The internet has its advantages and disadvantages. On one hand, it gives everyone in the world a voice to be heard; on the other hand, it gives everyone in the world a voice to be heard.

 

A close up image of the word "SIKE."

Although the internet can provide ample information, one should be careful in regards to the accuracy of what is read. (liftbump.com)

Sifting through the facts, theories, and outright lies can prove troublesome, which is exactly why scientific journalist John Bohannon published a fake study claiming that chocolate can assist in weight loss. Bohannon knew that these claims had no scientific basis, but published them to see how the media would react. In keeping with his hypothesis, the story gained traction quickly, and even major media outlets, such as The Huffington Post, published the erroneous findings.

 

In an interview with The Washington Post, Bohannon stated:

“It’s all cloaked in the mantle of science, and it’s really troubling. I was ready for taking on the diet industry … for showing how they treat it like lifestyle material rather than real science.”

This is troubling because these findings have been included in reports by experts in the health industry, so it jeopardizes those individuals’ credibility. The problem doesn’t stop there. Buzzfeed compiled a list of news stories that went “viral” in 2014, all of which ended up being at least partially wrong.

 

The major issue here is that the media is somehow tasked with providing reliable, accurate information to the public. By not checking their sources and falsely reporting, the public is misinformed and make decisions without proper facts. In cases such as the recent controversy surrounding Brian Williams, the public is quick to voice concerns with the misreporting of facts. But what about the innumerable instances where the public never learns they’ve been fed false information?

 

Do you trust reports you see from the media? Should we be more critical of the information we receive? Comment below or tweet @connerws!