"Is that a fact, or did you hear it on FOX News?" Sadly, thus phrase works for almost all media, I say almost only because I don't have the time (or stomach) to go through all the media.
When the Twin Towers were destroyed by religious people fighting over their imaginary friend I heard about it on the street before the news even aired it. Homeless people in Seattle knew before the news stations even knew what they were suppose to say to the public.
That alone is sad, then Charlie Hebdo thing happened and news media did not say anything about their own being shot for at least a week. It was all over the web the second it happened.
Nostalgic morons will tell you that this has not always been true, they're wrong. One musician said it best, the media are nothing more than trolls disguised as professionals (paraphrased Akira the Don: Don't Feed the Trolls).
There is a method to their madness that we have never truly understood until the advent of social media, when news came at us in real time and world wide. Our information overload phase is long past, so why do people still buy into media's trolling?
The answer is something that makes me sad to publish, considering we have had 20+ years to break the cycle. Religion is part of the cause, but the bigger impact is the reason people buy into religion still, that feeling of belonging to an exclusive club that knows something no one else knows.
It is also the same reason people buy into conspiracies and meaningless fads like organic or homeopathy. It's a genetic imperative to belong to a small group, we are not really a social species on a large scale.
Our species is group oriented only within very tight limits, if the group gets too big we start to go insane. At least that's nature's prerogative, we should have adapted past that a long time ago and if we don't we will destroy ourselves.
Admittedly, allowing the species to destroy itself has a pleasant ring to it and I have been reluctant to offer this warning in the past, but then I lose all my cool technology, medicines that keep me alive, and Starbucks. The fact of the matter is that we must cut back our population growth, and we must manage it reasonably.
We must also stop pushing people to be social in person, online you can easily shut off the overflow of attention and manage your groups better. But most importantly we must adapt to the global community so these scams and religions will die off on their own, when you no longer need made up answers the groups based on those will die on their own.
This also means you must turn off the news, all of it, and listen to the global community instead. In the 80s we were lucky if we got a snowstorm warning more than 5 minutes before the power died because if it, and that was only if you were tuned into a newscast or media program at that time.
Online we often get messages and even notifications and phone calls hours before the snow falls, directly from the actual weather stations the weather reporters use. The big difference is that it's not censored, filtered, rerouted, or reworded like all media is.
The government regulates media, all of it except social media and private forums. This has many problems, one is that all information must be filtered by the regulatory agency first, that same agency is trying to force the internet to abide by it's rules.
Enter hacktivists, Anonymous is the biggest group and is made up of more than just script kiddies, though script kiddies are employed to launch attacks. If you want the truth about Anonymous, you will never find it.
This particular group is not run by a single power, but only a single idea, all life is equal and no one can control information. Because of this no organization is ever needed, everyone knows their goal and the missions are easy to spot.
The really funny thing about Anonymous, then back on topic, it's made up of all the people who you made fun of in school. Maybe you should be wary of who you mock now.
Anyhow, the need to belong to an exclusive club is the lure of media, and of trolls, it is what they use to draw in an audience. Another example of why you do not except news for facts, a cable channel that claims to air scientific programs aired one on how mermaids were possible.
First of all, no, mermaids are not possible because the skin cells are an all or nothing effect of genetics. You cannot have half an animal with cold blooded skin and the other half with the brownish skin of a warm blooded organism, one of the skins will die.
The chemicals responsible for making hair or scales would effect the entire organism or not be present, not half and half. The chemicals are one or the other, mixing both would have a completely different effect.
Another such "scientific" program tried to state that flying, fire breathing, dragons were possible. Anyone who knows about reptiles would laugh so hard at this claim they'd probably have a heart attack.
Flying reptiles are not unlikely, but at that size they'd have to be eating every minute of the day just to fly for a few minutes at a time unless they were on Luna, it's why birds got smaller. So no, dragons are not possible, and fire breathing anything is laughable beyond sanity.
There is so much wonder and splendor in the real world, in reality, that to believe something just because it sounds cool in a headline is ludicrous. To accept something as fact just because it's easy is lunacy.
The chemical reactions involved in life and the universe are so fabulous, so wonderfully simple and elegant in their chaos. The forces of nature interacting offer us a ballet of such poetry that each atomic twitch, each vibration, every electron's movement is one grande story of reality.
The way in which hydrogen bonds to oxygen to form H2O makes you so happy to be a part of a universe in such a profound way, for we are the universe trying to understand and improve itself. We are reality's manifestation, the hands used to perfect it's chaotic and self destructive universe, we are one of the species capable of bringing actual order to the universe.
Instead we squander our talents, we give into our base instincts and kill each other over fears of the unknown, we deny the very reality that needs us to help bring order to the universe. We slaughter each other over mythology, and let others die out of greed or ignorance.
So here's a challenge to the entire species, use the tool we created for testing reality and learn how reality itself works, stop anthropomorphizing everything, and stop being so damned egocentric. We must prove ourselves worthy before we can ever claim to be better.