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In 2017, I Hereby Resolve
2016 is over - thank goodness!
2016 has been a year of intense debate, opposing opinions even between friends and family, and outright rage among strangers. Personally, I’ve had enough. In anticipation of a new year and a clean slate, these are my HubPage resolutions:
- I will not respond to any hubber who uses labels for people, or outright calls other writers names (even if it is only “people like you).
- I will not attempt to explain verifiable facts in the comments section of HubPages. If someone denies proven facts, there is really no purpose served in trying to change their mind.
- I will not comment (and will try to avoid reading) any hub on a subject when sources are not published. It is as much my responsibility as anyone else's not to contribute to the spread of false news.
- I will commit to encouraging hubbers more than I argue with them.
- And, as my Mother tried to teach me, if I can’t say anything nice . . .
So where do we go from here?
For fellow hubbers who would like to shed the dead skin of 2016, let me share some information about determining the legitimacy of sources that I’ve learned is not the common knowledge I once assumed it was. (I forget everybody else hasn't necessarily studied Journalism.)
Facebook made this statement recently: "Under the new system, when Facebook users attempt to post a story that Poynter-affiliated fact checkers have rebutted, they'll get a pop-up saying, "Before you share this story, you might want to know that independent fact-checkers disputed its accuracy." If the user opts to go ahead, the post will still appear on their friends' News Feeds, but it will be tagged with red danger-style signal indicating its veracity is in dispute — with a link to a fact checker's debunking." This decision comes after Facebook received heated criticism for its role in spreading a deluge of political misinformation during the 2016 presidential election, like one story that falsely said the Pope had endorsed Donald Trump. - Politico
The curious reader should ask who or what are Poynter-affiliated fact checkers?
To answer that question you have to go back about 40 years. A man named Nelson Poynter was the publisher of a newspaper in St. Petersburg, Florida. He believed strongly that independent journalism published to standards of excellence could help a community to prosper and a democracy to flourish. In 1975 he founded the Modern Media Institute and changed his will so that upon his death (only three years later) his new school would own controlling stock of the St. Petersburg Times Company. His purpose in taking this step was to protect his publications from the demands of the Wall Street-own chains and the family syndicates that were buying up and consolidating an alarming number of formerly independent newspapers across the country.
Today Mr. Poynter’s little newspaper is known as the Tampa Bay Times, one of Florida’s largest daily papers, and is renown as one of America’s best. His idea for a school to teach editorial principles is now known as the Poynter Institute. It has established an international reputation for being a center for journalism excellence. Its Web site, Poynter.org, is a recognized source for information and news about journalism and states “We are an independent, nonpartisan news organization. We are not beholden to any government, political party, or corporate interest. We are proud to be able to say that we are independent journalists. And for that, we thank Nelson Poynter.”
Neil Brown, executive editor of the St. Petersburg Times, launched PolitiFact in August 2007. It only took two years of operation for PolitiFact to win the Pulitzer Prize. "The use of probing reporters and the power of the World Wide Web is used to examine more than 750 political claims, separating rhetoric from truth to enlighten voters." - Pulitzer Board
Since 2009, PolitiFact.com has selected one political statement from each year to be the "Lie of the Year".
2009 - the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2009 would lead to government "death panels" that dictated which types of patients would receive treatment.– Former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin.
2010 - the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act represented a "government takeover of healthcare". – some opponents of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.
2011 - a 2011 budget proposal by Congressman Paul Ryan, entitled The Path to Prosperity and voted for overwhelmingly by Republicans in the House and Senate, meant that "Republicans voted to end Medicare". - the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC)
2013 - "If you like your health care plan, you can keep it". - President Barack Obama.
2014 - "Exaggerations about Ebola", referring to 16 separate statements about the Ebola virus being "easy to catch, that illegal immigrants may be carrying the virus across the southern border, that it was all part of a government or corporate conspiracy". - various commentators and politicians.
2015 - "Various statements" made by 2016 Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump. Politifact found that 76% of Trump's statements that they reviewed were rated "Mostly False," "False" or "Pants on Fire".
“Honestly,” Paul Horner, one of the creators of fake news, told the Washington Post recently, “people are definitely dumber. They just keep passing stuff around. Nobody fact-checks anything anymore—I mean, that’s how Trump got elected. He just said whatever he wanted, and people believed everything, and when the things he said turned out not to be true, people didn’t care because they’d already accepted it.”
Is This Us?
Sources for this hub
Sources: Politifact, the Poynter Institute, the Pulitzer Prize Board, Wikipedia, the Federalist, the National Review, Aaron Sorkin, the Washington Post.