Alll The News That's Print To Fit

Essay by PaperNerd ContributorUniversity, Bachelor's September 2001

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Today's society could quite possibly be brainwashed. Since birth, humans are "taught" to believe anything and everything they hear. Since its development, the internet has been a quick, easy, and functional way of finding information on infinite topics. It seems that the web is the way to go for many people, but can we believe everything we hear or see displayed on every web page? From sources ranging from local newspapers to national new publications, it may be possible to uncover both valid and invalid information. While a site may have a distinguished reputation, one must browse the web with a skeptical eye.

The first site accessed in my studies was a very well known newspaper in my area, The Times Herald Record. Recently, in an article regarding a current poverty situation in Newburgh, New York, one is likely to come across factual and false information. It is believable that Newburgh is census tract 4 and has many residents living below the poverty line, but in the next few lines of the article, information tends to get sketchy.

"Authorities try to keep addicts out of abandoned buildings by cementing blocks in front of the doors. Still, crackheads break through with sledgehammers." While it may be true what the co-authors wrote in much of the article, the above statement has no concrete evidence on the events that they say happen in Newburgh everyday. This is just one example of how bias and interpretation can alter the contents of a composition.

In a publication by, executive Rob Lieber discusses seven questions regarding the future of frequent flier miles. On the surface the article looks as if it is very factual, and it may actually be valid. If viewed with a skeptical eye, the article lacks proof in the statistics and sources of information. For example, Mr. Lieber deals with this question: "Will it ever get easier to redeem amounts smaller than, say, 25,000 miles?" He goes on to say, "It's already happening. In fact, one of Robert Crandall's many retirement hobbies is sitting on the board of, an Internet-based service that allows users to take a small number of their miles from certain frequent-flier programs and trade them for magazine subscriptions or savings at various stores and shopping sites." This statement may be true, and the website and article may be well planned and developed, but the author fails to present any evidence. Though he displays no clear confirmation, many statements may be valid. He opens with saying, "The basic problem is that people are earning miles a lot faster than airlines are buying planes and adding routes to their networks. What does the future hold for frequent-flier programs? Here are answers to seven high-flying questions." Now anyone who uses airlines knows, that it is hard enough to get seats on a plane even when one has a ticket. Statements such as the above by Mr. Lieber are essentially understood and implied, expecting that the reader have basic knowledge on the topic. Overall, the article contains information that can be interpreted both true and false. It is the reader's responsibility to prove the credibility of the site.

Almost everyone who has surfed the internet has seen the abundance of ads proclaiming, "Get rich quick! Work at home!" SFI, an entrepreneurial company, claims, "Over 3.1 million entrepreneurs from over 190 countries have become SFI affiliates." They also state that earning a $100,000 per year income is as easy as making $15,000 per year. Can one really believe the statistics and information that SFI presents? They do organize and show the whole website in an neat fashion, there are testimonies displaying the supposed success rate, and SFI offers good reasons to become an affiliate, but one must be cautious when jumping into situations which involve making significant amounts of money fast; especially on the web.

Marketing is a fast-paced and constantly changing market. Declan Dunn, CEO of ADnet International, recently wrote an article on dying affiliate programs. Offering an unbiased opinion, Dunn offers open suggestions, "what if" situations, and things to consider in his writings. The article offers a wide variety of statistics, analyzing a change that might occur if numbers are increased and decreased. This aspect of the article is very factual and offers no false or opinionated information. Dunn simply suggests what might happen or not happen according to what information is given. In addition to the article, Dunn has produced many other writings on the topic, all of which have clear and up to date links. In addition, Commission Junction, a well-known pay agency, also sponsors this piece. Overall, viewed cautiously, the article is clear, concise, and is likely valid.

One assumption that many believe is that world news is always true. One thing that one must realize is that every kind of news must be proved, even world news. For example, BBC news online, a publication that reports European and World news, has produced articles that may be false or unreliable. A prime example of this is a recent writing regarding the death of Afghan leader Shah Masood.

"The most senior political figure in the Afghan opposition, Burhanuddin Rabbani, has denied reports that opposition commander Ahmed Shah Masood died following an assassination attempt on Sunday. Mr. Rabbani, who was ousted as president of Afghanistan by the Taleban in 1996, told the BBC that Mr. Masood was injured in the face, head and leg, but was conscious and had spoken to him." The above is an example of how an article may appear to a reader as valid information, but has a high probability of being false. Why could this information be false? The fact is that there is no solid evidence stating that Mr. Masood is alive or deceased. This is just one of many examples that proves everything in the news or on the internet is not consistently legitimate.

Not everything on the internet is true. There are many sources that seem to be truthful and sincere, but are really false impressions of the truth. Today in society, almost anyone can access and post information, true or false, for the world to see, regardless of age, profession, or knowledge. The world must realize that while there are sites with a wealth of true information, there are equal numbers in sites that are dishonest.