Letter: Hopes readers do their own fact-checking in 2017

Editor,

Positive news you may have missed in 2016:

From the BBC: Giant Pandas have been removed from the endangered species list.

From the World Health Organization — WHO: Ebola is no longer a world health emergency.

From the NY Times: Colon cancer, heart disease and dementia are on the decline in developed countries.

From the WHO: The region of the Americas has been declared free of the measles virus.

From Science Daily: Acid pollution has been reduced to near 1930s levels.

From the WHO: Global deaths from pregnancy and childbirth complications have declined by 44 percent.

From CNN: With the acceptance of the peace accord in Columbia, all armed conflicts in the Americas have ended.

From the WHO: Malaria deaths worldwide are down 60 percent since the year 2000.

From the World Bank: Over the past 25 years the number of people living in extreme poverty declined by 74 percent from 1.9 billion people to 702 million.

These statistics were posted on Facebook. As I began this letter my purpose was to show that, contrary to most headlines, not all the news from 2016 was bad.

However, I was unwilling to pass these “facts” on until I checked that they were actually true. That took time. I could not verify some of the posted statements with reliable sources so I did not include them in this list.

As I verified these statements it became obvious that the stories are far more complex than a twitter-length statement can convey.

My wish for 2017 is that everyone approaches headlines with skepticism, does their own fact checking and does not simply accept or pass on information without verifying its accuracy.

Juliana Wilson

Oak Harbor

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