The Eric Factor: The world is flat


That headline got your attention, didn’t it?

Did you formulate your opinion on this article before the text loaded on your iPad or laptop? If you did, here is the reason I’m glad you are still reading: the headline does not represent the truth. flatworld

You need to understand the context behind the title in order to understand the message. It’s the whole “judging a book by its cover” issue and it happens all too frequently in this era of information shared on the internet and social media.

But how lazy are we that we get our news just by reading the headlines? At least with newspapers, the headline is attached to the text of the story. Nowadays, more people just formulate opinions based on the headline and assume they know the whole story without taking the time to read or watch the material. Case in point, my blog post yesterday about Schnuck’s grocery stores making the decision to prohibit solicitors at their stores. The comments on my Facebook page became a case study on how we are too quick to judge, just because of the choice of title: “Schnuck’s gives bell ringers the “heave-ho” and I’m okay with it.”

Of 200+ comments on the story on my Facebook page, there were dozens that were downright indictments that I have no soul, that I hate the Salvation Army, and even that I am going to hell. One person was so upset that they sent two emails to the station saying I was “ignorant and biased” When I invited her to read the story, she told me she had a “very strong opinion.”

I wish she would have been able to read the part where I said “the Salvation Army does great work and does wonderful things in our communities” and that “the “gold coin in a kettle” stories around the holidays are so magical. So, I’m not saying they don’t have a place.”
I don’t hate the Salvation Army. My issue is with the ding, ding, ding of the bells and the guilt that comes along with not putting a coin into the kettle every time. And maybe a smidge about the fact that the organization hasn’t been completely supportive of LGBT people. (But I have learned that that story did get blown out of proportion back in 2014.)

But this is less about us disagreeing with one another on principle than it is about the need to read and understand the story attached to a headline before formulating an opinion.

Maybe this opened up some dialog. And hopefully people will think for a minute before formulating an opinion, posting a comment, and sending emails of condemnation before knowing the whole story.

As far as the Earth being flat, there are 33,000 people on Facebook who believe it’s all a hoax that the planet is round. I kid you not.


-Meteorologist Eric Sorensen