“Chess is actually harmful to the mind, body and soul. It leads to bad habits like alcoholism, anti-semitism, extreme arrogance, vindictiveness and encourages the development of mental illnesses.”
Now, the story behind the outrageousness of this claim. I was googling the benefits of certain sports over another. Simultaneously, I encountered some negatives along the way, and so I did the same with other topics of interest. At this point, the few negatives that could arise from these activities/interests made sense, but then I went further: how could anyone say that an innocent hobby such as chess caused damage? And then I found this quote from a forum on chess.com.
It might seem difficult to relate this story to politics, but in fact, it is oddly similar. With social media at American’s fingertips and a polemical Presidential election not entirely in our rearview mirror, misconceptions and radical beliefs can appear in almost all cases. Sometimes, there are negatives and/or disadvantages of a subject, yet it is critical to research and fact check information before assuming its validity.
Take, for example, the presidential approval ratings. Abraham Lincoln created the Emancipation Proclamation, which paved the way toward abolishing slavery in the U.S. However, nearly half of America despised him at this time, while today, he is remembered in a positive manner by historians. More recently, Lyndon B. Johnson passed legislation known as the Great Society, and as part of this plan, he proposed initiatives aimed at curbing unemployment and poverty. Still, critics asserted that he was hurting taxpayers and using governmental authority to interfere with livelihoods.
In short, it is easy to find sources that confirm your belief on the internet, as demonstrated by this chess example; in psychological terms, we call this confirmation bias. So the next time you see a headline in the news, ponder the source and what its intentions may be.