Accurate or False Information – Can You Tell the Difference?

In a continuing effort to provide helpful information to you during this uncertain time, 4Patriots is conducting what we call “Pandemic Prep Week.”

Our goal is to give you reliable tips, tricks and inspiring stories each day this week. Today we’re focusing on telling the difference between accurate and inaccurate information. This is especially important when it comes to the coronavirus.

Many of us grew up in an era when a vast majority of published information was accurate. Newspaper, magazine and book editors believed the truth was paramount. Far more important than personal bias. 

Of course, there were exceptions. Some unscrupulous people published false information. Either intentionally or through negligence. But for the most part, we could believe a high percentage of what we read. 

And then the Internet came along. It’s a highly valuable resource, but it also opened the door for fake news. And once that fake news is published, social media helps it spread like wildfire. 

This isn’t merely annoying. It’s dangerous. When people believe false information, it can cause them to take unhealthy actions. And pass that fake news along to others. 

‘Infodemic’ Compounds Problems

This was an issue even before the coronavirus was declared a pandemic. Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus is the director general of the World Health Organization.

Here’s what he said about misinformation regarding the coronavirus. “We’re not just fighting an epidemic. We’re fighting an “infodemic.”

The Bruno Kessler Foundation tracked Twitter posts about the pandemic for a month. They found that 46,000 new posts were inaccurate or misleading.

A study conducted by New York University and Stanford University researchers showed this. Only 30 percent of people recognized false information in articles about the coronavirus.     

Real Information Is Crucial in a Crisis 

Most of us have learned to take what we see on the Internet with a grain of salt. But this transition from belief to skepticism has taken a while. Especially when it comes to things we want to believe are true.

The preponderance of false information has also caused us concern. This is certainly the case when it comes to deciding how to respond to a crisis. Such as the pandemic.

The coronavirus has life and death consequences. The last thing we want is to follow advice that turns out later to be false. We want reliable information that will help us keep ourselves and our families safe.

Over the past year, we’ve wanted to know what the symptoms are. We’ve wondered which facemasks are best. And if social distancing really helps prevent the spread. We’ve asked if statistics for numbers of cases, hospitalizations and deaths are real.    

10 Ways to Analyze News 

There is often no foolproof way to differentiate between true and false information. Unless an article is completely outlandish. 

Here are examples. One rumor stated Russian President Vladimir Putin released 500 lions in Moscow to persuade residents to stay indoors to avoid infection. Another claimed eating sea lettuce or injecting disinfectant would prevent infection.

Here are a few suggestions that might help us in the process of separating fact from fiction. 

  • Beware of exaggerated language. The more hyped something is, the less likely it’s true.
  • Be suspicious of conspiracy theories. Every once in a while an unusual theory will prove accurate. But they’re usually unfounded and exposed as falsehoods.
  • Make sure the information is backed by reputable health organizations. Good reporters gain credibility for their articles by quoting experts.
  • Don’t just read the headline. Especially if it seems outrageous. Read the article. Determine whether the facts warrant the headline that convinced you to read it.
  • If you’re not familiar with a news source, do some research on it to see what people are saying. Also, check out websites focusing on fact-checking and media bias. Some rate news organizations for factual reporting and ideologies.
  • You can even do some research on the reporter who wrote the article. If he or she has no health-related background, they may not be the pandemic expert they claim to be.
  • Keep an eye out for vague sources of information. If a reporter says “a doctor” or “a scientist” says something without naming that person, be suspicious.
  • Don’t just rely on one source for your information. Find collaborative articles to back up what you’ve read. And check out when the article was published. The more recent the better with something like the pandemic.
  • Watch out for excessive numbers of typos. Legitimate news groups have editors who keep that kind of thing to a minimum.
  • Don’t share information with others that you have not first confirmed. That’s how misinformation spreads as quickly as the virus does.

Get Critical Information – in a Hurry

I’ve discussed ways to differentiate between accurate and false information. Now I want to let you know about a reliable way to receive critical information in a timely fashion. 

When extreme weather is threatening to reach your location, advance warning can make a huge difference.

That’s when the Liberty Band Emergency Solar Radio proves so valuable. Even if your power has been knocked out.

It features NOAA weather alerts, seven 24/7 weather channels and AM/FM and shortwave radio. Plus an LCD display clock with alarm and an ultra-bright LED flashlight. 

You can recharge this lightweight, portable radio with the power of the sun. And it will even power up your phone and other electronic devices. 

