ONE of my worst fears has happened. Not to me, a SunStar Bacolod columnist, but to Philippine Star opinion writer Carmen Pedrosa.

Ms. Pedrosa lambasted Filipinos as being the most gullible people in the world – and then citing fake news about a fake study from a satirical blog Mosquito Press.

Talk about bum steers. The explosion of information from the World Wide Web has created news redundancies from competing news sources, and disinformation and misinformation sources from the world wide disinformation.

Whether as a reporter or as an opinion writer, one who writes for media should check and double check information sources. Always.

The advantage of redundant sources is the ability of an opinion writer to double or even triple check facts before making an analysis. This is how to separate the chaff from the grain, from a serious well-informed essay from a work of fiction disguised as truth.

In my case, I copy and paste onto Google search controversial information. If the search fails to pan out finding redundant credible sources, I don’t bother to use the spurious data. For analysis, I sift a balanced understanding of the issues rather than uncritically swallow propaganda. Better safe than sorry.

Back in 2003, then SunStar Bacolod chief reporter Avelyn Agudon-Marañon invited me to come on board the paper. The understanding is that I will write expressing my opinions – and biases – on defense of the environment. For the past several years, I have expanded my comfort to write about human rights issues and my renewed Catholic Christian faith.

When publisher Jimmy Golez took over, he expressed the same thing. In effect, he enjoined us to be our opinionated selves. The only caveat is to be good at research. I assume the same attitude when I post messages on my Facebook wall. Read. Research. And research some more before I write.

Having said that, I had my share of bum steers. In one occasion, SunStar Bacolod editor-in-chief Nanette Guadalquiver emailed me a very-much appreciated correction.

Readers have expressed their disagreements on my ideas. For a media opinion writer, that’s good news. A critic who takes time to read and write his or her thoughts are most welcome. The worst calamity for opinion writers is to be ignored altogether. Call it the KSP (Kulang Sa Pansin) syndrome.

I have been writing for SunStar Bacolod for 14 years. Thank you to the publication. And to my faithful readers.