BOSTON (CBS) – Would you like to head into the weekend with a bit of good news to share? For those of you rightly worried about the spread of misinformation and falsehood throughout our culture and the apparent inability of too many of us to distinguish between lies and truth, I have good news on a couple of fronts.

Up on Beacon Hill, legislators are working on a bill that would promote civics education in our schools, including lessons on how to evaluate news content. At a time when adults are struggling to differentiate between real and fake news coverage, their kids could certainly use some help understanding the difference between lies and rumors on social media and actual journalism.

Another hopeful sign: two new studies find that a large majority of Americans know that much of the alleged news spread on Facebook, Twitter and other social media outlets is fabricated or unverified. More than half that many also disbelieve what they see on conventional news outlets, which is too many, but at least they give edited, established sources more credit than the garbage on the web.

Now, the bad news – those studies also find that almost a quarter of us share misinformation, and that political partisans are much more likely to swallow lies and dismiss truth. And they also find that the more education you have, the less likely you are to shun the truth, a finding that underscores the importance of the Legislature’s education initiatives.

There’s an old saying that a lie travels halfway around the world while the truth is putting on its shoes. It’s up to us to deter the former and promote the latter.

Talk back to me via email at, or use Twitter, @kelleratlarge.

  1. It interesting, Jon, that you didn’t pick up on Time Magazine’s attempt to fake news by suggesting that the photoshopped image of a little girl being looked down upon by President Trump had been separated from her mother at the border.

    As the truth came out, there was egg all over Time’s masthead, and the mastheads of all of the media outlets that gleefully picked up the story and ran like crazed idiots all over the place…

    In reality, the child WAS NOT separated from her mother, the mother had been deported five years ago, was caught trying to re-enter, again illegally, and had left FOUR OTHER minor children at home to attempt again to enter the United States in ways other than proscribed by law.

    And then there was the bit about Paul Manafort being convicted for the death of another….

    That one unraveled within hours, once again pointing out that the lies can circle the globe while the truth is still getting out of bed.

    So, Jon. What role do you and your colleagues play in this whole game of spreading lies and validating ridiculous rumors?

    Yes, we are responsible for cleaning up the lies that come into our public…and private…discourse.

    I promise you this sir…I will try to hold your feet to the fire when you and your colleagues rush to publish the false and salacious, and I will do it with as much glee as you and your colleagues show when you let loose with your whoopers.

    Clean up your messes, Jon. Your already paltry amount of credibility is still dwindling.

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