Unlike what articles do I will get right to the point. I’ve seen too many people read an article and immediately believe everything they read, and then use that to justify an incorrect point of view without having judged the source.
Next time you read an article in a magazine or online, it would benefit you to remember these three topics.
This title was written to attract your attention, as many magazine and online articles do. This is called “click bait”. Not all articles lie to you, which is why this title is wrong. Ideas that are general and apply to everything are generally considered more meaningful and important than ones that are cautious and say “maybe”.
Click bait is the “hook” that gets some to read your article, and it often has a misleading title or image including things such as an attractive person or a controversial topic. This works because people believe that the article may actually help them become a millionaire or get any woman they want, and by the time they finished reading they forget why they clicked. Many people do not bother to think about the nature of what just happened, which is that you were tricked into clicking.
Online articles depend on the amount of viewers, advertisement views, and advertisement clicks to generate money. The content of the article no longer matters to many websites because they are more interested in making money and many people unknowingly encourage this by wanting gossip instead of news.
Many articles lie, sometimes willingly. One of the major reasons for this is that the author is either bad at communicating accurately, is misinformed, or is lying.
If the author is bad at communicating then they might be writing true things but they could be easily misinterpreted. If that is the case then people will be misinformed.
If the author is misinformed then they might for example tell you that behavioural analysis can tell you if someone is lying: studies show that a person who moved their legs a lot while talking is lying to you.
- The studies might not have had enough people in them to make any meaningful conclusions. The studies themselves need to be seen to make sure of this.
- The conclusions might be generalisations without considering other possibilities.
- There are in fact other reasons that people move their legs a lot, which don’t all mean that they are lying to you.
- They should have said that it “might” mean that the person is lying to you. Psychology is not an exact science.
- This gives the impression that moving your legs always means that you are lying. The idea that we can predict human behaviour this much is arrogant and unfounded
- Misleading people is irresponsible because they might make wrong decisions based on that information
Both magazine and online articles tend to fill their article with useless sentences, presumably to make it longer or to make it easier to read.
When an article is artificially made longer, it can mean that it actually doesn’t have much (or anything) interesting to say. If you remove all the filler from an article and it comes down to one sentence, then it likely isn’t worth reading and the author might have been forced to write it without wanting to. A cause for this might be that the publisher wants to write articles that are popular but not important, which essentially means that they are just click bait.
Typically articles have filler at the start to give a small introduction to the topic but then only give the information you want more than halfway into the article, after asking many rhetorical questions and introducing many people with large block quotes and their history leading up to the discovery that you actually care about. They also tend to have filler at the end to close off the article with something to make you think but often is just speculative or sounds interesting without having any real basis.
Never believe what you read without verifying the validity of the information and bias of the writer.