Dear Everyone Complaining About Fake News: Do This One Thing

For the first time in the history of history, people can live in their own virtual reality. No, I’m not talking about the Samsung Gear VR (which I’m hoping someone buys me for Christmas). I’m talking about the democratization of news that the internet allows.

I’m talking about the rise of “fake news” that became the real news during the recent election. Everyone is lamenting it.

‘Facts have gotten up and moved to Canada.’

‘Goodbye, empirical evidence.’

Nobody listens to the media anymore.

‘Truthiness’ is now in the Oxford English Dictionary.

You’ve heard it all.

Here’s the one thing everybody complaining about fake news needs to do.

Stop complaining.

And start doing this.

Take control of the news you read, watch, and listen to. You are an adult. You don’t need anyone force-feeding the news to you. (Unless you, like Donald Trump, are a smart person who doesn’t want to receive your daily intelligence briefings.)

Stop getting your news from your crazy uncle ranting on Facebook. Stop tuning in to only one person, one network, one website, or one radio station to get all of your news. Diversify. Don’t parrot all your opinions from screaming conservative Tomi Lahren, or steaming liberal Trevor Noah. (Love you, Tomi. You’re a ten. Love you, too, Trevor. You’re like a fine wine.) Avoid Alex Jones like the plague. Stop listening to just Fox or just MSNBC. Listen to both — or just listen to CNN. News reporting today is incredibly biased. Assume — always assume — that the reporter or network has a bias. (Sorry, Wolf Blitzer, not even you get a pass on this one.) Even the most trusted names in news can be wrong, wrong, wrong.

Remember, the internet is your friend. The internet is not the enemy here. The internet does not create fake news. Nor does Facebook, Twitter, or Google. Lying people do. (Or just the Russians.) It’s not their fault if someone abuses the privilege of having an account on one of these platforms. (How would you like the responsibility of policing 100 million human beings?)

Instead of complaining, use the power of the internet to your advantage. There’s this thing called “googling.” You can do it to fact check the claims made by your favorite television news personality. Or by our soon-to-be president. You have the power. If an issue matters to you, you owe it to yourself to uncover the real facts. (There are fake facts out there; beware of them.) You owe it to yourself to look at both sides — or every side — of the issue. And the internet allows you to do that.

Finally, in the spirit of the holidays — and in the spirit of unity and all that other stuff Donald Trump talked about but isn’t following thru on — don’t make other people the enemy either. If someone is sharing, reposting, or retweeting fake news online, don’t assume they’re actively trying to deceive others. They, in fact, may be the ones who are deceived. (That includes Trump, but the jury is still out on this one.)

Don’t let fake news divide us. We have plenty of real walls to worry about. If Samantha Bee and Glenn Beck can hold hands, then everyone can. Well, as long as the other person doesn’t have ties to Russia.

*I make no claims as to the truthfulness, accuracy, or reliability of any of the links contained in this article. Click at your own risk.

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