice or laziness, people will continue to create and perpetuate fake news. You can fight back if you think first and then act accordingly.

⇒ What fake news have you identified? How did you identify it? Please add your thoughts below.

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