We are surrounded by media, we drown in the media and we trust the media to tell us the truth about what’s going on in the world. A pity that the media are designed and maintained for an audience who pay very little attention to the facts and knows squat about the world.
The idea for this post is about how to approach what’s going on with a little more caution and a pinch of salt. First thing, let’s set up an example. A fictional fact, with a fictional timeline, associated. In a town named Alpha, a man enters in a restaurant and shot dead two men with a gun. It happens at 08:00 PM
[start of garbage time, more about it later]
08:05 PM – some of the witnesses call the Alpha police department, two units are dispatched and an ambulance is also under way.
08:10 PM – some of the witnesses call a local TV station, somebody else is writing about the killings in the social media.
08:20 PM – policemen arrive on site, they start to assess the situation. Most of the witnesses have escaped the restaurant, nobody knows where is the killer and almost everybody there is in panic. Meanwhile, more uncontrollable news are spread in the social media, the local media scene is getting up and running.
08:25 PM – ambulance on site, sadly they can only confirm the death of the victims. Policemen set out a perimeter and started the canvass of the people still around. Note: eyewitnesses are the most unaffordable thing in the world. News spread more and more on the social media, a couple of videos made with smartphones are available for public view. Local TV crew incoming.
08:45 PM – more police units on site, a basic description of the perpetrator is available for the research. Forensics team are on the way, the local TV crew set up their stuff and start spreading the news on air. “People dead in a restaurant” is the message. A crowd is pressing on the perimeter. In the social media first-hand accounts and theories are on the loose. We have reports of one, two, three killers. The number of victims rises minute after minute, with gory details totally invented.
09.00 PM – A national news service reports the “facts” – “Murder in the restaurant”, “Massacre at Alpha” and so on. The diffusion on the social media also reachs national audience.
[pause in the garbage time]
At 09:00 PM the Alpha police department issue a first speech about what’s going on. Two men dead in a restaurant, name not revealed until notification to the next of kin, killer unknown and on the loose. Direct request for collaboration to citizens.
See the picture? Until an official declaration from local authorities is issued what do you get from media or the internet?
Having garbage as a source, what kind of reaction could you have? What kind of thoughts can you share with your friends or social media contacts?
Garbage produce more garbage.
Think about it.