Could ABC really be considering the end of one of its longest running and most successful television programs?

14 years ago, almost to the day (November 12), I got engaged.  Nothing out of the ordinary there.  People get engaged en masse on a daily basis.  What was a bit unique about my experience, however, was its rather public production.  The ultimate PDA moment, I was engaged in front of millions as Trista’s final choice on ABC’s premier season of The Bachelorette.  Since that day, The Bachelor franchise has seen tremendous success, running some 20 seasons of the flagship program, The Bachelor, and 12 of sister series, The Bachelorette.   Spin offs have been created as a faithful core audience continues to tune in while inflating the social media numbers of both program and people.  Millions are being made.  People are happy.  Life is good in Bachelor Nation.  So why would ABC consider ending this successful reign?

ABC might ponder the idea of cancelation for a number of reasons, however, they are most likely not pondering at all.  That would be silly.  For all of the reasons mentioned above plus countless more, ABC should, and most likely will, keep churning out Bachelor seasons one after the other.  It just makes sense.  What doesn’t make sense is believing something rather extraordinary on the basis of a single headline or unscrupulous source.  Yet that most likely happened here.  Devout fans saw their heart rates rise and anxiety levels build, more than one probably took an inhaler hit to combat a sudden shortness of breath.  Calls were made and text messages sent.  WTF! OMG! NOOOOOOO!  Hair salons across the country were in disarray.  Someone probably panicked and got a perm resulting in damn near a lifetime of daily hair uncertainty.  And then someone clicked on the link…

Now, Kalamas, don’t go by reports, by legends, by traditions, by scripture, by logical conjecture, by inference, by analogies, by agreement through pondering views, by probability, or by the thought, ‘This contemplative is our teacher.’ When you know for yourselves that, ‘These qualities are skillful; these qualities are blameless; these qualities are praised by the wise; these qualities, when adopted & carried out, lead to welfare & to happiness’ — then you should enter & remain in them. ~ Budha

In a world on edge, in a time of information overload, it has perhaps never been more important to invest in a mindset of diligence and wisdom.  Belief on the basis of bias and/or ignorance is not acceptable.  My example in regard to The Bachelor is rather harmless, meant to be humorous and most likely didn’t result in any meaningful concern.  However, the internet and social media in particular are riddled with deceit and mistruths that carry dangerous potential.  The Huffington Post recently published an article in regard to this very topic, recommending a few steps to take prior to freaking out and stocking up on canned foods.  For your convince, here are the bullet points, but remember, don’t take my word for it.  Look into it for yourself.

1. Read first. Then share. I myself am guilty of basing comments or even clicking share based on the headline. This is the worst thing any of us could do. Stop being lazy.

2. Check the source (and their sources). In the age of new media true and valid information comes from non-traditional sources but so does a lot of garbage. Any article that posts facts, figures or quotes should provide a source for that information. If there is no backup for their claims, move on.

3. Watch out for recycled stories. One thing that seems to be feeding into the misinformation problem is when old stories are being presented as happening now. Check the date on the story before you read on. You’ll be shocked to see how many are from another time and aren’t applicable to the current event you thought they were talking about.

4. If you care about facts, ignore the blatantly slanted. Having a slant or taking a position on a story is not wrong in itself. What is wrong is when these ideas are taken as unbiased fact. You can avoid all of this by simply avoiding those sites to start with. Any website with the words: Conservative, Liberal, Democrat, Republican, etc. in the title are just advertising how slanted they are. That’s ok if you choose to live in your side’s bubble but please don’t have any delusions that these stories reflect the whole picture.

5. Google it. God (and Sergey) gave us Google for a reason. If you see a story that’s unbelievable or has no sources or even if it does, verify. See if the same facts are reported across multiple outlets. See if anyone disputes these facts. Read these pieces and then make up your mind.

Masur, M. Bernie Sanders could replace Trump with little known loophole, The Huffington Post, 2016. Found online here.