Info everywhere but the truth is becoming a more elusive goal

Country Living with Francis Farragher

THERE’S an old maxim in journalism not to accept things at face value and to scratch a bit deeper underneath the surface to find out what’s going on. It probably falls under the heading of healthy scepticism and it promotes a sense of natural curiosity which also means checking out whether things are factual – or not. The one question that must always be asked is a very simple one: “Is this true?”

A couple of weeks back while having a chat with a couple of acquaintances of mine – for the record, no smarter or denser than myself – the topic of Covid and vaccines came up in a very casual kind of way. “You do know that the vaccines don’t work and that they’re just a means of making billions for medical companies across the globe,” I was asked in an inquisitorial manner.

Not being a researcher, scientist or clinician, I couldn’t disprove his theory on the spot only to point out that if tens of thousands of consultants, doctors, nurses, researchers and scientists were involved in this global conspiracy, that would be . . . well stretching credibility.

Shortly after the vaccines had been introduced another friend of mine chided me ever so gently, but firmly too, that I needed to be writing about this great hoax that was going on with Covid vaccines. The world was being codded I was told, and ‘I was afraid to write about it.’

Of course, one of the great drivers of the conspiracy theories is social media, where in a matter of seconds information, or maybe that should be disinformation, can be spread all over the globe in a matter of seconds. Even reputable news media outlets like the BBC now have  specialist ‘disinformation and social media’ correspondents to deal with the waves of rumour, conspiracy theories, tall tales and sometimes more inciteful material that can at times turn into a mini-tsunami of irrational hatred based on race, colour or religious orientation.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune:

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