By: Bri Hallman
It’s overwhelmed the world, not because it hasn’t existed in every town, in every state, in every country, and you get the idea. It’s the cause of simple arguments between partners that turn into deal-breakers and international crises that become destructive historical events. It’s the source of information popular YouTubers are profiting from and influencing today’s gullible youth. However, it is a constitutional right and is most oftentimes harmless, possibly even entertainment for many.
I apologize for the riddle, and in my opinion, I think the riddle was necessary to capture and grip your attention. Opinions, that’s the answer! Living in a world where nearly everyone and their mother have a strong opinion about everything under the sun gets a little tiring. With the help of social media and the possibility of posts going ‘viral,’ it’s impossible to avoid the storms of opinions that overwhelm social media feeds and cover factual, authentic news stories.
In studies conducted by Stanford University in the 1970s, students participated in experiments meant to gauge how strongly they would believe in their own thoughts and opinions even if what they thought to be true was deemed incorrect or false by experts.
Even after the evidence was presented and “their beliefs [have] been totally refuted, people fail to make appropriate revisions in those beliefs,” the researchers observed.
Washington Post writer Chis Cillizza explores the same topic when people ask him why the media doesn’t fact-check Donald Trump. He explains, “The answer I always offered is: We do! Lots. And I would point them to the great work of The Post’s Glenn Kessler and Michelle Ye Hee Lee during the campaign. That duo fact-checked 92 Trump claims — two-thirds of which they found to be totally false.”
It seems people only care about the infamous ‘fake news’ if it doesn’t confirm their own beliefs. Perhaps many people can’t seem to consider other views even with the facts because they aren’t around people who challenge those opinions and play the devil’s advocate.
With the opportunities that social media has provided us, we should be more open to opinions based on facts, rather than putting them down immediately because it isn’t parallel to our own beliefs.