In this day and age, we want the most up-to-date and current news, and we want it fast. We want it delivered to our phones as pop-ups, texted to us as alerts and emailed to us in the middle of the workday.
With all of these options for up-to-the-minute news, we never really stop to think much about what it is we are reading. We listen to whatever it is CNN has to say, or whatever USA Today is posting on its homepage and we take it for what it is.
Unfortunately, in the busy lifestyle that a Millennial leads, we all become so accustomed to these news updates that we often don't stop to think for ourselves. This fact became particularly apparent to me over the summer when the only news on TV for weeks concerned the conflict in the Middle East.
I understood why it was being heavily reported, and I was interested in knowing what was happening each day. However, I had to stop watching the news and reading any articles from mainstream news sources because I was floored by the amount of bias I was seeing.
I began to realize that no news outlet could provide an objective account of what was happening on the other side of the world.
There was a moment when I was watching an NBC nightly newscast about the conflict and had to turn the TV off. I realized I just couldn't trust what I heard in the news, and it dawned on me that this has probably been the case my entire life.
After I had this revelation, I became more aware of the news I was consuming. Before, I understood that not all news was completely accurate, but I didn't realize how much personal bias affected the information I received.
Instead of naively taking what I heard and feeling informed, like most of us do, I began to really do my research and get the full story from other resources, which is something I highly encourage others to do. I saw the bias in reporting clearly then, and I see it every time a big story breaks, especially now.
Look at the current Ebola "crisis" we are facing in the United States, for example. Every news station you turn to is talking about Ebola, reporting inaccuracies and causing a frenzy in the US.
Yes, you have a right to be concerned about the spread of Ebola, but the fact that the media is perpetuating the public's fear of a disease that has a very low chance of causing an outbreak should really make you question if you should be believing everything you read and hear.
In my opinion, one of the worst qualities an individual can have is acting as if he or she knows the facts about something, when he or she has absolutely no idea.
We have to keep in mind, despite being wrapped up in other factors in our busy lives, there is a lot more to a story than what the headline reads or what a three-paragraph summary says.
That being said, Millennials especially need to be making a conscious effort to do their own research and to form their own opinions. When you hear of a breaking news story, before immediately reacting, the best thing to do is some investigating of your own, looking past the news story and even to the history of a story to truly learn what is going on.
By doing your own research, you are educating yourself, which will allow you to educate others when discussing such issues. There are too many times I have spoken to people whose opinions of a situation rely solely on what they watched for five minutes on the news.
Although most of us are guilty of forming opinions on a matter without really knowing what is going on, we would be so much smarter, and understand the world so much better if we just took the time to form our own opinions.
Hopefully, this will be something to keep in mind the next time you receive a breaking news alert.