Fake News

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The problem, as I see it, is not the news itself, but how we get our news. There are still lots of dependable journalists and media out there, while keeping in mind that almost all news is slanted, even slightly, although that doesn’t make it fake news. Rather than those sources, more and more people are getting their news via social media, where it’s easy to post fake news. As well, there are more fake news sites, sites purporting to be valid news sources.

While the idea of WikiTribune is admirable, in practice why should it be any more reliable? I don’t happen to believe that the community has any business vetting the news. If anyone intentionally reports fake news, then they are basically guilty of fraud. Reporting is supposed to report the facts of a story. Sometimes those facts are hard to come by and stories may change based on new facts. And I understand, although don’t like, the push to be first with a story. And then there’s how a story is pitched. Choice of words can cause a wild swing in how a story is perceived. But that isn’t necessarily fake news.

Let’s take climate change. Climate change happens all the time. Climate measurements, such as temperature, are facts. If the temperature rises over time, there’s potentially a problem. Is global warming an issue? I got this from NASA’s earth observatory web site:

Global warming is the unusually rapid increase in Earth’s average surface temperature over the past century primarily due to the greenhouse gases released as people burn fossil fuels. … By the beginning of the 21st century, Earth’s temperature was roughly 0.5 degrees Celsius above the long-term (1951–1980) average.

The first part of the statement “Global warming is the unusually rapid increase in Earth’s average surface temperature” is a definition. If you disagree with the wording of the definition, call the rapid increase of the average surface temperature something else, but it’s only a definition. The part about the temperature change is a fact based on measurement. If you want to question the measurement or techniques used, go ahead, but I think you’ll find that generally speaking, there is a rise in temperature.

The problem I have with the statement is the editorializing that says “primarily due to the greenhouse gases released as people burn fossil fuels”. Now don’t get me wrong, I believe that’s the case, but that’s what throws people off. The way the news is reported. If you left out the possible cause bit, I don’t think anyone could deny the definition or the facts. The cause is really the issue. Unfortunately, people want things to be simple and it’s easier to deny global warming, period, than to accept it as a problem to be resolved and then work towards resolving the problem. But that’s another story and this soapbox is way too long. Bob

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