February 26, 2024

Rural Issues: Don’t get spun by internet lies

For exactly three seconds one morning last week, I felt like sixth-grade me who was one of the last picked for the dodgeball team in grade-school physical education class.

Someone I’ve known professionally for nearly three decades unfriended me on Facebook after I responded to his statement that Christian conservatives hate those of different religious beliefs, sexual orientation and ethnicity. He compared all Christian conservatives to Russian President Vladimir Putin and called for war against them.

I knew better than to tell him that I have friends of different religious beliefs, sexual orientation and ethnicity that consider themselves conservatives. I have a lot of friends of varying sexual orientation and ethnicity that are Christians.

I told him it was distasteful to compare them to Putin and to suggest Christian conservatives should be wiped off the face of the earth.

Honestly, not seeing his posts on Facebook will cause me a lot less heartburn in the future. It was his page, after all, and he has a right to post his opinion.

I was hopeful he would backpedal on the hate-speak and understand my world view. That is never going to happen.

I am often amazed by what I see when scrolling through my social media accounts. It is not only politics that people fight about on these platforms.

I am friends with or follow a wide variety of people from rural and urban areas who may or may not have any link at all to agriculture.

I love the freedom of speech and opportunity for dialogue such forums present, but the absolute nonsense that is shared and forwarded and re-tweeted oft times raises my ire.

A nurse practitioner friend of mine recently posted a litany of complaints against foods that have been raised using any sort of fertilizer or crop inputs.

She’s a farmer’s daughter and the sister of a farmer who both farmed using good stewardship practices. “Only eat organic!” she exclaimed.

There are a lot of really good people sharing information as truth that has either been disproved or has yet to be substantiated.

I have absolutely nothing against organic production methods, but as I’ve said many times before, marketing is good. Lying is not.

Having an opinion on an issue doesn’t make someone an expert any more than staying at a Holiday Inn Express qualifies me to perform brain surgery.

Gossip and telling tall tales and spreading misinformation is as old as the hills. It is only in recent decades that well-paid leaders of activist groups have set their sights on agriculture, spreading misinformation with cruel passion for personal gain.

Most people have no malice for the ultimate victims of ludicrous claims planted by anti-agriculture, anti-American, anti-science, greed-motivated zealots.

I believe most people are good. Gullible, but good.

Before you like, share or repeat one piece of gossip you read, see or hear, please do a little digging.

Cyndi Young-Puyear

Cyndi Young-Puyear

Cyndi Young-Puyear is farm director and operations manager for Brownfield Network.