Three people sit around a table chatting happily. Work. Family. Friends. Crazy adventures. Add a glass or two of wine. Stories get embellished, and you’re in a mood to solve the mysteries of life.
Why is something the way it is? Why is it done a particular way? Why do we follow certain rules?
Tall tales and mythology are usually more entertaining than reality.
- Korean culture teaches that its people are descendants of a bear that sat in a cave eating garlic for 21 days straight.
- Parents warn children, If you watch too much television, your eyes will become square.
- If you sail beyond the horizon, you’ll fall off the edge of the earth.
More troublesome is the difficulty separating opinion from fact.
The most recent season of South Park explores the issue of advertisements disguised as news. Only Jimmy is able to decipher the difference between ads, sponsored content, and real news.
In an era of i-reporters, lower journalistic standards, and creative advertising, we are flooded with opinions and half-truths.
It would be nice to believe everyone would dig for the truth. But in reality, most people lack the time or inclination to fact-check everything rushing over the transom. (Not that the Internet was really a bastion of facts in the first place, notwithstanding this meme.)
How can you ferret out the apocryphal from the truth?
The burden is on you to be suspicious.
Does something sound too good to be true? Is a study truly impartial that reaches certain conclusions about nutritional, medical, or economic benefits?
Step back and ask, Who’s the author? Who funded it, and was the money transparent or hidden? Do they have skin in the game, and what is it?
Those answers will affect the dynamics of what’s credible and what isn’t.
Everyone has an agenda. It’s not always devious; sometimes it’s innocuous. But you must understand the motivation, or you can’t read between the lines.
(For Ayal, who asked us where blog ideas come from. In this case, from him. Hang in there, tax season is almost over!)
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