On Monday, I learned a powerful lesson about the news and social media and how what we share with our friends can be ever so slightly shifted to show just what your friends want to show you — although this is only because this is the same side of an issue that they were shown. There was a tragedy in France in the form of a shooting at a school — a Jewish school, to be specific. A teacher, his two children and another student were killed in the attack.
For quite awhile, I was getting my information from my Facebook timeline — my friends were posting articles related to the shooting and how clear it was that the shooter had done it out of a hatred for the Jewish people. It made sense to me because there have been countless events in history in which people have been slaughtered for the simple reason that they were Jewish. The 2008 Mumbai shooting of a Rabbi and his family, for example.
I got to the office on Monday and continued looking at the news through the eyes of my friends, sharing news article after news article until a Jewish co-worker and friend of mine came into the office. I asked her if she had heard the news of the clearly anti-Jewish attack. She then told me that I should take the news with a grain of salt. I asked her how that was possible when it was clear what had happened. She repeated that I needed to take the news with a grain of salt and then she sat down at her desk.
Within a few minutes she had sent me a link to an article that had different information than what I had been reading all morning. In addition to the shooting at the school, the same shooter attacked Arab and black soldiers, killing and wounding in his rage. It was most certainly a race driven murder, but it was not only targeting the Jewish people.
Within seconds of reading about the other shootings I realized that I had been completely wrong all morning and it was not only about attacking Jewish teachers and children. Don’t get me wrong, there sadly is still quite a lot of specifically Anti-Jewish crime out there — this particular incident just did not completely fit the bill. And that is why it is extremely important when you are reading the news to always read it with a grain of salt.