Feelings trump facts
In today's modern climate of political correctness, it seems all the more prevalent that facts have taken a backseat to feelings. In the resulting confusion, feelings have taken priority while fact has been put on the back burner, and, as a result, it's getting harder and harder to tell the difference between what's true in terms of real data, and what is simply a matter of opinion. As a direct result of this, one cannot simply take anything they see on the internet at face value without first checking multiple sources to come to any sort of conclusion. That said, however, the idea of checking multiple sources, and the idea of actually having knowledge on a subject has fallen by the wayside as millions upon millions of social media users take what they see on their newsfeed to be true without ever attempting to verify what it is they are seeing.
The larger symptom at the root of this very problem is the amount of misinformation and falsehood that gets compounded on the internet as a result, with a great number of users sharing content, opinions, or a worldview without bothering to see for themselves what the source or sources may be, ultimately leading to this cycle of willful ignorance that gets spread further with each subsequent share and like.
There was a time not too long ago where journalistic integrity actually mattered. A point in our history where journalists were entrusted by the public to report the things that mattered succinctly, and, most importantly, accurately. These journalists would get the story that they needed to get no matter the cost to themselves, risking life and limb to get all the facts and report the story as factually accurate as possible.
This is not to say, of course, that that practice is no longer in effect or that the practice is dead altogether, however, there is a sense that the written word can be (and often is) sold to the highest bidder whilst celebrity gossip is peddled to the masses and sold as breaking #News. When major news outlets put out articles that read like personal Tumblr blogs, that is saying something in terms of how far the mighty have fallen. Some have said that the pen is mightier than the sword, but it seems that those swords have been sold, and those pens, too, are for sale.
The rise of Citizen Journalism
With major news outlets seemingly puppets for the highest bidder to promote a chosen agenda, one has to wonder what the solution (if any) might be. With the rise of Citizen #Journalism outlets, these have paved the way for freelance writers and journalists to cut out the middle man, so to speak, and jump right into the meat and bones of writing without necessarily having to climb the traditional hierarchy of working at a local newspaper or other news agency.
This is not to say that citizen journalism isn't occasionally filled with the same drivel that one may find in your average, traditional publication, however, there is a sense of freedom in being able to write whatever one chooses without the constraints of traditional publishing. Without needing to please anyone or promote a specific agenda, citizen journalists have the opportunity to report the things that matter. While there is always going to be a need to verify information and discern for the self what matters and what doesn't, or what's accurate and what's false, perhaps this is the answer -- the new model for the digital age.
Perhaps it's a bit too far gone of an ideal to imagine a world in which facts carried as much, if not more weight than feelings and opinions. In the constantly cluttered Facebook and Twitter feeds, it's getting harder and harder to verify what's true, but, with Google and other search engines, we also have the ability to verify at our fingertips. In modern times, the old adage may need to be changed to: the keyboard is mightier than the sword, but, even as journalism transforms into the age of online media, perhaps it's not too late to save the craft. #Google