Why should you critically evaluate information? Because of situations like this …

A key part of information evaluation is to understand the context in which the information was created. What is the motivation? Why was the information presented in that particular way? It could be use of certain words, specific images, formatting, color, etc.? Putting or displaying the information in a particular place?

Why is it being done that way? What emotion do they want you to feel? What action do they want you to take? What do they hope to gain? What is the motivation? In this case, political gain.

When the information is important to you–personally, professionally, in any way–it is especially important to take a skeptical and critical look at the information you may be relying on to making decisions that impact your life.

In this situation, the manipulated information is about testing for the virus behind COVID-19; information that can even mean life or death. Instead of testing guidelines developed and vetted by medical and public health professionals, the guidelines were written by political appointees (the full article may be seen here).

Stop being manipulated; take charge of the information in your life.

Seek information; not just the affirmation of others who appear to think like you.

Develop the habit of mind–evaluate/think carefully about the information important to your life.

Make your own decisions; do not let others make decisions for you.

Questions? Please let me know (engelk@grinnell.edu).

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