The philosopher, Francis Bacon, is known for the quote “knowledge is power.” It is true that it is hard to make an educated decision if you don’t have all the facts. The issue I have is that there is so much information out there that it is difficult at times to figure out what is accurate and what is not.
The media, especially NBC, has been under intense scrutiny about their reporting of certain events. The problems are not only about inaccurate facts and unethical behavior, but also calls into question why anyone should bother watching the news. Should it now be perceived as more entertainment than true reporting? How do we know that days or years from now things we were told back then are now a bunch of lies? How do we learn to trust and believe anymore?
Needless to say, this is a conundrum on a much larger scale. When my children are writing essays or doing a project and go to the Internet for information, they have many options of which articles to use and cite. If they are to take a position on a topic, they can find information to support it but I can guarantee that another student could take an opposite viewpoint and find just as many articles to support their claim.
So how do we maneuver through the murky waters of the Information Age? This is a question that we may never be able to answer. To some extent you have to be a skeptic. When the health claim came out years ago that eggs were bad for your health, did you take a step back and think “how many eggs do I need to eat for it to adversely affect my cholesterol levels?” Probably not, but you avoided eggs as much as possible. Now a new study recently came out saying this is no longer the case. Eggs are good for you. Did chickens change the way they laid their eggs? Of course they didn’t but the American Egg Board or some other association may have paid for this study in order to promote their product.
So if knowledge is power than we need to question everything we are told. We need to delve deeper and ask more questions. We need to challenge the ones reporting the information. We also need to debate with others and keep an open mind to their opinions. Having said that, we also have to determine what their motives are for making these claims. It could be financial gain, power, or prestige.
I agree that this is a time consuming exercise, but it is better to spend the time really delving deep before making a decision that could have an adverse effect on your life. You shouldn’t just assume that the “so called expert” is always right. Each time the media contradicts a past claim, be grateful that you had the foresight to question it and make a determination on your own.