Combine the vast resources of the Internet with 24/7 news cycles, traditional and online media, bloggers, citizen journalists and modern electronics and the result is that we have at our fingertips access to more information than ever before.
Sadly, we also are bombarded with more misinformation than ever before.
Knowing the difference is vital to making intelligent decisions.
Over the next month or so, potential Forsyth County voters are going to be bombarded with a lot of information about the SPLOST referendum set for Nov. 8. In fact, the information campaigns already have begun.
Problem is, not everything your hear about the upcoming tax vote is going to be accurate, and in order to vote responsibly you have to make the effort to separate fact from fiction.
Battle lines already are being drawn in the effort to sway voters, with various groups announcing that they are in the “for” or “against” camps. Before choosing sides, we hope local voters will take the time and make the effort to become educated enough to cast an intelligent vote.
The SPLOST referendum deals with serious issues of major import to the county. At stake is a decision on whether voters will extend the current 1 percent sales tax, which could generate as much as $200 million in tax revenues between 2013-19. If approved, the tax collections would be used to finance a number of different projects, including a new courthouse and jail.
Between now and the November vote, however, voters will be bombarded by a lot of information about the tax. Not all of it will be accurate and true.
One of the greatest culprits in the spreading of incorrect information on any issue is the Internet, where publicly accessible avenues for discussing issues of concern often fail to separate fact from opinion, and sometimes provides a viral breeding ground for incorrect information. Just because it comes to you in an e-mail doesn’t mean it’s factual.
If you find yourself doubting the veracity of some statement related to the upcoming tax vote or shaking your head in dismay over some “fact” that doesn’t seem to make sense, please make an effort to verify from a credible source.
In the weeks to come this newspaper will be publishing a lot of information on the tax vote. Other reliable sources also exist — independent sources capable of providing accurate information supported by documentation and research.
The decision on SPLOST slated for November will have a demonstrable and dramatic impact on the future of the county and its residents. It is a decision that deserves to be made on facts, not rumors, gossip, disinformation and assumptions.
The upcoming vote is important. Be prepared to cast an intelligent vote when the time comes. Do your homework. Be armed with information, not swayed by misinformation.