Belfast Telegraph

Wednesday 23 July 2014

Truth is out there, Jen

Jennifer Aniston

According to one reliable source (ie a woman I know), Jennifer Aniston just got married here in Crete.

According to various magazines and newspapers online, she didn't get married in Crete or anywhere else. Depending on what you read, she was proposed to in Paris or Rome. She was either delighted or flustered. But she said no. They all agree she said no.

Not that Jennifer Aniston's love life is of any interest to me in particular, but it's a topical and geographically relevant bit of fluff that highlights the downside of non-stop information.

A glance round poolside here shows lots of people reading magazines and lightweight fiction. Grand. But the problem is that for many, anything presented in a magazine is considered fact, when in fact, it isn't fact, it's as fictional as Fifty Shades of Grey. Again, so what? Well, the danger comes when we reach the point where we don't distinguish clearly between researched reliable "news" and baseless opinion.

When it gets really bad, we end up with the exhibition at the Giant's Causeway, which will be understood by the sort of people who think Hello! is a social document, as proof that the world might only be 6,000 years old.

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