Freedom of speech is not freedom of opinion. During this age of information, it is imperative to have a standard to the information that is beyond reproach. There has been a large portions of misinformation that has been perpetrated because of the economic shutdown in the United States. Bad faith actors have begun questioning the legitimate nature of the hospitals in the New York city healthcare system. This isn’t to say that questions should not be arisen, but those questions should be directed correctly at this point in time.
How can I say this with such certainty? Because this same problem has existed throughout the history of our planet. That being said in this new age of information, it is more important than ever that you fact check what is going on. Let me give you an example.
The people that hoarded masks were laughed at, but those masks are now needed in NYC to protect the healthcare workers. Those masks could cost people their lives, and they are being hoarded by people all over the United States. That healthcare worker that has had their life taken from them, will now not be there to save you from the COVID-19 complications. This is the impact of misinformation and the subtle way that it ends up being your sacrifice that can cost others, and yourself in the long run.
This has happened with Autism, it has happened with Depression, or PTSD, this has happened with many types of mental health issues in the past, and has been almost a running gag in our history. Throughout just the last twenty years we have went from being afraid of the Muslims, to being afraid of the Media, this is wrong.
If you yourself do not have a standard that is better at this moment in time than before, you could be taken advantage of by these bad faith actors.
Here’s the issue, a bad faith actor can be trying to do good. That does not put them in the right. You can be taken advantage of by someone who emotionally wants to keep the country together, or look out for you, but has bad information. If we believe that the state governments are attempting to cover up the NYC outbreak or the NJ outbreak then suddenly it is more difficult to get the severity of the problem out there, and now we have bigger issues than just the fact that there is a virus. Does oversight and the quality of care matter right now? Yes more so than it has mattered in the last twenty years, but it is not okay to question the communities that are doing their best with the information that they have. The people without a plan are the ones that need to be questioned, the ones that are using draconian rules and spreading this misinformation are the ones that need to be questioned.
If your standard of information is not above reproach right now, you doom yourself and others to communicate misinformation that influences their decision making, creating bigger issues in the future and potentially costing people their lives.