Torches Required, Pitchforks Optional

Fake news. Boycotts. Outrage. Fear mongering.

Don’t see a movie because they did a thing!

Don’t buy this brand coffee because the owner did a thing!

Don’t read this book because the author did a thing!

Protest this thing because thing did a thing!

So, what you’re saying is, that after careful research and well thought out arguments you find that you disagree with certain business practices and/or political views so you would suggest that if I also don’t agree with these things then I should not do business with these people?

Oh, you just read one online article about it and made your choice that way… Okay then.

I do not enjoy the news. I’m not sure I ever did. I like to be informed but these days that’s becoming increasingly difficult because of the mass of misinformation that’s constantly being reported by media outlets. They report stories faster than the story develops so half of what they say is wrong, they just don’t care. They just say whatever is going to get the most people angry so the story will be shared faster than a wildfire.

The more I see it, the more annoyed I get. Well-meaning people on Facebook telling me to boycott something so that thing will be forced to change. But when I take all of five minutes out of my day to Google the topic and read about it I learn that there’s nothing to get up in arms about at all. Like, omygosh, Starbucks is going to hire refugees! BOYCOTT STARBUCKS BECAUSE THEY SHOULD BE HIRING VETERANS! Oh… you mean, Starbucks already has a program to hire veterans? You mean, hiring 10,000 people across more than one continent isn’t actually going to hurt me or any veterans? You mean I jumped to conclusions based on little or no evidence? WOW THAT’S SOMETHING I NEVER DO!

If something is worth pushing people to hurt someone or someone’s business then you better be able to defend that stance. You can’t just tell me to stop buying Starbucks and then when I ask if you confirmed the information you didn’t even bother looking at more than one article about it.

The internet mob is ready to disown you at the drop of a hat. All I have to do is write something about how you hate some marginalized group. Actually, I don’t even have to write an article, I could just write a headline and it would spread just as fast. Maybe one or two of your close friends would ask you about it but on the whole, no one would care to verify. They would just destroy you then move on to the next big thing. Sound like fun? Probably not.

If a business is really killing kittens to make laptops then let’s get up in arms about that! Grab your torches and pitchforks! Let’s move against the tyranny! But if what really happened was that a single stray kitten got into the factory and died playing in the dangerous equipment then let’s not do that. I mean, they probably feel terrible about the whole thing and whoever had to clean that up is already pissed off enough.

I think that people should be held accountable for their actions but can we all make sure that those actions actually exist? If something is unverified then keep tabs on it, see what happens next. When it’s confirmed, be angry. If it’s found to be untrue then you didn’t unnecessarily hurt another human being.

Give people the benefit of the doubt. Don’t jump onto the anger bandwagon. Use your logic and reason and the mass of information at your fingertips to find the truth. There’s always two sides to a story.

 

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