Is Press Or Belief Bias ‘Enemy Of The People’?

To The Reader’s Forum:

Buy one for $5 get a second one free.

On some level, I know the above statement is a lie. So why bite, when I know I’m paying $2.50 for each item … exactly what the seller wants? The answer is a simple one — because I want to believe I’m a smart shopper. So I bite, like the fish I am. Admit it. We’ve all been there.

Even the smartest people among us get fooled by what, to some of us, are obvious lies. One of the most surprising examples of this involves the author of a series of crime mysteries about the most famous fictional detective of all times, Sherlock Holmes.

Sir Arthur Conan Doyle taught us, through Holmes, about using deductive and inductive reasoning to ferret out truth, yet he himself was famously duped by two little girls into declaring that garden fairies are real. Many years after his death, when the little girls were all grown up, they admitted it was all a hoax to garner much celebrated attention. So how did someone so smart get fooled so easily by some very creative young children? Probably the same reason I still grab two bags of potato chips when I only need one — belief bias. It’s the same reason many fall for a growing number of conspiracy theories bombarding us, it seems, almost every day, since the Y2K bug and the 2012 apocalypse. Remember those?

On the trail of big foot, aliens, chem trails and crisis actors, we often suspend disbelief, ignoring all facts, because we really, really want to believe it.

Today, more than ever, we’ve been told that the free press is “the enemy of the people.” That couldn’t be farther from the truth. While there is fake news out there, be careful you’re not falling for something or someone because you just want to believe it or them, as opposed to actual truth, even if that truth is uncomfortable.

Kyle Anderson