Do you realize there are large portions of the population who believe you are stupid? That you cannot tell the difference between lies and truth and that they count upon your stupidity and biases to further their agendas?

I know I don’t like being treated like a dupe. How about you?

One thing you can count upon as a member of the media is that people will regularly target you with their “version of the truth.” Many times those versions have been created by others and then the person contacting the reporter begins to parrot back the same “dark facts” they have been fed.

Recently, I have had a more than hour long conversation with a man who claimed that the Supreme Court was completely illegal and its operation was unconstitutional. He followed that up with a 25 page email detailing his argument.

We also received a fax that emptied our machine of paper on all of the reasons former President Obama should be in jail. It repeated alleged “facts” found on the internet.

I even have a phone line at the office that I call the crazy people line because almost all of the calls are from people who live in other states and think they are talking with the Washington Post or Washington Times in D.C. instead of the Times Herald in Washington, Indiana, and when you try to explain to them, they are talking to someone they aren’t looking for they get angry that local reporters won’t go on a story-bender with them.

Now, I am going to step on some toes. I know full well that Daviess County is one of the places that steadfastly supports President Trump. Those who don’t (this reporter included) are in a distinct minority. I would give you the reasons we differ but that is another story for another day.

Still, here is something to think about. President Trump has tweeted that he believes Antifa is a terrorist organization bent on violence and the destruction of America —kind of a local version of ISIS or al Qaeda. Hmmmm, sounds to me like the political equivalent of the BOOGEYMAN.

So, what is Antifa? It is a loose aggregation of people who oppose fascism. Thus, you get a shortened version of anti-fascist called Antifa. It has no headquarters, no leadership, no organization or no financing. The main time they show up is to stand in opposition, sometimes confrontationally, with hard core far right wing extremists (some of whom do call for the violent overthrow of the United States, go look up boogaloo bois).

Since I have decided that even the president can’t be trusted to get his facts right and that each time he talks about Antifa, I should read that to be BOOGEYMAN. I will then look under my bed to make sure that there is no one there, and I will go about my life looking for some real answers.

There are more examples of people trying to treat you as stupid. Recently, a photo of a NASCAR team on their knees in unison bowing down was circulating claiming that now that the organization has banned the confederate flag at events, it has moved on to forcing teams to conduct Islamic prayers.

The truth here is that it was a picture of Kyle Bush’s team kissing the bricks at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, not an Islamist prayer meeting.

There is also a false story that has been circulating for more than a decade about Nancy Pelosi and millions of dollars spent in her district during the financial meltdown to save an endangered mouse. I can’t tell you how many times that tale has been repeated back to me. Each time I have to tell people it is a lie.

As much as I want to take these tall tales, wrestle them to the ground and pummel them out of existence they are too myriad for me to handle.

So, I am going to ask you to do something. Each time you see something online, before passing it on, look at it with an eye full of healthy skepticism. Use some critical thinking. Consider the source and what they are trying to accomplish. If you have to go digging for some extra verification do it.

In other words, don’t let someone else treat you as so stupid and gullible that you can be easily duped and will follow them into their world of make-believe.

This is so important now that I even encourage you to get your critical brain running on this column.

Mike Grant recalls taking a one-day crash course to receive an engineering endorsement on his broadcast license. The only things he remembers is retaining enough information to pass the test and these words from the teacher: “Anytime you see db think dumbbell and move on to another answer.”

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