Fake News: Testing the Boundaries of Reality in the COVID-19 Pandemic -Part 2

The progression of the COVID-19 pandemic has come with its associated problem of fake-news.

Many of these false information and conspiracy theories contribute no positive thing to the eradication of the virus. They only trigger in us negative emotions that interfere with our ability to cope appropriately during this pandemic.

You have to guard your mental health by eschewing misinformation that has no rational explanation for its premise and, no logical recommendation on the steps you will take to protect yourself from potential harm.

I have found that all fake-news always fail when an unbiased person does a quick check of how rational the explanation is and how logical the recommendations are. I have to emphasize that you have to be UNBIASED, must be willing to set aside your sentiments (religious, political, etc.) and control your emotions.

……these sentiments and emotions engulf our ability to be rational in our thought process…….

Most of the time, these sentiments and emotions engulf our ability to be rational in our thought process. Many people find it very difficult to overcome personal sentiments (which is one of the reasons why fake-news will continue to proliferate). They get easily carried away by their emotions and presumptions about what is ideal.

My professional competence as a therapist is highly dependent on my being able to provide reliable information to my clients all the time. The information must be devoid of sentiments and must not be colored by my own beliefs. To be able to achieve this, I try to always seek accurate information about contemporary issues. I have some personal guidelines that help me to avoid consuming fake information from the internet. You might find these tips helpful.

Feel free to add yours to the list!

Read beyond the headlines

I try not to be in a rush to share news content that is shared by someone else. As an author and blogger myself, I know the value of a “catchy” headline. A lot of junk articles with fake content have a headline that is completely different from the content.  Even videos are given titles that are at variance with the content.

Read from a trusted source

For instance, if you need information about COVID-19 it is safer for you to read the information given by recognized health organizations. Also, any source that has given out false information before must never be trusted to give true information. Some internet personalities have consistently been known to give false information which is propagated to promote some sentiments. Such sources always have a secondary gain for putting out false or adulterated information.

Read with “sense” (common or professional)

We all have “common sense” which is our native intelligence for living life. We also have “professional sense”; the intellectual competence we have acquired from our professional experience. We can solve life’s problems through the application of the skills we have learned professionally.

Sentiments and emotions tend to interfere with our ability to apply professional sense. That is why it is professionally not advised that a doctor should be treating his family by himself. While he might be competent, the emotions can override his ability to make critical decisions that will interfere with the outcome of the treatment.

When you read the news or other material; read with sense. Sift the information with your common sense and professional sense. If you feel you are not professionally grounded to have enough “sense” on the subject matter, ask those who are more knowledgeable or better informed on the issue at hand.

Be slow to share

Before you share anything, be sure that you agree with everything being said in the material.

Avoid being caught up in the traffic of “everyone is sharing something; I must share my own”!

Avoid being caught up in the traffic of “everyone is sharing something; I must share my own”!

Try to ask yourself questions about the news and provide logical answers to determine if it’s worth sharing. The questions should include; why is this relevant to me? What have I learned or benefited from the news and how does it make me feel? Your sincere responses to these will help you determine if it’s worth sharing with others.

Even if it doesn’t start from you, let the fake news end with you!

We have enough to bother us with regard to our concerns about our level of preparedness and the best way to fight this war against an unseen enemy.

We have to try everything possible to keep ourselves safe and sane through this experience.

Please, wash your hands obsessively, maintain a safe physical distance in unavoidable social interactions and keep away from fake news!!!

Better still….STAY AT HOME for as long as necessary!!!

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Ola Ibigbami

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4 Responses

  1. Thank you Sir, The consequences of fake information can be dire. That’s how people brought the news of drinking saline water in the days of Ebola virus that claimed the lives of many hypertensive patients. With the availability of numerous bloggers who are ready peddle fake information just to get some cash into the pockets and easy access to internet, fake news disseminates faster than speed of light. I am sure if one employs the steps you enumerated above, one will be more acquainted with the right information. Thank you Sir

  2. Well said bro. These days, being caught up in the traffic of “everyone is sharing something; I must share my own”, as you pointed out, is perhaps the singular, most worrisome reason for fake news transmission.
    Those who share false information in this manner, are like asymptomatic virus carriers, spreading same to those that may react to such misinformation.
    Thanks and keep up the good work.

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