None of this is normal. Don’t let it be.
This week and the last make me pine a bit for the good ol’ days of run-of-the-mill hate speech and 45 lying about the size of his. . . crowds. Or better yet, the good ol’ days of not being afraid we’ll all wake up dead. Obama, with all of his faults and mistakes, was a pretty good president. 45 makes him look that much better.
The competing headlines of the last few weeks pull our attention in so many directions that it’s easy to be distracted by conspiracy theories and half-truths. It’s also easy to let a link that is closely related to the last one, the one we checked, appear reasonable. It helps when you get your news from a reputable source, but we’ve now reached a point where it’s not hard to fake a real news site. Check the author, the headline, the website, the quotes, etc. Check it all.
The late night rants and such are getting to be more frequent. And I don’t mean just mine. If the screams of “fake news” even when information is true – or especially when a report is true – aren’t distracting enough, there are the outright lies from people we count on to represent us. See my post about misuse of the word “treason,” for example. A good one this week was from one of our senators (Johnson, WI-Republican) trying to get us to work against the FDA, claiming e-cigs are safe:
— Senator Ron Johnson (@SenRonJohnson) May 5, 2017
I replied back that the e-cigarette industry is not providing safe products. That’s not an opinion; there are studies. It’s easy enough to refute a simple and obvious lie like “vaping/e-cigs are safe.” While it’s bad that the Senator would lie like this to protect the industry, it is sadly not all that strange. He’s likely getting payouts to buy his lies and protect the industry. It sucks. It’s wrong. If you use your brain at all you can see right through the lie. . .
. . .Or you can be one of the fools who jumped my case immediately defending vaping/e-cigs and using a comparison to cigarettes to try to convince me that I’m wrong and vaping is safe. So while I’m reminding everyone (including myself as it’s easy to get lost in all the information and misinformation in the media this week) to check everything, I’ll also remind us to cite our sources. Good sources. Reliable sources. While we’re at it, we need to remember the basics of science and the scientific method. When determining if something is “safe” we don’t compare it to something that’s probably even less safe than what we’re testing. For example, rather than using smokers as a control group when determining the safety of vaping/e-cigs we would (if we are not morons) use, say. . . people who don’t regularly inhale foreign substances into their lungs. We’d choose non-smokers for our control group. From there science finds out what is safe and what the risks are. What I’m saying is let the FDA do their jobs. We’re all prepared for some risks in some products, but it’s the FDA’s job to check the research from the companies who stand to profit from sales, to be sure the risks aren’t so high that a product shouldn’t be on the market.
I all the chaos and lies flying around social media (especially this week), do not forget to check facts and sources. pic.twitter.com/SU9voPnx6I
— E. Brooks (@GrayMattersTwit) May 12, 2017
(also proofread posts, like I should have done in the post above)
As science goes, we can’t always freak out when something isn’t “safe.” A lot of things aren’t safe. The side effects of our medications are an excellent example. Unlike cigarettes and vaping, though, the product we’re using isn’t for recreation or something to do with our hands. Medications are meant to provide relief or a cure, some kind of benefit. The idea being that the benefits outweigh the possible safety concerns. This is why I’ve been confused about cannabis. Cigarettes and e-cigarettes are fine (though neither are “safe”) and perfectly legal, but cannabis products are kept off the market due to safety concerns. It’s common knowledge that legalizing marijuana would make it possible for researchers to find safe ways to administer the active ingredients to patients with seizures, cancer, headaches, and a bunch of other conditions.
All I’m saying is we can’t let the lies and incompetence, the irresponsibility, become normal. We all need to stop and take time to think things through and check facts and sources before we hit “share.” If we don’t we look as silly and stupid as 45, and nobody wants that. Nobody.
.@realdonaldtrump is insane.
— Rhuta Bhayga (@RhutaBhayga) May 12, 2017
12 May 2017
(I’d like to see the citations on this one.)
Link: Fight Fake News – by WildYucatanMan and Vanessa (for source see information at the bottom, beneath the awesome graphic)
Link: “Fake Or Real? How To Self-Check The News And Get The Facts” – by Wynne Davis at NPR