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Seeing shouldn’t always lead to believing

Whenever we pick up a newspaper and flip to the news section, we expect what we read to be fact. And with good reason, obviously. News is supposed to be based oncurrent events going on, both locally and nationally. Sometimes there will be mention of things going on internationally, but mainly the news in this country reports on domestic events. It isn’t often that we take the news to be anything other than the truth. This week’s readings were based around how that isn’t always the case and sadly, it’s the truth.

With the new technologies that we have these days, it has become much easier to distort or change the meaning of one person’s words, just by cutting a word out here or an introduction there. I agree with Dan Gillmor in We the Media when he says that this process is harmful and may sometime be “downright malicious.” Everybody at one point in their lives or another, wants their message to be heard–some more than others; and almost more importantly, everybody wants their whole message heard rather than just a portion. This is just so that their opinions are fully understood.

With this in mind, it makes me really sad to think about how some people will use their media outlets for these less than perfect reasons. I never really thought about it, but the readings really made me think about the impact of blogs and how far-reaching they can be and how much damage just one little untruth can cause to a person or organization. I thought that there is also the point in that in the online community, with so many people connected, it would make it easy to do fact-checking, which is also mentioned in the readings. It always helps to have a couple of extra eyes looking out, but I think that the online community truly takes that to another level.

So, you should always try to take what you read with a grain of salt because although it may be presented as “news,” it might not be. It’s always a good idea to try and find the original article if at all possible to see what is really being said.

Questions:

1. How can you tell the difference between a “troll” and a “regular” blogger/commenter?

2. Why would people choose to become “trolls” on a blog? What might they gain from this?

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