A lot of Nigerians read. These lot that read can be be broken into several sub groups. There are those who read and understand what they read. Another sub group exits who read and did not quite understand what they read. Interestingly, there are also those who read some parts jumped some parts and left the rest but still would argue they read the whole thing and thus claim to be in the know as someone who read all, understood all and in that full understanding that leads to comprehension makes an informed statement. There are also the deadly type. I call them the headliners. You often see these headliners at newspaper sales' points, straining their necks over shoulders of people like them who got there first. All they want to read is the headlines. That would do. Always does. They then begin to add flesh to the headlines as they go through the day and add on whatever related news filters from the electronic media or other headliners like themselves.
Expectedly, naturally so, there are those who don't read. I said don't, not can't. Because some people can read, but they just don't read. Ok? Now these "don't" read group will wait for what the people who read tell them. Whatever is told those who can't read is then processed (some dont even process it, they just hit a retweet or just copy paste and rebroadcast) in their own thought factory, whatever their state of mind is. The refurbised rubbish is then retailed and retold to those who have no access to people who read like them aka "reliable source".
The trail of this communication chain means, a true story can get distorted, restored, adulterated and spread with the real ingredients missing. The problem then becomes how to know what story is true, which is false, who to believe, where to get the truth and the task of bookmarking those who are in the habit of microwaving these falsehood and serving them fresh and steaming.
Simple way that I dealt with this was to delete. But it became a worrisome simple task when I discovered that people I held in high regards, leaders of thought (who would have thought of that?), managers of corporate organisations and captains of industry, were all spreading stories that a simple check on CNN, BBC OR AL JAZERRA,... Or google would have sorted. It then leads you to wondering... If these people who should know are these gullible, what do we expect from unschooled minds who do not know any better?
If you are yet to get my gist in this piece, then some examples will bring you up to speed. Do you know that not sending a broadcast you received on your Blackberry phone, to 25 people can make Jesus do something terrible to you? Back when I used to use a BB, that was the impression I got from a broadcast sent to me by a bank GM. As in General Manager. Soon to be Executive Director and may be MD! Wait for this... A serving Senator last year sent me a "Mandela, an Icon of the world, Rest in peace!" I called a few friends in South Africa, checked those scrolled messages and googled. Nothing. Beyond the bad wishes for a man like that to die, what of the sense of cross checking information before sending it out as information to be further spread by those to whom you sent the falsehood.
TUFACE is one guy that has died on BLACKBERRY phones so many times than I can count. To expect someone who has given life to so many... Never mind. What I am trying to say is that people must really wish someone dead to just wake up in the morning, or what ever time they come back from their coven, to say so so and so is dead. How sick can you get? And the people who I blame are the first recipients of such crap who then proceed to ignite it. Is it to prove that you were the first to inform people the rumour victim is dead?
How about those who just keep pictures of dead people on their devices and are on the look out for a story of woe to spread it? And if the waiting time is too long they cook up a story that matches the pictures they have been keeping. How else does one explain posting a pix of someone who died in Enugu as the picture of someone killed in Edo state. What kind of time travel (or is it lie travel) is that?
By now you all know, that some people can photoshop President Goodluck Jonathan on top GENEVIVE Nnaji just to destroy his political ambitions? And after a while the story dies down. No one is brought to book and the falsehood generators go back to the drawing board to work on whose reputation is going down next! And if you think the old man in the village who has been shown that picture of Oshomole knows the meaning of photoshop, then you need some brainshopping! The people in the village that cant read are the people who will not get to hear that the picture was doctored. To them, they know what they saw. This also applies to the headliners in the city o!
Come to think of it, don't you agree that if the people who spread these falsehood begin to pay through their nose or any other opening on their bodies, that they would think twice before spreading them? Those that can't pay will then go to jail. Even if it's for one month. Bet they would have real stories to tell upon their return.
At this point, the 1 BILLION NAIRA suit by Charly Boy against a newspaper house comes to mind. If he wins, all others will sit up. Because what usually happens is that the newspapers will go running to the big men who have some dirty stories that the newspapers have been keeping themselves from publishing. The Big men will now call the offended party and ask him to withdraw the case from court... And it's onto the next false story for the newspaper.