The importance of knowledge in a changing world

History is one of the most important subjects in school, because by knowing history you can easily understand why people think and act the way they do. You understand why there are conflicts in the world, and why these conflicts seem like they will go on forever. A person that seemingly had no interest in participating in the subject in question is one of the most powerful men in the world, Donald Trump.

Donald Trump has claimed that the Lebanese government is fighting against ISIS, Al Qaeda and Hezbollah. That is partially true, the Lebanese government does fight ISIS and Al Qaeda, however Hezbollah is not opposing the Lebanese government, in fact they have been a part of the Lebanese parliament, and is currently holding 12 seats in the parliament as well as two cabinet positions, the Minister of Industry and the Minister of Sports and Youth. Trump also claimed that Germany owed “vast sums” of money to the United States for NATO. This is just wrong. No country can owe money to another country through NATO. The NATO agreement specifies that every member has to spend two percent of their GDP on their military. Germany, among many countries, spends less than two percent of their GDP on their military, and in 2016 it was estimated that they would spend approximately 40 billion USD on their military, whilst the United States would spend approximately 664 billion USD. However, showing the pure numbers is misleading as the GDP in the NATO member states differ from the United States’ 18.5 trillion USD to Montenegro’s 10.4 billion USD. “ Europe may owe itself; it certainly owes nothing to the U.S.”  said Ivo Daalder, a former ambassador to NATO under Mr. Obama. Another claim from the commander in chief was that Korea used to be a part of China. Korea was never a part of China, although Korea was protected by China in exchange for gifts, clearly showing an independent position. However, he got his information from the President of the People’s Republic of China, Xi Jinping, and he might have exaggerated China’s power, as Korean historians claim that Korea was similar to a colony, but not a part of China.

The President, whilst on a trip to Israel, said that he had just been in the Middle East, seemingly not knowing that Israel is a part of the Middle East, and a rather important one as well. Israel is the only free country in the Middle East, according to Freedom House. It is also a close American ally.

Trump confused Napoleon Bonaparte and Napoleon the third on a recent trip to France. Napoleon Bonaparte and Napoleon the third are two different people, in fact Napoleon the third is the nephew of the famous Corsican emperor Napoleon Bonaparte. They both held the title “Emperor of the French”, but Napoleon the third modernized infrastructure, and he was an elected president, as he won 74.2 percent of the votes in the 1848 election. When the British prime minister Theresa May came to visit the US in January, the White House managed to misspell her name three times. They wrote about Teresa May, which is a British glamour model and soft-porn actress. This is quite the blunder, as the British prime minister probably does not like to be associated with a soft-porn actress. They also referred to Canada’s prime minister Justin Trudeau as Joe, and called Shinzo Abe the President of Japan, which is wrong because he is the prime minister.

The last blunder, of many, that we will write about is also quite a big one. The White House referred to Xi Jinping as the “President of the Republic of China”, and not the “President of the People’s Republic of China”. There is a huge difference between the Republic of China, and the People’s Republic of China. The latter is the mainland, whilst the Republic of China is Taiwan. Taiwan and China have had a terrible relationship for years, although they have begun work to cooperate on a certain level.

 

Does Trump`s historical missteps matter? Does it matter that the President of the United states seems to lack knowledge and understanding of the key events of his nation’s past and of what is going on in the world. He mentioned Abraham Lincoln during a fundraising dinner. “Most people don’t even know he was a Republican,” Trump said. “Does anyone know? Lot of people don´t know that!” (Most likely everyone in the room knew). It seems pretty self explanatory that the president of the United States should have, and might benefit from, basic knowledge and insights of the world history. Perhaps he should go back to High School?

In the heated discussions over the effects of fake news on for instance democracy and civil society, Trump has often taken the center stage. But, It’s not just Trump that spreads out wrong information and fake news. In fact, a lot of people and organizations do. The following checkpoints may help you uncover fake news.

  1. Be skeptical to headlines. Fake news often has catchy headlines that captures your attention. If the headline has shocking statements that seem too crazy to be true, it’s likely that it’s not true.
  2. Pay attention to the URL. A fake or copied URL can be a warning sign that the news you are about to read, is fake. Many sites that produce fake news imitate authentic news sources by making small changes to the URL. You can go to the site and compare the URL with established sources.
  3. Examine the source. Make sure that the news is written by a source that you trust, and that the source has a reputation of being correct. If the news comes from an unknown source, be sure to check
  4. Look after unusual design! A lot of websites which produce fake news, have misspelled words or a clumsy layout. If you see these warning signs, you should be skeptical of what you are reading.
  5. Be aware of the pictures. Fake news often use manipulated photos or videos. Sometimes the photos can be real, but taken out of context. You can search for the picture to see where it comes from.
  6. Check the dates. Fake news may contain timelines that do not make sense, or dates that have been changed.
  7. Check the evidence. Check the writer’s sources to confirm that they are correct. If the news lacks evidence or “trust” unnamed experts, it could be a sign of fake news.
  8. Look at other reports. If there are no other news-platforms which talks about the issue, it could be a sign that the report is fake. If the case gets covered by other platforms you trust, it is more likely that the report is true.
  9. Is it a joke? Sometimes it can be hard to see the difference between false news, humour or satire. Check if the resource usually makes parodies, and if the details and the style of the report indicates that it is only meant as a joke.
  10. Some news are fake intentionally. Be critical to the news you read, and share only news you know are real.

 

Sources:

Written by Ingrid, Tobias and Sondre B

 

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