Posted by Ana Etxebarria, July 14th, 2010
This blog is called La Piazza or ‘the Square’ as we though it should serve as a meeting place for us to discuss things. And in line with such a Latin tradition, in this square you don’t only talk but also listen to others.
However, nothing is perfect and you cannot ignore the fact that public squares have always been a place for gossiping and spreading rumors. Then, over time, television came and filled our lives with idle chat about people we haven’t even met personally.
Television’s great danger is that, from the start, many people thought whatever appeared on the screen was real. Consequently, lies that in the past never reached further than a household or village became the talk of the nation within hours. And the same can be said about the damage they caused.
However, the world kept evolving and national television gave way to the World Wide Web. Our little town squares went global, so any piece of gossip, true or false, spread like wildfire within seconds. This is undoubtedly a reality that has many advantages but also some risks.
In my opinion, the biggest threat is that of taking for granted that any news item that appears on a blog, the Wikipedia or any other Internet site is true. You can tell a lie a thousand times, but it’s still a lie. You have to be prudent, check the source, get information from sites with other views… before taking a piece of information as true just because you ‘read it on the Internet’. Otherwise, it doesn’t matter if we live in the age of information, you will still be as misinformed as ever.
Let me finish with a couple of articles on false news posted on Wikipedia and echoed by the media as being true:
I am also posting the link of a satirical online publication which, even though it doesn’t intend to pass any of its news off as true, still gets harsh criticism from some readers who take it seriously: The Onion
Enjoy it! : -)