Take a breath before jumping to conclusions

To the editor, 

In the 1999 film “Office Space,” a character named Tom Smykowski creates a “Jump to Conclusions Mat.” As he states: “It would be this mat that you would put on the floor, and it would have different conclusions written on it that you could jump to.” 

In the current age of Twitter mobs, “click-bait” headlines and political polarization, it appears people already have these mats and use them daily. The rush to be first to break news results in failing to report the complete story, which can lead people to believe the false story or narrative pushed by biased reporting instead of proper journalism. 

If you haven’t already noticed, retractions and corrections never get the same front page coverage or viral status. Some in our media have found this the right recipe to attract and manipulate outrage in those who blindly consume from specific websites or channels that conveniently fit their personal views. This helps to keep their ratings, clicks and subscriptions up. 

So, before you roll out your “Jump to Conclusion Mat” when the next viral story posts, that would be a good time to take a deep breath, check sources outside your bubble and collect your emotions and facts before forwarding it on. Emotions never replace facts, and sharing misinformation enough times will never make it become the truth.

Brandon Grell

Cambridge 

 

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