This is a scholarship essay I wrote a few months ago. Given the recent events, concerning Anonymous (who leaked information of Trump being a child abuser tied to Epstein) and the police brutality inciting and occurring during the riots, I know I am missing some relevant topics. Before you leave my page today, please be sure to check out the links I’m posting at the bottom so you can donate, sign, stream, and support the fight against systematic injustice.
Like common sense, factual information is a rarity to find. Our current era is a good example of the foolishness that spreads like wildfire. During this chaotic quarantine, the panic and confusion created by the Trump Administration have led some people to believe that injecting disinfectant into their bloodstream will cure them of their Coronavirus. Whether those comments were sarcastic or not in the aftermath of outrage is irrelevant, as it led to death and unnecessary panic. There are countless articles, social media accounts, and political figures polluting news outlets and journalism mediums with interjection and alternate truths. This problem is nothing new, but it seems to grow worse each year with the expansion of the Internet and the new waves of naive individuals (both young and old) who use it. Misinformation is our status quo, and all those who claim to be informed hardly ever are. Ignorance has been our shield for too long.
The online world presents to us a political sphere that is ever polarizing. Toxic and heated, poorly constructed arguments and articles on both sides further divide us. We have made each other the enemies when in reality our true enemies are the people at the top intentionally keeping information from us for their own benefit. We dedicate so much time by arguing, “virtue signaling”, screaming at others for being “woke” or “fake woke,” but we don’t spend enough time on people who deserve our outcries the most. The systems in which we operate fool us, blind us, and keep us away from the real issues. To answer the prompt, being informed in 2020 doesn’t really mean to be informed at all; if you get your news from one source, spew out the same rhetoric that thousands of others are regurgitating, and if you manage to win a petty Facebook or Twitter argument, then you are considered informed.
However, many people are starting to see through that. Misinformation nowadays could mean the end of a life, and people all over the world are starting to see through the lies of political figures and the platforms that support them. Using a variety of online sources (both credible and some less so) helps society form better opinions and make good judgments on their own. A plethora of sources provide a variety of perspectives, and analyzing the faults in all of them prevents us from fully trusting anything. Skepticism is essential when trying to find facts. For example, compare the average CNN article with an Alex Jones YouTube video; if both were speaking on the same topic (let’s say on the Asian giant hornet), the viewpoints, sources, tones, and biases would be utilized and present within each. Cross-referencing information with another moderate or perhaps further left-leaning source would allow us to see which of these two platforms is closer to the truth. This kind of research is rather painstaking, which is why it is fair to say that it is rarely ever done except in the recent exploding ineptitude of the most popular news network in America. Too much information is overwhelming, and though there are benefits to this time-consuming process, it is completely understandable that the stress and anxiety it can cause in a person is too much to bear.
Our selectivity on information and the way we display it can completely change the original intent of a message. Twisting words, saying the right numbers in the wrong context, and failing to speculate certain occurrences are all ways we are controlled by the rulers of our world. However, by far the most ensured way to cast a spell of hypnosis over a populace is to distract them with one story to conceal another. This can be seen in the discreet attempts to pass the insidious EARN IT Act, which would further decrease online privacy by the government, to something even as trivial as Carole Baskin TikTok dances to be the most prevalent thing to come out of the animal abuse documentary Tiger King. The news that goes unreported and unfound is what keeps even the minority of people who research their information from being informed. We are the pawns, not the players, in this game, and it is nearly impossible to know what is happening. For the apathetic people, this doesn’t matter; for those that try, it is one of the most frustrating things to deal with. It is still important to stay informed, but if a powerful figure is holding things back for their own sake, then there’s nothing much a person can really do.
This is why sites like The Factual are so great. The promotion of knowledge, the customization of what kind of political leaning you want to browse, as well as the credibility adjustment settings help people see what sources all over the web are saying on current issues. Dedicating sections to underreported issues is so crucial for expanding the mind and opening one’s eyes to the experiences of others beyond their own personal bubble. (I never heard of an AI-controlled policy-maker before checking out the website!) Challenging ourselves during isolation is a must because it helps us see the good, the bad, and the unheard of. Being informed shouldn’t be difficult, and as a collective, we shouldn’t keep letting flawed leaders propagandize us. Being informed is simply forming an opinion of your own based on all the information given. Perhaps then we can direct our focus on issues spreading (and flying) straight towards us.
Thank you for reading! My amazing friend Allie made a blog post that I recommend all of you read. There are links at the bottom of her post for videos, petitions, donations, and protesting tips. I will copy and paste some of these below. Give the second link a click for the listed actions above, as well as information about the terror bill. I hope you all are contributing and have a productive day!
Black Lives Matter Card: https://blacklivesmatters.carrd.co/