It’s not just Johnny Depp.
Think about all of the people who you’ve instantly judged, based only on hearsay from other people, or the accusations or insults of someone who obviously had a reason to slander that person.
Think about all the times you’ve believed something you’ve read without stopping to think about it or check it out or even give it time for the full story to be revealed.
Johnny Depp Trial Offers Teachable Moment About Questioning Rumors And Stories
Think about all of the times you’ve spread around false information on the internet and in real life based only upon rumor and hearsay.
And think about how that may have impacted the life of the person who was being slandered, who may have been the actual victim of a campaign to slam their character from someone who had an axe to grind against them and lies to tell.
Everything can be a teachable moment if we allow it to be.
So, as we near the end of the Johnny Depp trial, and the beginning of Elon Musk opening up Twitter again to unfettered free speech, let’s all really, really think about being more considered and yes, skeptical, about the things we hear, see, and read, and doing some consideration and research on them before we contribute to the spread of disinformation and misguided hatred and slander towards someone who doesn’t deserve it.
There’s an old saying in journalism school — if your mom says she loves you, double-check the facts.
We could all use a little of that fact-checking right now.
So, next time you see a meme, or something incendiary online, next time you hear a rumor, or hearsay about someone, ask yourself if you’ve got the full story. Ask yourself if you can trust the source, or if they have a reason to be biased. And ask yourself if what you’re really hearing is the truth, in context, and the full story.
If you can’t answer yes to those questions, then don’t pass that information on.
We can all stop the flow of fake news.
But first we have to learn to recognize it, and take action to make sure we have the facts before we put information out there as the truth.
Johnny Depp Trial Offers Teachable Moment About Questioning Rumors And Stories
Sean Leary is an author, director, artist, musician, producer and entrepreneur who has been writing professionally since debuting at age 11 in the pages of the Comics Buyers Guide. An honors graduate of the University of Southern California masters program, he has written over 50 books including the best-sellers The Arimathean, Every Number is Lucky to Someone and We Are All Characters.