Thursday, March 19, 2009

The Power of Fear Driven Media

OK so today I received a text message from every girlfriend I have telling me not to go to WalMart due to a gang initiation rite where 3 women would be killed. My phone was going off every 3 or 4 minutes all morning due to the fact that I have a lot of girlfriends. It wasn't even just the girls in the city that I am living in either but EVERY girl I know. Well a few quick keystrokes on the good ole' Google showed me that this was indeed the hoax that I suspected it to be. I felt compelled to let my girls know that this hoax has indeed been around since 2005 and that they could shop at the nations largest discounter without fear.

I was surprised at the response. A lot of my girls were frustrated me for invalidating their fears telling me it was better to be safe than sorry. While I agree with that statement at what point do we not leave our houses because of a fear driven media? Moreover if it is a proven hoax that has been going around for YEARS giving no specific location time or date then why are we pandering to its terror?

Worst of all my phone and e-mail both get blown up by something that has no basis in fact but instead is perpetuated via "The Sky Is Falling" reactions when it only takes a minute to check the validity of a claim these days. Instead people would rather mass forward every plausible rumor. Ok maybe I am exaggerating and panic might not be the best explanation but even enough concern to send a mass text regarding a possible tragic event WITHOUT checking its validity is just as irresponsible and foolish. Take a minute to find out if what you are sending has a history of being a hoax and help prevent the further spread of disinformation.


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