WHEN THE GENERAL public posts personal notes and comments on social media such as Facebook, Twitter or Google, it should not be construed as reliable news.

Layman bloggers are not credible reporters or journalists because they are not held to ethical standards. They are not a professional news gathering service and have no obligation or commitment to be fair or balanced.

Those anonymous posters can hide in the shadows and are rarely called on to defend or answer for misleading or inaccurate news posts. Facebook does not distinguish between professional reporting and personal blogs.

We have to define what is news. Most would agree that news is newly received or noteworthy information, especially about recent or important events. News is information not previously known to someone. Our friends mean well, but check the facts.

Problems arise when the deliverer of the news interprets the news and tries to tell you what it means, putting their bias, slant and spin on it that may or may not be accurate. The news might even be generated by foreign-based operatives with the intent to deceive us, such as what happened with Russia’s interference in the 2016 elections.

Getting your news from print sources may not fit the millennial lifestyle, but what you get online isn’t quite news. It is more like a never-ending stream of unchecked commentary that does more to distort your understanding of the world than illuminate it, wrote Farhad Manjoo.

When choosing your news sources, be sure to demand journalistic initiative, integrity, fairness and objectivity. Remember, military generals will tell you that breaking news reports from the front lines of the battlefield are unreliable and usually inaccurate.

There is nothing wrong with wanting to stay informed, but we must value depth of coverage and accuracy over speed. Many people believe the 24/7 breaking news phenomenon made possible by a cellphone in every person’s pocket is ruining how we collectively process information.

Manjoo, technology columnist for the New York Times, recently wrote that he believes our addiction to the breaking news machine can make us fall victim to innocent mistakes and malicious misdirection which is more likely to come from social media’s amateur posters.

Because of today’s fascination with rapidly changing digital technology, Americans can’t take their eyes off digital news notification apps such as Twitter, Facebook or Google. When our phones buzz, we can’t resist its plea to “look at me.”

Manjoo said we should turn our phones off occasionally and not let it control our life. When it buzzes, just ignore it and see what happens. It won’t kill you. Your friends will not unlike you.

Because the trustworthiness of breaking news is often not good, we know there is something wrong. Something is missing with this platform and many people are losing faith. They are calling for Facebook, Google and the government to fix it.

Manjoo told us real life is much slower than we’ve been led to believe with breaking news. In real life, it takes time for most of us to figure out what has happened. It takes professional reporters who have an obligation to sort through the rumors and false statements to tell us the facts.

If we are to make life less stressful, less divisive and regain our sanity, we must get our news from professional men and women, not from well-meaning bloggers. Bloggers are often biased, only concerned about speed, and will post rumors and fall for propaganda.

Because of the race to be first, many breaking news hounds will get politicians and pundits to comment and analyze complex issues before they actually see or read the legislation. Online commentary often precedes knowing the facts. 

Days later, after professional news organizations have had a chance to study and digest the legislation, we get a balanced and fair analysis of the facts.

By that time, millions of people have already drawn false conclusions. Because of the unreliability of bloggers and well-meaning friends, we often gravitate to news sources that tell us what we already believe. We like to be assured that our preconceived notions are reinforced.

We will never find common ground and break the gridlock if we don’t try to see and hear both sides of the issues. As it is now, neither side lets the facts get in the way of their biases.

Several weeks ago, the conservative-leaning, Baltimore, Md.-based Sinclair Broadcast Group told its audiences across the country to be concerned about the one-sided news stories plaguing the country.

Sinclair officials were criticized for making this declaration. They defended their effort by saying it represents nothing more than an effort to differentiate award-winning news programming from other, less-reliable sources of information.

They told viewers to be aware that some national media outlets and many unregulated bloggers have no filter and present fake stories without checking the facts first. They use their social media platforms to push their own personal biases and agendas, which can be dangerous to our democracy.