The toll of misinformation is deadly

By Troy Scott
September 7, 2021

The past five years have shown just how divisive the media is across the globe.

The narrative-based reporting from news outlets fuel people to hate their ‘opponents.’ This trend of journalism and broadcasting has caused a divide in terms of issues, both domestic and international. Sadly, the target audiences, who are readers, viewers and consumers – are playing the role of the pawns for these networks.

The vaccination misinformation problem happens with people listening to people like Joe Rogan, whose expertise is not in medicine, talk about how certain age groups shouldn’t get vaccinated. Social media is also a hotbed for misinformation as anyone can claim to have evidence, even if it’s fake.

I personally receive news from dozens of news outlets and try to do my own research to find the real truth. The problem lies in that too. When I go from, for example, Fox News to CNN, it feels like I am in two completely different worlds. There can be a common topic, but the interpretation of it is completely different to favor the viewpoint that the news outlet wants to provide.
It’s the networks’ jobs to cater to their target audience, and this highlights a big problem with consumer-driven media.

It is their job to get views and create controversy; however, the problem is when people are actually dying because of deliberate misinformation.

Recently, NBC produced a story about an unvaccinated man in the hospital. Patrick Burshia, a 24 year-old father, is one of many who admitted he was a victim to misinformation. In the video, Burshia was hooked up to machines, struggling to breathe.

“I, much like a lot of people in my age group, didn’t really have a whole lot of proper information. I was hearing a lot of propaganda, saying like, COVID is a conspiracy theory, it’s not real,” Burshia said. “As soon as I can, I’m getting the vaccine.”

Except he didn’t get a chance to right his wrong.

Burshia’s condition worsened, and he eventually passed away. It was a week before his 25th birthday. This is the story of someone who believed his friends and people instead of actually doing his own research.

Finding truth doesn’t always mean going against popular opinion. It does mean, however, turning to legitimate sources. Defiance without a real cause is only bulljive.

Using the “It’s my right” card is just a cover-up for being selfish and not considering who you are affecting when you are not vaccinated.

Now that the Pfizer-produced vaccine is FDA approved, people should trust medical experts who put in sleepless nights to work on saving potentially millions of people around the world. It is also hypocritical to use ivermectin as a treatment but call the vaccine an ‘experiment’. This is the sort of media that just instigates certain actions and behaviors just to get a reaction and or gain more of a following.

Tucker Carlson
Tucker Carlson presenting at the CPAC. “Tucker Carlson” by Gage Skidmore is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0

One thing that has seemed to be lost over the past five years is accountability.

Being accountable for not only yourself, but also for the people around you is lacking. The blame game will only make things worse. When leaders of the media and politicians just want to play to their base, no progress will be made. It is also on people who are receiving the news to be able to know what is exaggerated and what is actually real news. The more knowledge the consumer gains about official documented sources, the less prevalent fake news will be.



In what ways can you gain those skills? Here are three suggestions:

  1. Check the sources.
  2. Look at the publication’s history.
  3. Know the type of story.

Checking the sources shows if the author is truthful and credible. This can be tedious, but it will help you know if it is correct. Looking at the publication or the news outlet’s history can give a good indication of whether the news and distribution is truthful and unbiased. Knowing the type of story that you’re consuming is also very important. A person’s opinion piece can be insightful and offer a different perspective, but it is just an opinion. Same with television, Don Lemon’s take or Tucker Carlson’s take is just a take.

Don Lemon
“Don Lemon” by jdlasica is licensed under CC BY 2.0

Don’t let emotion cloud your judgment about certain topics. Thinking with a clear mind will always help you sift through information to find the truth. Be responsible, people. And nitpick at the news. We need it.



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Troy Scott

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