Mr. Charlton is Fake News

Every once and a while Mr. Charlton makes a bold claim. I’ve been known to say some pretty outlandish stuff. I once told a guy at a bar that one day, one day, I’d become the world’s greatest farmer. Which is strange, seeing as how I can barely keep a houseplant alive. I’ve said that I’m not the second coming, but rather Jesus was a precursor to Mr. Charlton. This is coming from a guy who would burst into flames if he stepped into a church.

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Kat takes care of this thing. If she wasn’t here, this would be dead.

Not too long ago, I made a bold claim; I was going to get to the bottom of this whole global warming issue. I figured there are not enough journalists covering the topic, and I said to myself, you know what? I might as well get my feet wet. Might as well read some books on the topic of journalism. Might as well learn to dig for facts and report out some hard hitting news.

Well…

That was back in the summer of 2016, the halcyonic days where journalism was, at least from my perspective, still being taken somewhat seriously. Then Trump happened, and the world of the Republican fringe spilled out onto the rest of the planet. The newly appointed administration started to talk about ‘Alternative Facts’ and how anything critical of the White House was now ‘Fake News’. It’s only been a month, and it’s been a goddamn shit show.

I’ve always been wary of emotions. I don’t really like having them. They’re a pain in the ass, distorting logic and reason with feelings and sentimentality. I despise it when organizations use emotions to sway others. Trying to make me afraid and not having any data to back it up, in my opinion, should be a crime. It should be illegal to try and stir the pot without having anything substantial in the pot. An incredibly good example is when a politician tries to use crime as a scapegoat, in an effort to seem tough on an issue. Here’s the statistics for crime in Canada and here it is for the United States. Doesn’t matter in either case if the current administration was left-wing or right-wing on the political spectrum, crimes of all types have consistently been on the decline for decades. Arguing otherwise should result in some sort of penalty.

But I’m not here to talk about crime. I’m here to talk about bullshit. There’s too much of it out there, and I’m not helping the problem. I’m not a journalist. I do not have a degree in political science. I’m not an expert on anything. In fact, I know very little about the things many people consider me to be an authority on. The truth is, the more I learn about a topic, the more I find out I don’t know. The amount of ignorance that erupts when learning something new is staggering. When I took a class on wine years ago, I went from thinking I knew a little, to realizing I knew nothing at all about rotting grapes. You could spend your entire life learning about wine and never learn everything.

And here I was, plucky little Mr. Charlton, thinking I was going to set the record straight on journalism. That is some goddamn hubris right there.

Somewhere along the line, I got a face full of humble pie. It could be the fact that I have friends who are actual journalists. Maybe it’s that no one is going to bother to be interviewed for a website that gets five or six hits per post. But maybe, just maybe, it’s because it takes a lot of work to fact check your sources. Writing a post takes an hour, maybe an hour and a half. Proper research (and yes, I’ve done research on at least three of my posts) can take anywhere from an hour to three hours. Now, with all this goddamn journalism and research, my dumbass blog would take anywhere from two to four hours. Man (or woman), I’ve got a life! I have things to do. I have other things to write. I’ve got hobbies. Sometimes I want to just sit back and play video games or watch a cartoon. If I wanted to become a journalist so bad, I’d go back to school to become a journalist, and I’m already trying to go back to school to fulfill my dream of becoming a lion tamer.

My point is, my opinion isn’t fact. Facts are facts, and good journalism seeks out these facts. Me? I’m gonna keep writing, going to keep reaching for the lion taming stars. If you do care about facts, and you want them to be heard, do facts a favor and subscribe to some real journalism. In a world where facts are under attack, the only way to fight back is to support those who are seeking the truth.

It’s easy to rile people up with inflammatory opinion. It’s almost impossible to calm them down with rationality. Someone out there is selling you emotion, and that makes me so angry I could remember everything I just said, calm my ass down, look up the numbers on the situation, realize it’s not as bad as I think it is, and be slightly ticked off someone was manipulating my emotions in the first place.

Sincerely,

The Illustrious Mr. Charlton

p.s. I’m going to probably stick to satire mostly from now on, it’s the most fun to write.

 

Meta Post – Mr. Charlton, Fake Journalist

The last post I wrote blew up over what can be lovingly referred to as “A stupid internet debate.” What started as a harmless post regarding Trump as a lousy candidate quickly turned into a debate regarding Global Warming. I’m not entirely sure how that happened, but like I said, stupid internet debate. I was challenged with finding GIS data regarding global warming. So I started digging.

Now, it really wasn’t all that hard to find a pile of raw data for GIS analysis regarding global warming. It took the sleuthing of about a thirty second Google search to produce data I could throw in a program and start making maps. In fact, the company¬†that makes ArcGIS, the most popular¬†GIS program on the market, has a pdf on modeling maps with climate change in mind. The information is out there, and it’s not hard to find.

But I wanted to go deeper. I wanted to know how this information was gathered. I wanted to talk to experts. I wanted to correspond with people on both sides of the argument. Everyone who chimed in on the stupid internet debate I had going was not an expert. I’m certainly no expert when it comes to climate change. Hell, I’m hardly a drafting expert and I held that position for over a decade.

The only problem with all of this, is that the job I just described, gathering information, corresponding with experts, presenting the information so that it can be understood by non-experts is a job for a journalist, and I’m certainly no expert when it comes to that. So the task I had laid out for me was another hurdle, one that kind of paralyzed me from writing about anything on this blog for the last couple of days. I sat there, writing Harry Potter / Ninja Turtle cross-over slash fiction instead. As fun as it was to have Michelangelo fall in love with Hermione and have Harry bump heads with Leonardo over leadership duties, it certainly wasn’t getting me anywhere.

I did what I always do when I know nothing about something. I got some books and I started doing some research. This means that it’s going to be a bit before I can talk about climate change and do it justice. I have to get a better handle on the science behind the theory. I have to start sending emails and I have to start making phone calls. I’m determined to do the subject justice, and who knows? Maybe I’ll find out that I’ve been blindly following a hoax, and the Earth is perfectly fine and there’s no need for alarm.

Seriously though, who reads books anymore?

Learning from some books! Like old people do!

The topic of climate change is going to be brought up again on this blog again, you can count on that. In the meantime, the Olympics are starting up next week, and it looks like it’s going to be an utter disaster. I’m certainly no expert on the politics involved in the Olympic process, but I know what a train wreck looks like.

Sincerely,

The Illustrious Mr. Charlton

p.s. You know what? Harry would be getting along with Raphael so much better because they’re both emotional hotheads, Donatello would be crushing on Hermione ’cause of brain, and Ron would be skateboarding with Mikey and getting into wacky high-jinks. We all know Leo would be ass kissing Dumbledore.

p.s.s GOD! WHY WASN’T IT SO OBVIOUS BEFORE?!?! NOW ALL MY SLASH FICTION IS RUINED!

p.s.s.s. Gonna try out the ol’ alt text thing. Gives people reading it on a computer just that much more of me.