What does it say about us as a country that erroneous stories can sway our opinions or, more accurately, reinforce the notions that we already have? Social media companies such as Facebook and a Twitter are under fire for their culpability in foreign agents interfering with the 2016 elections. President Trump routinely calls out “fake news media” for their production of stories critical of the Donald. Organizations such as Politifact provide truthfulness assessments of statements made in the political arena.
Somewhere amid this cacophonous environment rests the average American. The average American, whose concerns are financial stability, work/life balance, and finding meaning in their own life. Most average Americans appear to be dissatisfied, and that dissatisfaction can be with their financial stability, their work/life balance, the seeming meaninglessness of it all, or even with the political arena at the local, national and international level. When a story comes along that reinforces our biases we say, “See. I knew they were out to screw us.”
And yet, day by day, we struggle along. A part of this nation, and the two hundred year old experiment. Finding our place, and hopefully a bit more. Why is it so easy for misinformation to affect us? Because we’re all constantly looking for something.