The media, something which is supposed to help communicate information across scores of people. Many feel that media should be unbiased and present all sides to fully inform the information recipient so that they may reach an informed decision.
But does this always happen?
We already know the answer to that, and that answer is ‘No’; in fact the media has become a very divided communication tool that regularly abuses the trust people place within it, often to further one particular line of thought while attempting to exclude all differing views.
Worse still, there have been times when the media has been responsible for proliferating outright lies of its own invention, whether employing malice or running with a portion of the presented information.
Usually, these lies are quickly exposed, and retraction statements are issued from the source of the lie. But sometimes these lies take on a life of their own and become so commonly accepted that many have a hard time believing the truth when they are told it, despite being presented with evidence that what they believed was a complete lie.
Let’s take a look at some of these, but before we do keep in mind that (for the sake of space) these will be presented in a very basic overview.
Should you wish to learn more in detail, simply use the very internet you are using to view this article.
Here are four whoppers that people believe to be true:
1) Al Gore claims he invented the internet.
This one started in 1999 when during a CNN interview Gore stated that he supported initiatives and funding that aided in the development of the internet, (note the key words there ‘supported initiatives and funding’).
At no point (before or since) did Gore ever claim to have contributed anything to the creation and development of the internet beyond supporting initiatives. Yet various elements within the media took a portion of his statement and repeated (out of context) and ran with it.
As the year 2000 approached it became widely believed that when all the zeros lined up on computer calendars that computers across the world would crash on mass, this would lead to a global snowball effect which would bring down all societies and destroy our world as we knew it. Sixteen years later, and here we all still are.
So how did people come to believe that all society was going to end?
Believe it or not, it started as somewhat of a joke.
But first let’s take a very basic look at binary code for a brief second.
Binary code is a series of 1’s or 0’s indicating ‘On’ (1) or ‘Off’ (0), this is one of the foundations of computer languages and coding, so when computer experts jokes about all the zeros in the date lining up and giving computers the binary code to turn off, some people actually believed them.
What didn’t help was the media running constant stories about what to do in the event of a Y2K disaster.
So why didn’t anybody listen to the actual experts who knew this wasn’t going to happen?
Largely because the computer community wasn’t saying much, and the ones who did were ignored.
During the lead up to New Year’s Eve 1999/2000 computers were running many different systems, many of which hadn’t been updated; computer experts knew that this one of the major causes of various problems people were having in an increasingly computer reliant world.
So, they simply didn’t bother making a big deal of it and quietly worked behind the scenes to get as much as they could on the same page.
3) Alien Megastructure.
In September 2016 it was announced that scientists (using the Kepler Telescope) had discovered a star that was acting strangely in relation to what we understand about stars.
An offhand (joking) comment by an astronomer that ‘Maybe it’s an alien construction’ took off in the media like a storm.
Suddenly people from all over the world were uploading articles and videos explaining to the world about what the structure was and how it works.
But (in reality) scientists aren’t exactly sure why the star (designation KIC 8462852, nicknamed ‘Tabby’s Star’) is behaving the way that it is.
They have various theories, but know nothing concrete at this moment and continue to study the star to learn more.
4) Homeopathic medicine
Homeopathic medicine is an alternative form of treating maladies which is supposed to be more natural, safer and frees one from ‘enslavement’ to pharmaceuticals.
But first, what is it exactly? Let’s start by looking at the word itself.
Homeopathic, like all medical terms, can be broken into parts, in this case it would be two parts, its prefix (beginning) and its suffix (ending).
Homeo means ‘sameness’ or ‘similarity, Pathic is derived from the term ‘pathy’ meaning ‘disease’ or ‘sickness.’
The idea being, that an introduction of a low dose of an illness will allow your body to develop the means to fight it off or become immune.
When the idea was originally introduced in the 17th century, the founder of the idea (Samuel Hahnemann) quickly discovered that undiluted doses of various substances caused reactions, (sometimes quite dangerous), so Hahnemann devised a dilution method to deliver his medicines safely.
The idea was to cut the original substance with a dilution method he created called the ‘C Scale,’ the ‘C’ standing for ‘centesimal,’ from the Latin word ‘centesium’ which means ‘hundreds.’
In his dilution method, it would be one part substance per one hundred parts cutting agent, which was (is) usually water.
The dilution would then be further diluted (by 100) depending on whatever number it was assigned. Which means that for every millimeter of the original dilution there would be 1 micrometer of the substance contained within.
Then reduce that substance amount by 100 for every C the final product has.
So basically a 5C of homeopathic curative there is such a small amount of substance that your body wouldn’t even register it as existing.
To date, there is absolutely no scientific or medical evidence that supports any of the success claims that homeopathic medicine makes. The only actual impact it has is through the placebo method; which medical and scientific experts openly admit to being both real, and something they do not (as yet) understand.
While not everything you are told is a lie or perversion of the truth, it never hurts to investigate what you are being told.
We live in a time where the general public has access to a wide array of information, readily available to be summoned on demand from virtually anywhere at any time; unfortunately, we also live in a time where people tend to believe whatever they are told simply because some people say the same thing.
But then people once thought tomatoes were poisonous and that tobacco was a perfectly healthy way to treat illnesses until some people took the time to investigate the facts.
John Goodale is the author of ‘Johnny Gora’ (available through Amazon.com), and a number of articles here on TMRZoo.com. His monthly column ‘Indy Comics Spotlight’ appears here and through his blog Indy Comics Spotlight