Stop the Prop

Sifting through misleading news and stories

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How to Look Beyond the Propaganda in Search of Truth

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Whatever your stand on issues may be, knowing how propaganda can influence your choices and decisions helps you avoid blindly accepting what propagandists feed you. And now is a good time as any to make a conscious effort to look beyond the web of stories that propaganda machines churn out. In the end, you can choose to look beyond the news you see, hear, or read every day to get to seek the truth. Here are some of the many ways you can take control of how you process the information presented to you.

Check your sources

Social media is a great source of news and information. In fact, there have been reports that many people now rely on social networking sites for their daily dose of news. On the downside, not all content you find on your social media feeds are credible. Check your sources first before believing and sharing what you see or read. Check if the story is covered by reputable media websites. Or you can do some research to verify the facts.

Be informed

Know the elements of propaganda and the common techniques or methods propagandists’ use. The knowledge can prove handy in identifying inaccurate or biased information that are not supported by evidence. This could help you avoid blindly following the direction people behind propaganda machines are laying out for you.

Keep an open mind

One of the easiest ways to fall for propaganda is to avoid seeing things from different perspectives. You have to constantly challenge your own perceptions instead of sticking to information that supports your views. Reports should be balanced and based on verifiable facts or evidences. Anything that appeals primarily to your emotions and conveniently excluding certain facts are designed to shape your judgments.

Avoid sharing misleading information

One person may not seem like much to change perception or the narrative. But you can make a difference in stopping the flow of fake news or misleading information. Share or spread stories that you have verified to be true. When in doubt, do not be a part of spreading propaganda. More people doing the same can have an impact in changing what some people in your online networks see as news.

Preventing Yourself From Being Misled

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Let’s face it.

The continuous spread of fake news all over the internet is quite scary. It doesn’t only make people confused about their own beliefs, but also make people abandon their own values.

But do you know what’s scarier?

It’s the idea that fake news can strip you away from everything you know – from your loved ones and just about anything you’ve ever worked hard for – due to hidden traps within such as phishers and malwares, as well as hackers and even “trolls” who might not stop until you are completely brought down…

…all because of that single click on your mouse.

Now, the question is: How can you prevent yourself from being misled?

Here’s one way:

Do your own research.

Fake news can usually be detected from a layman’s point of view. They’re the ones usually shared with a caption that seems like it’s being advertised, as well as unverified sources within the article itself. Thus, do your own research.

Moreover, don’t ever think about what happens when time stops. In other words, continue to do your own research no matter how long it takes and no matter what happens next. At the end of the day, it will all be worth it. You will not only save yourself from getting completely misled, but also save your loved ones and other people from getting totally misled.

BONUS: Trust your gut instinct.

If there’s one skill all men in this world have in common, it’s gut instinct. Just like when confronted by dangers like a robber stalking you from behind, fake news will also give you an emotion that no one – not even the smartest person in front of you – can totally believe, no matter what other people say about it.

Trust your gut instinct. It will save you from any kind of threats, even the most undetected ones.

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Handling Disagreements Graciously

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Everyone offends someone at some point. Differences in views can lead to conflicts. You do not have to look farther than the ugly exchanges often seen nowadays on social media platforms. Conflict is part of personal and professional relationships. It is normal for disagreements to occur among people who are uniquely different from each other. How you deal with conflict, however, defines the quality of relationships you have with people around you. If you want to build strong connections with people, you have to learn how to handle conflict with grace. Here are some ideas on how to be gracious in the midst of conflict or disagreement.

1. Keep calm. Staying calm is one of the critical conflict resolution skills you have to develop. Maintaining your equanimity despite brewing or full-blown conflicts can be challenging. But keeping your inner calm is a great way to avert aggravating possibly volatile situations. If you do not want to fuel or spark more anger and resentment, you have to remain calm so you could focus on resolving the issues at hand.

2. Listen actively. Dealing with conflict graciously often starts with listening patiently and objectively to what the other party has to say. You do not have to agree with everything that is being said. Making an effort to listen well and understand what is being communicated can help defuse tension, anger, and other heightened negative emotions.

3. Aim to resolve conflict, not fuel it. It is normal to feel that you have to defend yourself, especially if you believe that you are right. However, there are circumstances when you have to prioritize conflict resolution over winning an argument or being proven right. Before you take a defensive stance, consider the relationship you have with the person or people involved. Ask yourself if the need to be proven right matters most to you than preserving the relationship.

4. Show respect at all times. Keeping the respect is one of the most important conflict resolution techniques you can apply. To do that, you have to separate the issues from the people involved. You may hate the disagreement, but you do not have to automatically dislike the person involved. Maintain a respectful stance to ease the ill feelings surrounding the circumstances.

5. Avoid needless fights. An excellent way to handle conflict with grace is not to be drawn into one. Sometimes you have to pick your battles to avoid wasting precious time and energy. If a potential conflict involves something that you are better off letting go, you can take the high road by yielding or walking away.

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