The sky is falling!

I was watching Fox News for a few minutes. Forced to watch because it is on a tv in the bar area near where the continental breakfast is being served. And when it is on, it is hard to look away. Kind of like a train wreck. I can’t watch the news at all anymore because all of the news networks, including MSNBC, CNBC, and CNN make me feel like the sky is constantly falling. I’m so much happier not watching cable news.

But that is where I saw that flights are being cancelled today. If I were to believe Fox News, I’d continue to believe that all flights are grounded today. For the minute that Fox News was talking about this event, I started wondering if my flight on Sunday was going to be cancelled, how long I’d be stuck in NY, and how I would eventually get home. What a disaster! Then I came to my senses and read the internet. According to the NYTimes, the computer glitch is mainly affecting AirTran and now Delta in the Atlanta airport. That does cause delays in other airports flying to or from Atlanta, but my flight from SJC to NYC probably would have been fine. Phew. The sky isn’t falling today.

Then there was a teaser for the next disastrous news story. The guy reading the news (do these people do any reporting at all or are they just pretty faces that read whatever someone puts in front of them?) started talking about a hostage situation at a Target in Florida. But the picture showed a caption that said TJ Maxx. And I began to wonder if I had misheard him or if he had misspoke.

Either way, it made me think about last night when I was helping a sixth grader with his homework. He had to find five facts on the internet to support his argument. I didn’t realize how hard it is to explain to kids the difference between fact and opinion. And the eighth grader kept getting sucked into reading comments and taking them as facts. I joke that if it is on the internet it must be true. But I realize now that I have become adept at separating fact from opinion. I forget that this is a skill, not something that is obvious to everyone.

It also explains why people have a hard time understanding satire.


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