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The Facts: Fighting Fake News in the Pandemic | Programming Librarian

Mon, 23 Mar 2020 17:22:48 GMT

Mon, 23 Mar 2020 17:23:53 GMT

I must respectfully—but vehemently—disagree with this advice and analysis of how to find accurate information regarding coronavirus, or anything else, for that matter. What this amounts to is a 1984-esque plea for us to trust “the official source” (viz. Government) that one would expect from the Ministry of Truth. While it makes sense that we should "Stick with [our] trusted and verified sources of information that present measured, and not inflammatory, news", this only begs the question as to which sources should be trusted, what "verification" entails, and what is "measured"--all questions that must be independently answered by complex epistemological processes. But the above post has proffered a very simple way of bypassing such difficult philosophical work: trust "official," government-approved, heavily corporate-funded sources only. How easy! And how convenient for those at the top who are in control. "Turn off your brains and trust your government and the billionaires who control it" is what this amounts to. But if those very entities themselves were not telling us the truth, how could we know? Answer: we never would if we followed Ostman's advice. Conveniently left out are the sources of funding from so-called "fact-checkers" like Snopes and Politifact, and their consequent motivation for bias. Here's a short video breaking this down: Politifact & Snopes: Who Owns & Funds These "Fact-Checkers"? Also absent in Ostman's promotion of NewsGuard, are its insidious connections to neo-conservative government insiders and well-known propagandists, as well as the utterly absurd and inconsistent ratings they have given various news organizations, based on extreme bias. I highly recommend reading through investigative journalist Whitney Webb's expose on NewsGuard here: How a NeoCon-Backed “Fact Checker” Plans to Wage War on Independent Media Then we get recommendations to trust the CDC and WHO, completing ignoring their long histories of lying, and pushing unsafe products. This has been reported by such "mainstream" sources as 60 Minutes. 60 Minutes on Swine Flu and Vaccinations 1976 It has also been recently revealed that the WHO has been experimenting on African children without informed consent, in violation of the Nuremburg Code. WHO Experimenting on African Children Without Informed Consent Both these organizations have strong ties to oligarchs via the Clinton Foundation and Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. Gates is, of course, himself a eugenicist, who has explicitly stated that we should use vaccines to DECREASE the human population. Hear this in his own words: These are the people we're supposed to trust? I do not think that is wise. It would be foolish to merely trust whatever sources the government and the billionaires approve to know what's true. We must think for ourselves and read all the sources we can, whether they are "mainstream" approved sources or "fringe conspiracy theorists." This is the only way for us to have any chance of knowing when our own government and the "powers that be" are lying to us. I realize that there is a great desire for “trustworthy” sources. How much easier things would be if we could find just a few select sources that were always reliable on every topic. Alas, this is not the way the world works. While it may be what our minds desire, this isn’t the reality. Why, then, do we desire it? I suspect it is because trying to differentiate between the reliable and the spurious can often be a rather arduous task, and a time consuming one; thus, as a result of intellectual laziness (or, to be more charitable, as an attempt to avoid intellectual exhaustion), we attempt to foist a binary “trustworthy/untrustworthy,” black and white paradigm upon a world full of shades of gray. Will it be a messy process of trying to discern fact from fiction? Of course. But the answer is not to just disengage from critical thinking and blindly accept what the most powerful people in society feed us as "truth." We have the power of reason and we shouldn't be afraid to use it, nor should we allow a desire for easy answers keep us from exercising it.