Kelvin Hsu

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How can one help prevent others from becoming misinformed?

Mark Twain once said "If you don't read the newspaper, you're uninformed. If you read the newspaper, you're mis-informed.”

In my IB English Lang&Lit course, I have realized the true power and dangers of language. Nothing is 100% objective, everything has bias in it. A lot of media companies uses language to distort and falsify facts. With the uprise of technology, news (or rumors) spread like wildfire to every corner or the world. The most dangerous part is the people who believe in such news or stories, even in the most absurd of stories! In the fear of being misinformed myself, I've developed an habit of questioning every news article I read. Thinking about the logic behind it and conduct further research about it with a variety of sources.

So I was wondering what would people do help reduce the misinformation of others. Is there an example, story or activity that would allow people to see the dangers of language? Or perhaps even reduce the level of bias within people?

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    May 28 2013: Self help is the best. If one wants to remain uninformed or misinformed no one else can help her/him except her/his own self , specially in this era when multiple sources are just a "click " away.
  • W T

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    May 29 2013: Kelvin, I came across a term that is used to manipulate language........."spin doctoring" you know this term?

    Let me know if you want an example from the news.
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    May 28 2013: Be clear in what you think and what you speak.

    Be vigilant what you listen to and what you read.
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    May 28 2013: informing them?
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    May 28 2013: Agreed Mary. thank you for your thoughtful reply. I have to remember that in any time of change the pendulum swings to one extreme or another but, through time a middle ground is found.

    I just keep on praying and remaining informed

    enjoy your day Mary
    • W T

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      May 28 2013: Thanks Mary Ellen, you too have a great day.
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    May 28 2013: thanks for your reply Mary! I have experienced the same thing, main-stream media vs NPR. Yes, technology does make it a whole lots easier for a host of reasons. I must share that My heart is heavy reading and hearing reports of so much strife and fear and anger in our world.

    There are days I wonder if too much information does more harm than good. I guess this speaks to the idea of "collective conscience"

    Sometimes Mary I think of the story Chicken Little; " Henny Penny the Sky is Falling, the Sky is Falling" Is it really falling or are these times of much needed social change resulting in anger and conflict? The debate is still open to me.

    Mary Ellen
    • W T

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      May 28 2013: Hi Mary Ellen, I think your comment reflects what many of us see and worry about.

      I do think that the ease with which information is shared contributes to this general "collective conscience".

      But, overall, people listen, watch, and then, just as quickly 'forget' what they have seen and heard.
      Others, turn off their tvs....preferring to be oblivious to all that is around them.

      Perhaps the sky is not falling.....perhaps we are the ones falling.......and have been at it for quite some time.

      Being alert to what is going on, and well informed (to the best of our ability) is always a healthy choice.
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        • W T

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          May 30 2013: It is so interesting that you bring this out Jaden.

          I don't know where I read the information before, but I recall reading or listening to a program that spoke about how powerful individuals inside certain countries begin planting certain information years in advance in order to get people to follow a certain path.

          This is kind of propaganda that is very subtle.

          The media is very powerful. There is a TED ED talk, that although is simple in nature, reveals some eye opening information.

          Jaden, I get the feeling that you have alot of common sense.
          I think alot of us see the same things you see.

          It is good to be alert in this time we live in.

          My optimism comes from my faith. But it doesn't mean I am blind to what is going on in the world. Remember, in order for rainbow to come out, first it must rain. :)))
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    May 28 2013: I will read multiple reports from various new papers.I'll make a point of reading readers comments when available. at times I will read articles from the foreign press as well. TED is also a wonderful resource.When commuting I listen Nation Public Radio.
    • W T

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      May 28 2013: NPR is a wonderful way to get the other side of a story.
      I don't know how many times I will hear a news piece on tv, and then hear about it on the radio, and get a totally different side of the story.....making for a well rounded report.

      I think that reading reader's comments is also a wonderful tool.

      I will share this example: There is a site where you can go and look up any city you want to travel to. The site will give you a list of hotels, restaurants, and attractions you can visit in that city. And individually, you can read first person accounts of each of the places you may be interested in.

      It would behoove anyone, wanting information "before" venturing into the unknown, to visit these types of sites.

      I think technology is making it easier for people to get these kinds of first person accounts of, not only travel information, but news items as well.
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    May 27 2013: “There is a magnificent, beautiful, wonderful painting in front of you! It is intricate, detailed, a painstaking labor of devotion and love! The colors are like no other, they swim and leap, they trickle and embellish! And yet you choose to fixate your eyes on the small fly which has landed on it! Why do you do such a thing?” - C. JoyBell C.

    Focus on the larger things! Examine trends. Look for the facts and interpret them for yourself. Don't focus yourself on the fly and ask why it's there.

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    May 27 2013: I think conversation is important, talking with your family and friends about information that is incoming, by talking you get to process new information, understand it better, see its strong points and weak points.

    To some degree we are doing this on TED conversations.
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    May 27 2013: One strategy is to seek and bring forward a variety of points of view and information, particularly when people around you seem to be entrenched in a particular point of view. In terms of counteracting your own potential biases, you might ask yourself routinely whether there is another way of looking at the problem or situation you are considering. What are the different perspectives that are arguably supported by evidence?