Seek first to understand. Stephen Covey (and others) said that, and I adopted it as my first rule of reporting.

I hear from a lot of people — even politicians (hey y’all) — I write about, who tell me they respect my reporting, even when they feel stung by it. That means a lot, because I do my best, as an imperfect witness, to research and relay in a way that helps people reach better-informed conclusions.

Been thinking about that a lot over the past few days as I’ve seen memes and video clips fill up my timeline related to the recent immigration debacle. I won’t plant a flag, but I will say this: If you haven’t actually read the relevant law, that is obvious to someone who has. Since we’re talking about the fate of real human families, I don’t think a few hundred words is too much to ask. We’re a nation of, by, and for the People. What we do is on Us.

 

Because of that, I’m making a request:

Can we all commit to read more than the headlines, to gather information from actual experts and not paid pundits and pretty opinion readers or charismatic YouTube “personalities”? And can we please, seriously I’m begging here, STOP arguing with bots on social media. Every day, I see partisan posts with dozens of fake comments with response threads into the hundreds. People screaming at bots, no clue they are, literally, raging against a machine.

 

You will never win an argument with these “guys.”

 

How pervasive is this? Well, Facebook closed down 583 MILLION fake or spam accounts in the first three months of 2018 alone. That brings the total of closed fake accounts to more than a BILLION in less than a year. And it’s not just Facebook. According to Pew Research, about 66% of tweeted links on Twitter came from bots.

Please, as one human to another, all of us trying to make it in this world, seek first to understand. Ignore commentary. Read original sources. Get ALL the information you can, then form an opinion. Don’t let someone else steal that basic human right by forming your opinion for you. And, then, when you have the opportunity to talk about it, be open to learning something new.

We have the right to vote and to freely petition for grievances, two of the most valuable rights ever conceived by human beings. Let’s all agree to honor those rights by being as informed as we can be about the issues. Otherwise, it’s all over but the shouting.

Thanks for listening.

 

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