Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Everyone has heard the old adage “Don’t judge a book by its cover”, but judging a book by its cover seems to have become commonplace in today’s society.  We claim to be a nation of second chances and “innocent until proven guilty”, but time and again snap judgments are made based on headlines.  Between media and social media, we have access to near real time information.  The goal of media is to be the first to put out a story and to sell the story.  People on social media want to be the first to know the information and be the first to pass on the information.  The trouble with this is that it leads to a lot of assumptions and biases while lacking facts.  Now there are not just 2 sides to every story, but multiple as a game of social media telephone unfolds.  Decisions need to be made off of facts not assumptions.

Assumptions may be made for many reasons.  It may be that the facts simply aren’t known yet, but someone wants to be the first to report the story.  There may also be agendas by the writer so assumptions are made to lean towards the agenda.  These agendas may be political, financial, religious, etc. 

We need to keep in mind that we receive a lot of information on a daily basis, but that not everything we hear or read is true.  We need to look for facts and ask the right questions.

If a story were to be put out about me with incorrect assumptions, I would be furious.  I am sure others are the same.  I believe that if you look for facts and try to put yourself in another person’s shoes, that you will gain a whole new perspective.  If anyone has ever fallen victim to gossip and rumors within a small social circle, imagine if that had happened on a nation-wide scale.  It can not only lead to unjust humiliation and embarrassment, but it can ruin someone’s life. 

Everybody deserves the truth to be known.  Hopefully many of these people that are wrongfully accused get their chance to set the record straight.

In the case where the headlines are true – we still may not know the whole background or circumstances of the situation.  I am very much a believer in second chances and that people can learn from their mistakes.  We are all human and we are all going to make mistakes.

Look for facts, don’t make assumptions, and try to put yourself in other people’s shoes.