In the court of public opinion, one side is blamed, the other acquitted. In this age of instant news, it can change by the day. The word “acquitted” can also be used to describe one’s behavior.

Neither side acquitted themselves well in two unsettling situations recently. With the drama around the State of the Union address, President Trump and Speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi, proved that chronological age has no bearing on maturity.

And none of the three sides behaved responsibly when the Covington Catholic School students had a bizarre confrontation with a Native American man and another group of protesters.

Actually, I should say none of the four sides, to include online commenters. Based on the initial, short clip that went viral, there were bomb threats to the school. It also turns out that the Twitter user who posted the original video isn’t the person pictured on the account. Molly McKew, an information warfare researcher, said that “a network of anonymous accounts were working to amplify the video.” Oh, the times in which we live, that a job exists with the title, “information warfare researcher.”

Viral videos are the “honks” of cyberspace. Just as the horn of a car has been misused over the years, eventually, every form of communication becomes another weapon. At first, it was a great tool to be able to have news delivered to us instantly online.

We’re getting wise to the fact that we’re all being manipulated, even if it takes a moment to spot the hidden agenda. Maybe it’s wrapped in a funny meme or a truncated version of the truth, but the red flags are there. At the end of all of these controversies, someone got the views or “likes” they were seeking. And the truth got more elusive by the day.

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