“A rule in life I don’t break is- I never take sides between two people. There are two stories and somewhere in the middle lies the truth.” – E.M. Benton
Let’s be honest, Twitter is not the news. As a young person, without cable television, it has become increasingly challenging to find accurate reporting on anything newsworthy, especially now as we move into an unprecedented time of quarantine, social distancing and vanishing toilet paper.
Just this past week, I heard that we were going into a mandatory, nationwide, marshall law styled, 30-day quarantine. Within the next breath, I heard that each state would be deciding on those matters independently.
Then I heard that the government would be handing out a stipend of $3,000 for every person making under $150,000 per year, then it was a $1,200 stipend, and then it was no stipend at all. In all the confusion and anxiety, people have begun debating the politics and ethos of decisions that haven’t even been made yet- processing their emotions on their Facebook timeline. Yelling into empty space and thereby contributing to the cycle of fake news and confusion.
So where can you find real answers?
Here it is: put in the work. Don’t wait for Fox News or CBS or MSNBC to tell you what to think. Open up your laptop and go directly to the sources. Listed below are some regularly asked questions, with accurate answers.
- Is COVID19 near me?
- How can I prevent the spread of COVID19?
- Is this rumor I heard about COVID19 true?
- What are the steps that the government is taking during this outbreak?
- What are the government issued guidelines?
If you hear something unusually alarming about COVID19 make sure to check out this rumor control page by FEMA.
Lastly, here is an article from Harvard Summer School, which explains some strategies for spotting a fake story. In short, here were my takeaways from the article:
- What is the publisher’s point of view? Why might they be pushing some sort of an agenda?
- Who wrote this article? What is their credibility, background, etc?
- Are there a lot of punctuation or spelling errors?
- Is this information current?
As the article above mentions, feel free to use a fact checking site like factcheck.org for when you run into a truly unbelievable story.
All this to say, you don’t have to turn off your favorite news network, just do your due diligence and fact check all information before reacting, and remember if you hear two competing opinions or stories, the truth probably lies somewhere in the middle.
Also, If you are someone who suffers from a pre-existing mental health condition, who is having a hard time coping with all the COVID19 related news, check out this resource page provided by the CDC.