A stranger comes to your front door, introduces himself as LibTriggerPatriot69, and immediately engages you in conversation about politics. Well, not really a conversation — more like a one-sided rant that you're expected to agree with and share with everybody you know. Would this be acceptable to you?
How about if there was this guy — just his chest, shoulders, and head — and he floated around talking in your ear all the time. All. The. Time. Mostly he would just be telling you about things that you need to be afraid of: women, immigrants, people of color, the idea that somebody else might be getting something that you're not. You know, the standard stuff. But all of a sudden he wants to give you health advice, especially about what drugs to take to fight a deadly virus. Do you figure, "well, he seems to know an awful lot about home catheters (even though I've never seen his bottom half), I should definitely listen to him."
Of course not. And yet somehow we accept just this from social media and cable news hosts. (We could add talk radio and sketchy podcasts to the mix, but you get the point.)
To be clear, I'm not saying that you need to avoid any of these all together. Social media in particular can provide a lot of entertainment and personal connection value in these quarantined times. But as with a necessary trip to the grocery store, please, prepare yourself properly.
John Auchter is a freelance political cartoonist. His views are his own and do not necessarily reflect those of Michigan Radio, its management, or its license holder, the University of Michigan.