Factfulness | Gapminder

Factfulness is a recognition that most of what we think we know is probably not true. Factfulness is the title of the book by the late Dr. Hans Rosling. That book is highly recommended by me, but I am a brain injured idiot. However, the book is also recommended by Bill Gates and President Barack Obama, so there’s that.

Our brains focus on the dramatic – and the media knows this. Consequently, reporters, editors and others in the media world, including their public relations collaborators, intentionally spin stories to grab our attention – typically through fear, exaggeration and hype. Long ago, this was called yellow journalism (the name comes from the color used to attract attention).

This morning I saw frightening headlines that Yellowstone has raised its fire danger to “High” – for the rest of the season! They’ve already had one wildland fire! Oh my!

Left out of most reports is that “High” is the mid-point of the USFS fire condition alert levels (Very high and Extremely high come after that). These are normal fire condition levels, every year in Yellowstone and most of the arid western states.

Also left out of most news reports is that the first fire was so bad that four firefighters put out the lightning caused fire using shovels! Oh my! A conflagration!

Do you see what practicing factfulness just did? By probing for details, the story turned out to be not so scary as presented by the headlines.

The media is constantly playing with our minds – and their publications are literally The Daily Doomer. They focus on doom and gloom – we are going to die. The world is being destroyed. This is literally the old comic strip cartoon showing the old guy on the sidewalk with the sign saying “The End is near!” We used to laugh at that – but now we swallow this nonsense without thinking. A direct consequence is far more people suffering from anxiety and depression – and especially among youth, many of whom believe the world is likely to end in as few as ten years from now!

Practice factfulness and learn to think for yourself. If you do not practice factfulness, then you are being manipulated to believe things that are not true. And you have no idea what is going on.