That woman is a cleaner so she must be poor.
That man is relatively well dressed, has good manners and drives a Ferrari so he must be filthy rich.
Even though we may feel like we are getting our information from primary sources -we are there after all- and therefore making reasonable assumptions, we could be completely wrong. Going around spreading word about [insert name here] because you saw him/her today acting/dressing/speaking/etc in a specific way, doesn't mean that is who they truly are.
Here in 7th grade, so much is spread through rumors and gossip. Everyone here is aware that gossip is not reliable, nor is it a good thing, but we still get drawn into it. Gossip is like the celebrity gossip site - or the media - of school. So when we hear rumors, we often immediately believe what we hear. Maybe we'll think "That's my best friend, they wouldn't lie to me" or "Everyone is saying this so it must be true". Often times it's not.
We shouldn't believe the things we hear until we go to ask for first-hand proof from the subject - the person being talked about, or seen. Getting off from the bus, I once saw a boy with seemingly-new shoes (yes I looked at his shoes, don't judge) and seemingly-new, expensive-looking headphones plugged into a new-ish looking phone. The first thought that came to my mind was "Wow they must be rich. Aren't they lucky, getting all that stuff from their parents". Later I realised that I could have been wrong. Maybe they saved up for their stuff. Maybe his shoes, headphones and phone are all old and just very well taken care of. I'll never know the truth unless I go to ask him.
You could say that we make these assumptions because that's what we, as humans, are programmed to do. But I for one believe that we're making these assumptions from the media. Why? The media is everywhere. Radio, TV, the internet, magazines, newspapers... the list goes on. Media surrounds us all the time and influences the way we think. We're constantly bombarded by flashy signs or commercials that tell us: "Do this! Do that! Buy this! No don't buy that, this is better!" So it's no surprise that the media can tell us: "Think this! Think that! Don't think that, it's wrong. New evidence suggests that by thinking this, you are thinking the right thing!".
At the end of the day, it comes down to two things:
- A huge shield barring us from the truth, aka censorship
One example I can think of is smoking and the side-effects of it. From what you can find on the internet, smoking is very bad. You can get lung cancer, your senses will be dulled, premature aging, increased chance of infections, impact on physical health, impotence, etc. But there is always a slight chance (I say slight because you never know) that smoking could benefit you in some way. But of course, the truth would never get out because the media and the government wouldn't want that.
Unless somebody very brave and very well prepared stepped up to reveal the truth, nobody would ever know.