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    • After the stabbing at a Rabbi's house last night, a writer whose work has appeared in many outlets posted a tweet which acknowledges that at the time of the tweet it was not known who the perpetrator of the crime was.

      Although there is now a man under arrest for the crime, he has not been tried in a court of law and therefore it is possible (although it seems highly unlikely) that it will turn out that the wrong man was arrested. (But, I doubt it.)

      The problem with the tweet was that it implied a motivation for the crime that doesn't fit the suspect. The reason that I state that it implies a motivation is because it makes reference to something which is identified which the writer calls "our shared enemy."

      The writer has apparently since closed their account because twitter says that the account does not exist.

      The point of this is that our society has created a culture in which the desire for news and the desire to publish the news has caused an environment in which much of what is published is later found to be bogus.

      Science News reports on uncorroborated claims by a single scientist or a single team of scientists before there has been any peer review or attempts by other scientist to duplicate the experiments.

      Political news tries to predict elections and has on numerous occasions been flat out wrong.

      People start spreading anger around social media as soon as one person claims that another person or business did something prejudiced and later it transpires that the claims of the original complainer don't match the evidence or the eye-witnesses.

      He that giveth answer before he heareth, It is folly and confusion unto him. (Tanakh 1917 translation)

      We desperately need to slow down and wait for the facts to transpire before we jump to conclusions.

    • It all seems to come back to a "contempt prior to investigation" mindset. Just about everything in print (on screen) is someone's opinion. Declarative statements have a tendency to backfire. If you watch any type of televised competition (I'm a fan of "Chopped") one contestant will say to the other, "You're going down!" only to lose the match a few minutes later. That's just a game, but In business and media this is becoming a big problem.

      As an editor, I often correct writers who sprinkle declarative statements, along with stereotypes and generalizations, throughout their manuscripts without realizing the impact they are having.

      I'm also mindful about looking into deeper facts for opposite viewpoints when I see claims such as, "11,000 scientists across the world declared a climate emergency." First of all, the 11,000 just added their signatures to an online petition of sorts. And after a deeper look, the 11,000 "scientists" were not really climate scientists. The sample showed the signatures were from, "professors of psychology, managing directors of private companies, medical professionals, specialists in environmental politics (not science), computer analysts, a nephrologist (study of the kidneys), nutritionists and a techie at IBM."

      Yes, people should slow down to wait for facts. Some never will until they get caught; some of those won't care and continue, because information is moving too fast for most people to keep up, meaning we will soon forget. But it's also my responsibility to do my own research. Because what lingers, as you point out, is the anger that was spread along with the misinformation. Feelings remain long after facts fade away.