Understanding the difference between fact and fiction

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Well, I am not sure what is worse, the inundation of negative ads before the elections or the post trauma results for many. Especially facing a win in Electoral College votes that overcomes a popular vote. We have seen this before, and unless they finally get rid of the Electoral College, we will probably see it again.

Well, I am not sure what is worse, the inundation of negative ads before the elections or the post trauma results for many. Especially facing a win in Electoral College votes that overcomes a popular vote. We have seen this before, and unless they finally get rid of the Electoral College, we will probably see it again.

Fortunately, here at home, our demonstrations have been peaceful, but it is not over yet. Social media has become an instigator, fueling both sides of what we are calling a divided nation, but that is really nothing new. The fact is, the election is over and whether you are celebrating in victory or crying in remorse, we have to deal with it.

I am sure that there are many fights to come over issues that do divide the parties, but we can tackle those as they come about. The thing to remember is that we are neighbors and regardless of what are political beliefs are, if we want to retain our rights to free speech, we have to allow both sides to speak freely. I believe that we as a community can be an example of what is not happening around our nation and that it is important that we keep it that way. We cannot allow the violence that we are seeing every night on the news infiltrate our communities.

Here in East County, we had a couple of upsets in our local elections and that is where people, if they want change should start. I am not vying for any political party. If I had it my way, there would be not parties, just people running for office. In my opinion, it is our political system that is outdated for today’s world and change can only be effective when tackled from the bottom and working a way to the top. But it is obvious, that people are ready for a change in traditional politics and I hope that our politicians, who we will be hearing from again in two years, understand that.

But what I have seen more than anything is political rhetoric that is based nothing on truth and facts. Our social media is the largest culprit and it is sad to say, but many people do not know the difference between a fact checking news story or the blogger down the street who is just making up things to get more hype, and most important, more clicks and views. This is rampant and the one thing that I can say is bipartisan, because it is everywhere. It is to the point that many of us are refusing to look at our social media feeds.

I understand that there is bias in the news, but there are many reliable news sources out there that stand on journalism’s Code of Ethics. Personally, I have had to write about many subjects that I do not agree with, but have to give everyone the same right to speak out and present it in a fair manner. And there are many out there that believe truth and facts are a higher calling than personality and opinion. We just had to vote for two presidential candidates that both failed miserably on the truth telling side of things, making their own facts. But what astounds me most are the people that absolutely do not care about the facts. They put party politics above the truth.

So we need to bring this mentality to a local level. There are many things happening in East County that are contentious. The expansion of Gillespie Field, the El Monte Valley Sand Mining Project are just a couple. And though an article may seem one sided at the time, these things many times are “to be continued” so that all sides have an equal right to speak and the community can make decisions made on the facts provided by both sides. With large stories similar to these, if you want all of the facts, it has to be done this way, especially in a small community newspaper. It simply does not have the room to provide all of the facts all at once and unlike many venues, print is what we do. Our website and social media is only an expansion of print.

I was listening to a segment the other day and heard the best advice in dealing with the lack of fact checking and many people’s inability to comprehend what is truth and what is not. Good journalism is not dead. It is changing and it has its challenges, but there are still many great journalists that believe that the truth is above their own opinions, and practice it every day. What was the advice? Get a subscription to your local print medias, large and small. Although they are dependent on ads, they are not regulated or swayed by ratings.