R.I.P. Morgan Freeman

17 Sep

Thankfully, it was just another internet hoax, and it only took me a couple of clicks around the web to settle my heart back into place after I saw this in my Facebook status feed recently.  But it raises the issue of the power of the media and the need to be able to discern fact from fiction — a question we began to tackle in class this past week.

In some ways, I think it’s easier than ever to determine validity or falsehood with the vast resources available on the web; however, I think the burden of proof has shifted from the source to the sourcer.

But does it takes a new kind of literacy to make that call, or just variations on a theme?  For example, do you believe everything you hear on the news?  News casts have biases, and their reporters are synthesizing materials from various sources, so there is room for error.  Take, for example, the early news reportings about the SCOTUS ruling on healthcare reform.  Let’s see… which media outlet should I cite to talk about the other media outlets’ erroneous reports?  How about we go with the L.A. Times, since they pick on both the left and the right with their headline:  Fox, CNN blow it in initial calls on Supreme Court healthcare ruling.

On a more personal level, I learned how sensationalized a news story can be when I was involved in a large-scale rescue of dogs from a hoarding situation almost 4 years ago.  I was part of the team from one of the Golden Retriever rescue groups that went to a farm in Isle of Wight County to rescue close to 80 Goldens, many of whom were sick with heartworms… and worse.  While the details of the rescue were hard enough to see first-hand, many of the newscasters added dramatic emphasis during their stories, and several got their facts wrong.  (To their credit, WAVY 10 in Virginia Beach had fairly accurate coverage.)

Both of these examples illustrate basic principles of evaluating information you see, read, or hear.  Don’t believe everything you read.  Do read the fine print.  Consider (or determine) the source.  Seek additional resources that support (or refute) the claim.  I believe these hold true online as well, but don’t take my word for it!  If you want further proof, check out this post on InfoPlease (the fine print says InfoPlease is part of Pearson).  It’s an excerpt from The Complete Idiot’s Guide To Writing Well. I mean really… how much gooder of a resource is there!


Posted by on September 17, 2012 in ADLT 641


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12 responses to “R.I.P. Morgan Freeman

  1. jshill2

    September 18, 2012 at 8:56 am

    My heart almost stopped when I saw this! Haha, nicely done. 🙂 I love the real-life examples that you’ve provided on this issue. And I definitely agree with your comment on the burden of proof– I feel like that’s kind of the price we pay to have all these wonderful resources at our disposal. The internet is an amazing open source tool, but it remains relatively unchecked. I think you’re correct that a new form of “literacy” is required to navigate information in the digital age.

    • J Even

      September 18, 2012 at 11:15 pm

      Sorry about the near heart attack… that was me, too, when I first saw it on FB. Long live Morgan Freeman!

  2. lsniestrath

    September 18, 2012 at 2:45 pm

    Your entry follows along the ideas from Adlt 650 and the concept of reading with and against the text. What worries me are the number of individuals who read and listen along with little or no critical thinking. I can say this as I have senior family members who believe in the gospel of the local media. Sigh…
    (Think that Billy Cosby has been reported as “dead” a number of times!) LOL

    • J Even

      September 18, 2012 at 11:17 pm

      Don’t you love the way work from one course weaves into the others in this program! Which reminds me… I should write a post-script to my Twitter “paper” from 650. I have a very different view of it now. 🙂

  3. Wally Wallace

    September 18, 2012 at 9:04 pm

    Check the facts, validate sources, take responsibility in utilizing the information available to you. You make some great points. Technology has provided us such a great treasure but we must still make the effort to “mine” the gem it has the potential to be.

    • J Even

      September 18, 2012 at 11:18 pm

      Sometimes I think I spend too much time “in the mines,” 😉

  4. MelKoch

    September 19, 2012 at 8:57 am

    You made some really fantastic points, Joanne. I love that you dig a little deeper and research one of the subjects from the readings or in class that grab you.
    Your personal account of news sensationalism reminds me of the parody Twitter Fake NBC12 (I hope html works here?). It’s easy to forget news sources are also looking for viewers, hits, etc and not everything they say is always accurate.

    • MelKoch

      September 19, 2012 at 8:57 am

      • J Even

        September 19, 2012 at 12:24 pm

        hehehe… Evil Ryan Nobles… 🙂 I like when celebrities show that they don’t take themselves too seriously. Makes them more real in a way.

  5. bwatwood

    September 21, 2012 at 3:33 pm

    Add me to the list of heart attacks! Great post, though!

    • J Even

      September 21, 2012 at 11:11 pm

      Thanks! Cheap trick to grab your attention, but it worked!


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