BOSTON (CBS) — Let’s face it, we have become a society fueled by and apparently addicted to the adrenaline rush of grievance. Everyone’s got an itch they want to scratch, and if they don’t have one on any given day, a hefty buffet of outrages and grievances are just a click away online.

Here was one that got a lot of people stirred up: video from a Cubs game that appeared to show a grown man scooping up a ball intended as a gift for a little boy in the front row.

Cue the outrage machine, already on alert for cases like this from other games where alleged adults have lost their minds and swiped balls from little kids. The Cubs send down an autographed baseball to mollify the kid, but notice something in this picture: he’s got two baseballs. Where did he get the other one?

See the guy with the blue shirt and folded arms sitting next to the newly-elected most unpopular man in America? He told the Chicago Tribune that the scapegoat had steered that ball to the kid earlier in the game, and made sure the ball he seemingly grabbed for himself was given to another child seated nearby. There was even a third ball he also gave to a kid.

The onlooker says: “I’m getting a lesson in what happens in social media,” and it’s one we could all benefit from. Things aren’t always what they seem in quick video clips or sound bites. It took serious news outlets a while to report the real story, and in the meantime, the slander of that poor fan circled the globe.

So keep this in mind going forward, whenever your grievance itch is about to get scratched, maybe you need to verify before you vilify.

Your opinion is welcome. Share it via email at keller@wbztv.com, or use Twitter, @kelleratlarge.

Comments
  1. “…Everyone’s got an itch they want to scratch, and if they don’t have one on any given day, a hefty buffet of outrages and grievances are just a click away online….”

    You’ve got this right, Jon, as you do with the issue of people jumping to conclusions.

    But I must, again, bring you back to you and your colleagues in your own industry…

    It seems as thought today’s journalist is far more willing immediately to jump to sweeping projections and conclusions, along with a healthy dose of self-righteousnes, to assure that their stories “go viral” and become click bait on the trendy platforms.

    Perhaps you could, in the near future, write your thoughts on how you and your colleagues can prove that they are, in fact, interested in journalistic integrity, rather than being unapologetic hacks of a particular ideology?

    It would be nice if you could add your voice to the side of journalism that sees a course correction as essential for restoring the credibility that has been sacrificed over the past decade or so.

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