Friday, March 19, 2010

Bad Sources

One of the biggest problems we face right now is that too many people consider the internet to be an illegitimate source of information, while imagining television, radio, and print news to be properly fact checked.  And so you have people who repeat third-hand claims they got from Fox News, and who refuse to acknowledge any fact that came from the internet.  And even when you point out that blogs cite links to support their claims, while Fox News doesn't, you're still assured that blogs are unreliable and Fox News is properly fact checked.

And the oddest part of all: They trust chain-emails most of all, and truly believe that whatever expert purports to sign his name to the bottom of the email is truly the person who wrote the email, and that they're expertise is absolutely unquestionable.  So while Bill O'Reilly's claims trump anything you could read on a blog, emails attributed to Dr. Expert are the best sources of information.

Needless to say, this is all completely backwards, which explains why these people are so seriously misinformed.  And no, it doesn't help when I show them the ease it is to fact check a claim yourself.  They still prefer Fox News' mythical fact checkers over doing the work themselves.

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