Public officials also have a responsibility to speak up and speak out. If and when they know something exaggerated or false is being put out there, vigorously stand up to that untruth and shout the truth for all to hear.
The public itself also has a responsibility to receive information critically and not just believe it is true because it was heard or read somewhere. Verify the information and seek out sources that can verify the information.
This is especially important when the information coincides with one’s beliefs, politics and morality. Democrats, for example, have a tendency to take it on face value when a member of their party issues information, even if that information seems outrageous. Then, those same individuals will demand a ridiculous amount of sources if a Republican makes a statement as simple as the sky is blue.
The same can be said by so many groups. Frustrated taxpayers often need only hear one individual, even if it is public knowledge this person was just released from jail, say that the school district is spending money frivolously, and suddenly that information becomes fact without it being verified by anyone.
Finally, all of us, not just public officials, but all of us have a responsibility to speak out when false and exaggerated information is delivered to the public as truth. And while we cannot restrict free speech, there is nothing wrong with shaming someone who intentionally uses that right recklessly and maliciously.
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