Updated: Dec 14, 2020
I‘ve been obsessed with the truth lately.
I’ve never overly concerned myself with the truth. I always just assumed that the truth would win out. I took people at their word. I didn’t question authority or my peers. If my mom said my cat ran away, then it did. If my boss said that I was paid well, then I was. If my husband told me that he was okay, then he was. If the President says something, then it’s true.
Over time, I’ve learned that trusting everything someone says is not smart. Trusting someone is done with good intention, but sometimes you get burned. Duh, right? My cat had been given away in the night. My boss was giving me the company line. My husband was not okay. The President – well, he lied. A lot.
Now that the election is over, I am doomscrolling less. I unfollowed news pages on Facebook, deleted the app and others from my phone, and tried to make my social media feeds all “rainbows and butterflies.” I had to repeat that process about a dozen times. My phone repeatedly offered to install the apps again at 2:00 a.m. by just using my face. I kept trying. Just yesterday, I changed my Twitter password to random words I had heard on the TV, then deleted all saved passwords for Twitter from my phone. I’m now really close to forgetting my password. This news addiction is not serving me.
I am embarrassed to say that this frees up a lot of energy and time. There are so many things that I could do to help people or my community. But I am drawn to this idea of truth. Where do I find the news that is all true and we all agree can be a common information source?
CBS News has been my favorite network since I started “adulting” enough to regularly watch the news. Anchors would change, and I would lament their departure, but I would still watch. Then I toured a little bit of Europe and watched BBC News. That was an eye-opener. They reported on the U.S. as just a small part of their program, and I saw a vast world out there that I was missing. So, I added the BBC app to my phone and regularly checked it to balance my news intake. Then the 2016 election hit, and balanced news became essential. I started considering other news outlets. I found media bias charts. I reworked my news intake until I thought I had the right mix. I read The Washington Post and New York Times, and I watched CNN and FOX news.
As the election heated up, I encountered posts by relatives slamming my views and sharing what I see as misinformation. I asked for their sources and researched for common ground. I couldn’t find any. What is true?
So, I added an email subscription for the Knowhere Briefing and started listening to a new podcast. I know I need to read the news from sources that I don’t always agree with – but I can’t take the misinformation. Weeding through it wore me out. It IS misinformation, right?
How can we know for sure? Where is the truth? Our true north should be easy to find and consistent, like using a compass. You can trust it.
Then I saw friends’ post memes about fake news and all of the mainstream media outlets being left-leaning. All of them. Really? How is that even possible? Can I talk with my friends and find common ground through conversation?
Months ago, I asked a dear friend, with differing political views, to have real grace-filled conversations about hard topics. Thank you, Pantsuit Politics! Check out their podcast. Seriously.) She agreed because she is incredible and brave, and we went there. We covered a few uncomfortable topics. And I learned some things. It helped. But it’s still easier to avoid the conversation. I will continue to try.
Where do you find news about the world that you can trust?
Have you chosen to take a break and step away?
Who is someone you could have a challenging conversation with?”