Read first, comment second

Published 6:28 am Saturday, July 28, 2018

By Michael Cole

Every time I scroll through my Facebook feed, I cannot help but to notice that a vast majority of people share, like, or comment on articles without reading them.

We very rarely actually pay attention beyond the featured image or the headline.

Really folks, this has to stop.

I admit I have done it, but learned the hard way.

It was back in 2014, I saw an article with headline, “Democrats on track for huge gains.” The headline looked good, I was in a hurry, so I shared the article.

It did not take long to hear back from my supporters and friends.

Apparently, as you read the article, it was not a neutral article talking about polls and numbers; it was a Conservative article talking about the world ending with the possibility of Democratic victories.

As a Democratic nominee, it looked like I too was alarmed. And to my supporters, I looked foolish for not reading first.

This is how fake news and click-bait spreads.

Does anyone read the articles anymore?

Look at a case in point here locally. The Orange Leader ran a story about Ice Cream Trucks.

The headline simply stated Ice Cream Trucks illegal in Orange. The article went on to say that Mayor Spears wanted to look into changing the law to allow ice cream trucks.

On its face value, you could assume the City was outlawing them.

But you would be wrong.

So then my Facebook feed was friends attacking the city and the mayor for outlawing them. When the exact opposite was true.

Forget facepalm. I was banging my head into the keyboard.

And it doesn’t stop there. I see article after article of people who just see the headline and declare shenanigans.

And before long you see attacks going back and forth until it gets personal.

I mean, for some who have told me off, I can understand your suggestions; but the horse I rode in on too?

The point is, we live in a time where there will be articles with headlines that grab our attention. And we will have disagreements over everything from Presidential Tweets to Ice Cream trucks.

However, we should at least read the article before commenting or sharing.

Reminds me of an old saying that I saw in a WW2 photo of an RAF squadron briefing room. Above the board was a saying

Best to keep your mouth shut and let people think you are a fool, than to open it and remove all doubt.

 Now if you excuse me, I have to go coax a traumatized horse that has locked himself in the bathroom.