I don't care who you are, that digital fraud is pretty funny

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"The average reader is not equipped to detect many kinds of document falsification, and a lot of text is still accepted on trust...We have learned to trust writing that leaves a paper trail. Things are not so black and white in the world of digital text." Dennis Baron, page 48

Sure that picture of Marilyn Monroe getting cozy beside Abraham Lincoln is humorous and not all that uncommon. When done with the right intent, that kind of photoshopping is both entertaining and generally harmless. However, Baron's essay points to a much deeper and much more serious issue at play. Granted, his piece is ancient by today's digital standards and a lot of work has been done to alleviate and minimize the issue. But there's still a reason why professors everywhere crucify their students for citing Wikipedia.
Falsification of documents in the digital world is a perfect example of how new technologies always come with nearly as many complexities as they do simplicities. Before digital communication, trusting an author and his or her sources was commonplace. Fact checking could be done with a few hard documents and if the author wasn't truthful, it could be detected fairly easily. 
Today, that's much more difficult. There's an enormous amount of opinion floating around that's too often being passed on as fact. Once this happens, fact checkers need to work doubly hard to prove it to be an opinion. This kind of opinion spreading grows exponentially along with the digital medium in which it resides. It affects just about everyone, but writers and reporters suffer more than most.
Proving the legitimacy of one's work is now a tedious and mind-numbing chore. Establishing credibility is very difficult now and it can be stripped away so quickly today. The motivation to pass on facts to an audience has dwindled to almost nothing. We need to be able to trust the information we obtain and also the people from whom we obtain it. Deciphering opinion from fact needs to be stressed much more throughout individuals' educational development. Otherwise, we'll find ourselves at the base of a mountain of useless information, with only the important real facts sitting atop the summit. And that mountain will make Mt. Everest look like a mole hill.
Remember the old saying...opinions are like assholes, everybody's got one.


Remember, Sean, to create a link from your entry back to the class page.

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