Misinformation and Media Illiteracy
There has never been more media produced and consumed on a daily basis in our known history. This media falls into three categories: trustworthy, misleading, and neutral. The first step to learning to see clearly is understanding what kind of media you are consuming. Sorting through your media options, you may ask some important questions. Who is the writer, and what is their reputation? What media outlet are you searching, and what is their stated agenda? And finally, what platform are you using to receive your news?
Hunt for the Truth Actively
If you are a truth seeker, then you cannot allow your view of the world to be shaped by stories that come to you. We have so many different media platforms competing for people’s time and attention, and they have become very good at serving up a version of events that is suited to your comfort zone. If you want to know more about how things work, then you are going to have to implement an active strategy and dismiss all spam. Let the platforms serve you up enticing bites of entertainment for escapism, if you like, but when it comes to understanding the world around you, you will need to be in charge of what you read and view.
Research the Background
Things wash up in your social media feed all the time, but they are also largely disconnected even if you actively seek out your news. How did this person become a voice for this cause? Why do they take this stance? An important part of the process of seeing through the fog of misinformation is vetting the people who are creating the media. How has their point of view changed over time? Where did they obtain their view of the world? You may never be able to fully understand where a media personality is coming from, but you will stand a much higher chance of deciphering their bias if you do some background research.
Test for the Tried and True
Social media and the Internet are new to our world. They are forces of good insofar as they give a more equal opportunity to broadcast your point of view. When it comes to music and art, there may be a democratizing force to this process. When it comes to critical theory, there are more substantial sources. For example, I would trust Cornel West more than Kanye West when it comes to thinking about race in our culture.
Skepticism and Understanding our Limited View
Nobody in our culture is Woke. That is a media term used to denigrate the Left, sometimes unwittingly by the Left. Awakening to the truth of things is an unending end imperfect process. There is too much that we do not and will not ever know. Beginning with a degree of humility and maintaining the sense that our understanding is only partial is key to having a balanced and grounded view of the world. One side is not right and the other is wrong. That kind of thinking is detrimental to growth. If you want to grasp the truth about things more fully, you have to accept that it is a process of awakening that never fully ends.