Fact, Opinion, Hearsay – The Mobbing Culture

©2017 Gail Pursell Elliott

The old TV show Dragnet, the phrase “Just the facts, ma’am,” was something that was part of every program as the detectives attempted to sort out what had happened.  Too bad that we don’t do more of that today, not only in our personal lives but also in the media which seems to engage in more opinion and speculation than in factual information.  This is referred to as “leading with conclusions” which means that based on a small amount of factual information people fill in the blanks for themselves and come up with a speculative conclusion that is presented to the public.  Those who hear more than listen will pick out snippets of information and miss the “possibly” and the “may be” that precede the speculation then repeat it as fact. Then it becomes hearsay which unfortunately is readily believed. This is also how mobbing progresses.  When I see this happening I think “oh boy, here we go again”. We see this often in cyber bullying and inflammatory statements made by people online who have a bit of information and are more than ready to pounce negatively on the situation with name calling, slanderous remarks and hateful, hurtful messages.

So what can one person do to change such a culture?  It is a small but mighty thing. We begin with ourselves. We set the tone for our own world. We are an example to others. We just have to begin where we are and remember who we are and who we believe ourselves to be inside and act like it.

Here are a few ideas:

  • Quit playing armchair quarterback on the world.
  • Stop being ready, willing, and able to be offended.
  • Start paying attention to what is right rather than what is wrong.
  • Send out positive thoughts and feelings by looking for things to appreciate and commenting on those. What we focus on is what we empower.
  • Take a deep breath before reacting.
  • Forgive yourself for not being perfect.
  • Forgive others for not being perfect.
  • Remember we don’t have to agree to be respectful of another human being, nor do we have to be friends.
  • We don’t have to tolerate reprehensible conduct but we do have to remember not to act in kind or we become reprehensible as well.

You see where I am going here, I’m sure. Start with your personal dignity and self respect so that you will have it to offer to others and to help remind them of who they are as well.  And above all remember to be good to yourself and to those you encounter. You all deserve it.



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