Friday, September 8, 2017, 8:00am

5TtRT: Religion & politics, obesity & poverty, Equifax, Fox News & Russian bots.

5TtRT: Religion & politics, obesity & poverty, Equifax, Fox News & Russian bots.

Today we’re talking about religion and politics in elections, the connections between obesity and poverty, Equifax’s breach, Fox News’ influence on elections and Russian bots on social media. I’ve got a handful of good articles here, but the one thing I want you to take away from these reads is how much you’re being influenced by what you see on the news and on your social media channels, and how untrustworthy those sources may be – regardless of your politics.

I’m not saying don’t trust anything. That’s no way to live. I’m just saying you should exercise a little skepticism. Don’t trust something just because your friend posted it. Be aware of how much influence advertising and partisan media may be having on your thinking. If you have a belief, ask yourself why you have it, and if there are other explanations. Occasionally step out of your bubble and see what “the other side” is saying, and ask yourself – honestly – if it has any merit.

Our biggest enemies aren’t “the media” or “advertisers” or “politicians.” Our biggest enemy is laziness in our thinking. Be aware that you’re being influenced to a specific end sometimes. Occasionally ask yourself why you’re being told something.

5 Things to Read Today (9/8/17)

FiveThirtyEight: America’s Shifting Religious Makeup Could Spell Trouble For Both Parties
“Both Republicans and Democrats are facing dramatic long-term realignments in the religious composition of their base, and it will be a challenge for the parties to weather this shift gracefully.”

The Conversation: Don’t blame food stamps for obesity in America
“Politicians and scholars sometimes cast obesity as a problem that largely afflicts the poor. But as most obese adults aren’t poor and most low-income adults aren’t obese, this is a misconception.”

KrebsonSecurity: Breach at Equifax May Impact 143M Americans
“Equifax, one of the “big-three” U.S. credit bureaus, said today a data breach at the company may have affected 143 million Americans, jeopardizing consumer Social Security numbers, birth dates, addresses and some driver’s license numbers.”

Vox: A stunning new study shows that Fox News is more powerful than we ever imagined
“Given that Fox was founded by a longtime Republican Party operative and has almost exclusively hired conservative commentators, talk radio hosts, and the like to host its shows, it would stand to reason that its dominance on basic cable could influence how Americans vote, perhaps even tipping elections.”

New York Times: The Fake Americans Russia Created to Influence the Election
“Sometimes an international offensive begins with a few shots that draw little notice. So it was last year when Melvin Redick of Harrisburg, Pa., a friendly-looking American with a backward baseball cap and a young daughter, posted on Facebook a link to a brand-new website.”

But wait, where do I comment? No comments, sorry. Talk to me on Facebook or Twitter, instead.

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