Be discerning. Don’t accept an article, news story, or social media post simply because it feels good to you. Beware confirmation bias.
Articles, news stories, and social media posts are written by people with agendas, and it is your responsibility to understand the connection between the messenger, the message, the motives, and the methods. To agree with something that is written, reported, or posted simply because it feels good to you is profoundly unwise.
Don’t be passive. Do your homework!
Who is the person or group? What does their background and behavior tell you about their character and credibility? What have they done in their life to earn your trust? When they are wrong or make a mistake, do they acknowledge it? What is their message?
How do you know their statement or story is true? Is it supported by verifiable evidence? Are they exaggerating? Are they omitting relevant information or important evidence? Are they being truthful or attempting to manipulate?
What is the person or group’s motive? Why are they making the statement, writing the article, or telling the story? What are they actually trying to accomplish and why? Are they open and honest about their motives? Are there hidden agendas at work behind the scenes?
Finally, how is the person or group communicating their message and telling their story? Are they clear? Are they direct and candid? Are they cynical and sarcastic? Are they arrogant and harsh? Are they authoritarian? Do they invite respectful discussion and debate?
*Caution: Before you use these questions to critique the people and groups you don’t like, use them to critique your preferred pundits, posters, and provocateurs.