I try to stay sharp and not fall for the typical tricks that the media plays on all of us, but they got me yesterday. I let myself assume I knew exactly what was going on with a story based on reading a few headlines. I’m talking about Mike Hughes, the homemade rocket enthusiast who is planning to launch himself in one of his homemade rockets in order to prove that the earth is flat.
The media is smart; they know that we like to flatter ourselves with thinking that we’re much more intelligent than everyone else, so if they present someone, like Hughes, as an absolute lunatic, then we’ll all pat ourselves on the back for seeing ourselves as so much smarter and better than he is. But oddly enough, it’s not they’re not completely writing the actual articles like that, it’s the way the headlines are created. When I actually did read the article about Mike Hughes, I soon realized that he’s probably not the goofball lunatic that I assumed him to be.
At first glance (and without any sort of research), we see Mike Hughes as a flat earther who is building some rinky-dink homemade rocket that is bound to also serve as his casket. That’s what I initially thought, but considering that he’s only a recent “convert” to the flat earth movement and that he’s successfully launched manned rockets before, it appears that he’s a homemade rocket enthusiast and daredevil who saw the flat earth movement as a good source of funding for his latest project.
I’m not too heartbroken over getting fooled about this one. It’s not going to result in anyone going to prison or getting harmed (outside of the harm that could come to Hughes by his own doing). It does, however, offer a good lesson to remember that if people are in a frenzy over a news story, it’s probably a good practice to be skeptical of the popular takes.
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