Learn more & get your critical information using THIS

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Comments

Deborah D Dill - January 21, 2021

Thank you for using your platform to encourage all to examine information on a critical level. I am relieved to know 4Patriots is not a front for some militia group who loves to cause anarchy. I find it interesting those who wish to alert to the possibility of lies and deception are outing themselves. It is time to use common sense.

Susan Davis - January 20, 2021

I was very glad to read your article, especially in this rather uncertain time. This article seemed to have good, common sense suggestions for us to keep in mind. Sometimes these days, there’s so much disinformation, half truths and just plain lies. For my peace of mind, these suggestions can help keep a more clear view of how truthful the info is. I see no good coming out of disinformation about this crisis. Thanks y’all!

Peggy Hayes - January 20, 2021

Excellent article! Thank you!

F. Carol Hoebing - January 20, 2021

your information about false or inaccurate info was right on. I don’t always read your e-mails becaus e I get backed up and can’t get through it all . But I know it is always good info so I will start reading more often. You provide a great service and your products are great. Everyone should have your products.

katedee - January 20, 2021

To research ANY information is the intelligent thing to do, yet you did not speak of the mainstream media which has not been truthful for many years ( I was taught this in the 1960’s by intelligent and informed people). Reporting from the mainstream media may say truths yet as in the courtrooms when you are to testify you are swearing to tell “the whole truth and nothing but the truth”. The whole truth is rarely spoken on the mainstream media. Half truths are full lies. I can give you countless examples of this yet as the old saying goes “follow the money” and when there is an abundance of money controlled by certain people than follow who is gaining power over people by what is being said and promoted? There is nothing new under the sun “power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely”.

James F. McRae - January 20, 2021

Hi . Thank you for the blog. Yes ‘false Information" is very big these days. Checking out the article sources is a great way to weed out the weeds. Yet when looking at sources you have to also look at what their agenda is. What do they want to happen? How do they want to do it? An example is : if you want to control a group of people, a smaller group is easier to control than a large one. If you keep telling lies sooner or later every one will think it’s truthful. Hitler’s Goebbels in WW11 kept telling the German people they were winning even when the Allied forces where on Berlins doorstep. The Soviets did an experiment on a group of people and told them lies for 6 months. After time had gone they told them what the truth was. They didn’t believe it. There is a TV show called Hannah and they did the same thing. I haven’t watched the shoe myself but the exercise is another example of lie, lie, lie and watch people listen to the truth and not accept it. Once again I like your blog and you might even consider doing it more often. Thank you for your time.

Ms. Kitty - January 20, 2021

Thank you for your post. Your bullet point regarding accurate and false information are spot on. Looking forward to further posts.

Mary - January 20, 2021

Thank you for printing this article. I found it to be very helpful and to the point. Truth is a rare commodity in our world today; if more truth was being dispersed, there would be fewer incidents of hate crimes and other lawlessness in our country. Truth in journalism is largely a mere memory of days long gone. The few exceptions should be lauded as heroes!

Lana Rich - January 20, 2021

I must admit that I was very cautious and hesitant about reading your article. There are many prepper sites offering info and products. Two of them I unsubscribed to because of their lies and unsubstantiated comments. They had products I was interested in but found elsewhere due to their lies and rants. Reading your article I was relieved. Over the last few years I have purchased products from 4Patriots and have encouraged family and friends to shop there. That will continue.

Dave - January 20, 2021

Thank You for the well stated article on factual vs inaccurate information. After serving many years in the US Air Force, I returned home and went back to college. Being required to take many “Humanities” credits, I eventually ended up in Psychology 101. The professor was a young lady who had just taken her Law Bar exames, so naturally I’m thinking “what can she teach me about Psychology”: she’s much younger than me and could not possibly have the experience in dealing with people that I had.
While these things were true, I learned very quickly that an old dog can learn a lot from a young intelligent person who is committed to teaching. Turns out that this Professor realized the power and downfalls of Freedom of Speech. So at least one third of the class curriculum was dedicated to Critical Thinking and applying it to news articles and news broadcasts. We also applied it to several “Nonfiction” books. What an eye opener!! All Americans need to be aware of the bias that exist in every conversation, written or verbal, and work to develop the skills necessary to help them make educated decisions based on their own critical analysis of every communication they have. It’s unfortunate that so many of us only want to be entertained and do not realize our responsibilities to protect our own Freedom and Liberties. That responsibility lies with each and every American, not just with the those in Washington DC and the Military.

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